September 29, 2009
Dangerous Missile Battle In Space Over Europe:
Fifth Act In U.S. Missile Shield Drama
Wars have brought untold horrors upon Europe over the centuries, especially the two world wars of the last one. Until now, though, the continent has been spared the ultimate cataclysm of a missile war.
Though twenty years after the end of the Cold War recent news articles contain reports that would have been shocking even during the depths of the East-West conflict in Europe that followed World War II.
A dispatch quoting a Finnish defense official two days ago bore the title “US could launch missiles from the Baltic Sea” and a U.S. armed forces website yesterday spoke in reference to proposed missile shield plans of “a big, complex, dangerous battle in the space over Europe.”
On September 28 a feature called “BMD fleet plans Europe defense mission” appeared in the Navy Times which reported that “Ballistic-missile defense warships have become the keystone in a new national strategy….Rather than field sensors and missiles on the ground in Poland and the Czech Republic, the U.S. will first maintain a presence of at least two or three Aegis BMD ships in the waters around Europe, starting in 2011.” 
This development is in keeping with U.S Pentagon chief Robert Gates’ presentation of September 17 in which, confirming President Obama’s announcement to replace and supplement his predecessor’s project of placing ten ground-based interceptor missiles in Poland and a complementary radar installation in the Czech Republic, he laid out a three-step strategy to enhance (his word) U.S. missile shield plans in Europe.
In a Defense Department briefing with Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General James Cartwright, Gates explained the logic behind the shift.
“Over the last few years, we have made great strides with missile defense, particularly in our ability to counter short-and-medium-range missiles. We now have proven capabilities to intercept these ballistic missiles with land-and-sea-based interceptors supported by much-improved sensors.
“These capabilities offer a variety of options to detect, track and shoot down enemy missiles. This allows us to deploy a distributive sensor network rather than a single fixed site, like the kind slated for the Czech Republic, enabling greater survivability and adaptability.” 
That is, as Russian officials have over the past two years openly stated that the stationary missile radar facility intended for the Czech Republic and silo-based missiles planned for Poland would be targeted by their own missiles if the U.S. went ahead with the deployments, mobile and rapidly deployable alternatives would have, in Gates’ terms, “greater survivability and adaptability.”
Land-based facilities are easy to monitor and, if the suspicion arose that they would be part of an imminent first strike attack, neutralize.
Sea-based, air-based and space-based surveillance and missile deployments would be harder – if not impossible – to track and to take out.
Referring to the hitherto exclusively ship-based Standard Missile-3 (SM-3), which nineteen months ago proved capable of shooting down a satellite in space, Gates offered further details:
“We have…improved the Standard Missile 3, the SM-3, which has had eight successful flight tests since 2007. These tests have amply demonstrated the SM-3′s capability and have given us greater confidence in the system and its future….In the initial stage, we will deploy Aegis ships equipped with SM-3 interceptors, which provide the flexibility to move interceptors from one region to another if needed.”
The second stage of the Pentagon’s updated European missile shield program will entail the basing of “upgraded, land-based SM-3s.”
“Consultations have begun with allies, starting with Poland and the Czech Republic, about hosting a land-based version of the SM-3 and other components of the system,” Gates revealed.
In language that progressively reflected what sounds like plans to withstand a first – or second strike – in Europe’s first missile war, Gates added, “Over time, this architecture is designed to continually incorporate new and more effective technologies, as well as more interceptors, expanding the range of coverage, improving our ability to knock down multiple targets and increasing the survivability of the overall system.
“This approach also provides us with greater flexibility to adapt to developing threats and evolving technologies….”
The threat repeatedly invoked by the Pentagon chief was, of course, Iran. The inverted logic of the earlier George W. Bush administration program, of which Gates himself was a major architect, ran something like this: Missiles in Poland and an X-band long-range radar installation in the Czech Republic would protect the continental United States from Iranian intercontinental ballistic missiles, which the nation neither possesses nor, as both Gates and Obama themselves conceded on September 17, was likely to in the foreseeable future.
But once the U.S. went ahead with the deployments Iran could target both sites with medium-range missiles, the argument continued. So America pledged to station 96 Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missiles in batteries manned by U.S. soldiers who would be based in Poland for the first time.
Thus Poland and the Czech Republic were transformed from sites for missile shield deployments to allegedly protect the U.S. to potential targets that needed to be protected by…the U.S.
The Patriot missiles in Poland, which are still slated to be sent and activated there, can no longer be presented as protecting American ground-based interceptor missiles in that nation, as that plan was officially scrapped twelve days ago. So why are they going to be deployed in spite of that?
The Patriot deployment was never intended to defend Poland against Iranian attacks, but to counter Russian plans to station mobile short-range missiles in its non-contiguous territory of Kaliningrad, which borders Poland, in response to what Russia necessarily viewed as a threat to its strategic missile forces. Bluntly put, U.S. ground-based missiles in Poland could be part of a system to destroy whatever long-range missiles Russia had left after a U.S. and NATO first strike.
As adviser to Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, Slawomir Nowak, was quoted on September 24 as admitting, “We were never really threatened by a long-range missile attack from Iran.” 
Six days afterward Poland’s Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski confirmed that 96 Patriot missiles will be deployed in his nation as scheduled and, moreover, will be armed.
As their deployment can no longer exploit the pretext of defending U.S. long-range missile sites from imaginary Iranian “preemptive” attacks, its purpose is demonstrated to be what missile shield opponents have always asserted it was: To “protect” Poland from Russia.
The Polish newspaper that first revealed the shift in U.S. missile designs in Europe weeks before the event, the Gazeta Wyborcza, reported on September 25 some details of the new system as it will affect Poland:
“The concept would include a stationary rocket battery and possibly a number of mobile interceptor launchers. This might be a supplement to the envisaged American system of SM-3 naval based anti-rockets. Polish military experts say that equally important would be US military presence in Poland, which would provide an additional security guarantee.” 
What mobile missile launchers ready for practically overnight deployment to Russia’s neighbor might look like was indicated at last month’s annual Space and Missile Defense Conference held by the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency in Huntsville, Alabama where the prototype of a nearly 50,000-pound “two-stage interceptor designed to be globally deployable within 24 hours”  to be stationed as needed at NATO bases throughout Europe was presented by the arms manufacturer eager to produce it, Chicago-based Boeing Company.
In his September 17th briefing at the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Gates also announced plans to “deploy new sensors and interceptors, in northern and southern Europe.” He tactfully did not specify where in the north and south of the continent the “capabilities…to detect, track and shoot down enemy missiles” would be placed, but their likely destinations are not hard to determine.
The former head of the Russian Strategic Missile Force, General Viktor Yesin, commented last week on one probability:
“Now we only need to be sure that the U.S. plans with regard to strengthening the ABM capability will not create a situation where warships armed with such systems will be moved from the North and Mediterranean seas to the Black Sea, which would pose a threat to Russia’s strategic nuclear forces.” 
An analyst from the same country, Sergei Roy, gave vent to similar apprehensions in a roundtable discussion in Russia Profile on September 25:
“If anything, that episode [projected U.S. radar in the Czech Republic to be aimed at Russia and not Iran], like so many others in recent history, should teach Russians to view any U.S. move in ABM defense (as in any other ‘defense’ area) with sober caution rather than credulous enthusiasm. My first idea on hearing of Obama opting for sea-based Standard-3 anti-missiles instead of those in Poland was: ‘hey, which sea?’ If it’s the Mediterranean and the North Sea, that’s OK, but what about the Black Sea or, God forbid, the Baltic? Those missiles will be much closer to Russia, while still in international waters or those of Ukraine or Georgia (why not Estonia’s, then?), and who will give a written guarantee that they are strictly anti-missile missiles? What about those early warning radar stations? Will they be based in Israel and Turkey – or in Georgia and/or Ukraine?” 
The Gazeta Wyborcza last month broke the news that the Pentagon intended to shift major missile shield emphasis to the Balkans, Israel and Turkey. Subsequent reports have focused on the South Caucasus nations of Georgia and Azerbaijan as locations for the extension of missile interception networks closer to Iran and to Russia’s southern border.
The Navy Times report cited at the beginning of this piece discussed the transfer of missile shield hardware and priority to the Balkans, the Black Sea region and the Middle East and mentioned as an example the USS Stout, an Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer. Last summer the ship had been deployed for naval maneuvers in the Eastern Mediterranean with Israel and Turkey [Operation Reliant Mermaid] and then moved into the Black Sea in its first deployment as part of the Pentagon’s Aegis sea-based interceptor missile system. The USS Stout visited NATO members Bulgaria and Romania and NATO candidate nation Georgia while on the Black Sea mission. While visiting the third country it participated in a joint military exercise with its host’s navy directly south of Abkhazia, which could be the site of a fresh Caucasus war at any moment.
At least as far back as February of 2008, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency director of the time, Lieutenant General Henry Obering, spoke of adding a third interceptor missile component to those intended for Poland and the Czech Republic, saying that “The powerful, ‘forward based’ radar system would go in southeastern Europe, possibly in Turkey, the Caucasus or the Caspian Sea region….” 
So the expansion of the American and NATO missile interception system along a new trajectory that starts in the Balkans and progresses along Russia’s southern border and eastward towards China’s is nothing new.
The implementation of it currently being witnessed is new. And dangerous. Innovations in the interceptor missile system devised by the Pentagon will place greater emphasis on “ballistic-missile defense warships” to be deployed and moved around “in the waters around Europe.” 
“Europe there will be a need for more, modernized cruisers capable of firing the SM-3 and more advanced missiles to come. This might have an effect on the ultimate Navy build program.” 
As one American missile expert phrased it, the commanders of such vessels have been put “on a par with [ballistic-missile submarine] commanders.”
The Pentagon’s project of stationing as many as 100 SM-s, initially, on ships off the coasts of European nations and on their territory could lead to a situation in which “a BMD captain could be responsible for a big, complex, dangerous battle in the space over Europe, needing to fire dozens of missiles to try to destroy dozens of attackers.” 
The immediate reference was to Iran, again, but with implications for Russia as missile killer ship deployments in the Baltic and Black Seas would not be limited to or even primarily directed at Iran.
In a September 27 news article from an Icelandic source called “US could launch missiles from the Baltic Sea” spokesperson for the Department of Strategic and Defence Studies at Finland’s National Defence University, Commander Juha-Antero Puistola, stated “If the idea is to create this type of mobile platform, then some of the ships can well be placed in the Baltic. The Aegis cruisers have always been moved wherever needed.” 
On the following day Russian ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin stated that the U.S. “missile defense program is becoming less predictable with missile shield elements deployed in the Arctic as the worst-case scenario….” 
An earlier article in this series – U.S. Missile Shield Plans: Retreat Or Advance? – pointed out that “The major drawback [for the U.S.] of ground-based missiles in Poland is that they would be fixed-site deployments. For several years now Russia has warned that it was prepared to base Iskander theater ballistic missiles in its Kaliningrad region, which borders Poland, should Washington deploy its missiles to that nation.” 
Rogozin shared that perspective in acknowledging “We knew for sure that there would be ten interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar in Czech Republic, and that we wpuld have our Iskander [missiles] in the Kaliningrad Region…now the U.S. missile elements are to be based on U.S. cruisers, and you can never tell where they will be tomorrow.” 
Why he has been so tardy in realizing the threat of U.S. ship- and submarine-based missile and anti-missile plans in the Arctic Ocean is puzzling, as the National Security Presidential Directive of January 9, 2009 made no attempt to disguise the White House’s and the Pentagon’s intentions in that respect. Toward the beginning of the document it is stated:
“The United States has broad and fundamental national security interests in the Arctic region and is prepared to operate either independently or in conjunction with other states to safeguard these interests. These interests include such matters as missile defense and early warning; deployment of sea and air systems for strategic sealift, strategic deterrence, maritime presence, and maritime security operations; and ensuring freedom of navigation and overflight.” 
NATO held its first-ever top-level meeting – attended by its secretary general, its two top military commanders and the chairman of its Military Committee – on the Arctic seventeen days after the U.S. National Security Directive was released and also broadcast in no equivocal terms interest in expanding its presence into what it called the High North.
A plan that was outlined yesterday by Rogozin as follows:
“The ice would retreat, it would melt, which means that NATO would definitely be present in the Arctic. They have been planning it for a long time, and under very bad circumstances the U.S. strategic missile defense would arrive there on board these ships.” 
An insightful and penetrating commentary appeared in The Nation of Pakistan on September 26 which linked U.S. President Obama’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly on September 23 with his statements on missile defense six days earlier.
The author, Shireen M. Mazari, wrote that “many of us have been living with these periodic highs at the declaratory level on the issue of nuclear arms control and disarmament – till we realize they are merely a rhetorical facade to hide away the growing nuclear arsenals of the nuclear weapon states.”
And if White House pledges to reduce or even eliminate nuclear weapons sound something less than sincere – Ronald Reagan’s 1983 Star Wars speech included a proclaimed commitment “to lower the level of all arms, and particularly nuclear arms” – than so do American pronouncements that the nation’s global missile interception system will eliminate or even diminish the threat of dangerous and perhaps catastrophic confrontations.
The Pakistani writer added:
“So there will be no BMD [Ballistic Missile Defense] placements in Poland and the Czech Republic but there will be BMD systems placed on highly mobile sea platforms to counter a largely imagined threat to Europe and the US from Iran.
“Of course, these ships can be moved easily from the Mediterranean to the Gulf or Indian Ocean so Pakistan would also come into this BMD target loop – again with India being helped in the development and acquisition of BMD as part of its strategic military alliance with the US.
“BMD has also undermined deterrence which was sustained through mutual vulnerabilities.
“Now BMD has focused attention on nuclear war fighting, thereby increasing the danger of nuclear weapons being used in war.
“Unfortunately, while Obama may call for nuclear disarmament, his policy on BMD betrays this rhetoric.” 
The preceding paragraphs are as terse yet comprehensive a summation as can be found of the threat the U.S.’s new flexible, mobile and technologically advanced international missile shield strategy presents for raising rather than lowering world tensions, for dropping the threshold of a U.S. and allied missile war being launched because of the perceived invulnerability of the aggressor and, the ultimate worst-case scenario, for nuclear war whether intended or not. A nuclear war which would transform Europe and much of the rest of the world into a gigantic necropolis.
1) Navy Times, September 28, 2009
2) U.S. Department of Defense, September 17, 2009
3) Reuters, September 24, 2009
4) Polish Radio, September 25, 2009
5) Reuters, August 20, 2009
6) Izvestia, September 22, 2009
7) Russia Profile, September 25, 2009
8) Reuters, February 12, 2008
9) Navy Times, September 28, 2009
10) Defense Procurement News, September 18, 2009
11) Navy Times, September 28, 2009
12) Ice News, September 27, 2009
13) Russian Information Agency Novosti, September 28, 2009
14) Stop NATO, September 17, 2009
15) Russian Information Agency Novosti, September 28, 2009
17) Russian Information Agency Novosti, September 28, 2009
18) Shireen M. Mazari, The facade of nuclear disarmament
The Nation, September 26, 2009
September 27, 2009
U.S. Missile Shield System Deployments: Larger, Sooner, Broader
Synchronized announcements on September 17 by President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates that the U.S. was abandoning plans to station interceptor missiles in Poland and a forward-based missile radar site in the Czech Republic are now ten days ago and information surfacing in the interim indicates that its new plans are more far-reaching than their predecessor.
Two days after the statements by the American president and defense chief the latter, Pentagon head Robert Gates, was granted a column in the New York Times.
The most representative segment of Gates’ comments is arguably this:
“I have been a strong supporter of missile defense ever since President Ronald Reagan first proposed it in 1983. But I want to have real capacity as soon as possible, and to take maximum advantage of new technologies….American missile defense on the continent will continue, and not just in Central Europe, the most likely location for future SM-3 sites, but, we hope, in other NATO countries as well….We are strengthening – not scrapping – missile defense in Europe.” 
Remarking that the earlier-envisioned system in Poland and the Czech Republic would not have been operative until 2015 and that opposition among both nations’ parliamentarians would have delayed the process at least another two years, Gates evinced both impatience with and far grander designs for the European wing of the U.S.’s global missile shield program by asserting, “President Obama…decided to discard that plan in favor of a vastly more suitable approach. In the first phase, to be completed by 2011, we will deploy proven, sea-based SM-3 interceptor missiles – weapons that are growing in capability….”
The new deployments, which will be examined in depth later, are to be more mobile and less capable of being anticipated and defended against; will be implemented, according to Gates’ own schedule, at least eight years ahead of the prior plan’s timeline; and will extend worldwide missile interceptor networks into far broader swathes of Eurasia, the Middle East and ultimately the planet as a whole.
Even in the first phase of the adapted – advanced – system that Gates first described on September 17, more developed technologies are to supplant what are already outdated ones that would have been applied to the Polish and Czech deployments. “[A] fixed radar site like the one previously envisioned for the Czech Republic would be far less adaptable than the airborne, space- and ground-based sensors we now plan to use.”
The new system, in addition to being more effective and quickly operationalized, will be much grander in scope and will include several times as many missiles as those intended for Poland, although that nation will still host different variants of medium-range interceptor missiles and, as Gates states below, will still eventually station long-range ground-based missiles.
“The second phase, which will become operational around 2015, will involve putting upgraded SM-3s [Standard Missile-3s] on the ground in Southern and Central Europe. All told, every phase of this plan will include scores of SM-3 missiles, as opposed to the old plan of just 10 ground-based interceptors….[O]ur military will continue research and development on a two-stage ground-based interceptor, the kind that was planned to be put in Poland, as a back-up.”
Scores means some multiple of twenty and one of America’s top military commanders has mentioned 100 as a starting point, as will be seen later.
SM-3s are the missiles employed by the U.S.’s Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System, which is a sea-based anti-ballistic missile interception program designed to be based off the coasts of targeted nations as needed to render ineffective those nations’ missile launch capabilities, both offensive and defensive.
They are also an integral component of the Pentagon’s Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), a U.S.-led 90-nation international naval surveillance and interdiction project inaugurated by John Bolton in 2003 ostensibly to “interdict weapons of mass destruction” by confronting non-PSI nations’ vessels anywhere in the world.
SM-3s are also to be a staple item for America’s “thousand-ship navy,” first proposed by the then U.S. Navy’s Chief of Naval Operations Michael Mullen, now chairman of the armed forces Joint Chiefs of Staff.
In 2005 Mullen addressed the Seventeenth International Seapower Symposium at the Naval War College, in Newport, Rhode Island and said “the United States Navy cannot, by itself, preserve the freedom and security of the entire maritime domain. It must count on assistance from like-minded nations interested in using the sea for lawful purposes and precluding its use for others that threaten national, regional, or global security.” 
A detailed analysis of the Proliferation Security Initiative and the 1,000-Ship Navy is contained in an earlier article in this series, Proliferation Security Initiative And U.S. 1,000-Ship Navy: Control Of World’s Oceans, Prelude To War. 
