Since its creation in 1949, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has been present at some of the most important international events. As a political and military body, the main objective of this organization has always been “guarantee freedom and security” of the states that are part of it.
[¿Qué es la OTAN y para qué sirve esta organización?]
This alliance of 30 countries was created with the intention of protecting itself militarily against the growing Russian threat during the Cold War. However, during this period there were no military operations of the Atlantic Alliance in this period.
The end of the Soviet Union it did not mean the dissolution of NATO, which from 1989 began to experience its first military operations.
But in what international conflicts has NATO participated since the fall of the USSR?
First operations after the fall of the USSR
The last years of the 20th century saw the first NATO military operations: Anchor Guard and Ace Guard. These took place in 1990 and 1991, after the iraq invasion of kuwaitwhich ended up triggering the gulf war. Both, requested by Turkey, focused especially on maritime and air intervention.
The fall of the USSR it was also another focus in which NATO decided to intervene. In the months after its disbandment, the organization ran two airlift operations, Allied Goodwill I & IIwhich allocated humanitarian aid to the Soviet countries.
After Libya’s link to the 1988 terrorist attack in Lockerbie (Scotland) and the corresponding UN sanctions, NATO decided to intervene in the country with the Agile Operation Geniewhich consisted of surveillance to monitor air routes in the Mediterranean.
NATO was also involved in the conflict that ended the dissolution of Yugoslavia. Thus, in 1992, the Alliance carried out the arms embargo and the no-fly zone imposed by the UN in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Just a few years later, they faced each other on a battlefield for the first time, beginning to carry out air strikes in support of the UN peacekeepers. Furthermore, in 1996 NATO deployed troops to the region, which remained until 2004.
NATO interventions in the 21st century
However, NATO operations in the 21st century have been much more numerous. Thus, the Alliance became seriously involved after the al Qaeda terrorist attacks in the United States, assigning an aerial surveillance operation to the North American territory.
Behind the US invasion of Afghanistan In December 2001, the UN created the International Force Security Assistance (ISAF), which NATO took over from 2003 and which remained active in the country until 2021. In addition, in 2003 it also carried out an aerial surveillance and defense operation in Turkey and, after the fall of Saddam’s regime Hussein trained the Iraqi Security Forces between 2004 and 2011.
In North Macedonia Another of the NATO operations took place, which between 2001 and 2003 carried out up to three ground operations in the country, requested by the Government itself when it was still an ally of the organization, due to the growing ethnic tensions.
The public events They have also been a focus of NATO monitoring, which on two occasions acted by assisting and aerial surveillance of major events in Greece (2004) and Latvia (2006).
During the Hurricane Katrina and the earthquake that hit pakistan in 2005 and 2006 respectively, the Alliance also transported humanitarian aid to support the local population. NATO has also tried to alleviate widespread piracy in Africa, with naval operations off the coast of Somalia.
In Libya, after the uprising against Gaddafi (2011), NATO decided to establish a no-fly zone at the request of the UN, even initiating attacks on armed groups that attacked civilians. This operation concluded with the death of Gaddafi in October 2011.
Operations in current NATO conflicts
The Operation Active Endeavor of NATO is one of the most important at the maritime level. Since the terrorist attacks in the United States, the organization monitors potential terrorist activities through these maritime protection and deterrence initiatives in the Mediterranean Sea.
The aerial surveillance of Europe and the Atlantic it is also an important part of current NATO operations. In fact, it now conducts air operations in the Baltic Sea, the Adriatic Sea, the Balkans, the Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg) and Iceland. Their activity has intensified since the Russian invasion in 2022.
[España despliega 800 efectivos en el flanco oriental: carros en Letonia, cazas en Bulgaria y tres buques]
NATO also operates assisting the African Union on peacekeeping missions, in addition to transporting personnel on other occasions. For its part, since 2018, NATO has maintained a Iraqi forces training to deal with the fight against ISIS.
One of the last operations that NATO has covered has been the intervention in the kosovo war, in 1999, after the dissolution of Yugoslavia. It was then that the organization sent more than 3,700 men to stop the Serbian forces and prevent a humanitarian disaster from occurring. Now, with the end of the conflict, NATO remains in Kosovo helping local forces of security.
[¿En qué consiste la Estrategia 360º de la OTAN?]
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism