Home > Uncategorized > Libyan war updates/Stop NATO news: June 10, 2011

Libyan war updates/Stop NATO news: June 10, 2011

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$2 Million A Day: Pentagon’s Billion Dollar Libyan War

NATO’s Longest Air War: Almost 10,500 Sorties, 4,000 Combat Flights

USS George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group In Mediterranean

Lewis MacKenzie: NATO’s Libya “Hope” Strategy Is Bombing

What Will NATO Find Next In UN Resolution 1973?

Italy: Top NATO/U.S. Afghan War Commander Discusses Libyan War, North Africa, Horn Of Africa

NATO Is In Act Of War Against Africa

Cairo: Top U.S. Military Commander Supports Egyptian Junta, Libyan War

NATO Official: Gaddafi “Legitimate Target”

Pentagon Chief: “Two-Tiered” NATO “Unacceptable”

U.S. Military Chief Applauds Germany’s Role In Global NATO

Obama Nominates Marine General To Command NATO Forces In Afghanistan

48-Nation NATO War Council: Afghan Transition “Based On Conditions, Not Calendar”

NATO Missile System To Neutralize Russia’s Strategic Capability: Defense Minister

Ukraine: U.S. Breaks In Eurasian, African NATO Partnership Cohorts

Ukraine: U.S. Marines Train Ex-Soviet, -Yugoslav Militaries For Global NATO Deployments

West To Route Iraqi Natural Gas To Trans-Caspian Pipeline

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$2 Million A Day: Pentagon’s Billion Dollar Libyan War

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2001778/Libya-war-costs-US-taxpayers-2m-day-Gaddafi.html

Daily Mail
June 9, 2011

The billion dollar war? Libyan campaign breaks Pentagon estimates costing U.S. taxpayers $2 million a day

The cost of the U.S. campaign in Libya is set to exceed the $750 million Pentagon estimate set out in March, according to a leaked Department of Defence Memo.

The ‘eyes-only’ DoD dossier said the U.S. had already spent $664 million in Libya by mid-May – a running cost of $60 million a month since the bombing began in March.

At the current rate of spending, the U.S. will have to shell out at least an extra $274 million till the end of the current 90 day no fly zone extension period – brining total expenditure to a minimum of $938 million.

The news came as donors pledged more than $1.3 billion dollars to help support Libya’s main opposition group, after countries backing NATO’s military mission there met to prepare for the post-Moammar Gadhafi era.

The leaked document, obtained by The Financial Times, showed the rate of spending is far higher than DoD estimates issued in late march.

Then, a congressional hearing, heard the U.S. had spent about $550 million on Libya, at a rate of about $40m a month.

The soaring cost will only add to the pressure felt by military commanders already grappling with growing budgetary constraints and procurement over spends.

NATO airstrikes rattled the Libyan capital this morning, with seven thunderous explosions shaking the city.

Concussions from the strikes, in clusters of a few minutes apart, washed over Tripoli from its outskirts…

The news comes as NATO allies in Abu Dhabi on Thursday to focus on what one U.S. official called the ‘end-game’ for Libya’s Gaddafi as NATO once again stepped up the intensity of its air raids on Tripoli.

Italy and France offered a combined $1.02 billion to Libya’s Transitional National Council while Kuwait and Qatar promised a combined $280 million to a fund set up to provide…assistance to the opposition.

The pledges came as council members appealed for urgent infusions of cash to keep from going broke.

The council is trying to establish an alternative government to take over after Gadhafi.

Preparing for Libya’s next phase will require a decision on what fate – exile, prosecution or some third option – should befall the beleagured Gaddafi.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in Abu Dhabi today, disappointed the rebel-affiliated group by saying that while Washington would boost its humanitarian aid to all Libyans by $26.5 million it is not offering any direct aid to the council.

‘Gadhafi’s days are numbered,’ Clinton said.

‘We are working with our international partners through the U.N. to plan for the inevitable: a post-Gadhafi Libya.’

The U.S. said on Wednesday that the first shipment of Libyan oil sold by the council had been delivered to an American refinery and Clinton encouraged other nations to make similar purchases to help the Libyan people.

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NATO’s Longest Air War: Almost 10,500 Sorties, 4,000 Combat Flights

http://www.nato.int/nato_static/assets/pdf/pdf_2011_06/20110610_110610-oup-update.pdf

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
June 10, 2011

NATO and Libya
Allied Joint Force Command NAPLES, SHAPE, NATO HQ

Over the past 24 hours, NATO has conducted the following activities associated with Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR:

Air Operations

Since the beginning of the NATO operation (31 March 2011, 08.00GMT) a total of 10439 sorties, including 3950 strike sorties, have been conducted.

Sorties conducted 09 JUNE: 149

Strike sorties conducted 09 JUNE: 43

Arms Embargo Activities

A total of 19 ships under NATO command are actively patrolling the Central Mediterranean.

23 Vessels were hailed on 09 JUNE to determine destination and cargo. 3 boardings (no denials) were conducted.

A total of 1260 vessels have been hailed. 85 boardings and 8 denials have been conducted since the beginning of arms embargo operations.

….

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USS George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group In Mediterranean

http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=60850

Navy NewsStand
June 7, 2011

Bush Makes Port Visit to Spain
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Timothy Walter, USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) Public Affairs

CARTAGENA, Spain: USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) anchored off the coast of Cartagena, Spain, June 6, marking the first time the nation’s newest Nimitz-class aircraft carrier has visited mainland Europe.

