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Stop NATO News February 28, 2011

February 28, 2011 Leave a comment

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1. Four NATO Soldiers Killed In Afghan Attacks

2. NATO Commander Promotes “In-Depth Cyberdefense”

3. U.S., NATO Allies Prepare For Military Intervention In Libya

4. U.S.-South Korea Military Exercise Labelled Preparation For War

5. Editorial: World Craves Peace, Stability

6. Afghan War: NATO Loses 61st Soldier This Year

7. Balochistan: Two More NATO Tankers Torched In Pakistan

8. Israel as NATO Member?

9. UN Troops Slay Policeman: Ivory Coast On Verge Of Civil War

10. Venezuela Accuses U.S., NATO Allies Of Libyan Military Intervention Plans

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1. Four NATO Soldiers Killed In Afghan Attacks

http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/southasia/news/article_1622548.php/Four-NATO-soldiers-killed-in-attacks-in-Afghanistan-Roundup

Deutsche Presse-Agentur
February 28, 2011

Four NATO soldiers killed in attacks in Afghanistan

Kabul: Four soldiers of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) were killed Monday in separate attacks in Afghanistan, the alliance said.

Two ISAF soldiers were killed in the eastern region by a roadside bomb and an attack by suspected Taliban, the military said.

Another soldier was killed in a roadside bombing in the south, while a fourth was killed in the relatively peaceful western region, an ISAF statement said.

ISAF did not reveal the nationalities of the deceased, nor did it provide further details of the attacks or the locations.

However, Italy’s Defence Minister Ignazio La Russa said in Rome that one Italian soldier was killed and four others were injured in Shindand district in western province of Herat.
….
The death brought to 37 the number of Italian soldiers who have died in Afghanistan since Italy began deploying troops in 2004 as part of NATO’s mission.

As part of their annual spring offensive, the Taliban have intensified their assaults on Afghan and international military targets in the recent weeks as the weather warms in southern and eastern regions.

Monday’s fatalities happened a day after two other soldiers lost their lives in separate attacks.

At least 60 foreign soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan so far this year. With more than 700 international forces killed, last year was the deadliest period for NATO forces since the ouster of Taliban regime in late 2001.

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2. NATO Commander Promotes “In-Depth Cyberdefense”

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/28/opinion/28iht-edabrial28.html

International Herald Tribune/New York Times
February 27, 2011

NATO Builds Its Cyberdefenses
By STÉPHANE ABRIAL*

November’s NATO summit in Lisbon agreed to a new security concept that frames the way the alliance will address the full range of emerging threats to our collective peace and security.

Among the most pressing and potentially dangerous of these threats are cyberattacks. NATO leaders committed to a renewed cyberdefense policy and to taking immediate action to protect the alliance’s information systems against hostile attacks.

As the custodian of NATO’s military future, Allied Command Transformation, which I command, has a central role in developing the capabilities and supporting the doctrine that NATO will need to put in place to achieve those objectives.

The decisions taken in Lisbon are only the most recent steps in a process that began with the series of cyberattacks on Estonia in the spring of 2007….The damage they caused to an ally was a wake-up call for NATO. Our cyber-dependent societies and militaries were vulnerable.

Today, a critical element of any cyberdefense strategy is the understanding that cyberspace is international by nature. No one country can deal effectively with cyberthreats on its own.

For its members, NATO offers an established and proven forum for collective action. Cooperation within NATO, however, does not and should not preclude working with other nations, beginning with its partners, and other multilateral or international organizations — the European Union, for example — whose areas of strength in cyberdefense complement those of the alliance.

NATO operations rely heavily on cyber-enabled networks. This dependence has already led the alliance to make significant progress in defending its command, control and cybersystems.
….
Indeed, allied nations need to share data and intelligence both in the conduct of operations and for planning and coordination. Such requirements have been expanding exponentially since the start of our common mission in Afghanistan.
….
Several valuable tools, developed over these past few years, are becoming available to NATO. Its Computer Incident Response Center will be fully operational next year, and the Cooperative Cyber-Defense Center of Excellence, formally established in 2008 in Tallinn, Estonia, is now up and running.

However, these specifically military efforts cannot be isolated from the wider cybersecurity issues our nations are tackling. The alliance thus recognizes the imperative for policies that would bring civilian and military capabilities together.

The concept of “in-depth cyberdefense,” which was endorsed at the Lisbon summit, is not intended to be a military-only, or even a military-centric, strategy. It necessarily cuts across the portfolios of a variety of actors, as it spans the technology employed, the awareness of users, and the physical protection of key elements of our hardware.

As a consequence, civilian authorities in all member nations have the lead responsibility on cybersecurity. NATO is therefore working in support of whole-of-government approaches to cyberdefense — led by civilian agencies in each nation — and with actors outside government.

Key among these are commercial suppliers and the wider industrial base, since NATO-wide, 85 percent of critical infrastructure is in private hands.

In discussing a hypothetical major attack, NATO leaders are often asked what circumstances would trigger a response under Article V of the Washington treaty — in other words, when would an attack against one be considered an attack on all?

It would not be prudent to try to define exact tripwires in advance, or to tie our hands as to how we would react. But assuredly, the alliance would respond deliberately to any significant attack, adapting its reaction to the extent of the damage, the degree of certainty in attribution, the identity of the attackers and their perceived intentions.
….
In cyberspace and across a wide range of emerging threats, the decisions taken in Lisbon fully enable NATO to continue to deliver the type of credible collective defense that has made it the most successful alliance in the modern era.

*General Stéphane Abrial of France is the commander of NATO’s Allied Command Transformation based in Norfolk, Virginia.

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3. U.S., NATO Allies Prepare For Military Intervention In Libya

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/28/world/europe/28military.html

New York Times
February 28, 2011

U.S. and Allies Weigh Libya No-Fly Zone
By JOHN M. BRODER

-There are several United States and NATO bases in Italy that presumably would be staging areas for any action against Libya, including the United States Sixth Fleet base near Naples. After the treaty was signed, Italy had to explain to NATO that it would respect its multilateral international treaties.

WASHINGTON: Obama administration officials held talks on Sunday with European and other allied governments as they readied plans for the possible imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya….

Further increasing international pressure on Colonel Qaddafi, the Libyan leader, Italy suspended a 2008 treaty with Libya that includes a nonaggression clause, a move that could allow it to take part in future peacekeeping [sic] operations in Libya or enable the use of its military bases in any possible intervention.

“We signed the friendship treaty with a state, but when the counterpart no longer exists — in this case the Libyan state — the treaty cannot be applied,” Italy’s foreign minister, Franco Frattini, said Sunday in a television interview.

White House, State Department and Pentagon officials held talks with their European and NATO counterparts about how to proceed in imposing flight restrictions over Libya….

A diplomat at the United Nations said that any such action would require further debate among the 15 nations of the Security Council, which was unlikely to act….

Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary general, was scheduled to meet with President Obama on Monday afternoon at the White House to discuss the deteriorating situation in Libya.

Obama administration officials said Sunday that they were also discussing whether the American military could disrupt communications to prevent Colonel Qaddafi from broadcasting in Libya. In addition, the administration was looking at whether the military could be used to set up a corridor in neighboring Tunisia or Egypt to assist refugees.

“There hasn’t been discussion that I’m aware of related to military intervention beyond that, and a discussion of that nature would have to begin at the U.N.,” a senior administration official said. But, the official added, “I wouldn’t say we’ve ruled anything out, either.”

Italy’s treaty with Libya, signed by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in August 2008, calls on Italy to pay Libya $5 billion over 20 years in reparations for its colonial past there. In return, Libya pledged to help block the flow of illegal immigrants to Italy and grant favorable treatment for Italian companies seeking to do business in Libya.

But the treaty also contains a nonaggression clause that some analysts said complicated Italy’s position in the event of international military intervention in Libya. In it, Italy pledges not to use “direct or indirect” military force against Libya, or to allow the use of its territory “in any hostile act against Libya.”

There are several United States and NATO bases in Italy that presumably would be staging areas for any action against Libya, including the United States Sixth Fleet base near Naples. After the treaty was signed, Italy had to explain to NATO that it would respect its multilateral international treaties.

An Italian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Maurizio Massari, noted that Italy had suspended the treaty, not revoked it, and would evaluate how to proceed as the conflict in Libya evolved.

At the United Nations, there was no formal discussion about Libya on Sunday, as diplomats weighed possible next steps and digested the Security Council resolutions passed Saturday night that imposed an arms embargo and economic sanctions on Libya.

An American official, who discussed United Nations deliberations on the condition that he not be identified, said the Security Council had moved more quickly on Libya than on almost any issue in recent years. The body is poised to take further steps, if warranted, like “a rapid deterioration, a significant uptick in violence,” he said. “In terms of big ideas like a no-fly zone, if the international community is ready, and there is a need to impose a no-fly zone or authorize use of force, that would require another whole debate and resolution.”

Helene Cooper contributed reporting from Washington, and Rachel Donadio from Rome.

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4. U.S.-South Korea Military Exercise Labelled Preparation For War

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/02/28/46507860.html

Voice of Russia
February 28, 2011

Joint US-S.Korea military exercise labelled preparation for war

Around 200,000 South Korean and 12,800 US troops will take part in the Key Resolve/Foal Eagle drills.

Apart from the massive number of troops the exercises will feature a lot of military hardware, including the 97,000-tonne Ronald Reagan, one of US largest aircraft carriers.

The North has labelled Key Resolve/Foal Eagle a preparation for war.

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5. Editorial: World Craves Peace, Stability

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-02/28/c_13752814.htm

Xinhua News Agency
February 28, 2011

World craves peace, stability

BEIJING: Over the past week, the world saw a devastating earthquake in New Zealand, continuous unrests or clashes in some countries in the Middle East and Africa as well as formidable oil price spirals. Peace and stability are what the world is most craving for.

On Tuesday, a 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck New Zealand’s South Island city of Christchurch. The confirmed death toll there rose to 145 on Saturday evening, while the number of missing people surpassed 200.

Although the authorities have started to clean the ruins of the quake, people are still expecting any miraculous return of those missing people, including 23 Chinese nationals.

Also, families in various countries are waiting to meet their family members or relatives who have been withdrawn or will be withdrawn from turbulent Libya, a key oil producing country located in North Africa.

So far, more than 20,000 Chinese citizens have been evacuated from Libya safely due to swift, efficient efforts made by the Chinese government.

Influences caused by social unrests were even worse.

In Cote d’Ivoire which is mired in disputes over the country’s presidency, violence has been escalating in the past week and the security situation is deteriorating.

Since the presidential election in November last year, conflicts caused by the disputes over the election results have left more than 300 people dead. Prospect of mediation by the African Union is dim and the Western African country comes closer to the brink of civil war.

The security situation in the Middle East and North Africa is also uncertain, bringing about great social impacts and economic losses.

As the world’s main oil producing area, the disturbance in this region has made global oil prices soar and world stock markets plunge, casting a heavy shadow on the global economic recovery.

In turbulent Tunisia, its pillar industries, including tourism, have been significantly hurt and the direct economic loss suffered by the North African country has amounted to more than 2 billion U.S. dollars.

Political turmoil in Egypt also has cost the country 17 billion dollars.

In the past week, the daily oil production in the world slumped sharply due to the escalation of domestic instability in Libya, spurring the world oil price above 100 dollars per barrel for the first time since October 2008.

The expectation for higher oil prices also will quicken the rises of grain prices, thus bringing higher consumer prices and increasing the global inflation pressure.

Some economists pointed out that, if the oil price rises to 120 dollars per barrel, the world may slip into a new round of economic recession.

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6. Afghan War: NATO Loses 61st Soldier This Year

http://www.pajhwok.com/en/2011/02/27/isaf-soldier-dead-roadside-blast

Pajhwok Afghan News
February 27, 2011

ISAF soldier dead in roadside blast

KABUL: A foreign soldier was killed in a roadside bombing in southern Afghanistan on Sunday, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said.

The death was announced in a statement from the NATO-led force that neither revealed the soldier’s nationality nor the exact location of the explosion.

Since the beginning of 2011, 61 international service members have been killed in Afghanistan. Last year, 711 foreign troops were killed in the country.

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7. Balochistan: Two More NATO Tankers Torched In Pakistan

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=20112\28\story_28-2-2011_pg7_9

Daily Times
February 28, 2011

Two NATO tankers torched in Kalat

QUETTA: Unidentified armed men torched two NATO containers carrying goods for the alliance’s forces stationed in Afghanistan, in Mangochar, Kalat district, on Sunday.

According to police sources, the containers were going to Chaman from Karachi when unidentified persons set them on fire in the Kalat district and managed to escape. Personnel of the Levies Force and other law enforcement agencies rushed to the spot soon after the incident and cordoned off the area.

A case has been registered against the unidentified persons and investigations are underway. No group claimed responsibility for the attack.

NATO trucks and oil tankers are regular targets of arson attacks blamed on terrorists attempting to disrupt two key supply lines that cross western Pakistan bound for foreign troops fighting in neighbouring Afghanistan.

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8. Israel as NATO Member?

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2011/02/israel-as-nato-member-clifford-kiracofe.html#more

Israel as NATO Member? – Clifford Kiracofe

Cosmetics heir Ronald Lauder, Reagan’s ambassador to Austria who
heads the World Jewish Congress, recently demanded that Israel be
admitted to membership in NATO.

This proposal has been raised over the past decade in academic and in political circles but the rapidly changing situation in the Arab world, and in the Middle East, gives it a sense of urgency for Zionists around the world seeking protection for the “Jewish State”.

The “Israel as NATO member” concept was promoted at the
neoconish Hoover Institution in 2005. Well established at Stanford
University, Hoover received special attention in the George W. Bush
administration owing to its close links to former Secretary of State George Shultz and to then Secretary of State Condi Rice.

In 2005, the concept was presented in a paper for Hoover’s publication, Policy Review. Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Ronald D. Asmus and Bruce P. Jackson wrote the piece entitled “Does Israel Belong in the EU and in NATO?” Jackson, who has close ties to the Bush family, was a leading advocate of the war against Iraq and
worked closely with George Shultz to promote it behind the scenes.

Asmus and Jackson concluded that: “…we believe there is a compelling strategic argument why Israel should explore the option of building closer ties to the Euro-Atlantic community. As noted, we are living in a moment of strategic fluidity — both across the Atlantic and in the Middle East. The future contours of the Euro-Atlantic community are likely to settle in the years ahead. The question is whether they will come to an end on the northern edge of the wider Middle East and stop with Turkey and the Black Sea region — or whether they will reach down to embrace a democratic country like Israel as well. In the Middle East itself, we may be entering a new phase of strategic fluidity as well .”

In February 2006, the concept was introduced at the prestigious and influential annual Munich Conference on security. No less than neoconish Jose-Maria Aznar, Spanish Prime Minister (1996-2004), advocated it and featured it in a special report on NATO expansion prepared by his own foundation in Spain. Aznar has good relations with Shultz and others at the Hoover Institution and one would expect some coordination.

Conveniently, a piece then appeared in the Washington Post on 21
February 2006 entitled “Israel as a NATO Member” by Ronald D. Asmus.

For his part, Aznar breathlessly pushed the idea again in an op-ed for the Times (London) on 17 June 2010:

“Israel is our first line of defence in a turbulent region that is constantly at risk of descending into chaos; a region vital to our energy security owing to our overdependence on Middle Eastern oil; a region that forms the front line in the fight against extremism. If
Israel goes down, we all go down.”

Ronald Lauder this year, during the annual Herzliya Conference
in Israel, pushed the concept again. For the Euros he wrote an op-ed for
the major German newspaper Die Welt published 8 February. According to
the Jewish Telegraph Agency wire story promoting the piece globally:

“Writing in an editorial published Tuesday in the major daily
Die Welt, Lauder said current events in Egypt, Tunisia and other Muslim
countries show both the forces of “freedom, democracy and economic
participation” at work as well as “how unpredictable developments in the
Middle East are. If NATO is to continue upholding “our basic principles
and our Western way of life,” then Israel, “the only democracy in the
Middle East,” deserves guarantees for its peace and security that
membership in NATO would help provide, Lauder wrote.”

Given the rapidly changing situation in the Arab world, and the
overall situation in the Middle East, increased pressure by the global
pro-Israel Lobby for closer NATO-Israel relations should come as no
surprise.

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9. UN Troops Slay Policeman: Ivory Coast On Verge Of Civil War

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iXj6O_DnXHsfK8j92gi-0Ph9Q65Q?docId=CNG.197855ec51913ae17dc42500b058c6f7.d81

Agence France-Presse
February 27, 2011

Three UN soldiers hurt in I.Coast attack: UN

ABIDJAN: Forces backing Ivory Coast [president] Laurent Gbagbo have injured three soldiers of the UN mission in the country in an attack in the economic capital Abidjan, the UN said Sunday.

Armed forces loyal to Gbagbo ambushed and wounded three peacekeepers late Saturday in the Abidjan district of Abobo, a statement from the UN mission in Ivory Coast said.

“The peacekeepers were on patrol….The patrol was forced to return the fire.”

The mission said that young Gbagbo supporters had damaged four UN vehicles in Abidjan Friday and Saturday.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Friday warned that Ivory Coast was on the brink of civil war as fighting surged between backers of rival claimants to the presidency.

Police loyal to outgoing president Gbagbo also accused the United Nations mission in the country of killing a police officer in the central town of Daloa on Friday.

The UN mission condemned the violence against it and said “this new escalation of violence and attacks against the mission and its staff are encouraged by the propaganda of president Gbagbo’s supporters, which is based on imaginary facts.”

It warned that attacks against the mission which protects Gbagbo’s rival…Alassane Ouattara, “are considered a war crime”.

The spokesmen of Gbagbo’s government and his FDS security forces could not be reached for comment late Sunday.

In a separate development the country’s RTI state television network, which is controlled by Gbagbo, went off the air in Abidjan Sunday after a transmitter was attacked by forces loyal to the strongman overnight, the company said.

Residents reported violent clashes between Gbagbo’s FDS forces and Ouattara loyalists in Abobo where the RTI transmitter is located.

Ivory Coast has been gripped by increasing unrest since a presidential poll on November 28, which much of the international community acknowledges was won by opposition leader Ouattara.

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10. Venezuela Accuses U.S., Allies Of Libyan Military Intervention Plans
Sun Feb 27, 2011 8:39 pm (PST)

http://www.aysor.am/en/news/2011/02/25/chaves-usa-libya/

Aysor (Armenia)
February 25, 2011

Chavez blames U.S. for planning military intervention in Libya U.S.

President Barack Obama called on the leaders of Great Britain, France and Italy to combine their efforts in responding to the political crisis in Libya.

Washington reports that Pentagon is going to present its view of the development of the situation to the President, BBC reports.

Meanwhile Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez blamed U.S. and its allies for planning a military intervention in Libya.

According to the Venezuelan Foreign Minister, the uprising was created artificially to substantiate the necessity of intervention, targeting at Libyan oil, the source reports.

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO News February 27, 2011

February 27, 2011 Leave a comment

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1. Cyprus: NATO Eyes Only Non-Member/Partner European Nation

2. Defense Minister: Russia To Deploy Troops To Kuril Islands

3. U.S.-Pakistan Row Over CIA Killer Deepens

4. Integration: NATO Caucasus-Central Asia Representative To Visit Washington

5. Unilateral Concession: Russia Allows U.S. Afghan War Troop Transit

6. Pakistan: Blast Destroys Six NATO Oil Tankers

7. U.S. Holds Military Exercise On Guam

8. DM: Russia To Reinforce, Rearm Division On Kuril Islands

9. Germany: Europe Must Back ‘Pro-Democracy Uprisings’ In Arab World

10. UN, France Knew Of KLA Crimes, Sheltered Perpetrators

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1. Cyprus: NATO Eyes Only Non-Member/Partner European Nation

http://famagusta-gazette.com/cyprus-edges-to-joining-pfp-p11346-69.htm

[Excluding microstates, Cyprus is the only European nation that is not a NATO member or incorporated into one or more partnership arrangements.]

Famagusta Gazette
February 25, 2011

Cyprus edges to joining PfP
Cyprus is the only EU-member state not a member of the PfP

With 32 votes in favour, 17 against and one no vote, Parliament ratified a proposal for Cyprus to join the Partnership for Peace.

MPs for DISY, DIKO, EDEK and EVROKO voted in favour, while AKEL MPs voted against, and the Cyprus Greens abstained.

Arguments in favour of the PfP say Cyprus’ membership will boost its credibility on the international stage and broaden the chances of it exercising a more active role in the EU.

Members of the Pancypriot Council for Peace demonstrated outside Parliament this morning to protest against the Parliamentary majority decision to adopt a decision for Cyprus to join the Partnership for Peace.
Also at the demo was AKEL leader Andros Kyprianou and AKEL MPs and candidate MPs.

The demonstrators shouted slogans against NATO and the PfP.
Cyprus is the only EU-member state not a member of the PfP.

It is expected that President Christofias will take the decision to the supreme court as he believes Parliament’s decision violates the Constitution.

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2. Defense Minister: Russia To Deploy Troops To Kuril Islands

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/02/26/46316474.html

Voice of Russia
February 26, 2011

Russian troops to be deployed on Kuril Islands

Russia will deploy troops on the Kunashir and Iturup Kuril Islands, says Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdiukov, currently on a working tour of the Russian Far East.

According to him, a machine gun-artillery division will be deployed there at two military bases.

The division will boast most advanced communications systems, as well as electronic warfare systems and radars.

Kunashir and Iturup are the two of the four South Kuril Islands that Japan lays claims to.

They formed part of the USSR as a result of the Second World War, and their current status is set down in relevant international treaties.
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http://en.rian.ru/russia/20110226/162769746.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
February 26, 2011

Russia to deploy units on Iturup, Kunashir Islands – defense minister

VLADIVOSTOK: Russia will deploy military units on Iturup and Kunashir, part of the Kuril Islands, Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said on Saturday.

“We will most likely base in two military towns on two islands – Iturup and Kunashir,” Serdyukov told journalists in Vladivostok, Russia’s Far East.

The defense minister said his trip to the Far East is aimed at analyzing how the machine gun-artillery division will be “integrated” with the Russian forces located in Vladivostok, Sakhalin and Kamchatka.

“The grouping will be changed by its structure. It is highly likely that staff will be slightly cut but it will be reinforced by the newest communications systems, electronic warfare and radar stations,” Serdyukov said.

Earlier this month, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Moscow will increase its military presence on the South Kuril Islands to “ensure the security of the islands as an unalienable part of Russia.”

A General Staff official said that S-400 missile defense systems could possibly be deployed to the islands to protect them from possible attacks.

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3. U.S.-Pakistan Row Over CIA Killer Deepens

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-02/26/c_13751473.htm

Xinhua News Agency
February 26, 2011

Pakistan, U.S. diplomatic row over shooter deepens
by Muhammad Tahir

ISLAMABAD: The diplomatic row between Pakistan and the United States over an American employee, facing double murder charges, has further deepened after recent startling disclosures that he is an undercover secret agent of the CIA and was on a special mission in Pakistan.

Raymond Davis, an employee of the American Consulate in the east city of Lahore, shot dead two Pakistanis on Jan. 27, claiming that he had acted in self-defence. Davis was later arrested as his car was stuck up in the traffic after his brazen attack. Another Pakistani was crushed to death by the U.S. consulate car, when it arrived at the scene for Davis help.

Pakistan spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence or ISI has now confirmed to the media that Davis is a CIA agent and was on a special mission and also in contact with some elements in the troubled and militants-infested Waziristan tribal region.

After revelation that Davis is an undercover CIA agent the ISI has now started scrutiny of U.S. employees in Pakistan and reportedly asked the CIA to provide details of their agents spread across Pakistan. This will never happen, as the CIA keeps all operations by its undercover agents in Pakistan highly secret, according to security experts.

The U.S. media reports that the CIA has now suspended all contacts with the ISI show that the Davis controversy has pushed the two close allies in anti-terror war to a clash of interests and the already mistrust has further deepened.

There had been a two-week lull in the U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal region since Davis had been arrested in Lahore on Jan. 27. Pakistan and even the U.S. media reported that Davis was also a source of receiving information from his contacts in Waziristan for drone strikes. There has been only one strike in North Waziristan over the past month. The second was in South Waziristan in the same period.

No immediate relief is in sight for the U.S. shooter as the court in Lahore has set March 3 for framing formal murder charges against the shooter. A local court would formally chargesheet the U.S. killer on the application by lawyer of the family of one of the slain men.

Davis refused to sign the chargesheet on Friday after the lawyer handed it over. The court gives him a week time to read the charges and sign it. The court will make decision even if he refuses to sign the chargesheet.

The Davis episode has already caused serious rift between the Pakistan and the U.S. as the U.S. officials and even President Barrack Obama himself demanded his release as they claimed he enjoys diplomatic immunity. But Pakistanis insisted Davis does not enjoy blanket immunity and that the court will decide his fate. The Lahore High Court will hear the case of his diplomatic immunity in the 2nd week of March.

Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani said his government would not surrender to any pressure and told the parliament last week that the court will decide the case.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari also urged the U.S. to respect Pakistani courts. The U.S. opposes court trial of the shooter and argues he could not be tried in court under Vienna Convention. Influential U.S. Senator John Kerry traveled to Pakistan on an unannounced visit to Pakistan this month but returned empty handed.

The controversy has already badly hit ties between the two anti- terror allies and the U.S. suspended high level talks with Pakistan and had cancelled a planned tri-parties meeting in Washington scheduled to be held this month. The trilateral meeting, also involving Afghanistan, was to be hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to discuss Afghanistan issues. The meeting was important as the U.S. will begin phased withdrawal this year and wants to see some solid progress.

Several U.S. lawmakers warned against aid suspension to the militancy-hit Pakistan, whose economy mainly depends on foreign aid and loans. Even before the current controversy was started, Pakistan and American leaders had talked about mistrust and differences on several issues and the issue of Davis has brought the two allies at the brink of a physiological war between the intelligence agencies.

The American intelligence seemed to be the main looser in this war of words as they are in a dire need of intelligence sharing from their Pakistani counterparts, analysts said. And Pakistanis would be unwilling to extend any help after disclosure that the U. S. may have spread a net of undercover agents in Pakistan.

It is believed that the conflict may also have a negative impact on U.S. strategy in Afghanistan which also include Pakistan’s possible role to use its influence on the Afghan Taliban. There would be a little hope for Islamabad’s role in political reconciliation in Afghanistan if the U.S. intelligence continued its controversy with Pakistan.

The Davis issue is also a big test case for the Pakistani government as a majority in Pakistan wants the government to reject U.S. pressure and let the court decides his fate.

Many Pakistanis want the U.S. shooter be handed down severe punishment. The government has so for adopted a firm stand on the issue and it will be difficult for it to show any weakness.

The issue was also raised in the parliament and lawmakers called for severe punishment to the American man. Several demonstrations were held across Pakistan and the demonstrators called for hanging of what they called the American killer.

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4. Integration: NATO Caucasus-C. Asia Rep To Visit Washington

http://en.apa.az/news.php?id=141620

Azeri Press Agency
February 26, 2011

NATO special representative for Caucasus and Central Asia to visit Washington next week
Isabel Levine

Washington: James Appathurai, special representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia for NATO, will discuss regional problems, as well as the frozen conflicts with US officials next week, APA’s US correspondent reports.

On March 2, Mr. Appathurai will explain the “New Security Challenges, New NATO” policy to US based the analysts on South Caucasus and Central Asia regions in Washington DC.

The NATO’s priorities in both regions and integration issues also will be on the agenda of visit.

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5. Unilateral Concession: Russia Allows U.S. Afghan War Troop Transit

http://en.apa.az/news.php?id=141609

Azeri Press Agency
February 26, 2011

Russian parliament ratifies US Afghan transit deal

Baku: Russia’s lower house of parliament ratified an agreement Friday to allow the United States to ferry troops and supplies across Russian territory for military operations in Afghanistan, APA reports quoting “Associated Press”.

The Kremlin-controlled State Duma voted 347-95 in favor of the 2009 deal, which has already been implemented pending ratification.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told the Duma that there have been 780 U.S. flights over Russia — carrying 115,000 [perhaos 15,000] U.S. troops and more than 19,000 metric tons of cargo to and from Afghanistan — since September 2009.

Ryabkov said the air route has accounted for 16 percent of all U.S. military shipments to and from the country. He said the agreement has helped improve ties with the U.S. and NATO and protects Russia’s interests in other areas.

Russia has struck similar deals with Germany, France and Spain and has touted them as a key contribution to international efforts to stabilize Afghanistan.

Communists, who opposed the ratification, denounced the agreement with the U.S. as a “unilateral concession.”

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6. Pakistan: Blast Destroys Six NATO Oil Tankers

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=20112\27\story_27-2-2011_pg7_6

Associated Press of Pakistan
February 27, 2011

Blast destroys 7 NATO oil tankers

PESHAWAR: Seven oil tankers were destroyed due to an explosion at the Ring Road on Saturday.

According to official sources, the oil tankers, which were carrying oil for NATO forces, were parked at the Tor Baba stop on the Ring Road.

The explosion occurred in one of the oil tankers, setting it ablaze. The fire also engulfed six other tankers, which were parked nearby.

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7. U.S. Holds Military Exercise On Guam

http://www.pacificnewscenter.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=11800:guam-bases-to-participate-in-marianas-shield-2011&catid=45:guam-news&Itemid=156

Pacific News Center
February 26, 2011

Guam Bases to Participate in Marianas Shield 2011

Guam: Marianas Shield 2011 will be conducted on military installations on Guam starting next Monday, February 28 thourgh Saturday, March 4.

The exercise is designed to enhance the training and readiness of military security personnel to respond to threats to installations and units.

Measures have been taken to minimize disruptions to normal base and station operations, but there may be times when the exercise causes increased traffic around bases or delays in base access.

Area residents may see and hear increased security activity associated with the exercise.

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8. DM: Russia To Reinforce, Rearm Division On Kuril Islands

http://www.itar-tass.com/eng/level2.html?NewsID=15992753&PageNum=0

Itar-Tass
February 26, 2011

Russia to reinforce, rearm division on Kurile Islands — DM

VLADIVOSTOK: Russia will restructure and rearm its 18th Machinegun and Artillery Division on the Kurile Islands, Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said.

The minister is on a two-day trip to Kamchatka and Vladivostok.

“In part, the purpose of this trip was to see how the machinegun and artillery division will be integrated into the forces deployed in Vladivostok, Sakhalin and Kamchatka,” Serdyukov said on Saturday, February 26.

“The grouping will change its structure: it may actually be slightly reduced by a small number of people,” he said. But “it will be reinforced with the newest communication and electronic warfare systems and radars,” he added.

“It will most likely be deployed in two compounds on two islands – Kunashir and Irutup,” Serdyukov said. “That will be quite enough,” he added.

The 18th Machinegun and Artillery Division is the only such permanent readiness unit in the Russian Armed Forces. Its regiments are stationed on Kunashir and Iturup and armed with tanks, armoured fighting vehicles, artillery systems, air defence and anti-tank systems, and machineguns.

Russia may build up its military presence on the Kurile Islands if faced with a security threat, State Duma Defence Committee Chairman Viktor Zavarzin said earlier.

President Dmitry Medvedev said the islands of the Kurile Ridge should have enough armaments to ensure their security.

“The armaments to be additionally deployed there should be necessary, sufficient and modern to ensure the security of these islands as an integral part of the Russian Federation,” Medvedev said at a meeting with Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and Minister of Regional Development Viktor Basargin in early February.

“Keep it under control, so that all the necessary decisions are implemented, supplies effected and the required reorganisation measures, if necessary, are carried through,” he instructed the defence minister.

“The Kurile Islands are in fact of strategic importance for us, and we have a military unit stationed there. We are well aware that our frontiers must be effectively protected,” Zavarzin said.

He recalled that “the state armament programme up to 2020 has been approved, for which 20 trillion roubles will be earmarked”.

The programme calls for providing the Armed Forcers with new arms and equipment, with a focus on the development of the strategic nuclear capability, the Navy, missile defence, high-precision systems, reconnaissance and control.

“So if the situation warrants, we can increase our presence [on the Kurile Islands] as well as in any other region where our security is threatened,” Zavarzin said.

His deputy Igor Barinov also confirmed earlier in the day that Russia would deploy defensive weapons on the Kurile Island as a political measure.

“The General Staff will decide which arms should be deployed there. It will also determine possible threats in that area and the resources that are available to our Armed Forces,” Barinov said.

“Of course, these should be tactical weapons. We understand that we have no potential enemies with nuclear weapons in that region, except for North Korea, but I think it is not threatening us,” the lawmaker said.

“Second, these should be defensive weapons – air defence systems, medium-range missiles – because we plan no offensive operations in the Far East. But nor will we cede even an inch of our own land,” he said.

According to Barinov, practical steps to follow Medvedev’s statements “will be more of a political nature in order to make it clear for some hotheads in Japan that there will be no revision of the results of World War II and that no territorial changes are planned.”

Russia will also use Mistral ships in the Pacific Fleet, including for protecting the South Kurile Islands, an informed source at the Defence Ministry said.

“Considerable appropriations will be made for improving the infrastructure of military compounds and garrisons of the 18th Machinegun and Artillery Division in the Eastern Military District, which are deployed on the islands of the Kurile Ridge. The division stationed in the South Kurile Islands has not undergone any organisational changes during military reform in Russia,” the source told Itar-Tass.

“We plan to replace the division’s weapons and hardware that have expended their service life with new ones,” the source said.

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9. Germany: Europe Must Back ‘Pro-Democracy Uprisings’ In Arab World

http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,14876073,00.html

Deutsche Welle
February 26, 2011

Wulff says Europe must show ‘courage’ in backing Arab uprisings

German President Christian Wulff Saturday called for Europe to show more ‘courage and resolve’ in supporting political change across the Arab world. He was speaking at the start of a three-day visit to Kuwait and Qatar.

At the start of a three-day visit to the Gulf nations of Kuwait and Qatar, German President Christian Wulff urged Europe to redouble efforts to support pro-democracy uprisings sweeping the Arab world.

“Don’t miss the boat on (fulfilling) the expectations on Europe in this hour,” Wulff said in an appeal to EU member states to back people’s movements in Arab countries.

Wulff spoke of the “dawn of a new era in Europe’s immediate neighborhood,” adding that it could lead to permanent stability in the Arab world. He added that Germany could play a role in helping the region open up to greater democracy.

“Europe must prove its capacity to take action and make constructive offers,” Wulff said, adding that Germany’s offers of assistance to Tunisia and Egypt also encouraged popular protest movements in other countries.

On Saturday, the president joined in celebrations marking the 20 years since Kuwait’s liberation from an invasion by Iraq’s Saddam Hussein. He arrived after a military parade for talks with Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and other state guests.