As part of these plans for a U.S.-dominated worldwide navy with missile interception at its core, the United States has already recruited NATO and Asian NATO allies like Norway, Spain, Japan and South Korea into the Aegis combat system with its SM-3 missile shield capacity. India is slated to be the next partner.
Robert Gates also mentioned the application of SM-3s for ground use and the Pentagon will now base them both on land and more extensively at sea.
It was an SM-3 fired from an Aegis class cruiser, USS Lake Erie, that destroyed a satellite in outer space in February of 2008, to provide an indication of what its next phase mission will be.
The updated missile system plan for Europe is also to be more fully integrated with America’s allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to provide an impenetrable layered shield throughout all of Europe and North America as well as moving into the Middle East, the Caucasus and beyond in the imminent future.
Voice of America confirmed this development on September 22 by revealing “The U.S. believes the plan will reinforce and strengthen ongoing NATO efforts on missile defense, most recently approved by Heads of State and Government at their April 2009 summit, and is fully supportive of previous summit decisions to pursue a NATO-wide multi-layered ballistic missile defense architecture.” 
NATO remains committed not only to the advancement of a continent-wide missile shield but to the basing of U.S. nuclear weapons in all corners of Europe and their first use, even against non-nuclear powers.
In the midst of otherwise conciliatory comments last week, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev stated “[W]e should not forget that NATO is…a military bloc, and its missiles are targeted against Russia. We do not feel excited about the fact that more and more nations are joining NATO, that it is expanding further and getting closer to our borders; we do not like it and we do not conceal our sentiments.” 
The following day the chief of the Russian General Staff, General Nikolai Makarov, announced that his nation might still be compelled to base Iskander missiles in the nation’s Kaliningrad enclave to counter U.S. missile plans in Poland (and perhaps later in the Baltic states) and warned that the Pentagon “will develop the missile defense network, but it will be sea-based.” 
To confirm Makarov’s contention, on September 24 Vice Admiral Richard Gallagher, deputy commander of the Pentagon’s European Command [EUCOM], which shares a top commander and in other ways overlaps with NATO, spoke of the new U.S. missile shield system and characterized it as possessing “The intent…to use sea-based defence which, of course, has great flexibility as those ships can be moved to many different locations which gives us very good…ability to employ.” Speaking on behalf of the bloc the U.S. dominates, he added that NATO “has not abandoned the missile defence discussions” and “from the U.S. perspective, you have not seen a change in desires to protect the region and to work in conjunction with NATO as well”. 
Gallagher was speaking on the sidelines of a conference in Montenegro of the U.S.-Adriatic Charter, an initiative first launched by then Secretary of State Colin Powell in 2002 to militarily integrate and absorb all the nations of former Yugoslavia and the entire Southern Balkans.
Although he formally disavowed plans first leaked by the Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza in late August for the Pentagon to shift its missile shield focus from Poland and the Czech Republic to the Balkans as well as to Israel and Turkey, Gallagher was officiating over a meeting to complete NATO’s incorporation of an area that will be a choice location for American and NATO missile system deployments in the near future.
The Adriatic Charter’s first accomplishment is to have added Albania and Croatia as NATO’s 27th and 28th full members earlier this year and it is now grooming Macedonia, Bosnia and Montenegro – the world’s newest nation – to follow suit. Serbia and Kosovo are next in line. Kosovo, not recognized by over two-thirds of the world’s nations and as such not subject to international treaties and constraints, would be an ideal site for U.S. and NATO military deployments of all sorts, including missiles and radar.
It’s worth recalling that Vice Admiral Gallagher, as deputy commander of EUCOM, is not a NATO but a Pentagon official, yet is instrumental in recruiting several of the European nations not already Alliance members into the bloc. His superior, Admiral James Stavridis, who is both head of U.S. European Command and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, was also present at the conference in Montenegro. All five Adriatic Charter states – Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia and Montenegro – have provided NATO with troops for the war in Afghanistan.
Other top American military commanders have also corroborated the claims by President Obama and defense chief Gates that the U.S., far from retreating from missile shield plans, is escalating them in range, depth and effectiveness.
The director of the Missile Defense Agency, Lieutenant General Patrick O’Reilly, recently stated that “We are not scrapping missile defense. Rather, we are strengthening it and delivering more capability sooner.” O’Reilly is in charge of the Pentagon command that is most immediately in charge of developing the global missile shield and his words carry corresponding weight. Note that his expression that the Pentagon is not scrapping but strengthening interceptor missile plans is identical to that used by his chief, Defense Secretary Gates, in the latter’s New York Times column.
Speaking before the Senate Armed Services Committee on September 24, “O’Reilly said the old system would only have the capacity to shoot down five missiles, estimating two interceptors would be fired at each missile threat. He said the newer system would have much more capacity. The missile interceptor ships alone are capable of shooting down about 100 missiles.” 
His briefing also included the observation that “The new architecture keeps plans for a radar station in Southeastern Europe, but would also track radar by satellite and ships. Land-based missiles would be deployed at two sites, one in northern Europe and another in southern Europe.
“Placing one of these sites in Poland remains an option….” 
Undersecretary of Defense Michele Flournoy also testified before the committee and echoing previous statements by Robert Gates and others said, “This is not about Russia. It’s never been about Russia.” She added, “the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was ‘very supportive.’”
Flournoy touted the role of SM-3s for use on board ships and on land alike, stating “This means greater geographic flexibility, greater survivability and greater scalability in response to an evolving threat. That’s exactly what we mean by a phased, adaptive approach.” 
O’Reilly concurred, hailing the interceptor missile as “a very capable weapon due to its high acceleration, burn velocity and its proven track record” which provides an “ability to rapidly increase to over 80 interceptors at any one launch site.” 
Flournoy, O’Reilly and other panelists, including Marine General James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, “provided several advantages of the new system. It would begin protecting European allies in 2011, roughly six years sooner than the old system, and its missiles, costing $10 million each, are much cheaper than those planned for the old system, which cost about $70 million.” 
On September 25 a column appeared in the Washington Post titled “Reagan’s Missile Defense Triumph” by Andrew Nagorski, vice president and director of public policy at the EastWest Institute in New York.
The feature celebrates U.S. global missile shield plans, particularly the innovations announced during the past ten days, as a realization of former President Ronald Reagan’s infamous Strategic Defense Initiative, popularly known as Star Wars.
The author wrote that “on a…fundamental level…Reagan would recognize that the announcement represents a watershed moment in American politics. It signals that, for the first time since Reagan made his ‘Star Wars’ speech in 1983 spelling out his vision of a missile shield…both political parties have accepted his notion that the country needs an effective missile defense system. The debate is no longer focused on whether to build such a system but on what kind of system will do the job better job….” 
Further endorsing the new system and exposing claims that it represents either a retreat from the scope of the earlier version or a concession to Russia, the writer added:
“[T]he president has argued that his plan will produce ‘stronger, smarter, swifter’ missile defense than the Bush alternative. In other words, the Obama administration’s line, as spelled out by the president, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and others, is unambiguous when it comes to embracing missile defense as a necessary component of the U.S. arsenal.” 
A pro-missile defense analyst based in Central Asia recently expressed a similar perspective, writing that “The US policy reversal has…come as a result of the considerable progress made by the Pentagon in missile technology, especially in technical improvements to systems using interceptors, land, sea, air and space-based sensors.”
He also provided an insight into the true purpose of the U.S.-led global missile interception system:
“[A]n anti-missile shield on Poland’s and the Czech Republic’s territories – and anti-missile radars on Georgia’s territory – would have decreased the nuclear capabilities of those countries already possessing nuclear weapons. The Pentagon’s goal was precisely to downgrade the nuclear potentials of individual countries….
“It was clear that Washington’s proposal for building an anti-missile system in Europe was intended to be the last nail in the coffin of the ABM Treaty and bring Russia to its knees in the military sector.” 
A Russian analyst, Viktoria Panova, recently wrote something to the same effect, comparing the current American missile subterfuge to the period of the genesis of missile shield plans, that of the Reagan and first Bush era:
“America can push Russia either on Iran or another issue of concern, so it’s very similar to what it was during the last days of the Soviet Union when America was playing with the ABM system being developed.
“Then, using that ‘threat’ as an instrument, the US managed to alter the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty that Russia was pushing for into a more favorable one for America.” 
The Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty was signed in 1972 by the U.S.’s Richard Nixon and the Soviet Union’s Leonid Brezhnev, and the George W. Bush administration unilaterally withdrew from it in 2002. The first threat to the treaty, though, was the Reagan administration’s Strategic Defense Initiative.
The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I) expires this December 5. “The United States plans to let a landmark nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia expire in 2009 and replace it with a less formal agreement that eliminates strict verification requirements and weapons limits, a senior US official says.” 
In both instances U.S. missile shield – and space war – policies are designed among other purposes to place Russia at a strategic disadvantage in regards to negotiations over nuclear weapons and delivery systems.
To compound the threat, the U.S. hasn’t even renounced plans for missile deployments in Poland, as Missile Defense Agency chief O’Reilly informed the U.S. Senate on September 24.
On September 18 Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski – former resident fellow of the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, executive director of the New Atlantic Initiative and adviser to Rupert Murdoch and husband of American journalist Anne Applebaum – said that the 100 Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missiles the Pentagon still plans to station in his country will be combat ready. Sikorski affirmed that “Poland has been promised by the U.S. that it will go ahead with the deployment of a Patriot battery in Poland and that the missiles will be armed.” 
Six days later Slawomir Nowak, adviser to Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, announced that the U.S. could task his nation to base short- to medium-range missiles as part of “its new, flexible missile system.”
Nowak was quoted as saying, “If this system becomes a reality it would actually be better for us than the original missile shield programme.” 
Polish Radio announced that “Washington may ask Poland eventually to host SM-3 anti-ballistic missiles, currently being manufactured by Lockheed-Martin.” 
Nowak confirmed the information, saying: “We are familiar with the SM-3 system and the Americans have assured us that Poland is one of the countries where they want to place this system.” He also offered an ex post facto refutation of the American missile shield rationale by stating “We were never really threatened by a long-range missile attack from Iran.” 
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was even more blunt in a column she wrote for the Financial Times a few days before.
She reiterated comparable claims by President Obama and Defense Secretary Gates in writing, “We are enhancing our capacity to protect our interests and our allies. We are not walking away from our allies but are deploying a system that enhances allied security, advances our cooperation with NATO, and actually placing more resources in more countries.”
Clinton mentioned in particular American military commitments to fellow NATO states, especially Poland and the Czech Republic, and as Obama had done on September 17 invoked NATO’s Article 5 military assistance clause, fraught as it is with the prospect of nuclear confrontation and even war.
“An attack on London or Warsaw is an attack on New York or Washington. NATO demonstrated this commitment after the September 11 terrorist attacks.” 
Western media accounts over the past ten days have been replete with a steady refrain that Czechs and Poles feel “betrayed” by the new U.S. missile plans.
Such claims are easily enough refuted by surveys demonstrating that 70 percent of Czechs and 55 percent of Poles were opposed to the deployment of third position missile shield installations on their soil.
But to the West the only Czechs and Poles whose opinions are worth considering are U.S.-trained subordinates, like Poland’s Sikorski, at the beck and call of their masters in Washington and Brussels.
Residents of the Polish village of Redzikowo where the Pentagon was to place ten ground-based missiles were exuberant over the news that their homes might not be turned into ground zero in Europe’s first missile exchange.
“Mariusz Chmiel, head of the rural district that includes Redzikowo, was a long-time opponent of the shield who celebrated the US decision with champagne. ‘I was against this shield from the very beginning,’ Chmiel said. ‘I was very happy. It means our residents can continue to feel safe.’”
However, his sense of relief may prove short-lived as “Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said the US had assured Poland that armed Patriot missiles will still be located on Polish territory and will ‘likely’ be located in Redzikowo.” 
Matters are no better in the Czech Republic, which will also not be granted much of a reprieve. A local news source reminded its readers that “Clinton said on Friday the Czech Republic and Poland are major candidates for hosting new mobile anti-missiles that the United States plans to deploy in Europe instead of the originally planned bases.”
It added that “Czech Defence Minister Martin Bartak said after his talks with U.S. National Security Council chief James Jones on Friday that Prague will discuss with Washington participation in the new form of the anti-missile system by the year’s end.” 
National Security Adviser Jones, a retired four-star Marine general, was top military commander of NATO in Europe and the Pentagon’s European Command from 2003-2007 during the initial crafting of Star Wars plans for Eastern Europe.
Recently the Polish Gazeta Wyborcza, the same newspaper that broke the story on American plans to shift its missile shield deployments to the Balkans and the Middle East a month ago, cited Polish diplomatic officials in claiming “After the White House announced shelving a planned missile shield in Eastern Europe, Washington is planning to establish missile bases in Poland.” 
The same source wrote that “Andrzej Kremer, Poland’s deputy foreign minister, was due to travel to Washington on Monday to discuss the plan….Washington’s permanent Polish base is due to be established at Redzikowo, near the Baltic coast….” 
It is not only Russia’s northwest border that will be affected, though.
A Georgian website recently ran a feature called “Controversy: anti-missile systems in the Caucasus” which included:
“Although it has not yet been specified whether they [missile shield components] will be put somewhere in the Black Sea, Turkey or another country the Caucasus was directly mentioned as a possible site for these systems, the only possible location specifically given by [a] US official at a recent press conference on the subject….The Georgian administration has welcomed the US decision.” 
The deployment of U.S. interceptor missile shield installations in Georgia, on Russia’s southern border, would be exacerbated if, as an Armenian news sources claimed on September 24, “[T]he Pentagon is drafting an agreement with Georgia. Under the agreement the United States is to deploy two land force and one naval base in Georgia before 2015. The construction is to start in 2014, to be completed the following year. Thus, the Pentagon plans to deploy 25,000 troops in Georgia.” 
Last week a conference was held on Georgia’s neighbor to the east, Azerbaijan, in Washington, DC.
The Conference on Strategic Cooperation Between the U.S. and Azerbaijan: New Bilateral and Regional Criteria held in Washington included an address by David Kramer, former U.S. Undersecretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor and fellow of the German Marshall Fund, in which he spoke of the use of Azerbaijan’s “Gabala radar station for missile defense.” 
An Azerbaijani website published this report on September 22:
“The plan to scrap missile defence in Eastern Europe could shift the geostrategic balance of power in the Caucasus….[M]issile defence has not been scrapped, as critics claim. Indeed, missiles are still going to be deployed in Europe, as well as at sea, and will actually be deployed earlier than under the Bush-era plan.
“Georgia…hopes the hunt for more effective bases for missile defence may increase its importance.
“This is because the Caucasus has emerged as one of the most important possible locations for a revamped missile defence plan. Situated on a direct path between Iran and Europe, the region has been discussed as a possible host site for early-warning systems and missiles for years.” 
In a recent article, analyst Rakesh Krishnan Simha quoted Konstantin Sivkov, Vice President of the Moscow-based Academy of Geopolitical Problems, on the change in U.S. missile shield designs:
“By temporarily dropping its missile shield, the US is just trying to sell a dead cat for good money. But it’s not a breakthrough that gives the US and NATO the right to demand military and technical concessions from Russia. One of the new radars and naval missile components could be set up in the Caucasus, anyway. Georgia has already agreed to host the radar.” 
On September 22 A. Wess Mitchell, Director of Research at the Center for European Policy Analysis, was interviewed by the Trend News Agency of Azerbaijan about new U.S. missile shield intentions. “At present, the emphasis appears to be on the Balkans, Turkey and Israel.”
The news site quoted another expert stating “Concerning Israel, the US has already installed a powerful missile defense radar in the Negev desert, so it might be considered a possibility to transfer the defense shield to Israel” and, citing Ephraim Kam, Deputy Head of the Institute for National Security Studies of Israel, revealed that “The U.S. can deploy the MDS [Missile Defense Shield] in Israel, but it is a possibility not linked necessarily to the abandoning of its missile system deployment in Eastern Europe or Central Europe.” 
The Israeli daily Haaretz wrote on September 20 that the Israeli Defense Forces and the U.S. military were to include missile defense maneuvers in the course of their biennial Juniper Cobra war games next month. “[T]he drill is also part of U.S. President Barack Obama’s new missile defense plan, under which the Pentagon will initially deploy ships with missile interceptors instead of stationing missile defense systems in Eastern Europe….The report came shortly before Defense Minister Ehud Barak was to leave for the United States, where he was to meet with his counterpart, Robert Gates.” 
Another Israeli newspaper characterized the development like this:
“Israel and the US are preparing for an upcoming joint military exercise, dubbed Juniper Cobra – which will include the largest exercise yet between the IDF and the US Military’s European Command (EUCOM) and the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA).” 
A Washington Post article of last week entitled “Israel Finds Strength in Its Missile Defenses: Advanced System Could Alter Strategic Decisions in Region” offered more details on interceptor plans for the Middle East, ones underway long before Washington’s September 17 revelations.
“Israel and the United States [will conduct] a joint, biennial missile defense exercise, called Juniper Cobra, to work on integrating the weapons, radars and other systems of the two countries.
“Israel, for example, has the advanced U.S. X-Band radar stationed in the Negev desert. Israeli defense industry officials say the country also has almost real-time access to some U.S. satellite data, an important part of its early-warning system.” 
The Middle East, the Balkans, the South Caucasus and the Baltic Sea region aren’t alone in being intended sites for the expansion of American global missile shield deployments.
The Korea Times of September 22 confirmed that the plans are indeed international in reporting that “a local news report that the U.S. administration of President Barack Obama may ask South Korea to join the missile shield initiative despite its recent modification of the BMD [Ballistic Missile Defense] plan.
“The report cited a report written by the Missile Defense Agency affiliated with the U.S. Department of Defense, describing South Korea as one of the nations to potentially join the BMD effort.
“The report categorized South Korea, Bahrain, France, Germany, India, Qatar and some other nations as the ‘nations expressing interest in missile defense.’” 
For anyone hoping that the threat of unilateral actions by the West to make itself resistant to missile attacks, conventional and nuclear, while rendering the rest of the world defenseless and thus fair game for first strikes was diminishing, this report should clarify matters.
On September 25 NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) launched a rocket carrying two experimental missile-tracking satellites for the Missile Defense Agency.
Reports that the White House was effectively merging what is technically the civilian NASA with the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency for missile interception and space war purposes have circulated since the current American president’s election victory last November. The process now appears well underway.
A local Florida news source wrote beforehand of the launch that “If the satellites work, it would mean the U.S. would be able to launch dozens of similar satellites….” 
A Florida television station reported that the satellites are part of the Space Tracking and Surveillance System [STSS], “a $1.5 billion project” that “will be used by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency to test the ‘birth to death’ tracking of missiles from launch to re-entry.” 
Northrop Grumman’s STSS program manager, Gabe Watson, was quoted on the day of the launch claiming “We can track missiles in every stage of flight, from launch to intercept, and do hit assessment as well. If the MDA [Missile Defense Agency] wants to intercept missiles in the ascent phase, they will need additional data that [current missile warning satellites] don’t provide.” 
