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Updates on Libyan war/Stop NATO news: July 31, 2011

July 31, 2011 2 comments

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NATO’s First African War: 17,203 Air Missions, 6,493 Strike Sorties

Libya: The True Costs Of War

Americanization And Militarization Of Canadian Foreign Policy

Afghanistan: NATO Loses Five Soldiers Today

Afghan War: NATO 2011 Death Toll Rises To 330

NATO Troops Kill Afghan Civilian, Arrest Several More

NATO Certifies Another Bulgarian Warship For Deployment

Uganda: AFRICOM Chief Pledges U.S. Role In Fighting LRA

Vermont: NATO Obstacle Course Training For Military “Olympics”

U.S. Senate Tells Russia To Withdraw Troops From Abkhazia, South Ossetia

Georgian Foreign Ministry: U.S. Senate’s Anti-Russian Move Strengthens Strategic Partnership

Chinese Warships Participate In Russian Navy Day Events

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NATO’s First African War: 17,203 Air Missions, 6,493 Strike Sorties

http://www.nato.int/cps/en/SID-A2FBC11B-177D933B/natolive/71679.htm

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
July 31, 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, 06.00GMT) a total of 17,203 sorties, including 6,493 strike sorties, have been conducted.

Sorties conducted 30 JULY: 128

Strike sorties conducted 30 JULY: 50

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Libya: The True Costs Of War

Pambazuka News
July 28, 2011

Libya: The True Costs of War
Charles Abugre*
A wicked blow to Africa, the invasion of Libya has little to do with protecting civilians and all to do with strategic interests. Why are these invaders so heartless, asks Charles Abugre

-The bottom line is war was solely unwarranted. But my greatest sadness and shame was to see the United Nations secretariat beating the war drums and cheering on the battle rather than singing the songs of peace. This is a sad time indeed. How else can one describe what is going on in Libya but a wicked, heartless folly?

The invasion was planned and the opportunity to execute it was highly propitious.

They say ‘time heals’ emotional wounds. If that is so why don’t I feel less enraged as the days go by since the outrageous invasion of Libya on ludicrous false pretences four months ago? Yes, Libya is under invasion from air and sea bombardments directed by foreign special forces on Libyan soil. The purpose of the invasion is regime change. The aim of the bombs that are killing people and laying Tripoli to waste is for one purpose only, to help a rebel group they formed and armed to overthrow the Colonel Gaddafi regime.

The air bombardments were initiated in the false expectation that once bombs started falling in Tripoli, Libyans in Tripoli would rise up against Gaddafi and in this murky situation the armed group would march in from Benghazi and take power. As time goes by, the strategy gets desperate. It has now become ‘anything to kill or oust Gaddafi and his sons will do’. This is reminiscent of the 1960s when the same actors used not so dissimilar tactics to overthrow governments they didn’t like. The plan failed, which is why four months into the carnage, Gaddafi still pops out of the hole he is hiding in to scream insults at his invaders.

The invasion was planned. In the case of the US involvement, as far back as George Bush Junior’s ‘war on the axis of evil’. In the case of the French, active planning may have been since October 2010. The planning most likely included ensuring that weapons and forces were ready in Benghazi when the moment came. This is why the civil protest in Benghazi, which started in a similar manner as the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings of unarmed civilians, turned into an armed rebellion in two days, and in less than a month, the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation)/French invasion had began. This incredible speed of events is far from spontaneous.

That there are British, Dutch, French and Italian special forces, among others, on the ground not just in Benghazi but all over the country is neither debatable nor denied. We know that much, from the reports of the British media and from the clumsy ways in which the Netherlands and Britain sought to introduce their special forces days into the insurgency.

Recall the helicopter full of British special forces that landed in the middle of the rebel troops who promptly captured and displayed them before realising that they were ‘friendly forces’. Days later, the Dutch were even clumsier. They ended up being captured by the Gaddafi forces, who displayed them before the world’s media and then released them. You should have the seen the glee in the face of Gaddafi’s son.

But the penetration of special forces into Libya, if we are to believe Franco Bechis, the Italian journalist writing in the 24 March edition of Libero (re-told in http://www.economicsnewspaper.com), may have been as far back as 16 November 2010 when a train-load of French people landed in Benghazi carrying what were alleged to be businessmen seeking to invest in Libya’s agriculture. A large number of these ‘businessmen’ were in fact soldiers. According to Franco Bechis, quoting the Maghreb Confidential, active planning for regime change by the French began on 21 October 2010 when Nuri Mesmar, Gaddafi’s chief of protocol and his closest chum, arrived in Paris for surgery.

However, Mesmar was not met by doctors but by the French secret service and Sarkozy’s closest aides. Mesmar was also responsible for the Ministry of Agriculture. On 16 November, Mesmar agreed to a strategy to drop troops in Libya under the guise of a business delegation. Two days later, a plane-load of people, including soldiers, landed in Benghazi where they met, among others, Libyan military commanders to encourage them to desert. One of them who agreed to desert was Colonel Gehan Abdallah, whose militia subsequently led the rebellion. Where did this information come from? The Italian intelligence service.

The role of Nuri Mesmar – using a close friend to stick the knife in the back of his friend in power – is as old as the story of Brutus and Caesar in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and reminds one of how Captain Blaise Campaoré of Burkina Faso was used by the French to overthrow and execute his closest friend Thomas Sankara.

But it was not only from France that the armed rebellion was planned. The head of the Libyan National Council, Colonel Khalifa, arrived from the USA on 14 March to lead the armed rebellion a month after it began. Colonel Khalifa has been living in the United States since the 1980s, apparently working as an agent for the CIA. This fact was contained in a book published in 2001, titled the ‘African Handling’ by Pierre Pean according to http://www.economicsnewspaper.com.

The 31 March edition of the Wall Street Journal carries a story which says that ‘The CIA officials acknowledge that they have been active in Libya for several weeks, like other Western Intelligence Service’. Khalifa, Mesmar and others will be joined in the leadership of the Provisional Government by some of the most murderous individuals in the Gaddafi regime, including Jalil Mustafa Abud, who until the uprising was the minister for justice and on the list of Amnesty International’s most egregious human rights violators.

LUDICROUS FALSE PRETENCES

I used the phrase ‘ludicrous false pretences’ to describe the excuses publicly sold to a gullible press, decidedly. Why? The core of UN Security Council Resolution 1973 claims to have the aim of ‘protecting civilians’. There are two sets of principles which the need to protect civilians could have been drawn from. One is the principle of holding all combatants responsible in respect of the Geneva Convention.

This principle is covered by UN Security Council Resolutions 1265, 1296 and 1820, among others. Armed combatants from both sides who violate the Geneva Convention will be held liable, under these resolutions, and could suffer sanctions and by extension be liable to face the International Criminal Court (ICC) owing to the extent of the violations qualified as crimes against humanity or as genocidal. These resolutions however do not legalise external military intervention.

The second is the principle of the ‘responsibility to protect’ (R2P). This is based on the concept of ‘borderless’ security, which was the title of the report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) released in December 2001 and subsequently adopted as an operative principle by the UN.

This commission, chaired by Gareth Evans and Mohamed Sahnoun, undertook to study the relationship between (a) the rights of sovereign states, upon which the greater part of international relations has been built, and (b) the so-called ‘right of humanitarian intervention’ which has been exercised sporadically – in Somalia, Bosnia and Kosovo but not Rwanda – and with varying degrees of success and international controversy. The report addressed ‘the question of when, if ever, it is appropriate for states to take coercive – and in particular military – action, against another state for the purpose of protecting people at risk in that other state’.

The conclusion was that the priority should be the protection of human beings, not state sovereignty. Therefore, if human security – physical safety and dignity – was threatened by the state or its severe inability to address, the international community had the responsibility to act, including by armed intervention. R2P places humanitarian law above that of sovereignty. The R2P was heavily lobbied, for especially Western humanitarian organisations, and its adoption by the UN celebrated.

However, others have warned against the danger of this principle for a number of reasons. First, supplanting humanitarian law over sovereignty means supplanting humanitarianism over rights for the latter and is based on citizenship, which in turn rests on sovereignty. Secondly, the R2P principle opens the door for selective interventions and selective justice by those who control the Security Council. It also creates legal and political dependence on the UN Security Council and militarily powerful countries, thereby undermining the very foundations for long-term justice and peace which rests on domestic political processes. Resolution 1973 was crafted on the basis of R2P, ‘legalising’ the invasion. Invasion is what the NATO countries wanted, not simply in order to minimise harm to civilians by Gaddafi’s forces but for regime change.

Was an invasion necessary on humanitarian grounds? This is debatable because the answer lies in the counter-factual, namely, the issue of whether or not Gaddafi’s forces would have bombed Benghazi to bits as claimed. What we now know is that the Gaddafi air force did not target civilian settlements in Benghazi when they flew and according to Amnesty International, the claim of mass rape by Gaddafi’s forces could not be verified on the ground. We also know that the suppression of the 15 February civilian uprising by Gaddafi was not the first.

[T]he plain truth is that the situation was no longer a civilian uprising after two days. It was an armed insurgency and every state has the right to confront armed insurgency with arms. We have seen this time and again in the Unites States, whether they are responding to religious fanatics or drug gangs in black neighbourhoods.

Was there a better way to save lives? Yes, if given the chance. We know that President Lula da Silva (former president of Brazil) offered to lead a mediation mission to mediate a ceasefire. This was supported by Latin American countries, the African Union and even the weak-kneed Arab League. Gaddafi had agreed to the idea of a ceasefire, including international forces, to observe it. This was turned down by NATO and their vassals in Benghazi. The African Union mission was humiliated in Benghazi and the Western media hosted discussions that ridiculed the AU initiatives. Peace was given no chance. Why? Because the agenda is regime change and not the protection of civilians.

If military intervention was the better route to protecting civilians, why hasn’t NATO invaded Yemen where a wholly non-violent uprising is being brutally suppressed with live bullets? Robert Gates, who was until recently the US defense secretary is reported to have said, ‘I do not think it’s my role to intervene in the internal affairs of Yemen.’ Could it be because he is ‘our bloody dictator’? After all, he is fighting a war against left-wing separatists ‘we’ don’t like. How about Bahrain, the tiny kingdom where the royal family owns most of the islands that make up the kingdom, and where with the support of Saudi troops large numbers of unarmed demonstrators have been gunned down? Is there even a talk of hauling the sultan to the ICC? This is the selective use of the R2P that many have feared.