Kuwait has remained relatively calm after the emir gave citizens up to $3,600 (2,600 euros) – officially to celebrate the country’s independence – after uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt led to the toppling of regimes there.

Visit amid political upheaval

Wulff’s visit comes at a sensitive time for several Gulf leaders, with many uncertain of their hold on power in the months to come as popular uprisings rock the Arab world.

Wulff passed a damning verdict on the events in Libya before departing, branding leader Moammar Gadhafi a “psychopath.”

“He is terrorizing his own people [...] It’s terrorism by the state. That seems to be the approach, which one can call psychopathic.”

Wulff continues his trip to Qatar later on Saturday, where Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani is looking to win over an international audience through a series of careful political reforms.

Qatar has strong economic ties with Germany. Wulff is no stranger to the Qatari leadership, after having helped broker the oil-rich state’s purchase of a 17-percent stake in German carmaker Volkswagen. Wulff sat on the VW board in his previous role as state premier of Lower Saxony.

Qatar also owns shares in German building company Hochtief, and the German state-owned rail operator Deutsche Bahn plans to oversee development of a train network ahead of the 2022 Soccer World Cup.

Author: Gabriel Borrud (dpa, dapd)
Editor: Sonia Phalnikar

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10. UN, France Knew Of KLA Crimes, Sheltered Perpetrators

http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics-article.php?yyyy=2011&mm=02&dd=26&nav_id=72931

Tanjug News Agency
February 26, 2011

“UN, France knew about KLA crimes”

-Ramush Haradinaj, Thaci and Haliti all began their careers in Switzerland, which was the center of KLA activities and the place where, prior to 1999, enormous money intended for the KLA financing had been collected.

FRANKFURT: The UN and France knew about KLA leaders’ link with the organized crime and protected and sheltered them, Frankfurt-based Serbian language daily Vesti writes.

The daily cited statements from a testimony of a well-known French criminologist, Xavier Raufer, relating to one of the Albanian mafia bosses Xhavit Haliti, who is now deputy parliament speaker.

Haliti has been linked to the worst kind of mafia activities in reports by several Western intelligence services, as well as in a recent report by NATO and in a report Dick Marty submitted to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

Raufer, a Paris-based professor of criminology, warned members of one of the committees of the French Senate already in 2003 that, after the establishment of the UN administration in Kosovo, Haliti had been arrested possessing drugs and a large amount of money but had nevertheless been immediately protected and released.

According to the record from a hearing in the French Senate held on March 12, 2003, dedicated to the national fight against drugs, in which Raufer answered questions by Senator Paul Giraud, a large number of criminals arrived in Western Europe at the time of the admission of refugees from Kosovo.

The French criminologist said that a number of security officials and university professors had warned the French government not to grant Haliti a visa when he had come to attend the talks on Kosovo’s future in Rambouillet in 1999, stressing that Haliti was much more a mafia godfather than a small bandit-patriot, that he was a “mafioso of the first order”, one of the financiers and without any doubt the godfather of the young Hashim Thaci at the time.

Ramush Haradinaj, Thaci and Haliti all began their careers in Switzerland, which was the center of KLA activities and the place where, prior to 1999, enormous money intended for the KLA financing had been collected.

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO News February 26, 2011

February 26, 2011 Leave a comment

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stopnato-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
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1. Bahrain: Top U.S. Military Officer Visits New Marine Base

2. Pakistan: Six Killed As 40 NATO Oil

3. 15,000 U.S. Troops Have Transited Russia For Afghan War

4. Russia Stands Firm On Kurils

5. After 103 Deaths, U.S. Troops Abandon Afghan Valley

6. International Critics Blast 21st Century Global NATO

7. Hungary: U.S., NATO Conduct 30-Year Global Strategic Airlift Operations For Afghan And Future Wars

8. Massive Azores Base: U.S. Air Force Supports Egyptian Military Transport Plane

9. Envoy: U.S. To Shore Up Georgian Client State

10. NATO Chief Addresses European Union Defense Ministers In Hungary On Balkans, Horn Of Africa And Libya

11. Djibouti: U.S.’s Military Chief Tours Main Military Base In Africa

12. Cyprus Peace Council, MPs Protest Against NATO, PfP

13. Afghan Probe: NATO Gunships Killed 65 Civilians, Including 50 Women And Children

14. Italian MEP And Crime Expert: Kosovo Is Mafia State, U.S. And Europe Wanted War

15. Top Military Chief: Russia May Deploy Warships To Kurils

16. NATO Holds Submarine Warfare Exercise In Eastern Mediterranean

17. Pentagon Supports NATO Conference With 13 Mideast, N. Africa Partners

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1. Bahrain: Top U.S. Military Officer Visits New Marine Base

http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=62948

U.S. Department of Defense
February 25, 2011

Marine Forward Element Set Up to Help in Middle East
By Donna Miles

MANAMA, Bahrain: Traveling through the Middle East to confer with U.S. allies in the midst of regional unrest, the top U.S. military officer visited a new Marine Corps headquarters element here….

Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, checked in today on the Marine Corps Forces Central Command Forward element at Naval Support Activity Bahrain.

The headquarters stood up in November to bring Marine Corps Forces Central Command what its other sister services already have: a forward element within the 20-nation Centcom area of operations.

“Trying to conduct business from the MARFORCENT headquarters in Tampa is a bit difficult,” Lt. Col. Mark Duffer, the element’s deputy current operations officer, told reporters traveling with Mullen. “So we wanted to push something forward to the here and now, to what’s happening so we can [create an] effect right away.”

Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, pushed for the new forward element to focus on two primary missions: theater security cooperation and crisis management…..

MARFORCENT stood up with a staff of 161 Marines, sailors and civilian employees working in a tiny facility within Naval Support Activity Bahrain.

The location proved to be perfect, operationally as well as geographically, Duffer said. Home to Naval Forces Central Command and the U.S. Fifth Fleet, close partners in the MARFORCENT mission, it’s situated smack in the middle of the Centcom area of operations.

“If you put your finger right on the map, on Bahrain, you can see we are very centrally located and [that it’s] a very good location,” Duffer said. “We can … reach out and touch anybody, so we provide that stabilizing force.”

From their new location, Marines assigned to the element work to build capability within regional militaries, concentrating more on ground than amphibious forces. “We focus … on the basics of what Marines do: hand-to-hand combat and marksmanship and other things that are very basic and make up the Marine Corps ethos that we want to provide,” Duffer said.

The goal, he explained, is to help strengthen regional allies’ forces so they are better able to defend their nations and, if needed, to provide coalition support for future operations.
….
As unrest ripples through the Middle East, he recognized the potential for the new element to be called on to help evacuate civilian noncombatants caught in the violence.

“As we stand up this command center, we have an ability to command and control that” at Centcom’s direction, he said. “We can actually stand up as a joint task force with coalition forces, as well as provide [evacuation operations] within this region.
….
As the element continues to take shape, Doyle and his fellow MARFORCENT Marines are preparing to move next month into a larger headquarters being renovated across the base.

Exactly how many Marines ultimately will join the element is classified, but Duffer said he sees developments underway as a sign of MARFORCENT’s long-term commitment to strengthening partnerships and protecting U.S. interests in the region.

“We are building up this command center for a lasting, enduring mission within [Centcom’s] area of responsibility,” he said.

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2. Pakistan: Six Killed As 40 NATO Oil Tankers Attacked

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/photo/2011-02/25/c_13750395.htm

Xinhua News Agency
February 25, 2011

40 NATO oil tankers attacked in Pakistan

Fire rages from oil tankers after the attacks near northwest Pakistan’s Peshawar, on Feb. 25, 2011.

At least six people were killed and four others were injured as 40 NATO oil tankers were attacked early Friday morning by some unknown militants in Peshawar.

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3. 15,000 U.S. Troops Have Transited Russia For Afghan War

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/02/25/46217544.html

Voice of Russia
February 25, 2011

Duma okays US transit to Afghanistan

The Lower House of the Russian Parliament has voted 347 to 95 to ratify an agreement for American military transit to Afghanistan, signed at a Moscow summit in June 2009.

The deal has been working since the following October, allowing the Americans to shuffle 15 thousand personnel and almost 20 thousand tons of cargoe across Russian territory.

The figures are from the Foreign Ministry.

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4. Russia Stands Firm On Kurils

http://en.rian.ru/analysis/20110222/162720913.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
February 22, 2011

Russia stands firm on Kurils
Dmitry Kosyrev

-The current U.S. policy in East Asia is to support any country with claims – especially territorial claims – against China. Russia is no longer the focus. But the recent Russian-Japanese diplomatic exchange has forced Washington to adopt a similar position with regard to Russia, for the sake of consistency.

The Russian Foreign Ministry summoned U.S. Ambassador John Beyrle on February 21 to register disapproval of America’s support for Japan’s territorial claims on the disputed southern Kuril Islands. But this is just a war of words.

Deputy Minister Alexei Borodavkin reiterated to the ambassador Russia’s “principled and consistent position on its sovereignty over the southern Kuril Islands”, the ministry said in a statement. This move was no doubt a response to recent statements by officials of the U.S. State Department expressing support for Japan’s territorial claims. Neither side appears willing to cede ground.

Russian Presidential Aide Sergei Prikhodko summed up Russia’s position during a recent visit by Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara: “The sovereignty of the Russian Federation with respect to the Kuril Islands will not be subject to any review, either today or tomorrow.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a news conference following his meeting with Maehara that the two countries remain determined to work on a peace treaty but “without preconditions or unilateral historical references.”

There is nothing remarkable about the recent escalation in this protracted territorial dispute. One gets the impression that the diplomats on both sides are merely going through the motions. One side reiterates its decades-old position, and the other is obligated to respond, then it’s back to business as usual. Everybody knows that Russia will never relinquish the islands, just like Japan will never give up the Senkaku Islands, which China claims as its territory.

There are two schools of thought on the Kuril Islands dispute. The more conservative school holds that President Medvedev should not have travelled to the Kurils in November of last year. A lower ranking official could have been sent there to announce the government’s new policies for the islands, including investment, economic development and bolstering the islands’ defenses with S-400 missile systems. Presidential visits send a strong message, and as such, they should be used sparingly. If Medvedev had stayed in Moscow, Russia and Japan could have continued talks on the status of the islands indefinitely without making any progress, because all Tokyo wants is to maintain the status quo. Diplomats are known for their limitless patience.

The other school of thought holds that Moscow and Tokyo could not keep up this charade forever. Any steps to improve the economy on the Kurils would have caused a scandal. Medvedev’s visit simply sped up the process.

Time will tell who was right. For now, the United States is probably regretting that it let itself get dragged into this conflict in the first place.

In 1956, Russia and Japan signed an agreement dividing the four islands into two and two. But Japan unexpectedly backed out of the deal. The Cold War was escalating, and the United States was gradually turning Japan, its vanquished foe, into an ally against Russia and, even more importantly, against China. America does not deny that its goal was to provoke a never-ending Russian-Japanese dispute while protecting Japan with its military bases.

Russian diplomats then unsuccessfully attempted to block a U.S.-Japanese security agreement by offering to divide up the islands.

These “principled and consistent” positions dating back to 1956 look out of place in a today’s world. The current U.S. policy in East Asia is to support any country with claims – especially territorial claims – against China. Russia is no longer the focus. But the recent Russian-Japanese diplomatic exchange has forced Washington to adopt a similar position with regard to Russia, for the sake of consistency.

The United States probably would have preferred to forget about consistency this time, as its support for Japan only serves to bring China and Russia closer together and to antagonize Moscow. But Washington just could not abandon a position it has held for 50 years.

America has no plans to resume the Cold War. In fact, it is considering cutting military spending in 2012-2021 by 21%, adjusted for inflation. It also plans to cut foreign aid. It is unclear what foreign policy the country will be able to afford going forward. But today it was forced to reiterate an unambiguous stance on an East Asia issue, while facing trouble in the Middle East and North Africa.

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5. After 103 Deaths, U.S. Troops Abandon Afghan Valley

http://www.stripes.com/news/u-s-pulling-forces-out-of-pech-valley-1.135915#

Stars and Stripes
February 25, 2011

U.S. pulling forces out of Pech Valley
Staff and wire reports

-“What we figured out is that people in the Pech really aren’t anti-U.S. or anti-anything; they just want to be left alone,” an American military official familiar with the decision told the Times. “Our presence is what’s destabilizing this area.”

The U.S. military is pulling back most of its forces from the remote Pech Valley in Afghanistan’s Kunar province, ground it once insisted was central to the war effort, the New York Times reported late Thursday.

The withdrawal formally began Feb. 15, the Times wrote. The military projects that it will take about two months, part of a shift of Western forces to more populated areas.

In April 2010, the U.S. closed its outposts in the adjoining Korengal Valley because it was too violent and didn’t seem to fit in with the overall counterinsurgency mission.

Now the Pech Valley outposts are being shuttered for much the same reason — the population in the Pech is too small to spend time trying to win hearts and minds and the insurgent resistance is too strong to justify the modest military gains.

And it is an emotional issue for American troops, who fear their service and sacrifices could be squandered. At least 103 American soldiers have died in or near the valley’s maze of steep gullies and soaring peaks, according to a count by The Times, and many times more have been wounded, often severely.

Stars and Stripes reporter James Foley embedded with the 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment in the Pech Valley in late 2010 while a freelance reporter for the GlobalPost.

In September, Lt. Col. Joe Ryan talked about the frustrations and doubtful utility of fighting in Pech.

“My theory, I don’t think it’s too outlandish, is that we provide all these insurgent groups with a common enemy, that helps them,” Ryan said in a video interview from FOB Blessing. “Our presence almost helps them combine their forces, combine their efforts against us,” he said.
….
Ultimately, the decision to withdraw reflected a stark — and controversial — internal assessment by the military that it would have been better served by not having entered the high valley in the first place.

“What we figured out is that people in the Pech really aren’t anti-U.S. or anti-anything; they just want to be left alone,” an American military official familiar with the decision told the Times. “Our presence is what’s destabilizing this area.”
….
Afghan Defense Minister Rahim Wardak, who is in Washington for high-level meetings, expressed concern about what would happen if U.S. troops left long-established bases in the Pech Valley.

“It will be difficult for Afghans to hold these areas on their own,” Wardak told The Washington Post. “The terrain there is very tough. “I personally fought against the Soviets in that area.”

Afghans see the Pech Valley and surrounding Kunar province as key terrain because the insurgency against the Soviets in the 1980s first gained significant momentum in those areas. “We have to be very careful in how we manage this area,” Wardak said.

American forces first came to the valley in force in 2003, The Times wrote, following the trail of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the leader of the Hezb-i-Islami group, who, like other prominent insurgent leaders, has been said at different times to hide in Kunar. They did not find him, though Hezb-i-Islami is active in the valley.

The New York Times, The Washington Post and Stars and Stripes reporter James Foley contributed to this report.

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6. International Critics Blast 21st Century Global NATO

http://rt.com/news/nato-existence-agenda-war/

RT
February 25, 2011

NATO: an assault to the peace it pledged to keep

Once the Soviet Union collapsed 20 years ago, the members of the Warsaw Pact agreed to end their alliance. Originally formed at the height of the Cold War as a deterrent to NATO, it was no longer necessary.
­But NATO carried on, and today the organization is having trouble justifying its existence.

Born of fear, the alliance “was originally supposed to defend Western Europe from the Soviet Union,” Ivan Eland, director of the Center on Peace and Liberty at the Independent Institute, said.

The fall of the Berlin Wall changed all that. Now, decades later, the military alliance formed against the Soviet threat, has been long deprived of its enemy.

Fumbling for a clear-cut mission, the North Atlantic Treaty organization has been fighting for justifiable reason to be.

That has not stopped NATO from continuing to pursue a global reach. It has been 20 years since the Warsaw Pact, formed in response to NATO, dissolved, but even without its main geopolitical rival and with the Cold War long over, NATO has aggressively expanded. Their current operations span several countries, with troops and resources in Sudan, Kosovo, the Horn of Africa, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Mediterranean Sea.

In November, they redefined their goals going forward, at the summit in Lisbon, wanting to tackle everything from nuclear disarmament, to terrorism and cyber security.

The redefinition was adopted amidst protests on the streets.

“NATO is out of date and out of time. We need a world of peace and justice, not one preparing for yet more wars,” advocates British MP Jeremy Corbyn.

And the NATO members have already been divided over the near decade-long war in Afghanistan. NATO has not prevailed there, calling into question the alliance’s mission.

“There was every expectation that with the end of the cold war NATO would be disbanded. Instead what happened in fact and in violation of accords and agreements at that time was NATO aggressively expanded” Sara Flounders of International Action Center told RT.

Critics say US defense companies are benefiting most from this expansion, with the sales of weapons to every new NATO member and the building of every new base and that growth allows other tools to be used.

Lawyer and author Eva Golinger believes, “It has changed, altered militarily to become also this very powerful political entity that is used to pressure countries to bow down to NATO’s agenda – NATO’s agenda being primarily a US agenda.”

It is an agenda some countries see as a threat and critics of that agenda right in the US say its global expansion must be stopped.

Manager of the Stop NATO campaign Rick Rozoff shared, “I don’t believe there’s anything that justifies NATO’s existence, at least in terms of world security and peace.”

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7. Hungary: U.S., NATO Plan 30-Year Global Strategic Airlift Operation

http://www.usafe.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123244162

U.S. Air Forces In Europe
February 25, 2011

Hungary’s president visits Pápa
by Military Officer 3rd Grade Annele Apajakari
Heavy Airlift Wing Public Affairs

PÁPA AIR BASE, Hungary :Dr. Pál Schmitt, the President of the Republic of Hungary, visited Pápa Air Base and Heavy Airlift Wing Feb. 24.

Dr. Schmitt was given a presentation of the air base and Heavy Airlift Wing by Cols. Miklós Domonkos, base commander, and Fredrik Hedén, HAW vice commander. Dr. Schmitt personally greeted six Hungarian soldiers who serve in the Heavy Airlift Wing.

The president was given a tour at the Pápa Air Base, which included a visit to the air traffic control tower to follow a night vision training flight with one of the HAW C-17 Globemaster III aircrafts, which was flown by a crew led U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Hobbs.

Dr. Schmitt was impressed of the co-operation between the 12 nations and the Hungarian host base….He also emphasized the local community’s support and importance of building a team, including the HAW families, which is essential for the 30 year perspective to the Strategic Airlift Capability program.

SAC is a co-operative effort of 12 nations: Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden and the United States. It is stationed in Pápa Air Base, Hungary.

Since the delivery of the first aircraft in July 2009, the HAW has flown more than 3,600 flight hours and delivered more than 13,800 tons of cargo and more than 6,100 passengers for the nations over six continents including missions to Haiti, Afghanistan, South Africa and Europe. More information is available at http://www.heavyairliftwing.org.

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8. Massive Azores Base: U.S. Air Force Supports Egyptian Military Transport Plane

http://www.usafe.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123244123

U.S. Air Forces in Europe
February 25, 2011

Lajes supports Egyptian C-130
by Staff Sgt. Olufemi Owolabi
65th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

LAJES FIELD, Azores: It’s not just a saying that Lajes Airmen, including Portuguese and Americans, are a vital part of ensuring airpower gets across the Atlantic. An Egyptian C-130 Hercules that landed during a mission to refuel at Lajes Field, Azores, Feb. 20 received help from Team Lajes members.
….
“To provide assistance to a third-world country is a great learning experience,” said Senior Airman Matthew Shoppell, 65th Operations Support Squadron’s transient alert/crash recovery technician. “It allows us to assist a fellow non-NATO-ally country with any requests they may need. It also assists the wing in maintaining a bilateral relationship with Egypt.”

The next day, before the aircraft and its 16 Egyptian aircrew departed Lajes, Airmen of the 65th Logistics Readiness Squadron supplied the team with more than 5,400 gallons of JP-8 fuel.

The U.S. version of the Egyptian C-130 operates throughout the U.S. Air Force major commands.
….
According to Airmen at Lajes, providing support for American and foreign transient aircraft and crew members is a rewarding job because it showcases the mission of Lajes to the world.

Airman Shoppell describes the job as a fascinating opportunity, “because it allows us to explore different aircraft that we normally are not used to.”

“It also allows us to communicate with aircrew and maintainers from around the world,” added Airman Shoppell.

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9. Envoy: U.S. To Shore Up Georgian Client State

http://en.trend.az/news/politics/1835588.html

Trend News Agency
February 25, 2011

Ambassador: United States to strengthen support for Georgia
N. Kirtzkhalia

Tbilisi: The United States will its strengthen support for Georgia, U.S. Ambassador to Georgia John Bass said on the results of U.S. Undersecretary of State James B. Steinberg’s visit to Georgia.

“At a meeting with the Georgian president, Steinberg reaffirmed U.S. support for Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty,” he said.

Bass said the meeting focused on Georgian and regional security.

“It was also stated that the United States will support Georgia in the development of a democratic society,” he said.

Bass regarded Steinberg’s meeting with representatives of civil society as “fruitful,” as the sides had intensively exchanged their views.
“We will try to help Georgia so that a greater proportion of the population benefits from the ongoing reforms in the country” he added.

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10. NATO Chief Addresses EU DMs In Hungary On Balkans, Horn, Libya

http://en.trend.az/regions/world/europe/1835739.html

Deutsche Presse Agentur
February 25, 2011

NATO chief joins meeting of EU defence ministers in Hungary

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton were on Friday due in Hungary to participate in an informal meeting of European defence ministers, DPA reported.

Hungary is hosting the meeting as part of its six-month presidency of the European Union.

The “most vigorous” debate is likely to be about Operation Althea, the EU’s military mission to the unstable Balkan state of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary’s defence ministry said Thursday.

Also on the agenda is Atalanta, the EU naval operation off the coast of Somalia, with the focus on “pooling and sharing” of military capabilities.

With regards to the “increasingly intolerable” problem of piracy in that area, Hungary’s Defence Minister Csaba Hende said that the “broadening of operations” could be discussed, along with the issue of how to bring captured pirates to justice.

Hende was talking to reporters prior to a working dinner with his EU counterparts Thursday evening at which he said the ongoing situation in Libya would “very probably” be discussed, although it did not feature on the official agenda and no policy decision was likely.

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11. Djibouti: U.S.’s Military Chief Tours Main Military Base In Africa

http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=62927

U.S. Department of Defense
February 24, 2011

Mullen Visits Horn of Africa Task Force
By Donna Miles

CAMP LEMONNIER: The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff took time today during his whirlwind trip through the Middle East to visit with troops of Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa….

Navy Adm. Mike Mullen’s visit here was part of a week-long, six-country trip aimed at reassuring U.S. allies and hearing their views of the unfolding events surrounding unrest in the region.

In Djibouti, Mullen met with Maj. Gen. Ahmed Housein Fathi, chief of the general staff, and other key military leaders. Djibouti experienced only small-scale protests that have quieted down, officials here said, unlike Yemen and Libya, just across the Gulf of Aden.

A highlight of the day, Mullen said, was his visit to Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa. Navy Rear Adm. Brian Losey, the task force commander, updated him on operations his 1,700 service members are conducting….

The task force initially stood up in November 2002 as a seafaring force aimed at ***blocking terrorists fleeing Afghanistan*** from setting up a new safe haven here. But within six months, it moved ashore to this former French Foreign Legion base.

Today, the task force focuses on challenges in a region strategic because of its geographic location, resources and struggles with instability, officials told reporters traveling with Mullen.
….
The task force is a model of the “whole of government” approach that Mullen, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and others advocate for promoting U.S. security interests, Glasgow explained.
….

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12. Cyprus Peace Council, MPs Protest Against NATO, PfP

http://www.cyprus-mail.com/cyprus/protesters-say-no-nato-and-pfp/20110225

Cyprus Mail
February 25, 2011

Protesters say ‘no’ to NATO and PfP

-Among the demonstrators were Turkish Cypriots as well as members from other ethnic minorities – such as Maronites and Armenians – while all AKEL deputies and candidate MPs were present – including the party’s general secretary, Andros Kyprianou.

The Cyprus Peace Council (CPC) was yesterday joined by all AKEL MPs outside the parliament building, as they protested the four parties’ proposal to apply to join the Partnership for Peace (PfP).

Holding banners with the messages: “No to the Partnership for Peace” and “No Cyprus in NATO, or NATO in Cyprus”, the protestors called for a rejection of DISY, EDEK, DIKO and EVROKO’s decision to apply for the PfP, which was voted on in the afternoon.

“They say this is a riot; that’s how they describe the expression of a different opinion,” said former Famagusta Mayor Yiannakis Skordis, who called on Cyprus to stay away from the “murderous organisation, at the hands of which Cyprus has suffered and continues to suffer”.

Among the demonstrators were Turkish Cypriots as well as members from other ethnic minorities – such as Maronites and Armenians – while all AKEL deputies and candidate MPs were present – including the party’s general secretary, Andros Kyprianou.

The delegation presented a representative for House President Marios Garoyian (of DIKO) with a referendum, which described efforts to join “warmongering NATO” as “treachery”.

It added: “We demand an immediate end to efforts to join the military camp of those who are responsible for the Cypriot tragedy. We demand respect for the deceased of the coup and the invasion; respect to the revolutionaries, respect to everything the refugees and enclaved have suffered; respect to our missing persons.”

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13. Afghan Probe: NATO Gunships Killed 65 Civilians, 50 Women, Children

http://www.rttnews.com/Content/GeneralNews.aspx?Id=1562727&SM=1

RTT News
February 25, 2011

Probe Finds Nato Guilty Of Civilian Deaths

An Afghan government probe into deaths caused by a recent Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) operation in a remote mountainous district has concluded that the action claimed the lives of 65 civilians including 50 women and children, reports said on Friday.

Following last week’s attack carried out by Nato Apache helicopters in north-eastern Kunar province, the local Governor said several civilians had indeed been killed in the airstrike.

The operation was held as part of a three-day offensive carried out against Taliban mlitants. The fierce battle lasting close to five hours was fought on rough terrain under the cover of darkness.

However, the ISAF had remained in denial mode over civilian casualties in the operation. The ISAF also claimed that some 30 insurgents had been killed in the operation.

As for the charge of mass slaughter, ISAF termed it a propoganda story latched on to by politicians in Kabul for deriving political mileage out of it. Nato officials also claimed that village elders may have burnt the feet of young children to make it appear that they were involved in skirmishes with ISAF troops.

The charge was reportedly repeated at a meeting this week between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Gen. David Petraeus, the top US commander in Afghanistan. A Presidential spokesman later slammed the remark calling it “outrageous, insulting and racist.”

Further, the Afghan government probe found that the victims were charred beyond recognition and were buried in a mass grave.

Analysts say the apparent contradiction in the version of events will only help deepen the rift between the Karzai administration and the ISAF. Already, there is considerable dismay among Afghans over the ***alleged*** unilateral aggression on the part of foreign troops.

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14. Italian MEP: Kosovo Mafia State, U.S. And Europe Wanted War

http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics-article.php?yyyy=2011&mm=02&dd=24&nav_id=72906

BBC News
February 24, 2011

Kosovo is “mafia state”, says Italian MEP

-“When I worked for the UN in 1999 as Executive Director of the Office for Drug Control, I issued an order to have a report made on the situation in Kosovo. I sent that internal report to the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan at the end of that same year. The picture that the report painted was exactly what you see today: the same structures, the same people, the same disgraceful situation. It’s disgraceful how Europe and the United States faced the problem. They wanted political results, and in a way, they wanted a war to break out over there.”

STRASBOURG: An Italian member of the European Parliament Foreign Policy Committee has commented on the Kosovo organ trafficking case.

Pino Arlacchi spoke to the BBC Serbian service in Strasbourg this week to say that he hoped he and like-minded MEPs would succeed in their attempt to have an EP rapporteur appointed to look into “what EULEX (the EU mission in Kosovo) has been doing all these years”.

Arlacchi, a sociology professor, is known in Italy as a “mafia expert”. From 1997 until 2002 he was the Executive Director of the UN Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP).

Now he spoke in favor of probing the work of EULEX, in the wake of the Marty report – which accused the ethnic Albanian KLA of kidnapping Serb civilians and killing them for their organs, and which provided the basis for a Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) resolution adopted last month, calling for an investigation into the allegations.

Unlike PACE which gathers 47 countries, the European Parliament members come only from the 27 EU states.

The BBC learned from unofficial contacts with MEPs that there was still “implied resistance” to opening up the issues of “organized crime and alleged organ trafficking” in Kosovo.

Ahead of a closed meeting that CoE’s Dick Marty will have with the EP committee in March, Arlacchi voiced his optimism and said he believed the EP would soon “exit its phase of keeping silent on the Marty report”.

“I believe there will be a debate. We already have the regular report on Kosovo, and it touches on various issues. If there is broad agreement, perhaps we could have a special report on the same subject that was investigated by Marty. Perhaps I, together with my colleagues, will win over a majority in favor of investigating this question more seriously. We could also have another topic for a report – and that is EULEX – the EU police and judiciary mission in Kosovo, and the fact that even after three years their work has not produced results,” said the Italian MEP, and continued:

“If nothing has been done during three years, that means something’s wrong, that we must change two things: first, our policy toward Kosovo, and second, the way EULEX is organized. I read Marty’s report, which is excellent and contains much information and details. It ought to receive strong support, and I am surprised it has not received it from EULEX.”

Asked to comment on unofficial statements coming from some MEPs that “Marty must provide evidence” – despite the fact the Swiss CoE rapporteur is neither a judge nor a prosecutor – Arlachi responded:

“The thing is that there is no judicial evidence. I’ve mentioned EULEX, which, as far as I know, has ten prosecutors, precisely for that reason. What have they been up to these three years? They are responsible for the work of the local judiciary, which should have the final word. Whatever one says about Kosovo – there is no judicial evidence to back it up. We can say there is organized crime, and strong ties of politicians with all that, but we have no judicial evidence on that. The principal goal of both those accused and democracy is to undertake a judicial investigation. Marty’s conclusions cannot be taken as definitive. It’s a paradox that without a judicial investigation we will continue as before – and that’s unacceptable”.

Another CoE rapporteur, Jean-Charles Gardetto, recently submitted his report on witness protection in the Balkans, which states that EULEX is not capable of protecting witnesses, and that “the EULEX personnel, if they do their job in big cases, expose themselves and the members of their families to danger”.

In reaction to this, Arlacchi mentoned Italy’s fight against the mafia.

“I’m sorry to say it, but when you fight against organized crime – you are in danger. They (EULEX) must be prepared for that – there can be no serious investigation without any risks. That’s a separate subject: investigators must be protected, there must be a witness protection program in place. It will be hard to achieve anything without that. In Italy we overpowered the mafia when we established an efficient witness protection program. It included 5,000 people, and naturally, it’s expensive. But none of the witnesses were murdered. I think that EULEX should launch an investigation, because that is the job of EULEX. If they are unable to protect witnesses – then that’s a disaster.”

Arlacchi also noted that “it is clear everyone knew about ties between Kosovo’s leaders and the KLA with organized crime”, and repeated his recent statement that Kosovo was a “mafia state”.

“When I worked for the UN in 1999 as Executive Director of the Office for Drug Control, I issued an order to have a report made on the situation in Kosovo. I sent that internal report to the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan at the end of that same year. The picture that the report painted was exactly what you see today: the same structures, the same people, the same disgraceful situation. It’s disgraceful how Europe and the United States faced the problem. They wanted political results, and in a way, they wanted a war to break out over there. It was done by turning their heads away from KLA’s criminal activities. Later on, I was in Kosovo for a few months in 2004, and I had access to some NATO files. The picture was effectively the same,” Arlacchi concluded his interview for the BBC.

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15. Top Military Chief: Russia May Deploy Warships To Kurils

http://www.rnw.nl/english/bulletin/russia-may-send-warship-kuril-islands

Agence France-Presse
February 25, 2011

Russia ‘may send’ warship to Kuril Islands

Russia may send one or even two French-designed Mistral warships to the Pacific to protect a chain of islands that are bitterly claimed by Japan, its top general said Friday.

“We do not exclude that one or possibly two Mistrals will be sent to the Pacific Fleet, including for the purpose of addressing security issues in the Kuril Islands,” Chief of Staff General Nikolai Makarov told Interfax.

Russia has purchased two Mistral helicopter carriers from France in a deal othat has been criticised by some of France’s NATO partners.

The contract provides for the construction of two more Mistrals in Russia at a later date, and it was not immediately clear if the general was referring to the craft purchased from France.

The islands row has escalated dramatically in recent weeks, with President Dmitry Medvedev vowing to step up the islands’ defences and Japan reasserting its claim on the land annexed by the Soviet army at the end of World War II.

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16. NATO Holds Submarine Warfare Exercise In Eastern Mediterranean

http://www.act.nato.int/multimedia/archive/42-news-stories/531-successful-test-of-new-technology-in-anti-submarine-exercise

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Transformation
February 23, 2011

Successful test of new technology in anti-submarine exercise

-Operational experimentation helps to determine how new tools such as gliders can be used in actual operations and to assess subsequent improvements on war fighting capabilities.

The NATO Undersea Research Centre (NURC) located in La Spezia, Italy participated in “Proud Manta 11” an Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) exercise that took place [in the] Southeast of Sicily in the Ionian Sea recently.

The centre successfully deployed three autonomous underwater vehicles, called gliders, from an Italian Navy vessel.

The exercise provides NATO Nations and the NURC a unique opportunity to experiment with new technologies and tactics in an operational environment. Operational experimentation helps to determine how new tools such as gliders can be used in actual operations and to assess subsequent improvements on war fighting capabilities.

This year was the first time the NURC successfully used the gliders to collect three-dimensional environmental data to support improved operational planning and decision-making tools. Temperature, salinity, and optical data are examples of information the glider gathers to aid in the understanding of environmental conditions that impact the operational effectiveness of submarines.

“Glider data has been exploited continuously in ocean prediction systems and anti-submarine warfare tactical decision aids to support and optimize operational planning and asset management.” said NURC’s Proud Manta 11 scientist-in-charge, Michael Rixen.
….
“We have developed sophisticated models and software to ensure effective glider mission planning and safe operations management during the exercise” said Michael Rixen.

The NURC plays an important role in the development of new capabilities for NATO and is central to the work of NATO’s Allied Command Transformation (ACT).

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17. Pentagon Supports NATO Conference With 13 Mideast, North Africa Partners

http://www.act.nato.int/multimedia/archive/42-news-stories/535-building-integrity-conference

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Transformation
February 25, 2011

Building Integrity Conference

On Thursday February 24, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, French Air Force General Stephane Abrial, addressed attendees during the NATO Building Integrity Conference held February 23-25 at the Monterey Plaza Hotel in Monterey, California.
….
The Building Integrity (BI) Initiative was launched by the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) in November 2007 and is open to all NATO nations and partner countries, including Afghanistan…..