To tie together two threads in the U.S.’s new generation missile shield program, it was reported that “The STSS satellites follow NASA’s launch of another missile defense satellite – the STSS Advanced Technology Risk Reduction spacecraft – in early May.
“They may also play a role in two other tests with other defense systems such as the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system….” 
Former plans for interceptor missile facilities in Poland and the Czech Republic, employing as they were to have antiquated technology, have been superseded by new projects that will encompass broader regions of the world and will coordinate deployments on land, at sea, in the air and in space.
1) New York Times, September 19, 2009
2) Cited in Naval War College Review, Autumn 2007
3) Proliferation Security Initiative And U.S. 1,000-Ship Navy: Control
Of World’s Oceans, Prelude To War
Stop NATO, January 29, 2009
4) Voice of America News, September 22, 2009
5) Itar-Tass, September 20, 2009
6) Trend News Agency, September 21, 2009
7) Reuters, September 24, 2009
8) Courthouse News Service, September 24, 2009
10) U.S. Department of Defense, American Forces Press Service,
September 24, 2009
12) Courthouse News Service, September 24, 2009
13) Washington Post, September 25, 2009
15) Richard Rousseau, Why Obama Needs Missile Defences in Europe
Georgian Times, September 21, 2009
16) Russia Today, September 20, 2009
17) Reuters, May 23, 2007
18) Xinhua News Agency, September 18, 2009
19) Polish Radio, September 24, 2009
21) Reuters, September 24, 2009
22) Quoted by Radio Poland, September 21, 2009
23) Deutsche Presse-Agentur, September 18, 2009
24) Czech News Agency, September 20, 2009
25) Press TV, September 25, 2009
27) The Messenger, September 22, 2009
28) NEWS.am, September 24, 2009
29) Today.AZ, September 21, 2009
30) Alexander Jackson, The Missile Defence Shift: Implications for the
Caucasian Review of International Affairs/Azeri Press Agency,
September 22, 2009
31) Rakesh Krishnan Simha, Missile Impossible: How the Russians View
America’s AMD Backdown
OpEd News, September 23, 2009
32) Trend News Agency, September 22, 2009
33) Haaretz, September 20, 2009
34) Jerusalem Post, September 7, 2009
35) Washington Post, September 19, 2009
36) Korea Times, September 22, 2009
37) WESH.com, September 23, 2009
38) Central Florida News 13, September 23, 2009
39) SPACE.com, September 25, 2009
September 24, 2009
U.S., NATO Poised For Most Massive War In Afghanistan’s History
Over the past week U.S. newspapers and television networks have been abuzz with reports that Washington and its NATO allies are planning an unprecedented increase of troops for the war in Afghanistan, even in addition to the 17,000 new American and several thousand NATO forces that have been committed to the war so far this year.
The number, based on as yet unsubstantiated reports of what U.S. and NATO commander Stanley McChrystal and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen have demanded of the White House, range from 10,000 to 45,000.
Fox News has cited figures as high as 45,000 more American soldiers and ABC News as many as 40,000. On September 15 the Christian Science Monitor wrote of “perhaps as many as 45,000.”
The similarity of the estimates indicate that a number has been agreed upon and America’s obedient media is preparing domestic audiences for the possibility of the largest escalation of foreign armed forces in Afghanistan’s history. Only seven years ago the United States had 5,000 troops in the country, but was scheduled to have 68,000 by December even before the reports of new deployments surfaced.
An additional 45,000 troops would bring the U.S. total to 113,000. There are also 35,000 troops from some 50 other nations serving under NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in the nation, which would raise combined troop strength under McChrystal’s command to 148,000 if the larger number of rumored increases materializes.
As the former Soviet Union withdrew its soldiers from Afghanistan twenty years ago the New York Times reported “At the height of the Soviet commitment, according to Western intelligence estimates, there were 115,000 troops deployed.” 
Nearly 150,000 U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan would represent the largest foreign military presence ever in the land.
Rather than addressing this historic watershed, the American media is full of innuendos and “privileged” speculation on who has leaked the information and why, as to commercial news operations the tawdry world of Byzantine intrigues among and between American politicians, generals and the Fourth Estate is of more importance that the lengthiest and largest war in the world.
One that has been estimated by the chief of the British armed forces and other leading Western officials to last decades and that has already been extended into Pakistan, a nation with a population almost six times that of Afghanistan and in possession of nuclear weapons.
Two weeks ago the Dutch media reported that during a visit to the Netherlands “General Stanley McChrystal [said] he is considering the possibility of merging…Operation Enduring Freedom with NATO’s ISAF force.”  That is, not only would he continue to command all U.S. and NATO troops, but the two commands would be melded into one.
The call for up to 45,000 more American troops was first adumbrated in mid-September by U.S. armed forces chief Michael Mullen, with the Associated Press stating “The top U.S. military officer says that winning in Afghanistan will probably mean sending more troops.” 
Four days later, September 19, Reuters reported that “The commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan has drawn up a long-awaited and detailed request for additional troops but has not yet sent it to Washington, a spokesman said on Saturday.
“He said General Stanley McChrystal completed the document this week, setting out exactly how many U.S. and NATO troops, Afghan security force members and
civilians he thinks he needs.” 
The Pentagon spokesman mentioned above, Lieutenant-Colonel Tadd Sholtis, said, “We’re working with Washington as well as the other NATO participants about how it’s best to submit this,” refusing to divulge any details. 
Two days later the Washington Post published a 66-page “redacted” version of General McChrystal’s Commander’s Initial Assessment which began with this background information:
“On 26 June, 2009, the United States Secretary of Defense directed Commander, United States Central Command (CDRUSCENTCOM), to provide a multidisciplinary assessment of the situation in Afghanistan. On 02 July, 2009, Commander, NATO International Security Assistance Force (COMISAF) / U.S. Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A), received direction from CDRUSCENTCOM to complete the overall review.
“On 01 July, 2009, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe and NATO Secretary General also issued a similar directive.
“COMISAF [Commander, NATO International Security Assistance Force] subsequently issued an order to the ISAF staff and component commands to conduct a comprehensive review to assess the overall situation, review plans and ongoing efforts, and identify revisions to operational, tactical and strategic guidance.”
The main focus of the report, not surprising given McChrystal’s previous role as head of the Joint Special Operations Command, the Pentagon’s preeminent special operations unit, in Iraq, is concentrated and intensified counterinsurgency war.
It includes the demand that “NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) requires a new strategy….This new strategy must also be properly resourced and executed through an integrated civilian-military counterinsurgency campaign….This is a different kind of fight. We must conduct classic counterinsurgency operations in an environment that is uniquely complex….Success demands a comprehensive counterinsurgency (COIN) campaign.”
McChrystal’s evaluation also indicates that the war will not only escalate within Afghanistan but will also be stepped up inside Pakistan and may even target Iran.
“Afghanistan’s insurgency is clearly supported from Pakistan. Senior leaders of the major Afghan insurgent groups are based in Pakistan, are linked with al Qaeda and other violent extremist groups, and are reportedly aided by some elements of Pakistan’s ISI [Inter-Services Intelligence].
“Iranian Qods Force [part of the nation's army] is reportedly training fighters for certain Taliban groups and providing other forms of military assistance to insurgents. Iran’s current policies and actions do not pose a short-term threat to the mission, but Iran has the capability to threaten the mission in the future.”
That the ISI has had links to armed extremists is no revelation. The Pentagon and the CIA worked hand-in-glove with it from 1979 onward to subvert successive governments in Afghanistan. That Iran is “training fighters for certain Taliban groups” is a provocational fabrication.
As to who is responsible for the thirty-year disaster that is Afghanistan, McChrystal’s assessment contains a sentence that may get past most readers. It is this:
“The major insurgent groups in order of their threat to the mission are: the Quetta Shura Taliban (05T), the Haqqani Network (HQN), and the Hezb-e Islami Gulbuddin (HiG).”
The last-named is the guerrilla force of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the largest recipient of hundreds of millions (perhaps billions) of U.S. dollars provided by the CIA to the Peshawar Seven Mujahideen bloc fighting the Soviet-backed government of Afghanistan from 1978-1992.
Throughout the 1980s the CIA official in large part tasked to assist the Mujahideen with funds, arms and training was Robert Gates, now U.S. Secretary of Defense.
Last December BBC News reported:
“In his book, From the Shadows, published in 1996, Mr Gates defended the role of the CIA in undertaking covert action which, he argued, helped to win the Cold War.
“In a speech in 1999, Mr Gates said that its most important role was in Afghanistan.
“‘CIA had important successes in covert action. Perhaps the most consequential of all was Afghanistan where CIA, with its management, funnelled billions of dollars in supplies and weapons to the mujahideen, and the resistance was thus able to fight the vaunted Soviet army to a standoff and eventually force a political decision to withdraw,’ he said.” 
Now according to McChrystal the same Gulbuddin Hekmatyar who was cultivated and sponsored by McChrystal’s current boss, Gates, is in charge of one of the three groups the Pentagon and NATO are waging ever-escalating counterinsurgency operations in South Asia against.
To make matters even more intriguing, former British foreign secretary Robin Cook – as loyal a pro-American Atlanticist as exists – conceded in the Guardian on July 8, 2005 that “Bin Laden was…a product of a monumental miscalculation by western security agencies. Throughout the 80s he was armed by the CIA and funded by the Saudis to wage jihad against the Russian occupation of Afghanistan. Al-Qaida, literally ‘the database’, was originally the computer file of the thousands of mujahideen who were recruited and trained with help from the CIA to defeat the Russians.”
Russian analyst and vice president of the Center for Political Technologies Sergey Mikheev was quoted in early September as contending that “Afghanistan is a stage in the division of the world after the bipolar system failed. They [U.S. and NATO] wanted to consolidate their grip on Eurasia…and deployed a lot of troops there. The Taliban card was played, although nobody had been interested in the Taliban before.” 
Pentagon chief Gates’ 27 years in the CIA, including his tenure as director of the agency from 1991-1993, is being brought to bear on the Afghan war according to the Los Angeles Times of September 19, 2009, which revealed that “The CIA is deploying teams of spies, analysts and paramilitary operatives to Afghanistan, part of a broad intelligence ‘surge’ that will make its station there among the largest in the agency’s history, U.S. officials say.
“When complete, the CIA’s presence in the country is expected to rival the size of its massive stations in Iraq and Vietnam at the height of those wars. Precise numbers are classified, but one U.S. official said the agency already has nearly 700 employees in Afghanistan.
“The intelligence expansion goes beyond the CIA to involve every major spy service, officials said, including the National Security Agency, which intercepts calls and e-mails, as well as the Defense Intelligence Agency, which tracks military threats.”
U.S. and NATO Commander McChrystal will put the CIA to immediate use in his plans for an all-out counterinsurgency campaign. The Los Angeles Times article added:
“McChrystal is expected to expand the use of teams that combine CIA operatives with special operations soldiers. In Iraq, where he oversaw the special operations forces from 2003 to 2008, McChrystal used such teams to speed up the cycle of gathering intelligence and carrying out raids aimed at killing or capturing insurgents.
“The CIA is also carrying out an escalating campaign of unmanned Predator missile strikes on Al Qaeda and insurgent strongholds in Pakistan. The number of strikes so far this year, 37, already exceeds the 2008 total, according to data compiled by the Long War Journal website, which tracks Predator strikes in Pakistan.”
Indeed, on September 13 it was reported that “Two NATO fighter jets reportedly flew inside Pakistan’s airspace for nearly two hours on Saturday.
“The airspace violation took place in different parts of the Khyber Agency bordering the Afghan border.” 
Two days later “NATO fighter jets in Afghanistan…violated Pakistani airspace and dropped bombs on the country’s northwest region.
“NATO warplanes bombed the South Waziristan tribal region….Moreover, CIA operated spy drone planes continued low-altitude flights in several towns of the Waziristan region.” 
The dramatic upsurge in CIA deployments in South Asia won’t be limited to Afghanistan. Neighboring Pakistan will be further overrun by U.S. intelligence operatives also.
On September 12 a petition was filed in the Supreme Court of Pakistan contesting the announced expansion of the U.S. embassy in the nation’s capital.
“Pakistani media have been reporting that the United States plans to deploy a large number of marines with the plan to expand its embassy in Islamabad.” 
The challenge was organized by Barrister Zafarullah Khan, who “said that Saudi Arabia was also trying to get 700,000 acres (283,400 hectares) of land in the country.”
He was quoted on the day of the presentation of the petition as warning “Giving away Pakistani land to U.S. and Arab countries in this fashion is a threat for the stability and sovereignty of the country” and “further added that the purpose of giving the land to U.S. embassy was to establish an American military base…there.
“He maintained that such a big land was enough even to construct a military airport.” 
Intelligence personnel and special forces are being matched by military equipment in the intensification of the West’s war in South Asia.
On September 10 Reuters revealed in an article titled “U.S. eyes military equipment in Iraq for Pakistan” that “The Pentagon has proposed transferring U.S. military equipment from Iraq to Pakistani security forces to help Islamabad step up its offensive against the Taliban….”
A U.S. armed forces publication a few days afterward wrote that “U.S. hardware is moving out of Iraq by the ton, much of it going straight to the overstretched forces in increasingly volatile Afghanistan” and “The U.S. military has already started moving an estimated 1.5 million pieces of equipment – everything from batteries to tanks – by ground, rail and air either to Afghanistan for immediate use….” 
In the middle of this month “U.S. military leaders infused Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s ideas of how to win the war in Afghanistan” by conducting a large-scale counterinsurgency exercise in Grafenwoehr, Germany.
“Dozens of Pashtun speakers joined more than 6,500 U.S. troops and civilians in an exercise for the Afghanistan-bound 173rd Airborne Brigade and Iraq-bound 12th Combat Aviation Brigade. It was the largest such exercise ever held by the U.S. military outside of the United States….” 
The Pentagon and NATO have their work cut out for them.
“A security map by the London-based International Council on Security and Development (ICOS) showed a deepening security crisis with substantial Taliban activity in at least 97 percent of the war-ravaged country.
“The Council added that the militants now have a permanent presence in 80 percent of the country.” 
The United States is not alone in sinking deeper into the Afghan morass.
On September 14 U.S. ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder, in celebrating the “resilience and deep-seated support from our allies for what is happening in Afghanistan,” was equally enthusiastic in proclaiming “Over 40 percent of the body bags that leave Afghanistan do not go to the U.S. They go to other countries….” 
Daalder also gave the lie to earlier claims that NATO troop increases leading up to last month’s presidential election were temporary in nature by acknowledging that “Many of the extra troops that NATO countries sent to Afghanistan for the August presidential elections would stay on.” 
Leading up to the Washington Post’s publication of the McChrystal assessment, NATO’s Military Committee held a two-day conference in Lisbon, Portugal which was attended by McChrystal and NATO’s two Strategic Commanders, Admiral James Stavridis (Supreme Allied Commander Europe) and General Stéphane Abrial (Supreme Allied Commander Transformation) which “focused mainly on the operation in Afghanistan and on the New Strategic Concept.” 
The 28 NATO defense chiefs present laid a wreath to the Alliance’s first war dead, those killed in Afghanistan.
Earlier this month the Washington Post reported that “The U.S. military and NATO are launching a major overhaul of the way they recruit, train and equip Afghanistan’s security forces,” an announcement that came “in advance of expected recommendations by Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal.” 
The article quoted Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee:
“We’re going to need many more trainers, hopefully including a much larger number of NATO trainers. We’re going to need a surge of equipment that is coming out of Iraq and, instead of coming home, a great deal of it should be going to Afghanistan instead.” 
According to the same report, this month NATO “will establish a new command led by a three-star military officer to oversee recruiting and generating Afghan forces.
“The goal is to ‘bring more coherence’ to uncoordinated efforts by NATO contingents in Afghanistan while underscoring that the mission ‘is not just
America’s challenge’…” 
Contributing to its quota of body bags, NATO has experienced losses in Afghanistan that have reached record levels. “According to the icasualties website, 363 foreign soldiers have died in Afghanistan so far this year, compared to 294 for all of 2008.” 
In September Britain has lost its 216th soldier in the nearly eight-year war. Canada lost its 131st. Denmark its 25th. Italy its 20th. Poland, where a recent poll showed 81 percent support for immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan, its 12th.
Russian ambassador to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov, who had been in the nation in the 1980s, was cited by Associated Press on September 12 as saying that in 2002 the U.S. had 5,000 troops in the nation and “Taliban controlled just a small corner of the country’s southeast.”
“Now we have Taliban fighting in the peaceful Kunduz and Baghlan (provinces) with your (NATO’s) 100,000 troops. And if this trend is the rule, if you bring 200,000 soldiers here, all of Afghanistan will be under the Taliban.”
Associated Press also cited Kabulov’s concern that “the U.S. and its allies are competing with Russia for influence in the energy-rich region….Afghanistan remains a strategic prize because of its location near the gas and oil fields of Iran, the Caspian Sea, Central Asia and the Persian Gulf.”
He also said “Russia has questions about NATO’s intentions in Afghanistan, which…lies outside of the alliance’s ‘political domain’” and “Moscow is concerned that NATO is building permanent bases in the region.”
The concerns are legitimate in light of this month’s latest quadrennial report by the Pentagon on security threats which “put emerging superpower China and former Cold War foe Russia alongside Iran and North Korea on a list of the four main nations challenging American interests.” 
At the same time a U.S. military newspaper reported on statements by Pentagon chief Robert Gates:
“Gates said the roughly $6.5 billion he has proposed to upgrade the [Air Force] fleet assures U.S. domination of the skies for decades.
“By the time China produces its first – 5th generation – fighter, he said, the U.S. will have more than 1,000 F-22s and F-35s. And while the U.S. conducted 35,000 refueling missions last year, Russia performed about 30.
“The secretary also highlighted new efforts to support robust space and cyber commands, as well as the new Global Strike Command that oversees the nuclear
To add to Russian and Chinese apprehensions about NATO’s role in South and Central Asia, ten days ago the U.S. ambassador to Kazakhstan, which borders Russia and China, “offered to Kazakhstan to take part in the peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan.”
At the opening ceremony of the NATO Steppe Eagle-2009 military exercises in that nation Richard Hoagland said “Kazakhstan may again become part of the international NATO peacekeeping force in Afghanistan.” 
Radio Free Europe reported on September 16 that NATO was to sign new agreements with Kyrgyzstan, which also borders China, for the use of the Manas Air Base that as many as 200,000 U.S. and NATO troops have passed through since the beginning of the Afghan war.
On the same day NATO’ plans for expanding transit routes through the South Caucasus and the Caspian Sea region were described. “[T]he air corridor through Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan is the most feasible.
“This route will be best suited if ISAF transport planes fly directly to Baku from Turkey or any other NATO member….Moreover, it [Azerbaijan] is not a CSTO [Collective Security Treaty Organization] member, which allows Azerbaijan more freedom for maneuver in the region when dealing with NATO.” 