Is the military intervention saving lives? Clearly not! How do aerial bombardments of civilian settlements and atrocities by rebels armed by NATO constitute saving civilians lives? Are the people of Benghazi more civilian than the people in Tripoli and other places? The history of Western military invasions ostensibly meant to save lives has often tended to claim lives. Take Iraq, where a million or so died directly from bombs and indirectly from sectarian violence and a million more have been displaced. Not even Saddam’s several years of murderous rule managed to achieve that feat. Or take Afghanistan or Somalia or even the Balkan interventions?

Are these invaders capable of false pretences to justify armed interventions? Yes. The evidence abounds. The story of lies and deceitfulness that was sold to the same gullible media to justify the invasion of Iraq is well known. George Bush and Tony Blair were in no doubt that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction. Once the decision was made to invade Iraq everything was done to provoke a justification for invasion. Before the invasion of Afghanistan on the pretext of going after Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaida, the ruling Taliban had offered to hand Bin Laden over to an international tribunal if the Americans provided evidence of his involvement in the 9/11 bombing of the Twin Towers in New York. There are similar stories relating to the bombardment of Yugoslavia.

WHY REGIME CHANGE?

So, if the North African uprisings that spilled over into Libya provided the enabling conditions for regime change planned long before, and if ‘saving lives’ was not the real purpose of the military intervention, why are they so desperate to remove Colonel (Brother) Muammar Gaddafi and his family from power?

There are many theories.

IN SUPPORT OF A LEGITIMATE INDEPENDENCE STRUGGLE

In the New Eastern Outlook journal (www.journal-neo.com), Dmitry Isayev quotes [Berlusconi] as saying that the war in Libya is a war of independence of Cyrenaica (eastern Libya), presumably from the colonisation of Western Libya, perhaps in much the same way as the separation of South Sudan from the rest of Sudan. Silvio’s Italy is therefore clear in what it is doing – it is supporting a separatist movement. While it is unlikely that his NATO counterparts will welcome this perspective of the war, Silvio’s view does have resonance.

The armed insurrection is launched from Benghazi (the capital of the east), which for several centuries was the seat of the monarchy. While the monarchy lasted Cyrenaica controlled the oil resources, a thriving port and fishing grounds, and therefore the wealth. This monarchy was overthrown by Gaddafi in 1969 with the support of clans from the west…But if the purpose of the war is to separate the two Libyas, how does this gel with UN Security Council resolution 1973, which is meant merely to protect civilians?

GEOPOLITICAL INTERESTS

In the 23 June issue of Issue (536) of the leading online publication on African issues, Pambazuka News (www.pambazuka.org), Ismael Hossein-Zadeh suggested that NATO are going after Gaddafi because of his insubordination that threatens strategic interests and the very sense of power itself. One area of unforgiveable insubordination is Gaddafi’s (and his Syrian counterpart’s) refusal – the only two ‘Arab nations’ to do so – to be absorbed into NATO/US/French strategic security arrangements for the control of the Mediterranean Sea Basin and the Middle East.

‘Libya and Syria have not also participated in NATO’s almost ten-year-old Operation Active Endeavor naval patrols and exercises in the Mediterranean Sea and neither is Libya a member of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue military partnership which includes most regional countries: Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Mauritania’. Libya’s Gaddafi also opposed the US Africa Command (AFRICOM).

These are serious infractions because of the strategic importance of the Mediterranean region. Staying out means Gaddafi cannot be trusted when it comes to the security of Israel – a country you do not mess around with. Staying out means an important source of oil, gas and minerals deposit cannot be relied upon in strategic planning. Staying out also means leaving a crack for other non-NATO countries, especially China, Brazil, India and Russia, to find serious footing in the region. Staying out constitutes a serious geopolitical risk.

The concern to contain India and China is not a throw-away point. Questioned on his view about what really motivates the invasion of Afghanistan, Henry Kissinger, the famed foreign secretary of the Cold War era, says that ‘trends supported by Japan and China, to create a free trade area in Asia – an opposing bloc of the most populous nations in the world with great resources and some of the most industrial nations will be inconsistent with American national interests.

For this reason, ‘America must maintain a presence in Asia …’ (Simon and Schuster, ‘Does America need a foreign policy?’, quoted in http://www.economicsnews.com). This is consistent with the views of Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter’s national security advisor, the man understood to have discovered and mentored Barack Obama into the presidency. He considers Euro-Asia to be the ‘chessboard on which the battle takes place for global primacy’. The Mediterranean is a core part of Euro-Asia. Speaking on 28 March, Barack Obama said of the Libyan invasion: ‘when our interests and values are at stake, we have a responsibility to act … America has an important strategic interest in preventing Gaddafi from defeating those who oppose him’.

STRATEGIC ECONOMIC INTERESTS

In my view there are three areas in which strategic economic interests express themselves: economic policies that influence the accumulation, ownership and movement of capital, goods and services; the control over natural resources indirectly or directly; and the power of long-term debt. In the Pambazuka article, Ismael makes the point that the control of oil matters but that NATO/French countries already exercise control through the presence of their companies. The problem is that Gaddafi has refused to privatise the oil wells and so exercises effective control. That is dangerous, in the same way that Hugo Chavez is. Gaddafi keeps an open-door policy with regards to foreign companies. Such a policy risks letting China into Libya in a big way, thereby complicating the strategic security question. As George Bush once said, ‘if you are not with us then are against us.’ Obama has merely retained this view.

Besides, control over natural resources is control over policies. Neoliberalism may be dead in academic circles, but not in real politik. If it were, Goldman Sachs wouldn’t be literally running the US economic policy. Gaddafi has been extremely naughty in this area as well. If you look at the World Bank’s world development indices, you find that Libya has not borrowed from the World Bank and the IMF in years, even after the sanctions were lifted.

Libya’s economy is heavily state-owned. It has a life expectancy and quality of life comparable to the richest countries. This is against the grain. Worst still, by actively supporting and putting aside resources to realise the dreams of the three major pan-African institutions – the African Monetary Fund, the African Investment Bank and the African Central Bank – Libya could be said to be undermining the Bretton Woods institutions controlled by the NATO countries and France.

Breaking the stranglehold that these institutions have over Africa could also mean weakening the geopolitical influence of NATO countries/France over the continent. Moreover, Libya has become and investment competitor in Africa. The Libya African portfolio has a rolling kitty of US$8 billion dollars channelled into investments ranging from telecommunications, the hospitality industry, some manufacturing and retail of oil and gas. Libya is effectively redeploying some of their sovereign wealth funds (SWF) away from purchasing US government bonds into investments in Africa. That cannot be totally encouraged given the US government dependence on petro-dollars for selling their bonds.

WAR AS A MEANS OF TRANSFERRING BADLY NEEDED CAPITAL OUT OF LIBYA

The military bombardments of Libya have already resulted in the shifting of capital from Libya to the invaders. Directly, they have seized the assets of the Libyan people owned by Libyan public institutions and re-channelled them into expenditures. These expenditures will most likely be military hardware and other logistics support for the war. The US impounded US$30 billion or so, which Ismael suggests is earmarked as a contribution to the building of the pan-African institutions mentioned earlier.

Britain impounded undisclosed bank accounts and assets, including UK£700 million worth of Libyan dinars printed by a British currency printing firm, De la Rue, which they are likely to give to the rebels. The procurements in support of the war effort will most likely be from these countries and will therefore serve as a fiscal stimulus in these economies. In advance of the war, the Libyan ‘opposition’ figures would have quietly shifted their ill-gotten wealth abroad, some into the tax havens controlled by the invading countries. We will never know how much.

But perhaps the most significant and long-term means of inducing capital from Libya will be as reparation payments for the war. The cost of every munitions that was fired wildly or on target by the Libyan rebels and by NATO/France; the cost of every missile fired from the air or seas; the cost every spy plane that flew over Libyan airspace; the cost of every soldier mobilised for the war effort; the cost of intelligence, special analysts and contractors will be paid for by the Libyan people, with their oil and gas, decades into the future. And this will not be cheap. Newspapers in Britain speculate that if the war continues to the autumn, Britain may spend upwards of a UK£1 billion.

At the end of May, the British armed forces estimated that they had flown 1,500 sorties, attacked 300 targets and fired at least 20 tomahawk missiles, one costing US$1 million. A tornado bomber flying a 3,000-mile round trip from its base to Tripoli and back costs US$300,000 per flight. A C17 transport plane costs over US$60,000 per hour to fly. The British say they have over 1,000 personnel involved in the operation. The cost to the US taxpayer is estimated to top a US$1 billion by autumn. In March, the US had 75 aircrafts involved in the operation and FT reports that on the first day of the operation, the US had spent US$110 million.

If the Kosovo war is a guide, by the end of the third month the US had spent US$2.4 billion in the operation. Add the cost of the other NATO and Arab partners and it is conceivable that by end of July the cost of the Libyan invasion will approach if not exceed US$10 billion and counting. David Cameron, the British prime minister, said plainly on TV that whatever the outcome of the war, Libya will pay the cost of its participation. Add the cost of reparations and compensation for mercenaries and plain theft by many of the crooks constituting the provisional government and the Libyan people will find themselves tens of billions of dollars out of pocket.

THE LONG-TERM BENEFICIAL EFFECTS OF WAR TO THE VICTORS

Note that the power of debt is not simply the volume of money one owes and transfers but the effect on power relations. Libya will forever be subordinated to its creditors even if the debt is odious. It will have to open up its policy making to the creditors, open up its banks, import more and privatise assets, including natural resources. As the vanquished, it will be forced to join those organisations it previously stayed away from and conform. The destruction is equally beneficial. The more the better – after the war of destruction is the reconstruction.

This is great for the construction firms of the victors, suppliers of building material, architects and engineers. The suffering banks of Europe and America will be energised by massive lending for the reconstruction effort, exacerbating the debt burden of the Libyan people but widening the profit margins of investment banks and the army of rent-seekers that follow them – accountants, lawyers and gamblers. War, especially in an oil-rich country, cannot be bad for economies in the doldrums.

IMPACT ON THE REST OF AFRICA

I characterised the invasion as wicked and heartless, quite deliberately. It is wicked because of the selfishness of the agenda underpinning the invasion, its lack of concern for the impact on the Libyan people. The invasion will undoubtedly turn Libyans from a proud people who know little abject poverty (in spite of Gaddafi’s dictatorship and several years of economic sanctions) into a typical sub-Saharan African type – a few wealthy people swimming in increasing pools of desperately poor people with severely wounded pride.