Nearly 5,000 Sailors of George H.W. Bush and its embarked airwing will spend several days visiting the Spanish port and nearby towns through tours offered by the ship’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) department. Cartagena is the second overseas port call for George H.W. Bush, which recently completed a four-day visit to Portsmouth, England.

….

George H.W. Bush Sailors will be joined in Cartagena by Sailors from the Spanish frigate ESPS Almirante Juan de Borbón (F 102). Borbón has been a coalition member of George H.W. Bush Strike Group since September 2010, and will depart from the strike group shortly after the port call for a national tasking.

Borbón is only the second Spanish ship to serve with a U.S. carrier strike group….

George H.W. Bush departed its homeport of Norfolk, Va., May 11, and entered the 6th Fleet area of responsibility May 17.

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Lewis MacKenzie: NATO’s Libya “Hope” Strategy Is Bombing

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/opinion/natos-libya-hope-strategy-is-bombing/article2054254/

Globe and Mail
June 10, 2011

NATO’s Libya ‘hope’ strategy is bombing
Lewis MacKenzie

We are now in the 84th day of the bombing campaign that the United Nations Security Council authorized to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya in a bid to protect civilians from Moammar Gadhafi’s forces. In a bizarre development, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has said it will extend the campaign for 90 days, surely a first in the history of war when one side “extends the contract” for a set period. This presumably occurred because NATO’s strategy is still based on the flimsy hope that Colonel Gadhafi will see the error of his ways and capitulate before his surroundings and his supporters are bombed back to the Stone Age.

NATO’s obsession with its strategy of hope was tried once before in 1999, with the bombing of Serbia and the breakaway province of Kosovo. A myth that the 78-day bombing campaign persuaded Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic to withdraw his forces from Kosovo continues to grow despite overwhelming facts to the contrary.

Before that war – and contributing to its start – the international community gathered in Rambouillet, France, and, on March 18, 1999, produced an accord that spelled out a peace plan to deal with the armed insurrection by the Kosovo Liberation Army (designated at the time by the CIA as a terrorist organization).

Unfortunately – but intentionally – the accord contained two poison pills that Mr. Milosevic could never accept, making war or at least the allied bombing of a sovereign state inevitable. The first pill demanded that NATO have freedom of movement throughout the entire land, sea and airspace of the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In other words, NATO would have the right to park its tanks around Mr. Milosevic’s downtown office in Belgrade. The other pill required that a referendum be held within three years to determine the will of those citizens living in Kosovo regarding independence. The fact that Kosovo’s population was overwhelmingly Albanian Muslim guaranteed that the outcome of any such referendum would be a vote for independence and the loss of the Serbian nation’s historic heart.

Mr. Milosevic refused to sign the accord, and NATO began bombing Serbia on March 24, 1999, without a Security Council resolution, citing a “humanitarian emergency” – a decision still widely challenged by many international legal scholars. NATO said it would take only a few days of bombing to persuade Mr. Milosevic to withdraw his forces from Kosovo.

As the weeks dragged on, NATO’s strategy of hope appeared to be in serious trouble. Its aircraft, incapable of destroying to any significant degree the Serbian military’s personnel and equipment, had turned to bombing fixed infrastructure: bridges, roads, factories, refineries, TV stations. As in all wars conducted from thousands of feet above the target, mistakes were made and civilians were killed. In one town I visited during the campaign, a medical clinic and a 10-storey apartment building had been demolished, with no “legitimate” targets anywhere to be seen.

With no indication that Mr. Milosevic was going to give in, diplomacy was given a long overdue chance. Led by Russian envoy Vitaly Churkin, Mr. Milosevic was told that, if he withdrew from Kosovo, the two poison pills would be removed from the Rambouillet accord. Within days, Mr. Milosevic agreed.

Myth buster: Diplomacy, not bombing, played the key role in bringing a punitive bombing campaign based on hope to an end.

The same solution should be pursued in the case of Libya. The main obstacle is the rebel leadership. The UN envoy to Libya has requested that the rebels call for a ceasefire, but they have steadfastly refused to do so until Col. Gadhafi is gone. NATO leaders are no longer demanding Col. Gadhafi’s removal as a prerequisite for stopping the bombing. So where do the rebels get off refusing to accede to a request from the very organization that authorized the bombing in the first place? They should be told in no uncertain terms that, if they’re not prepared to negotiate with Col. Gadhafi’s representatives, NATO’s support in the air and at sea will cease.

Retired major-general Lewis MacKenzie was the first commander of UN peacekeeping forces in Sarajevo.

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What Will NATO Find Next In UN Resolution 1973?

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/06/10/51565256.html

Voice of Russia
June 10, 2011

What will NATO find next in Resolution #1973?
Boris Volkhonsky

As the war in Libya is intensifying and NATO is still far from achieving its declared aims, the Alliance is looking for new tricks in order to widen the scope of operations and attract new fresh forces.

On Wednesday, NATO defense ministers held a meeting in Brussels to discuss the course of the current almost three-month-long operation and to exert more pressure on NATO members prodding them to join more aggressively in the campaign. Although the meeting was held behind closed doors, there was little indication that the five NATO members that were specifically addressed – Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, Spain and Turkey — were willing to commit themselves more deeply.

By now, NATO has already conducted more than 10,000 airstrikes against various targets in Libya, with the most devastating ones being inflicted during the last week. And what is becoming more and more obvious is the fact that the real target – whatever NATO officials might be saying about not targeting individuals – is the Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

This was acknowledged in an interview to CNN by a high-ranking NATO official who spoke on condition of anonymity. The official argued that since Gaddafi is the commander-in-chief, he is part of the command and control structure of Libyan armed forces, and that makes him a legitimate target.