Just as troops serving under NATO command in the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan now include those from almost fifty countries on five continents, so the broadening scope of the war is absorbing vaster tracts of Eurasia and the Middle East.
America’s longest armed conflict since that in Indochina and NATO’s first ground war threatens to not only remain the world’s most dangerous conflagration but also one that plunges the 21st Century into a war without end.
1) New York Times, February 16, 1989
2) Radio Netherlands, September 12, 2009
3) Associated Press, September 15, 2009
4) Reuters, September 19, 2009
6) BBC News, December 1, 2008
7) Russia Today, September 7, 2009
8) Asian News International, September 13, 2009
9) Press TV, September 15, 2009
10) Xinhua News, September 12, 2009
12) Stars and Stripes, September 19, 2009
13) Stars and Stripes, September 13, 2009
14) Trend News Agency, September 11, 2009
15) Reuters, September 14, 2009
17) NATO, September 20, 2009
18) Washington Post, September 12, 2009
21) Agence France-Presse, September 22, 2009
22) Agence France-Presse, September 15, 2009
23) Stars and Stripes, September 16, 2009
24) Interfax, September 14, 2009
25) Jamestown Foundation, Eurasia Daily Monitor, September 16, 2009
September 22, 2009
West Using Its Military Might To Control World Energy Resources:
Pentagon’s Global Mission To Secure Oil And Gas Supplies
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s 2009 Year Book documented that international military expenditures for 2008 reached $1.464 trillion. The denomination in dollars is germane as the United States accounted for 41.5 percent of the world total.
Earlier this month the Congressional Research Service in the U.S. reported that American weapons sales abroad reached $37.8 billion, or 68.4 percent of all global arms transactions. The next largest weapons supplier was Italy at $3.7 billion, less than one-tenth the U.S. amount. Russia was third at $3.5 billion. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, however, asserted that Germany had superseded Britain and France and become the world’s third largest weapons exporter.
Western nations in general and the U.S. overwhelmingly among them dominate the global arms market.
21st century weaponry is daily more technologically advanced, more linked with computer networks and satellite communications, and progressively approaching a blurring of conventional and strategic, terrestrial and space-based capabilities.
And in the U.S. and allied nations the notion of so-called preemptive warfare has advanced precariously to include cyber and satellite attacks that can cripple a targeted nation’s communications, control and air defense centers, thus rendering it both helpless and toothless: Not able to fend off attacks and unable to retaliate against or even forestall them with a secure deterrent force.
The vast preponderance of American and other NATO states’ arms are sold to nations neither in North America and Europe nor on their peripheries.
They are sold to nations like Saudi Arabia, India, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Australia, Egypt, Taiwan, South Korea, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Colombia, Kuwait, the Philippines, Morocco and other Western client states and military outposts far removed from the much-vaunted Euro-Atlantic space.
The weapons along with the military technicians, trainers and advisers that inevitably accompany them are spread throughout nations in geostrategically vital areas of the world, near large oil and natural gas reserves and astride key shipping lanes and choke points. In many instances Western-fueled arms buildups are accelerating in nations bordering Russia, China, Iran and Venezuela. Geopolitics in its most transparent, cynical and brutal manifestation.
The growing sales of Western arms in the Persian Gulf, the South Caucasus, South America (Chile and Colombia most pronouncedly), Africa, Far East Asia and the South Pacific (Australia in the first instance) are an integral element of American and general Western plans to gain access to and domination over world energy resources.
The campaign is not limited to efforts to muscle into nations and regions rich in oil and natural gas (and uranium), nor to employing fair means or foul, peaceful or otherwise, to seize the commanding heights of the international energy market.
The overarching objective is to control the ownership, transport and consumption of energy worldwide. To determine who receives oil and natural gas, through which routes and at which prices. And to dictate what the political and military quid pro quo will be for being invited to join a U.S.-dominated international energy transportation and accessibility network.
Those who are allowed to exploit, sell and transit hydrocarbons to the Western and ultimately world market are levied for a handsome share of their energy-derived revenues for unprecedented acquisition of arms and for the stationing of U.S. and other NATO states’ military forces on their soil. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Azerbaijan and Georgia are salient examples. The last two-named nations have increased their military budgets by well over 1,000 percent in the first case and by over 3,000 percent in the second in the span of a few years.
A United Press International report of August 25, 2009 estimated that Middle Eastern nations would purchase $100 billion worth of arms over the next five years, with the lion’s share going to the oil-rich Western client states of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Iraq.
There are six major areas in the world that the United States and its allies have targeted in history’s largest scramble for hydrocarbons and, it’s important to remember, against a recent backdrop of diminishing energy consumption, plunging prices and both the discovery and presumption of oil and natural gas reserves hitherto unexploited.
They are the Persian Gulf, the southern rim of the Caribbean Basin, the Gulf of Guinea off the coast of Western Africa, the Caspian Sea, the Arctic Circle, and the Antarctic Ocean and adjoining parts of the South Atlantic Ocean.
The first two were the private preserves of Washington and Western Europe until the Iranian revolution of 1979 in the first example and in the second the election of Hugo Chavez as president of Venezuela in 1998 and subsequent developments in that country and in nearby Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua and El Salvador.
South American oil and gas are no longer available to Washington on its own terms. Though Venezuelan and Ecuadoran officials have voiced the suspicion that the U.S. has recently acquired the use of seven new military bases in neighboring Colombia in part to seize the region’s energy resources.
The U.S. belatedly compensated for the loss of Iran after the overthrow of its proxy, Shah Reza Pahlavi, thirty years ago by invading neighboring Iraq in 2003.
The announcement of the Carter Doctrine in January of 1980, which bluntly affirmed that the U.S. would wage war for control of Persian Gulf energy resources and by extension those in other parts of the world, codified then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s threat five years earlier to go to war over oil after the Arab petroleum boycott of 1973-1974.
President Carter’s State of the Union address in 1980 included the following comments:
“This situation demands careful thought, steady nerves, and resolute action, not only for this year but for many years to come. It demands collective efforts to meet this new threat to security in the Persian Gulf and in Southwest Asia. It demands the participation of all those who rely on oil from the Middle East….Let our position be absolutely clear: An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.”
The reference to an outside force at the time was the Soviet Union, much nearer the Persian Gulf than the United States. It was later used against a nation in the Gulf, Iraq in 1991, and now is aimed at Iran, another Persian Gulf country.
With the breakup of the Soviet Union in the same year that the U.S. and its NATO and Gulf allies first applied the Carter Doctrine, 1991, areas that for several decades had been off-limits to the West now became open frontiers for a new oil rush. The Black Sea and Caspian Sea regions most immediately.
The Gulf of Guinea, where America is planning to soon import 25 percent of all its oil – high-grade crude shipped straight across the Atlantic Ocean on tankers – is the center of plans going back to the beginning of this century for what is now Africa Command (AFRICOM), the U.S.’s first new regional command since Central Command (CENTCOM), which itself was set up in 1983 as an upgrade of the Carter administration’s Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force in the Middle East, and the NATO Response Force.
In addition to securing West African oil, U.S. and NATO military expansion in the region also aims at denying it to nations like China and Russia. The practice of acquiring oil wells abroad and of denying them to competitors played no small role in triggering the two world wars of the last century.
The Arctic oil and natural gas bonanza is arguably among the main world developments of the new millennium and an analogous situation obtains in the Antarctic and South Atlantic Oceans.
Three news reports of the past week, one American and two Russian, provide an idea of the magnitude of what is at stake.
On September 17 United Press International ran a feature called “Amid Africa’s oil boom, U.S. binds ties” which included these observations:
“Potentially major oil strikes announced by an American-led consortium and a British company in West Africa have bolstered the region’s reputation as the world’s hottest energy zone.
“It has also become the focus of the U.S. military’s global mission to protect America’s energy supplies….”
The “U.S. military’s global mission to protect America’s energy supplies” is a phrase that warrants being pondered deliberately and within historical perspective. Even the bellicose brusqueness of Kissinger’s war-for-oil advocacy and the Carter Doctrine pale in comparison to the strategic scope of what is now underway.
The same article added these details, pertaining to both ends of the African continent:
“The Texas-based Anadarko Petroleum Corp. said Wednesday its deepwater Venus 1B well off the coast of Sierra Leone had hit paydirt and formed one of two ‘bookends’ 700 miles apart across two prospective basins that extend into waters controlled by Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana.
“These could each contain 150 million to 1 billion barrels of oil, according to Anadarko’s CEO Al Walker.
“One of Anadarko’s consortium partners, Tullow Oil of Britain, which has a vast array of licenses in Africa, recently announced a new potentially important discovery in its Ngassa field in Uganda.”
The United Press International report sums up the situation in a single effective sentence: “In the scramble for new oil reserves as the planet’s older fields become depleted, the U.S. military has become a predominant force in U.S.-African relations.”
A billion barrels of oil is not an insignificant figure, yet far more is being fought over in an area where there is a serious rival with one of the world’s two major nuclear arsenals and strategic nuclear triads.
The Voice of Russia on September 15 revealed that “British Petroleum, Europe’s second largest oil company, estimates that the Arctic Ocean may hold around 200 billion barrels of oil resources, about a half of the world’s prospective hydrocarbons. This is the main reason behind a sharp surge of interest in the Arctic ‘oil pie.’”
According to a recent estimate by the Oil and Gas Journal, the world’s largest petroleum exporter, Saudi Arabia, possesses approximately 267 billion barrels of proven oil reserves. The Arctic Ocean, whose reserves have yet to be explored in any thorough manner, may be home to even more.
In May the U.S. Geological Survey released the results of a study on the Arctic which estimated that 30 percent of the world’s undiscovered natural gas reserves and 13 percent of its oil may be in the Arctic Circle.
If the British Petroleum figure cited above is closer to the truth, the U.S. Geological Survey estimate is woefully conservative.
With the melting of the Arctic polar ice cap and the navigability of the Northwest Passage for the first time in recorded history opening up the area for energy exploitation, the U.S. released National Security Presidential Directive 66 on January 12, 2009, which contained these claims:
“The United States has broad and fundamental national security interests in the Arctic region and is prepared to operate either independently or in conjunction with other states to safeguard these interests. These interests include such matters as missile defense and early warning; deployment of sea and air systems for strategic sealift, strategic deterrence, maritime presence, and maritime security operations; and ensuring freedom of navigation and overflight.”
Sixteen days later NATO abruptly convened a two-day Seminar on Security Prospects in the High North in Iceland and then Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer’s comments included:
“[T]he High North is going to require even more of the Alliance’s attention in the coming years.
“As the ice-cap decreases, the possibility increases of extracting the High North’s mineral wealth and energy deposits.
“At our Summit in Bucharest last year, we agreed a number of guiding principles for NATO’s role in energy security….”
Alluding to the fact that of the five formal claimants to Arctic territory – Russia, the United States, Canada, Denmark and Norway – only the first is not a member of the bloc, Scheffer said, “NATO provides a forum where four of the Arctic coastal states can inform, discuss, and share, any concerns that they may have. And this leads me directly onto the next issue, which is military activity in the region.
“Clearly, the High North is a region that is of strategic interest to the Alliance.”
On September 16 the Voice of Russia featured an article on Antarctica which reported that “British geologists have discovered a wide array of oil and gas fields in the Falkland Islands….Edinburgh-based British Geological Survey Agency…experts insisted that as much as 60 billion barrels may be recoverable on the shelf. If these estimates prove right that may well rival the world’s oil-rich nations, not least Libya and Nigeria.
“The late 1970s saw breaking news about a spate of lucrative oil and gas fields in the Falkland Islands – deposits that experts insisted were 13 times as much as those in the North Sea at the time.
“Many believe that the 1982 war between Britain and Argentina with almost 1,000 servicemen killed in the hostilities was all about oil and gas fields in the South Atlantic.”
On May 11 of this year Britain submitted a claim to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf for one million square kilometers in the South Atlantic reaching into the Antarctic Ocean.
As early as October 23, 2007 The Scotsman reported that “the value of the oil under the sea in the region is understood to be immense. Seismic tests suggest there could be about 60 billion barrels of oil under the ocean floor.”
Britain is two hemispheres, the west and south, away from the Falklands/Malvinas Islands, which lie off the southeastern coast of Argentina.
The Russia source quoted earlier warned:
“Given London’s unwillingness to try to arrive at a political accommodation with Buenos Aires, a UN special commission will surely have tougher times ahead as far as its final decision on the continental shelf goes. And it is only to be hoped that Britain will be wise enough not to turn the Falkland Islands into another regional hot spot.”
In April of last year the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, through some combination of select compliance and procedural negligence if not complicity, granted Australia – Britain’s, the U.S.’s and increasingly NATO’s main outpost in the South Pacific – 2.5 million more square kilometers in the Antarctic Ocean so that the nation’s territory, in the words of Resources Minister Martin Ferguson as quoted by Agence France-Presse on April 21, 2008, “expanded by an area five times the size of France,” which could “potentially provide a ‘bonanza’ in underwater oil and gas reserves.”
The expansion of Australia’s seabed borders included the Kerguelen Plateau around the Heard and McDonald Islands, which extend southwards into Antarctica. As such Australia became the first nation to be granted exclusive property rights in the ocean.
In the Caspian Sea Basin and its neighborhood, which takes in the Afghanistan-Pakistan war theater and the turbulent and explosive Caucasus, Azerbaijan last week marked the fifteenth anniversary of what was called the Contract of the Century in 1994, engineered by the United States and Britain to open up the Caspian region to Western energy companies.
In the interim several oil and natural gas transit projects – the Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan oil and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum and Nabucco natural gas pipelines – have been launched.
The intent of all of them is to prevent Iran from exporting hydrocarbons to Europe and to expel Russia entirely from its previous contracts to provide Europe with natural gas and Caspian oil. Russia currently supplies the European Union with 30 percent of its gas, but the West – the U.S. and its EU allies – is well on its way to replacing Russian oil and gas with supplies from Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan via Azerbaijan and from Iraq and North Africa through Turkey where all of the three pipelines mentioned above end.
Plans for what has accurately been called a Peace Pipeline from Iran through Pakistan and to India and China were heavy-handedly quashed by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her successor.
Caspian energy supplies are only to flow west to Europe and east to Asia by routes under Western control if the U.S. and its partners have their way.
The Trend News Agency of Azerbaijan on September 16 reproduced parts of a letter from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose husband had begun the process with the Contract of the Century, to President Ilham Aliyev from which the following is excerpted:
“The development of the Azeri-Chiraq-Gunashli offshore oilfields, and the
subsequent formation of the Azerbaijan International Operating Company (AIOC), was a landmark event in international oil and gas development, as well as a great success for international energy diplomacy.
“Promotion of international energy security remains critical for the Eurasia region. In this regard, the July 13 signing of the Nabucco inter-governmental agreement was a major milestone in our joint efforts to open the Southern Corridor, which will bring Caspian gas to Europe.
“We hope that Azerbaijan, Turkey, and other interested countries will be able to build on this momentum and agree on those remaining issues needed to make the southern corridor [Nabucco] a reality.
“Azerbaijan is on the threshold of a new and even more promising phase of energy development, and we look forward to continuing to work with you and other leaders in the region to develop new oil and gas resources and new routes to bring those resources to market.”
New routes mean any other than Russian ones.
The Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan oil pipeline is to branch out through Ukraine – where the reverse flow of Russian oil has been cut off – and from there to Poland and the Baltic Sea city of Gdansk.
The Russian South Stream project to transport natural gas from Russia to Greece and the Balkans and then to Central Europe is being undermined by the Nabucco pipeline. The Nord Stream pipeline planned to deliver Russian gas to Germany through the Baltic Sea is also under assault, with pro-Western figures in Poland, the Baltic States and Finland accusing it of being a security and even a military threat.
Never before in history have all parts of the world been so intensely fought over simultaneously as they are currently.
Nothing less than uncontested, irreversible global domination is what is being sought by the West – the United States and its NATO, Asia-Pacific and Middle Eastern allies and clients.
Possession of energy supplies and control of their destinations and transit routes are an essential part of that strategy and will be enforced through a military machine that has penetrated most of the world and is still expanding.
September 19, 2009
Black Sea, Caucasus: U.S. Moves Missile Shield South And East
Since the surprise news from the White House and the Pentagon on September 17 that the United States was relinquishing plans to deploy ground-based interceptor missiles to Poland and a missile radar installation to the Czech Republic speculation has been rife on two scores.
First, was this move a sincere effort to “reset” relations with Russia, possibly part of a trade-off for Russian transit and logistical support for the American and NATO war in South Asia and for Moscow agreeing to tougher measures – sanctions at any rate – against Iran?
Deutsche Welle ran a feature shortly after U.S. President Barack Obama’s and Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ announcements on Thursday which included an interview with Dr. Karl-Heinz Kamp, the research director at the NATO Defense College in Rome, in which he described the seeming U.S. about-face as follows:
“This is not a withdrawal from the idea of missile defense…as the US even has a law that obliges each president to pursue missile defense as long as the technical capabilities exist and the US can absorb the bearable costs.” 
In expressing a suspicion that many of his readers must have shared concerning simultaneous American claims that Iranian missile capabilities were less and not more developed than reported earlier and that the nation yet represented a growing threat, Kamp added:
“This decision will be very hard for some to understand. On the one hand, you have the Obama administration saying that Iran is not as much of a threat as before, and therefore there is no need for the defense shield. On the other, the official White House line is that Iran is still actively pursuing its nuclear program and is not willing to abandon this….[T]he US hopes that by removing the shield, it can persuade Russia to take a stronger anti-Iran stance. But there are risks here. No one is sure that Russia will respond by supporting US pressure on Iran and secondly, whether Iran would take any notice even if it did.” 
The conclusion one has to draw is the simple truth – that Iran never presented a threat of launching long-range missiles at the United States, Washington’s rationale for the Polish and Czech deployments.
Yet President Obama began his statement on Thursday by endorsing George W. Bush’s characterization of Iran as the very danger that supposedly necessitated the third position missile shield deployments in Poland and the Czech Republic negotiated by the Bush administration while he, Obama, went on to abrogate those very agreements.
The second question that began to surface after Obama’s and Gates’ comments was one to the effect of “And now what trick does Washington have up its sleeve?”
The first issue is the easier to contend with: Either the U.S. was compelled to – backhandedly – admit the falsity of its Iranian threat claim or it still intends to escalate pressure against Iran, including direct military measures.
The latter is closer to the truth and leads quickly to the second issue. What is Washington planning to do with the western flank of its global interceptor missile system?
Pentagon chief Gates immediately revealed part of the new picture in prefacing his comments with “Those who say we are scrapping missile defense in Europe are either misinformed or misrepresenting the reality of what we are doing.” He then laid out a three-phase strategy which included:
1. Deploying advanced sensors and interceptor missiles in both northern and southern Europe. Gates didn’t specify which nations would host them, but Scandinavian and Balkans states seem likely candidates. The stationing of missile surveillance facilities and interceptor missiles on both ends of the European continent would represent a qualitative escalation of his earlier plans for ten missiles in Poland and one X-band radar in the Czech Republic even if the missiles in question are of shorter range.