It is not inconceivable that various armed factions will emerge however this madness ends. Centuries old tribal and clan divisions would have been widened not narrowed. Racial bigotry will spread having been unleashed by the media propaganda about black African support to Gaddafi. Libya will never be the same again and seeing what is happening in Iraq, Libya’s change will not be for the good for a long time to come.

But the wicked effects are not limited within the boundaries of Libya. Anything between 500,000 to 1 million workers from across Africa south of the Sahara have been displaced, and adding to the already over-flowing pool of the unemployed. The president of Niger estimated the displaced Nigerien workforce to be in the region of 200,000. Is anybody intending to compensate for these losses?

The effect of this displacement is not simply that it aggravates the already scary poverty situation but also that it has the potential to exacerbate the insecurity in these fragile zones, especially the area stretching from Mauritania, across Niger, Mali, Chad, Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea and Djibouti. These areas are fragile and volatile in several respects – ecologically, economically, socially and in terms of potential for armed conflicts. The potential for violent conflict will be made worse by increased availability of arms of all sorts – the type that are now being dropped all over the place by NATO/France.

The invasion is heartless also because it has deprived Africa of investment resources and undermined the creation of institutions that are critical for the poorest continent to transform its countries’ economies and overcome suffering and the indignity of poverty. It has transformed the African Union from one representing all of Africa to one effectively representing Africa south of the Sahara in the manner that Libya has been characterised by the invaders (as an Arab country), a characterisation that the rebel group seems to carry proudly on its chest.

[T]here is no alternative to negotiation as the way forward. Even the NATO/French invaders have been forced acknowledge this, especially since their hope of speedily toppling Gaddafi has not materialised. The African Union plan for a negotiated settlement remains the most credible – an immediate ceasefire; humanitarian intervention and protection in all parts of Libya; an external observer force; an interim government made up of both sides; a timetable for political parties to form, electioneering to happen and elections to take place; and a legal process to investigate, try and punish the guilty. And if I may add, a no-reparations and no-debt-claims commitment by the invading forces. This should have been the way forward from day one, were the Lula mission and the AU strategy allowed.

The bottom line is war was solely unwarranted. But my greatest sadness and shame was to see the United Nations secretariat beating the war drums and cheering on the battle rather than singing the songs of peace. This is a sad time indeed. How else can one describe what is going on in Libya but a wicked, heartless folly?

*Charles Abugre is the regional director for Africa, United Nations Millennium Campaign.

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Americanization And Militarization Of Canadian Foreign Policy

http://www.edmontonjournal.com/news/canada-in-afghanistan/letter+Canada+must+cease+instrument+foreign+policy/5175155/story.html

Edmonton Journal
July 28, 2011

Letter
A letter on how Canada must cease to act as an instrument of U.S. foreign policy
Tony Simmons

-There is…evidence that some retired senior military officials — including a former minister of national defence — have become prominent Ottawa lobbyists for the arms industry.
These connections help to explain the extravagant procurement of the 65 new F-35 fighter jets at an estimated cost of over $30 billion over the next three decades.
The military-industrial complex that so alarmed Dwight Eisenhower, is growing in strength and influence in Canada today.

Now that the Canadian combat mission in Afghanistan has ended, and the drawdown of Canadian troops has already begun, it is time for an honest appraisal, not only of the Afghan mission, but of the wider and longer-term implications of Canada’s present foreign policy.

In view of the steamy climate of self-congratulation emanating from Ottawa and from much of the media, the need for a critical assessment of our foreign-policy objectives has never been more urgent.

Indeed, if we cast a sober and unsentimental eye over the recent legacy of Canada’s foreign policy, a number of inconvenient truths cry out for acknowledgment.

First, not only is Canada’s mission in Afghanistan far from completed — notwithstanding the continuing presence of Canadian “trainers” — but more importantly, it is a mission that could never have been completed in the first place.

From the original deployment of Canadian Forces in early 2002, the terms of reference for the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan have constantly changed — from the initial hunt for Osama bin Laden, to counter-terrorism, to counter-insurgency, to “nation-building,” to phased withdrawal.

While government and military press conferences may crow about the number of girls now attending schools across the country, and boast of the removal of the Taliban from their traditional strongholds, the grim facts of this war — reported by many credible NGOs on the ground — tell a different and more troubling story.

The last year has seen a dramatic increase in civilian casualties killed by both sides in this war, as well as an escalation in the Taliban resistance.

The legacy of this war has also left us with an unresolved inquiry into the Afghan detainees, the further destabilization of Pakistan, the escalation of internal refugees within Afghanistan and a booming opium trade, not to mention the deaths of close to 160 Canadian soldiers.

And although the U.S. president authorized a troop “surge” in 2010, the resignation of Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, followed by that of secretary of defence, Robert Gates, reveals a U.S. policy in disarray.

The invasion and occupation of Afghanistan should never have happened. The act of war should always be the choice of last resort.

Instead, in the case of Afghanistan, Iraq and now Libya, it was the first.

The Canadian military mission in Afghanistan also signals a troubling trend in the increasing political power of the military elite in this country, and its growing influence on Canada’s foreign policy.

This trend has been noted by Janice Stein and Eugene Lang of the Munk Centre for International Studies in Toronto.

And a similar shift in the political power of the military in the UK has been reported by the former British Ambassador to Afghanistan, Sherard Cowper-Coles.

There is further evidence that some retired senior military officials — including a former minister of national defence — have become prominent Ottawa lobbyists for the arms industry.

These connections help to explain the extravagant procurement of the 65 new F-35 fighter jets at an estimated cost of over $30 billion over the next three decades.

The military-industrial complex that so alarmed Dwight Eisenhower, is growing in strength and influence in Canada today.

Finally, there is mounting evidence of the Americanization and militarization of Canada’s foreign policy.

Besides helping to undermine popular democratically-elected governments in Haiti and later in Palestine, successive Canadian governments have chosen to become instruments of U.S. foreign policy on most significant global issues, ranging from unwavering support for Israel and its illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, to its present involvement in the U.S./NATO war in Afghanistan, and now in Libya.

Rather than enabling us to “punch above our weight,” or allowing us to “claim our seat at the table,” Canada’s lurch to the hard right in international affairs will be seen in time for what it really is: a national disgrace that has left us with a legacy of lies, secrets and hypocrisy.

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Afghanistan: NATO Loses Five Soldiers Today

http://channel6newsonline.com/2011/07/five-nato-soldiers-die-in-afghanistan-isaf/

BNO News
July 31, 2011

Five NATO soldiers die in Afghanistan: ISAF

KABUL: Five coalition service members were killed in eastern and southern Afghanistan on Sunday as a result of three separate incidents, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said.

ISAF said three of its service members were killed in western Afghanistan as a result of a non-battle related injury. Another service member was killed in an insurgent attack in southern Afghanistan, while a fifth died in eastern Afghanistan as a result of an improvised explosive device (IED) attack.

As usual, the multinational force gave no other details about the incidents, including the exact locations and the nationalities of the service members involved. “It is ISAF policy to defer casualty identification procedures to the relevant national authorities,” a brief statement said.

Coalition casualties in Afghanistan have been rising sharply in recent years, with a total coalition death toll of 709 in 2010, making it the deadliest year for international troops since the war began…

So far this year, at least 335 coalition service members have been killed in Afghanistan. Most troops are killed in the country’s south, which is plagued by IED attacks on troops and civilians. Most of the casualties are American.

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Afghan War: NATO 2011 Death Toll Rises To 330

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-07/31/c_131021095.htm

Xinhua News Agency
July 31, 2011

NATO casualties total 330 in Afghanistan since beginning 2011
By Farid Behbud

KABUL: Since the beginning of this year, a total of 330 soldiers have been killed in the insurgency-hit Afghanistan as of Sunday July 31, according to iCasualites, a website tracking the casualties of NATO-led forces in war on terror in Afghanistan.

Forty nine soldiers with the military alliance, according to iCasualties, have been killed in July this year against 88 during the same period in 2010.

In June of this year, 65 NATO service members were killed in Taliban attacks and Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blasts throughout the country against 103 casualties in June 2010, the deadliest month for foreign troops since the war against the Taliban began in Afghanistan in late 2001.

The latest wave of attacks against NATO-led troops was an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attack earlier Sunday in eastern Afghanistan which left one soldier dead.

“An International Security Assistance Force service member died following an improvised explosive device (IED) attack in eastern Afghanistan today,” said a statement issued by the NATO- led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) here on Sunday morning.

However, the brief statement did not reveal the nationality of the casualty, only saying “It is the ISAF’s policy to defer casualty identification procedures to the relevant national authorities.”

In a similar incident two more NATO service members were killed on Friday in an IED attack also in the eastern part of the country, without disclosing details, the ISAF confirmed in a statement on Friday.

However, spokesman for the Afghan 203 Corps based in eastern Afghanistan, Colonel Sahat Gul told Xinhua on Saturday that a joint team of Afghan army and NATO-led ISAF forces were busy in defusing an IED placed along a road in eastern Pakita province on Friday but the bomb exploded killing eight people.

“As a result of the IED blast that took place in Mamozai area of Zurmat district in Paktia province on Friday afternoon two foreign troops, a local interpreter and five Afghan army soldiers were killed,” Gul added.

Two more people including an ISAF service member and an army soldier were wounded in the incident, according to Gul.

On the other hand Taliban insurgents claimed responsibility for the attack.

The purported Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, in talks with local media via cell phone from an undisclosed location, said the blast was carried out by the Taliban in Zurmat district killing 12 people including four NATO soldiers.

The simple but difficult to be detected Taliban weapon, the Improvised Explosive Device (IED), used in making suicide vests and roadside bombs, has proved a challenge for Afghan and NATO-led forces in the insurgency-hit country.

Out of 330 soldiers who lost their lives since the beginning of this year, 282 have been killed in IED attacks throughout the country, according to the website which recorded a total of 157 IED explosions so far this year.

Out of 330 NATO-led soldiers who have been killed in Afghan insurgency so far this year, 234 are Americans, 29 are Britons and the remaining 67 belong to other nations contributing troops to Afghanistan within the framework of NATO-led ISAF force.