Now, the logic seems to be at least weird. The UN Security Council Resolution #1973 which gave a “green light” for NATO military operations against the Gaddafi regime, states clearly that the purpose of the operation is to establish a no-fly zone over Libya and to protect the civilian population.

The no-fly zone was established within a few days after the operation began. This did not seem to satisfy NATO, and apart from the Libyan air force and its infrastructure, they started attacking other military facilities claiming that they were protecting the civilian population. But until now, no one has really calculated who and what has caused more casualties among Libyan civilians – the Gaddafi regime, the rebels or the NATO airstrikes.

Then, although Resolution #1973 directly forbids it, there have been reports that NATO ground troops are already in Libya. At least one fact has never been concealed – that is the use of combat helicopters which is only one step from a full-scale ground operation.

With all the massive NATO support, the rebels did not seem fit or willing (or, most likely, both) to launch a decisive offensive against Gaddafi forces. The whole burden of the operation (of which, as the Brussels meeting shows, NATO is becoming more and more fatigued) was to be borne by the Alliance. But the Gaddafi regime, although weakened…is still holding on to its last resort – the capital Tripoli.

If Gaddafi forces succeed in keeping hold of Tripoli for some more time, won’t it be logical from NATO’s point of view to declare ALL people living in the capital militants and therefore legitimate targets for carpet bombings? What will come next is even too dangerous to imagine.

But in any case, what the whole situation proves is only one fact – that is the complete impotence of NATO and its total incapacity to achieve its declared aims. Some of the NATO members (for example, Germany and all others specifically addressed at the Brussels meeting) seem to have realized it three months ago when the operation was only beginning. And Germany is still rebuffing all attempts to get it involved in the operation. “Germany sticks to its position: No military engagement,” said Deputy Defense Minister Christian Schmidt.

When the same feeling will dawn upon other NATO members eager to pursue their war-mongering policy until the complete elimination of the Libyan leadership and complete devastation of the country remains unclear.

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Italy: Top NATO/U.S. Afghan War Commander Discusses Libyan War, North Africa, Horn Of Africa

http://www.adnkronos.com/IGN/Aki/English/Security/Italy-Libyan-crisis-and-Africa-at-centre-of-Frattini-Petraeus-talks_312115826158.html

ADN Kronos International
June 10, 2011

Italy: Libyan crisis and Africa at centre of Frattini-Petraeus talks

Rome: Stepping up the military and political pressure on the embattled regime of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and Libya’s transition to democracy were the focus of talks in Rome on Friday between Italy’s foreign minister Franco Frattini and the head of the international force in Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus.

“The talks also centred on future political and institutional developments in North Africa, especially in Egypt, Tunisia and the Horn of Africa,” the Italian foreign ministry said in a statement.

Frattini told the third meeting of the Libya Contact Group on Thursday that countries should follow Italy’s lead in providing financial resources and technical assistance” to Libyan rebels fighting Gaddafi.

“Minister Frattini and General Petraeus also discussed the instability in Somalia, particularly the growing problem of piracy and international strategies to tackle this,” the statement added.

Petraeus, who will in September retire from the military to become the new director of the CIA, thanked Italy for its “excellent work” in…Afghanistan’s western Herat province.

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NATO Is In Act Of War Against Africa

http://www.newera.com.na/article.php?articleid=39126

New Era
June 10, 2011

NATO is violating Africa
By B.F. Bankie

The bombardment of Libya is an act of war and a desecration of the Afrikan Homeland by a set of Europeans.

a) The Pan Afrikanist Steering Committee of Namibia Against The United Nations Resolution 1973 (PSCNAUNR), notes with deep sadness the appalling atrocity being committed by NATO’s bombardment, the protracted sponsoring of mercenaries described as rebels by European governments to kill, maim, destroy local infrastructure, attack Afrikans and present to the world Black Afrikans as Gaddaffi’s forces, thus leading to ethnic cleansing, where such people are living in fear of their lives within Libya.

This violates Afrikan human rights and violates the territorial integrity of Afrika and its people. The PSCNAUNR now calls upon the government of Namibia, a member state of the Afrikan Union (AU), without further delay, to demand that the United Nations Assembly put an immediate cessation to the aggression and genocide against the people of Libya and the Afrikan people therein.

b) We note, with deep regret, that there was an Official AU Road Map in place under Article 20 of the United Nations’ Charter, wherein the AU delegation was positioned to meet with the sovereign leader of Libya and the Western-sponsored rebels.

Before the AU could carry out its legal and moral duty, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), under the guise of the UN, deliberately started its bombardment under a hidden agenda for regime change, contrary to the principles enshrined within the said Article.

This represents a desecration of Afrika and genocide, as part of the Fratral Doctrine. [They will attack one state together while others watch until their turn to be attacked comes, and they will fight all by themselves and get defeated. No individual state can defeat these fellows]. Yet when we are united like during the independence struggle we will emerge victorious.

The Europeans through NATO cannot be allowed to ignore the AU and override Afrika in a second colonial bid. It is now crystal clear that the motive behind Resolution 1973 was of a sinister nature, in the first instance representing a declaration of war, as demonstrated by attacks and acts of aggression against a sovereign state of the AU. This has thus culminated in crimes against humanity.