2. Enhanced use of Aegis class warships with SM-3 (Standard Missile-3) interceptor missiles which the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has in recent months advanced considerably. Next month the MDA plans the first test of an SM-3 against a ballistic missile.
Reports are that the Pentagon is to begin the deployment of missile-killing warships in the Mediterranean and North Seas. The Norwegian, Barents, Baltic and Black Seas may not be far behind.
3) The adaptation of SM-3s for ground use. In Gates’ words, “fielded, upgraded, land-based SM-3s.” He mentioned that the Czech Republic and Poland were possible sites for such deployments.
A major Polish daily newspaper revealed late last month that possible locations for U.S. missile shield components would be Israel, Turkey and the Balkans.
Associated Press on September 18 delivered a confirmation of the Polish report by linking it with the previous day’s development in two successive sentences:
“Turkey’s military says it is planning to spend $1 billion (euro680 million) on four long-range missile defense systems.
“Friday’s announcement comes a day after U.S. President Barack Obama canceled a long-planned missile shield for Eastern Europe, replacing a Bush-era project that was opposed by Russia with a plan he contended would better defend against Iranian missiles.” 
A news agency in Azerbaijan quoted a political expert, Zardusht Alizade, “commenting on media reports that the U.S. will deploy a new missile defense system in the Caucasus,” as saying “The United States may consider the joint use of the Gabala radar station” in his nation. 
The radar base is currently operated by Russia and that nation offered its joint use to the U.S. two years ago only to have the invitation spurned. Washington may plan to gain sole use of the Gabala base as Azerbaijan has been transformed into little better than a U.S. and NATO military client state since the break-up of the Soviet Union and more so with each passing year.
An American news source wrote on September 18 that “the new plan might include deploying an X-band radar to the Caucasus – the region sandwiched between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea….
“It’s easy to speculate about which countries in the region could potentially host an X-band radar. The United States has close military ties with Georgia. And neighboring Azerbaijan, which shares a border with Iran, has received U.S. funding for the construction of radar installations.” 
The author of the article, Nathan Hodge, said that he had been told by U.S. Missile Defense Agency spokesman Rick Lehner three years ago that the South Caucasus would prove a “good location for a small X-band radar to provide tracking and discrimination of missiles launched from Iran.”
He added that the probable model would be “an AN/TPY-2, the transportable X-band radar developed for the Army’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system.” An AN/TPY-2 [Army Navy/Transportable Radar Surveillance] installation was deployed by the Pentagon to Israel last autumn, one which has a range of 2,900 miles. A comparable capacity in Azerbaijan, Georgia or both could conduct missile and other forms of surveillance far beyond Iran.
EurasiaNet, a news source operated by the Open Society Institute concentrating on the Caucasus and Central Asia, featured a report called “Eurasia Security: New US Anti-Missile Vision Has Heavy Emphasis On The Caucasus.”
It stated that “Moscow’s muted contentment over the about-face in US missile defense plans in Europe may not last long. The Pentagon…is considering moving anti-missile radar systems from Russia’s European front yard to its backyard, the Caucasus.” 
General James Cartwright, vice-chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, was quoted in the feature on a proposed missile surveillance deployment, saying “It’s probably more likely to be in the Caucasus that we would base [the radar], because it’s to get the early tracks.” 
The article offered more specifics: “US defense officials have not specified the radar’s new proposed location, but some Georgian and Russian officials and commentators have been quick to suggest that the Pentagon has Georgia in mind. These analysts said that if the United States is thinking about the South Caucasus, Georgia would be the best place for the radar deployment.”
On the day before the piece appeared Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karassin expressed concerns about the U.S. and its NATO allies remilitarizing Georgia, a provocation pregnant with “developing a dynamic of its own because a temptation to make a blitzkrieg appears when the military biceps are being pumped and drilling goes on in the units of the Armed Forces and special assignment troops.”
He added, “Russia will insist on radical international measures to stop supplies of weaponry to Georgia and to make sure that the exercising of crack troops there, which is allegedly aimed at enabling them to join the international security forces in Afghanistan, becomes predictable and limited.” 
The reference to crack troops relates to U.S. Marines recently dispatched to the nation, combat veterans of the Afghan and Iraqi wars, to train Georgian soldiers.
The EurasiaNet report also quoted Georgian member of parliament Davit Darchiashvili: “The US decision dovetails with our [security] needs. So long as the radar is stationed in the Caucasus, Georgian security needs would likely be met.
“This is the most important thing….[I]t is not of crucial significance as to where and how these defense systems will be deployed.” 
It also cites Russian military analyst Vladislav Shurygin remarking the self-evident fact that such radar in Georgia would be used against Russia, with him stating “We should not have any illusions about the US plans.”
Also on September 18 a Bulgarian news site wrote that “Bulgaria is one of the possible locations for the deployment of America’s new interceptor missiles in Europe.”
In regard to THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) and other missile shield elements, the same source quotes former chief of staff of the Russian Strategic Missile Force Viktor Esin as warning “Since Poland was willing to host the larger interceptor missiles as part of the Bush plan, it presumably might accept the smaller ones. And even if Poland and the Czech Republic do not, other former Warsaw Pact countries, such as Romania or Bulgaria, might.” 
The Czech Republic is two nations removed from Russia. Poland also doesn’t border mainland Russia. But Azerbaijan does. And so does Georgia. Other nations abutting Russia are already incorporated into the global interceptor missile shield (Norway), have been mentioned by the Missile Defense Agency as a future partner (Ukraine) and are probable participants in the making (Estonia, Latvia and Finland.) Bulgaria and Romania are across the Black Sea from Russia and Turkey is too. The containment of Iran is increasingly looking like the encirclement of Russia.
The quote “Moscow’s muted contentment over the about-face in US missile defense plans in Europe may not last long” may be a grave understatement.
1) Deutsche Welle, September 17, 2009
3) Associated Press, September 18, 2009
4) Today.AZ, September 18, 2009
5) Wired, September 18, 2009
6) EurasiaNet, September 18, 2009
8) Itar-Tass, September 18, 2009
9) EurasiaNet, September 18, 2009
10) Standart News, September 18, 2009
September 17, 2009
U.S. Missile Shield Plans: Retreat Or Advance?
On September 17 the White House and the Pentagon, Barack Obama and Robert Gates, announced that after a sixty-day review of the project the U.S. is going to abandon plans to station ten ground-based interceptor missiles in Poland and a forward-based X-band missile radar installation in the Czech Republic.
The deployments were negotiated with both prospective host countries by the preceding George W. Bush administration under the guise of protecting the United States from alleged long-range missile attacks by what were described as rogue states: Iran and North Korea.
Interceptor missiles in Poland would only be of use in protecting the U.S. if Iran possessed intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of being fired over the Arctic Ocean. No serious person has ever suggested Iran has such a capability or ever will.
But Russian ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin remarked last November that U.S. missiles in Poland could hit his nation’s capital of Moscow in four minutes, as NATO warplanes that have patrolled the skies over the Baltic Sea since 2004 could reach Russia’s second largest city, St. Petersburg, in five minutes.
Leading Russian officials, political and military, have unanimously accused Washington of targeting their own nation and its strategic missile forces rather than Iran with its third position missile shield plans.
Surveys have consistently demonstrated that a majority of Poles oppose the stationing of American missiles and the troops that would accompany them in their nation. Polls in the Czech Republic show over two-thirds opposition to the basing of interceptor missile radar in that country.
Much of the world, then, was relieved to read the news that the U.S. was reversing course and renouncing designs to base missile shield facilities in Eastern Europe.
What Washington has stated, though, is not so straightforward.
President Obama’s statement began with “President Bush was right that Iran’s ballistic missile program poses a significant threat. And that’s why I’m committed to deploying strong missile defense systems which are adaptable to the threats of the 21st century.”
The second sentence confirms the position on so-called missile defense that his administration has repeatedly and unswervingly voiced since coming to power in January: A global interceptor missile system will be deployed when and exactly where it is proven to be most capable of achieving its purpose and in the most cost-effective manner. In American vernacular, the White House and the Pentagon want more bang for the buck.
The underlying motive for a universal interceptor missile system – based on land, at sea, in the air and in space – is to secure uncontested American international military superiority by making itself and key allies impenetrable to retaliation by nations like Russia and China.
Obama also said, “I have approved the unanimous recommendations of my Secretary of Defense and my Joint Chiefs of Staff to strengthen America’s defenses against ballistic missile attack. This new approach will provide capabilities sooner, build on proven systems, and offer greater defenses against the threat of missile attack than the 2007 European missile defense program.”
There is nothing equivocal about that pledge. Obama is promising a missile shield system not only more effective but more ambitious than the one he has rejected.
The major drawback of ground-based missiles in Poland is that they would be fixed-site deployments. For several years now Russia has warned that it was prepared to base Iskander theater ballistic missiles in its Kaliningrad region, which borders Poland, should Washington deploy its missiles to that nation.
Obama and his defense secretary Robert Gates have suggested a more mobile, less detectable system that cannot be as easily monitored and if need be neutralized.
The American president boasted that “we have made specific and proven advances in our missile defense technology, particularly with regard to land- and sea-based interceptors and the sensors that support them. Our new approach will, therefore, deploy technologies that are proven [and] do so sooner than the previous program.” That is, he proposed an alternative that in no manner indicates a retreat from his predecessor’s plan.
Perhaps quite the contrary, as he announced a “new missile defense architecture in Europe [that] will provide stronger, smarter, and swifter defenses of American forces and America’s allies. It is more comprehensive than the previous program; it deploys capabilities that are proven and cost-effective; and it sustains and builds upon our commitment to protect the U.S. homeland against long-range ballistic missile threats; and it ensures and enhances the protection of all our NATO allies.”
The last eleven words are key to understanding why the U.S. is preparing to abandon bilateral arrangements with Poland and the Czech Republic. The shift in policy is one of emphasis and not essence and portends the expansion and not the constriction of missile deployment plans in Europe.
The following words of Obama’s clarify the situation yet further:
“This approach is also consistent with NATO missile – NATO’s missile defense efforts and provides opportunities for enhanced international collaboration going forward. We will continue to work cooperatively with our close friends and allies, the Czech Republic and Poland….Together we are committed to a broad range of cooperative efforts to strengthen our collective defense, and we are bound by the solemn commitment of NATO’s Article V that an attack on one is an attack on all.”
To invoke NATO’s Article 5 is to speak of war. The North Atlantic Treaty founding document of 1949 describes it as follows:
“The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.”
The reference to United Nations Article 51 was a Cold War concession to the norms of international law, one which NATO cast off in 1999 with its war against Yugoslavia.
Article 5 was first employed after September 11, 2001 and used for the invasion of Afghanistan and military operations throughout the Mediterranean Sea and the Horn of Africa, all of which continue to this day, eight years later, and in the first and third cases have been escalated dramatically over the past year.
For the last two years leading American elected officials have clamored for the application of Article 5 in defense of Estonia against alleged cyber attacks and even non-NATO members like Georgia and Israel. With Georgia, the calls were made during and after the five-day war with Russia it provoked in August of 2008.
Estonia and Georgia cannot even pretend to be threatened by Iran much less North Korea and Syria, so Obama’s mention of NATO’s Article 5 pertains to another nation. Russia.
A major Russian news site responded to the news of September 17 with this observation:
“As expected, when President Obama spoke to the press on Thursday evening Moscow time, he did not speak about shelving or abandoning anything, but adopting a ‘new missile defense program,’ based on ‘proven and cost effective technology’ that will ‘better counter the current threat.’ It was, he said, ‘more extensive’ than the previous program involving the Czech Republic and Poland.” 
The same source quoted an analyst at the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, Oksana Antonenko, as saying the former plans for the Czech Republic and Poland “wouldn’t cover the whole territory of Europe, and even from the American point of view the location was not ideal.” Instead, deployments would be focused closer to Iran: “Israel, or possibly Turkey…these are areas where missile systems with existing capabilities would make more sense.” 
Previous articles in this series have examined Washington’s plans to extend its global interceptor missile system into Israel, Turkey and the Balkans. 
And the South Caucasus. Another Russian news site quoted Dmitry Polikanov, an analyst at Russia’s Center for Political Studies: “I assume that if further statements by the US administration are made – like the movement of sea-based systems closer to Iranian territory, or like the statement that was made about the possible deployment of a missile defense system in the Caucasus – this of course can cause some concerns for Moscow.” 
Obama’s Pentagon chief Robert Gates, inherited from the Bush administration, stated on September 17 that “Those who say we are scrapping missile defense in Europe are either misinformed or misrepresenting the reality of what we are doing.”
Gates asserted that the new system “provides a better missile defense capability…than the program I recommended almost three years ago.” 
The Defense Secretary, then, has not indicated a change of course but rather a more sophisticated version of his previous plans.
He further stated that “We have now the opportunity to deploy new sensors and interceptors in northern and southern Europe that near term can provide missile defense coverage against more immediate threats from Iran or others.”
He specified the deployment of Aegis class warships equipped with SM-3 [Standard Missile-3] interceptors which “provide the flexibility to move interceptors from one region to another if needed.” 
The U.S. currently has fifteen destroyers and three cruisers equipped with the Aegis combat system and has incorporated Norway, Spain, Australia, Japan and South Korea into what is developing as a worldwide, sea-based, rapid deployable missile shield structure. The USS Lake Erie, an Aegis class guided-missile cruiser, shot down an American satellite in space in February of 2008 with an SM-3 missile in what some in Russia saw as the opening salvo in American plans for war in space.
Gates further laid out his plans for the next generation Star Wars system in stating, “The second phase, about 2015, will involve fielded, upgraded, land-based SM-3s.”
Lest anyone believe that Washington’s new plans are an abandonment rather than a refinement of previous ones with Poland and the Czech Republic, Gates was obliging enough to reveal that the Pentagon has already opened negotiations with the two nations “about hosting a land-based version of the SM-3 and other components of the system.” 
Nothing has been said about reversing U.S. designs to deploy 96 Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missiles in Poland, ones “accurate enough to select, target, and home in on the warhead portion of an inbound ballistic missile.” 
In fact all indications are that more PAC-3s are headed to Europe to be integrated into a multi-layered NATO missile shield grid to cover the entire continent.
On the same day that Obama and Gates made their pronouncements, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said, “It is my clear impression that the American plans on missile defense will involve NATO as such to a higher degree in the future concerning the establishment of missile defense. I highly appreciate that. I think it is in full accordance with the principle
of solidarity within the alliance and the indivisibility of security in Europe.” Rasmussen gave particular attention to “our eastern allies within the NATO alliance.” 
Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kohout said that although the U.S. will not locate the X-band missile radar in his country that it originally intended to, “the Czech Republic will be able to join the new system that the USA wants to create within NATO,” a new system that is “to be more flexible, more efficient and cheaper” and “is to protect the whole of Europe.” 
As to what aspects the new system could include, former chief of the Russian General Staff Leonid Ivanov was cited as speculating “the U.S. could use military satellites and aircraft carrying laser weapons instead of the radar and interceptor missile base.” 
Previous articles in this series have dealt with the Pentagon’s Airborne Laser (ABL) missile interception program as well as all other facets of global and spaced-based missile shield components . In August the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency announced that it had successfully deployed a modified Boeing 747-400F prototype airplane with laser weapons and that it “found, tracked, engaged and simulated an intercept with a missile seconds after liftoff. It was the first time the Agency used an ‘instrumented’ missile to confirm the laser works as expected. Next up this fall will be the first live attempt to bring down a ballistic missile….” 
Shortly after the test described above, the Wall Street Journal applauded it in these terms:
“Along with space-based weapons, the Airborne Laser is the next defense frontier. The modified Boeing 747 is supposed to send an intense beam of light over hundreds of miles to destroy missiles in the ‘boost phase,’ before they can release decoys and at a point in their trajectory when they would fall back down on enemy territory….The laser complements the sea- and ground-based missile defenses that keep proving themselves in tests.
“Never has Ronald Reagan’s dream of layered missile defenses – Star Wars, for short – been as…close, at least technologically, to becoming realized.” 
The Missile Defense Agency conducted a Space and Missile Defense Conference from August 17-20 of this year and during the proceedings the Boeing Company’s vice president and general manager for missile defense Greg Hyslop presented a design for a “47,500-pound interceptor that could be flown to NATO bases as needed on Boeing-built C-17 cargo planes, erected quickly on a 60-foot trailer stand and taken home when judged safe to do so.” One that would be “globally deployable within 24 hours….” 
A nearly 50,000-pound mobile interceptor missile launcher deployable within hours, along with laser weapons and SM-3s, would fit in nicely with plans for a joint U.S.-NATO layered missile shield to take in the entire European continent except for Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. Though former director of the Missile Defense Agency Lieutenant General Henry Obering also mentioned Ukraine for inclusion in the system during his tenure at the agency.
When U.S. President Barack Obama, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kohout – seemingly in unison and at practically the same time – spoke of enhanced missile shield cooperation between Washington and Brussels, the foundation of what such a system would entail is indicated by the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS).
MEADS is a joint U.S.-German-Italian-NATO theater interceptor missile program to upgrade current Patriot and Nike Hercules systems in Europe under NATO command and “will provide capabilities beyond any other fielded or planned air and missile defense system. It will be easily deployed to a theater of operation.”  It includes forward-based X-band radar, 360 degree surveillance radar, missile launchers and next-generation Patriot interceptor missiles.
“MEADS is interoperable with other defense systems….It can work in association with other missile defense systems, including the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system and the Aegis sea-based missile defense systems….MEADS…may be able to make a material contribution the Active Layered Theater Ballistic Missile Defense system that NATO planners are currently designing.” 
Foreshadowing the news of September 17, last month the White House requested almost $600 million in funding for MEADS for next year and “Congress is on track to support the Administration’s request.” 
The Times of London responded to the news about Poland and the Czech Republic with a feature detailing the advancement of the Star Wars program since Ronald Reagan first announced it in 1983. It mentioned, inter alia, Aegis class warships “fitted with Standard [SM-3] missiles that are capable of intercepting enemy rockets, just like the systems based at Fort Greely in Alaska and at Vandenberg airbase in California” and “an airborne laser…that can destroy ballistic missiles by heating them until they fail structurally,” and situated these 21st Century innovations within a broader perspective:
“[T]he Americans have been installing [worldwide missile-tracking radar facilities] in locations around the globe: notably, upgrading the radar early-warning site at RAF Fylingdales in North Yorkshire and deploying X-band radar in Japan and Israel.” 
To which should be added the U.S. missile-tracking base in Vardo, Norway, forty miles from the Russian border, and a comparable facility at the Thule Air Base in Greenland.