Forty eight countries have contributed over 140,000-strong forces in Afghanistan with some 100,000 of them American troops…

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NATO Troops Kill Afghan Civilian, Arrest Several More

http://www.pajhwok.com/en/2011/07/31/isaf-soldiers-kill-civilian-arrest-suspects

Pakhwok Afghan News
July 31, 2011

ISAF soldiers kill civilian, arrest suspects

KABUL: One civilian was killed and several suspected insurgents were detained in a joint operation by Afghan and foreign forces in eastern Laghman province, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said on Sunday.

District police chief, Capt. Rahm Khuda, told Pajhwok Afghan News the raid was conducted in the Malangyalai area of Daulatshah. He confirmed the killing and arrests.

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NATO Certifies Another Bulgarian Warship For Deployment

http://www.focus-fen.net/index.php?id=n255445

Focus News Agency
July 23, 2011

Bulgaria’s Verni frigate certified at international military drill
Kalina Encheva

Burgas: Bulgaria’s Verni frigate has been certified during the Briz/Sertex 2011 international drill, said Navy Commander rear admiral Plamen Manushev, cited by FOCUS – Burgas Radio.

The international drill was attended by the vessels and aircraft of Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Greece and the U.S.

According to the second level assessment, which evaluates the operative abilities of the vessel, the frigate is operatively ready. This will enable the Bulgarian Navy to declare a second frigate fit for NATO operations and missions. Thus Bulgaria fulfills its commitment to have two frigates – Drazki and Verni, he added.

Rear admiral Plamen Manushev expressed hope Bulgaria’s mine-sweeper Priboy and minehunter Tsibar will be certified at an upcoming international drill off the Turkish coast.

In this way Bulgaria will have two anti-mine vessels and two frigates fit for NATO missions and permanent groups, he added.

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Uganda: AFRICOM Chief Pledges U.S. Role In Fighting LRA

http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/-/688334/1210440/-/bkktgwz/-/

Daily Monitor
July 31, 2011

US military to take part in hunt for Kony
By Gerald Bareebe

Stuttgart, Germany: The United States Military has pledged to join the imminent hunt for Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony, by providing logistics and surveillance support to the militaries of Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic who are preparing for the exercise.

Addressing journalists at the US Africa Command base in Stuttgart, Germany, Gen. Carter Ham, the new Africom Commander, said the US military will encourage and facilitate the coordination between the three primary countries who are engaged in the exercise, encourage and foster the sharing of information that can be useful to the parties involved.

“Uganda, DRC and CAR have recognised that US will support them to do this,” Gen. Carter said. “We have been training a battalion in Eastern Congo for this. It’s a very important mission for us.”

The Ugandan military in December 2008 led a regional combat but failed to capture or kill Kony…

The American government already supports, and in some cases finances, UPDF operations – the latest being the ongoing mission in Mogadishu, Somalia. During Operation Lightning Thunder in 2008, the US offered logistical support and military intelligence to the two countries.

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Vermont: NATO Obstacle Course Training For Military “Olympics”

http://www.wptz.com/r/28638593/detail.html

WPTZ
July 22, 2011

Military Members Brave NATO Obstacle Course

COLCHESTER, Vt. – Four military athletes got an extreme workout in scorching heat on the NATO Land Obstacle Course at Camp Johnson, it’s one of three of its kind in the United States. They are competiting for spots on the U.S. team for a global military competition.

“I learned really early in life not to be a weak female,” Airman 1st Class Ziven Drake said.

Drake’s the only woman vying for a spot to represent the United States next week in Poland at at the Inter Allied Officers of the Reserve (CIOR) Military Competition. The athletes are tested on their endurance from five obstacle courses. From there, coaches will determine who will travel to Warsaw.

“We hope to take everyone, but we do want the best representation for the United States that we can possibly get,” SEAL Cmdr. Grant Staats said.

The competitors went through 12 weeks of training at Camp Johnson. During that time, trainers judged their mental and physical abilities.

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U.S. Senate Tells Russia To Withdraw Troops From Abkhazia, South Ossetia

http://en.rian.ru/world/20110731/165476278.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
July 31, 2011

U.S. Senate calls on Russia to pull out from Abkhazia, S. Ossetia

WASHINGTON: The U.S. Senate unanimously adopted last Friday a resolution calling on Russia to respect Georgia’s territorial integrity and to withdraw its troops from Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Relations between Russia and Georgia have been sour since a five-day war between the two former Soviet countries in August 2008, which began when Georgian forces attacked the breakaway republic of South Ossetia in an attempt to bring it back under central control.

Russia recognized South Ossetia and another breakaway Georgian republic, Abkhazia, as independent states two weeks after the conflict. Georgia considers the two regions part of its sovereign territory.

The U.S. Senate resolution “calls upon the Government of Russia to take steps to fulfill all the terms and conditions of the 2008 ceasefire agreements between Georgia and Russia, including returning military forces to pre-war positions and ensuring access to international humanitarian aid to all those affected by the conflict.”

The document also recognizes Abkhazia and South Ossetia as regions of Georgia “occupied by the Russian Federation.”

Georgia hailed on Saturday the U.S. resolution saying that the document created “a serious basis for future actions.”

Tbilisi took a case against Russia to the International Court of the UN in August 2008 over alleged discrimination by Russia against the Georgian population of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, but the court ruled in April 2011 that the case was outside its competence.

Russia is unlikely to respond to U.S. calls for withdrawal from Abkhazia and South Ossetia as it considers Georgia’s territorial claims illegitimate and continues to strengthen ties with both republics.

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Georgian Foreign Ministry: U.S. Senate’s Anti-Russian Move Strengthens Strategic Partnership

http://rustavi2.com/news/news_text.php?id_news=42646&pg=1&im=main&ct=0&wth=

Rustavi 2
July 31, 2011

Georgia`s Foreign Ministry welcomes US Senate resolution

Georgia`s Foreign Ministry has welcomed the U.S. Senate`s resolution supporting Georgia passed on Saturday.

The ministry says in its statement that the adopting of the resolution is a significant step made towards the U.S.-Georgia strategic and partnership relations; with unanimous adoption of the resolution supporting Georgia, the Senate has officially expressed its clear and unanimous and position on Georgia`s sovereignty and territorial integrity and recognized the Russian Federation as the occupational force.

The statement also says with the document the senate calls the Russian authorities to fulfill all commitments of the 2008 cease-fire agreement.

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Chinese Warships Participate In Russian Navy Day Events

http://en.rian.ru/russia/20110731/165478059.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
July 31, 2011

Chinese warships participate in Russian Navy Day celebrations

VLADIVOSTOK: Two Chinese navy ships are taking part in the festivities dedicated to the celebration of the Russian Navy Day in the Far Eastern port of Vladivostok, a spokesman for Russia’s Pacific Fleet said on Sunday.

Frigate Luoyang and training ship Zheng He arrived in Vladivostok on Friday. The ships are hosted by the Russian Udaloy class destroyer Admiral Vinogradov.

“The Chinese military delegation took part on Sunday in laying wreaths to the Glory of the Pacific Fleet memorial, commemorating Russian sailors who died defending their Motherland,” Capt. 1st Rank Roman Martov said.

Russian and Chinese sailors will participate later on Sunday in a variety of cultural and sport events, formal and informal meetings, he said.

Chinese warships last visited Vladivostok in 2008.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Alexei Tolstoy: The one incontestable result was dead bodies

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Russian writers on war

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Alexei Tolstoy
From The Sisters (1921)
Translated by Ivy and Tatiana Litvinova

Arriving at the battle zone, the thunder of which could be heard miles away, the carts and troops seemed to be swallowed up. Here all that was living and human came to a standstill. A place in the earth, in a trench, was assigned to each – a place in which to sleep, to eat, to kill lice, a place from which to shoot into the fine mist of rain till the senses reeled.

At night the whole horizon gradually reddened with the high crimson glow of conflagrations; the chains traced across the sky by rockets, and punctuated by fiery sparks, ended in a burst of stars; shells flew up in a crescendo of wails, to explode in columns of fire, smoke, and dust.

Here fear gnawed at the vitals, made the skin creep, the fingers clench and unclench. Towards midnight the signal would be given. Officers would come running up, their faces convulsed, and the soldiers, puffy from sleep and damp, would be aroused with oaths, shouts and blows. And men ran out over the field, stumbling, swearing, and howling like wild beasts, now flinging themselves down, now leaping up, and at last – deafened, maddened, half-stunned by terror and rage – throwing themselves into the enemy’s trenches.

Afterwards, nobody could ever remember what had happened in these trenches. When it was desired to boast of heroic feats – to explain how a bayonet had been thrust, how a head had cracked beneath the butt end of a rifle, there was nothing for it but to lie. The one incontestable result of these attacks was dead bodies.

Another day dawned, and the field kitchens moved up. The soldiers, weary and half-frozen, ate and smoked. After this they talked smut and women, here, too, lying freely. A brief spell in which to hunt for lice, and then to sleep. They slept for days on end in that naked spot of thunder and death, befouled by excrement and blood.

*****

“Here I am in the trenches, a few hundred paces from the enemy. What’s to prevent me climbing over the breastwork, going into the enemy trench, killing anyone I think fit to kill there, stealing money, blankets, coffee, and tobacco? If I were quite sure they wouldn’t start firing at me, or that, if they did, they wouldn’t hit me, then of course I’d go ahead and kill and steal. And they’d put my portrait in the newspapers, as a hero. All, apparently, quite clear and logical. And now that I’m not in the trenches, but in “Château Cabernet,” a couple of miles from Anapa, what’s to prevent me going to the town at night, breaking into Muraveichik’s jewelry store, and helping myself to precious stones and gold? If Muraveichik gets in the way I can stick a knife into him, just here, with the utmost ease.” He pointed firmly to his own throat. “How is it I haven’t done this so far? Again – simply because I’m afraid. Arrest, trial, execution. I’m being perfectly logical, I hope. The problem of murdering and robbing the enemy has been solved by the State, that is to say according to morals laid down by the authorities – I mean the legal code – in an affirmative sense. Consequently, the problem narrows down to whom I consider my enemy.”

“I tell you – mobilization has been a brilliant success in all countries, and the war has been going on for nearly three years despite the protests of the Pope, simply because every one of us, each individual, has outgrown the diaper stage. We want murder and robbery, or if we don’t exactly want them, we have no real objection to them. Murder and robbery are organized by the State. Fools and milksops still go on calling murder, murder and robbery, robbery…The tiger takes what he wants. Aren’t I superior to the tiger? Who dares to limit my rights? The legal code? The worms have eaten it.”