Attendees included an array of senior military and civilian officials from NATO nations, Partnership for Peace, Mediterranean Dialogue [Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania Morocco and Tunsia], Istanbul Cooperation Initiative [Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates] and other countries, representatives from Afghanistan, parliaments, international organizations, the private sector, institutes, and non-governmental organizations.
….
“Allied Command Transformation has completely overhauled its education and training system in order to allow for the provision of more efficient and more abundant opportunities, provided by and available to partners,” explained Abrial.

Joining Abrial in presenting keynote addresses were Dr. Huguette Labelle, Chair of the Board for Transparency International, and Sir Stewart Eldon, former UK Ambassador to NATO.

Transparency International (TI) is one of the leading non-profit organizations dedicated to fighting corruption, and among the key partners for NATO on the development and implementation of the Building Integrity initiative.
….
The conference was supported by the U.S. Office of the Secretary of Defense and organized by the Naval Postgraduate School, the U.S. Partnership for Peace Training and Education Center (USPTC).

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO News February 25, 2011

February 25, 2011 2 comments

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stopnato-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
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1. NATO Chief Convenes Emergency Meeting Of North Atlantic Council On Libya

2. Russia: U.S. Attempt To Interfere In Kurils Dispute Unacceptable

3. Cypriot President Vows To Veto NATO Partnership Decision

4. Moldova: “Twitter Revolution” Defense Minister Says NATO Gateway To European Union

5. Bulgaria’s Passy Invokes “R2P” For NATO Libya Intervention

6. Russian Prime Ministers Putin Warns West Against Whipping Up Middle East “Democracic Processes”

7. Bahraini Deputy: Arab Turmoil Is Implementation Of U.S. Greater/Broader/New Mideast Project/Initiative

8. Senior State Department Official, Georgia’s Saakashvili Talk “Security”

9. Yugoslav Army “Reunited” For NATO’s Afghan War

10. U.S. Drone Strikes Kill At Least Seven In Pakistan

11. U.S. Ship In Africa Partnership Station Visit To Tanzania, Several Other Visits To Follow

12. NATO Recruits Ukraine For U.S.-Led European Missile Shield

13. After Ivory Coast, AFRICOM Readies African Standby Force For Central African Interventions

14. Ivory Coast: Western-Backed Ouattara’s Forces Launch Armed Attacks In Commercial Capital

15. Strategic Partners: State Department Hails Azerbaijani Troop Deployment In Afghanistan

16. NATO Behind Azerbaijan’s Threat Of New Caucasus War: Expert

17. Western Policy Makers Discuss NATO Intervention In Libya

18. NATO Refuses To Extradite Turkish Officers Charged In Coup Plot

19. NATO Chief Seeks Ukrainian Military Instructors For Afghanistan

20. Report: NATO Prepares For Air Strikes Against Libya From

21. Ukraine Ready To Introduce NATO Standards For Armed Forces

22. Argentina Halts Training Of Military In U.S. After Contraband Case

23. Oman: U.S. And Pakistani Military Chiefs And CENTCOM And NATO Commanders Meet

24. Pentagon Tests Missile Interception Laser

25. White House Pushing F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Sales Worldwide

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1. NATO Chief Convenes Emergency Meeting Of North Atlantic Council On Libya

http://www.nato.int/cps/en/SID-98950FF0-1FE91690/natolive/news_70800.htm

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
February 25, 2011

NATO Secretary General convenes emergency meeting of the North Atlantic Council

During a visit to Budapest, the NATO Secretary General made the following statement:

What is happening in Libya is of great concern to all of us. It’s a crisis in our immediate neighbourhood. It affects the lives and safety of Libyan civilians and those of thousands of citizens from NATO member states. Many countries are now evacuating their citizens from Libya – clearly, a massive challenges.

I can tell you that I have convened an emergency meeting of the NATO council this afternoon to consult on the fast-moving situation. I will return to Brussels in a few hours. Before I do so, I will meet with EU Defence Ministers and discuss with them how we, in a pragmatic way, can help those in need and limit the consequences of these events.

Q (Reuters): What kind of possible action can NATO consider to help resolve this crisis?

NATO Secretary General: I will not go into specifics at this time, but clearly priority must be given to evacuation and possibly, also, humanitarian assistance.

Q (Reuters): What kind of capabilities does NATO have to deploy and how quickly can they deploy these capabilities, if the need arises?

NATO Secretary General: I think, again, it’s a bit pre-mature to go into
specifics, but it’s well known that NATO has assets that can be used in a situation like this and NATO can act as an enabler and coordinator, if and when, individual member states want to take action.

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2. Russia: U.S. Attempt To Interfere In Kurils Dispute Unacceptable

http://en.rian.ru/russia/20110224/162742642.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
February 24, 2011

Russia says U.S. meddling in Kuril dispute ‘unacceptable’

Mowcow: Washington’s attempts to interfere in a dispute between Russia and Japan over the Kuril Islands are “unacceptable,” the Russian Foreign Ministry’s official spokesman said on Thursday.

The Russian Foreign Ministry on Monday summoned U.S. ambassador to Moscow John Beyrle to express concern over the U.S. statements in support of Japan’s territorial claims on the islands amid Tokyo’s recent tough rhetoric.

“We consider it totally unacceptable to attempt to meddle in this matter, which is bilateral,” Alexander Lukashevich said, adding such action did not contribute to finding a “constructive solution” to such a sensitive problem.

Japan’s continued claim over four South Kuril Islands has prevented Moscow and Tokyo from signing a formal peace treaty to end World War II hostilities. Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai, known in Japan as the Northern Territories, lie at the end of a chain stretching from Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula to the Japanese island of Hokkaido.

Tensions escalated in November last year when Russian President Dmitry Medvedev visited one of the disputed islands, an act Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan criticized as “inexcusable rudeness.”

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3. Cypriot President Vows To Veto NATO Partnership Decision

http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5giFrAWNpBSYDHpAkGIu75djnPd2A?docId=6055064

Associated Press
February 24, 2011

Cyprus president to veto House vote urging membership of NATO program

NICOSIA, Cyprus: Cyprus’ legislature on Thursday voted to join NATO’s Partnership for Peace program, but the island’s president said he will veto the decision.

Government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said in a written statement that membership of the program is not in line with President Dimitris Christofias’ vow to achieve a peace deal with breakaway Turkish Cypriots that would demilitarize the island.

Cyprus was split into a Greek Cypriot south and a Turkish Cypriot north in 1974 when Turkey invaded in response to a coup by supporters of a union with Greece. The island is a member of the European Union, but only the internationally recognized south enjoys membership benefits.
….
A total of 32 lawmakers voted for membership Thursday, while 17 voted against — all from the government’s main coalition partner, the communist-rooted AKEL, which Christofias led for 20 years until 2008.

Stefanou said that the vote was in breach of the Cypriot constitution because it infringed on the president’s executive authority to conduct foreign policy.
….
Christofias…had also rebuffed a 2009 House vote that urged him to swiftly apply for Partnership for Peace membership.

NATO created the program in 1994 to boost ties with non-alliance member countries in Europe and the former Soviet Union. Twenty-two countries have joined the program, including Russia and Serbia.

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4. Moldova: “Twitter Revolution” DM Says NATO Gateway To EU

http://www.rferl.org/content/moldovan_defense_minister_nato_membership_key_for_joining_eu/2320020.html

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
February 24, 2011

Moldovan Defense Minister: NATO Membership Key For Joining EU

-As a rule, Marinuta said, countries join NATO first and then the European Union. He suggested that “perhaps the EU will adopt a different aproach with regard to Moldova, although I do not think it will.”

Moldovan Defense Minister Valeriu Marinuta says joining NATO is crucial to gaining European Union membership, and belonging to the Atlantic alliance is no longer a taboo subject in his country, RFE/RL’s Moldovan Service reports.

Marinuta told RFE/RL in an interview on February 23 that NATO is a security organization that is able to take part in conflict resolution and “peace enforcement” operations. He said the alliance is “no longer something to be afraid of.”

At the same time, Marinuta points out that Moldova’s neutral status is enshrined in the constitution and precludes joining a military bloc. For that reason, he explained, for the past decade neutrality and NATO have been taboo subjects in Moldova, with an estimated 60 percent of the population supporting European integration, but only 25 percent in favor of joining NATO.

Marinuta said the people of Moldova should decide whether or not to “preserve our neutral status.”

As a rule, Marinuta said, countries join NATO first and then the European Union. He suggested that “perhaps the EU will adopt a different aproach with regard to Moldova, although I do not think it will.”
….

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5. Bulgaria’s Passy Invokes “R2P” For NATO Libya Intervention

http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=125626

Sofia News Agency
February 24, 2011

Bulgarian Ex Top Diplomat: NATO, EU Have Responsibility to Protect in Libya

[Passy is the founder and current CEO of the pro-NATO Atlantic Club of Bulgaria.
"As an MP in August 1990, Passy drafted a bill for Bulgaria’s withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact and accession to NATO, which was the start of the nations’ efforts to join the Alliance." Wikipedia]

-One UN commentator suggests that this is the first time that R2P has been mentioned in a formal Security Council statement in reference to an ongoing crisis.
-An Israeli news service today reported that NATO may attack Libya if the violence continues. Citing an interview in the London-based pan-Arab daily newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi with an unnamed European official, it was suggested that NATO and US warplanes stationed in Italy might be ordered to take down Libyan planes.
-No-fly zones have been imposed previously: on Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in 1991 and Bosnia in 1993-95. The latter, Operation Deny Flight, was a NATO mission to enforce a UN-sanctioned no fly zone, which was later expanded to include close air support for UN troops in Bosnia and to carry out coercive air strikes.

Former Bulgarian Foreign Minister Solomon Passy has been cited by NATO Watch as one of the leading international voices urging NATO and the EU to take measures to guarantee peace, security, and human rights in Libya.

In an article entitled “Responsibility to Protect in Libya: Calls for Intervention Intensify”, NATO Watch stresses that calls by civil society to halt mass atrocities in Libya, where the regime of dictator Muammar Gaddafi faces a popular uprising, have been on the rise.

Dr Solomon Passy, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria in 2001-2005 and President of the Atlantic Club in Sofia, has suggested that NATO undertake responsibility for security in Northern Africa.

He also called for the EU to provide immediate guarantees for the evacuation and humanitarian situation in the region and the OSCE to offer support for securing free and fair elections in the post-revolutionary period.

“For all these a UNSC Resolution will be very helpful, but at the end of the day it is not a firm prerequisite for clear actions on behalf of NATO/EU to guarantee peace, security and human rights”, he said.

NATO Watch recalls that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated on 21 February that he was shocked and disturbed by accounts that Libyan authorities fired on demonstrators….

The list of prominent international figures urging a NATO role in securing stability in North Africa includes former UK Foreign Secretary David Owen, the first British politician to back the call for a no-fly zone, and suggested that it be enforced by NATO. In a subsequent interview on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he added that the west should be concerned about the possibility that Gaddafi would unleash chemical or biological weapons.

NATO Watch further reiterates that the “UN Security Council (in a press statement) and the Special Advisors on the Prevention of Genocide and R2P (in a press release), have reminded Libya of its responsibility to protect its population and called for an immediate end to the violence. One UN commentator suggests that this is the first time that R2P has been mentioned in a formal Security Council statement in reference to an ongoing crisis. Civil society groups all around the world have also started calling on the UN, European Union, African Union and other world leaders to meet their R2P obligation to the Libyan people. NGO recommendations include imposing sanctions on key regime members and an arms embargo; establishing a no fly zone over the entire country and establishing a commission of enquiry; and if necessary referral to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

The French Prime Minister Nicolas Sarkozy has called for sanctions to be imposed and is leading the calls for a NATO-imposed no-fly zone to be enforced over Libya to “prevent the use of that country’s warplanes against [its] population”….

An Israeli news service today reported that NATO may attack Libya if the violence continues. Citing an interview in the London-based pan-Arab daily newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi with an unnamed European official, it was suggested that NATO and US warplanes stationed in Italy might be ordered to take down Libyan planes.

However, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said (in an interview on 22 February) the United States had not discussed the unfolding crisis in Libya with its NATO partners, and he believed that the United States could not quickly enforce a no-fly zone. He suggested that others rather than the United States might be in a better position to establish a no fly zone: “The French – I don’t know what the British have in the area – but the French and the Italians potentially, I suppose, could have some assets they could put in there quicker”. These comments are somewhat disingenuous given that US fighter jets are based in Sicily and on Mediterranean aircraft carriers.

No-fly zones have been imposed previously: on Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in 1991 and Bosnia in 1993-95. The latter, Operation Deny Flight, was a NATO mission to enforce a UN-sanctioned no fly zone, which was later expanded to include close air support for UN troops in Bosnia and to carry out coercive air strikes….

[R]eports suggest that Russia and China would likely veto a no-fly zone at the UN Security Council, leaving the international community weakened….

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6. Russia’s Putin Warns West Against Whipping Up Mideast “Democracy”

http://www.itar-tass.com/eng/level2.html?NewsID=15986777&PageNum=0

Russian Information Agency Novosti
February 24, 2011

Putin warns against whipping up democratic processes

-Asked by European media whether he felt any concern about events in the Middle East and their possible “echo” in the North Caucasus, Putin replied in the affirmative, but added that the impact of those shocks would be felt not only in the North Caucasus, but in all countries, including those in Europe.

BRUSSELS: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has warned Moscow’s partners in the West against attempts at whipping up democratic processes in other countries in connection with the ongoing events in North Africa. He was speaking at a joint news conference with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, devoted to the results of the full-scale meeting of the Russian government and the EU Commission.

Asked by European media whether he felt any concern about events in the Middle East and their possible “echo” in the North Caucasus, Putin replied in the affirmative, but added that the impact of those shocks would be felt not only in the North Caucasus, but in all countries, including those in Europe.

“We are concerned, firstly, about the number of casualties in the events in North Africa. We are concerned about that despite the soothing claims a rise to power or growth in the influence of radical groups in northern Africa are unlikely.”

“And if that really happens, it cannot but affect other parts of the world, including, of course, the North Caucasus,” he said.

“As you may know,” continued Putin, “today we express concern about what is happening in Libya. Please, to take note of the fact that the North African cell of al-Qaeda, too, is concerned about what is happening in Libya. Is that just a coincidence?”

Having made this historical allusion, Putin recalled that the former leader of the Iranian revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini, before his return to Tehran and the overthrow of the Shah’s regime had lived in Paris, and the Western policy of “inoculation of democracy” in the Palestinian territories caused bloody conflicts and brought to power Hamas, very unpleasant for many in the West.

“The people are to be allowed to decide their own fate and their own future,” he said. ”We must give them an opportunity to build their own destiny in a natural way without any interference from outside.”

“Society must move toward democratic institutions, toward self-regulation, towards its own system, with reliance on the internal processes of development,” underlined the prime minister.

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7. Bahraini MP: Arab Turmoil U.S. Greater/Broader/New Mideast Plot

http://en.rian.ru/world/20110224/162745211.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
February 24, 2011

Bahrain lawmaker accuses U.S. of being behind Arab revolutions

-“These riots and revolutions we are observing today in Arab countries are the implementation of the global U.S. project entitled ‘New Middle East.’ This program started with Iraq [2003], followed by Lebanon [2005].”

Manama: The popular unrest in Arab countries that led to the fall of regimes in Tunisia and Egypt is part of a U.S.-designed strategic project dubbed “New Middle East,” a Bahraini deputy said Thursday.

The term “New Middle East” was introduced in 2006 by then U.S. Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice. Analysts say the project defines Washington’s policy on a vast territory including the Arab countries and Central Asian states.

“These riots and revolutions we are observing today in Arab countries are the implementation of the global U.S. project entitled ‘New Middle East.’ This program started with Iraq, followed by Lebanon,” Bahraini deputy and journalist Samira Rajab told RIA Novosti.

“A new stage of its implementation that will take at least a decade started from 2011,” she said, adding that the U.S. strategy in the region is aimed at weakening the ruling regimes and introducing opposition groups into their governments.

A wave of unrest, which has already toppled authoritarian regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, is sweeping through the Muslim world, stoking mass popular uprisings in Libya, Bahrain and Yemen.

====

8. Senior State Dept Official, Georgia’s Saakashvili Talk “Security”

http://www.interfax.com/newsinf.asp?id=224775

Interfax
February 24, 2011

Senior U.S. official, Georgia leader discuss security

TBILISI: Georgia’s security was the main subject at a meeting between U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg and Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, U.S. Ambassador to Georgia John Bass said on Thursday.

At the meeting, held during a one-day visit by Steinberg to Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, the deputy secretary reiterated that his country supports Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and promised that the U.S. would back democratic developments in Georgia, Bass told reporters.

The ambassador also praised a meeting between Steinberg and Georgian civil society figures. The meeting involved an intensive exchange of opinions, according to Bass.

====

9. Yugoslav Army “Reunited” For NATO’s Afghan War

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-02/25/c_13748589.htm

Xinhua News Agency
February 24, 2011

Common Yugoslav army “reunited” in Afghanistan

BELGRADE: After having torn apart their common former homeland during the bloody wars of secession during the 1990s, the armies of the former republics of Yugoslavia — at least most of them — are being united again as part of an international peacekeeping unit, reported Radio Sarajevo on Thursday.

Meeting in the Montenegrin capital of Podgorica, military experts from the U.S.-Adriatic Charter discussed the prospect of soldiers from Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia, along with Albania, forming a joint unit of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. The unit’s tentative name is “Balkan,” which was reportedly first proposed by the U.S. military.

During previous meetings among the ministries of defense and foreign affairs of these countries, the option of sending a joint regional team of trainers and advisors for the training of the Afghan army had been approved.

Deputy Chief of General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces, Rear Admiral Zdenko Simicic, said the initiative is based on regional cooperation among Western Balkan member states.

“We expect the training school for Afghan military police to be in full operational use in two years,” said Simicic.

====

10. U.S. Drone Strikes Kill At Least Seven In Pakistan

http://www.rttnews.com/Content/GeneralNews.aspx?Id=1561390&SM=1

RTT News
February 24, 2011

Suspected US Drone Strikes Kill At Least 7 In Pakistan

As many as seven people have been killed in two attacks by US pilotless aircraft in Pakistan’s volatile north-western tribal regions bordering Afghanistan, reports said on Thursday.

An unnamed security official told media that three missiles were fired at a residential compound in Dattakhel Mohammedkhel area near Miranshah in North Waziristan. Five people died in the attack which completely demolished the house.

However, he said the identity of those killed could not be ascertained as the site of the incident was agog with preparations for burying the dead.

According to another official, who too requested anonymity, two people were killed when a missile strike from another drone hit a vehicle proceeding towards the house that was targeted earlier.

The US had lately suspended attacks by drone aircraft in order to contain a possible backlash following the killing of two men in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore by an American embassy staff….

====

11. U.S. Ship In Africa Partnership Station Visit To Tanzania

http://www.africom.mil/getArticle.asp?art=6021&lang=0

U.S. Africa Command
U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa
February 22, 2011

USS Stephen W. Groves Begins APS East in Tanzania

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania: USS Stephen W. Groves (FFG 29) sailors and embarked APS staff begins its Africa Partnership Station (APS) East deployment in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, February 22, 2011.

The first phase of this year’s APS East deployment will involve naval personnel from more than seven countries and provide training on topics including basic seamanship, medical procedures, shipboard maintenance and maritime security.

APS East commodore, Captain James E. Tranoris, said the APS stop in Tanzania is a chance to get things started on the right foot.

“Tanzania is a wonderful country and has displayed true partnership in the APS endeavor,” said Tranoris. “Their commitment of time and manpower to APS shows a much deeper commitment to the maritime safety and security of the entire region. We are excited to be here and look forward to a productive two weeks of training and cooperation.”

The visit will also mark the graduation of 12 embarked Ugandan, Tanzanian and Kenyan ship riders from an at-sea training course aboard Stephen W. Groves consisting of training in watch Standing; visit, board, search and seizure; and physical security among other topics.
….
Stephen W. Groves is scheduled to visit Cape Verde, Kenya, Mauritius, Senegal, and Seychelles during the next four months. During these visits, the ship will embark African students in order to conduct professional exchanges in many areas including seamanship, maritime law enforcement, medical readiness, oil spill management, non-commissioned officer development and navigation….
….
APS is an international security cooperation initiative, facilitated by Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, aimed at strengthening global maritime partnerships….

====

12. NATO Recruits Ukraine For European Missile Shield

http://www.interfax.com.ua/eng/main/61882/

Interfax-Ukraine
February 24, 2011

NATO secretary general told of Ukraine’s willingness to participate in missile defense system

Ukraine has said it is interested in cooperating with NATO in the formation of the missile defense system, the alliance’s head has announced.

“This morning, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister and I discussed our cooperation in building a missile defense system, and I have taken into consideration that Ukraine is interested in such cooperation,” NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said after the talks with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kostiantyn Hryschenko in Kyiv on Thursday.

Rasmussen also said that the sides had discussed the possibility of arranging a meeting of their experts to analyze ways for Ukraine to contribute to the project.

Russia has been invited to discussions on a missile defense system for Europe as well, the NATO chief said.
———————————————————-

http://www.interfax.com.ua/eng/main/61896/

Interfax-Ukraine
February 24, 2011

President says he hopes for deeper cooperation between Ukraine, NATO

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has met with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in Kyiv.

President Yanukovych said he hoped that this visit and the talks would help to intensify practical cooperation between Ukraine and NATO, the presidential press service reported.

“I am grateful that you have come. I really appreciate our relationship – both personal and certainly the level of relations – understanding and mutual respect that exists between Ukraine and NATO,” the president said.

In turn, the NATO secretary general thanked his hosts for the warm welcome he had received in Ukraine and wished the head of state success in his reform efforts.

====

13. After Ivory Coast, AFRICOM Readies ASF For Central African Role

http://www.africom.mil/getArticle.asp?art=6031&lang=0

U.S. Africa Command
U.S. Army Africa
February 24, 2011

Exercise Kwanza Review in Kinshasa Focuses on African Standby Force
U.S. Army Africa Public Affairs

-[T]he Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) — an organization like ECCAS — diplomatically responded recently — and could militarily respond — to the electoral crisis in the West African country of Cote d’Ivoire. The ECCAS could respond to a crisis in its area of responsibility composed of Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Republic of Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sao Tome and Principe and Chad.

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of the Congo: In his “Commander’s Intent 2011″ message, one of U.S. Army General William E. “Kip” Ward’s key approaches was that, “… [U.S. Africa Command] will continue to support the African Union (AU) to include strengthening the capabilities and interoperability of the African Standby Force (ASF) and its sub-regional elements.”

To forward that goal, Major George K. Allen Jr. of U.S. Army Africa and Lieutenant Jonathan Goerk of U.S. Naval Forces Africa traveled to Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo in October 2010, to participate in the Conference Bilan et Retour d’experience de L’exercice Kwanza 2010 or Exercise Kwanza After Action Review (AAR).

Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) held the exercise in order to validate Central African Multinational Force (CAMF) to AU standards. The force is one of five brigade-size elements that make up the AU’s ASF–created to respond to crises on the African continent.

Allen and Goerk sat alongside their ECCAS counterparts to gain a better understanding of how CAMF performed during Exercise Kwanza in Cabo Ledo, Angola, from May 22 to June 5, 2010. The observers’ participation in the Exercise Kwanza AAR follows their observation of the exercise this summer.
….
According to Allen, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) — an organization like ECCAS — diplomatically responded recently — and could militarily respond — to the electoral crisis in the West African country of Cote d’Ivorie. The ECCAS could respond to a crisis in its area of responsibility composed of Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Republic of Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sao Tome and Principe and Chad.

“ECCAS and CAMF are professional and ready to go,” Goerk said. “Exercise Kwanza proved that as an armed force, CAMF can work with diplomats, gendarmerie, and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) on the both the sea and ground.”
….
“In working with CAMF and the other regional standby forces, AFRICOM and USARAF could easily incorporate civilians and NGOs into our military exercise play and operations,” Allen said. “Joint, Interagency, Intergovernmental, and Multinational (JIIM) personnel are already part of their formations. It is a win-win proposition.”
….

====

14. Ivory Coast: Western-Backed Ouattara Launches Armed Attacks

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/02/25/46045638.html

Voice of Russia
February 25, 2011

President Ouattara’s supporters go to war

In the Côte d’Ivoire, the Ivory Coast, the opposition has launched an armed struggle against the army being run by the current government.

The former rebels and the political leader who was the winner of the 2010 presidential election Alassane Ouattara, again took up arms and formed fighting units.

The units are attacking army troops and police as part of their attempts to use the force of arms to overthrow President Laurent Gbagbo.

There have been about 80 soldiers and policemen killed since the fighting began.

In the city of Abidjan, supporters of Ouattara invaded several neighborhoods in the north, south and west of the city.

The oppositionists have formed small mobile armed groups calling themselves “invisible commandos.

The groups carry out rapid-fire attacks and then disappear into the woods or disguise themselves as civilians and disappear into the crowds.

====

15. Strategic Partners: State Dept Hails Azeri Troops In Afghanistan

http://en.apa.az/news.php?id=141479

Azeri Press Agency
February 24, 2011

US First Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg: “Azerbaijan and the United States have strong strategic partnership and we intend to develop this partnership”
Victoria Dementieva

Baku: “I am pleased with my visit to Baku again”, US First Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg told journalists on his arrival to Azerbaijan, APA reports.

He said his country attached great importance to its relations with Azerbaijan: “The United States attaches great importance to its relations with Azerbaijan and intends to develop this relationship. There is a strong strategic partnership between Azerbaijan and the United States. We intend to develop and deepen this partnership”.

James Steinberg noted that US supports Azerbaijan’s participation in NATO peacekeeping operations in Afghanistan.

The Deputy Secretary of State said he would meet with the President of Azerbaijan and representatives of the civil society and discuss regional and bilateral relations during the meetings.
….

====

16. NATO Behind Azerbaijan’s Threat Of New Caucasus War: Expert

http://www.panarmenian.net/eng/world/news/62495/

PanArmenian.net
February 15, 2011

NATO stands behind recent Karabakh-related threats of Azerbaijan, Russian expert believes

NATO stands behind the recent Karabakh-related threats of Azerbaijan, according to the head of the CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States] Institute.

As the political expert Mikhail Alexandrov stated, double standards are used in regards to the Karabakh conflict settlement, with Russia having to maneuver between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

“The position of the West on the proven fact of the Armenian genocide in Karabakh is unclear, as well as putting democratic regimes in Armenia and NKR [Nagorno Karabakh Republic] on the same level with authoritarian power in Azerbaijan,” the expert notes.

According to Alexandrov, Azeri threats are a way to pressure Armenia, the West being the first to benefit from delays in a conflict settlement. “The losing party is the one that should make concessions. Azerbaijan, the losing party, is attempting to force Armenia into concessions. And the West, specifically NATO, are behind this,” Alexandrov stressed.

The expert is confident that the Alliance needs Azerbaijan as a corridor to the Caspian Sea region, using Karabakh as leverage for pressure on Azerbaijan, Argumenty i Fakty newspaper reports.

====

17. Western Policy Makers Discuss NATO Intervention In Libya

http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/africa/02/24/libya.military.intervention/

CNN News
February 24, 2011

Analysts: More Libyan bloodshed could prompt U.S., NATO intervention
By Michael Martinez

[Nicholas Burns, cited below, was U.S. permanent representative to NATO from 2001-2005.]

If the U.S. military were to intervene in an increasingly chaotic Libya, it would most likely be part of a NATO action in which Libyan bloodshed has reached a humanitarian crisis, analysts said Thursday.
….
Military intervention “is something which I hope doesn’t happen, but it looks as though at some point that it should happen,” said Simon Henderson, senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
….
“You’ve got to assume the worst about Moammar Gadhafi,” Nicholas Burns, a professor at Harvard Kennedy School and former under secretary of state between 2005 and 2008, told CNN. “With his back to the wall, he’s going to go out in a blaze of vicious attacks.”

North Atlantic Treaty Organization defense chiefs ought to be holding discussions about “not taking action but preparation” for the Libyan crisis, said Robert Kagan, a Mideast expert who worked in the State Department under President Ronald Reagan.
…..
In separate phone conversations with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and British Prime Minister David Cameron, Obama “expressed his deep concern with the Libyan government’s use of violence, which violates international norms and every standard of human decency, and discussed appropriate and effective ways for the international community to immediately respond,” the White House statement said.
….
Were NATO to send armed forces into Libya, the rest of the Arab world wouldn’t protest much, the analysts said.
….

====

18. NATO Refuses To Extradite Turkish Officers Charged In Coup Plot

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=nato-not-sending-coup-suspect-turkish-officers-back-yet-2011-02-24

Hurriyet Daily News
February 24, 2011

NATO delays returning Turkish officers to face coup plot case

ISTANBUL: Three Turkish officers stationed abroad will not return home to face trial for involvement in an alleged coup plot until NATO evaluates the matter or they stand down from their positions, according to reports.

The three suspects in the “Balyoz” (Sledgehammer) case are on duty at NATO bases and have not been able to return to Turkey despite being the subject of arrest warrants, daily Vatan reported Thursday.

Gen. Hakan Akkoç, who is stationed at a NATO base in Belgium, will remain at his position until NATO evaluates the matter. Col. Mehmet Alper Şengezer and Lt. Col. Nedim Ulusan, on duty in Italy and Croatia, respectively, could return to Turkey to turn themselves in after they turn over their positions to their successors.

Sledgehammer is an alleged military coup plot against the leading Justice and Development Party, or AKP, drafted in 2003. According to the allegations, the military planned drastic measures to foment unrest in the country in order to remove the party from power.

====

19. NATO Chief Seeks Ukrainian Military Instructors For Afghanistan

http://en.rian.ru/world/20110224/162740222.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
February 24, 2011

NATO asks Ukraine to send military instructors to Afghanistan

Kiev: NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Thursday the alliance has asked Ukraine to consider allocating military instructors to help train Afghan security forces.

The NATO chief arrived on a visit to Ukraine on Thursday. He is expected to meet with President Viktor Yanukovych, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and other senior officials.

Rasmussen told Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Hryshchenko that the alliance’s training mission in Afghanistan was short of staff.
….
Ahead of the visit, Rasmussen said NATO plans to step up cooperation with Ukraine to tackle common problems.

====

20. Report: NATO Prepares For Air Strikes Against Libya

http://www.temasekreview.com/2011/02/25/nato-in-preparation-for-strikes-on-libya/

The Temasek Review (Singapore)
February 25, 2011

NATO in preparation for strikes on Libya

NATO is preparing a possible strike on Libya if the Libyian Government continue to bomb protesters.

A NATO official who spoke to the Al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper in London said that U.S. and NATO planes stationed in southern Italy have been preparing for the mission since Thursday morning.
….
On Wednesday night, U.S. President Barack H. Obama said that the suffering and bloodshed in Libya “is outrageous and it is unacceptable”, adding that a NATO attack on Libya was a possibility.
….

====

21. Ukraine Ready To Introduce NATO Standards For Armed Forces

http://www.kyivpost.com/news/nation/detail/98217/

Interfax-Ukraine
February 24, 2011

Azarov: Ukraine ready to introduce NATO standards

Ukraine is ready to introduce NATO’s technological standards, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov has said.

“Your standards suit us… We are ready to introduce them in our country,” he said at a meeting with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the press service of the Ukrainian government told Interfax-Ukraine.

Azarov also said that the country’s servicemen were ready to cooperate with NATO and other international organizations in combating terrorism.

====

22. Argentina Halts Training Of Military In U.S. After Contraband Case

http://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/international/143668-argentina-halts-us-military-training-amid-cargo-spat.html

Agence France-Presse
February 23, 2011

Argentina halts US military training amid cargo spat Thursday, 24 February

BUENOS AIRES: Argentina is suspending its participation in foreign military training in the wake of a diplomatic row over its seizure of materials from a US military plane, a top official has said.

Argentine Security Minister Nilda Garre told the Pagina12 newspaper that the government would not approve commissions abroad through 2011 that included “courses or seminars in which the instructors are military personnel.”

The move could further heighten tensions following Argentine customs officials’ seizure of what they said was sensitive “hidden material in an official shipment” during a search of a US Air Force C-17 transport plane.

The plane had arrived earlier this month in Buenos Aires with experts and material for a hostage rescue training exercise.

Argentine authorities said the cargo contained undocumented weapons and drugs, including morphine.
….
Garre told the Tiempo Argentino newspaper that the government was concerned about courses given by foreign military trainers because “the armed forces cannot have any involvement in internal security issues.”

It would be “illogical for armed forces in another country to be training Argentine security forces,” she added.

Earlier this week, Argentina accused the United States of being uncooperative with a probe into the incident….

====

23. Oman: U.S., Pakistani Military Chiefs, CENTCOM, NATO Cmdrs Meet

http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=62914

U.S. Department of Defense
February 24, 2011

Mullen, Mattis Meet With Omani Counterparts
By Donna Miles

MUSCAT, Oman: Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mattis, commander of U.S. Central Command, met here today with their Omani counterparts to discuss defense matters of mutual concern, Mullen’s spokesman reported.

Mullen, the top U.S. military officer, and Mattis participated in talks aimed at…enhancing friendly relations between the United States and Oman, Navy Capt. John Kirby said.

Also while in Oman, Mullen and his top commanders responsible for carrying out the Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy met yesterday with Pakistani Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani to discuss regional security issues and explore new ways to better coordinate military operations.

Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan; and Navy Adm. Eric Olson, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, also participated in that day-long session, officials confirmed.

Mullen’s visit to Oman occurred less than three months after Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates’ visit in December.

Gates met with Sultan Qaboos bin Said, Oman’s monarch for the past 40 years. A senior defense official traveling with Gates during that trip said the sultan is widely respected in the Gulf region and has been active in seeking a diplomatic solution to issues in Iran that are causing concern among neighbors and other nations.

Oman sits at a highly strategic position in Southwest Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman and Persian Gulf between Yemen and United Arab Emirates. Iran lies to its north, across the Gulf of Oman.

The chairman’s visit to Oman is the fourth stop in his week-long trip through the Middle East during regional unrest and what he called “a time of enormous change.” Before arriving in Muscat, the chairman visited Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to confer with regional leaders. At each stop, he reported concern deep concern about unrest, particularly violence in Libya.

Mullen called Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi’s crackdown on demonstrators there “unacceptable” and reiterated his call for local leaders to step forward and resolve differences peacefully.

Tumult in Libya and elsewhere in the region was expected to be a major agenda item as Mullen and Mattis, the commander responsible for U.S. military activity and engagement in the Middle East, Southwest Asia and Central Asia, met with Omani leaders here.
….