Therefore, we demand the immediate removal of those NATO terrorists from the area and that they be speedily brought to justice.

c) As Pan Afrikanists, the PSCNAUNR calls upon our brothers and sisters across the globe for the defence of Afrika and its people in respect of NATO’s act of war against an Afrikan state. An attack on one is an attack on all; we therefore reserve the right inter alia to defend ourselves by any means necessary.

d) The PSCNAUNR further notes that the United Nations 1973 Resolution was a deception in the first instance, the brain child of the USA, France and Britain, a group of reputed war mongers within the Security Council and whose track records are well known on the globe, who had indeed succeeded in fooling the members of that honorable Council of the UN, under the false pretence that the said Resolution was for the protection of civilians.

From the evidence so far, NATO and the Western-backed mercenaries are the ones killing civilians and destroying the infrastructure of that Afrikan state, where genocide has become an every day occurrence and where NATO has gone beyond the scope of the Resolution, in attempting to assassinate the sovereign leader of that state, which according to the International Criminal Court (ICC) statute Articles 5, 6 and 7 constitute an unlawful act. All these actions have nothing to do with the protection of civilians and that the real motive manifested so far is for regime change and a programme of re-colonization.

e) PSCNAUNR demands that, in the interest of safeguarding humanity and our territorial integrity and in the pursuit of justice that two Permanent Seats be created on the UN Security Council within the same time span it took to enact Resolution 1973 and this should not go beyond three months. One seat for the AU and one for the Caribbean Union (CARICOM).

f) In the mean time PSCNAUNR calls upon our government and fellow AU members to recall our ambassadors and to expel all ambassadors whose countries are directly involved in the bombardment of Libya within three days, until the war of aggression is called off.

g) The PSCNAUNR encourages the AU to continue with its policy of non-recognition against governments via coup d’état which historically has been the mechanism through which the West, particularly those bombing Afrika under the NATO flag, has maintained Afrika’s backwardness, continued with the exploitation and plundering and preventing democratic progress.

h) We the Pan Afrikanists demand an immediate trade embargo and the freezing of all assets of those governments and their people that have declared war against Libya and we call upon the AU Assembly to effect this programme of action without delay.

We the Pan Afrikanists, friends of Afrika and the peace-loving people of humanity hereby call upon the government of Namibia and the AU to mobilize a national march (es) on the 11th June 2011 against the UN, NATO, US, France, Italy and Britain’s programme of regime change in Libya.

*The Pan Afrikanist Steering Committee of Namibia Against The United Nations Resolution 1973 (PSCNAUNR). B.F.Bankie is a member of the Sudan Sensitisation Project (SSP).

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Cairo: Top U.S. Military Commander Supports Egyptian Junta, Libyan War

http://www.jcs.mil/newsarticle.aspx?id=626

Joint Chiefs of Staff
June 8, 2011

Mullen: U.S., Egypt Maintain Strong Military Bond
By Cheryl Pellerin

CAIRO, Egypt: The U.S. military remains committed to a strong bilateral relationship with Egypt’s armed forces, continuing a practice that has endured for 30 years, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen said here today.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff spoke with Egyptian and international journalists after a day of meetings with business and academic leaders and military officials.

“In keeping with my government’s desire for a strong relationship with a democratic Egypt, this includes healthy support for a capabilities-based approach to Egyptian military modernization,” Mullen said.

Joint military exercises, routine dialogue, annual conferences and education opportunities, he added, are part of that continuing support.

“Relationships really do matter,” Mullen said, noting how important this connection – and his ongoing communication with Lt. Gen. Sami Hafex Ahmed Enan, chief of staff of the Egyptian armed forces – has been since the Egyptian revolution began in January.

“I want to re-emphasize my appreciation and admiration for General Enan’s leadership and for how professionally the Egyptian military forces have comported themselves,” the chairman said. “The military stayed loyal to the people and to the institutions they knew those people would need moving forward and they stayed out of the political debate.”

But hard work remains ahead, Mullen acknowledged.

“Democracy is difficult,” he said. “Americans know this. It is my view that the Supreme Council also realizes the challenges they are facing, the pressure they are under and the expectations of the people. For our part, the U.S. military and the U.S. government will do what we can to help support an Egyptian-led transition.”

In response to questions about escalating unrest in the region, Mullen said it’s a time of great uncertainty.

“What’s going on in every country has a regional effect, … whether it’s here or in Tunisia or Syria or Libya…”

In Libya, where NATO forces are fighting…Mullen said he’s seen “slow progress….”

Last week, NATO forces made a decision to extend operations there for another 90 days, through Sept. 25, and NATO defense ministers meeting today in Belgium endorsed that decision.

The response by NATO and other countries, the chairman added, “is strong recognition that in the long run, Gadhafi [remaining] in Libya is an outcome that does not bode well for the Libyan people or Libya itself.”

From a military perspective, he said, “everything I see indicates a continued drumbeat of military operations to raise the pressure to force Gadhafi to depart,” adding that everyone involved in the effort “would like to see this end as soon as possible.”

In Syria, the government is responding violently against demonstrators.

“The president of the United States and many others have condemned President Bashir Assad for killing his own people,” the chairman said.

Mullen has focused on Yemen for several years, he said, “because of the growing amount of ungoverned space that terrorist organizations have been able to work in,” al-Qaida on the Arabian Peninsula, in particular.

The downside of a much more chaotic and violent Yemen, the chairman said, “is not just bad for Yemen, it’s bad for the region and for the world, so we’re watching it very closely.”

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NATO Official: Gaddafi “Legitimate Target”

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/africa/06/09/libya.gadhafi/

CNN
June 9, 2011

NATO official: Gadhafi a legitimate target

A U.N. resolution justifies the targeting of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, a senior NATO military official with operational knowledge of the Libya mission told CNN Thursday.