The news about the cancellation of plans for deploying a missile radar base in the Czech Republic was hailed by the No To Bases organization, the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSCM) and the Czech Social Democratic Party (CSSD), all opponents of the project.
But the Czech Social Democrats, who currently have 32% support in the polls and are poised to win next year’s federal elections, differ from other radar opponents in that they have no objection to missile shield components in their country per se but instead are in favor of bringing the Czech Republic into a continent-wide NATO system rather than into a bilateral U.S.-Czech one.
Obama’s and Gates’ statements should satisfy that preference, one which prefigures a wider and permanent interceptor missile system that takes in most all of Europe and North America. If that scenario continues to materialize the relief and enthusiasm that greeted September 17th’s news in many parts of the world may prove to be short-lived.
1) Russian Information Agency Novosti, September 17, 2009
3) U.S. Expands Global Missile Shield Into Middle East, Balkans
Stop NATO, September 11, 2009
Balkans Revisited: U.S., NATO Expand Military Role In Southeastern Europe
Stop NATO, September 14, 2009
4) Russia Today, September 17, 2009
5) New York Times, September 17, 2009
6) Russia Today, September 17, 2009
9) Reuters, September 17, 2009
10) Czech News Agency, September 17, 2009
11) Russian Information Agency Novosti, September 17, 2009
12) Pentagon Intensifies Plans For Global Military Supremacy: U.S., NATO Could
Deploy Mobile Missiles Launchers To Europe
Stop NATO, August 22, 2009
U.S. Accelerates First Strike Global Missile Shield System
Stop NATO, August 19, 2009
Militarization Of Space: Threat Of Nuclear War On Earth
Stop NATO, June 18, 2009
21st Century Star Wars And NATO’s 60th Anniversary
Stop NATO, January 15, 2009
13) Wall Street Journal, August 14, 2009
14) Wall Street Journal, August 14, 2009
15) Reuters, August 20, 2009
17) Heritage Foundation, August 17, 2009
19) The Times, September 17, 2009
September 16, 2009
Black Sea Crisis Deepens As Threat To Iran Grows
Tensions are mounting in the Black Sea with the threat of another conflict between U.S. and NATO client state Georgia and Russia as Washington is manifesting plans for possible military strikes against Iran in both word and deed.
Referring to Georgia having recently impounded several vessels off the Black Sea coast of Abkhazia, reportedly 23 in total this year, the New York Times wrote on September 9 that “Rising tensions between Russia and Georgia over shipping rights to a breakaway Georgian region have opened a potential new theater for conflict between the countries, a little more than a year after they went to war.” 
Abkhazian President Sergei Bagapsh ordered his nation’s navy to respond to Georgia’s forceful seizure of civilian ships in neutral waters, calling such actions what they are – piracy – by confronting and if need be sinking Georgian navy and coast guard vessels. The Georgian and navy and coast guard are trained by the United States and NATO.
The spokesman of the Russian Foreign Ministry addressed the dangers inherent in Georgia’s latest provocations by warning “They risk aggravating the military and political situation in the region and could result in serious armed incidents.” 
On September 15 Russia announced that its “border guards will detain all vessels that violate Abkhazia’s maritime border….” 
Russia would be not only entitled but obligated to provide such assistance to neighboring Abkhazia as “Under mutual assistance treaties signed last November, Russia pledged to help Abkhazia and South Ossetia protect their borders, and the signatories granted each other the right to set up military bases in their respective territories.” 
In attempting to enforce a naval blockade – the International Criminal Court plans to include blockades against coasts and ports in its list of acts of war this year  – against Abkhazia, the current Georgian regime of Mikheil Saakashvili is fully aware that Russia is compelled by treaty and national interests alike to respond. Having been roundly defeated in its last skirmish with Russia, the five-day war in August of last year, Tbilisi would never risk actions like its current ones without a guarantee of backing from the U.S. and NATO.
Days after last year’s war ended then U.S. Senator and now Vice President Joseph Biden flew into the Georgian capital to pledge $1 billion in assistance to the nation, making Georgia the third largest recipient of American foreign aid after Egypt and Israel.
U.S. and NATO warships poured into the Black Sea in August of 2008 and American ships visited the Georgia port cities of Batumi and Poti to deliver what Washington described as civilian aid but which Russian sources suspected contained replacements for military equipment lost in the conflict.
Less than a month after the war ended NATO sent a delegation to Georgia to “evaluate damage to military infrastructure following a five-day war between Moscow and Tbilisi….” 
In December a meeting of NATO foreign ministers agreed upon a special Annual National Program for Georgia and in the same month Washington announced the creation of the United States-Georgia Charter on Strategic Partnership.
In the past week a top-level delegation of NATO defense and logistics experts visited Georgia on September 9 “to promote the development of the Georgian Armed Forces”  and on September 14 high-ranking officials of the U.S. George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies arrived at the headquarters of the Georgian Ministry of Defense “to review issues of interdepartmental coordination in the course of security sector management and national security revision.” 
The ongoing military integration of Georgia and neighboring Azerbaijan, which also borders Iran – Washington’s Georgetown University is holding a conference on Strategic Partnership between U.S. and Azerbaijan: Bilateral and Regional Criteria on September 18 – by the Pentagon and NATO is integrally connected with general military plans in the Black Sea and the Caucasus regions as a whole and, even more ominously, with joint war plans against Iran.
As early as January of 2007 reports on that score surfaced in Bulgarian and Romanian news sources. Novinite (Sofia News Agency) reported that the Pentagon “could be using its two air force bases in Bulgaria and one on Romania’s Black Sea coast to launch an attack on Iran….” 
The bases are the Bezmer and Graf Ignitievo airbases in Bulgaria and the Mihail Kogalniceanu counterpart near the Romanian city of Constanza on the Black Sea.
The Pentagon has seven new bases altogether in Bulgaria and Romania and in addition to stationing warplanes – F-15s, F-16s and A-10 Thunderbolts – has 3,000-5,000 troops deployed in the two nations at any given time, and Washington established its Joint Task Force-East (JTF-East) permanent headquarters at the Mihail Kogalniceanu airbase in Romania.
A U.S. government website provides these details about Joint Task Force-East:
“All U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force training operations in Romania and Bulgaria will fall under the command of JTF–East, which in turn is under the command of USEUCOM [United States European Command]. Physically located in Romania and Bulgaria, JTF East will include a small permanent headquarters (in Romania) consisting of approximately 100-300 personnel who will oversee rotations of U.S. Army brigade-sized units and U.S. Air Force Weapons Training Deployments (WTD). Access to Romanian and Bulgarian air and ground training facilities will provide JTF-East forces the opportunity to train and interact with military forces throughout the entire 92-country USEUCOM area of responsibility. U.S. Army Europe (USAREUR) and U.S Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) are actively involved in establishing JTF-East.” 
The four military bases in Romania and three in Bulgaria that the Pentagon and NATO have gained indefinite access to since the two nations were incorporated into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 2004 allow for full spectrum operations: Infantry deployments in the area and downrange to Afghanistan and Iraq, runways for bombers and fighter jets, docking facilities for American and NATO warships including Aegis class interceptor missile vessels, training grounds for Western special forces and for foreign armed forces being integrated into NATO.
Added to bases and troops provided by Turkey and Georgia – and in the future Ukraine – the Bulgarian and Romanian sites are an integral component of plans by the U.S. and its allies to transform the Black Sea into NATO territory with only the Russian coastline not controlled by the Alliance. And that of newly independent Abkhazia, which makes control of that country so vital.
Last week the Romanian defense ministry announced the intention to acquire between 48 and 54 new generation fighter jets – American F-16s and F-35s have been mentioned – as part of “a new strategy for buying multi-role aircraft, which means to first buy aircraft to make the transition to fifth generation equipment, over the coming 10-12 years.” 
With the recent change in government in the former Soviet republic of Moldova – the aftermath of this April’s violent “Twitter Revolution” – the new parliamentary speaker, Mihai Ghimpu, has openly spoken of the nation merging with, which is to say being absorbed by, neighboring Romania. Transdniester [the Pridnestrovian Moldovan Republic] broke away from Moldova in 1990 exactly because of the threat of being pulled into Romania and fighting ensued which cost the lives of some 1,500 persons.
Romania is now a member of NATO and should civil war erupt in Moldova and/or fighting flare up between Moldova and Transdniester and Romania sends troops – all but a certainty – NATO can activate its Article 5 military clause to intervene. There are 1,200 Russian peacekeepers in Transdniester.
Transdniester’s neighbor to its east is Ukraine, linked with Moldova through the U.S.-concocted GUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova) bloc, which has been collaborating in enforcing a land blockade against Transdniester. Ukraine’s President Viktor Yushchenko, whose poll ratings are currently in the low single digits, is hellbent on dragging his nation into NATO against overwhelming domestic opposition and can be counted on to attack Transdniester from the eastern end if a conflict breaks out.
A Moldovan news source last week quoted an opposition leader issuing this dire warning:
“Moldova’s ethnic minorities are categorically against unification with Romania.
“If we, those who are not ethnic Moldovans, will have to defend Moldova’s statehood, then we will find powerful allies outside Moldova, including in Russia. Along with it, Ukraine, Turkey and Bulgaria would be involved in this fighting. Last year we all witnessed how Russia defended the interests of its nationals in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Why does somebody believe that in case of a civil war in Moldova Russia will simply watch how its nationals are dying? Our task is to prevent such developments.” 
Indeed, the entire Black Sea and Caucasus regions could go up in flames if Western proxies in GUAM attack any of the so-called frozen conflict nations – Abkhazia and South Ossetia by Georgia, Nagorno Karabakh by Azerbaijan and Transdniester by Moldova and Ukraine. A likely possibility is that all four would be attacked simultaneously and in unison.
An opportunity for that happening would be a concentrated attack on Iran, which borders Azerbaijan and Armenia. The latter, being the protector of Nagorno Karabakh, would immediately become a belligerent if Azerbaijan began military hostilities against Karabakh.
On September 15 news stories revealed that the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, DC, founded in 2007 by former Senate Majority Leaders Howard Baker, Tom Daschle, Bob Dole and George Mitchell, had released a report which in part stated, “If biting sanctions do not persuade the Islamic Republic to demonstrate sincerity in negotiations and give up its enrichment activities, the White House will have to begin serious consideration of the option of a U.S.-led military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities.” 
The report was authored by Charles Robb, a former Democratic senator from Virginia, Daniel Coats, former Republican senator from Indiana, and retired General Charles Wald, a former deputy commander of the U.S. European Command.
Iran is to be given 60 days to in essence abandon its civilian nuclear power program and if it doesn’t capitulate the Obama administration should “prepare overtly for any military option” which would include “deploying an additional aircraft carrier battle group to the waters off Iran and conducting joint exercises with U.S. allies.” 
The main Iranian nuclear reactor is being constructed at Bushehr and would be a main target of any U.S. and Israeli bombing and missile attacks. As of 2006 there were 3,700 Russian experts and technicians – and their families – living in the environs of the facility.
It has been assumed for the past eight years that a military attack on Iran would be launched by the United States from aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf and by long-range Israeli bombers flying over Iraq and Turkey.
During that period the U.S. and its NATO allies have also acquired access to airbases in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan (in Baluchistan, bordering Iran), Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in addition to those they already have in Turkey.
Washington and Brussels have also expanded their military presence into Bulgaria, Georgia and Romania on the Black Sea and into Azerbaijan on the Caspian Sea bordering northeastern Iran.
Plans for massive military aggression against Iran, then, might include air and missile strikes from locations much nearer the nation than previously suspected.
The American Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced plans last week to supply Turkey, the only NATO member state bordering Iran, with almost $8 billion dollars worth of theater interceptor missiles, of the upgraded and longer-range PAC-3 (Patriot Advance Capability-3) model. The project includes delivering almost 300 Patriots for deployment at twelve command posts inside Turkey.
In June the Turkish government confirmed that NATO AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) planes would be deployed in its Konya province.
The last time AWACS and Patriot missiles were sent to Turkey was in late 2002 and early 2003 in preparation for the invasion of Iraq.
On September 15 the newspaper of the U.S. armed forces, Stars and Stripes, ran an article titled “U.S., Israeli forces to test missile defense while Iran simmers,” which included these details on the biennial Juniper Cobra war games:
“Some 1,000 U.S. European Command troops will soon deploy to Israel for a large-scale missile defense exercise with Israeli forces.
“This year’s Juniper Cobra comes at a time of continued concern about Iran’s nuclear program, which will be the subject of talks in October.
“The U.S. troops, from all four branches of service, will work alongside an equal number of Israel Defense Force personnel, taking part in computer-simulated war games….Juniper Cobra will test a variety of air and missile defense technology during next month’s exercise, including the U.S.-controlled X-Band.” 
The same feature documented that this month’s exercise is the culmination of months of buildup.
“In April, about 100 Europe-based personnel took part in a missile defense exercise that for the first time incorporated a U.S.-owned radar system, which was deployed to the country in October 2008. The U.S. X-Band radar is intended to give Israel early warning in the event of a missile launch from Iran.
“For nearly a year, a mix of troops and U.S. Defense Department contractors have been managing the day-to-day operation of the X-Band, which is situated at Nevatim air base in the Negev Desert.” 
The same publication revealed two days earlier that the Pentagon conducted a large-scale counterinsurgency exercise with the 173rd Airborne Brigade and the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade last week in Germany, “the largest such exercise ever held by the U.S. military outside of the United States….”  The two units are scheduled for deployment to Afghanistan and Iraq, respectively, but could be diverted to Iran, which has borders with both nations, should need arise.
What the role of Black Sea NATO states and clients could be in a multinational, multi-vectored assault on Iran was indicated in the aftermath of last year’s Georgian-Russian war.
At a news conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels a year ago, Russian ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin “said that Russian intelligence had obtained information indicating that the Georgian military infrastructure could be used for logistical support of U.S. troops if they launched an attack on Iran.” 
Rogozin was further quoted as saying, “What NATO is doing now in Georgia is restoring its ability to monitor its airspace, in other words restoring the whole locator system and an anti-missile defence system which were destroyed by Russian artillery.
“[The restoration of surveillance systems and airbases in Georgia is being] done for logistic support of some air operations either of the Alliance as a whole or of the United States in particular in this region. The swift reconstruction of the airfields and all the systems proves that some air operation is being planned against another country which is located not far from Georgia….” 
Early last October Nikolai Patrushev, Secretary of the Russian Security Council “described the U.S. and NATO policy of increasing their military presence in Eastern Europe as seeking strategic military superiority over Russia.
“The official added that the United States would need allies in the region if the country decided to attack Iran.” 
Patrushev stated, “If it decides to carry out missile and bomb attacks against Iran, the US will need loyal allies. And if Georgia is involved in this war, this will pose additional threats to Russia’s national security.” 
Later last October an Azerbaijani website reported that 100 Iranian Air Force jets were exercising near the nation’s border and that “military sources from the United States reported that territories in Azerbaijan and in Georgia may be used for attacking Iran….” 
Writing in The Hindu the same month Indian journalist Atul Aneja wrote of the effects of the Georgian-Russian war of the preceding August and offered this information:
“Russia’s military assertion in Georgia and a show of strength in parts of West Asia [Middle East], combined with domestic political and economic preoccupations in Washington, appear to have forestalled the chances of an immediate strike against Iran.
“Following Russia’s movement into South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev acknowledged that Moscow was aware that serious plans to attack Iran had been laid out. ‘We know that certain players are planning an attack against Iran. But we oppose any unilateral step and [a] military solution to the nuclear crisis.’
“Russia seized control of two airfields in Georgia from where air strikes against Iran were being planned. The Russian forces also apparently recovered weapons and Israeli spy drones that would have been useful for the surveillance of possible Iranian targets.” 
The same newspaper, in quoting Dmitry Rogozin asserting that Russian military intelligence had captured documents proving Washington had launched “active military preparations on Georgia’s territory” for air strikes against Iran, added information on Israeli involvement:
“Israel had supplied Georgia with sophisticated Hermes 450 UAV spy drones, multiple rocket launchers and other military equipment that Georgia, as well as modernised Georgia’s Soviet-made tanks that were used in the attack against South Ossetia. Israeli instructors had also helped train Georgia troops.” 
Rather than viewing the wars of the past decade – against Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq – and the concomitant expansion of U.S. and NATO military presence inside all three countries and in several others on their peripheries as an unrelated series of events, the trend must be seen for what it is: A consistent and calculated strategy of employing each successive war zone as a launching pad for new aggression.
The Pentagon has major military bases in Kosovo, in Afghanistan and in Iraq that it never intends to abandon. The U.S. and its NATO allies have bases in Bulgaria, Romania, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kuwait, Bahrain (where the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet is headquartered) and other nations in the vicinity of the last ten years’ wars which can be used for the next ten – or twenty or thirty – years’ wars.
1) New York Times, September 9, 2009
3) Russian Information Agency Novosti, September 15, 2009
6) Agence France-Presse, September 8, 2009
7) Trend News Agency, September 9, 2009
8) Georgia Ministry of Defence, September 14, 2009
9) Turkish Daily News, January 30, 2007
10) U.S. Department of State
11) The Financiarul, September 9, 2009
12) Infotag, September 11, 2009
13) Bloomberg News, September 15, 2009
15) Stars and Stripes, September 15, 2009
17) Stars and Stripes, September 13, 2009
18) Russian Information Agency Novosti, September 17, 2008
19) Russia Today, September 17, 2008
20) Russian Information Agency Novosti, October 1, 2008
21) Fars News Agency, October 2, 2008
22) Today.AZ, October 20, 2008
23) The Hindu, October 13, 2008
24) The Hindu, September 19, 2008
September 14, 2009
Balkans Revisited: U.S., NATO Expand Military Role In Southeastern Europe
On September 11 a Balkans news source cited the chairman of the South East Europe Center at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington, DC, John Sitilides, as claiming that “Although the United States is not focused on the Balkans as it was in the 1990s, the challenges in this region are still reviewed at a very high level in Washington.” 
Sitilides founded and was executive director of the Western Policy Center in the U.S.’s capital in 1998 which specialized “in U.S. foreign and security policies in the eastern Mediterranean, Balkan and Black Sea regions,” before merging it with the Woodrow Wilson Center and is a “regular speaker on foreign policy at the Pentagon’s National Defense University and the National Foreign Affairs Training Center.” 
In the news story mentioned above he stated “The recent visit to the Balkans of the US Vice President Joe Biden was a signal that although the region is not the subject of the President’s constant attention, the challenges in this region are still reviewed at a very high level.” 
Biden visited the Balkans this past May and was the highest ranking American official to travel to Kosovo since its unilateral declaration of independence in February of 2008. While in the capital of the breakaway Serbian province he insisted on the “absolutely irreversible” nature of Kosovo’s secession – nineteen months afterward still not recognized by 130 of the world’s 192 nations – and highlighted that “The success of an independent Kosovo is a priority for our administration.” 