Categories: Uncategorized

Updates on Libyan war/Stop NATO news: July 30, 2011

July 30, 2011 2 comments

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Libyan War: Over 17,000 NATO Air Missions, Nearly 6,500 Strike Sorties

NATO Bombers Strike Three Libyan Satellite Transmission Dishes

NATO Armored Vehicle Kills Child, Injures Seven Other Afghans

Mongolia: U.S. Leads NATO, Asian NATO Allies In Military Exercise

America’s Africa Partnership Station In East Africa

Call To Expand American Counterinsurgency Operations In Philippines

U.S. Military To Be Based In Australia To Confront China

U.S. Could Upgrade Polish Warships For Baltic Sea

Bulgaria: Pentagon Continues Upgrading Military Bases

U.S. Uses Romanian Air Base To Supply Afghan War

U.S. Senate: New Resolution Backing Georgia Over 2008 War With Russia

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Libyan War: Over 17,000 NATO Air Missions, Nearly 6,500 Strike Sorties

http://www.nato.int/nato_static/assets/pdf/pdf_2011_07/20110730_110730-oup-update.pdf

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
July 30, 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, 06.00GMT) a total of 17,075 sorties, including 6,443 strike sorties,have been conducted.

Sorties conducted 29 JULY: 124

Strike sorties conducted 29 JULY: 56

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NATO Bombers Strike Three Libyan Satellite Transmission Dishes

http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/news_76776.htm

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
July 30, 2011

NATO strikes Libyan state TV satellite facility

Statement by the Spokesperson for NATO Operation Unified Protector, Colonel Roland Lavoie, regarding air strike in Tripoli

A few hours ago, NATO conducted a precision air strike that disabled three ground-based Libyan state TV satellite transmission dishes in Tripoli.

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NATO Armored Vehicle Kills Child, Injures Seven Other Afghans

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/07/29/53926694.html

Voice of Russia
July 29, 2011

One Afghan killed, 7 injured by NATO vehicle

A German armoured vehicle in Kunduz in northern Afghanistan has smashed a local minibus, leaving one passenger dead and 7 others injured.

The fatality is a ten-year-old girl. The other casualties are three men and four women.

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Mongolia: U.S. Leads NATO, Asian NATO Allies In Military Exercise

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-07/30/c_131018751.htm

Xinhua News Agency
July 30, 2011

Multinational peacekeeping exercise to be held in Mongolia

ULAN BATOR: A multinational peacekeeping exercise code-named “Khaan Quest 2011″ will be staged in Mongolia from July 31 to August 12, a Mongolian Armed Forces officer announced here on Friday.

About 900 troops from 11 countries, including the United States, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Canada, India, Germany, Indonesia, Cambodia and Singapore, will participate in the war game, said Lt. Col. B. Bat-Erdene.

Mongolia has held the Khaan Quest exercises annually since 2003. In 2006, at the request of the U.S. Pacific Command, the training was turned into a multinational exercise.

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America’s Africa Partnership Station In East Africa

http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=61853

Navy NewsStand
July 29, 2011

APS Graduates 80 East African Students
By Lt. Cmdr. Suzanna Brugler, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs

MOMBASA, Kenya: The Africa Partnership Station (APS) East Kenya Hub graduated 80 students representing six East African countries at Bandari College in Mombasa, Kenya, July 22.

The students came from the countries of Djibouti, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda.

The graduates had one week of classroom training at the college and one week of hands-on training aboard small boats and the ship…

APS is an international security cooperation initiative facilitated by Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, aimed at strengthening global maritime partnerships through training and collaborative activities in order to improve maritime safety and security in Africa.

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Call To Expand American Counterinsurgency Operations In Philippines

http://www.voanews.com/english/news/asia/US-Maintains-Quiet-Counterterrorism-Effort-in-Philippines-126348218.html

Voice of America News
July 29, 2011

US Maintains Quiet Counterterrorism Effort in Philippines
Gary Thomas

-Zeender believes progress against Philippine-based terrorist groups remains elusive without a deeper U.S. commitment in the Philippines.
“We’ve lost some members of my old unit actually down there. And I don’t really see any gains being made…”
-[T]he two countries still hold joint military exercises. And Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reaffirmed the U.S. defense commitment to the Philippines in June amid rising tensions between Manila and Beijing over disputed islands in the South China Sea.

Washington: In [2001] the U.S. dispatched a military team to the Philippines to help the Manila government root out militant Islamic extremist groups…The military mission remains in the Philippines as part of the U.S.-led global anti-terrorism campaign.

Rocky Zeender spent two years on what he calls the “forgotten front” of the war on terrorism – the Philippines.

“Nobody knows about it. Right now all the funding and all the military support is going into the Middle East…,” Zeender said.

As a member of the U.S. Special Forces, a “Green Beret”, Zeender slogged through the jungles and across mountains of the southern Philippines with Philippine troops from 2008 to 2010…

“You do have some very sporadic cities throughout Mindanao, although it would pretty much resemble any Vietnam movie anyone has ever watched – pretty much nothing but jungle and mountains and rice paddies. I spent most of my time up in the mountains. It was extremely dense jungle, extremely dense forest, very steep terrain, and very difficult to travel, sometimes impossible to travel, by vehicle, only by foot,” Zeender said.

The Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines, numbering about 600 men and women from the four U.S. armed services with an annual $90 million budget in the current fiscal year, was created in 2002…

…Zeender says U.S. troops did patrol with military troops and national police, and in doing so did take casualties, including some fatalities, primarily from improvised explosive devices.

“The U.S. military is not allowed to actively target terrorist groups within the Philippines…However, if attacked, we do obviously have the right to self-defense, and that did happen under a couple of occasions while I was in the Philippines. And we worked very well with our counterparts,” Zeender said.

Zeender believes progress against Philippine-based terrorist groups remains elusive without a deeper U.S. commitment in the Philippines.

“We’ve lost some members of my old unit actually down there. And I don’t really see any gains being made. There seems to be one hand in the pot, and we’re not really fully committing. And I believe it would be almost kind of a stalemate. We’re not really gaining any ground or affecting anything on a large international level…,” Zeender said.

But the issue of a U.S. troop presence is a sensitive one in the Philippines. The 1987 Philippines constitution bars foreign military bases from the country, and the U.S. bases were closed after Philippine Congress voted in 1991 not to extend the base leases. However, the two countries still hold joint military exercises. And Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reaffirmed the U.S. defense commitment to the Philippines in June amid rising tensions between Manila and Beijing over disputed islands in the South China Sea.

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U.S. Military To Be Based In Australia To Confront China

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/us-military-will-be-based-on-australian-soil-just-dont-call-it-a-us-base/story-e6frf7jo-1226103758228

Herald Sun
July 29, 2011

US military will be based on Australian soil – just don’t call it a US ‘base’
Ian McPhedran

-Mr Smith will have raised eyebrows in Beijing with his admission that Australia is the “southern tier” of America’s strategic interest.

US military hardware and personnel are set to be permanently placed in Australia, though both governments continue to avoid the word “base”.

Defence Minister Stephen Smith in Washington yesterday revealed he was keen to cement formal links so that the US could:

POSITION military equipment on Australian soil.

HAVE greater access to Australian training and test ranges, such as Shoalwater Bay in Queensland and Woomera in SA.

REGULARLY use Australian bases and ports.

“The strategic focus of our discussions with the United States is to the north of Australia and to the strategically important arc running from the Indian Ocean through to the Asia-Pacific region,” Mr Smith told the Brookings Institution.

“That would mean pre-positioning supplies, equipment and Navy platforms to be closer to where natural disasters may occur.”

Mr Smith was in Washington for high-level discussions with new US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta.

In addition to bases, the pair discussed worrying delays to the huge Joint Strike Fighter program and how the US could help Australia to develop its next generation of conventional submarines.

“Part of this planning is to talk to our friends and partners who have significant expertise in designing, building and operating submarines,” Mr Smith said.

“Part of this planning is also making sure that our future submarine, its combat systems and capabilities, is interoperable with US forces, so we can continue to work together to meet security challenges into the future.”

Mr Smith will have raised eyebrows in Beijing with his admission that Australia is the “southern tier” of America’s strategic interest.

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U.S. Could Upgrade Polish Warships For Baltic Sea

http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Security-Industry/2011/07/29/Poland-asks-US-support-for-frigates/UPI-63341311943045/?spt=hs&or=si

United Press International
July 29, 2011

Poland asks U.S. support for frigates

WASHINGTON: Poland is seeking U.S. technical support and a service life extension program for two ex-FFG-7 class frigates.

The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency said the Foreign Military Sale request carries a value of $200 million.

“The proposed sale will improve Poland’s capability to meet current and future operational needs,” the agency said in its notification to Congress. “Poland already has the capability to maintain the current frigates and will have no difficulty absorbing the upgraded shipboard systems into its armed forces.”

The proposed sale would involve multiple contractors, as well as U.S. Atlantic Coast shipyards that will compete for planning and execution of the system overhaul and upgrade projects.

Implementation of this proposed sale wouldn’t require the assignment of additional U.S. government or contractor representatives to Poland.

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Bulgaria: Pentagon Continues Upgrading Military Bases

http://paper.standartnews.com/en/article.php?d=2011-07-29&article=36888

Standart News
July 29, 2011

Construction Companies Compete to Work for the USA Bases in Bulgaria
Martin Lekov

Three representatives of the US Army explained that only companies with experience in Bulgaria and the region may take part in the competition for selection of executor of construction projects in the US bases in Bulgaria.

Construction companies from Bulgaria, Germany and Greece will compete to be employed to work for the US bases in Bulgaria, it transpired at a seminar held in Sofia by representatives of the United States Army Corps of Engineers.

According to the marks, construction companies will get contracts for operational orders or the so called – Multiple Award Task Order Contracting (MATOC) orders. The maximum capacity of the contract is US$30 million and it is for 1 basic year. The US military men can extend the contract for two additional years.

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U.S. Uses Romanian Air Base To Supply Afghan War

http://www.stripes.com/news/u-s-moving-cargo-to-afghanistan-through-romania-1.150334

Stars and Stripes
July 27, 2011

U.S. moving cargo to Afghanistan through Romania
By John Vandiver

-Part of what makes the airfield so appealing is its proximity to the Black Sea port of Constanta, a key logistical link that opens access to other transit routes. Another advantage is that Romania, a NATO member, would allow equipment to flow both in and out of Afghanistan, Derner said. Not all countries allow traffic to flow both ways, he said.