====

24. Pentagon Tests Missile Interception Laser

http://www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/nw_20110223_1480.php

Global Security Newswire
February 23, 2011

Potential Missile Defense Laser Tested

A U.S. Energy Department laboratory in Virginia last week conducted its highest-power test yet of an advanced laser the Navy might eventually tap as missile defense technology, the Newport News Daily Press reported (see GSN, Feb. 11).

Scientists at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility tested the free-electron laser at 500 kilovolts on Friday, creating a beam more precise — and better suited for missile defense — than beams generated at lower voltages, according to the newspaper. The Navy had established the 500-kilovolt test as a prerequisite for the laser’s potential deployment on a U.S. warship, said George Neil, associate director of the laboratory’s free-electron laser branch.

The Naval Research Office has invested tens of millions of dollars for augmenting the device, which service officials said could be used for identifying, monitoring or shooting down enemy missiles.

Last week’s test “means our design is now a viable choice,” Neil said.

Scientists are now expected to focus on miniaturizing the laser to fit on a sea vessel. A sea-based test could occur by 2018 (Cory Nealon, Daily Press, Feb. 22).

====

25. White House Pushing F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Sales Worldwide

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/war/110221/obama-F-35-stealth-fighter-jet-military

GlobalPost
February 24, 2011

Obama’s F-35 sales push
By Barry Neild

With prices starting at $110 million per jet, the F-35 Lightning II fighter isn’t really the sort of thing for sale on Craigslist. But the way the Obama administration has been peddling this sophisticated aerial combat tool around the world, perhaps it wouldn’t be a surprise if it were.

While countries including Australia, Canada, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands have all placed orders amounting to hundreds of F-35s, the president and his team of executive salesmen have been pitching hard elsewhere.

Late last year, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was in Japan singing the praises of the stealth fighter that has cost his government billions to develop. And in Israel, ministers have reportedly been debating F-35 deals offered by Barack Obama as sweeteners in the Middle East peace process.

To some, it might seem odd that the commander-in-chief is willing to hand over keys to aircraft packed to the hilt with the latest U.S. military technology — particularly radar-evading stealth, which no other country yet has — even if the paying customers are allies.
….
[W]hat’s behind this sales drive? Has F-35 builder Lockheed Martin proved so successful at lobbying the Obama administration that the presidential team is now effectively selling its products door-to-door? Is it about votes? Is it money? Analysts say the truth – like the aircraft – is far more complex.

The F-35’s back story is scattered with controversy. Still not yet in service, the next-generation aircraft has been beset by missed deadlines, and by budgets that have helped make its decade-long development the most expensive weapons program ever undertaken in the United States.

Lockheed says the F-35 will be worth the wait. When it does finally make it off the runway, many experts agree it should be an impressive machine, crammed with gadgetry. Some models will even be capable of performing vertical take offs and landings.

Still five years from completion, the aircraft has already faced hostilities. It has been criticized for performing poorly in simulations, and for including features beyond what’s needed on the battlefield. It has been deemed such a drain on resources that Gates now wants to cut America’s F-35 order to reduce the Pentagon’s budget.

This reluctance to buy a product at home might seem at odds with the U.S. government’s eagerness to promote it abroad, were it not for the fact that the F-35 has been specifically designed with foreign sales in mind.

Since its inception, the F-35 has been known as the “Joint Strike Fighter” in reference to the involvement of allies including Britain, the Netherlands, Canada, Denmark, Norway and Turkey. All have contributed in varying degrees to the jet’s funding and development.

Strategically, that’s an advantage to the U.S., both in getting other nations to help foot the defense bill, and arming friends with familiar “interoperable” technology, says Craig Caffrey, a military aviation analyst with Jane’s Information Group.

“The vast majority of military operations that America undertakes nowadays are coalition operations,” he said. “If you can have a platform in service with your main allied nations — the U.K. in particular is a good example — it makes sense.”

Gates’ recent mission to Japan was also, said Caffrey, an attempt to capitalize on recent high-profile test flight of the J-20, China’s first foray into stealth fighters. “There’s obviously a sales pitch here. They’re saying if you’re worried about that Chinese fifth generation aircraft, we can supply you with one of your own.”

According to reports from the WikiLeaks cache of U.S. State Department documents, American diplomats put pressure on Norway to choose the F-35 instead of rival machines from Swedish SAAB’s JAS Grippen or Eurofighter (another multinational military aircraft project).

Some arms watchers have suggested that the U.S. is playing one country off of another in order to boost its arms trade. Though clearly arranged with a possible threat from Iran in mind, sales of F-35s to Israel could be seen as a way to encourage potential rivals such as Saudi Arabia to spend money upgrading and expanding their fleets of F-15 fighters, made in the United States by Boeing.

To what extent are Obama administration officials acting at the behest of manufacturers such as Lockheed Martin — or perhaps seeking to win key votes from districts involved in the defence industry?

Lockheed spends good money on promoting its interests. In 2010 its lobbying bill exceeded $12.7 million, according to the non-partisan watchdog OpenSecrets.org. Much of this lobbying appears to be aimed at staving off military budget cuts rather than promoting aircraft sales.
….
“One key reason why you get heads of states involved in selling this kind of equipment abroad is because they are major industrial deals; they are worth large sums of money, and keep large numbers of people employed in high tech jobs,” he said. He pointed out that similar overseas missions have been carried out by British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

“It’s big business, and it’s long term business. You don’t sell an aircraft and that’s the end of the company’s involvement — it goes on for at least 30 years.”

Jeff Abramson, deputy director of the Arms Control Association, argues that attempts to sell the F-35 overseas are part of the Obama administration’s efforts to double U.S. arms exports and thus aid economic recovery.

But even if F-35s are merely being deployed against economic uncertainty rather than into aerial combat, Abramson warned of other consequences.

“In general, it is unwise to think of arms sales as just any other commercial transaction,” he said, suggesting that the F-35s could be vulnerable to misuse or even contribute to regional arms races and instability.

“Any transfer agreement must consider whether the proposed weapons are appropriate for their intended use, and whether they might contribute to regional arms races or instability. It’s not clear that all the discussions around F-35s have adequately taken these considerations in mind.”

Categories: Uncategorized

U.S. Backs Japan In Looming Confrontation With Russia

February 24, 2011 1 comment

Stop NATO
February 24, 2011

U.S. Backs Japan In Looming Confrontation With Russia
Rick Rozoff

Last week Kamitsuki Toyohisa, the Japanese Foreign Ministry counselor for European Affairs, said that the relationship between his country and Russia is “at its worst point in decades.”

In fact the dramatic ratcheting up of rhetoric – and corresponding actions – on both sides over the Kuril Islands are more evocative of the situation preceding the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905 and the two nations’ conflict on the Manchurian border in 1938-1939 than any previous developments after the Second World War.

On February 15 Japan’s Kyodo News reported that the Russian coast guard had fired on a Japanese fishing vessel off the Kurils, a charge denied by the Russian side. However, a Russian news agency lately revealed the potential for a serious confrontation in recalling that a year ago last month “two Japanese fishing vessels entered Russia’s territorial waters off Kunashir Island and ignored warning shots from a Russian guards’ helicopter. As a result, the guards had to open direct fire at the vessels. The fishing boats returned to their port of Rausu with numerous bullet holes on their hulls.” [1]

On the same day the same Russian press source announced that Russia would deploy short- and long-range air defense missile systems, including the advanced S-400 Triumf system with long-range surface-to-air missiles, to the South Kuril Islands, located between Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula and Japan’s Hokkaido island. The S-400 is designed for use against aircraft (including stealth warplanes), cruise missiles and ballistic missiles.

An official from the nation’s General Staff of the Armed Forces confirmed that “S-400 missile defense systems could be deployed to the islands to protect them from possible attacks.” [2]

A week earlier Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan spoke at this year’s National Rally to Demand the Return of the Northern Territories – Northern Territories is the Japanese, and as will be seen shortly, the U.S. name for the South Kurils – in Tokyo and referred to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to one of the four South Kuril Islands last November (the first by a Russian or Soviet head of state) as an “unforgivable outrage.”

Two days afterward, in a meeting with Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and Regional Development Minister Victor Basargin, who had recently returned from the Kurils, Russian President Medvedev ordered the deployment of military hardware to the islands, stating “the additional weapons to be deployed there must be sufficient and modern in order to ensure the security of the islands as an integral part of Russia”. [3]

On February 11 Russian and Japanese foreign ministers Sergei Lavrov and Seiji Maehara met in Moscow for two hours, one-on-one for half of that time. Maehara is an advocate of revising Article 9 of his nation’s constitution (which states “the Japanese people forever renounce war”) and of securing the Kurils’ early return from Russia, which seized them in the waning days of the Second World War.

The Chinese press at the time quoted a Pacific affairs analyst as follows:

“During the rally in Tokyo on Monday [February 7], Maehara pledged that he would personally see to it that the islands are returned to Japan, in fact he staked his political career on the realization of this.

“Maehara fundamentally believes two things: firstly, the islands are legally Japanese territory and secondly, that Japan cannot completely end World War II until the islands are returned and a peace treaty signed.

“I don’t think this issue should be dismissed as merely a ‘territorial spat’ and let’s not forget that for all intents and purposes Japan and Russia are still at war.” [4]

In the words of Agence France-Presse, the meeting, “marked by an icy atmosphere,” ended in “acrimonious failure.” Russia’s top diplomat told his Japanese counterpart: “To be honest, I expected to receive you in Moscow against a better backdrop. Your visit comes against the background of a series of completely unacceptable actions.” [5]

The allusion was to the Northern Territories Day events of four days earlier in Tokyo and Hokkaido, in the second case within eyesight of the southernmost of the Kurils, during which, in addition to the prime minister’s revanchist statement, Japanese nationalists desecrated a Russian flag and a bullet was mailed to the Russian embassy.

Maehara rejected Lavrov’s suggestions for a historical commission to examine the issue of the contested islands and for turning the Kurils into a free trade zone, stating that Japan would consider the second proposition only if it did not “alter Japan’s legal position” on what it calls its Northern Territories. The Japanese foreign minister was conspicuously not invited to meet with President Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

While Maehara was in Moscow the chief of staff of the Russian Presidential Executive Office informed him that the events on the February 7th Northern Territories Day, including Prime Minister Kan’s comments on the occasion, “could not but meet with an adequate reaction on the Russian side.”

On the day of the envenomed and ill-fated meeting of the two countries’ foreign ministers, a Russian commentary appeared on a major news site entitled “Russia to boost Kuril defense to ward off war,” which stated in part:

“Russia’s unresolved conflict with Japan over the Kuril Islands, which has been simmering since WWII, may reach a boiling point now that Russian authorities are set to go ahead with their plan to build up the disputed territory’s defense potential.

“The plan, unveiled by President Dmitry Medvedev and Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov as part of a comprehensive development program for Russia’s Pacific Coast, envisages, among other things, the deployment of modern armaments to defend the country’s eastern borders against a hypothetical military attack.”

The article went on to say that “In conventional armaments, Japan now enjoys numerical supremacy over the Russian Far Eastern forces, and it also boasts a higher percentage of modern hardware in the navy, the air force, and the army.” [6]

The author advocated the resumption of a permanent deployment of combat aircraft on Sakhalin Island northwest of the South Kurils and “a forward-based airfield” on the islands themselves with “a squadron of jet fighters on standby.”

Using the expression si vis pacem, para bellum (if you wish peace, prepare for war), the writer concluded his piece by reflecting: “All these plans to reinforce the Kuril Islands’ defense potential should be translated into reality so as to discourage the most radical of Japanese politicians from contemplating regaining the possession of the South Kuril Islands through the use of military force.”

On February 15 Feng Shaolei, professor at and dean of the School of Advanced International and Area Studies at the East China Normal University was interviewed by a Russian news outlet and said:

“Certain changes have…taken place in the [East Asian] region in recent times, with the main one being the U.S. ‘comeback in Asia.’ In my view, U.S. military strategy is the key to understanding the current situation in the region, whether we talk about the possibility of building a defense system in the region or about the resolution of the Kuril conflict.” [7]

On February 19 Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano, also minister in charge of Northern Territories issues, visited Hokkaido to inspect the South Kuril Islands. Before he began his two-day trip he stated:

“The question of the Northern Territories is the problem of not only former residents of these islands, but also of the whole Japanese people. I would like to heighten attention to this problem with the Japanese public.”

During his stay he said, “Japan’s claims for the Northern Territories could have been much louder if only the people of Japan realized how close to them the islands are.”

Foreign Minister Maehara viewed the island from a plane in December and Prime Minister Kan is also planning to inspect them from Hokkaido in the near future.

On February 21 the American ambassador to Russia, John Beyrle, was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry where his “attention was drawn to the recent statement made by officials with the U.S. Department of State and of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, which expressed support for Japan’s territorial claims to Russia,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement posted on its official website. [8]

A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry added:

“We drew Mr. Beyrle’s attention to recent statements made by officials of the US State Department and the US embassy in Moscow, in which they expressed their support for Japan’s territorial claims to Russia. In this respect the Foreign Ministry reiterated Russia’s categorical and unwavering and unchanged position regarding its sovereignty over the South Kuril Islands.” [9]

After the meeting, the U.S. embassy released a statement reiterating Washington’s support for Japan’s territorial claims on the South Kurils, echoing comments made by State Department spokeswoman Joanne Moore among others that precipitated the summoning of the U.S. envoy. Moore had insisted “that the US government supports Japan and recognizes its sovereignty over the Islands.”

In the words of a recent Russian commentary, “current statements of the US State Department amid growing threats from Japanese radicals look like outright instigation.” [10]

The State Department spokeswoman’s affirmation of the American – which is to say the Japanese – position vis-a-vis the islands was reminiscent of that of Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs Philip Crowley on November 1 in which he supported Japanese territorial contentions and referred to the Kurils as the Northern Territories. His pronouncement followed by four days a pledge by Secretary State Hillary Clinton – in the presence of Japanese Foreign Minister Maehara in Hawaii – relating to an analogous territorial dispute between Japan and China over what the first calls the Senkaku and the second the Diaoyu islands:

“The Senkakus fall within the scope of Article 5 of the 1960 U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security. This is part of the larger commitment that the United States has made to Japan’s security. We consider the Japanese-U.S. alliance one of the most important alliance partnerships we have anywhere in the world and we are committed to our obligations to protect the Japanese.” [11] Earlier in the same month Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Japanese Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa asserted “that their countries will jointly respond in line with a bilateral security pact toward stability in areas in the East China Sea covering the Senkaku Islands that came into the spotlight in disputes between Japan and China.” [12]

Though State Department spokesman Crowley made a distinction between the Senkaku/Diaoyu and Kuril islands in regards to honoring military commitments to Japan, as the former are currently administered by Japan and the latter are not, the door is left open for Washington to invoke Article 5 on behalf of Japan should an armed confrontation between it and Russia occur.

In the San Francisco Peace Treaty signed in 1951 to officially end World War Two, the U.S. recognized that Japan had lost any rights to reclaim the South Kurils as well as Sakhalin Island, although it did not recognize then-Soviet claims either. The treaty, to which the U.S. is one of 48 signatories, unequivocally states that “Japan renounces all right, title and claim to the Kuril islands, and to that portion of Sakhalin and the islands adjacent to it” acquired after the Russo-Japanese War.

The current American position on the Kurils, then, is what it is in relation to the South Caucasus nations of Abkhazia and South Ossetia: That they are “Russian-occupied territories” belonging to other sovereign nations. Japan in the first case and Georgia in the other two.

Washington’s role in exacerbating the conflict over the Kurils is a dangerous throwback to Cold War-era politicking.

Valery Kistanov, head of the Center for Japanese Studies at Russia’s Far East Institute, was quoted earlier this week as recalling:

“This is not the first time that the US has tried to drive a wedge between Russia and Japan….In 1955-1956, the USSR and Japan held talks on a peace treaty which resulted in the adoption of a Soviet-Japanese declaration. This declaration envisaged the restoration of diplomatic ties and the end of military action but did not resolve the territorial issue.

“At that stage Japan was considering abandoning its claims to the four South Kuril Islands. But Washington threatened Tokyo that if it did so, the US would not return Okinawa to Japan, the country’s southernmost island, which was occupied by the US at that time.” [13]

A Chinese analysis of the same date as the above appeared, February 22, illuminated the geostrategic significance of what might otherwise strike outsiders as an obscure island dispute. It disclosed that:

“Analysts say Russia will never make concessions to Japan on the islands, which it calls the Southern Kurils and Japan calls the Northern Territories, as they are the crux of Russia’s strategy for its Far East and beyond that to the Asia-Pacific region.”

“The islands are located in a key geographic position where they secure the entrance into the Pacific Ocean for Russia’s Pacific Fleet.

“If the four islands were regained by Japan and used as a natural barrier by Japan and the United States, Russia’s Pacific Fleet would be cut off from the Pacific and may face direct military threats from the two.

“Analysts said a ‘butterfly effect’ could mean the neighbouring Kamchatka Peninsula and Sakhalin region, both strategic to Russia’s ability to respond to attacks, would also be exposed.

“Local media held that the fairly sudden renewed interest in the Southern Kurils was a major move in Russia’s east-oriented strategy against the backdrop of the ongoing global readjustment in a new era.”

In addition, it is perceived in some Russian circles that “if the islands were regained by Japan, it would encourage other countries to pursue claims in other Russian regions and accomplish their conspiracy of altering the history of World War II.” [14]

The Russian Pacific Fleet is based in Vladivostok, south of the Sea of Okhotsk which is enclosed by Kamchatka to the northeast, Sakhalin Island to the southwest and the Kuril Islands to the southeast. But Russia maintains a submarine base in Vilyuchinsk on the Kamchatka Peninsula which hosts Russian strategic nuclear-powered submarines, including the new Borey class variety. Foreign control of the Kurils could impede the Russian navy’s ability to move part of its strategic nuclear triad, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, from the North Pacific Ocean in and out of the Sea of Okhotsk where they would be less exposed and vulnerable, especially in the event of hostilities.

“The Kurils are the gateway to the sea of Okhotsk, which lies off the coast of Russia’s far east. Control of the islands have been crucial for Russia, which has given it access to the Pacific Ocean.

“Russia has built a military base on Shikotan island [in the South Kuril chain], while also placing border forces on the four islands.

“On top of the military importance, the islands hold vast mineral wealth, together with about 160 million tons of natural gas and nearly 1,900 tons of gold and other valuable metals like silver, titanium, sulfur and rhenium. The total value of the four islands has been estimated to be 50 billion US dollars.” [15]

North of the Russian Kurils lies Sakhalin Island, which according to a U.S. Energy Information Agency estimate contains seven billion barrels of oil and 80 trillion cubic feet of natural gas [16] as well a wealth of other resources.

The Japanese government’s brazenness on the island conflict can only be understood within the context of the U.S. recruiting Japan as not only a strategic military ally in East Asia but internationally while reciprocating by backing Japan to the hilt against both Russia and China.

In mid-January U.S. Defense Secretary Gates was in Japan to meet with senior government leaders including Defense Minister Kitazawa – in 2007 the Japan Defense Agency was elevated to the status of Ministry of Defense – and stated:

“As our alliance grows and deepens further still, it will be important for Japan to take on an even greater regional and global leadership role that reflects its political, economic and military capacity.” [17]

In the past decade Japan has violated the spirit if not the exact letter of its constitution’s Article 9 by deploying troops to a combat zone for the first time since World War Two in Iraq and by supplying U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization warships for the war in Afghanistan, where it has now assigned military personnel – medics – for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force. Joining U.S., French and other NATO nations’ forces there, it will soon open its first foreign military base since World War Two in Djibouti in northeastern Africa. [18]

In addition to recently joining a U.S.-engineered tripartite military alliance with South Korea [19] and extending its operational integration with the U.S. into the Indian Ocean, Japan is also forging defense ties with Georgia, which fought a five-day war with Russia in 2008. Earlier this month Hiroshi Oe, director general for International Affairs in the Bureau of Defense Policy of the Japanese Defense Ministry, visited Georgia and in a closed-door meeting with the country’s deputy foreign minister discussed “further prospects of military cooperation between Georgia and Japan.” [20]

While Gates was in Japan he promoted further interceptor missile collaboration, which he praised as “one of the most advanced of its kind in the world” [21] – Japan is the U.S.’s only partner in developing the Standard Missile-3 interceptor for use on ships and for land-based deployments in Romania, Poland and the Eastern Mediterranean Sea – and advocated that “Japan consider three U.S. planes to upgrade their fleet”: The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the F/A-18 Hornet the F-15 Eagle. [22]

Regarding the development of an international missile shield, Gates and Defense Minister Kitazawa agreed “to speed talks on the possibility of providing jointly developed sea-based missile-shield systems to other countries….Japan and the U.S. jointly developed the ballistic missile interception system, the Standard Missile-3….The U.S. is keen to boost its missile defense in Europe and wants SM-3 interceptors there.” [23]

For there, read along Russia’s Western flank from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea and eventually into the South Caucasus.

According to an official U.S. armed forces source, Gates also maintained that “The U.S. needs troops in Japan for the long term to keep China’s rising power in check and contain North Korea’s aggressive nuclear and missile aspirations.” [24]

Late last year the U.S. and Japan conducted their largest joint war games in history, Keen Sword 2011, with 60 warships, including the USS George Washington nuclear-powered aircraft carrier – whose home port is the Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan – accompanied by carrier and expeditionary strike groups, 400 aircraft and 44,000 troops.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen visited Tokyo last December, a week after Keen Sword 2011 ended.

The next month the USS Carl Vinson nuclear-powered supercarrier, equipped to carry 90 fighter jets and helicopters, and two guided missile destroyers and a guided missile cruiser engaged with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force in war games in the East China Sea.

In Late January the armed forces of the U.S. and Japan conducted the annual bilateral Yama Sakura command post exercise to “practice defending Japan” in the southwest of the country with the participation of 6,000 troops. Ahead of the event the spokesman for U.S. Army Japan and I Corps Forward, “the Army’s newest rapid-response contingency unit in Japan,” stated:

“We’re preparing for an enemy with all kinds of capabilities.” [25]

The U.S. is to spend $3.7 billion over the next five years to develop as many as 100 “new, stealthy, long-range, manned bomber[s] likely specifically intended to penetrate Chinese air defences.” The new warplane, as yet unnamed, is reported to be a long-range, nuclear-capable penetrating bomber with the option of being piloted remotely.

“The Pentagon’s bomber development coincides with the scripting of a new battle plan aimed at preserving US military capabilities in the Pacific. This so-called AirSea Battle plan is meant to help coordinate US Navy and Air Force ships and planes….” [26]

On February 21 the commander of the U.S. Seventh Fleet, which is based in Yokosuka, Japan and is the largest overseas navy fleet in the world, encompassing over 48 million square miles – the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean with the Kuril Islands at the northern tip of its area of responsibility – Vice Admiral Scott Van Buskirk was in Hong Kong where he said:

“The 7th Fleet has actually increased its capabilities in several significant ways. The ships and aircraft that we operate today are vastly more capable than they were just a few years ago. At the same time, we have enhanced our maritime partnerships with navies around the region, enabling us to work together cooperatively more than ever before.”

He said that at any given time there are 70 U.S. warships in his fleet’s area of responsibility and “cited the deployment to Japan of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington…with greater speed, range, ammunition stowage and endurance, as an example of how the fleet’s capabilities have increased.”

The commander also highlighted “the deployment of the Ohio-class fleet ballistic missile submarines (SSBN), the 60-40 split of attack submarines from the Atlantic to the Pacific and the recent deployment of the Virginia-class submarine USS Hawaii (SSN 776), which reflects the fleet’s growing capability under the sea.”

Van Buskirk touted “upgrades to surface ships, including Ballistic Missile Defense capability and enhanced sonar suites, making them ‘increasingly potent,'” emphasizing that “Our alliance with Japan continues to be the cornerstone of our forward presence in Asia….” [27]

The U.S. recently completed this year’s Cobra Gold military exercise in Thailand. “The participation of Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia makes the 30th annual joint exercise one of the world’s largest multilateral military maneuvers.” As a testament to the dramatic expansion of a U.S.-led Asia-Pacific NATO, the exercise also included observers from India, Sri Lanka, Laos, Brunei, Mongolia, the United Arab Emirates and New Zealand among others.

Since the last Cobra Gold was held in June of 2010, “the US has held around 20 joint military maneuvers with nations in the Asia-Pacific region, including Japan and South Korea.” [28]

This month Lieutenant General Patrick O’Reilly, director of the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency, said that “The United States plans to deploy the Standard Missile-3 Block IIA upgrade by 2018″ in a letter to Nobushige Takamizawa, director general of policy at the Japanese Defense Ministry.

“The Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency is pressing Tokyo to clear the sale of advanced missile interceptors, codeveloped with Japan, to third countries and to agree to joint production.” [29]

As noted above, Standard Missile-3 deployments are slated for nations like Poland, which borders Russian territory, and Romania, which lies across the Black Sea from Russia.

Early this month Japan announced that it will open its new Air Defense Command – with interceptor missile batteries – to Yokota, home to U.S. Forces Japan headquarters and the Fifth Air Force, this spring.

Last December Japan released its National Defense Program Guidelines for 2011, which detailed plans to increase the nation’s submarines from 16 to 22, acquire next-generation fighter jets, increase the number of Aegis class destroyers equipped with Standard Missile-3 interceptors from the present four to six and deploy Patriot Advanced Capability-3 interceptor missiles to 12 air bases throughout the country.

Japan is already one of the world’s major military powers. The U.S. is the world’s preeminent, having approved a World War Two-level $725 billion National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 in December.

The two strategic military partners are preparing to confront their only competitors in East Asia and the Western Pacific: China and Russia. An altercation near a contested island grouping may prove the spark that sets off a conflagration involving the world’s two main nuclear powers.

1) Russian Information Agency Novosti, February 16, 2011
2) Russian Information Agency Novosti, February 15, 2011
3) Interfax, February 9, 2011
4) News Analysis: Japan, Russia continue to lock horns over islands row
Xinhua News Agency, February 11, 2011

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-02/11/c_13728158.htm

5) Agence France-Press, February 11, 2011
6) Alexandr Grashenkov, Russia to boost Kuril defense to ward off war
Russian Information Agency Novosti, February 11, 2011

http://en.rian.ru/analysis/20110211/162553992.html

7) Russian Information Agency Novosti, February 15, 2011
8) Interfax, February 21, 2011
9) Voice of Russia, February 22, 2011
10) Russia-Japan-US – three’s a crowd
Voice of Russia, February 22, 2011
11) U.S. Supports Japan, Confronts China And Russia Over Island Disputes
Stop NATO, November 4, 2010

http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2010/11/04/u-s-supports-japan-confronts-china-and-russia-over-island-disputes

12) Kyodo News, October 11, 2010
13) Russia-Japan-US – three’s a crowd
Voice of Russia, February 22, 2011]

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/02/22/45579622.html

14) Zheng Haoning and Wei Lianglei, Disputed islands: crux of Russia’s
regional strategy
Xinhua News Agency, February 22, 2011

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/indepth/2011-02/22/c_13744452.htm

15) Backgrounder: Importance of Southern Kuril Islands
Xinhua News Agency/China Television
February 17, 2011

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/video/2011-02/12/c_13729119.htm

16) U.S. Department of Energy

http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/Sakhalin/Background.html

17) Los Angeles Times, January 13, 2011
….
U.S. Builds Military Alliance With Japan, South Korea For War In The East
Stop NATO, December 14, 2010

http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2010/12/14/u-s-builds-military-alliance-with-japan-south-korea-for-war-in-the-east

18) Japanese Military Joins U.S. And NATO In Horn Of Africa
Stop NATO, April 25, 2010

http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2010/04/26/japanese-military-joins-u-s-and-nato-in-horn-of-africa

19) U.S. Builds Military Alliance With Japan, South Korea For War In The East
Stop NATO December 14, 2010

http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2010/12/14/u-s-builds-military-alliance-with-japan-south-korea-for-war-in-the-east

20) Trend News Agency, February 4, 2011
21) Stars and Stripes, January 13, 2011
22) United Press International, January 18, 2011
23) Japan Times, January 14, 2011
24) Stars and Stripes, January 13, 2011
25) Stars and Stripes, January 25, 2011
26) New US Bomber Aimed at China?
The Diplomat, February 22, 2011

http://the-diplomat.com/flashpoints-blog/2011/02/22/new-us-bomber-aimed-at-china/

27) Navy NewsStand, February 22, 2011
28) China Daily, February 15, 2011
29) Reuters, February 14, 2011

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO News February 24, 2011

February 24, 2011 Leave a comment

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1. 100 New U.S. Stealth Bombers For First Strike Against China

2. NATO To Increase Collaboration With Ukraine: Rasmussen

3. Rasmussen: NATO Cooperation Key To Ukraine’s ‘Euro-Integration’

4. State Department Eurasia Hands To Visit Balkans, Caucasus

5. India To Increase Military Spending By 25% In One Year

6. NATO “Monitoring” Iranian Ships In Mediterranean

7. Cambodia: U.S. To Lead Joint Naval-Marine Drills

8. Russia Rejects Escalation Of External Pressure On Mideast Events

9. 7th Fleet Chief: U.S., Allies Boost Warships, Subs In Asia-Pacific

10. US: Gates Meets Afghan Defense Minister At Pentagon, Clinton Meets Latvian Foreign Minister At State Department

11. West Africa: U.S. Warship Continues Africa Partnership Station

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1. 100 New U.S. Stealth Bombers For First Strike Against China

http://the-diplomat.com/flashpoints-blog/2011/02/22/new-us-bomber-aimed-at-china/

The Diplomat
February 22, 2011

New US Bomber Aimed at China?
By David Axe

-[General Gary North, commander of the US Pacific Air Force] has hinted at one of the roles the new bombers might play in any future war with China. He said the key to defeating the new J-20 fighter would be to prevent it ever taking off from its mainland bases. Bombers might be used to attack Chinese airfields in the early hours of a conflict.

$3.7 billion. That’s how much the US Air Force proposes to spend over the next five years developing a new, stealthy, long-range, manned bomber likely specifically intended to penetrate Chinese air defences. The plan, included in the Obama administration’s 2012 budget, could lead to the production of around 100 new bombers by the mid-2020s — and could significantly tip the Pacific balance of power.

Last week’s bomber announcement marked the continued escalation of the arms race between the United States and China. Since early 2010, China has debuted a new stealth fighter prototype (the Chengdu J-20), brought ballistic anti-ship missiles into service and at least temporarily matched the US in sheer number of satellite launches (15). Meanwhile, the United States has deployed long-range spy drones to Guam, test-flown a new carrier-launched drone fighter and begun development of new supersonic anti-ship missiles—all in addition to the new bomber programme.

According to Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Phillip Breedlove, the bomber will comprise the biggest part of a ‘family of systems’ that will also include a non-nuclear ballistic missile plus new munitions for the bomber and two types of stealthy drones that might be controlled from the bomber. The new missiles and planes will be ‘decades ahead’ of what other countries might possess, Breedlove claimed.

The Air Force might also add lethal lasers to the bomber at some point in the future, said Gen. William Fraser, head of Air Combat Command.

The Pentagon’s bomber development coincides with the scripting of a new battle plan aimed at preserving US military capabilities in the Pacific. This so-called AirSea Battle plan is meant to help coordinate US Navy and Air Force ships and planes to better defend Taiwan from possible Chinese attack, while also countering Beijing’s efforts to expand its influence beyond its territorial waters.

The United States’ current force of some 160 B-1, B-2 and B-52 bombers, armed with guided bombs and missiles, already factors heavily into US Pacific war plans. But of these bombers, only the 20 B-2s have any ability to evade Chinese radars; the B-1s and B-52s could be vulnerable to Chinese fighters and surface-to-air missiles. The new bomber would likely displace some of the B-1s and B-52s and result in a more survivable long-range force.

The US Air Force base on Guam already hosts a rotating detachment of B-52s and B-2s. As the new bomber nears service, the Air Force might install new ‘hardened’ hangars—either buried or armoured—to protect the valuable planes from Chinese ballistic missiles, according to Gen. Gary North, commander of the US Pacific Air Force.

North has hinted at one of the roles the new bombers might play in any future war with China. He said the key to defeating the new J-20 fighter would be to prevent it ever taking off from its mainland bases. Bombers might be used to attack Chinese airfields in the early hours of a conflict.

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2. NATO To Increase Collaboration With Ukraine: Rasmussen

http://en.rian.ru/world/20110223/162727357.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
February 23, 2011

NATO to boost cooperation with Ukraine – Rasmussen

Kiev: NATO plans to step up its cooperation with Ukraine in order to tackle common problems, alliance’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in an interview with the Ukrainian magazine Profil.

The text of the interview is available on the website of the magazine.

Ukraine sought NATO membership under President Viktor Yushchenko. His successor, Yanukovych, who came to power in February 2010, said the country does not seek alignment with any military bloc, but would maintain good strategic relations both with NATO and Russia.

Rasmussen emphasized that Ukraine participates in many of NATO’s drills and has advanced its capability to work together with the alliance. Rasmussen said he was confident that NATO and Ukraine would continue to fight against piracy, proliferation of mass destruction weapons and internet hackers.

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3. Rasmussen: NATO Cooperation Key To Ukraine’s ‘Euro-Integration’

http://un.ua/eng/article/314543.html

Ukrainian News Agency
February 23, 2011

NATO Says Ukraine’s Cooperation With Allies Facilitates Its Euro-Integration

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization says that Ukraine’s cooperation with the Allies facilitates its European integration, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has announced in an interview with Profile magazine.

“We respect Ukraine’s decision to announce European integration the top foreign-policy priority. And I believe that constructive partnership with the Allies can help Ukraine blaze a trail to Europe,” he said.

Rasmussen underlines that, in the annual national programme Ukraine worked out in the process of consultations with NATO, they pointed to a scope of spheres which the Ukrainian government wants to modernise, specifically elections, freedom of mass media and of civil society.

He notes, NATO backs individual freedom, human rights and democracy and believes these to be the priority values.

“I don’t think at all that a compromise between freedom and prosperity or democracy and stability is possible. On the contrary, these complement each other,” NATO Secretary-General remarked.

Rasmussen is sure that Ukraine will not deviate from the course of democracy development and rule of law, which are the main aspects of NATO-Ukraine relations.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen will pay a visit to Ukraine on February 24 for meeting authorities.
….
NATO intends to maintain cooperation with Ukraine [and is] satisfied with Ukraine’s fulfillment of the annual national cooperation programme for 2010.

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4. State Department Eurasia Hands To Visit Balkans, Caucasus

http://www.civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=23174

Civil Georgia
February 23, 2011

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State to Visit Georgia

Tbilisi: U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, James B. Steinberg, will visit Georgia on February 24 as part of his trip which also includes Armenia, Azerbaijan, Albania and Bosnia on February 23-26.

In South Caucasus three countries, Steinberg will be accompanied by Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip H. Gordon.

