Interview: NATO Special Ops Commander

NATO's presence in the Baltics has a deterrent effect and shows its resolve to protect the region, Lieutenant General Marshall Bradley Webb, currently Commander at the NATO Special Operations Forces HQ, told Latvian Television's Imants Frederiks Ozols in an interview Thursday.

Webb, who was visting Latvia, took part in the operation to hunt down and kill Osama bin Laden, and he is seen sitting beside US President Barack Obama in the famous photo from the time when the operation was carried out. 

He said he participated in the "strategically important operation" as a "subject matter expert".

"I was there to be able to provide information to our top-level leadership," he said. 

Answering a remark that Al-Qaeda was succeeded by Daesh/ISIL, and that from snapping one head of the dragon another grew back, Webb said that there is a point to that view.

"On the other hand, ISIL, ISIS, Daesh is not the same as Al-Qaeda. We of course have seen some kind of descendance of Al-Qaeda over time, but it was important to follow through on the mission of which the course was given to us many years before," he said. 

When asked to comment on Polish remarks over that they feel like a second-class NATO member state, the commander said he's not aware of that view.

"But I can tell you as a NATO Commander of the Special Operations HQ. I do not view any nation of our 28-nation alliance in a tiered status of first-rate, second-rate or any other rate. We do not take that approach at all with Poland, and we definitely don't take that approach here in Latvia either. From a special operations' standpoint, I can tell you definitively that you have a very, very capable capacity with your special operations forces," said Webb. 

"The numbers are certainly not the same as you had in the Cold War era, but the resolve of the Alliance hasn't changed one bit. [..] We expect that there's a deterrent effect that comes from [the NATO presence]," he said.

Note: Click the image above to watch the full interview in English.

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