Asked by CNN National Security contributor Fran Townsend whether Gadhafi was being targeted, the NATO official declined to give a direct answer. The resolution applies to Gadhafi because, as head of the military, he is part of the control and command structure and therefore a legitimate target, the official said.

NATO has been ramping up pressure on the regime, employing helicopters last weekend for the first time against Gadhafi’s forces. Explosions are heard often in Tripoli, evidence of allied air strikes.

NATO began bombing Libya on March 31…

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Wednesday it is time to start planning for what to do in Libya after Gadhafi’s departure “because Gadhafi’s reign of terror is coming to an end.”

In statement broadcast on state media, Gadhafi vowed a day before that “we will not surrender,” even as NATO airstrikes bombarded his compound in Tripoli.

NATO recently announced its decision to extend its mission in Libya by 90 days.

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Pentagon Chief: “Two-Tiered” NATO “Unacceptable”

http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=64268

U.S. Department of Defense
June 10, 2011

Gates: NATO Has Become Two-tiered Alliance
By Jim Garamone

-“Consider that when I became secretary of defense, there were about 20,000 non-U.S. troops from NATO nations in Afghanistan,” Gates said. “Today, that figure is approximately 40,000. More than 850 troops from non-U.S. NATO members have made the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan. For many allied nations, these were the first military casualties they have taken since the Second World War.”
-“[T]he mightiest military alliance in history is only 11 weeks into an operation against a poorly armed regime in a sparsely populated country – yet many allies are beginning to run short of munitions, requiring the U.S., once more, to make up the difference.”
-Gates said he and Obama believe it would be a grave mistake for the United States to withdraw from its global responsibilities, noting that he discussed expanding U.S. engagements in Asia last week at a regional security conference in Singapore.

BRUSSELS: NATO has turned into a two-tiered alliance of members who consume security and those who produce it, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said here today.

Gates spoke to NATO’s Security and Defense Agenda assembly the day after a meeting of the alliance’s defense ministers concluded.

“In the past, I’ve worried openly about NATO turning into a two-tiered alliance between members who specialize in ‘soft’ humanitarian, development, peacekeeping and talking tasks and those conducting the ‘hard’ combat missions – between those willing and able to pay the price and bear the burdens of alliance commitments, and those who enjoy the benefits of NATO membership, be they security guarantees or headquarters billets, but don’t want to share the risks and the costs,” the secretary said.

“This is no longer a hypothetical worry,” he added. “We are there today. And it is unacceptable.”

To be sure, Gates said, NATO is heavily involved in Afghanistan, and the troops assigned to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force are acquitting themselves well.

“Consider that when I became secretary of defense, there were about 20,000 non-U.S. troops from NATO nations in Afghanistan,” Gates said. “Today, that figure is approximately 40,000. More than 850 troops from non-U.S. NATO members have made the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan. For many allied nations, these were the first military casualties they have taken since the Second World War.”

NATO took over ISAF four years ago, Gates noted, adding that he never would have expected the alliance to sustain this operation for this long, much less add significantly more forces in 2010.

The coalition forces in Afghanistan now include 100,000 American service members who provide needed resources for a war that had been chronically underfunded due to operations in Iraq, Gates said…

But nothing remains static, he told the assembly, and as part of the plan to turn security control over to the Afghan government by the end of 2014, President Barack Obama soon will announce the size and pacing of the U.S. troop drawdown beginning in July. No matter what it is, Gates said, there will be no rush to the exits.

“The vast majority of the surge forces that arrived over the past two years will remain through the summer fighting season,” he said. “We will also reassign many troops from areas transferred to Afghan control into less-secure provinces and districts.”

NATO cannot afford some troop-contributing nations to pull out their forces on their own timeline in a way that undermines the mission and increases risks to other allies, Gates said.

“The way ahead in Afghanistan is ‘in together, out together,’” he said. “Then our troops can come home to the honor and appreciation they so richly deserve, and the transatlantic alliance will have passed its first major test of the 21st century.”

But NATO operations in Afghanistan have exposed serious alliance shortcomings in military capabilities and in political will, Gates said. “Despite more than 2 million troops in uniform – not counting the U.S. military – NATO has struggled, at times desperately, to sustain a deployment of 25,000 to 45,000 troops – not just in boots on the ground, but in crucial support assets such as helicopters; transport aircraft; maintenance; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; and much more,” he said.

The NATO operation over Libya shows an even greater lack of resources and will, Gates said. Operation Unified Protector, he noted, is a sea-air campaign essentially in Europe’s backyard. The mission…is vital to Europe’s national interests, he added.

“While the operation has exposed some shortcomings caused by underfunding,” the secretary said, “it has also showed the potential of NATO, with an operation where Europeans are taking the lead with American support.

“However, while every alliance member voted for the Libya mission, less than half have participated, and fewer than a third have been willing to participate in the strike mission,” he continued. “Frankly, many of those allies sitting on the sidelines do so not because they do not want to participate, but simply because they can’t. The military capabilities simply aren’t there.”

Allies do not have intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets that would allow more allies to be involved and make an impact, Gates said. To run the air campaign, the NATO air operations center in Italy required a major augmentation of targeting specialists, mainly from the United States, to do the job – a “just in time” infusion of personnel that may not always be available in future contingencies, the secretary said.