“They will meet with leaders to discuss bilateral issues and regional security. They will also engage civil society representatives and media in each country,” the U.S. Department of State said on Tuesday.

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5. India To Increase Military Spending By 25% In One Year

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/02/23/45734801.html

Voice of Russia
February 23, 2011

India increases military spending

The Indian government has decided to increase the country’s 2011-2012 defense budget by 25 percent.

According to the Indian Express newspaper, a major part of this sum – $12.4 billion – will be spent for developing new armaments and participating in international military hardware supply tenders.

The scope of finance of weapon modernization programs currently implemented by India’s Defense Ministry is expected to reach $200 billion by 2016.

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6. NATO “Monitoring” Iranian Ships In Mediterranean

http://www.vancouversun.com/news/NATO+monitoring+Iran+warships+Mediterranean/4331145/story.html

Agence France-Presse
February 23, 2011

NATO ‘monitoring’ Iran warships in Mediterranean

The NATO military alliance said Wednesday it was monitoring two Iranian warships that have entered the Mediterranean Sea, a presence that has unnerved Israel.

“We follow events in the region and we follow these two Iranian warships with as much interest as we do any other warships in the region,” said NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu.

“We are monitoring events,” she told reporters, refusing to elaborate.

The U.S. State Department said earlier that Washington would be “watching carefully to see where these ships go and the implications of that.”

The Iranian ships sailed through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean on Tuesday at a time of upheaval in Europe’s Arab neighbourhood.

It was the first time Iranian vessels entered the canal since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

En route for Syria, it took them past Israeli territorial waters and Israel put its navy on high alert, saying it would respond immediately to any “provocation.”

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7. Cambodia: U.S. To Lead Joint Naval-Marine Drills

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-02/23/c_13746501.htm

Xinhua News Agency
February 23, 2011

Cambodian, U.S naval forces to conduct joint drill this weekend

PHNOM PENH: A Cambodian and the U.S. maritime exercise will be held in Cambodia from Feb. 27 to March 2 to exchange experience between the two countries’ military forces in peacekeeping, said Chhum Socheat, spokesman for Cambodian Ministry of Defense, on Wednesday.

The drill will be conducted at three locations; one is at the naval base in Preah Sihanouk province, another at the tank commanding headquarters in Kampong Speu and the other at Pich Nil military base, he told reporters.

“It is to exchange experiences between the U.S. forces and our Cambodian forces, especially the process of peacekeeping,”he said, adding “some 500 Cambodian military forces and U.S. naval forces will be joined the drill.”
….

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8. Russia Rejects Escalation Of External Pressure On Mideast Events

http://en.rian.ru/world/20110223/162730574.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
February 23, 2011

Russia not to accept pressure escalation on events in Middle East, North Africa – ministry

Mowcow: Russia will not accept attempts to escalate pressure on the events in the Middle East and North Africa, swept by unrest, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said during a telephone conversation with the Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa.

Mass uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia brought the ruling regimes in the countries to the end. From Bahrain to Yemen, from Algeria to Libya, unrest has spread across the Muslim world in recent weeks as the “Arab street” vents its anger on entrenched and authoritarian leaders.

“The Russian Foreign Minister reaffirmed fundamental rejection of attempts to escalate an external pressure on the course of events in the region and called for constructive engagement of the international and Arab communities in the promotion of democratic transformation and to solve the most pressing issues currently raising in the countries of the Middle East and North Africa,” the Foreign Ministry’s said in a statement on its website.

The ministry said earlier in the day that Russia should consolidate its positions in the Middle East and North Africa.

“Major changes happening in the Middle East area are affecting the vital interests of Russia,” the ministry said. “Now ensuring the safety of Russian citizens living permanently or temporarily in the Middle East and North Africa has to be prioritized, first of all. More intensive work to consolidate the Russian position in the region on new terms was launched at the same time as a priority.”

The final, fourth plane carrying Russians to Moscow from Libya has taken off, a spokesman for Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry said on Wednesday.

Russia has sent four airplanes to evacuate a total of 563 Russians from Libya, hit by mass anti-government protests.

Russia is also sending a passenger vessel, which can hold 1,000 people, from Montenegro on Wednesday. The ship will take on Russian, Turkish and Serbian passengers working in Libya under a contract with the Russian Railways. Once the passengers are on board, the vessel will head to Istanbul.

According to international organizations, up to 500 people have been killed and up to 4,000 wounded in clashes with government forces in Libya since protests against longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi’s regime began on February 15.

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9. 7th Fleet Chief: U.S., Allies Boost Warships, Subs In Asia-Pacific

http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=58726

Navy NewsStand
February 22, 2011

‘Commitment Remains Steadfast’ in Asia-Pacific
By By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Kenneth R. Hendrix, U.S. 7th Fleet Public Affairs

-[T]he numbers of ships operating in the 7th Fleet on any given day are about 70 on average, which is about the same or more than it was a decade ago with increased capabilities aboard those ships today.
Van Buskirk cited the deployment to Japan of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) — with greater speed, range, ammunition stowage and endurance, as an example of how the fleet’s capabilities have increased.

HONG KONG: Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet Vice Adm. Scott R. Van Buskirk told members of the Asia Society in Hong Kong on Feb. 21 that the Navy’s increased capabilities and growing maritime partnerships reflect an enduring commitment…in the region.

“The 7th Fleet has actually increased its capabilities in several significant ways. The ships and aircraft that we operate today are vastly more capable than they were just a few years ago. At the same time, we have enhanced our maritime partnerships with navies around the region, enabling us to work together cooperatively more than ever before,” Van Buskirk said.

He said the numbers of ships operating in the 7th Fleet on any given day are about 70 on average, which is about the same or more than it was a decade ago with increased capabilities aboard those ships today.

Van Buskirk cited the deployment to Japan of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) — with greater speed, range, ammunition stowage and endurance, as an example of how the fleet’s capabilities have increased.

He also cited the deployment of the Ohio-class fleet ballistic missile submarines (SSBN), the 60-40 split of attack submarines from the Atlantic to the Pacific and the recent deployment of the Virginia-class submarine USS Hawaii (SSN 776), which reflects the fleet’s growing capability under the sea.

Van Buskirk added that upgrades to surface ships, including Ballistic Missile Defense capability and enhanced sonar suites, making them “increasingly potent.”

He rejected the notion that the U.S., with its sluggish economy and military operations in Afghanistan, is lessening its commitment to the region.

“U.S. Navy and defense leadership continue to give me exactly the forces I need to do my mission,” Van Buskirk said.

Improvements in capability have been made even stronger by a deepening of our alliances and partnerships around the region, Van Buskirk commented.

“Our alliance with Japan continues to be the cornerstone of our forward presence in Asia….” Van Buskirk said.

He also expanded on the alliance with the Republic of Korea, interoperability with the Royal Australian Navy and growth of navy-to-navy relations in Southeast Asia.
….
Van Buskirk reiterated that the U.S. Navy remains “committed and engaged”.

“That is the message. We remain committed to this region, we remain committed to the Pacific and actively engaging where ever we can to foster maritime partnerships,” he said.
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10. US: Gates Meets Afghan DM At Pentagon, Clinton Latvian FM At DoS

http://www.pajhwok.com/en/2011/02/23/gates-wardak-set-wide-ranging-talks

Pajhwok Afghan News
February 23, 2011

Gates, Wardak set for wide-ranging talks
by Lalit J Kha

WASHINGTON: US Defense Secretary Robert Gates is set to hold consultations on a wide range of bilateral security issues with visiting his Afghan counterpart Abdul Rahim Wardak on Wednesday.

“The secretary of defense hosts an honour cordon to welcome Afghanistan’s Minister of Defence Abdul Rahim Wardak to the Pentagon,” the Department of Defense said on Tuesday.

Gen. Wardak and Bismillah Mohammadi, the interior minister, arrived in Washington on Tuesday for bilateral talks with their American counterparts. The talks would continue until Feb. 25. The visiting ministers will also address number of Washington-based think tanks.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discussed the current situation in Afghanistan with visiting Latvian Foreign Minister Girts Valdis Kristovskis.

“Latvia has been a leading partner in our military and civilian engagements in Afghanistan. As I said at the Munich Security Conference this month, and as I emphasized to the foreign minister today as well, these times of economic uncertainty have done nothing to lessen our enduring commitment to Europe,” Clinton said.

At a joint press conference with Clinton, Kristovskis said: “We are looking further that we will participate together with US forces in the ISAF mission in Afghanistan.”

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11. West Africa: U.S. Warship Continues Africa Partnership Station Visit

http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=58749

Navy NewsStand
February 23, 2011

Robert G. Bradley Arrives in Gabon for APS West Mission
By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Darryl Wood, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Africa/ Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs

LIBREVILLE, Gabon: USS Robert G. Bradley (FFG 49) arrived in Libreville, Gabon, for port visit as part of the Africa Partnership Station (APS) West mission, Feb. 23.

Building on the Chief of Naval Operations’ Maritime Strategy, APS seeks to enhance regional and maritime safety and security in Africa by developing partnering capabilities and relationships.

While the Navy has conducted training during routine deployments in West Africa for years, the focus of APS is increasing African maritime capabilities and capacity….

“Robert G. Bradley is looking forward to its second theater security cooperation engagement in Libreville, Gabon, fresh off a highly successful Togo visit,” said Cmdr. Darryl Brown, commanding officer of Robert G. Bradley.
….
“Robert G. Bradley hopes to strengthen U.S. relations with Gabon,” said Brown.

APS is an international security cooperation initiative, facilitated by Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, aimed at strengthening global maritime partnerships….

Robert G. Bradley, an Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate, is homeported out of Mayport, Fla., and is on a scheduled APS deployment to the West Coast of Africa.

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO News February 23, 2011

February 23, 2011 1 comment

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stopnato-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
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1. Fidel Castro Says U.S. Plans NATO Invasion Of Libya

2. NATO-Ukraine Annual National Program Nears Completion

3. Afghan Capital: Explosion Hits District Near NATO Headquarters

4. Push For NATO Partnership Fuels Discord In Cyprus

5. Afghanistan: Georgian Soldier Killed, Two Wounded

6. Pakistan: U.S. Resumes Drone Slaughter In Tribal Areas

7. Expanded Ballistic Missile Range: S. Korea Presidential Aide To U.S.

8. Russian LDP MP: Mideast Turmoil To Reach Central Asia, Russia

9. Kyrgyzstan Marks Anniversary Of Bloodstained “Tuilp Revolution” II

10. President: Mideast Unrest To Have “Direct Impact” On Russia

11. U.S. Exacerbates Japanese-Russian Territorial Dispute

12. California: U.S., Israel Successfully Test Anti-Missile System

13. USS George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group Certified Combat Ready

14. Egypt Expands Military Presence On Libyan Border

15. ALBA Shuns OAS Intrusion In Venezuelan Affairs

16. Otpor Offshoot Has Trained “Dissidents” In 37 Countries

17. Georgia Approves Deploying Artillery Instructors To Afghanistan

18. NATO Offers Greek Missile Firing Site To UAE, Other Arab States

19. U.S. Military In Australia Able To Withstand Chinese Counterattack

20. U.S. Urges Australia To Unite Military Efforts Against China

21. Kosovo: NATO’s Top Commander Inspects NATO, Kosovo Troops

22. Germany: NATO Exercises Practice For “Fictitious Air Insertion”

23. Kurils Conflict: Japan-Russia Relations At “Worst Point In Decades”

24. Kurils: U.S., Japan Could Cut Off Russian Fleet From Pacific

25. New Stealth Bomber Could Control Drones, Fire Lasers, Bust Bunkers

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1. Fidel Castro Says U.S. Plans NATO Invasion Of Libya

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/22/AR2011022202291.html

Associated Press
February 22, 2011

Fidel Castro says US plans NATO invasion of Libya

HAVANA: Cuba’s former leader Fidel Castro says it’s too early to criticize Libya’s government – but just the moment to denounce something says is planned: A U.S.-led invasion of the North African nation.

Castro uses a column published in Cuban media on Tuesday to accuse the United States of planning a NATO invasion of Libya to control its oil. He says that might happen “in a question of hours or very short days.”

He says the plan “has to be denounced.”

The Communist revolutionary is more cautious about reports by Arab and Western news media that troops loyal to…Moammar Gadhafi have slaughtered civilian protesters. Castro says, “We have to wait the necessary time to know with rigor how much is fact or lie.”

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2. NATO-Ukraine Annual National Program Nears Completion

http://www.interfax.com.ua/eng/main/61658/

Interfax-Ukraine
February 22, 2011

Government approves draft annual cooperation program between Ukraine, NATO

The Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers has approved the draft annual national program of cooperation between Ukraine and NATO, which will be submitted to Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych.

According to the project, Ukraine will develop constructive partnership with the Alliance as stipulated by the law of Ukraine on the principles of domestic and foreign policy in the areas set out in the relevant bilateral documents, in compliance with the principles laid down in the Charter on a Distinctive Partnership between Ukraine and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization dated July 9, 1997 and the declaration to complement the charter dated August 21, 2009, the government’s press service reported.

The implementation of Ukraine-NATO annual national cooperation programme will contribute to domestic reforms in security, defense, economic, legal sector and other fields, as well as help involve the expertise and other resources of NATO member states into these processes.

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3. Afghan Capital: Explosion Hits District Near NATO Headquarters

http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/22/explosion-hits-kabul-district-near-nato-hq.html

Reuters
February 22, 2011

Explosion hits Kabul district near Nato HQ

KABUL: An explosion rocked a Kabul district that is home to the headquarters of the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force and near the presidential palace and many embassies, a police source said on Tuesday.

“The explosion was in Shashdarak district. We don’t know whether it was a bomb,” the source told Reuters. He asked not to be named as he is not authorised to talk to the media.

ISAF said they were not immediately aware of any explosion.

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4. Push For NATO Partnership Fuels Discord In Cyprus

http://www.cyprus-mail.com/cyprus/partnership-peace-cause-discord/20110222

Cyprus Mail
February 22, 2011

Partnership for Peace a cause of discord
By Jacqueline Agathocleous

Ruling party AKEL yesterday refused to confirm reports that it was planning a demonstration outside parliament on Thursday to protest against a proposal by the other parties for Cyprus to join NATO’s Partnership for Peace (PfP).

Even though an MP unofficially admitted at the House yesterday that discussions were being held to consider the possibility, a spokesman for the party said the reports were unsubstantiated and no such news would be confirmed.

The House Plenum will discuss on Thursday a proposal that was made on the opposition DISY’s initiative last week, which was signed by government partner DIKO, as well as EDEK and EVROKO, to force the administration to apply for membership in PfP – a NATO programme aimed at promoting [cooperation] between the alliance and other states.

The party leaders had been told of DISY’s intention to table the draft on the morning before last week’s plenary session.

The move has riled President Demetris Christofias and AKEL, which has always been against the idea on ideological grounds.

Government Spokesman Stefanos Stefanou last week said it violated the separation of powers, was unconstitutional and would create problems for the state’s smooth operation in the future.
….

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5. Afghanistan: Georgian Soldier Killed, Two Wounded

http://www.civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=23169

Civil Georgia
February 22, 2011

Georgian Soldier Killed in Afghanistan

Tbilisi: One Georgian serviceman was killed and two others wounded in Afghanistan as a result of a mine explosion, the Georgian Defense Ministry said on February 22.

Corporal Giorgi Avaliani, who died, as well as two other corporals, Nikoloz Deisadze and Ednra Abuladze, who were wounded, was serving in the 32nd battalion in the province of Helmand.

The latest death brings to six the number of Georgian soldiers killed in Afghanistan, since joining the NATO-led operation in November, 2009. Georgia suffered its first casualty in early September 2010.

The 32nd battalion of the 3rd infantry brigade rotated with the 31st infantry battalion in Afghanistan in November, 2010. Georgia has up to 950 soldiers serving in Afghanistan and plans to send a team of 11 artillery instructors to train the Afghan army.

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6. Pakistan: U.S. Resumes Drone Slaughter In Tribal Areas

http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=4150&Cat=13&dt=2/22/2011

The News International
February 22, 2011

14 killed in drone, missile attacks in SWA, NWA
By Malik Mumtaz Khan, Irfan Burki & Mushtaq Yusufzai

-Many people thought the CIA had stopped missile attacks in the Pakistani tribal areas after the arrest of its agent in Pakistan.
-Villagers and official sources said 10 US spy planes were seen hovering over various villages in Mir Ali and Miramshah throughout the day on Monday. According to villagers in Mir Ali, the drones fired four missiles and hit two rooms and a car parked inside the mud house.
The villagers claimed all the victims were local tribes people and had no affiliation with the militants… The tribesmen who pulled out bodies from the debris of the house said the bodies of majority of the slain people were mutilated and beyond recognition.
-[T]here were more than a dozen spy planes flying over various villages in the tribal region at low altitude on Monday and the angry tribesmen were seen firing at them. “The Americans don’t care for others and they will continue killing us.”

MIRAMSHAH/WANA/PESHAWAR: Eight people were killed and some others wounded Monday in a US drone strike on a house in a village near Mir Ali town in North Waziristan.

Earlier late Sunday, six people were killed and a few were injured in a missile strike by US drones in Azam Warsak village near Wana in South Waziristan. The death toll was 14 in the two separate attacks by the CIA-operated spy planes in South and North Waziristan tribal regions on Sunday and Monday nights.

The two attacks by the US drones in the Pakistani tribal areas were the first ones after the arrest of CIA spy Raymond Davis for killing two Pakistanis in Lahore. The last time the drones conducted missile attacks in Pakistani tribal areas was in Mir Ali in North Waziristan on January 23.

Many people thought the CIA had stopped missile attacks in the Pakistani tribal areas after the arrest of its agent in Pakistan. The news had sent a wave of joy among the tribes people of militancy-torn North Waziristan tribal region as they were hoping there would no more drone attacks on their villages and towns.

But their happiness was short-lived as the drones on the night between Sunday and Monday fired two missiles and struck a house at Azam Warsak village near Wana, the main town of South Waziristan tribal region.

Tribal sources said six people were killed in the attack and few others were injured. It was the first attack by the US drones in South Waziristan this year. The sources said the drone hit the house of tribesman Hukam Khan, who belongs to the Sarkikhel Wazir tribe. The identity of the slain people could not be ascertained, but local tribesmen claimed all of them were tribal people.

In another attack, eight people were killed and some others sustained injuries when the drones pounded a house at Malik Ashdar village of Mir Ali subdivision, 12 kilometers east of Miramshah, the principal town of North Waziristan.

Villagers and official sources said 10 US spy planes were seen hovering over various villages in Mir Ali and Miramshah throughout the day on Monday. According to villagers in Mir Ali, the drones fired four missiles and hit two rooms and a car parked inside the mud house.

The villagers claimed all the victims were local tribes people and had no affiliation with the militants. They said the injured people were rushed to a nearby hospital in Mir Ali town, where the doctors said condition of some of them was critical. The tribesmen who pulled out bodies from the debris of the house said the bodies of majority of the slain people were mutilated and beyond recognition.

Official sources said it was the eighth attack by the US spy aircraft in North Waziristan in 2011. Some officials and tribesmen said one of the main reasons behind the pause in drone attacks in North Waziristan could be cloudy weather in the region. “We were so excited when we heard there would be no more drone attacks in North Waziristan after the arrest of CIA agent Raymond Davis, reported to be the key player behind these strikes,” a disappointed tribesman, Noor Kalam Dawar said in Miramshah.

He said there were more than a dozen spy planes flying over various villages in the tribal region at low altitude on Monday and the angry tribesmen were seen firing at them. “The Americans don’t care for others and they will continue killing us,” Kalam felt.

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7. Expanded Ballistic Missile Range: S. Korea Presidential Aide To U.S.

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-02/22/c_13743817.htm

Xinhua News Agency
February 22, 2011

South Korea’s key presidential aide to visit U.S. for missile talks

SEOUL: A key presidential aide to South Korean President Lee Myung-bak will visit the United States for talks over revising guidelines on Seoul’s missile development, local media reported Tuesday.

Kim Tae-hyo, presidential secretary for national security strategy, will leave for Washington this weekend to meet with U.S. officials, including Jeffrey Bader, the National Security Council’ s director for Asian affairs, according to Seoul’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper.

The two sides will reportedly discuss revising current guidelines limiting the firing range of South Korea’s ballistic missiles to 300 kilometers, stipulated under the Missile Technology Control Regime aimed at restricting proliferation of missiles and missile technology.

South Korea has sought authorization to develop longer-range missiles to better deal with potential missile threats from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

The trip is at the request of the U.S. government, according to Chosun.

Related:

S Korea, U.S. to hold drills on western border islands: media

SEOUL, Feb. 22 : South Korea and the United States plan to hold drills this year on islands near a disputed western sea border between South Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), local media reported Tuesday citing an unspecified military source.

The allies are currently discussing details of the exercise and planning to hold a separate landing drill off eastern and western coasts of the Korean peninsula this year, Seoul’s Yonhap News Agency quoted an unnamed military official as saying. Full story

S. Korea seeks to double number of anti-submarine drills with U.S.

SEOUL, Jan. 7: South Korea’s Navy chief said Friday he is planning to double the number of joint anti-submarine drills with the United States this year, Navy officials said.

South Korea is seeking to hold twice as many anti-submarine drills with the U.S. as they did last year and increase the overall number of combined exercises between the two allies, Navy officials said quoting Navy chief Kim Sung-chan.
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8. Russian LDP MP: Mideast Turmoil To Reach Central Asia, Russia

http://www.interfax.com/newsinf.asp?pg=5&id=224183

Interfax
February 22, 2011

Riots in Middle East may reach Russia this summer – Liberal Democratic Party

MOSCOW: Sergei Abeltsev, a member of the Liberal Democratic Party faction in the State Duma, has expressed concerns about the possibility of the Middle Eastern situation spreading to Central Asia and Russia.

Riots are currently taking place in Algeria, Bahrain, Jordan, Libya, and Morocco, Abeltsev said in a speech devoted to the upcoming Defender of the Fatherland Day at a ‘government hour” meeting in the State Duma on Tuesday. “Obviously, this infection will spread to Central Asia in the spring and will reach Russia in the summer and this threat can only be combated by the Armed Forces,” the parliamentarian said.

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9. Kyrgyzstan Marks Anniversary Of Bloodstained ‘Tuilp Revolution’ II

http://www.itar-tass.com/eng/level2.html?NewsID=15979701&PageNum=0

Itar-Tass
February 22, 2011

Kyrgyzstan to mark anniversary of deposing Kurmanbek Bakiyev

BISHKEK: Kyrgyzstan’s interim President Roza Otunbayeva ordered to carry out events marking the first anniversary of the ousting of former leader Kurmanbek Bakiyev. Otunbayeva has signed the relevant decree, the presidential press service told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.

Her decree sets up an organizing committee, with the view of preparing and marking the anniversary of the April People’s Revolution, which happened at the cost of human lives….The decree notes the revolution’s historical significance for the country.

The organizing committee includes chief of the presidential staff Emilbek Kaptagayev, Cabinet officials, lawmakers and public figures.

On April 7, 2010, several thousand supporters of the Kyrgyz Opposition rallied in Bishkek. Later, the rally moved to the central square where the government building is located. The guards at the entrance to the building opened fire at the protesters who tried to force their way in, killing some 90 people and wounding hundreds more.

In the evening, the Opposition took control of the republic’s main administrative building. Bakiyev fled Bishkek and hid in the native village in the Jalalabad region. Later, he left Kyrgyzstan for Belarus.

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10. President: Mideast Unrest To Have “Direct Impact” On Russia

http://www.itar-tass.com/eng/level2.html?NewsID=15979231&PageNum=0

Itar-Tass
February 22, 2011

Fanatics may rise to power in Arab world – Medvedev

-“We may see the disintegration of big populous states” and the breakup of these countries “into small pieces.”
-“They had prepared such a scenario for us, and now they will try to implement it, but in any case, this scenario will not work.”
-“This is going to be a very long period, we are talking about an outlook for decades, let’s be honest with ourselves, let us not deceive ourselves, or mislead the people. It is a big, complicated problem, and for solving it we will have to exert very serious efforts for a very long time.”

VLADIKAVKAZ: The situation in the Middle East and the Arab world in general may be fraught with disintegration of populous states and the fanatics’ rise to power, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said.

“Look at the situation that has taken shape in the Middle East and the Arab world. It is the gravest, there are very great difficulties ahead,” he said on Tuesday at a meeting of the National Anti-Terrorist Committee (NAC). In some cases, according to Medvedev, “we may see the disintegration of big populous states” and the breakup of these countries “into small pieces.”

“And these states are no simple ones, it is likely that there will be complex events ahead, including the rise of fanatics to power – this would mean the fires there will rage for decades and the spread of extremism in the future, we must face the truth,” said the president. He added: “They had prepared such a scenario for us, and now they will try to implement it, but in any case, this scenario will not work.”

Nevertheless, Medvedev said, the ongoing events in the Middle East will have a “direct impact” on the situation in Russia.

“This is going to be a very long period, we are talking about an outlook for decades, let’s be honest with ourselves, let us not deceive ourselves, or mislead the people. It is a big, complicated problem, and for solving it we will have to exert very serious efforts for a very long time,” said Medvedev. He believes that no one, except the Russians themselves, “will be able to restore order.”

Common approaches to solving the problem of extremism and terrorism in Russia spell comprehensive development of regions, in particular, the North Caucasus, the development of social programs, creation of jobs, development of educational programs, support for education and the broadest possible support for Russian Islam, the president added.

“Those who are prepared to change should be given a chance, but those who want bloodshed will choke on their own blood,” he said. There can be no other approaches, he added.

“I would like to say one thing: this is our country and our land, we must put it in order, for all of us and especially for our children, and we shall do that,” said Medvedev.

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11. U.S. Exacerbates Japanese-Russian Territorial Dispute

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/02/22/45579622.html

Voice of Russia
February 22, 2011

Russia-Japan-US – three’s a crowd

The US has interfered in the “war of words” between Russia and Japan over the territorial sovereignty of the South Kuril Islands. Amid anti-Russian campaigns held by Japanese nationalists, a spokeswoman for the US State Department, Joanne Moore, said that the US government supports Japan and recognizes its sovereignty over the Islands, which Japan calls the Northern Territories.

On the one hand there is nothing new about the position of Washington on the Islands’ issue. Last November, when during his tour of the Far East President Dmitry Medvedev visited Kunashir, one of the four South Kuril Islands, official spokesperson for the US State Department Philip Crowley spoke in support of Tokyo’s territorial claims. But the current statements of the US State Department amid growing threats from Japanese radicals look like outright instigation.

This is not for the first time that the US has tried to drive a wedge between Russia and Japan, Valery Kistanov, head of the Center for Japanese Studies at the Far East Institute, said in an interview with the “Voice of Russia”.

In 1955-1956, the USSR and Japan held talks on a peace treaty which resulted in the adoption of a Soviet-Japanese declaration. This declaration envisaged the restoration of diplomatic ties and the end of military action but did not resolve the territorial issue.

At that stage Japan was considering abandoning its claims to the four South Kuril Islands. But Washington threatened Tokyo that if it did so, the US would not return Okinawa to Japan, the country’s southernmost island, which was occupied by the US at that time.

Since then this problem in Russian-Japanese relations has remained unsolved. But the fact that the US contributed to the existence of this territorial conflict does not give it the right to interfere now. The territorial dispute between Russia and Japan is the executive prerogative of these two states.

On Monday, US Ambassador in Russia John Beyrle was invited to the Foreign Ministry where he met with Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Borodavkin. During the meeting, Borodavkin reasserted Moscow’s sovereignty over the southern Kuril islands.

Here is a comment made by Alexander Boldarev, the Deputy Head of the Foreign Ministry’s mass media department:

“We drew Mr. Beyrle’s attention to recent statements made by officials of the US State Department and the US embassy in Moscow, in which they expressed their support for Japan’s territorial claims to Russia. In this respect the Foreign Ministry reiterated Russia’s categorical and unwavering and unchanged position regarding its sovereignty over the South Kuril Islands.”

Meanwhile Russia’s embassy in Japan is preparing a diplomatic note to the Japanese Foreign Ministry demanding the prosecution of people who desecrated the Russian flag.

On February 7, mass media the world over showed a footage of members of an ultra-right dragging a torn Russian flag on the ground in front of the Russian embassy in Tokyo. Under Japanese legislation the desecration of a foreign state symbol is a criminal office and Russia demands the observance of the provisions of the Japanese law.

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12. California: U.S., Israel Successfully Test Anti-Missile System

http://en.trend.az/regions/met/israel/1833702.html

Trend News Agency
Febraury 22, 2011

Israel and US successfully test anti-missile system

Israel and the United States successfully carried out a test of Israel’s Arrow anti-missile system off the coast of California on Tuesday morning, the newspaper Haaretz reported.

Israeli Defense Ministry says the Arrow detected, intercepted and destroyed a target missile launched from an offshore platform late Monday inside a U.S. Navy firing range.

The test was held in order to see if the missile would be successful against Iran’s advanced missile, the Shahab 3, which could be used to hit Israel and regional U.S. bases.

Jointly developed by Israel and the U.S., the Arrow detects an incoming missile and destroys it with a second missile….

Tuesday’s statement said the test provides confidence in operational Israeli capabilities to defeat the developing ballistic missile threat.

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13. USS George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group Certified Combat Ready

http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=58721

Navy NewsStand
February 22, 2011

USS George H.W. Bush Strike Group Certified Combat Ready
By Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW) Misty Trent, USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) Public Affairs

-During COMPTUEX, the GHWB Strike Group entered into an intensive training scenario loosely based on geo-political conditions from around the globe. The scenarios, designed and executed by Strike Force Training Atlantic (SFTL), simulated many real-world situations that the GHWB Strike Group could encounter on deployment….
-The Spanish frigate Borbón and its 240 sailors were fully integrated throughout both exercises….Because Borbón will participate in the early stages of the Strike Group’s deployment, full engagement of crews, systems and protocol was critical. French navy assets, including the destroyer FS Primauguet (D 644) and the submarine FS Perle (S606), joined the Strike Group for JTFEX as well.

ATLANTIC OCEAN: The George H.W. Bush (GHWB) Carrier Strike Group is certified ready for combat operations after successfully completing its first Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) and Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX), Feb. 21.

The Strike Group assets departed their various homeports on or about Jan. 19 to begin final exercises before embarking on its first overseas deployment scheduled for spring of this year.

“This Strike Group was absolutely ready for these exercises, and our Sailors hit the ball out of the park,” said Commander, Carrier Strike Group Two, Rear Adm. Nora W. Tyson. “This is America’s newest strike group in America’s newest aircraft carrier, and our team is strong and ready to go. At the end of the day, COMPTUEX and JTFEX are really tests of our ability to work as a team, and we nailed it….”

During COMPTUEX, the GHWB Strike Group entered into an intensive training scenario loosely based on geo-political conditions from around the globe. The scenarios, designed and executed by Strike Force Training Atlantic (SFTL), simulated many real-world situations that the GHWB Strike Group could encounter on deployment, including small boat attacks, mines, strait transits in hostile waters and aerial, surface and sub-surface threats. Each scenario built on the one before, testing both the individual components of the GHWB Strike Group, as well as its collective effectiveness.
….
COMPTUEX was a 23-day evolution, and included all assets within the Strike Group, from the flagship George H.W. Bush to the squadrons of Carrier Air Wing EIGHT (CVW-8), the guided-missile cruisers USS Gettysburg (CG 64), USS Monterey (CG 61), and USS Anzio (CG 68), Destroyer Squadron 22 ships USS Mitscher (DDG 57) and USS Truxtun (DDG 103), and the Spanish frigate ESPS Almirante Juan de Borbón (F 102). All told, nearly 7,500 Sailors played a direct role in the evolution.
….
During COMPTUEX, boarding teams from ships throughout the Strike Group performed more than 20 practice visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) evolutions, and the eight squadrons assigned to the embarked air wing flew nearly 3,800 hours during 1,800 sorties.
….
The Strike Group returned to sea Feb. 14 to begin the final exam – JTFEX. For nearly 10 days, SFTL evaluated the overall combat readiness of the GHWB Strike Group, specifically focusing on the Strike Group’s ability to interact and operate with other U.S. military and coalition forces.

The Spanish frigate Borbón and its 240 sailors were fully integrated throughout both exercises, including several exchange visits between Borbón and George H.W. Bush Sailors. Because Borbón will participate in the early stages of the Strike Group’s deployment, full engagement of crews, systems and protocol was critical. French navy assets, including the destroyer FS Primauguet (D 644) and the submarine FS Perle (S606), joined the Strike Group for JTFEX as well.

“The scenarios [the crew] experienced during COMPTUEX/JTFEX are based on real-world operations today’s carrier strike groups can expect to face in the deployed environment,” said FitzPatrick. “Geo-political situations are fluid and ever-changing across the globe, and leadership needs the multi-mission flexibility a strike group brings to their area of responsibility. The mission of our carrier strike groups can change at a moment’s notice depending on real time events, and the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group Sailors are ready to deploy and accept any mission given to them.”

“The Navy’s carrier strike groups are critical to the nation’s maritime strategy,” said Tyson. “Our combined capabilities allow us to deploy to any region around the globe….”

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14. Egypt Expands Military Presence On Libyan Border

http://en.apa.az/news.php?id=141273

Agence France-Presse
February 22, 2011

Egypt beefs up military presence on Libya border

Baku: Egypt is beefing up its military presence on the Libyan border in response to an influx of refugees and the evacuation of Egyptian nationals, a security source told AFP on Tuesday, AFP reported.

“The army has sent extra units to ensure security along the northern frontier with Libya at the Soloum border crossing and to allow Egyptians fleeing Libya to safely return,” the source said.

Some 10,000 Egyptians are already at the border, waiting to cross, after 5,000 compatriots came over on Monday, she added.

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15. ALBA Shuns OAS Intrusion In Venezuelan Affairs

http://www.insidecostarica.com/dailynews/2011/february/21/latinamerica11022101.htm

Inside Costa Rica
February 22, 2011

ALBA Shuns OAS Intrusion in Venezuelan Affairs

Caracas: The Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) irked with OAS General Secretary Jose Miguel Insulza intrusion in Venezuela”s affairs.

Chilean Insulza said this week “he still waits for the Venezuelan Government’s green light for his visit to probe human rights violation denunciations.”

The communiqué of the member countries of ALBA – Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Dominica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Ecuador, Antigua and Barbuda and Venezuela – “rejects the OAS Secretary’s reiterated intrusions in the internal affairs of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela” and urged him to stop attacking the government of President Hugo Chavez.

“Insulza uses his office to support the strategy of a political minority of Venezuelans who challenge Venezuela’s current democracy and governance. The General Secretary of a regional body is to serve its member countries and should never act as referee or court to judge domestic political affairs,” stresses the document.