While still in the U.S. Senate Biden played a major role in fostering the break-up of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and in promoting its former republics’ integration into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Over the past six years most every nation in the Balkans was ordered to provide troops for the war in Iraq as a precondition for future NATO membership and currently every single nation in the peninsula except for Serbia – Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania and Slovenia – has troops serving under NATO command in Afghanistan or, in the case of Montenegro, soon will have.
Many of the above nations also now have U.S. military bases stationed on their soil and most if not all have signed a status of forces agreement (SOFA) to host American and NATO troops.
After NATO’s first military operations in its history – Operation Deliberate Force in Bosnia in 1995 and Operation Allied Force against Yugoslavia in 1999 – and its deployment of troops to Macedonia in the beginning of this decade with Operation Essential Harvest in 2000 and Operation Amber Fox the following year, the attention of Alliance members and the bloc collectively shifted to the so-called Broader Middle East and the wars they launched in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Even during that interim, though, Washington and Brussels have exploited the Balkans for training, transit and troops for both the Afghan and Iraqi campaigns. The Pentagon has acquired the permanent use of seven military bases in Bulgaria and Romania since both nations were granted full NATO membership in 2004 and those installations have been linked with the U.S. and NATO base in Incirlik, Turkey for the West’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and for surrogate conflicts in the Black Sea like the Georgian-Russian war in August of 2008.
The Balkans are slated to play an even more prominent role in the West’s drives east and south into former Soviet space, including the Caucasus and Central Asia, and into South Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
The area, Southeastern Europe, is now also targeted for the latest extension of American and NATO global interceptor missile plans. 
Former Yugoslavia has become a training ground for the Pentagon and NATO to integrate the armed forces of Balkans, former Soviet, Scandinavian, Middle Eastern and African NATO partners involved in the Partnership for Peace, Mediterranean Dialogue and Istanbul Cooperation Initiative programs.
As of September 13 multinational NATO exercises were occurring simultaneously in the former Yugoslav republics of Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia.
On September 3 NATO launched the two-week Combined Endeavor 2009 exercises to be held in three locations in Bosnia with the participation of sixteen NATO nations and the host country.
Bosnian Army Brigadier-General Dragan Vukovic was quoted as saying “the exercise [is] a great opportunity for the Bosnian Armed Forces to show their preparedness and readiness to become a full member of NATO.” 
A week later the 18-day Jackal Stone 2009 exercise began in neighboring Croatia which includes 1,500 soldiers from 10 countries – Albania, Croatia, Hungary, Lithuania, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Ukraine and the U.S. – and “Croatian Air Force and Air Defence helicopters, US Air Force aircraft, US Army helicopters and a US Navy Destroyer.” 
A Croatian newspaper announced that “The main objective of the exercise is to foster cooperation among the armed forces of participating countries in…strengthening regional security and stability….” 
An article called “Armies of 15 Countries in Serbia” provided details of the four-day MEDCEUR (Medical Central and Eastern Europe Exercise) NATO training in Serbia which ended on September 13 and which included the “participation of soldiers from 15 Central and Eastern European states.” 
In truth the exercise’s ambit reached further than Central and Eastern Europe into the South Caucasus. The participating NATO members and partners were Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Germany, Georgia, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Norway, Ukraine and the U.S.
Serbian Defence Minister Dragan Sutanovac, whose subservience to NATO warrants a treason charge, said that “This is the largest military exercise of this type in the world, whose organisation and planning lasted for a year. This is a major promotion for our defence system.” 
The country’s Defense Ministry stated “The participation in the exercise is of exceptional importance when it comes to following the innovations introduced in medical support in line with NATO standards, above all in the areas of support of battle and natural disasters operations” 
The exercise is sponsored by the Pentagon’s European Command and was held for the first time in Serbia this year.
This was occurring as NATO and most of its members states are completing the severing of Kosovo from Serbia. In the middle of the NATO exercise in Serbia the European Union’s EULEX (European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo) mission engineered a customs agreement between Kosovo and Serbia, thus recognizing the border between the two as an international one. That is, further formalizing Kosovo’s independence.
Referring to United Nations Resolution 1244 of 1999 which recognizes Kosovo as part of Serbia, on September 12 EU representative to Kosovo Pieter Feith said, “EULEX is not status-neutral. It operates under the UN umbrella, which is status neutral, but that does not make EULEX status-neutral. The reality is that EULEX is supported by 27 EU member states, of which five have not recognized Kosovo, but they are still EU member states.”
Serbian news sources wrote of the EU’s role in supporting Kosovo separatism that “America is satisfied with EULEX’s participation and welcomes this mission because of fulfillment of its mandate that has been approved by Kosovo authorities….” 
The preceding day the Russian ambassador to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) lodged a complaint against that organization for terminating an operation to protect the rights of Serbian, Roma, Goran and other persecuted Kosovo ethnic communities’ rights and said, “Such steps, sanctioned by no one, are unilateral, and they affect the overall activity under the mandate of that mission.” 
Eight days before the spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Andrei Nesterenko, “assessed that there is still a considerable potential for conflict in Kosovo and expressed the expectation that the international community will act impartially, preventing new anti-Serb provocations.” 
Now the Western military bloc that mercilessly bombed Serbia for 78 days in 1999 and has wrested Kosovo from it is holding drills on Serbian territory.
North of former Yugoslavia on the Black Sea, last week Romanian Defense Minister Mihai Stanisoara announced that his nation would scrap Russian MiG 21 Lancers in its air force’s inventory – as part of NATO demands for so-called weapons interoperability – and planned to acquire 48-54 fighters jets, most likely U.S. F-16 multirole fighter jets or F-35 fifth generation stealth warplanes. 
Also earlier this month the American guided-missile destroyer USS Stout returned from a deployment in the Black Sea where it visited ports in Romania, Bulgaria and Georgia, in the last case near the coast of Abkhazia, about which more shortly.
The destroyer, which also participated in naval exercises with Israel and Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean, was on its first deployment as part of the Pentagon’s Aegis sea-based interceptor missile system. 
Across the Black Sea from Romania, Reuters announced on September 11 that the U.S. plans a $7.8 billion dollar deal with Turkey to supply it with Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) interceptor missiles. The PAC-3 is a substantially upgraded version of the Patriots that were sent to Israel on the eve of the 1991 war against Iraq and to Turkey ahead of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. The pattern inescapably suggests an imminent replay of the first two attacks in the Persian Gulf, this time against Iran.
In revealing plans to provide advanced theater interceptor missiles to Turkey, the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a release:
“It is vital to the U.S. national interest to assist our North Atlantic Treaty Organization ally in developing and maintaining a strong and ready self-defense capability that will contribute to an acceptable military balance in the area.” 
Reuters added this background information:
“Turkey’s geostrategic importance for the United States depends partly on Incirlik Air Base, located near Adana in southeast Turkey. KC-135 refueling planes operating out of Incirlik have delivered more than 35 million gallons of fuel to U.S. warplanes on missions in Iraq and Afghanistan….” 
A later report added specifics – “the deal will include delivery of nearly 290 Patriot missiles and includes 72 PAC-3 models along with communications gear needed to establish an integrated air-defense system for more than a dozen command posts” – and also quoted from the Defense Security Cooperation Agency statement:
“Turkey will use the PAC-3 missiles to improve its missile defense capability, strengthen its homeland defense, and deter regional threats.” 
The Turkish Hurriyet newspaper ran a feature on the topic on September 13 which casts the Patriot deployment within a far broader context, stating that “Washington also does not rule out the military option or plans to deploy a missile-defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic, which have created serious tension between Russia and the United States in the past. Earlier this month, a top defense lobbyist said the negotiations are continuing over U.S. plans to deploy a missile-defense shield in Turkey, a possibility floated last week by a Polish newspaper.”
The article quoted a Turkish Iranian expert, Arif Keskin, as saying “[A]ny American missile could only be placed in Turkey if NATO gives a green light for the program” and warning that “if Turkey agrees to open its soil to the missile shield program, it would worsen its relations with not only Iran, but also Syria and Russia.”
The same source quoted another analyst issuing a second alarm: “For Turkey’s part, purchasing the Patriot missiles mean engaging in a conflict with Iran.” 
Turkey is the only NATO member which borders Iran.
The recent trajectory of the American guided-missile destroyer Stout examined earlier, from the Eastern Mediterranean to the Black Sea, indicates Pentagon and NATO designs on the geopolitically vital arc that begins in the Balkans, dips south to the Middle East and proceeds back north to the Caucasus.
A Reuters dispatch titled “In restive Mediterranean, U.S. ship eyes risk of missile war” reported on the USS Higgins destroyer which had docked last week in Israel and included these specifics:
The USS Higgens is “one of 18 American ships deployed globally with
Aegis interceptor systems capable of blowing up ballistic missiles above the atmosphere. For Israel, where Higgins docked this week, Aegis is an especially close asset.
“Israel already hosts a U.S. strategic radar, X-band, and its Arrow II missile interceptor, which is partly underwritten by Washington, is inter-operable with Aegis.” 
The story situated the above within wider geostrategic plans by the U.S. and its allies:
“According to a regional map issued last month by the U.S. Missile Defence Agency, a Mediterranean-based Aegis could cover southern Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, the Palestinian territories and north Egypt in the event of a missile war.
“Raytheon says the ‘ashore’ SM-3 [Standard Missile-3], due out in 2013, may also be considered by the Pentagon for Europe, where it could play a role with or without a missile defence deployment that former U.S. President George W. Bush had proposed in Poland and the Czech Republic and which has been fiercely opposed by Russia.” 
Last week it was reported that Turkey, Israel and Azerbaijan “will launch the joint manufacturing of armored combat vehicles,” according to an Azerbaijani government source, and that “Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defense Industry seeks to build tracked fighting vehicles, self-propelled bridges and armored military trucks on the body of T-54 and T-55 tanks which were decommissioned from the national army’s arsenal.” 
The following day the Vice-Speaker of Azerbaijan`s Parliament Ziyafat Asgarov, in speaking of the almost twenty-year-old conflict with Armenia over Nagorno Karabakh, one which could trigger an all-out war at any moment, said that “We would like NATO to demonstrate its resolute position regarding this issue.” 
A week earlier the nation’s Defense Ministry spokesman Eldar Sabiroglu had menacingly reitererated his government’s position on Karabakh, one of four “frozen conflicts” in the Soviet Union:
“We are hoping for results while political negotiations continue. Otherwise our army will fulfill its function [to free the land] at a moment when our state finds it necessary.
“No one should doubt that. I am saying this taking into account the equipment of our military units with modern types of weapons and the high level of our troops’ combat preparedness.” 
Shortly thereafter Frank Boland, the head of the Force Planning Department of the NATO Defence Policy and Planning Division, led a delegation of Alliance experts to Georgia to assess the nation’s military preparedness after its defeat in the war with Russia a year ago August and “to promote the development of the Georgian Armed Forces,” according to the nation’s Defense Ministry. 
“The goal of the visit is to evaluate the accomplishments of the Planning and Review Process (PARP) and obligations under the Annual National Plan (ANP), undertaken by the Ministry of Defence of Georgia.” 
Shortly before the NATO delegation arrived, the U.S. client regime of Mikheil Saakashvili seized vessels in the Black Sea headed to Abkhazia. On September 2 Abkhazian President Sergei Bagapsh “ordered the Republican Naval Forces to destroy all Georgian ships violating Abkhazian territorial waters”  after Georgia had impounded 23 vessels in neutral waters so far this year.
The very next day the Pentagon’s European Command reported of the recent deployment of Marines to Georgia that “the Marine Corps has committed its finest Marines to help train the 31st Battalion. All have deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, many for multiple tours.” 
The same day Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko reacted to the U.S.-trained Georgian navy’s and coast guard’s actions against Abkhazia by warning that “Aside from interrupting international maritime shipping, these actions of the Georgian leadership are an attempt to impose a blockade of the Abkhazian coast, which could lead to the deterioration of the situation in the region and new military conflicts.” 
The military expansion and aggression begun by the U.S. and NATO in the Balkans fourteen years has not only continued unabated but has widened its area of operations to take in the former Soviet Union, the Broader Middle East from the Atlantic Coast of Africa to the Chinese border, and Northeast Africa.
Unless it is stopped the rest of the world confronts the same fate.
1) Makfax, September 11, 2009
2) Woodrow Wilson Center
3) Makfax, September 11, 2009
4) BBC News, May 21, 2009
5) U.S. Expands Global Missile Shield Into Middle East, Balkans
Stop NATO, September 11, 2009
6) Xinhua News Agency, September 4, 2009
7) Croatian Times, September 11, 2009
9) Balkan Insight, September 10, 2009
11) Makfax, August 31, 2009
12) Beta News Agency/Tanjug News Agency, September 12, 2009
13) FoNet, September 11, 2009
14) Radio Serbia, September 3, 2009
15) The Financiarul, September 9, 2009
16) Virginian-Pilot, September 5, 2009
17) Reuters, September 11, 2009
19) Bloomberg News, September 12, 2009
20) Hurriyet, September 13, 2009
21) Reuters, September 8, 2009
23) Azeri Press Agency, September 9, 2009
24) Azertag, September 11, 2009
25) Interfax, September 4, 2009
26) Trend News Agency, September 9, 2009
27) Ministry of Defence, September 9, 2009
28) Voice of Russia, September 4, 2009
29) Civil Georgia, September 3, 2009
30) Russian Information Agency Novosti, September 3, 2009
September 11, 2009
U.S. Expands Global Missile Shield Into Middle East, Balkans
Toward the latter half of last month the Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza, “citing officials and lobbyists in Washington,” revealed that the Pentagon would reevaluate planned interceptor missile deployments in Poland and a complementary missile radar site in the Czech Republic and instead shift global missile shield plans to Israel, Turkey and the Balkans. 
“Washington is now looking for alternative locations including in the Balkans, Israel and Turkey….” 
The news came a week after it was reported that at the annual Space and Missile Defense Conference hosted by the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency in Huntsville, Alabama the Chicago-based Boeing Company offered to construct a “47,500-pound interceptor that could be flown to NATO bases as needed on Boeing-built C-17 cargo planes,” a “two-stage interceptor designed to be globally deployable within 24 hours….” 
This initiative, much as with the reports of plans to expand the American worldwide interceptor missile system to the Middle East and Southeastern Europe, has been presented as a way of alleviating Russian concerns over anti-missile components being deployed near its borders. But on the same day that Boeing announced the project for a rapid deployable missile launcher for NATO bases in Europe the First Deputy Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic, Tomas Pojar, was quoted as asserting that a “possible U.S. mobile anti-missile shield does not threaten the U.S. plans to build a radar base on Czech soil because the system is to be a combination of fixed and mobile elements.” 
That is, what is being presented in both instances as substitutes for U.S. and NATO missile shield deployments in Eastern Europe may in fact be added to rather than replace plans for Poland and the Czech Republic.
On September 11 the new Czech envoy to NATO, Martin Povejsil, reiterated that Washington’s plans to forge ahead with the missile system deployments in his nation and in Poland will proceed unhampered, stating “NATO still expects the U.S. system to be the core of its missile-defence structures that have been worked on.” 
On the day after the Polish newspaper revealed that American interceptor missile system deployments could be extended to Israel, Turkey and the Balkans, U.S. State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley said Washington’s review of the missile defense strategy “is ongoing and has not reached completion yet.”
Similarly, “Missile Defense Agency [Director] Patrick O’Reilly also denied the report of Polish newspapers. He supported the proposal to install SM-3 missile systems in Turkey and the Balkans.” 
The SM-3 – Standard Missile 3 – is a ship-based anti-ballistic missile used by the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System, and was used by the Pentagon to destroy an American satellite in orbit in February 2008 in what was seen by some observers, especially in Russia, as an experiment for future space warfare.
So the surfacing of reports that the U.S. may base missile shield facilities south and east of the Czech Republic and Poland is more likely indicative of yet another plan to expand the global system – already in place and being worked on in Alaska, Japan, Australia, Taiwan, Norway, Britain, Greenland and Israel – into areas previously off-limits to such deployments and not necessarily an abandonment of American missile and troop deployments in Poland and a missile radar site in the Czech Republic.
In confirmation of this scenario, U.S. National Security Adviser and former U.S. European Command and NATO top military chief James Jones told Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski on September 1 that “The United States is assuring Poland that it has not made a decision on where to deploy a European missile defense system but will keep Warsaw informed,” and pledged “the United States’ firm and unwavering commitment to Poland’s security and defense.” 
To demonstrate how close the Pentagon is to completing plans for an international interceptor missile system that can be used for blackmailing other nations into submission and laying the groundwork for a “winnable” war against major powers like Russia and China – by being able to neutralize missiles surviving a first strike and so an adversary’s ability to retaliate – the new head of the Missile Defense Agency, U.S. Army Lieutenant General Patrick O’Reilly, recently boasted that his agency’s missile interceptions have proven 86% successful and that “The Defense Department recently committed an additional $900 million toward fielding the Army’s theater high-altitude-area defense mobile missile defense system. The agency has finished seven of eight required tests of the system.” O’Reilly added that he “expects to see it in the field next year.” 
The tests he referred to employed Aegis class warships equipped with SM-3s, meaning destroyers and cruisers that can be deployed to any part of the planet in conjunction with land-based and sea-based X-band radar (SBX). The Missile Defense Agency has on several occasions deployed a 28-story SBX to Adak, Alaska, at the western-most end of the Aleutian island chain in the Bering Sea off Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula.
The U.S. National Security Presidential Directive and Homeland Security Presidential Directive  of January 9, 2009 explicitly mentions using the Arctic Ocean for so-called missile defense purposes, which means against Russia’s northern territories, in conjunction with facilities in Alaska and Greenland.
Missile shield radar bases in Britain and Norway and projected missile deployments in Poland and an X-band radar site in the Czech Republic will cover Russia’s west, and comparable sites in Alaska and Japan will confront Russia (as well as China) to its east.
To date the only quadrant uncovered is Russia’s south.
And that is where proposed missile shield deployments in Turkey, Israel and the Balkans come into play.
Last autumn the United States began the stationing of its Army Navy/Transportable Radar Surveillance (AN/TPY-2), formerly the Forward Based X-Band Transportable [FBX-T] Radar, to Israel. The AN/TPY-2 is part of the U.S. Army’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor missile system, one intermediate between the ground-based interceptor missiles planned for Poland and the recently developed PAC-3 Patriot theater missile defense, “one of the most comprehensive upgrade programs ever undertaken on an American weapon system.” 
The AN/TPY-2 “operates in the X-band frequency, and is capable of tracking and identifying small objects at long distance and at very high altitude, including space” and is a “high-power, transportable X-Band radar…designed to detect, track and discriminate ballistic missile threats.” 
“The radar in Israel can be only the beginning of the development of the American anti-missile defense systems in the country,” said a leading Russian analyst, Pavel Felgengauer, last September. 
In July of 2008 the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, and his Israeli counterpart Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi approved the deployment and it was later confirmed by Pentagon chief Robert Gates and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, “marking the first permanent U.S. military presence on Israeli soil.” 