STUTTGART, Germany: U.S. cargo planes have been delivering weapons and other supplies to a U.S. Army brigade in Afghanistan from a Romanian air base on the Black Sea for nearly three months, as U.S. military officials assess how large a role Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base could play for the remainder of the war in Afghanistan. The base’s potential to serve as a logistical transport hub for other operations in the future also is being examined, military officials said.

“The general area there in Romania has road, air and sea capacity, so it’s very conducive,” said Lt. Col. Greg Derner, a logistics officer at U.S. European Command headquarters in Stuttgart.

For the U.S., getting equipment in and out of Afghanistan has long been a struggle. Land transit through Pakistan has proven risky, with many convoys coming under Taliban attack in the tribal areas along the border. Political unrest in Kyrgyzstan disrupted flights from U.S.-operated Manas Air Base for a time, and Russia has restrictions on what can move through its territory.

While the Romanian base wouldn’t eliminate all the challenges of transporting equipment and supplies into Afghanistan, running more missions out of Romania would ease some of the existing pressures, Derner said. The assessment of the base’s potential as a “multi-modal” hub is expected to take several months and will include input from three commands: Central Command, Transportation Command and EUCOM, Derner said.

Since May, U.S.-based Contingency Response Wings have been operating at Mihail Kogalniceanu, testing the air field’s capacity. Currently, about 70 airmen are finishing the final phase of the operation — delivering 1,000 tons of equipment to the recently deployed 172nd Infantry Brigade out of Grafenwöhr.

“This is the stuff they need to function downrange,” said Lt. Col. John Platte, who is leading the California-based 615th Contingency Response Wing’s effort in Romania.

From Platte’s perspective, the mission has gone off without a hitch.

The 615th picked up the mission after a New Jersey-based wing completed the first leg of the exercise earlier this summer. During the initial phase, members of the 621st Contingency Response Wing moved nearly 1,000 tons of equipment in and out of Afghanistan during a three-week deployment.

Part of what makes the airfield so appealing is its proximity to the Black Sea port of Constanta, a key logistical link that opens access to other transit routes. Another advantage is that Romania, a NATO member, would allow equipment to flow both in and out of Afghanistan, Derner said. Not all countries allow traffic to flow both ways, he said.

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U.S. Senate: New Resolution Backing Georgia Over 2008 War With Russia

http://rustavi2.com/news/news_text.php?id_news=42643&pg=1&im=main&ct=0&wth=

Rustavi 2
July 30, 2011

US Senate passes another resolution supporting Georgia

The U.S. Senate has passed another resolution supporting Georgia. Senators Mr. Shaheen and Mr. Graham submitted the following resolution, which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.

According to the resolution, the U.S. supports Georgia`s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity and calls Russia to withdraw its “occupational troops” from regions of Georgia – Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

The document says:

“That the Senate—

(1) affirms that it is the policy of the United States to support the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of Georgia and the inviolability of its borders, and to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia as regions of Georgia occupied by the Russian Federation;

“(2) calls upon the Government of Russia to take steps to fulfill all the terms and conditions of the 2008 ceasefire agreements between Georgia and Russia, including returning military forces to pre war positions and ensuring access to international humanitarian aid to all those affected by the conflict;

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Categories: Uncategorized

Hesiod: Lamentable works of Ares lead to dank house of Hades

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Greek and Roman writers on war and peace

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Hesiod
Translated by H.G. Evelyn-White

From Theogony

Cytherea bare to Ares the shield-piercer Panic and Fear, terrible gods who drive in disorder the close ranks of men in numbing war, with the help of Ares, sacker of towns…

*****

From Work and Days

Zeus the Father made a third generation of mortal men, a brazen race, sprung from ash-trees; and it was in no way equal to the silver age, but was terrible and strong. They loved the lamentable works of Ares and deeds of violence; they ate no bread, but were hard of heart like adamant, fearful men. Great was their strength and unconquerable the arms which grew from their shoulders on their strong limbs. Their armour was of bronze, and their houses of bronze, and of bronze were their implements: there was no black iron. These were destroyed by their own hands and passed to the dank house of chill Hades, and left no name: terrible though they were, black Death seized them, and they left the bright light of the sun.

Categories: Uncategorized

Updates on Libyan war/Stop NATO news: July 29, 2011

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NATO’s Air Assault On Libya: Almost 17,000 Sorties, 6,387 Strike Sorties

NATO Knocks At ASEAN’s Door

U.S. Plans Interceptor Missile Radar System In NATO States

Russian Envoy Visits Turkey Over NATO Interceptor Missile System

Japan To Allow Interceptor Missile Transfers To NATO Nations

U.S. Missile Shield To Spark Nuclear Arms Race: North Korea

U.S., Israel To Hold Massive Interceptor Missile Drills

Kosovo-Serbia: NATO Declares Crossings “Restricted Military Areas,” Threatens Lethal Force

Kosovo Serbs Defy NATO, Maintain Two Barricades

Poland Loses 25th Soldier To NATO’s Afghan War

After Libya And Syria, U.S. Targets Lebanese Government

U.S. Senate Backs Georgia Against Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Russia

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NATO’s Air Assault On Libya: Almost 17,000 Sorties, 6,387 Strike Sorties

http://www.nato.int/nato_static/assets/pdf/pdf_2011_07/20110729_110729-oup-update.pdf

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
July 29, 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, 06.00GMT) a total of 16,951 sorties, including 6,387 strike sorties, have been conducted.

Sorties conducted 27 JULY: 129

Strike sorties conducted 27 JULY: 48

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NATO Knocks At ASEAN’s Door

http://pakobserver.net/detailnews.asp?id=105831

Pakistan Observer
July 29, 2011

NATO knocks the door of ASEAN
Dr. Jassim Taqui

Islamabad: Having failed in Iraq and Afghanistan, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has decided to change direction towards Southeast Asia. In this regard, NATO shows a keen interest to establish a partnership with the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). ASEAN is a geo-political and economic organization of ten countries located in Southeast Asia. It was formed on 8th August 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand. Since then membership has expanded to include Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Its aims include the acceleration of economic growth, social progress, and cultural development among its members. The focus of ASEAN is the protection of peace and stability in the region, and to provide opportunities for member countries to discuss differences peacefully.

In 1990, Malaysia proposed the creation of East Asia Economic Caucus compromising the ten members of ASEAN as well as China, Japan, and South Korea to counterbalance the growing influence of the United States in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and in the Asian region as a whole. The proposal failed but member states created ASEAN Plus Three in 1997.

However, the United States continues to influence ASEAN since 1997. This time, Washington is combining with India to influence the region in a bid to neutralize the rising cooperation between ASEAN and China. During her visit to India, the US Secretary of State Ms Hillary Clinton urged India to expand its traditional sphere of influence from South Asia to Central Asia and Southeast Asia to contain China’s increasing assertiveness. Ostensibly, Clinton’s slip of the tongue suggests a strategy that aims to encircle China in its backyard in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Rim on one hand and to boost engagement in Central Asia, on China’s western flank, on the other.

Clinton’s tone is confrontational. It justifies the containment of China by Washington and New Delhi on the ground of “common values and interests.” Clinton also announced that the Obama administration would soon launch a three-way dialogue with India and Japan to counter China.

Suddenly, India has become the darling of Clinton. Now, Clinton is openly courting India as an Asia-Pacific power. This clearly shows that one major reason that made the United States dump Pakistan was Islamabad’s rejection of US scheming against China.

Indications suggest that US-led NATO would fail in its attempt to forge an alliance with ASEAN against China. For, China belongs to the region and ASEAN-China cooperation is institutionalized. The China-ASEAN relations are pillars for east Asia’s regional stability and economic prosperity. China’s rapid development is a model for ASEAN. Further, the volume of trade between the two sides has jumped from $7.9 billion to $292.8 billion last year, soaring by more than 30 times. China is implementing the second China-ASEAN Five-Year Action Plan to bring the volume of bilateral trade to $500 billion.

As for Pak-China ties, they are eternal. There is no way Pakistan can follow the US game of containing or destabilizing China. For, destabilizing China means destabilization of Pakistan.

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U.S. Plans Interceptor Missile Radar System In NATO States

http://en.rian.ru/mlitary_news/20110729/165442215.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
July 29, 2011

U.S. in talks with NATO states on deployment of radar system in Europe

WASHINGTON: The United States is in talks with a number of NATO states on the deployment of a radar system as part of its mooted missile shield in Europe, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of State said.

“We’re talking to a number of countries within NATO about this radar system and when it might be deployed but I don’t want to get into the substance of those discussions,” Mark Toner told a daily press briefing adding that Turkey is among the possible countries.

Russia has retained staunch opposition to the deployment of missile-defense systems near its borders, claiming they would be a security threat…

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Russian Envoy Visits Turkey Over NATO Interceptor Missile System

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-07/29/c_131016374.htm

Xinhua News Agency
July 29, 2011

Russian envoy visits Turkey to discuss NATO missile defense system

-Russia was against “militarization of Black Sea region,” Rogozin said. “We don’t want players to play on this ground if they are not a part of this region,” he noted.
-“Deploying a missile defense against a threat which does not exist, not only fail to defuse the situation in fact, but would lead to making it more serious,” he said.
The diplomat said that deploying interceptors in Poland “will significantly affect Russian strategic forces.”

ANKARA: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s special envoy visited Turkey on Thursday to discuss Russia’s concerns on the U.S. led anti-missile network in Europe.

“Having missile defense elements in someone’s territory makes a country a target. That’s why you have to think very well before you make the decision,” Dmitry Rogozin, Russian envoy to NATO, told reporters on Thursday prior to his meetings with Turkish leaders.

The Russian diplomat arrived in Turkey following his visit to the U.S. to get a briefing on the planned anti-missile project. “We still had the same number of questions” on the missile defense project after the visit to military base Colorado Springs where the U.S. century missile defense center is located, he said.

He said that was the reason why he would like to hear opinions of the Turkish leadership. “Turkey will have a direct influence on the decision to deploy U.S. radar here, which then will become a part of the overall U.S. system. Since Turkey has access to Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea, it will have a direct influence on the decision to deploy the U.S. missile defense ships, cruises in these seas,” he said.

Russia was against “militarization of Black Sea region,” Rogozin said. “We don’t want players to play on this ground if they are not a part of this region,” he noted.