“We have the spectacle of an air operations center designed to handle more than 300 sorties a day struggling to launch about 150,” he said. “Furthermore, the mightiest military alliance in history is only 11 weeks into an operation against a poorly armed regime in a sparsely populated country – yet many allies are beginning to run short of munitions, requiring the U.S., once more, to make up the difference.”

Part of this predicament stems from a lack of will, much of it from a lack of resources in an era of austerity, Gates said. For all but a handful of allies, defense budgets – in absolute terms, as a share of economic output – have been chronically starved for adequate funding for a long time, with the shortfalls compounding on themselves each year, he added.

Despite the demands of mission in Afghanistan – NATO’s first “hot” ground war – total European defense spending has declined by nearly 15 percent over the last 10 years, the secretary said. Furthermore, he added, rising personnel costs, combined with the demands of training and equipping for Afghan deployments, has consumed an ever-growing share of already meager defense budgets.

This means modernization and improving capabilities are being squeezed out, as the world sees today over Libya, he said.

“I am the latest in a string of U.S. defense secretaries who have urged allies privately and publicly, often with exasperation, to meet agreed-upon NATO benchmarks for defense spending,” Gates said. “However, fiscal, political and demographic realities make this unlikely to happen any time soon, as even military stalwarts like the [United Kingdom] have been forced to ratchet back with major cuts to force structure.”

Today, just five of the 28 NATO allies – the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Greece and Albania – exceed the agreed-upon 2 percent of gross domestic product spending on defense. And that probably won’t change, Gates said.

“The relevant challenge for us today, therefore, is no longer the total level of defense spending by allies, but how these limited – and dwindling – resources are allocated, and for what priorities,” he said. “For example, though some smaller NATO members have modestly sized and funded militaries that do not meet the 2 percent threshold, several of these allies have managed to punch well above their weight because of the way they use the resources they have.”

For example, he said, Norway and Denmark have provided 12 percent of allied strike aircraft in the Libya operation, yet have struck about one-third of the targets, and Belgium and Canada also are making major contributions to the strike mission.

“These countries have, with their constrained resources, found ways to do the training, buy the equipment and field the platforms necessary to make a credible military contribution,” Gates said.

But they are the exceptions, he added, as too many allies have been unwilling to fundamentally change how they set priorities and allocate resources.

“The non-U.S. NATO members collectively spend more than 300 billion U.S. dollars on defense annually, which, if allocated wisely and strategically, could buy a significant amount of usable military capability,” Gates said. “Instead, the results are significantly less than the sum of the parts.”

This, he added, not only has shortchanged current operations, but also bodes ill for ensuring NATO has the key common alliance capabilities of the future. Member states, he added, must look at new ways to boost combat capabilities.

“While it is clear NATO members should do more to pool military assets, such ‘Smart Defense’ initiatives are not a panacea,” he said. “In the final analysis, there is no substitute for nations providing the resources necessary to have the military capability the alliance needs when faced with a security challenge. Ultimately, nations must be responsible for their fair share of the common defense.”

All this must be seen in the context of the political world in which NATO operates, Gates said.

“As you all know, America’s serious fiscal situation is now putting pressure on our defense budget, and we are in a process of assessing where the U.S. can or cannot accept more risk as a result of reducing the size of our military,” the secretary said. “Tough choices lie ahead affecting every part of our government, and during such times, scrutiny inevitably falls on the cost of overseas commitments – from foreign assistance to military basing, support and guarantees.”

Gates said he and Obama believe it would be a grave mistake for the United States to withdraw from its global responsibilities, noting that he discussed expanding U.S. engagements in Asia last week at a regional security conference in Singapore.

“With respect to Europe, for the better part of six decades there has been relatively little doubt or debate in the United States about the value and necessity of the transatlantic alliance,” Gates said. “The benefits of a Europe [that is] whole, prosperous and free after being twice devastated by wars requiring American intervention was self-evident.”

For most of the Cold War, U.S. governments of both parties justified defense investments and costly forward bases that made up roughly 50 percent of all NATO military spending, the secretary said. “But some two decades after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the U.S. share of NATO defense spending has risen to more than 75 percent – at a time when politically painful budget and benefit cuts are being considered at home,” he said.

“The blunt reality,” he continued, “is that there will be dwindling appetite and patience in the U.S. Congress – and in the American body politic writ large – to expend increasingly precious funds on behalf of nations that are apparently unwilling to devote the necessary resources or make the necessary changes to be serious and capable partners in their own defense – nations apparently willing and eager for American taxpayers to assume the growing security burden left by reductions in European defense budgets.”

But NATO can recover, Gates said.

“The members of NATO – individually, and collectively – have it well within their means to halt and reverse these trends, and instead produce a very different future,” he told the assembly. Governments need to take serious steps to protect defense budgets from being further gutted in the next round of austerity measures, he said, and they need to allocate and coordinate the resources they have and follow through on commitments to the alliance and one another.

“It is not too late for Europe to get its defense institutions and security relationships on track,” Gates said. “But it will take leadership from political leaders and policy makers on this continent. It cannot be coaxed, demanded or imposed from across the Atlantic.

“Over the life of the transatlantic alliance, there has been no shortage of squabbles and setbacks,” he continued. “But through it all, we managed to get the big things right over time. We came together to make the tough decisions in the face of dissension at home and threats abroad. And I take heart in the knowledge that we can do so again.”

The secretary’s speech was the last event on a trip that took him to Singapore, Afghanistan and the NATO meeting – his last foreign trip before his June 30 retirement.

