Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, who promised to take Greece out of NATO, has instead let a Hellenic Air Force squad go to Afghanistan to help the defense alliance with its mission there.
That came after the anti-nationalist Greek leader reached a deal to let the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) be renamed North Macedonia, giving away the name of an ancient Greek province, and said he’d lift a Greek veto so the Balkan country could get into NATO.
That was reportedly done under pressure from the United States which was said to want FYROM in NATO as a bulwark against Russian interests in the Balkans, moving Tsipras’ anti-American party closer toward the US and supporting American foreign policies and the ongoing war in Afghanistan. He had also said he wouldn’t send any Greek military members to a war zone.
A video posted on the official account of NATO’s Resolute Support Mission to Afghanistan showed , Hellenic Air Force Major Ioannis Parmakis, senior national representative of the support mission in Afghanistan, talks about the mission’s aims.
“Recently, Greece increased its footprint here in Afghanistan with the train, advise and assist mission,” he said. “Greece’s contingent here works hand-in-hand with the Afghans on logistics in order to help them improve the sustainability of the Afghan Air Force. Logistics is the backbone of any sustainable air force, and we want to ensure the Afghan Air Force is able to take the fight to the enemy for years to come.
“Greece was one of the early members of NATO and is committed to the Resolute Support Mission and to the future of Afghanistan,” Parmakis added.
The Greek squad was comprised of technical adviser in what the government said showed its commitment to NATO, the defense alliance Tsipras and his supporters ridiculed while out of office and as he also did not move to force the US out of its military base on Crete as he said he would.
US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, who keeps saying Greece is a pillar of stability in the region, lauded the deal at the same time Turkey will be getting F-35 fighter jets critics of the deal said could be used against Greece.
NATO, to which both countries belong, has said nothing about repeated violations of Greek airspace and waters by Turkish fighters jets and warships and Greek-American groups and a handful of Congressman are trying to block the sale of the F-35s that would put Greek pilots at an immediate disadvantage as they frequently engage Turkish jets in mock dogfights.
Seven Turkish jets violated Greek national air space six times in the northeast and southeast Aegean on June 28 with Kathimerini saying they were six F-16 fighters, which the Greek Air Force uses, an a CN-235 cargo planes, all of which were intercepted by Greek pilots.