They also urged the remaining members of the Washington-based OAS “to rein in such dangerous retrogression to the times when the OAS served as an instrument for interventionism and colonialism in our continent.”

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a)

16. Otpor Offshoot Has Trained “Dissidents” In 37 Countries

http://www.rferl.org/content/exporting_nonviolent_revolution_eastern_europe_mideast/2316231.html

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
February 21, 2011

Exporting Nonviolent Revolution, From Eastern Europe To The Middle East
By Courtney Rose Brooks, Milos Teodorovic

Srdja Popovic has a dream: a world where political change comes through nonviolent struggle.

He started out as a pro-democracy activist in his native Serbia by founding the group “Otpor” (Resistance), which led the protests that drove…President Slobodan Milosevic from power more than a decade ago.

Popvic then exported his nonviolent methods, helping train the activists who spearheaded Georgia’s Rose Revolution in 2003 and Ukraine’s Orange Revolution in 2004.

And now, Popovic is deploying his new organization, called Canvas, even farther afield – assisting the pro-democracy activists who recently brought down despotic regimes in Egypt and Tunisia.

“We are simply trying to convince the world that the only right way to make a change is to fight strategically and in a nonviolent way,” Popovic says.

“I think that those young, secular people that we see these days in the demonstrations all around the Middle East are one new face of that region. I want to believe that they are strong enough and smart enough to beat any extremism, including the Islamic one.”

The work of groups like Canvas, combined with the proliferation of social-networking websites like Facebook and Twitter, and the coming of age of a wired — and increasingly disaffected — young generation have combined to create a perfect storm threatening…regimes from Europe to North Africa, to the Middle East.
….
Canvas was founded in 2003 and has trained dissidents in 37 countries, including Zimbabwe, North Korea, Belarus, and Iran, Popovic says. He declines to reveal whether the organization had trained activists in countries that are now protesting against their authoritarian governments, such as Algeria and Yemen, unless the activists do so themselves.
….
In the late summer of 2009 the group collaborated with other NGOs to bring approximately 20 Egyptian activists — including some of those who later founded the April 6 movement that spearheaded the recent antigovernment protests — to Belgrade for a week of training on tactics they could use to promote change in Egypt.

Petar Milicevic, the founder of Alternative to Europe NGO, helped with the training. He says he talked to the Egyptians about organizing campaigns, the importance of galvanizing youth support, and how to use social media to reach both of these goals.
….
One of Otpor’s main methods in overthrowing Milosevic was to win public support through humor by mocking the regime. They once famously rolled an oil barrel with Milosevic’s face on it down a street while people took turns whacking it with a bat. Activists were often arrested and roughed up, but reportedly rarely held overnight in prison.

But while training dissidents from regimes such as Egypt, Iran, and Belarus, Canvas has had to recognize that it is teaching activists who could spend years in jail for their activities.

Nini Gogoberidze, a Georgian citizen who participated in Georgia’s Rose Revolution in 2003, is a Canvas trainer who has worked primarily with Iranian dissidents. She says that while each struggle is different, the level of violence the regime is likely to use on dissidents is what separates them the most.
….
Canvas’s teachings are now spreading around North Africa and the Middle East through word of mouth and social media.
….
Slobodan Kostic and Ena Stevanovic of RFE/RL’s Balkan Service contributed to this report, as did RFE/RL’s Georgian Service
———————————————————-
b)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/387463.stm

BBC News
July 6, 1999

‘CIA ordered to topple Milosevic': US report

[Photo:
'Down with Milosevic!': Protest rallies are increasing in size]

-The US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright – who has presided over the administration’s Balkan strategy – has been whipping up European political support for Serbian opposition groups.
Robert Gelbard, US Special Envoy to the Balkans, brought 20 opposition figures together last month to try to hammer out a more unified opposition.

President Clinton has authorised an all-out campaign to topple Slobodan Milosevic, according to sources close to the US Government.

Earlier this spring, Mr Clinton signed a secret presidential “finding” giving the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) the green light to try to bring down the Yugoslav president, said sources quoted in the US news-magazine Time.

The reported campaign has two tracks, overt and covert.

New secret initiatives

The CIA is expected to try to “disrupt Mr Milosevic’s private financial transactions” and use computer hackers to drain his overseas bank accounts electronically, according to the Time report.

Covert operations within Yugoslavia itself are also reported to be planned, aimed at fomenting greater anti-Milosevic feeling.

But adminstration officials are well aware that the Yugoslav president is still strong.

Nato’s Supreme Allied Commander (Europe), General Wesley Clark, told the Senate Armed Services Committee last week that Mr Milosevic “remains in firm control of his military and is working hard at refurbishing his image”.

Funding and support for opposition

In terms of open diplomacy, the Clinton administration’s approach has been clear.

The US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright – who has presided over the administration’s Balkan strategy – has been whipping up European political support for Serbian opposition groups.

Robert Gelbard, US Special Envoy to the Balkans, brought 20 opposition figures together last month to try to hammer out a more unified opposition.

Now, six new radio transmitters outside Serbian territory will beam a 24-hour diet of pro-Western broadcasts to bolster dissident elements.

Large reward

Washington has also put a $5 million bounty on Mr Milosevic’s head.

On 24 June, Mrs Albright announced the War Criminals Rewards Programme for the former Yugoslavia.

Under the scheme, information leading to the arrest or conviction of anyone indicted by the International War Crimes Tribunal will receive a handsome reward.

Mr Milosevic has been indicted on several counts – though the US announcement did not identify him by name.

But with street protests now taking place in growing numbers – and with the Serbian Orthodox church instructing its priests to blame Serbian forces for the Kosovo war – the Americans clearly believe that now could be the time to add to the pressure on Mr Milosevic.

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17. Georgia Approves Deploying Artillery Instructors To Afghanistan

http://www.civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=23171

Civil Georgia
February 22, 2011

MPs Approve Sending Artillery Instructors to Afghanistan

Tbilisi: Parliament approved on February 22 a proposal to send a team of Georgian artillery instructors to Afghanistan to train Afghan forces.

The team of trainers, according to the officials, will consist of 11 servicemen.

Georgia is already contributing up to 950-strong combat unit in Afghanistan.

Just hours before the approval of additional deployment, the Ministry of Defense reported that one Georgian soldier was killed and two others wounded in a mine explosion in the Helmand province.

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18. NATO Offers Greek Missile Firing Site To UAE, Other Arab States

http://gulfnews.com/business/technology/nato-offers-greek-missile-testing-facility-to-uae-1.766132

Gulf News
February 23, 2011

Nato offers Greek missile testing facility to UAE
Namfi will be used for training and weapon evaluation
By Himendra Mohan Kumar

Dhabi: The Nato Missile Firing Installation (Namfi) is offering its facility in Greece to the UAE and other Arab nations to test their weapon systems, Nato officials told Gulf News on the sidelines of the ongoing International Defence Exhibition and Conference (Idex-2011) here yesterday.

Major General George A. Somaras said upon acceptance that Namfi offers a 50 per cent discount to users the first time on the overall cost of testing.

“Since the end of the Cold War, around nine countries which aren’t Nato members have conducted tests at Namfi.

“As well, several companies have used Namfi’s range for target testing and testing weapons systems,” Somaras added.
….
Evaluating weapons

Countries need a range to evaluate a weapons system, conduct training and firing in a controlled environment and Namfi provides all of that, he added.

“At Namfi, all types of missiles can be tested — surface to surface, surface to air and air to air,” said Kallergis.

In June 1964 the multilateral agreement on the use and operation of Namfi was signed by Belgium, France, Germany, Denmark, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway and the US.

All firings at Namfi’s range are conducted over a sea area 166 kilometres long and 87 kilometres wide.

US-based integrated defence systems provider Raytheon plans to deliver the first set of components of the Patriot air and missile defence system to the UAE this year.

In December 2008, the UAE and the US signed an agreement under which the UAE will get delivery of the Patriot system in a $3.3 billion (Dh12.11 billion) deal.

The Patriot delivers a long-range, all-altitude, all-weather system to defeat advanced threats, including aircraft, tactical ballistic missiles and cruise missiles.

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19. U.S. Military In Australia Able To Withstand Chinese Counterattack

http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/44342.html

Australian Broadcasting Corporation
February 22, 2011

Conflict looms over US military presence in Australia
91 Comments
Adam Lockyer and Rob Muir

[Excerpts]

For two decades, the issue of US bases in Australia has remained dormant. The Government and community seem to have become comfortable with their presence, as long as they are perceived as passive.

There was barely a whimper when, in 2007, approval was given for a new joint communications centre in Geraldton, WA. This was mirrored in late 2010, when arrangements were made to share training facilities.

Nevertheless, the issue of US bases might be about to re-emerge as a hot-button political issue.

This month has witnessed a radical change in the tone used in defence discourse. It was triggered by a new paper by Professor Ross Babbage, calling upon Australia to completely reconfigure its defence strategy in order to deter China, or in his previous parlance, to prepare to “rip an arm off” China. The paper called for: the purchase of 12 nuclear powered Virginia-class submarines, instead of the locally-made conventional submarines currently planned; increased cyber-warfare capabilities; the acquisition of ballistic and cruise missiles with 20 “arsenal” ships to fire them; the reconfiguration of the army to perform long-range strike missions; and, most importantly, to increase the number of US military bases in Australia.

Defence hawks flocked to the idea. The Australian’s Greg Sheridan proclaimed it: “one of the most important, deeply considered and logically compelling strategic documents ever seen in Australia. It should be the starting point of a broad national debate.”

Given the level of support it has received, and the prominence of American bases within the plan, it might be timely to evaluate this element.

There are three reasons offered for why more bases should be established in Australia: 1) to improve the survivability of US forces, 2) to strengthen the alliance, and 3) to provide support for the proposed nuclear submarines.

Improve Survivability.

Babbage highlights that US bases in Guam, Japan, South Korea and Hawaii are now within range of Chinese missiles. According to Sheridan, bases in Australia would make “the US presence in Asia more dispersed, harder to hit, more survivable.”
….
Strengthen the Alliance.

The second argument is that US bases would strengthen the US-Australian defence partnership, for two reasons.

There is the widely held view that US bases would act as a ‘tripwire’. America’s extended deterrence becomes more creditable when its forces are in harm’s way. This is the reason why US forces are currently on the border between the Koreas. These forces would be among the first casualties in any conflict, which would compel the President (whoever it is) to come charging to South Korea’s aid.
….
….
Dr Adam Lockyer is a lecturer in US Politics and Foreign Policy at the United
States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney and Rob Muir is a post graduate research student in the Department of War Studies at Kings College, London.

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20. U.S. Urges Australia To Unite Military Efforts Against China

http://world.globaltimes.cn/asia-pacific/2011-02/625595.html

Global Times
February 22, 2011

Australia urged to deter China
By Wang Zhaokun

Former senior Pentagon official Thomas Mahnken said Monday that Australia should strengthen its military cooperation with the US in an effort to counter the growing challenge from China.

Mahnken told the Australian daily newspaper that Asia- Pacific countries, including Australia, should focus on gathering and sharing intelligence and surveillance on China with Washington.

The former deputy assistant secretary of defense for policy planning was in Australia to participate in a Lowy Institute workshop on Asian maritime security with senior Australian naval officers.

Chen Hu, a Beijing-based military expert, told the Global Times that Mahnken was encouraging confrontation in the Asia-Pacific region.
“The fact is that many regional countries are focusing on economic recovery at the moment. It is inappropriate and wrong to assert military competition at this time,” Chen said.

Mahnken’ comments came two weeks after the major Australian think tank Kokoda Foundation proposed that Canberra purchase 10 to 12 nuclear-powered attack submarines from Washington to offset “the dramatic expansion of China’s military capabilities.”

Kokoda founder Ross Babbage said, “China’s military buildup” is designed to “force the US and its allies out of the western Pacific.”

Babbage’s proposal was echoed by Mahnken as the latter urged Monday that the US and Australia conduct “greater undersea cooperation” to strengthen regional deterrence.

“Recent calls for closer military cooperation between Canberra and Washington came against the backdrop of the rapid buildup of China’s economic power,” Ni Feng, director of the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times, noting that China recently overtook Japan as the world’s second-largest economy.

Ni said some Western countries, especially smaller ones, may become uneasy as China keeps growing.

“Therefore, they will look to other big powers to offset or counter China’s increasing political and military influence,” he added. “But at the same time, they also hope to gain interests from the Chinese prosperity economically.”

In a separate report, US Vice Admiral Scott Van Buskirk, who commands the US Navy’s 7th Fleet, said Monday that Washington would continue to upgrade its military hardware in the Pacific to “boost their ability to detect and kill enemy submarines,” while urging China’s growing navy to avoid provocation.

Agencies contributed to this story

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21. Kosovo: NATO’s Top Commander Inspects NATO, Kosovo Troops

http://www.aco.nato.int/page424204115.aspx

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Transformation
February 22, 2011

SACEUR visits KFOR

Admiral James Stavridis, Supreme Allied Commander Europe and Commander United States European Command travelled to Kosovo on Friday, February 18th to visit KFOR troops and receive an update on current operations. He was accompanied by Ambassador Bozo Cerar, Slovenia, Ambassador Artur Kuko, Albania, Major General Arian Zauini, Albanian Military Representative, and Major General Wosolsobe, Austrian Military Representative.

The SACEUR was met by Major General Erhard Buhler, Commander, KFOR, who escorted Admiral Stavridis to the KFOR headquarters…..

KFOR is in the deliberate process of reducing forces and reorganizing command structure as they move to a deterrent posture also known as “GATE 2”. Currently the drawdown is on schedule and it is projected that the reduction in troops from approximately nine thousand troops in 2010 to five thousand will be complete by the end of March….

In the afternoon the SACEUR toured the city of Mitrovica and stopped to visit KFOR troops and members of the Kosovo Security Forces at one of the remaining checkpoints in the city.
….

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22. Germany: NATO Exercises Practice For “Fictitious Air Insertion”

http://www.aco.nato.int/page424202653.aspx

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Transformation
February 22, 2011

Exercise Ramstein Dynamo 2011 to take place in Germany

Ramstein: From 4 to 15 April 2011 the NATO Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) Uedem will conduct Exercise Ramstein Dynamo 2011 (RADO 11) in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, in the Uedem, Kalkar, Weeze and Mönchengladbach area.

RADO 11 is a Deployment Readiness Exercise (DEPREX) designed to train Joint Force Air Component (JFAC) staff in their functional roles in order to maintain currency and to validate readiness for deployed operations. This collaborative exercise involves NATO, United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) and national staffs.

The RADO11 scenario is fictitious and specifically designed to provide the necessary backdrop for a two-part exercise. It assumes a United Nations primacy with NATO participating as a result of international agreement and national request.

Two distinct “moments in time” have been designed into the scenario to best achieve training objectives. Part 1 sees lead JFAC elements deploying into a theatre of operations.

On 4 April the exercise starts with an air insertion at Weeze Airport by the 435th U.S. Air Ground Operations Wing followed by the JFAC’s Air Operations Liaison Reconnaissance Team (AOLRT)….

Part 2 of the exercise trains personnel of CAOC Uedem in their functional roles in a deployed mode in a fictitious theatre of operations. These elements will plan and execute air operations from the military installation at Kalkar. RADO 11 Part 1 involves approximately 100 participants in the exercise area and Part 2 sees some 200 personnel.

“RADO 11 is conducted according to NATO’s philosophy to maintain forces capable to respond to all operational needs,” says General Dieter Naskrent, DEU Air Force, who commands CAOC Uedem, “RADO 11 brings together nations’ and NATO’s air expertise. During both exercise parts the participating organisations will demonstrate their air capabilities and improve interoperability.”

The exercise provides training for staff from the key participants: NATO’s Headquarters Allied Air Command (HQ AC) Ramstein, the Alliance’s Deployable CAOC Uedem, 435th U.S. Air Ground Operations Wing, 603rd U.S. Air Operations Centre, and 86th U.S. Airlift Wing.

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23. Kurils Conflict: Japan-Russia Relations At “Worst Point In Decades”

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/indepth/2011-02/22/c_13744160.htm

Xinhua News Agency
February 22, 2011

Deadlock in Russia-Japan islands row hard to break

-Russia is unlikely to back off as ensuring control over those islands is an important part of its overall strategy in the Far East and even the Asia-Pacific region….According to Kamitsuki Toyohisa, counselor for European Affairs at the Japanese Foreign Ministry, the relationship between Japan and Russia is currently “at its worst point in decades.”

BEIJING: Analysts say the Russia-Japan deadlock over four disputed Pacific islands is unlikely to end in the near future, with neither side apparently willing to budge.

On Monday, the Russian Foreign Ministry summoned the U.S. ambassador in Moscow over a recent statement from Washington in support of Japan’s territorial claims on the islands.

On Saturday, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano inspected the disputed northern islands off Hokkaido from the air.

Edano, who is also Japan’s minister in charge of Northern Territories issues, has thus become the first top Japanese government official to view the islands, known as the Northern Territories in Japan and the Southern Kurils in Russia.

LOCKED HORNS

Analysts and observers said Edano’s aerial inspection was a gesture aimed at reasserting Tokyo’s claims to the disputed chain.

However, they believe Russia is unlikely to back off as ensuring control over those islands is an important part of its overall strategy in the Far East and even the Asia-Pacific region.

Edano told reporters after the inspection the islands were closer to Hokkaido than he had thought, adding “people will show more interest in the issue once they understand this proximity.”

He also said Japan would like to have further discussions with Russia in “a calm environment.”

Earlier, Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara reiterated his government’s stance on the disputed islands, saying they were legally sovereign Japanese territory.

Maehara told a press conference that regardless of how many Russian dignitaries visited the islands or how much Russia’s military presence grew in the area, the islands were originally Japanese territory from an international legal standpoint.

In a statement released Saturday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Russia hoped Japan would engage in calm discussions on the possible conclusion of a long-awaited peace treaty.

“Russia hopes that Tokyo will overcome this ambiguity, which can only disorient public opinion, and make a staunch final choice in favor of a calm, non-preconditioned, free from ostentatious public relations campaigns and reciprocal historical references, discussion on the peace treaty,” the statement said.

Russia and Japan have long been at odds over the islands, namely Iturup, Kunashiri, Shikotan and the Habomai rocks.

The territorial dispute has prevented the two countries from signing a peace treaty following the end of World War II.

In recent months, the row has escalated following a series of visits to the islands by top Russian officials, including President Dmitry Medvedev.

BILATERAL TIES AT “WORST POINT IN DECADES”

Maehara’s hardline attitude on the northern islands has only incurred a counter-productive reaction from Russia. His Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov warned that “when radical approaches to signing a peace treaty take over in Japan …then talks have no prospects.”

In the hope of breaking the deadlock on the border issue, Maehara visited Russia on Feb. 10 and held talks with Lavrov, achieving no result except reiterating Japan’s consistent stance on the issue.

The islands have long been a choke point for the comprehensive development of Russia-Japan relations.

Though both sides have shown a positive approach to their border negotiations, including some proposed solutions since the end of World War II, the dispute has basically remained unsettled.

According to Kamitsuki Toyohisa, counselor for European Affairs at the Japanese Foreign Ministry, the relationship between Japan and Russia is currently “at its worst point in decades.”

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24. Kurils: U.S., Japan Could Cut Off Russian Fleet From Pacific

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/indepth/2011-02/22/c_13744452.htm

Xinhua News Agency
February 22, 2011

Disputed islands: crux of Russia’s regional strategy
by Zheng Haoning, Wei Lianglei

-The islands are located in a key geographic position where they secure the entrance into the Pacific Ocean for Russia’s Pacific Fleet.
If the four islands were regained by Japan and used as a natural barrier by Japan and the United States, Russia’s Pacific Fleet would be cut off from the Pacific and may face direct military threats from the two.
-[T]he neighbouring Kamchatka Peninsula and Sakhalin region, both strategic to Russia’s ability to respond to attacks, would also be exposed.

MOSCOW: The Russian Foreign Ministry summoned the U.S. ambassador Monday to reiterate Russia’s sovereignty over four Pacific Islands after Washington recently supported a rival claim by Japan.

Analysts say Russia will never make concessions to Japan on the islands, which it calls the Southern Kurils and Japan calls the Northern Territories, as they are the crux of Russia’s strategy for its Far East and beyond that to the Asia-Pacific region.

STRATEGIC CRUX

In recent months, the row between Russia and Japan over the islands has escalated following a series of visits to the islands by top Russian officials, including President Dmitry Medvedev.

Earlier in February, Medvedev ordered the deployment of sufficient weaponry to secure the disputed Southern Kurils as “an integral territory of the Russian Federation” and vowed to take all necessary measures to strengthen its presence.

The islands are located in a key geographic position where they secure the entrance into the Pacific Ocean for Russia’s Pacific Fleet.

If the four islands were regained by Japan and used as a natural barrier by Japan and the United States, Russia’s Pacific Fleet would be cut off from the Pacific and may face direct military threats from the two.

Analyst said the “butterfly effect” could mean the neighbouring Kamchatka Peninsula and Sakhalin region, both strategic to Russia’s ability to respond to attacks, would also be exposed.

Local media held that the fairly sudden renewed interest in the Southern Kurils was a major move in Russia’s east-oriented strategy against the backdrop of the ongoing global readjustment in a new era.

With the Asia-Pacific region’s increasing influence in the world, the Southern Kurils are being developed as a platform to display the muscle of Russia in East Asia. The islands could help Russia to increase its voice in the region and maintain its position as a big power there.

UNALIENABLE PART

Russia also sees the Southern Kurils as an inalienable part of its zone of economic interests. But for years, the regional capital Sakhalin has lacked reliable communications with the Russian mainland, leading to an growing outflow of people.

For Russia, development on the islands would constrain separation threats in the Far East and salve residents’ pain caused by the inferior local economy.

Reports said, if the islands were regained by Japan, it would encourage other countries to pursue claims in other Russian regions and accomplish their conspiracy of altering the history of World War II.

Russia is equally keen to retain access to the islands’ abundant fishery and natural resources, including the important strategic metal rhenium.

Due to parliamentary elections this year and presidential elections in 2012, the Russian leadership is even less likely to make concessions to Japan, some reports say.

However, the two countries are still eyeing bilateral cooperation on the islands despite the conflicting claims, and are likely to continue military cooperation, as the two cannot afford the possible consequences of conflict.

So far, there are no signs the dispute will be resolved soon. The most likely scenario came in a statement from Russia’s Foreign Ministry, which said Russia had control the islands for years and called on Japan to adopt “a sober and balanced attitude to the realities.”

That is why Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano could only inspect the disputed northern islands off Hokkaido from the air.

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25. New Stealth Bomber Could Control Drones, Fire Lasers, Bust Bunkers

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/02/new-stealth-bomber-could-control-drones-fire-lasers-bust-bunkers/

Wired
February 22, 2011

New Stealth Bomber Could Control Drones, Fire Lasers, Bust Bunkers
By David Axe

The Air Force’s new stealth bomber might do more than just drop bombs, top generals said in recent days. The so-called “Long-Range Strike” plane — likely to be designated B-3 — could also carry bunker-busting, rocket-boosted munitions, high-powered lasers for self-defense and datalinks, and consoles for controlling radar-evading drones.

These add-ons, described by Air Force generals Philip Breedlove, William Fraser and David Scott, are meant to make the new bomber more lethal and harder to shoot down, even in the face of rapidly-modernizing air defenses such as China’s. “The purpose of this aircraft is to survive in an Anti-Access Area Denial environment,”Scott said, using the latest Pentagon term for defended airspace.

To that end, the bomber’s lasers might zap incoming missiles and fighters; the drones could fly ahead to scout and disable air-defense radars; the bunker-busters should ensure the bomber can actually destroy the enemy’s facilities once it breaks through the defenses.

With just $3.7 billion budgeted over the next five years to develop the bomber, lasers, bunker-busters, and drone-controls might seem unaffordable. And risky, considering the Air Force has said it must stick with “proven” technologies to keep the new bomber on-budget.

In fact, the bomber and its enhancements could be surprisingly far along the development process. The airframe itself might already be flying in prototype form, according to an investigation by ace reporter Bill Sweetman. Each of the add-on capabilities already exists, too, though not all in the same aircraft.

For years, the Air Force has been working on a chemical laser installed in the fuselage of a 747 freighter and fired from a turret mounted to the airliner’s nose. The Airborne Laser was originally meant for a combat role intercepting ballistic missiles, but in 2009 Secretary of Defense Robert Gates downgraded it to a strictly test asset, citing its high cost, short firing range and vulnerability. Future military lasers will dispense with the chemicals in favor of solid crystals, potentially making them much smaller, safer and more reliable. That’s the kind of laser we can expect to see on the new bomber.

Bunker-busting bombs have been around since World War II. In their modern form, they date back to the 1991 Gulf War. Today’s 5,000-pound GBU-28 bunker-buster can be carried by the F-15E and by bombers. For more deeply-buried targets, the Pentagon is working on the 30,000-pound Massive Ordnance Penetrator, which is so big only the B-2 and B-52 can haul it.

To save on cost, the new bomber will be smaller and therefore carry less ordnance than the B-2. MOP probably won’t fit. Noting that penetrating-capability is a function of mass and velocity, the Air Force Research Laboratories is working on a rocket-boosted bunker-buster that would be a fraction of the MOP’s size while being just as lethal against underground targets.

Drone controls might seem the most futuristic of the new bomber’s enhancements, but in many ways they’re the farthest along in development. Boeing is installing datalinks and consoles for robot-control in its new “Block III” Apache helicopters. Last fall, the Air Force demonstrated it could control Scan Eagle drones from inside an airborne E-3 radar plane.

And in 2009, the Air Force started fitting B-52s and F-16s with the Raytheon-built Miniature Air-Launched Decoy, a missile-size drone that can spoof or jam enemy radars. The current decoy model is autonomous — you fire it and forget about it — but Raytheon has offered to install a datalink allowing the decoy to “talk” to the launching plane. Refined a bit further, the same technology could be applied to the new bomber’s scout drones.

It’s not clear if these scout drone will be new designs or something already in service. Our money’s on an existing drone. In any event, there will be two different scout bots associated with the new bomber, according to Breedlove. These “utility infielders,” as Breedlove called them, must be “very stealthy” and capable of a range of missions, from radar-jamming to network-hacking and spying.

In an event, the add-ons don’t all have to be ready before the bomber’s scheduled debut in the mid-2020s. The Air Force wants to field the 100-or-so bombers in “spirals” — that is, small batches of increasing sophistication. The first models might not have bunker-busters, lasers or drone controls. Those systems would be inserted as soon as they’re ready — and as soon as the Air Force can afford them.

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO News February 22, 2011

February 23, 2011 1 comment

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stopnato-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
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1. Star Wars: U.S. Recruiting Space Allies

2. Space War: Pentagon’s Fourth Domain

3. Japan Assigns Medics To NATO’s Afghan War Mission

4. NATO Caucasus And Cental Asia Representative In Georgia For NATO Conference

5. Afghan Official: NATO Air Strike Kills Family Of Six

6. After Gates, Clinton Visits: U.S. Deputy Secretary Of State In Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia

7. Poland Backs West’s Caspian-To-Baltic Pipeline

8. Russia: Ambassador Summoned Over U.S. Backing Japan On Kuril Dispute

9. Latest U.S. Drone Strike Kills Three More In Pakistan

10. Pakistan: 118 Deadly Drone Attacks Killed Only Two Top Alleged Terrorists

11. Tunisia: McCain Offers Military Assistance For “Model Revolution”

12. Pakistani Intelligence: U.S. Killer Worked For CIA

13. Eastern Partnership: Poland’s EU Presidency To Spur West’s Drive To The East

14. NATO Completes Massive Anti-Submarine Warfare Drills In Eastern Mediterranean

15. Persian Gulf: U.S. Military Chief Continues Weeklong Middle East Trip

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1. Star Wars: U.S. Recruiting Space Allies

http://www.news.com.au/technology/sci-tech/star-wars-us-recruiting-space-allies/story-fn5fsgyc-1226009220367

Associated Press
February 21, 2011

Star wars – US recruiting space allies

The US military wants to better protect its satellites and strengthen its ability to use them as weapons.

As the uncharted battlefield becomes increasingly crowded and dangerous, Pentagon leaders say a new military strategy for space is needed and called for greater cooperation with other nations on space-based programs to improve America’s ability to deter enemies.

“It’s a domain, like air land and sea,” General Kevin Chilton, who headed US Strategic Command until he retired recently, said.

The US, he said, needed to make sure that it protected and maintained the battlefield capabilities it got from space-based assets, including global positioning data, missile warning system information, and communications with fighters or unmanned drones.
….
Last year, the US launched the top secret space plane, the X-37B, in what some onlookers called the first salvo in the “weaponisation of space”.

It landed some nine months later, but to date, there has only been speculation about its purpose based on observation of its movements.

The US plans to launch another space plane sometime around May. China and Russia are both reported to be working on similar projects.

Recently, Russia suggested the US may have used an electromagnetic pulse weapon to cripple the launch of one of its satellites.

While the new military strategy stresses the peaceful use of space, it also underscores the importance of orbiting satellites in both waging and deterring war.

“We need to ensure that we can continue to utilise space to navigate with accuracy, to communicate with certainty, to strike with precision and to see the battlefield with clarity,” deputy defense secretary William Lynn said

Mr Lynn and other Pentagon leaders say space has become more congested, competitive and contested, and the US needs to keep pace.

General James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the US and other nations must develop rules of the road for space that lay out what is acceptable behaviour and movement there.

At a forum put on by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Gen Cartwright said nations need to have guidelines that govern the approximately 22,000 manmade objects orbiting Earth, including about 1100 active satellites.

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2. Space War: Pentagon’s Fourth Domain

http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5iN7alL6nGKq8xpqstXi0-MoSbwUQ?docId=6013317

Associated Press
February 21, 2011

Space: A competitive and hotly contested warfighting frontier for the US military
By Lolita C. Baldor

-The U.S….needs to make it known that even if another nation attacks an American satellite, the U.S. military response wouldn’t be limited to a space-based action, officials said. It could turn to any of its warfighting capabilities.

WASHINGTON: The U.S. military needs to better protect its satellites and strengthen its ability to use them as weapons as the uncharted battlefield of space becomes increasingly crowded and dangerous, Pentagon leaders say.

A new military strategy for space, as mapped out by the Pentagon, calls for greater co-operation with other nations on space-based programs to improve America’s ability to deter enemies.

“It’s a domain, like air, land and sea,” said Gen. Kevin Chilton, who led U.S. Strategic Command until he retired late last month. “Space is not just a convenience. It’s become a critical part in every other (battlefield) domain.”

The U.S., Chilton said, needs to make sure that it protects and maintains the battlefield capabilities it gets from space-based assets, including global positioning data, missile warning system information, and communications with fighters or unmanned drones that are providing surveillance or firing missiles against the enemy.

As the U.S. and other countries depend more on their satellites for critical data, those assets become greater targets for their enemies.

“It’s prudent to anticipate that, at this point, we will not go into a future conflict with a sophisticated adversary and not expect to be challenged in the space domain,” Chilton told The Associated Press in an interview. “We need to be thinking about how we would go into future conflicts and make sure that we un-level (that) battlefield in our favour.”

While the new strategy — the first of its kind — stresses the peaceful use of space, it also underscores the importance of satellites in both waging and deterring war.

“We need to ensure that we can continue to utilize space to navigate with accuracy, to communicate with certainty, to strike with precision and to see the battlefield with clarity,” said William Lynn, deputy defence secretary.
….
The strategy offers little detail about offensive operations in space. But defence officials say that China, Iran and others have demonstrated their abilities to take action in space.
….
The new space strategy, endorsed by top Pentagon and intelligence officials, also shows the importance of having alternatives. For example, if a satellite signal is being jammed, officials should be able to go to another or to an air or sea-based signal.

The U.S. also needs to make it known that even if another nation attacks an American satellite, the U.S. military response wouldn’t be limited to a space-based action, officials said. It could turn to any of its warfighting capabilities.
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Online:
National Space Strategy: http://tinyurl. com/4vsdopr

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3. Japan Assigns Medics To NATO’s Afghan War Mission

http://www.istockanalyst.com/ article/viewiStockNews/articleid/4906943

Kyodo News
February 20, 2011

Japan asked to treat injured in plan to send medics to Afghanistan

TOKYO: The U.N. security mission in Afghanistan has asked Japan to treat injured people under its envisioned plan to dispatch Self-Defense Forces medical officers to the Central Asian country to provide human resources training, Japanese government sources said Sunday.

The International Security Assistance Force, led by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, has not specified who it wants the Japanese medics to treat, but the possibility that it could include soldiers injured in battle cannot be denied, the sources said.

If injured soldiers are to be treated by SDF medical officers, it could draw criticism that such action would effectively constitute participation in the use of force, which is banned under Japan’s Constitution.

To carry out the envisaged dispatch, the Japanese government would have to conclude an agreement with ISAF that would require Diet approval, but parliamentary deliberations on such an accord would likely be rough.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan told U.S. President Barack Obama during their meeting last November that Japan would positively consider dispatching medics to Afghanistan.

Since then, the Japanese government has been considering sending around 10 medical and nursing officers to Kabul to train and provide guidance to doctors and staff at the Afghan military’s medical facilities.

In December, the government dispatched a team made up of representatives of the Defense Ministry and the Foreign Ministry to consult with the Afghan government and ISAF as well as to check the security situation and see what kind of activities the Japanese medical mission would engage in, the sources said.

At that time, ISAF, which carries out operations against the Taliban, asked that the Japanese medics treat the injured in addition to training local medical personnel, the sources said.

It also became apparent that Japan would have to conclude an agreement with ISAF that would stipulate the legal status, rights and duties of the SDF medical and nursing officers as they would be conducting activities as members of the international security mission, the sources said.

While the Japanese government had earlier considered the possibility of implementing the dispatch by the time Kan visits the United States in June, the complications have forced it to stall its consideration of the plan, they said.

Attacks by insurgents occur frequently in Afghanistan, where more than 700 foreign troops and more than 800 Afghan soldiers were killed last year.

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4. NATO Caucasus-C. Asia Rep In Georgia For NATO Conference

http://en.apa.az/news.php?id=141174

Azeri Press Agency
February 21, 2011

NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative to visit Azerbaijan in June
Viktoria Dementyeva

Baku: NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the South Caucasus and Central Asia James Appathurai plans to visit Azerbaijan in June, the office of James Appathurai told APA.

Earlier the visit to Azerbaijan had been planned for March, but was put off as it coincided with the Novruz holiday. James Appathurai will visit Georgia late in March, but will not come to Azerbaijan. He will attend a NATO conference in Tbilisi.

