WorldA rocket fell in Poland: what articles 4 and...

A rocket fell in Poland: what articles 4 and 5 of the NATO treaty say


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What are the consequences of a rocket falling into Poland? While we still don’t know the exact origin of the device, which killed two people near the border with Ukraine on Tuesday, all eyes are on NATO, which includes several countries, including France and the United States.

Two articles of the North Atlantic Treaty, the founder of this international organization, are especially cited: Article 4, which could be invoked by Poland, and Article 5, which was never used and which would undoubtedly take the conflict in Ukraine into another dimension.

What is Article 4?

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Poland, in the voice of the official representative of its government, Piotr Muller, said on Tuesday evening: “We decided to check whether there are grounds for initiating proceedings under Article 4 of the North Atlantic Treaty. This article is short and fits in one sentence. “The parties will consult with each other whenever, in the opinion of one of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of one of the parties will be threatened,” he explains.

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Specifically, any NATO member may request consultation with all of its members when it feels threatened. Then, the response of NATO and its members against the author of the threat and/or to protect themselves can be discussed at this time.

The fall of this rocket could logically be regarded as an attack, and therefore serve as a reason for using this article. It has been activated several times in the past: in 2003 by Turkey during the war in Iraq, in 2012 also by Turkey, when Syrian troops bombed Turkish cities, in 2014 by Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, when Russia, already at that time, launched an invasion of the Crimea.

Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia have also applied Article 4 to the war in Ukraine. This led to an extraordinary summit in Brussels on March 24, 2022, following an emergency videoconference the day after the start of the Russian military operation. It was decided to deploy additional troops near Ukraine and help the country under attack by delivering military equipment on behalf of NATO.

What about Article 5?

Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty is longer. It is also more threatening and deterrent against any country that would like to attack a NATO member country. It states that “an armed attack against (a country or several NATO member countries) occurring in Europe or North America will be considered an attack directed against all parties.” “If such an attack occurs (each of this country), in exercise of the right to self-defence (…) will assist the party or parties attacked by immediately taking, individually and in agreement with the other parties, such actions. considers it necessary, including with the use of armed force,” the article continues.

In short, if a NATO member country is attacked, then the whole of NATO is attacked, and therefore all its member countries can take action (some summarize it with the expression “go to war”), by order and with coordination NATO Security Council.

The following article 6 clarifies what is considered an “armed attack”: it is an attack “on the territory of one of them in Europe or North America, on the territory of Turkey or on islands under the jurisdiction of either party in the North Atlantic north of the Tropic of Cancer”, and “against the forces, ships or aircraft of either party in such territories, as well as in any other area of ​​Europe in which the occupying forces of one of the parties were located on the date of entry into force of the Treaty, either located in the Mediterranean Sea or in the North Atlantic area to north of the Tropic of Cancer, or above them.

Article 5 was activated only once, in 2001, after the September 11 attacks in the United States. This made it possible to jointly conduct anti-terrorist operations, in particular with the establishment of patrols in US airspace and the deployment of naval forces in the Mediterranean Sea. Its use has been tossed around several times, including recently by the United Kingdom, which explained that any attack on the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant in Ukraine that could leak radioactive material would constitute a violation of Article 5.

It was Albania this summer that almost invoked Article 5 in response to a cyberattack that could be attributed to Iran, its prime minister said in October.

Source: Le Parisien

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