A year ago September the U.S. Senate passed an amendment allocating $89 million for the project. At the time Fox New reported that “About 120 American technicians and security guards will be stationed in Israel’s southern Negev Desert to oversee the operation, the first time in the country’s 60-year history that they’ve allowed a foreign military presence to be based here.” 
An Iranian news story shortly thereafter characterized the purpose and importance of the deployment by saying “The…most plausible scenario is that the U.S. intends to add one more strategic military base to the hundreds it operates around the world to contain and intimidate independent countries like Iran, Syria, and Lebanon.” 
Iran, Lebanon and Syria don’t possess nuclear weapons or even long-range missiles that can deliver conventional warheads.
Yet the Jerusalem Post wrote in November of 2008 that the X-band missile radar in Israel has a range of 4,300 kilometers (2,900 miles) and “is reported to be capable of tracking targets the size of a baseball from distances of close” to that range. The South Caucasus is only some 1,200 kilometers from Israel and the distance from Tel Aviv to Moscow is 2,641 kilometers. The U.S. missile radar in Israel, then, can monitor most of Southern and Western Russia.
American-Israel missile radar and surveillance is being integrated with NATO-Israeli operations. A report of last December detailed: “Israel has reportedly provided NATO with intelligence on Iran amid US efforts to portray the country’s military achievements as a threat.
“Israeli diplomats said Sunday that Israel has contributed to the formation of two intelligence reports prepared by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on ‘missile development’ and ‘the nuclear arms race in the Middle East.’” 
Before retiring as secretary general of NATO Jaap de Hoop Scheffer visited Israel this January and while there remarked that “Israel has been the first country to finalize with NATO, in October 2006, a very detailed individual cooperation program, which had been revised and upgraded last November.” 
In the same month the Israeli newspaper Haaretz provided more details on the increased cooperation between NATO and Israel in reporting that the latter was assigning a warship for NATO’s almost eight-year-old Operation Active Endeavor naval surveillance and interdiction operation in the Mediterranean.
“The request is another example of the increasing cooperation between Israel and NATO. Last week, Israeli Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi participated in a meeting of army heads at the organization’s Brussels headquarters.
“[A] liaison officer from the Israeli Navy has also been stationed at the NATO base in Naples, Italy….NATO ships arrived for maneuvers and visits at the ports of Haifa in April 2008 and Eilat April and October 2007. AWACs early warning planes used by the organization landed at an Israel Air Force base in Lod a year ago.” 
The September 7 edition of the Jerusalem Post in a feature called “IDF preparing for US missile systems” announced that the Pentagon and the Israeli Defense Forces are to conduct their regular joint Juniper Cobra military exercises next month and that this year’s drills, “the most complex and extensive to date,” will include “the newly-developed Arrow 2 as well as America’s THAAD (Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense) and the ship-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System.” 
The Arrow 2 is a theater anti-ballistic missile funded and produced in unison by the U.S. and Israel.
The Jerusalem Post article added that “The Defense Ministry is preparing for the possibility that the United States will decide to leave missile defense systems in Israel following a joint missile defense exercise the two countries will hold next month,” and that “the possibility is strong…particularly in light of reports that the Pentagon was conducting a review of its European missile shield and was leaning towards deploying the systems in Turkey.
“According to various European news reports, Turkey, Israel and the Balkans are under evaluation as alternative sites for the systems…..” 
The already existing American missile tracking facility is in the Negev Desert near Dimona where Israel is presumed to store its nuclear weapons.
Almost a year ago a major Russian news source reported that “Lt. Gen. Henry Obering, [then] director of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), has said more than once that Turkey, Georgia and even Ukraine could be future locations for ballistic missile defense systems.
“[T]he Pentagon will most likely choose Turkey or, some Western analysts say, Israel or Japan.” 
A Turkish report of March of 2008 had already indicated what the Pentagon was planning: “Last March Pentagon chief Robert Gates visited Turkey to hold consultations on missile shield plans.
“A powerful, ‘forward based’ X-band radar station could go in southeastern Europe, possibly in Turkey, the Caucasus or the Caspian Sea region, Lt. Gen. Henry Obering, head of the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency, told a defense conference in Washington on Feb. 12.” 
In May of 2008 a Russian newspaper revealed that “the United States may deploy a high-frequency X-band radar in Georgia.” 
More recently, last November the Turkish daily Hurriyet wrote that “Israel and the United States have…declared their desire to establish a one-billion-dollar missile system in Turkey.” 
The deployment of advanced missile tracking and interceptor missile facilities in Israel and Turkey along with others in the South Caucasus – the Gabala radar station in Azerbaijan, currently used by Russia but coveted by Washington, is another possible addition – would nearly complete the stationing of a missile shield ring around Russia.
The third site of the expansion of U.S. and NATO missile interception plans is the Balkans.
Russian political analyst Pyotr Iskenderov wrote on September 3 that a possible location for such a deployment could be in the international no man’s land that is Kosovo.
“In spring of 2009, Albanian Prime-Minister Sali Berisha proposed to the US to locate an anti-missile system in his country if US-Polish talks failed. In Serbia Defense Minister Dragan Sutanovac, who is close to Serbian president Boris Tadic, made scandalous statements in favor of Serbia’s entry to NATO. In this respect the location of a US military base in Serbia could be regarded as a compensation to Belgrade for losing Kosovo. This will also help to drive Russia away from Serbia.” 
Iskenderov theorized that American missiles could be stationed in Camp Bondsteel, the largest overseas U.S. military installation built since the war in Vietnam. The author, in reference to the use of the base for so-called “extraordinary renditions,” said “the main object of the military infrastructure of Kosovo will be the US base of Camp Bondsteel, which is subordinate neither to NATO, nor the UN nor the EU….Here we should recall an unsavory role of Kosovo in the scandal liked with the secret jails of the CIA in Europe.
“If earlier the US managed to hide one of their CIA secret prisons in Kosovo, then it won’t be a problem to install radar and interceptor missiles in Camp Bondsteel.” 
Early this month the U.S. guided-missile destroyer Stout arrived home after a mission in the Black Sea and visits to Georgia, Bulgaria and Romania. It also engaged in naval maneuvers with Israel and Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean in August. Regarding the Black Sea operation, a local American newspaper wrote, “This was the ship’s first deployment with the ballistic missile defense system – a technology designed to track and destroy missiles that can travel more than 600 miles….” 
The extension of American global missile shield designs into the Middle East and Southeastern Europe is an integral part of global geostrategic plans which were summarized concisely and penetratingly by a Bangladeshi writer last November:
“The current NMD [National Missile Defense] project involves using radars in Alaska and California in the US and at Fylingdales in the UK, and in Greenland. The latest plan of deploying a radar base in the Czech Republic is basically relocating the existing radar base at the Kwajalein Atoll [in the] Marshall Islands. Besides, the US plans to install 10 more interceptors in silos in Poland.
“Even after 1991, [the U.S.] did not go for closing down its military bases scattered around the world, but rather continued expanding the network in many strategic positions.
“In Eastern Europe it basically filled the vacuum created by the end of the Warsaw Pact.
“Moreover, Central Asia, a very crucial passageway in the global oil supply chain, also came under the purview of US dominance. These deliberate moves created lots of irritation among regional powers like Russia and China.
“Surely the proposed radar base in the Czech Republic and missile interceptors in Poland are not to protect the US from Iran or North Korea’s missiles but are to ensure the US plan to establish and exercise stringent control over the world using its prevailing 725 military bases.” 
1) Agence France-Presse, August 27, 2009
2) United Press International, August 27, 2009
3) Reuters, August 20, 2009
4) Czech News Agency, August 20, 2009
5) Czech News Agency, September 11, 2009
6) Azeri Press Agency, August 28, 2009
7) Associated Press, September 2, 2009
8) Chosun Ilbo, September 3, 2009
9) National Security Presidential Directive and Homeland Security
11) Global Security, September 3, 2009
12) Trend News Agency, September 13, 2008
13) Defense News, September 27, 2008
14) Fox News, November 10, 2008
15) Tehran Times, October 14, 2008′
16) Press TV, December 7, 2008
17) Haaretz, January 10, 2009
18) Haaretz, November 27, 2008
19) Jerusalem Post, September 7, 2009
21) Russian Information Agency Novosti, September 12, 2008
22) Turkish Daily News, March 12, 2008
23) Nezavisimaya Gazeta, May 14, 2008
24) Hurriyet, November 22, 2008
25) Strategic Culture Foundation, September 4, 2009
27) Virginian-Pilot, September 5, 2009
28) Sultan Mohammed Zakaria, Global hegemony and the victims
Daily Star, November 1, 2008
September 8, 2009
Broader Strategy: West’s Afghan War Targets Russia, China, Iran
The United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization are expanding their nearly eight-year war in Afghanistan both in scope, with deadly drone missile attacks inside Pakistan, and in intensity, with daily reports of more NATO states’ troops slated for deployment and calls for as many as 45,000 American troops in addition to the 68,000 already in the nation and scheduled to be there shortly.
The NATO bombing in Kunduz province on September 4 may well prove to be the worst atrocity yet perpetrated by Western forces against Afghan civilians and close to 20 U.S and NATO troops have been killed so far this month, with over 300 dead this year compared to 294 for all of 2008.
The scale and gravity of the conflict can no longer be denied even by Western media and government officials and the war in South Asia occupies the center stage of world attention for the first time in almost eight years.
The various rationales used by Washington and Brussels to launch, to continue and to escalate the war – short-lived and successive, forgotten and reinvented, transparently insincere and frequently mutually exclusive – have been exposed as fraudulent and none of the identified objectives have been achieved or are likely ever to be so. Osama bin Laden and Omar Mullah have not been captured or killed. Taliban is stronger than at any time since their overthrow eight years ago last month, even – though the name Taliban seems to mean fairly much whatever the West intends it to at any given moment – gaining hitherto unimagined control over the country’s northern provinces.
Opium cultivation and exports, virtually non-existent at the time of the 2001 invasion, are now at record levels, with Afghanistan the world’s largest narcotics producer and exporter.
The Afghan-Pakistani border has not been secured and NATO supply convoys are regularly seized and set on fire on the Pakistani side. Pakistani military offensives have killed hundreds if not thousands on the other side of the border and have displaced over two million civilians in the Swat District and adjoining areas of the North-West Frontier Province.
Yet far from acknowledging that the war, America’s longest since the debacle in Vietnam and NATO’s first ground war and first conflict in Asia, has been a signal failure, U.S. and NATO leaders are clamoring for more troops in addition to the 100,000 already on the ground in Afghanistan and are preparing the public in the fifty nations contributing to that number for a war that will last decades. And still without the guarantee of a successful resolution.
But the West’s South Asian war is a fiasco only if judged by what Washington and Brussels have claimed their objectives were and are. Viewed from a broader geopolitical and strategic military perspective matters may be otherwise.
On September 7 a Russian analyst, Sergey Mikheev, was quoted as saying that the major purpose of the Pentagon moving into Afghanistan and of NATO waging its first war outside of Europe was to exert influence on and domination over a vast region of South and Central Asia that has brought Western military forces – troops, warplanes, surveillance capabilities – to the borders of China, Iran and Russia.
Mikheev claims that “Afghanistan is a stage in the division of the world after the bipolar system failed” and the U.S. and NATO “wanted to consolidate their grip on Eurasia…and deployed a lot of troops there,” adding that as a pretext for doing so “The Taliban card was played, although nobody had been interested in the Taliban before.” 
A compatriot of the writer, Andrei Konurov, earlier this month agreed with the contention that Taliban was and remains more excuse for than cause of the United States and its NATO allies deploying troops and taking over air and other bases in Afghanistan and the Central Asian nations of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. In the case of Kyrgyzstan alone, there were estimates at the beginning of this year that as many as 200,000 U.S. and NATO troops have transited through the Manas air base en route to Afghanistan.
Konurov argued that “With Washington’s non-intervention if not downright encouragement, the Talibs are destabilizing Central Asia and the Uyghur regions of China as well as seeking inroads into Iran. This is the explanation behind the recent upheaval of Uyghur separatism and to an extent behind the activity of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.” 
It must be kept in mind, however, that for the West the term of opprobrium Talib is elastic and can at will be applied to any ethnic Pushtun opponent of Western military occupation and, as was demonstrated with the NATO air strike massacre last Friday, after the fact to anyone killed by Western forces as in multi-ethnic Kunduz province.
The last-cited author also stated, again contrary to received opinion in the West, that “the best option for the US is Afghanistan having no serious central authority whatsoever and a government in Kabul totally dependent on Washington. The inability of such a government to control most of Afghanistan’s territory would not be regarded as a major problem by the US as in fact Washington would in certain ways be able to additionally take advantage of the situation.” 
An Afghanistan that was at peace and stabilized would then be a decided disadvantage for plans to maintain and widen Western military positioning at the crossroads where Russian, Chinese, Iranian, Pakistani and Indian interests meet.
The Russian writer mentions that Washington and its NATO allies have employed the putative campaign against al-Qaeda – and now Taliban as well as the drug trade – to secure, seize and upgrade 19 military bases in Afghanistan and Central Asia, including what can become strategic air bases like former Soviet ones in Bagram, Shindand, Herat, Farah, Kandahar and Jalalabad in Afghanistan. The analyst pointed out that “The system of bases makes it possible for the US to exert military pressure on Russia, China, and Iran.”
It suffices to recall that during the 1980s current U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates was the CIA official in charge of the agency’s largest-ever covert campaign, Operation Cyclone, to arm and train Afghan extremists in military camps in Pakistan for attacks inside Afghanistan. A “porous border” was not his concern at the time.
Konurov ended his article with an admonition:
“There is permanent consensus in the ranks of the US establishment that the US presence in Afghanistan must continue.
“Russia should not and evidently will not watch idly the developments at the southern periphery of post-Soviet space.” 
Iran’s top military commander, Yahya Rahim-Safavi, was quoted in his nation’s media on September 7 offering a comparable analysis and issuing a similar warning. Saying that “The recent security pact between US and NATO and Afghanistan showed the United States has no plan to leave the region,” he observed that “Russia worries about the US presence in Central Asia and China has concerns about US interference in its two main Muslim provinces bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan.” 
To indicate that the range of the Western military threat extended beyond Central Asia and its borders with Russia and China, he also said the “presence of more than 200,000 foreign forces in the region particularly in South-West Asia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Middle East, the expansion of their bases, the sale of billions of dollars of military equipments to Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and looting their oil resources are the root cause of insecurity in South-West Asia, the Persian Gulf region and Iran,” and noted that “US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf had been a cause for concern for Russia, China and Iran.” 
The Iranian concern is hardly unwarranted. The August 31 edition of the Jerusalem Post revealed that “NATO’s interest in Iran has dramatically increased in recent months” and “In December 2006, Israeli Military Intelligence hosted the first of its kind international conference on global terrorism and intelligence, after which Israel and NATO established an intelligence-sharing mechanism.”
The same article quoted an unnamed senior Israeli official as adding, “NATO talks about Iran and the way it affects force structure and building.” 
Six days earlier an American news agency released a report titled “Middle East arms buys top $100 billion” which said “Middle Eastern countries are expected to spend more than $100 billion over the next five years” the result of “unprecedented packages…unveiled by President George W. Bush in January 2008 to counter Iran….” 
The major recipients of American arms will be three nations in the Persian Gulf – Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Iraq – as well as Israel.
Other Gulf states are among those to participate in this unparalleled arms buildup in Iran’s neighborhood. “The core of this arms-buying spree will undoubtedly be the $20 billion U.S. package of weapons systems over 10 years for the six states of the Gulf Cooperation Council – Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E. [United Arab Emirates], Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain.” 
A week ago Nicola de Santis, NATO’s head of the Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative Countries Section in the NATO Public Diplomacy Division, visited the United Arab Emirates and met with the nation’s foreign minister, Anwar Mohammed Gargash.
“Prospects of UAE-NATO cooperation” and “NATO’s Istanbul Cooperation Initiative” were the main topics of discussion. 
The Istanbul Cooperation Initiative was formed at the NATO summit in Turkey in 2004 to upgrade the status of the Mediterranean Dialogue – the Alliance’s military partnerships with Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, Mauritania and Algeria – to that of the Partnership for Peace. The latter was used to prepare twelve nations for full NATO accession over the last ten years.
The second component of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative concerns formal and ongoing NATO military ties with the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council: The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain (where the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet is headquartered), Kuwait, Oman and Qatar.
In May of this year France opened its first foreign military base in half a century in the United Arab Emirates.
In addition to U.S. and NATO military forces and bases in nations bordering Iran – Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey, Pakistan and increasingly Azerbaijan – the Persian Gulf is now becoming a Pentagon and NATO lake.
China is also being encroached upon from several directions simultaneously.
After the visit of the Pentagon’s Central Command chief General David Petraeus to the region in late August, Kyrgyzstan, which borders China, relented and agreed to the resumption of U.S. military transit for the Afghan war.
Tajikistan, which also abuts China, hosts French warplanes which are to be redeployed to Afghanistan this month.
Mongolia, resting between China and Russia, hosts regular Khaan Quest military exercises with the U.S. and has now pledged troops for NATO’s Afghan war.
Kazakhstan, with Russia to its north and China to its southeast, has offered the U.S. and NATO increased transit and other assistance for the Afghan war, with rumors of troop commitments also in the air, and is currently hosting NATO’s 20-nation Zhetysu 2009 exercise.
Late last month China appealed to Washington to halt military surveillance operations in its coastal waters, with its Defense Ministry saying “The constant US air and sea surveillance and survey operations in China’s exclusive economic zone is the root cause of problems between the navies and air forces of China and the US.” 
A spokeswoman for the American embassy in Beijing responded by saying, “The United States exercises its freedom of navigation of the seas under international law….This policy has not changed.” 
The war in Afghanistan was launched four months after Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan formed the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a regional security and economic alliance with a military component. Now the Pentagon and NATO have bases in the last three nations and military cooperation agreements with Kazakhstan.
In 2005 India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as observer states. Now all but Iran are being pulled into the U.S.-NATO orbit. No small part of the West’s plans in South and Central Asia is to neutralize and destroy the SCO as well as the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), founded in 2002 by Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Armenia and Belarus.
Uzbekistan joined in 2006 but after General Petraeus’s visit to the country last month it appears ready to leave the organization. Belarus, Russia’s only buffer along its entire Western border, may not be far behind.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 the U.S. and NATO immediately moved on Central Asia, and the war in Afghanistan has provided them with the opportunity to gain domination over all of South as well as Central Asia and to undermine and threaten the existence of the only regional security bodies – the SCO and CSTO – which could counteract the West’s drive for control of Eurasia.
1) Russia Today, September 7, 2009
2) Strategic Culture Foundation, September 3, 2009
5) Press TV, September 7, 2009
7) Jerusalem Post, August 31, 2009
8) United Press International, August 25, 2009
10) Emirates News Agency, September 1, 2009
11) Agence France-Presse, August 27, 2009