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5. Afghan Official: NATO Air Strike Kills Family Of Six

http://en.trend.az/regions/world/afghanistan/1832992.html

Deutsche Presse-Agentur
February 21, 2011

NATO airstrike kills six civilians, Afghan official says

A NATO airstrike targeting a group of alleged insurgents mistakenly killed an Afghan family of six, an Afghan official said Monday, DPA reported.

“A rocket from a NATO airplane mistakenly hit a house, killing a couple and their four children,” Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, the provincial governor’s spokesman, said. “Three Taliban fighters were also killed in the attack.”

The airstrike took place late Sunday in Khogyani, a district in the eastern province of Nangarhar.

The attack came one day after President Hamid Karzai condemned NATO airstrikes that had allegedly killed some 50 civilians in the neighbouring province of Kunar.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) confirmed the airstrike in Khogyani, saying it was investigating the operation which resulted in Afghan civilians being accidentally killed and wounded.

“Following the engagement, coalition forces observed three vehicles travelling to a local hospital. The passengers of the vehicles later reported the roof of their compound collapsed during the engagement, resulting in the casualties” the ISAF statement said.

Patrick Hynes, director of NATO’s operations centre, said they were investigating “a deeply regrettable accident”… .

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6. Post-Gates, Clinton: U.S. DoS Deputy In Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia

http://en.trend.az/news/politics/1832792.html

Trend News Agency
February 21, 2011

U.S. deputy secretary of state to arrive in Baku
E. Tariverdiyeva

Baku: U.S. First Deputy Secretary of State James B. Steinberg will arrive in Baku on Feb. 24, the U.S. Embassy in Azerbaijan said on Monday.

“Steinberg will arrive in Baku from Tbilisi,” an embassy official said.

U.S. senior officials visited Azerbaijan last summer. Pentagon Chief Robert Gates and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Baku.

As Armenian media outlets reported, citing the country’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Tigran Balayan, the delegation headed by Steinberg will also visit Armenia on Feb. 23.

In December, after an 18-month absence of a U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan, U.S. President Barack Obama appointed Matthew Bryza to the post.

According to the U.S. Constitution, the candidates nominated by the president must be approved by the Senate. However, as Congress is between sessions, the president may make appointments independently.

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7. Poland Backs West’s Caspian-To-Baltic Pipeline

http://en.trend.az/capital/energy/1832943.html

Trend News Agency
February 21, 2011

Poland reiterates support for Nabucco project

Baku: Poland is backing the Nabucco gas pipeline, designed to transport gas from the Caspian region and the Middle East to EU countries, but building interconnectors between countries to help one another during a supply crisis is key for Europe’s energy security, New Europe reported according to Poland’s top diplomat.

“We support Nabucco,” Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski told New Europe in Strasbourg. Sikorski paid a visit to the European Parliament in Strasbourg to present the state of play of the preparations for Poland’s Presidency in the EU Council.

According to Sikorski, Poland is the country which has concluded the first agreement with an external supplier on energy based on the Third Energy Package.

“Europe as a whole has energy supplies from three directions but we need to build the physical interconnectors and the legal basis so we can help one another in a crisis so nothing that resembles the gas crisis of two years ago happens,” Sikorski said.

Nabucco gas pipeline project is worth 7.9 billion euro, with its construction planned to start in 2012 and the first supplies to be commissioned in 2015. The project’s participants include the Austrian OMV, Hungarian MOL, Bulgarian Bulgargaz, Romanian Transgaz, Turkish Botas and German RWE.

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8. Russia: Ambassador Summoned Over U.S. Backing Japan On Kurils

http://www.interfax.com/newsinf.asp?pg=3&id=223923

Interfax
February 21, 2011

U.S. ambassador summoned to Russian Foreign Ministry over Kuril Islands issue

MOSCOW: U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Beyrle was invited to the Russian Foreign Ministry on Monday, where he was informed of Russia’s fundamental position on the South Kuril Islands.

“U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Beyrle was invited to the Russian Foreign Ministry on February 21 for talks with Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Borodavkin. John Beyrle’s attention was drawn to the recent statement made by officials with the U.S. Department of State and of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, which expressed support for Japan’s territorial claims to Russia,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, posted on its official website on Monday.

“In this connection Russia’s basic and invariable position on Russian sovereignty over the South Kuril islands was set forth once again,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

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9. Latest U.S. Drone Strike Kills Three More In Pakistan

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-02/22/c_13742578.htm

Xinhua News Agency
February 21, 2011

U.S. drone attack kills 3 in Pakistani tribal area

ISLAMABAD: At least three people were killed on Monday evening in a latest U.S. drone attack in Miranshah, a main town in the northwestern Pakistani tribal area of North Waziristan, local sources said.

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10. Pakistan: 118 Deadly Drone Attacks Killed Only 2 Alleged Terrorists

http://rt.com/usa/news/usa-drone- bombs-terrorists

RT
February 21, 2011

US fires 118 drone bombs, kills only two most wanted terrorists

According to independent estimates a total of 118 CIA drone attacks on Pakistan killed only two terrorists on the US ‘most-wanted’ list.

The CIA spent over $1 million per drone attack. The high cost and high number of attacks proved quite fruitless given the result – two highly sought terrorists killed.

The National Counterterrorism Center said the two who were killed were Sheik Saeed al-Masri, a top Al-Qaeda operative, and Ahmed Mohammed Hamed Ali, who was part of the attacks on US embassies in 1998.

Thirteen others killed were high value targets and another 581 were low-level. A senior Pakistani official referred to the vast majority of targets as “mere foot soldiers” who had no influence or power.

The US military however contended the program has been successful and has disrupted the operational capacity of al-Qaeda.

Nevertheless, the numbers bring about important questions on the efficiency, costs and benefits of such operations.

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11. Tunisia: McCain Offers Military Assistance For “Model Revolution”

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/ default.asp?page=20112\22\story_ 22-2-2011_ pg4_5

Reuters
February 21, 2011

US offers Tunisia security aid for ‘model’ revolution

-Senator John McCain says Tunisia has become a model for the region

TUNIS: Washington has offered Tunisia help in shoring up security following its “model” revolution, US Senator John McCain said on Monday.

A popular uprising in the North African state last month ended president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali’s 23 years of rule, sending shock waves through the Arab world and inspiring further revolts, one of which toppled Egypt’s president 10 days ago.

“The revolution in Tunisia has been very successful and it has become a model for the region,” McCain, the leading Republican on the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee, told Reuters after meetings with Tunisian government officials.

“We stand ready to provide training to help Tunisia’s military to provide security,” he said.

Elections to replace Ben Ali are expected by July or August. But new protests have erupted in recent days against the interim government tasked with organising the vote for failing to address rising crime rates and lingering poverty.

Tunisia’s ouster of Ben Ali…inspired Egypt’s uprising and has also encouraged mass demonstrations elsewhere in the Arab world, including in neighbouring Libya where scores of people have been shot dead by security forces.

US Senator Joe Lieberman, travelling with McCain, said the situation in Libya was “tragic”.

“The Tunisian military played a constructive role… but the military in Libya has been against the people,” Lieberman told Reuters. “That is unacceptable.”
….

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12. Pakistani Intelligence: U.S. Killer Worked For CIA

http://www.rnw.nl/english/bulletin/ pakistan-intelligence-says-us-gunman- cia-0

Agence France-Presse
February 21, 2011

Pakistan intelligence says US gunman is CIA

A Pakistani intelligence official said Monday that an American in custody for killing two men was an undercover CIA contractor, setting off new friction in a crisis with the United States.

Washington voiced fear for the safety of Raymond Davis, who says he acted in self-defence. The United States has put intense pressure on Pakistan to free him, arguing that he enjoys diplomatic immunity.

But the unpopular government in Pakistan is also feeling heat from the political opposition not to cave in to US demands, with analysts even warning that the case could bring down the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

“It is beyond any shadow of a doubt that he was working for CIA,” an official from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency told AFP on condition of anonymity.

“He’s on contract. He’s not a regular CIA guy, but he’s working for CIA. That’s confirmed,” the Pakistani official said.

US Senator Lindsey Graham also last week referred to Davis as an “agent.” Davis was arrested in eastern Pakistan, the base of virulently anti-Indian groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba which was linked to the 2008 siege of Mumbai.

Police told AFP they recovered a Glock pistol, four loaded magazines, a GPS navigation system and a small telescope from his car, after the shooting on a busy street in Lahore on January 27.

A third Pakistani was struck down and killed by a US diplomatic vehicle that came to Davis’s assistance. US officials denied Pakistan access to the vehicle and the occupants are widely believed to have left the country.

Washington has postponed a round of talks with Afghanistan and Pakistan, but Islamabad has said the matter is before the courts, although one compromise would be for the families to pardon Davis, in keeping with Islamic law.

“We remain concerned about him and our message to Pakistan remains he should be released as soon as possible,” State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said in Washington.

Crowley said Pakistan has told the United States that Davis is staying “in the safest possible location in Lahore,” adding: “Clearly, we hold the government of Pakistan fully responsible for his safety.”

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani told the lower house on Monday that he was confident “that both the Pakistani and the US governments will not allow the Davis case to come in the way of mutually beneficial partnership” .

He said Pakistan was mindful of its international obligations under the Vienna Convention and other agreements.

But he added: “I want to assure this House and the nation that my government will not compromise on Pakistan’s sovereignty and dignity. We are a responsible government and conscious of the sentiments of our people.”

On Monday, a judge at Lahore’s top court ordered the government to appear on March 14 to respond to private petitions related to Davis’ incarceration, the law on diplomatic privileges.

The court last week deferred any judgement on whether Davis has diplomatic immunity and gave the foreign ministry until March 14 to determine his status.

In Washington, a US official said that the diplomatic immunity was “about as clear as it gets under international law.”
….

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13. Eastern Partnership: Poland’s EU Role To Spur West’s Drive East

http://www.thenews.pl/international/artykul149775_ eastern-partnership-central-to-polands-eu-presidency.html

Polish Radio
February 21, 2011

Eastern Partnership central to Poland’s EU presidency

Preparations for Poland’s six-month presidency of the EU by in July this year are in full swing at the Foreign Ministry with the Eastern Partnership to take centre stage.

The Eastern Partnership is a project initiated by Poland and Sweden aiming to integrate six Eastern European states within EU structures.

The Polish presidency will host an Eastern Partnership summit in the autumn, after it was agreed to move it from Budapest in March. Participating will be the EU’s head of diplomacy Catherine Ashton, as well as various meetings of economy ministers, heads of border structures and various NGOs.

Andrzej Cieszkowski, the representative at the Foreign Ministry for Eastern Partnership, says that the Polish presidency is expected to be the most active in promoting the Eastern Partnership.

“We have opened negotiations with all the participating states, except Belarus. Negotiations concerning both the association deals as well as deals pertaining to free trade zones, talks on this issue are underway with Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia and Armenia is soon to join in,” he told Polish Radio.

The Eastern Partnership has also opened projects such as anticorruption programmes, support for developing small enterprises as well as border control. The European Investment Bank has opened a special fund supporting investments in the Eastern Partnership states amounting to over one and a half billion euro.

The Eastern Partnership programme was launched in 2009 and embraces Ukraine, Armenia, Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan as well as Belarus.

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14. NATO Ends Massive Anti-Sub Warfare Drills In E. Mediterranean

http://www.aco.nato.int/page424205217.aspx

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Transformation
February 21, 2011

Exercise Proud Manta 2011

Last week, Exercise Proud Manta 2011 came to conclusion after two weeks of intense Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) activity. Ten NATO nations provided six submarines, 19 aircraft (including ship-borne helicopters) and eight surface ships for NATO’s largest annual event of this type. Operating in the Ionian Sea to the Southeast of Sicily contributing forces from Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States trained and practiced at being both hunter and hunted.

A Royal Navy helicopter squadron took part in Proud Manta for the first time with Merlin Mk1 maritime patrol helicopters from 814 Naval Air Squadron flying 2,250km across Europe from Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose in Helston, Cornwall in order to take part in the exercise and practice hunting submarines alongside other NATO helicopters. …

Another new addition to this year’s exercise was the inclusion of gliders (low-cost unmanned, autonomous undersea vehicles) in support of the exercise. Developed by the NATO Undersea Research Centre (NURC), La Spezia, Italy, the gliders collected in situ, 3-dimensional environmental data to support improved operational planning and decision-making tools. As opposed to traditional propelled autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV), gliders use shifts in mass to steer and changes in buoyancy to dive and surface, and can stay at-sea for very long periods of time.

For 18 days the gliders operated autonomously, sending data every three hours through an Iridium satellite link back to a command and control room at NURC….”We have developed sophisticated models and software to ensure effective glider mission planning and safe operations management during the exercise – according to Michel Rixen, NURC’s Proud Manta 11 scientist-in- charge – Glider data have been exploited continuously in ocean prediction systems and anti-submarine warfare tactical decision aids to support and optimize operational planning and asset management”.
….
For Rear Admiral Gualtiero Mattesi Commander Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1) speaking from his flagship ITS ETNA, the exercise had been of particular success in two ways. “It has offered excellent training opportunities for all the participants getting everyone, ships, planes, helicopters and submarines, all talking to one another and improving their communications and methods….”

Proud Manta 11 ended with an all-day live media event which included lifting members of the media to ITS ETNA from where they could observe German frigate LUEBECK, Italian and UK helicopters and a German P-3C engage in submarine hunting and attack. The climax of the slowly unfolding drama was the dramatic appearance of the Greek SSK class submarine PROTEUS, which for the benefit of the awaiting photographers, came to the surface.

Asked by the media why all this was still relevant to NATO Captain Luthiger pointed out that the number of submarines in the world continues to increase and many nations clearly consider them a must-have in their national arsenals…. .

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15. Persian Gulf: U.S. Military Chief Continues Weeklong Mideast Trip

http://www.defense.gov/news/ newsarticle.aspx?id=62878

U.S. Department of Defense
February 21, 2011
American Forces Press Service

Mullen Continues Middle East Trip in Qatar
By Donna Miles

DOHA, Qatar: The top U.S. military officer arrived here in the Qatari capital today, continuing his weeklong trip through the Middle East after concluding what he called frank, reassuring talks with leaders in Saudi Arabia about widespread regional unrest.

Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters concern about violence surrounding many of the pro-democratic movements that have rippled through the region – and how Iran might exert its power in the process – dominated his talks today with Saudi political and military leaders.

The chairman emphasized that he does not believe Iran played a role in toppling the regimes of Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak or in stirring up other protest movements. “These are, by and large, internal issues, as opposed to issues fomented by some external force,” he said.

But nonetheless, Mullen said, the United States and its allies in the region are wary that Iran might use the upheaval as a chance to exert influence. He called Iran “a country that continues to foment instability in the region and take advantage of every opportunity.”

“There are always concerns in this region with Iran. Certainly the United States has them, as well as all the regional players,” he told reporters after concluding today’s meetings in Riyadh. “Certainly that was part of the discussion today with the Saudis.”

In the Saudi capital of Riyadh, the chairman met with Prince Mohammed bin Niyif, assistant interior minister for security affairs; Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, commander of Saudi Arabia’s national guard; Prince Khalid bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud, assistant defense and aviation minister for military affairs; and Lt. Gen. Qubail, deputy chief of the general staff. He also met with U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia James Smith and his staff.

Mullen said his talks focused largely on the tumult in Bahrain, where a violent weekend left many anti-government protestors dead. “Obviously the Saudis, in particular — but everybody in the region — is watching what’s happening in Bahrain very closely,” he said.

The Saudi government, concerned that whatever happens there could spill over to Saudi Arabia’s eastern province, has expressed support for Bahrain’s ruling Khalifa family and sent a warning to Iran.

“The kingdom of Saudi Arabia stands with all its capabilities behind the state and the brotherly people of Bahrain,” the government-run Saudi Press Agency announced in a statement. Saudi Arabia expressed “absolute rejection” of foreign tampering in Bahrain’s affairs.
….
The chairman arrived here today for the second leg of a trip that also includes stops in United Arab Emirates, Djibouti and Kuwait, and possibly Bahrain.

Tonight in Doha, Mullen will be the guest of honor at a dinner hosted by Maj. Gen. Hamad bin Ali al-Attiyah, the Qatari armed forces’ chief of staff. He has meetings slated tomorrow with Sheikh bin Hamad al Thani, ruling emir of Qatar since 1995.

From there, Mullen is slated to travel to United Arab Emirates, where he will meet with leaders and attend the International Defense Exposition and Conference in Abu Dhabi. Later this week, he will visit Djibouti on the Horn of Africa, then will conclude his trip in Kuwait with ceremonies marking the 20th anniversary of its liberation during Operation Desert Storm.

Although the visit had been long-scheduled, Mullen told reporters traveling with him, its context changed dramatically in light current events. He dismissed the notion that his trip shows the United States is taking sides in regional conflicts, emphasizing the importance of peaceful resolution to the current situation in the strategically important Gulf region.

“We have a longstanding relationship with the leaders in these countries,” he said, noting his own close ties with their military leaders. “That doesn’t mean we don’t all share concern about what has happened and look to the future,” he said. “It is really important that we reaffirm the relationship” and evaluate “what has occurred and how we are going to look to the future together.”
….

Categories: Uncategorized

Africa: Global NATO Seeks To Recruit 50 New Military Partners

February 20, 2011 4 comments

Stop NATO
February 20, 2011

Africa: Global NATO Seeks To Recruit 50 New Military Partners
Rick Rozoff

A recent article in Kenya’s Africa Review cited sources in the African Union (AU) disclosing that the 28-member North Atlantic Treaty Organization is preparing to sign a military partnership treaty with the 53-nation AU.

The author of the article, relaying comments from AU officials in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where the organization has its headquarters, wrote that although “the stated aim is to counter global security threats and specifically threats against Africa, some observers read the pact as aiming to counter Chinese expansion in Africa.”

The feature further claimed that NATO is negotiating the opening of a liaison office at AU headquarters and that the North Atlantic Alliance’s legal department is working with its AU counterpart “to finalise the new pact, which will be signed soon.” [1]

The news story additionally divulged that Ramtane Lamamra, African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security, “confirmed that Nato is to sign a military cooperation agreement with the AU” with particular emphasis on consolidating the African Standby Force (ASF). The latter is intended to consist of brigades attached to the five Regional Economic Communities on the continent. (North, East, West, Central and Southern.) The West African Standby Force has been tasked the role of intervening in – which is to say invading and occupying – Ivory Coast since the announcement of presidential runoff election results in the country in December [2], and contributors to the East Africa Standby Brigade (EASBRIG), Uganda and Burundi, are engaged as combatants in the civil war in Somalia.

The AU’s Lamamra stated “Africa would like to learn from Nato on strategic airlift, advanced communications, rotation of important units among regions and to meet logistical challenges,” adding that “Nato was a good model on which to build the ASF.” [3]

NATO airlifted thousands of Ugandan troops into and out of the Somali capital of Mogadishu last March – 1,700 and 800, respectively – in support of the Ugandan-Burundian African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). [4]

The Kenyan report also revealed that “Experts say Africa is becoming a strategic battleground between world powers and in particular the US, the European Union, China and Russia,” with the first two – collectively subsumed under NATO and its Partnership for Peace program (except, for the time being, Cyprus) – working in unison and the second two expanding oil and natural gas investments on the continent. In addition, Russia and China are competitors of the U.S. and its NATO allies in regards to arms sales to African nations. The piece added:

“According to knowledgeable sources, the new security arrangement could be a way to block the continent’s other main arms suppliers – China and Russia.

“If the pact gets endorsed by AU member states, it would be a big blow for China and Russia.”

“In its 2010 annual summit, Nato set itself a target to be a global ‘security guarantor’ by the year 2020.” [5]

On February 18 and 19 a delegation of high-level officials from the African Union led by Sivuyile Thandikhaya Bam, head of the Peace Support Operations Division of the AU, visited NATO Headquarters and the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in Belgium. As NATO reports:

“NATO and the African Union have developed an increasingly fruitful practical cooperation since 2005….NATO supported the AU Mission in Sudan [airlifting over 30,000 troops to and from the Darfur region] and is currently assisting the AU mission in Somalia in terms of air- and sea-lift, but also planning support.

“NATO is also providing…training opportunities and capacity building support to the African Union’s long term peacekeeping capabilities, in particular the African Standby Force.” [6]

The African Standby Force has been systematically modeled after the NATO Response Force, which was launched with large-scale war games in the African island nation of Cape Verde in 2006. The ASF is a joint project of NATO and U.S. Africa Command, which before achieving full operational capability on October 1, 2008 was conceived, developed and run by U.S. European Command, whose commander is simultaneously NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe.

In 2007 the North Atlantic Council, NATO’s top civilian decision-making body, commissioned a study “on the assessment of the operational readiness of the African Standby Force (ASF) brigades.” [7]

The following year NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer visited Ghana for three days and said “the military alliance could play an important role in training African soldiers,” in particular that “the Alliance had agreed to support the African Standby Force.” [8]

In 2009 the bloc began training African staff officers for the ASF at the NATO School in Oberammergau, Germany. Joint Command Lisbon, the Alliance headquarters tasked to supervise military cooperation with the African Union, has trained African officers to run military exercises, and “NATO has also participated and supported various ASF preparatory workshops designed to develop ASF-related concepts.” [9]

The same year Norwegian Colonel Brynjar Nymo – Norway’s embassy in Ethiopia is the informal liaison office for NATO’s relations with the AU – said that “cooperation between NATO and AU is currently focusing on technical support for the African Standby Force (ASF).”

The Norwegian embassy’s website at the time stated that “The Africa Monitoring & Support Team at the NATO Headquarters in Portugal is the operational headquarters for NATO’s work in Africa,” as indicated above. [10]

Then-NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General Maurits Jochems visited AU headquarters in the Ethiopian capital, where NATO has a senior military liaison officer and other officials assigned, later in 2009.

“In his capacity as NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary-General, Ambassador Jochems has frequently visited Addis Ababa for discussions with the African Union….NATO is providing technical advice, and making available subject matter experts, experiences from international operations, and access to relevant training facilities to the AUC [African Union Commission] in the context of the African Standby Force.” [11]

This January 26 and 27 NATO’s Military Committee held two days of meetings in Brussels with the chiefs of defense – the U.S.’s chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen and his equivalents – and other military representatives of 66 nations, a third of the members of the United Nations.

The proceedings discussed ongoing NATO operations in Afghanistan – currently the world’s largest and longest war, with an estimated 140,000 troops from some 50 nations serving under the Alliance’s International Security Assistance Force – the Balkans (Kosovo Force), the entire Mediterranean Sea (Operation Active Endeavor), and the Horn of Africa, the Gulf of Aden and down the eastern coast of Africa (Operation Ocean Shield).

During the Military Committee and related meetings a session of the Mediterranean Dialogue was held with military leaders from the seven members of that NATO partnership: Israel, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Jordan, Morocco and Mauritania. The session occurred as the government of Tunisia’s President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali had recently been toppled and the demonstrations in Egypt that would bring the same denouement to President Hosni Mubarak were getting underway.

On February 9 Serbia’s Beta News Agency reported Defense Minister Dragan Sutanovac announcing that a NATO strategic conference entitled After Lisbon: Implementation of Transformation will be held in his nation’s capital of Belgrade in June with representatives from 69 countries attending: All 28 NATO member states, 22 Partnership for Peace nations [12] in Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia, and 19 other states. [13]

In addition to the Mediterranean Dialogue, NATO’s Istanbul Cooperation Initiative program is developing military cooperation with the Persian Gulf states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, with Oman and Saudi Arabia to be brought on board next. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen was in Qatar from February 15-16 for the two-day Deepening the NATO-Istanbul Cooperation Initiative conference with the permanent representatives (ambassadors) of the bloc’s 28 members and senior military and government officials from the six Gulf Cooperation Council states: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The first and last of them have troops serving under NATO in Afghanistan.

NATO also has a partnership category called Contact Countries. Subject to expansion, the four such nations are all in the Asia-Pacific region: Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea. The U.S.-led military bloc also maintains the Afghanistan-Pakistan-International Security Assistance Force Tripartite Commission to coordinate war efforts on both sides of the Khyber Pass and has troops and other military personnel assigned to its command in Afghanistan from nations that are not currently among the 70 NATO member and official partnership states: Colombia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Singapore and Tonga.

The NATO-Russia Council was revived at the bloc’s Lisbon summit in November and NATO’s Kosovo Force (KFOR) is training and equipping the fledgling armed forces of Kosovo, the Kosovo Security Force. [14] NATO, then, has no fewer than 75 members and partners with nations like previously neutral Cyprus slated to follow. [15]

The African Union has 53 members and will soon have another after the successful independence referendum in Southern Sudan. The AU includes the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (Western Sahara), conquered by Morocco in 1975 and not recognized by any NATO state, but not Morocco, which withdrew from the AU because of the latter’s recognition and incorporation of Western Sahara.

Four members of the AU, along with Morocco, are already part of a NATO partnership program, the Mediterranean Dialogue – Algeria, Egypt, Mauritania and Tunisia – so a NATO military cooperation treaty with the African Union could gain the Atlantic Alliance 50 new partners.

That is, the world’s only military bloc can further expand from one that grew from 16 to 28 members in a decade – 1999-2009 – into one that will become truly international in scope with nearly 100 military partners. Partners and members on every inhabited continent. Two-thirds of the nations in the world.

Related articles:

Militarization Of Energy Policy: U.S. Africa Command And Gulf Of Guinea

http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2011/01/08/militarization-of-energy-policy-u-s-africa-command-and-gulf-of-guinea

Pentagon And NATO Apply Afghanistan-Pakistan War Model To Africa

http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2011/01/02/pentagon-and-nato-apply-afghanistan-pakistan-war-model-to-africa

New Colonialism: Pentagon Carves Africa Into Military Zones

http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2010/05/05/new-colonialism-pentagon-carves-africa-into-military-zones

Japanese Military Joins U.S. And NATO In Horn Of Africa

http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2010/04/26/japanese-military-joins-u-s-and-nato-in-horn-of-africa

NATO: AFRICOM’s Partner In Military Penetration Of Africa

http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2010/03/20/nato-africoms-partner-in-military-penetration-of-africa

AFRICOM’s First War: U.S. Directs Large-Scale Offensive In Somalia

http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2010/03/12/africoms-first-war-u-s-directs-large-scale-offensive-in-somalia

AFRICOM Year Two: Seizing The Helm Of The Entire World

http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2009/10/22/africom-year-two-taking-the-helm-of-the-entire-world

1) Argaw Ashine, Nato to sign security cooperation pact with AU
Africa Review, February 18, 2011 http://www.africareview.com/News/Nato+to+sign+security+cooperation+pact+with+AU/-/979180/1110238/-/4igp64/-/
2) Ivory Coast: Testing Ground For U.S.-Backed African Standby Force
Stop NATO, January 23, 2011

http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2011/01/23/ivory-coast-testing-ground-for-u-s-backed-african-standby-force

3) Africa Review, February 18, 2011
4) Uganda: U.S., NATO Allies Prepare New Invasion Of Somalia
Stop NATO, July 28, 2010

http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2010/07/29/uganda-u-s-nato-allies-prepare-new-invasion-of-somalia

5) Africa Review, February 18, 2011
6) North Atlantic Treaty Organization

http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/news_61534.htm

7) North Atlantic Treaty Organization

http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/topics_54617.htm

8) Ghana News Agency, November 21, 2008
9) North Atlantic Treaty Organization

http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/topics_54617.htm

10) Royal Norwegian Embassy in Ethiopia, April 20, 2009
11) Royal Norwegian Embassy in Ethiopia, November 4, 2009
12) Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia, Finland, Georgia, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Russia in sometimes included.
13) NATO conference in Belgrade announced
Beta News Agency, February 9, 2011

http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics-article.php?yyyy=2011&mm=02&dd=09&nav_id=72629

14) KFOR’s Final Firefighting Exercise for Kosovo Security Force
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations
February 17, 2011

http://www.aco.nato.int/page424203219.aspx

15) Push for NATO programme deemed unconstitutional
Cyprus Mail, February 19, 2011

http://www.cyprus-mail.com/cyprus/push-nato-programme-deemed-unconstitutional/20110219

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO Surrenders Europe To U.S. Global Missile Shield Project

February 6, 2011 3 comments

Stop NATO
February 5, 2011

NATO Surrenders Europe To U.S. Global Missile Shield Project
Rick Rozoff

On January 27 the North Atlantic Treaty Organization took the most decisive step yet toward the implementation of the decades-old project first proposed by the Ronald Reagan administration for a Strategic Defense Initiative, popularly known as Star Wars.

In what will be the culmination of five years of extensive planning by the U.S. and NATO to construct an impenetrable interceptor missile shield to cover the European continent, the military bloc announced on the above date that it had handed over the first-ever theater ballistic missile defence capability to NATO military commanders at the NATO Combined Air Operations Centre in the German city of Uedem, which occurred “after NATO technicians computer-tested a software system linking anti-missile equipment from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the United States.” [1]

Italian Air Force Brigadier General Alessandro Pera, head of the NATO Active Layered Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence (ALTBMD) Programme Office, delivered the plan to NATO Deputy Secretary General Claudio Bisogniero while the second day of a NATO Military Committee meeting at the Atlantic Alliance headquarters in Brussels with chiefs of defense staff and other military representatives from 66 countries was underway.

Those also present in Germany included U.S. Air Force Major General Mark Ramsay, deputy chief of staff for Operations and Intelligence at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (NATO’s main European command) and other military and civilian authorities from the Alliance and Germany. General Mark Welsh III, commander of Allied Air Command Ramstein, paid his first visit to the NATO Combined Air Operations Centre to coincide with the capability demonstration of the ALTBMD program. Brigadier General Pera “handed over a symbolic key to the operational user of the capability,” represented by Major General Ramsay. [2]

This year the Pentagon will begin its announced ten-year Phased Adaptive Approach (sometimes with a comma between the first two words) project to deploy medium- and intermediate-range interceptor missiles on ships in the Baltic Sea and Mediterranean Sea, which will be followed by the stationing of no fewer than 48 advanced Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) interceptors in Eastern Europe: 24 each in Romania and Poland.

The SM-3 is a ship-based missile jointly developed by the U.S. and Japan which will be deployed on Aegis class guided missile destroyers and cruisers in the two above-mentioned seas. A land-based version of the missile (Aegis Ashore) will be deployed near the Baltic and Black Seas in Poland and Romania.

Missile radar sites will accompany the interceptors, with potential sites discussed to date including Bulgaria, Turkey, the Czech Republic, Azerbaijan and Georgia in addition to the X-band radar (AN/TPY-2 Transportable Radar Surveillance/Forward Based X-band Transportable) designed for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile system, with a range of 2,900 miles, deployed to the Negev Desert in Israel in 2008, manned by over 100 U.S. military personnel including a representative of the Missile Defense Agency. [3] The Azerbaijani location would be the early warning radar facility at Gabala currently operated by the Russian Space Forces.

This week four U.S. senators endorsed the placement of an interceptor missile radar facility in Georgia, which fought a five-day war with Russia in August 2008.

Last May the U.S. deployed the first interceptors in Europe, a Patriot Advanced Capability-3 battery in the Polish city of Morag, 35-40 miles from the Russian Kaliningrad district. An estimated 150 American troops arrived with the missiles to service and train Polish service members to operate them.

Until 2005 the U.S. had concentrated its missile shield initiatives further east: In Alaska, including its Aleutian Islands chain, and Japan, with preliminary radar facilities in Greenland, Britain and Norway to the west. The Missile Defense Agency’s 280-foot-high Sea-Based X-Band Radar, which displaces 50,000 tons and has a surface as large as two football fields, is based in Adak in the Aleutian Islands near Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula.

Developments took a dramatic turn in that year, however. On March 11 NATO’s North Atlantic Council, its highest civilian governing body, approved plans for a theater missile defense (TMD) system to protect deployed troops. The military bloc at that time had forces on the ground in Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Six years ago NATO envisioned a combination of the U.S.-German-Italian Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS), Patriot Advanced Capability-3 and Surface
Air Moyenne Portée/Terre systems as the foundation for lower-tier – battlefield or theater – components of its interceptor missile program, with U.S. Theater (now Terminal) High Altitude Area Defense and the then-current sea-based Standard Missile-2 systems serving as the upper-layer complements. [4]

The integrated system was to achieve initial operating capability last year – when NATO’s 28 members unanimously authorized a far wider-ranging missile shield at the Alliance’s summit in Portugal in November – and full operating capability in 2013.

To that end NATO’s Active Layered Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence (ALTBMD) program was established in September 2005 after a seven-year feasibility study had been conducted by eight of the bloc’s leading members and in which “various NATO projects cooperatively participated.” [5]

At that time the ALTBMD project was described in part as an “integrated system-of-systems architecture [that] will create a larger range of detection, communication and missile defence capabilities for NATO forces, whether deployed within or beyond NATO’s area of responsibility. It will also provide complete coverage against the threat posed by tactical ballistic missiles with ranges up to 3,000 kilometres. [6]

The U.S. arms manufacturers Boeing and Northrop Grumman announced intentions in the same month to bid on “systems engineering and integration work on NATO’s Theater Missile Defense capability.” [7]

At almost exactly the same time, in November of 2005, Agence France-Presse disclosed that the U.S. was developing a complementary and more advanced interceptor missile program for Europe. Eastern Europe.

Citing a senior, unnamed, Pentagon official, the press service stated that although discussions had been held “below the radar screen” since 2002, “the US government was now nearing the point of making decisions on whether and how to go forward with such an initiative.”

The Defense Department source was quoted as stating: “There have been a handful of countries, Poland is one, but there are several others with whom we’ve been having discussions with.” [8]

A week earlier the Gazeta Wyborcza had revealed the plans to base American interceptor missiles in Poland. Four years later the same newspaper divulged weeks ahead of the event that Washington was shifting its plans for ten ground-based interceptors in Poland and a missile radar base in the Czech Republic – because of their impracticability, their ineffectiveness – to what on September 17, 2009 President Barack Obama termed a “smarter, stronger, and swifter” missile shield system that would include components from the Baltic to the Black to the Mediterranean Seas. [9]

The U.S. official quoted above would not divulge which other countries would be involved in the system as planned at the time, but confirmed that the deployment in Poland would be comparable to those at Fort Greely, Alaska where the Missile Defense Agency is working on completing the construction of as many as 14 silos with 30-40 long-range ground-based interceptors as part of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense element of America’s global missile shield plans.

That was the strategy pursued by the George W. Bush administration but superseded by its successor in 2009.

In adopting a continent-wide interceptor missile program as part of its new Strategic Concept last November, NATO agreed to subordinate its 26 members and 14 partners (17 if the South Caucasus is included) in Europe to a U.S.-dominated missile system that is not limited to the continent but is an integral part of a global layered and integrated missile shield network.

The Lisbon summit declaration of November 20 affirms that “We have adopted a new Strategic Concept [and] decided to develop a missile defence capability to protect all NATO European populations, territory and forces….”

