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Source: Voice of America, 13 Dec 1994

General Rupert Smith to Take Command of U.N. In Bosnia


by Andre de Nesnera


Voice of America, 13 Dec 1994:
INTRO: ON JANUARY 24TH OF NEXT YEAR, BRITISH GENERAL RUPERT SMITH TAKES COMMAND OF THE UN PEACEKEEPERS IN BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA. IN THIS REPORT FROM OUR LONDON BUREAU, VOA CORRESPONDENT ANDRE DE NESNERA PROFILES THE CAREER OF THE BRITISH OFFICER.

TEXT: THE 51-YEAR-OLD GENERAL RUPERT SMITH WILL REPLACE ANOTHER
BRITISH OFFICER -- GENERAL SIR MICHAEL ROSE -- AS COMMANDER OF
THE 24-THOUSAND STRONG UNITED NATIONS PEACEKEEPING FORCE IN
BOSNIA.

AS WITH GENERAL ROSE, THE NEW UN COMMANDER BRINGS IMPECCABLE
MILITARY CREDENTIALS TO HIS ASSIGNMENT. DEFENSE ANALYST COLONEL
MIKE DEWAR KNOWS GENERAL SMITH WELL -- AND HE SAYS HE IS VERY
SIMILAR TO GENERAL ROSE.

HE AGAIN IS ANOTHER SOLDIER WITH TREMENDOUS OPERATIONAL
EXPERIENCE. HE COMES FROM THE PARACHUTE REGIMENT -- THE
EQUIVALENT OF THE U-S 82ND AIRBORNE. HE IS A
PARACHUTIST. HE HAS AGAIN OPERATIONAL EXPERIENCE IN
NORTHERN IRELAND AND, OF COURSE, IN THE GULF WHERE HE
COMMANDED THE BRITISH DIVISION WITH GREAT DISTINCTION
AND ELSEWHERE. HE AGAIN IS A VERY SIMILAR CHARACTER --
RATHER QUIET -- AND I THINK THAT IS WHY HE PROBABLY HAS
BEEN CHOSEN. RATHER QUIET, BUT NEVERTHELESS VERY
DETERMINED, VERY STRAIGHT, VERY EXPERIENCED. I THINK IT
IS A SUPERB CHOICE. I THINK THERE WILL BE VERY LITTLE
CHANGE, THEY ARE VERY SIMILAR CHARACTERS.

THAT VIEW IS ECHOED BY PAUL BEAVER, SENIOR ANALYST WITH THE
BRITISH PUBLICATION "JANE'S DEFENSE REVIEW." HOWEVER MR. BEAVER
SAYS GENERAL SMITH IS MORE RESERVED THAN SIR MICHAEL ROSE.

STRANGE FOR A PARACHUTE OFFICER. HE IS THE COLONEL
COMMANDANT OF THE PARACHUTE REGIMENT. HE STILL WEARS
HIS MAROON BERET AND HIS PARACHUTE WINGS VERY PROUDLY,
EVEN THOUGH HE IS AN ASSISTANT CHIEF OF THE DEFENSE
STAFF. I THINK HE IS GOING TO BE MORE OF THE SAME. HE
CERTAINLY IS GOING TO TRY TO BE AS EVEN-HANDED AS MIKE
ROSE -- BUT YOU PROBABLY WILL NOT SEE HIM BEING QUITE
AS FLAMBOYANT IN THE SENSE THAT HE IS MORE MEDIA-SHY AND
LESS LIKELY TO APPEAR ON OUR TELEVISION SCREENS.

ANALYSTS HERE SAY THE NEW BRITISH COMMANDER WILL FACE THE SAME
PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED BY GENERAL ROSE. COLONEL ANDREW DUNCAN --
FROM LONDON'S INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR STRATEGIC STUDIES --
SAYS THIS IS DUE BECAUSE GENERAL ROSE'S MANDATE IS STRICTLY
DEFINED AS BEING ONE OF PEACEKEEPING AND NOTHING ELSE.

HE IS THERE AS A PEACE-KEEPER AND WHEN THE PEACE IS NOT
THERE, HE DOES NOT HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO ENFORCE A
PEACE -- AND THAT IS HIS BIG PROBLEM. HE AS GENERAL,
WOULD BE QUITE CAPABLE OF COMMANDING AN OPERATION TO
ENFORCE PEACE -- BUT HE PROBABLY DOES NOT HAVE THE
RIGHT SOLDIERS TO DO IT AND THEY CERTAINLY ARE NOT IN
THE RIGHT PLACES SHOULD ANYONE EVER DECIDE THAT IS WHAT
HE HAS TO DO.

WHEN GENERAL ROSE HANDS OVER COMMAND TO GENERAL SMITH NEXT
JANUARY, HE WILL BE THE FIRST COMANDER OF U-N PEACEKEEPERS IN
BOSNIA TO SERVE OUT HIS FULL ONE-YEAR TERM. FOR VARIOUS REASONS,
HIS THREE PREDECESSORS DID NOT.

BRITISH MILITARY SOURCES HERE SAY SIR MICHAEL ROSE WILL RESUME
HIS ACTIVITIES AS COMMANDER OF THE UNITED KINGDOM'S LAND FORCES.
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