====

U.S. Military Chief Applauds Germany’s Role In Global NATO

http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=64261

U.S. Department of Defense
June 9, 2011

Mullen Praises Germany’s Performance in Afghanistan
By Cheryl Pellerin

-The chairman said he’s…encouraged by NATO’s operation in Libya, although much work remains. “I was impressed with how rapidly NATO made a decision on Libya and how rapidly they stood up the mission and started to execute,” he said. “When you consider that we did in a few days what it took many, many, many months to do in the Balkans in the 1990s, I think that comparison is reflective of where NATO is right now.”

BERLIN: Germany’s “truly exceptional performance” in Afghanistan’s Regional Command North has come at a cost to a country that is a key ally of the United States, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen said today.

“I’m very grateful for the continuing contribution of Germany in Afghanistan,” the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said during a briefing here with German and international journalists.

Since 2001, Mullen said, its support in Afghanistan has cost Germany the lives of 52 soldiers, with 190 more wounded.

Mullen met with members of the country team at the U.S. Embassy, which overlooks the site of the former Berlin Wall. A short distance away, on the parade field at the German defense ministry, the chairman participated in a military honors ceremony and then a wreath laying at the memorial of the Bundeswehr, Germany’s armed forces. The memorial commemorates the deaths since 1955 of more than 3,100 German soldiers killed during combat and in attacks, military accidents and exercises. Afterward, the chairman met with Gen. Volker Wieker, chief of the German armed forces, and other military officials.

Mullen said he believes strongly in the NATO alliance, which he said is “more relevant than ever,” adding that U.S. and German participation in the alliance is critical.

A big reason for his visit, Mullen said, is to discuss ways to strengthen a relationship that’s already exceptionally strong, and “to listen to how the German military leadership sees that future unfolding in these increasingly challenging times where partners are so critical.”

The Afghanistan campaign is headed in the right direction, the chairman said.

The chairman said he’s also encouraged by NATO’s operation in Libya, although much work remains. “I was impressed with how rapidly NATO made a decision on Libya and how rapidly they stood up the mission and started to execute,” he said. “When you consider that we did in a few days what it took many, many, many months to do in the Balkans in the 1990s, I think that comparison is reflective of where NATO is right now.”

The operation in Libya, Mullen said, “is going pretty well.”

“We will continue to raise the pressure on [Libyan leader Moammar] Gadhafi to leave Libya,” he added. In the long run, he said, “that’s an outcome that serves the region, it serves the world…the best.”

====

Obama Nominates Marine General To Command NATO Forces In Afghanistan

http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=64255

U.S. Department of Defense
June 9, 2011

Obama Formally Nominates Allen for Afghanistan Post

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama has formally nominated Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John R. Allen to receive a fourth star and serve as the next commander of International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates announced today.

Obama also nominated Army Lt. Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, commander of 1st Corps, Fort Lewis and Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., to also serve as deputy ISAF and U.S. Forces Afghanistan commander and as commander of ISAF Joint Command, Gates announced.

The president announced at the White House April 28 that he intended to name Allen the first Marine to command all U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan. Allen served as deputy commander of U.S. Central Command until June 2, when he became special assistant to Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

If the Senate confirms his nomination, Allen would replace the retiring Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, whom Obama has nominated to become the next CIA director. Current CIA director Leon E. Panetta is testifying in his confirmation hearing today to become the next defense secretary after Gates retires June 30.

====

48-Nation NATO War Council: Afghan Transition “Based On Conditions, Not Calendar”

http://www.nato.int/cps/en/SID-5EC6A6D8-419E2152/natolive/news_75346.htm

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe
June 10, 2011

Defence Ministers reaffirm commitment to Afghanistan

-Ministers agreed on the establishment of a NATO Rule of Law Field Mission to enhance the Afghan government’s capacity to deliver…essential services. The Mission is designed to support Afghan officials and international justice experts as they build the Afghan justice sector. The mission will focus on areas of security and coordination as well as engineering support or helping upgrade the buildings which justice needs to function.

Today, the 48 NATO and ISAF Defence Ministers reaffirmed their long-term commitment to Afghanistan which remains NATO’s top operational priority.

Ministers were updated on the operational situation from the Commander of ISAF, General David Petraeus…

“Transition is based on conditions, not the calendar. But I am confident that we can complete our handover of security to the Afghans by the end of 2014. This does not mean we are heading for the exit. Our commitment to Afghanistan will endure beyond that through our long-term partnership.” Said NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

As part of this process, Ministers agreed to work together with the Afghan authorities to define the relationship between the NATO-ISAF and Afghanistan after transition is complete in 2014 in order to reassure the Afghans of our long-term commitment to their country. This work will help clarify the likely evolution of security support to Afghanistan for the years to come.

As the first meeting of Defence Ministers since the successful operation against Osama Bin Laden, Allies and ISAF partners sent a clear a message that extremism has no future.

In the realm of governance, Rule of law is one of the highest priorities for the Afghan people and their government. Afghans have to have access to fair legal processes if the transition to Afghan lead is to be durable. To help facilitate this process, Ministers agreed on the establishment of a NATO Rule of Law Field Mission to enhance the Afghan government’s capacity to deliver those essential services. The Mission is designed to support Afghan officials and international justice experts as they build the Afghan justice sector. The mission will focus on areas of security and coordination as well as engineering support or helping upgrade the buildings which justice needs to function.

NATO Secretary General Rasmussen took the opportunity on behalf of the ISAF family to thank outgoing ISAF Commander General David Petraeus for his dedicated service and extraordinary leadership. He thanked the General for showing firm commitment to the Alliance and the ISAF mission.