“Our Strategic Concept underscores our commitment to ensuring that NATO has the full range of capabilities necessary to deter and defend against any threat to the safety of our populations and the security of our territory. To that end, NATO will maintain an appropriate mix of conventional, nuclear, and missile defence forces. Missile defence will become an integral part of our overall defence posture….”

“[W]e have decided that the Alliance will develop a missile defence capability to pursue its core task of collective defence. The aim of a NATO missile defence capability is to provide full coverage and protection for all NATO European populations, territory and forces against the increasing threats posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles, based on the principles of the indivisibility of Allied security and NATO solidarity….”

“To this end, we have decided that the scope of NATO’s current Active Layered Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence (ALTBMD) programme’s command, control and communications capabilities will be expanded beyond the protection of NATO deployed forces to also protect NATO European populations, territory and forces. In this context, the United States European Phased Adaptive Approach is welcomed as a valuable national contribution to the NATO missile defence architecture, as are other possible voluntary contributions by Allies. We have tasked the Council to develop missile defence consultation, command and control arrangements by the time of the March 2011 meeting of our Defence Ministers. We have also tasked the Council to draft an action plan addressing steps to implement the missile defence capability by the time of the June 2011 Defence Ministers’ meeting.” [10]

A sop was thrown to Russia, which with the best of reasons had been suspicious of American and NATO interceptor missile plans since their inception, with the summit statement claiming that NATO had “invited Russia to cooperate with us.”

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was the first head of state of his nation (and its predecessor state, the Soviet Union) to attend a NATO summit last year, but despite the Russian political leadership’s (over-)willingness to trust its NATO “partners,” two months later Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen threw cold water on Moscow’s self-deluded understanding of where it stood in regard to U.S.-NATO European missile shield plans in announcing that “the alliance’s plan for a European missile shield involves two separate but collaborative programs, one operated by the military alliance and the other by Russia,” although “Moscow and Brussels in November decided to work on researching and potentially setting up a continent-wide program for missile defense.” [11]

That is, Russia will have no role in monitoring or in any other direct manner affecting Western interceptor plans. American officials have been blunt in asserting that the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) pact will in no manner restrict U.S. and NATO continent-wide (except for Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova for the time being) interceptor missile arrangements. Or the Pentagon’s new Prompt Global Strike program designed to accomplish with conventional measures the task formerly assigned to the American nuclear arsenal and triad. [12]

Immediately after Rasmussen’s reaffirmation that Russia, like all NATO partners, can only expect to play a subordinate role in this as in all other matters, the lower house of the Russian parliament, the State Duma, posted a draft supplementary statement to the new START agreement ratification document on its website demanding that “Russia must quickly modernize its nuclear deterrent focusing on the deployment of ballistic missiles capable of penetrating the most sophisticated missile defenses.”

The supplement stated:

“The State Duma believes that maintaining Russia’s nuclear deterrent in an adequate state of readiness is a key venue of the country’s military doctrine, with the focus on the deployment of strategic offensive weapons that possess the most combat effectiveness and the highest potential to penetrate missile defenses.

“The combat effectiveness of Russia’s nuclear deterrent must be maintained at the level that guarantees the protection of the country from attacks carried out by any foreign state or a group of states in any military-strategic situation.” [13]

On January 24 President Medvedev demanded an unequivocal response from NATO on what role his country will be permitted to play in Western missile shield plans, stating:

“Our partners have to understand that we do not want this simply to have some common toys that NATO and us can play with, but because we want adequate protection for Russia.”

“So this is not a joking matter. We expect from our NATO partners a direct and unambiguous answer.

“In either case, we are either together with NATO, or we separately find an adequate response to the existing problem.

“Either we agree to certain principles with NATO, or we fail to agree, and then in the future we are forced to adopt an entire series of unpleasant decisions concerning the deployment of an offensive nuclear missile group.” [14]

Two days later Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov told the upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, that “Russia will go forward with plans to develop its own missile defense system after the ratification of a strategic arms reduction treaty with the United States.”

“As far as our missile defense system is concerned, we have been developing it and will be further developing it,” he added. [15]

On the same day Chief of General Staff Nikolay Makarov said “that Russia’s permanent involvement in designing the architecture of the European missile defense system should be the main precondition for NATO-Russia co-operation.” [16]

A Russian commentary of January 27 included these observations – and warnings:

“Neither NATO nor the US has answered Russia’s questions so far. The would-be shield is even called differently by both sides. While the Russian leadership describes it as ‘European missile defense system,’ it is referred to as ‘NATO’s missile defense system’ in the alliance’s official documents.

“Moscow will not participate in any joint program where it does not have its say. The big fear is that the European shield will be directed by the US, which does not abandon the idea of its own global missile defense shield.” [17]

NATO’s comprehensive, all-encompassing interceptor missile system is in fact controlled by the U.S. and is part of an international network that includes air, land, sea and space elements. [18] Washington has added South Korea and Australia to its missile shield alliance with Japan in the Asia-Pacific region and is selling billions of dollars worth of theater and more advanced interceptor missiles to Taiwan, Japan and the Persian Gulf states of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. [19]

The same source cited Yury Solomonov, director and general designer of the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology, who said ­Russia is developing new warheads for intercontinental ballistic missiles which “would be able to overcome any existing and future missile defense systems.”

The article continued:

“The development of new warheads looks like Russia’s answer to plans of the US and NATO to create a new missile defense shield for Europe. Both Washington and the alliance had formally invited Moscow to take part in a joint program. But even Europeans themselves do not know the exact details of the initiative.

“NATO member states are still to come to an agreement between themselves….[T]o maintain the potential of strategic nuclear forces Russia must radically increase the production of intercontinental ballistic missiles. [Solomonov] also said that the Bulava sea-based intercontinental ballistic missile will be commissioned and pass into service in 2011 if the planned test launches are successful.” [20]

On the day the above appeared NATO announced the activation of its first anti-ballistic missile capability.

On February 3 Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted warning that “If negotiations between NATO and Russia will only be used as a cover for a NATO-American missile defense system that ignores the Russian interests then of course we will have no choice but to take adequate measures to protect ourselves.” [21]

So much for pushing reset buttons with the new START agreement and the reactivation of the NATO-Russia Council in November.

Before this month’s announcement that NATO was integrating hitherto separate interceptor missile systems into a coherent network linked with the new American European system, Italy’s Brigadier General Pera, head of NATO’s Active Layered Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence Programme Office and veteran of NATO campaigns in Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan, gave an interview to the U.S.-based Defense News in April of last year in which he itemized the components that will be incorporated into the missile interception program:

“For the interim capability, five nations are contributing weapons systems and sensors: Germany, Patriot PAC­3 missiles; France, SAMP/T missiles; Italy, Horizon-class frigates; the Netherlands, Patriot PAC-3 missiles, ADCF (Air Defense Command) frigates; and the United States, Aegis cruisers, Patriot PAC-2 and -3 missiles, space early warning. The missiles mentioned can act both as missile interceptors and as anti-aircraft missiles.

“In its final configurations, we will also have MEADS (Medium Extended Air Defense System) missile weapon systems from the U.S., Germany and Italy; SAMP/T weapon systems and TPS 77 sensors, Italy; NATO sensors Fixed Air Defense Radar/Deployable Air Defense Radar, Aegis Standard Missile-3 systems, AN/TPY 2 radar and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system from the U.S.; Patriot PAC-2 and F100 frigates, Spain; F124 frigates and Global Hawk IR, Germany; Patriot PAC-2, Greece.”

“ALTBMD has a lower layer to deal with short- and medium-range missiles (the interim capability is the first step of it) and an upper layer to deal with longer-range tac­tical missiles, up to 3,000 kilometers. The ultimate aim is for theater missile defense to be able to counter long-range missiles, too, so that NATO countries remain one step ahead of the threat by being able to knock out missiles not just in their re-entry phase but also in the midcourse and boost phases.”

“The interfaces between ALTBMD and the U.S.A.’s Phased Adaptive Approach have already been successfully tested.

“ALTBMD is planning to have an initial operational capability in 2012, while the plan is for the full spectrum of capabilities to be available by 2017.” [22]

His inclusion of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense and its AN/TPY-2 Transportable Radar Surveillance/Forward Based X-Band Transportable which “is capable of tracking and identifying small objects at long distance and at very high altitude, including space” [23] indicates a more sophisticated overall plan than is generally acknowledged. Though last summer Lieutenant General Patrick O’Reilly, director of the Missile Defense Agency (which grew out of Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative) said “combined defenses would feature the best of both worlds: an ‘upper layer’ framework of SM-3 and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, interceptors, operated by the United States, that could shoot down enemy missiles in space or the upper atmosphere; and a ‘lower layer’ of Patriot batteries, operated by European allies, providing a second layer of defense closer to the ground.” [24]

On December 1 of last year Frank Rose, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, testified before the House Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Strategic Forces and stated of the American Phased Adaptive Approach that “this approach to missile defense squarely in a NATO context as was decided at the Lisbon Summit. Missile defense is now firmly entrenched in NATO as both the summit declaration and Strategic Concept make it clear. NATO will develop missile defense as part of the Alliance’s core task of collective defense.”

He added: “The deployment of the AN/TPY-2 radar in Southern Europe in the 2011 timeframe will augment the capabilities of our existing Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system to intercept long-range missiles launched from the Middle East, should that threat emerge. In many ways, this is analogous to the AN-TPY-2 radar deployed in Japan that serves to assist with the defense of Japan and U.S. territory from the North Korean threat.” [25]

Washington persists in the disingenuous contention that covering Europe in a U.S.-controlled missile shield is aimed at protecting nations from Poland to Britain from North Korean, Iranian, Syrian and even North African threats.

A NATO press release on the January 27 event stated:

“The ALTBMD Programme Office will continue to upgrade the NATO Command and Control System for Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence in incremental steps from 2013 to 2018, to field a more robust Final Operational Capability. In line with the Lisbon Summit decision of November 2010, the ALTBMD capability will also be expanded to protect not just deployed forces, but NATO European territories and populations as well.” [26]

2018 is the year the U.S. will inaugurate its Phase 3 advanced SM-3 interceptor site in Poland.

Late last month pro-American Romanian President Traian Basescu, recruited last year by his American counterpart Obama to host Standard Missile-3s on his nation’s soil, said:

“The United States remains our strategic partner and our main ally in the field of security. Today, the main vector of our cooperation is the anti-missile shield. We wish to conclude this year the bilateral negotiations.” [27] In 2005 the Pentagon secured the use of four military bases in Romania, including what is being upgraded into a strategic air base.

Two days before the above quote appeared on the Internet, it was reported that the U.S. Air Force had “augmented the hardware of a missile defense radar facility in Greenland,” NATO ally Denmark’s possession, and that it “has already upgraded early warning radar sites at Beale Air Force Base in California and at Fylingdales Royal Air Force Station in the United Kingdom,” and “intends to update two more of the sites.” [28] An island between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans is an odd location for tracking imaginary Iranian and North Korean intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Also in late January and in the Atlantic Ocean, the U.S. Navy, the Missile Defense Agency and weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin conducted a missile interception training exercise off the coast of Virginia with an Aegis class guided missile cruiser and two Aegis guided missile destroyers. Lockheed announced that “the ships tracked a short-range ballistic missile target and two performed simulations that would have resulted in successful interceptions of the target.” [29]

The Navy announced in a press release that it was “the first live ballistic missile defense test on the East Coast,” as before then Standard Missile-3 intercepts of target missiles (and in February of 2008 a space satellite) had been conducted from the Pacific Missile Range Test Facility in Kauai, Hawaii.

In the same week Lockheed, working with Raytheon, and Boeing, partnering with Northrop Grumman, submitted proposals to the Missile Defense Agency in competition for a $4.2 billion, seven-year contract “to develop and sustain the Ground-based Midcourse Defense [GMD] portion of the nation’s ballistic missile defense program.”

“Elements of GMD, including some of the radars and Standard Missile 3[s] used in the ship-based Aegis system, are being considered for use as part of President Barack Obama’s ‘phased adaptive approach’ to enhancing missile defense in Europe.” [30]

Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) International, based in Orlando, Florida, recently disclosed that it had successfully conducted “milestone tests” on an X-band radar system and was preparing for systems testing this year at the Pratica di Mare Air Force Base in Italy. The U.S. funds 58 percent of the MEADS European missile defense program, with Germany and Italy providing 25 and 17 of the financing respectively.

The MEADS consortium, for which Lockheed Martin provides Patriot and longer-range missiles, describes its operation as follows:

“Under development by Germany, Italy and the United States, MEADS is a mobile system that will replace Patriot in the United States and Nike Hercules in Italy. It will replace Patriot and the retired Hawk system in Germany. The system is designed to permit full interoperability between the U.S. and allied forces, and it is the only medium-range air defense system to provide full 360-degree coverage.”

In addition: “In August 2010, the MEADS program completed an extensive series of Critical Design Review events with a Summary Critical Design Review at MEADS International in Orlando, FL. The program is now completing final build, integration and test activities leading to flight tests involving all system elements at White Sands Missile Range in 2012.” [31]

On February 1 NATO announced that a subsidiary of the joint U.S.-French ThalesRaytheonSystems won a contract for “enhancements to the Air Command and Control System (ACCS) as part of the Active Layered Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence (ALTBMD) programme.”

“This award is for the Preliminary System Definition of the first phase of the ACCS TMD [theater missile defense] project and will be followed by the development, integration and testing of two increments leading to an Initial Operational Capability (IOC). The new functionality developed under the contract will provide sensor and weapon system configuration, management and coverage, air and missile track processing, dissemination, classification, display and alerting. It will also provide weapon system status, engagement, monitoring and control.”

The NATO website quoted Dr. Gerhard van der Giet, General Manager of the NATO ACCS Management Agency:

“As Allies decided at the NATO summit in Lisbon last November, the scope of ALTBMD will be expanded beyond the protection of deployed forces to also protect NATO European populations, territory and forces. The command and control enhancements developed under the ACCS TMD project provide a future foundation for Missile Defence.” [32]

It was reported two days afterward that Siemens Turkiye, the German electronic and engineering firm’s Turkish subsidiary, and a local software company “will develop and implement NATO’s strategic Air Command and Control Information (AirC2I) System….[T]he system will set a benchmark for future NATO Bi-Strategic Command Automated Information Systems Functional Services, be a key component of NATO’s Active Layered Theater Ballistic Missile Defense system’s initial operating capability, and provide a possible foundation for missile defense.” [33]

A copy of Ronald Reagan’s Star Wars speech of March 23, 1983 is displayed prominently at the Missile Defense Agency’s Von Braun Complex in Huntsville, Alabama. U.S. officials, military and civilian, have openly spoken of having brought to fruition Reagan’s plan for a Strategic Defense Initiative in intent and practical effects if not precise configurations.

The Aegis Combat System is a product of the Strategic Defense Initiative. Last year President Obama pushed for an increase in the system’s Standard Missile-3 interceptors to 436, up from the previous year’s request of 147 of the missiles costing $10-15 million apiece.

NATO’s summit in Lisbon last November has delivered almost the entire European continent to a 21st century version of Star Wars.

1) Deutsche Presse-Agentur, January 27, 2011
2) U.S. Air Forces in Europe, January 31, 2011
3) Israel: Forging NATO Missile Shield, Rehearsing War With Iran
Stop NATO, November 5, 2009
4) NATO OKs Missile Defense Management Agency
Defense News, March 21, 2005
5) North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Active Layered Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence Programme Office
6) Ibid
7) Defense News, September 9, 2005
8) Agence France-Presse, November 16, 2005
9) U.S. Expands Global Missile Shield Into Middle East, Balkans
Stop NATO, September 11, 2009
10) North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Lisbon Summit Declaration
November 20, 2010
11) Global Security Newswire, January 20, 2011
12) Prompt Global Strike: World Military Superiority Without Nuclear
Weapons

Stop NATO, April 10, 2010
13) Russian Information Agency Novosti, January 22, 2011
14) Agence France-Presse, January 24, 2011
15) Russian Information Agency Novosti, January 26, 2011
16) RT, January 27, 2011
17) Ibid
18) Militarization Of Space: Threat Of Nuclear War On Earth
Stop NATO, June 18, 2009
19) U.S. Extends Missile Buildup From Poland And Taiwan To Persian Gulf
Stop NATO, February 3, 2010
***
Middle East Loses Trillions As U.S. Strikes Record Arms Deals
Stop NATO, September 2, 2010
20) RT, January 27, 2011
21) Russia rules out being NATO’s patsy on missile defense
Russian Information Agency Novosti, February 3, 2011
22) Defense News, April 5, 2010
23) Global Security.org
24) Washington Post, August 1, 2010
***
Europe And Beyond: U.S. Consolidates Global Missile Shield
Stop NATO, August 3, 2010
25) U.S. Department of State, December 1, 2010
26) North Atlantic Treaty Organization, January 27, 2011
27) Sofia News Agency, January 21, 2011
28) Global Security Newswire, January 19, 2011
29) Philadelphia Business Journal, January 28, 2011
30) Huntsville Times, January 29, 2011
31) MEADS International, January 31, 2011
32) NATO and ThalesRaytheonSystems sign contract for Theatre Missile
Defence extension
North Atlantic Treaty Organization, February 1, 2011
33) Defense News, February 3, 2011

Categories: Uncategorized

Egypt: Will U.S. And NATO Launch Second Suez Intervention?

February 2, 2011 11 comments

Stop NATO
February 2, 2011

Egypt: Will U.S. And NATO Launch Second Suez Intervention?
Rick Rozoff

On February 1 General James Mattis, commander of United States Central Command whose area of responsibility includes Egypt on its western end, stated that Washington currently has no plans to reinforce naval presence off the coast of that country, but added that in the event of the closure of the Suez Canal:

“Were it to happen obviously we would have to deal with it diplomatically, economically, militarily….”

After the canal was nationalized in 1956 by the government of Gamal Abdel Nasser, Egypt was attacked by Israel, Britain and France.

The day before Mattis’ statement the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise and its carrier strike group – consisting of a guided missile cruiser, three guided missile destroyers, a fast combat support ship and Carrier Air Wing One (which had been deployed for the Suez Crisis in 1956-1957) with fighter and surveillance aircraft and Seahawk helicopters – crossed through the Strait of Gibraltar from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea on its way to the Suez Canal. The warships are scheduled for operations in the Gulf of Aden off the coasts of Somalia and Yemen and in the Arabian Sea to support the war in Afghanistan.

In the words of the commander of the carrier strike group, the deployment “sends a strong signal that the Enterprise Strike Group has arrived to operate and integrate with our partners in the region.” [1]

U.S. and NATO warships regularly transit the canal for operations off the Horn of Africa and for the escalating war in South Asia.

With the expansion of protests in Egypt calling for the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, the prospect of the Suez Canal being closed would severely hamper Western military operations across the Arabian Sea from Somalia to Pakistan, the central locus of global naval deployments and warfighting in the 21st century. [2]

In addition to being a gateway for the passage of warships including carriers and their warplanes, the Suez Canal is a major transit point for oil emanating from the Persian Gulf to the Red Sea en route to the Mediterranean Sea for European consumption. “The waterway is the fastest crossing from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian Ocean. Should it close, tankers would have to sail around southern Africa. About 7.5% of world sea trade is carried via the canal today.”

“Energy industry analysts…view the intimidation factor posed by the U.S. military’s presence in the region as beneficial to Western corporate interests in case a new government in Cairo does indeed seek to block shipments of oil and other goods through the canal.” [3]

This week it was announced that several European oil companies, among them Norway’s Statoil, Royal Dutch Shell and British Petroleum, halted drilling in Egypt, closed down local offices and began evacuating the families of foreign workers as well as non-essential staff.

On January 31 U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates held phone conversations with his Egyptian and Israeli counterparts, defense ministers Mohamed Hussein Tantawi and Ehud Barak. Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell would not disclose the contents of the talks to the press.

President Barack Obama praised the U.S.-armed and -trained Egyptian armed forces for their “professionalism,” stating:

“I urge the military to help ensure this time of change is peaceful.”

Chief of the U.S. General Staff Admiral Michael Mullen spoke by phone with Egyptian chief of staff Lieutenant General Sami Enan on the same day, after the latter and the high-level military delegation he led hastily left Washington, D.C. ahead of the completion of scheduled week-long consultations at the Pentagon. The Internet is rife with speculation that Enan may be slated to head an interim government should President Mubarak be prevailed upon to exit the scene in the imminent future.

Afterward, Mullen affirmed:

“We’ve had a very strong relationship with the Egyptian military for decades. And as I look to the future, I certainly look to that to continue.

“I look forward to continuing to work with the Egyptian military. We look to a future that certainly, we hope, is stable, within Egypt as well as, obviously, in the region.” [4]

According to the Pentagon’s website: “Mullen stressed the importance of Egypt’s military as a stabilizing force. The United States military has had a close and continuing relationship with Egyptian officers and noncommissioned officers since the Camp David Accords in 1978, he noted.” [5]

In a recent article the Jewish Telegraph Agency reminded its readers that:

“The largely American-equipped and American-trained Egyptian army — by far the most powerful military in the Arab world — numbers around 650,000 men, with 60 combat brigades, 3500 tanks and 600 fighter planes. For Israel, the main strategic significance of the peace with Egypt is that it has been able to take the threat of full-scale war against its strongest foe out of the military equation.” [6]

In announcing the precipitate departure of the Egyptian military delegation from Washington, Marine General James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, confirmed that the visit had been curtailed because of domestic developments, stating the U.S. and its military allies “go through all sorts of contingencies.” [7]

Although the NATO website does not mention it, it is to be assumed that Enan’s top-level delegation attended the chiefs of defense and military representatives meeting at NATO Headquarters in Brussels on January 26 and 27, particularly the first day’s Mediterranean Dialogue session. The meetings included the top commanders and other military representatives of 66 nations – more than a third of all the countries in the world – and was presided over by Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola, Chairman of the bloc’s Military Committee. Other participants included NATO’s two Strategic Commanders, Admiral James Stavridis, Supreme Allied Commander Europe, and General Stephane Abrial, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, as well as the Chairman of the European Union’s Military Committee, General Hakan Syren.

Topics of deliberation included NATO’s two ongoing naval operations, Active Endeavor in the Mediterranean Sea and Ocean Shield in the Gulf of Aden.

The Alliance conclave also included a meeting of military representatives from NATO Mediterranean Dialogue partnership members Egypt, Israel, Algeria, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia, who “agreed on the further development of Cooperative Security core task as outlined in the new Strategic Concept” endorsed at last November’s summit in Portugal. [8]

Outgoing Israel Defense Forces [IDF] Chief of General Staff Lieutenant-General Gabi Ashkenazi, who is to step down from his post on February 14, was a guest of honor at the 66-nation NATO military meeting in Brussels. He addressed the assembled military chiefs and told them:

“Cooperation with NATO will continue to be of extreme importance for Israel, particularly in the face of countries that are trying to obtain nuclear and nonconventional weapons. NATO’s decision to develop a missile defense system demonstrates the worrisome reality that radical countries and maybe even terrorist groups are a clear and present danger, not just to the Middle East but also to Europe.” [9]

Delivering a speech at the Mediterranean Dialogue session, Ashkenazi stated:

“NATO currently faces the very same challenges [as Israel does at home] in Afghanistan, and its member countries encounter complex strategic, tactical and logistic issues in different arenas of war.”

He also thanked chairman of the NATO Military Committee Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola and his counterparts for their “friendship and partnership.” [10]

Ashkenazi was accompanied on his trip to NATO Headquarters by his wife, IDF spokesperson Brigadier General Avi Benayahu, head of the International Military Cooperation Department in the Planning Directorate Colonel Hani Caspi, Israeli Defense Attache to NATO Colonel Uri Halperin and Aide-de-Camp to the Chief of the General Staff Lieutenant Colonel Amos HaCohen.

As part of the conference “a ceremonial dinner [was] held at the home of the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola, where he…bid a farewell to Ashkenazi.” [11]

The Suez Canal is Israel’s nexus between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea and Europe. In July of 2009 Israeli “missile class warships sailed through the Suez Canal to the Red Sea ten days after a submarine capable of launching a nuclear missile strike” – a German-made Dolphin – had made the same journey in a move “apparently done in preparation for a possible attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.” [12]

The canal is also the choke point through which Caspian Sea oil and natural gas transported across the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum and Nabucco pipelines are projected to reach Israel in addition to plans to ship hydrocarbons to the Israeli Mediterranean port city of Ashkelon and from there by pipeline to the Red Sea port of Eilat where they can be shipped on tankers across the Indian Ocean to East Asia. [13]

The Suez Canal is also the convergence point of two of the six navy fleets the U.S. employs to patrol the world’s seas and oceans: The Sixth Fleet, headquartered in Italy, and the Fifth Fleet, based in Bahrain.

The Sixth Fleet’s area of responsibility encompasses the entire Mediterranean, since October of 2001 paralleled and reinforced by NATO’s Operation Active Endeavor, and the Fifth’s the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, the Persian Gulf and the eastern coast of Africa south to Kenya.

The Enterprise Carrier Strike Group headed to the Suez Canal will be attached to the Fifth Fleet when it arrives in the Red Sea on its way to the Indian Ocean.

Both fleets have several naval task forces assigned to them, including amphibious assault, battle force, carrier strike group, expeditionary combat, Marine Expeditionary Unit, maritime surveillance, naval interdiction, oil terminal protection (in Iraq), patrol and reconnaissance, sealift, special operations and submarine warfare groups.

The Fifth Fleet and Naval Forces Central Command are jointly in charge of Combined Task Forces 52, 150, 151, 152 and 158 in the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Somali Basin, and the Persian Gulf, which are U.S.-led multinational naval groups with the participation of NATO and Asia-Pacific military partners like Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand.

The Sixth Fleet at any given time has as many as forty ships, 175 aircraft and 21,000 personnel deployed in the Mediterranean.

The fleet overlaps with Naval Forces Europe as the Fifth Fleet does with Naval Forces Central Command. The commanders of the first two also hold NATO positions, with the commander of Naval Forces Europe serving as head of Allied Joint Force Command Naples and the commander of the Sixth Fleet as commander of Allied Joint Command Lisbon and of Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO.

As examined earlier, NATO’s Operation Active Endeavor also incorporates the entire Mediterranean Sea, including Egypt’s northern coast, and over the past nine years has contacted over 110,000 ships and boarded an estimated 160 “suspect” ships.

The now permanent operation is “enabling NATO to strengthen its relations with partner countries, especially those participating in the Alliance’s Mediterranean Dialogue.” [14]

By NATO’s account:

“In terms of energy alone, some 65 per cent of the oil and natural gas consumed in Western Europe pass through the Mediterranean each year, with major pipelines connecting Libya to Italy and Morocco to Spain. For this reason, NATO ships are systematically carrying out preparatory route surveys in ‘choke’ points as well as in important passages and harbours throughout the Mediterranean.

“What happens in practice is that merchant ships passing through the Eastern Mediterranean are hailed by patrolling NATO naval units and asked to identify themselves and their activity. This information is then reported to both NATO’s Allied Maritime Component Commander in Naples, Italy, and the NATO Shipping Centre in Northwood, the United Kingdom. If any­thing appears unusual or suspicious, a boarding team may enter the vessel to inspect documen­tation and cargo.”

“The increased NATO presence in the Mediterranean has also enhanced the Alliance’s security cooperation programme with seven countries in the wider Mediterranean region – Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia. This programme – the Mediterranean Dialogue – was set up in 1995 to contribute to regional security and stability and to achieve better mutual understanding between NATO and its Mediterranean Partners.

“The operation is under the overall command of Joint Forces Command (JFC), Naples, and is conducted from the Allied Maritime Component Command Naples, Italy (CC-Mar Naples) through a Task Force deployed in the Mediterranean. Occasionally, transiting ships and aircraft provide additional associated support to the operation.” [15]

Active Endeavor is one of eight components resulting from the U.S.-dominated alliance’s activation of its Article 5 collective military assistance provision after September 1, 2001.

At its 2004 summit in Istanbul, Turkey, NATO expanded the surveillance and interdiction mission as well as adopting the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative to elevate Mediterranean Dialogue partnerships with Egypt, Israel, Algeria, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia to the level of the Partnership for Peace program that graduated twelve Eastern European nations to full NATO membership from 1999-2009.

Last November Alliance Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper that NATO is ready to dispatch troops to the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, stating: “If a Middle East peace agreement is reached, an international military force will be needed to monitor and implement it.” [16] The same source revealed that “The North Atlantic Council – NATO’s most senior governing body – also announced it would launch bilateral relations (in contrast to collective ties) with Israel and the six Arab states that comprise the Mediterranean Dialogue.”

Israel is the only Middle Eastern nation not in Central Command’s area of responsibility (it is assigned to U.S. European Command) – as Egypt is the only African country not in U.S. Africa Command’s – and is all but officially NATO’s 29th member state. [17]

A few months before, Rasmussen visited Jordan and Bahrain to pressure the host countries to “contribute to alliance naval operations…in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Gulf of Aden,” Operation Active Endeavor and Operation Ocean Shield, respectively. [18]

In the previous month twelve warships attached to an enlarged Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) began what were identified as surge operations in the Eastern Mediterranean. “SNMG2 has been reinforced with additional ships which, along with submarine and air surveillance assets, will ensure sweeping coverage from Crete to the far-eastern reaches of the Mediterranean Sea.” That its operations are being augmented by Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft and submarines marks a dramatic escalation of NATO strength in the region. [19]

In the month before the naval buildup in the Eastern Mediterranean, five ships from the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 docked in Casablanca “to boost ties with Morocco.”

“A joint training session between NATO forces and the Moroccan navy is also planned, according to the Dutch commander of SNMG2, Michiel Hijmans, who will be in Casablanca for the Sept. 16-19 visit.

“SNMG2 regularly participates in the Active Endeavour Operation…in the Mediterranean.” [20]

After being feted at NATO Headquarters and at the home of the bloc’s Military Committee chairman last week, Israel’s Chief of General Staff Ashkenazi said that mounting demonstrations in Egypt “could force Israel to adapt to a new security reality in the Middle East.”

“The quiet is fragile and the security reality can easily change,” he said on the sidelines of a military exercise in the south of Israel. “It is enough to look at what is happening in Egypt to understand this.” [21]

Ashkenazi added that the Israel Defense Forces were maintaining a “watchful eye” on the Gaza Strip adjoining Egypt.

Shaul Mofaz, the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman and a former defense minister, “said that Israel would need to conduct a new strategic review due to the possibility of a regime change in Egypt.” [22]

In addition to U.S. Sixth Fleet, NATO and Israeli naval forces in the Eastern Mediterranean, NATO nations are also deployed there as part of the UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) Maritime Task Force, which since 2006 has run an effective blockade of Lebanon’s Mediterranean coast. Currently there are three German, one Greek, one Italian and one Turkish ship assigned to the mission. Other nations that have contributed to the interdiction operation include Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Turkey.

The Maritime Task Force (MTF) website states: “Since the start of its operations, the MTF has hailed around 28,000 ships and referred around 400 suspicious vessels to the Lebanese authorities for further inspection.”

As seen above, the Suez Canal is vital for the transit of Western aircraft carriers and other warships and for oil shipments.

Egypt is also important for the NATO nations of North America and Europe as part of their energy war against Russia aside from the Suez passageway.

The Suez-Mediterranean (SuMed) oil pipeline runs from the Ain Sukhna terminal on the Gulf of Suez (leading to the canal) at the northern end of the Red Sea to Sidi Kerir on the Mediterranean. The 200-mile pipeline provides an alternative to the Suez Canal for transporting Persian Gulf oil to the Mediterranean Sea, and there are currently plans to extend it across the Red Sea from Ain Sukhna to the terminal of Saudi Arabia’s 745-mile East-West Crude Oil Pipeline (Petroline) in Yanbu in the west of the kingdom.

On January 28 Egyptian troops were deployed to the SuMed pipeline.

In May of 2009 the European Union held a conference entitled Southern Corridor – New Silk Road in the Czech capital of Prague in order “to help reduce Europe’s heavy dependence on Russia.” [23]

Centering on the Nabucco natural gas and other pipelines to bring Caspian Sea hydrocarbons to Europe in opposition to Russian projects, participating non-EU countries included Egypt and Iraq in addition to Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Georgia and Turkey.

The conference promoted “three gas projects, all bypassing Russia. It [discussed] the 10 billion euro Nabucco project, which by 2013 is to link the Caspian Sea region, Middle East and Egypt to the EU via Turkey. The others are the Inter-Connector pipeline linking Turkey to Italy via Greece, and the White Stream, which would run from Georgia to Romania across the Black Sea.”

“The leaders of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Egypt and Iraq [and] the EU [pushed] for a broad commitment on the expansion of a web of half a dozen east-west gas pipelines spanning thousands of miles (kilometers)” with “stable gas deliveries that bypass Russia.” [24]

Egypt is too strategically important to the U.S. and its European and Israeli allies to permit its citizens to exercise control over the nation’s military and energy policies, over what passes through the Suez Canal. Before that will be permitted to occur, the threats of a military takeover and intervention loom over the nation.

1) Navy NewsStand, February 1, 2011
2) Arabian Sea: Center Of West’s 21st Century War
Stop NATO, October 25, 2010

http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2010/10/25/arabian-sea-center-of-wests-21st-century-war

3) Egypt’s Suez Canal and the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet
Press Action, January 31, 2011
4) Department of Defense, January 31, 2011
5) Ibid
6) Jewish Telegraph Agency, February 1, 2011
7) CNN, January 28, 2011
8) North Atlantic Treaty Organization, January 27, 2011
9) Jerusalem Post, January 26, 2011
10) Israel Defense Forces, January 26, 2011
11) Arutz Sheva, January 27, 2011
12) Report: Warships in Suez prepare for Iran attack
Ynetnews, July 16, 2009
13) Azerbaijan And The Caspian: NATO’s War For The World’s Heartland
Stop NATO, June 10, 2009

http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2009/08/31/azerbaijan-and-the-caspian-natos-war-for-the-worlds-heartland

14) North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Operation Active Endeavor

http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/topics_7932.htm

15) Ibid
16) Ha’aretz, November 21, 2010
17) Israel: Global NATO’s 29th Member
Stop NATO, January 17, 2010

http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2010/01/17/israel-global-natos-29th-member

18) Deutsche Presse-Agentur, March 9, 2010
19) North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations
November 12, 2010
20) Agence France-Presse, September 14, 2010
21) Jerusalem Post, February 1, 2011
22) Ibid
23) Azeri Press Agency, May 8, 2009
24) Robert Wielaard, EU Seeks to Enroll Caucasus Neighbors, Egypt and Iraq
into Energy Deal Bypassing Russia
Los Angeles Times, May 7, 2009

Categories: Uncategorized
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