“Our U.S. colleagues try to put a basis for missile defense plans by demonizing Iranian missile program. But we differ from the U.S., concerning on real intentions of the Iranian leadership and their intentions in creating missiles and capabilities of this missiles,” he said.

“Deploying a missile defense against a threat which does not exist, not only fail to defuse the situation in fact, but would lead to making it more serious,” he said.

The diplomat said that deploying interceptors in Poland “will significantly affect Russian strategic forces.”

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Japan To Allow Interceptor Missile Transfers To NATO Nations

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T110728006799.htm

Yomiuri Shimbun
July 29, 2011

Govt sets terms for missile interceptor transfer

Japan would allow the United States to transfer a missile interceptor under joint development by the two nations to third parties, on the condition that the third parties can effectively control its re-export, according to draft guidelines compiled by the government.

The draft guidelines set criteria for making judgment on permitting the export of the next-generation Standard Missile-3 Block IIA interceptor, which is to be positioned on a sea-based destroyer as part of the Japan-U.S. missile defense system, sources said Thursday.

The draft stipulates that Japan would allow the transfer on two conditions:

– Third-party nations have domestic systems for export control and information integrity, and are members of international frameworks on these matters.

– The transfer contributes to Japan’s security given the threat of ballistic missiles from North Korea and other nations.

The first condition is meant to prevent further transfer of the interceptor by a third-party nation. Nations that are party to the Missile Technology Control Regime, and members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which has signed the General Security of Military Information Agreement with Japan, would possibly meet the criteria, according to the sources.

The MTCR has 34 member nations including Japan, Australia, Britain, France, Germany, Poland, South Korea, Turkey and the United States; NATO has 28 member nations including Britain, the Czech Republic, France and Poland. Targeted third-party nations are likely to be allies of the United States, the sources said.

The SM-3 Block IIA missile is to be an updated version of the existing SM-3 Block IA that intercepts ballistic missiles from outer space. The updated version has improved destructive, target discerning and tracking capabilities. The Japanese and U.S. governments have been jointly developing it since fiscal 2006 under a nine-year project.

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U.S. Missile Shield To Spark Nuclear Arms Race: North Korea

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/27/us-korea-north-un-idUSTRE76Q63M20110727

Reuters
July 28, 2011

Missile shield will spark nuclear arms race: North Korea

-Last month the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a security bloc that includes Russia, China and four former Soviet Central Asian states, signed a declaration condemning any unilateral build-up of missile defenses.

UNITED NATIONS: If U.S. plans to deploy a missile shield to protect Europe against a possible attack by Iran are realized, it will spark a new nuclear arms race, North Korea’s U.N. ambassador said Wednesday.

The U.S. plan, which is being developed in consultation with NATO, calls for the gradual deployment of interceptor missiles, based on land and sea, by 2020.

“The MDS (missile defense system) being pushed under the pretext of responding to so-called ballistic missile developments by what they call ‘rogue states’ is far from carrying logic,” North Korea’s U.N. Ambassador Sin Son-ho told a U.N. General Assembly meeting on disarmament.

Sin said that the real purpose of the missile shield is “none other than the gaining of absolute superiority and global hegemony over the other nuclear power rivals.”

“This dangerous move will eventually spark a new nuclear arms race,” he said.

Sin’s remarks come as North Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan arrived in New York, where he is expected to meet Washington’s envoy for Korean peninsula affairs, Stephen Bosworth.

North Korea withdrew from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the global anti-nuclear weapons pact, in 2003 and tested nuclear devices in 2006 and 2009. This prompted the U.N. Security Council to impose two rounds of sanctions on Pyongyang to pressure it to end its missile and nuclear programs.

Last month the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a security bloc that includes Russia, China and four former Soviet Central Asian states, signed a declaration condemning any unilateral build-up of missile defenses.

(Reporting by Louis Charbonneau; editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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U.S., Israel To Hold Massive Interceptor Missile Drills

http://www.jpost.com/Defense/Article.aspx?id=230974

Jerusalem Post
July 26, 2011

Israel, US to hold massive missile defense drill next year
Yaakov Katz

-The purpose of the exercise is to create the necessary infrastructure that would enable interoperability between Israeli and American missile defense systems in case the US government decided to deploy these systems here in the event of a conflict with Iran, like it did ahead of the Gulf War in Iraq in 1991.
-Frank Rose, the US deputy assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, said the US planned to deploy another Aegis missile defense ship in the Mediterranean Sea alongside the USS Monterey, which is already deployed in the region.
He also said the US was looking to deploy an advanced X-Band radar – similar to the one the US gave Israel in 2008 – in southern Europe.

…Israel and the United States will hold a large-scale missile defense exercise in the beginning of next year aimed at improving operational coordination between both countries’ defense systems.

Called Juniper Cobra, the exercise will be held in early 2012 and will include the Arrow 2 and Iron Dome as well as America’s THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) and the ship-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System. The exercise will likely include the actual launching of interceptors from these systems.

The Israeli Air Force’s Air Defense Division, the United States Missile Defense Agency and the US Military’s European Command (EUCOM) have held the Juniper Cobra exercise for the past five years. The upcoming exercise though is planned to be one of the most complex and extensive yet.

Last week, Air Force commander in the EUCOM Gen. Mark Welsh visited Israel for talks with Israel Air Force commander Maj.-Gen. Ido Nehushtan, which focused also on the upcoming missile defense exercise. The last Juniper Cobra exercise was held in October 2009.

The purpose of the exercise is to create the necessary infrastructure that would enable interoperability between Israeli and American missile defense systems in case the US government decided to deploy these systems here in the event of a conflict with Iran, like it did ahead of the Gulf War in Iraq in 1991.

“Juniper Cobra shows us how to defend not only with Israeli assets but also with American assets,” Arieh Herzog, head of the Defense Ministry’s Homa Missile Defense Agency, said on Monday at the 2nd Annual Israel Multinational Missile Defense Conference near Tel Aviv.

Herzog, who will step down in January and be replaced by Yair Ramati, corporate vice president of marketing at Israel Aerospace Industries, said that Israel was facing a “growing ballistic missile threat.”

Frank Rose, the US deputy assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, said the US planned to deploy another Aegis missile defense ship in the Mediterranean Sea alongside the USS Monterey, which is already deployed in the region.

He also said the US was looking to deploy an advanced X-Band radar – similar to the one the US gave Israel in 2008 – in southern Europe.

Ramati said at the conference that Israel is speeding up the development of the Arrow-3, which is supposed to serve as the upper tier missile defense system against Iranian long-range ballistic missiles.

The Arrow-3 is not expected to become operational until 2015 and the Defense Ministry will hold a first flight test of the new missile by the end of the year.

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Kosovo-Serbia: NATO Declares Crossings “Restricted Military Areas,” Threatens Lethal Force

http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics-article.php?yyyy=2011&mm=07&dd=28&nav_id=75667

Tanjug News Agency
July 28, 2011

NATO declares crossings “restricted military areas”

PRIŠTINA: KFOR commander Erhard Buehler says NATO had declared two crossings on the administrative line between Kosovo and Serbia a restricted military area.

He threatened the use of lethal force in the case of attack on Jarinje and Brnjak.

“I cannot exclude another attempt. Both gates are declared military restricted areas and the rules of engagement are very clear,” Buehler told Reuters in an interview.

According to Buehler, the soldiers can employ lethal force, they can employ their weapons to defend themselves, to defend…the military restricted area.

“Nobody who is not authorized to work in the gates or to cross the gates should be near the gates,” Buehler added.

KFOR is a NATO-led force deployed in the province with UN Security Council Resolution 1244 that ended the 1999 war.

Serbian officials today accused KFOR of “enforcing decisions of the (Kosovo Albanian) Priština government” and stepping outside the UN resolution.

Kosovo’s ethnic Albanians unilaterally declared independence more than three years ago, which Serbia rejected.

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Kosovo Serbs Defy NATO, Maintain Two Barricades

http://en.trend.az/regions/world/europe/1911915.html

Trend News Agency
July 29, 2011

Kosovo Serbs defy NATO, leave road barricades

Serbs in restive northern Kosovo on Friday maintained their barricades of two key roads in defiance of an order to call off their protest against NATO’s Kosovo peace-keeping mission KFOR and European Union law enforcement agency EULEX.

The Serbs, who are accusing the two missions of siding with the Albanian majority and government in Kosovo, have parked tractors, trucks, logs and tyres in the middle of the roads.

The barricades were set up after violence erupted in the area earlier this week, claiming the life of a policeman, in an escalation of a trade war between Serbia and its former province.

The Kosovo government moved to take over the border checkpoints in the mostly Serb north in order to enforce a trade embargo on Serbian goods. Serbs reacted by torching one of the crossings.

On Thursday KFOR took control of border crossings and declared the area a restricted military zone. KFOR ordered Serbs to dismantle the barricades, with KFOR commander Erhard Buehler warning that violence in the zone would be met with deadly force.

Talks aimed at defusing the situation have failed. Buehler is due to meet Serbian officials on Friday.

Kosovo declared independence in 2008 without the approval of Serbia. The Kosovar government has failed to assert its control in the north, where Serbs are in the majority.

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Poland Loses 25th Soldier To NATO’s Afghan War

http://www.thenews.pl/1/10/Artykul/52502,Polish-soldier-dies-in-Afghanistan

Polish Radio
July 28, 2011

Polish soldier dies in Afghanistan

A Polish soldier has been killed in Ghazni, south east Afghanistan, after a roadside bomb exploded under his armoured vehicle.

PFC Pawel Poswiat sustained serious injuries when a blast damaged the Rosomak APC he was driving on a routine patrol mission.

The soldier was rushed in critical state to a Polish field hospital by a MEDEVAC helicopter but despite quick medical assistance the soldier died of heavy wounds.

PFC Pawel Powsiat served in the 17th Mechanized Brigade and was stationed with the Polish contingent in Ghazni province of Afghanistan.

He was 29 years old and single.

Pawel Powsiat is the 25th Polish soldier to die in action in Afghanistan, where Poland has around 2,500 troops stationed.

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After Libya And Syria, U.S. Targets Lebanese Government

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-07/29/c_131016420.htm

Xinhua News Agency
July 29, 2011

U.S. says new Lebanese government reflects foreign will

BEIRUT: The ambassador of the United States to Lebanon, Maura Connelly, said the government of Prime Minister Najib Mikati reflected external will.

In a statement circulated by the embassy in Beirut Thursday, Connelly said the current Lebanese government “appears to reflect less the will of the people and more the will of external interests.”