====

NATO Missile System To Neutralize Russia’s Strategic Capability: Defense Minister

http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c32/161032.html

Itar-Tass
June 8, 2011

Europe’s future missile defence to erase Russia’s strategic capability

BRUSSELS: A missile defence system that may be created in Europe by 2020 will “neutralise Russia’s strategic capabilities”, Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said.

Serdyukov is attending a meeting of the Russia-NATO Council at the level of defence ministers.

He said NATO is not listening to Russia’s missile defence proposals.

====

Ukraine: U.S. Breaks In Eurasian, African NATO Partnership Cohorts

http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=60891

Navy NewsStand
June, 8, 2011

Denmark, Ukraine, and U.S. Dive into Sea Breeze 2011
By Communication Specialist 2nd Class Stephen Oleksiak, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs

ODESSA, Ukraine: Danish, Ukrainian, and U.S. Navy divers conducted one of many joint dive evolutions during the multinational exercise Sea Breeze 2011 at the Ukrainian Western Naval Base, June 8.

Members from the Danish Navy Dive Academy, Copenhagen; Ukrainian dive team from the Search and Rescue Center of the Ukrainian navy, Sevastopol; and UCT 1, from Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, Va.; will be training together daily in controlled environments both in port and at sea.

Air, land and naval forces from Azerbaijan, Algeria, Belgium, Denmark, Georgia, Germany, Macedonia, Moldova, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States will participate in Sea Breeze, the largest multinational maritime exercise this year in the Black Sea, June 6-18, and is co-hosted by the Ukrainian and U.S. Navies.

Exercise Sea Breeze 2011 aims to improve maritime safety, security and stability actions in the Black Sea by enhancing the capabilities of Partnership for Peace and Black Sea regional maritime security forces.

====

Ukraine: U.S. Marines Train Ex-Soviet, -Yugoslav Militaries For Global NATO Deployments

http://www.eucom.mil/english/fullstory.asp?article=US-Marines-Hold-NCO-Course-Multinational-Partners

U.S. European Command
June 10, 2011

U.S. Marines Hold NCO Course for Multinational Partners during Sea Breeze 2011
2nd Lt. Maria Arama, Moldovan Ministry of Defense Public Affairs

SHIROKYILAN, Ukraine:More than 30 non-commissioned officers (NCO) from Macedonia, the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine, and the U.S. deployed to Exercise Sea Breeze 2011 attended a two-day training course on leadership development held at the Shirokyilan facility from Nicolaev.

According to Sgt. Maj. Steven Peck, 3rd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division of the U.S. Marines, the training focused on such important issues as: developing a non-commissioned officer, rules of behavior, discipline, standards and expectations from NCOs, leadership styles, leading by example and others.

“Such training sessions are very important for developing highly-skilled, non-commissioned officers able to act as leaders,” said Peck. “By bringing the audience together, we tried to build a cooperative working environment and enhance interoperability.”

The international contingent deployed to Shirokyilan facility from Nicolaev is conducting tactical training exercises such as convoy escort, shooting, jump training, counter IED operations, and others.

Air, land and naval forces from Azerbaijan, Algeria, Belgium, Denmark, Georgia, Germany, Macedonia, Moldova, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States are participating in Sea Breeze, the largest multinational maritime exercise this year in the Black Sea, June 6-18, and is co-hosted by the Ukrainian and U.S. Navies.

Exercise Sea Breeze 2011 aims to improve maritime safety, security and stability actions in the Black Sea by enhancing the capabilities of Partnership for Peace and Black Sea regional maritime security forces.

====

West To Route Iraqi Natural Gas To Trans-Caspian Pipeline

http://en.apa.az/news.php?id=149194

Trend News Agency
June 10, 2011

Agreement on Iraqi gas transportation via Nabucco expected to be reached
Victoria Dementieva

Baku: An agreement on transportation of Iraqi gas via Nabucco is expected to be reached by the end of the year, said Michael-Dieter Ulbrich, international gas transportation project manager of the Austrian OMV Company, APA reports.

He said in the northern part of Iraq there a lot of gas resources, which will be developed easily. “They are also nearer to the markets, so it is a big potential that this gas will be exported to Europe. We just need a political alignment which is on a good way. And we expect probably already this year, we will have some solutions for Iraqi gas. The potential of Iraq is quite huge.”

====

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  1. Prince Prophet
    June 10, 2011 at 3:40 pm | #1

    The people of peace should join the march for peace by making sign all over the world on June 11, 2011. Sign, saying NATO stop the killing in Tripoli. NATO stop the killing in Libya, NATO out of Libya. Long live Gaddafi, God bless President Gaddafi. God Bless Tripoli, We stand with the people of Tripoli.

  2. paul
    June 11, 2011 at 12:38 pm | #2

    What’s ‘impressive’ about Nato isn’t its military achievements. After all, with a proxy force on the ground, and massive air power unleashed from the sky without restraint, and all this set up by a strategy of coopting and undermining Gaddafi’s government, he’s held out for nearly three months now. I think that is quite amazing.

    No, what’s truly ‘impressive’ to me is Nato’s political power. The fact that they can start war after war based on lies and prevarications, all the while pretending to be a peaceful power, and that they can maintain a global consensus tacitly or not-so-tacitly supporting their wars for months and even years, no matter what … well, that is what i find truly terrifying. Of course, by global support, i don’t mean popular support. Obviously, what the People think doesn’t matter anymore, assuming it ever did. They don’t have to get people to agree with a war. They just need to get people to not actively oppose it. And with everyone desperately trying to keep things together in their personal lives, i guess that’s not so hard.

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