The Hezbollah-led government, headed by Mikati, came into power in June after nearly five months of political vacuum, following the collapse of the government of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri following a dispute over a UN backed court probing the assassination of his father Rafik Hariri.

In its first round of indictments, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon is believed to have pointed the finger at four Hezbollah members into the 2005 killing. Hezbollah denies involvement and slammed the court a U.S. project to deal a blow to the party’s struggle against Israel.

Many fear that since Hezbollah now dominates the new government it will attempt to cut ties with the Netherlands-based court.

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U.S. Senate Backs Georgia Against Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Russia

http://en.trend.az/news/politics/1911747.html

Trend News Agency
July 29, 2011

U.S. Senate introduces a resolution in Georgia’s support
N. Kirtskhalia

Tbilisi: The U.S. Senate has introduced a resolution in support of Georgia, Irakli Alasania, the leader of Free Democrats and a former Georgian ambassador to the UN, told reporters in Washington after a meeting with senators.

Alasania thanked the U.S. for its support of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia.

Alasania stressed the importance of continuing the policy of not recognizing the “independence” of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

The Free Democrats leader had meetings with Senators Joe Lieberman and John McCain in Washington.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Kenzaburō Ōe: Categorical imperative to renounce war forever

July 29, 2011 1 comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Kenzaburo Ōe: Nuclear war and its lemmings

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Kenzaburō Ōe
From the Nobel Prize in Literature lecture (1994)

*****

[T]o obliterate from the Constitution the principle of eternal peace will be nothing but an act of betrayal against the peoples of Asia and the victims of the Atom Bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is not difficult for me as a writer to imagine what would be the outcome of that betrayal.

*****

My observation is that after one hundred and twenty years of modernisation since the opening of the country, present-day Japan is split between two opposite poles of ambiguity. I too am living as a writer with this polarisation imprinted on me like a deep scar.

This ambiguity which is so powerful and penetrating that it splits both the state and its people is evident in various ways. The modernisation of Japan has been orientated toward learning from and imitating the West. Yet Japan is situated in Asia and has firmly maintained its traditional culture. The ambiguous orientation of Japan drove the country into the position of an invader in Asia. On the other hand, the culture of modern Japan, which implied being thoroughly open to the West or at least that impeded understanding by the West. What was more, Japan was driven into isolation from other Asian countries, not only politically but also socially and culturally.

In the history of modern Japan literature the writers most sincere and aware of their mission were those ‘post-war writers’ who came onto the literary scene immediately after the last War, deeply wounded by the catastrophe yet full of hope for a rebirth. They tried with great pains to make up for the inhuman atrocities committed by Japanese military forces in Asian countries, as well as to bridge the profound gaps that existed not only between the developed countries of the West and Japan but also between African and Latin American countries and Japan. Only by doing so did they think that they could seek with some humility reconciliation with the rest of the world. It has always been my aspiration to cling to the very end of the line of that literary tradition inherited from those writers.

The contemporary state of Japan and its people in their post-modern phase cannot but be ambivalent. Right in the middle of the history of Japan’s modernisation came the Second World War, a war which was brought about by the very aberration of the modernisation itself. The defeat in this War fifty years ago occasioned an opportunity for Japan and the Japanese as the very agent of the War to attempt a rebirth out of the great misery and sufferings that were depicted by the ‘Post-war School’ of Japanese writers. The moral props for Japanese aspiring to such a rebirth were the idea of democracy and their determination never to wage a war again. Paradoxically, the people and state of Japan living on such moral props were not innocent but had been stained by their own past history of invading other Asian countries. Those moral props mattered also to the deceased victims of the nuclear weapons that were used for the first time in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and for the survivors and their off-spring affected by radioactivity (including tens of thousands of those whose mother tongue is Korean).

In the recent years there have been criticisms levelled against Japan suggesting that she should offer more military forces to the United Nations forces and thereby play a more active role in the keeping and restoration of peace in various parts of the world. Our heart sinks whenever we hear these criticisms. After the end of the Second World War it was a categorical imperative for us to declare that we renounced war forever in a central article of the new Constitution. The Japanese chose the principle of eternal peace as the basis of morality for our rebirth after the War.

I trust that the principle can best be understood in the West with its long tradition of tolerance for conscientious rejection of military service. In Japan itself there have all along been attempts by some to obliterate the article about renunciation of war from the Constitution and for this purpose they have taken every opportunity to make use of pressures from abroad. But to obliterate from the Constitution the principle of eternal peace will be nothing but an act of betrayal against the peoples of Asia and the victims of the Atom Bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is not difficult for me as a writer to imagine what would be the outcome of that betrayal.

Categories: Uncategorized

Updates on Libyan war/Stop NATO news: July 28, 2011

July 28, 2011 1 comment

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NATO Air War In Libya: 16,822 Sorties, 6,339 Strike Missions

NATO’s Asian, African Wars: Italy Extends Funding For Afghan, Libyan Missions

Russian Envoy: U.S. Missile System May Be Prelude To Attack On Iran

NATO Troops Slay Pregnant Afghan Woman, Child, Young Man

Russia Opposes U.S.-NATO Missile System In Turkey, Black Sea

Kosovo: More Attacks On NATO Forces

Kosovo Separatists Flex Muscles, Russia Concerned

Canada Spends $3.3 Billion For Arctic Patrol Ships Against Russia

Canadian Defence Chief Meets Troops Ahead Of Arctic Military Exercise

Russian Arctic Force May Include Paratroopers: General

NATO Integrates Armenia For Global War Zone Deployments

Afghan War: French, Georgian Troops Conduct Artillery Training

Pakistan: NATO Oil Tanker Blown Up

NATO Gives Swedish Military “Unbelievably High Marks”

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NATO Air War In Libya: 16,822 Sorties, 6,339 Strike Missions

http://www.nato.int/nato_static/assets/pdf/pdf_2011_07/20110728_110728-oup-update.pdf

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
July 28, 2011

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

Since the beginning of the NATO operation (31 March 2011, 06.00GMT) a total of 16,822 sorties, including 6,339 strike sorties, have been conducted.

Sorties conducted 27 JULY: 133

Strike sorties conducted 27 JULY: 54

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NATO’s Asian, African Wars: Italy Extends Funding For Afghan, Libyan Missions

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-07-27/italian-senate-extends-funding-for-afghanistan-libya-missions.html

Bloomberg News
July 27, 2011

Italian Senate Extends Funding for Afghanistan, Libya Missions
By Andrew Davis

The Italian Senate voted to extend funding for foreign military missions, supporting forces in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and a NATO-led effort in Libya.

The vote came a day after an Italian paratrooper was killed in Afghanistan, the 41st Italian soldier to die while serving there. Legislators held a minute of silence before debating the measure and casting the ballot for another six-month extension.

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Northern League allies voted to back the extension, signaling support for the premier amid tension within the ruling coalition. The League has been critical of the peacekeeping missions and called for troops to be brought home. The opposition Democratic Party also approved the measure.

Italy’s 9,250 troops currently serving abroad will be reduced to 7,222, newspaper Corriere della Sera reported yesterday. Today’s vote, which must be followed by backing in the lower house Chamber of Deputies, approved 694 million euros ($1 billion) in funding for the missions, down from 911 million euros in the first half.

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Russian Envoy: U.S. Missile System May Be Prelude To Attack On Iran

http://en.rian.ru/mlitary_news/20110728/165438632.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
July 28, 2011

U.S. missile shield may be precursor for Iran attack – Rogozin

Russia’s envoy to NATO said on Thursday that the United States might use the European missile defense project as preparation for an attack on Iran.

Washington has said its nuclear missile defense plans were designed to prevent any possible missile strikes from Iran or North Korea.

“The missile defense system is not purely a defensive system,” envoy Dmitry Rogozin said. “There are serious and authoritative experts in Russia and in other countries who fear that the creation of a European missile defense system, officially assigned the task of blocking a threat from Iran, may in fact be a pretext for preparing an attack on Iran.”

Western nations have accused Iran of pursuing a clandestine nuclear weapons program while Iran said its nuclear research was purely civilian. Russia has favored negotiations as a way to resolve the issue.

“It is absolutely clear that a missile defense aimed against virtual and nonexistent weapons and nonexistent threats can only aggravate the situation,” Rogozin said.

He added that Russia maintained contacts with Iran and supported its “peaceful nuclear program.”

Rogozin, who is meeting with the Turkish leadership in Ankara on the U.S.-led missile defense project, said the U.S. pursued its missile defense plans regardless of negotiations with Russia or European partners.

“The Romanian government and the U.S. recently signed an agreement to set up a base of interceptor missiles near Bucharest and shortly afterward the USS Monterey missile cruiser entered the Black Sea waters,” Rogozin said.

He added that Washington also planned to deploy data processing and weapons systems in other European countries by 2018.

U.S. experts are also in talks with the Turkish government on deploying an early warning radar system in the southeast of the country.

An interceptor missile base is to be opened in Poland in 2018 and equipped by 2020 with new missiles, which will be capable of threatening Russia’s strategic nuclear potential.

Rogozin said no other NATO country had interceptor missile technologies, so NATO countries have no choice but to buy missile defense elements from the United States.

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NATO Troops Slay Pregnant Afghan Woman, Child, Young Man

http://www.rttnews.com/Content/GeneralNews.aspx?Id=1676013&SM=1

RTT News
July 27, 2011

Three Afghan Civilians Shot Dead By NATO Troops

At least three civilians have been killed in an attack involving French soldiers from the NATO-led international coalition forces deployed in Afghanistan, officials said Wednesday.

The incident happened after the French troops fired on a car in the Nijrab district of Kapisa province after its driver failed to stop the vehicle despite requests from the approaching soldiers.

The fatalities in the incident included a young man, a pregnant woman and a child. The French military said later that one woman and two men were also wounded in the incident.

The French military’s spokesman in Kabul, Lieutenant Colonel Eric de Lapresle, said an investigation has been launched to determine the exact circumstances that led to the shooting, and added: “The French army recognizes its responsibility in this tragedy.”

Meanwhile, the office of Afghan presidency in a statement said that President Hamid Karzai “strongly condemned” the attack that led to the death of the three civilians.

“The incident happened as NATO forces opened fire on a car that was moving towards them, thinking it was a suicide car,” the statement said. “They opened fire on this car martyring one pregnant woman, one young man and a child.

Civilian casualties are a sensitive issue in Afghanistan, where the West-backed government led by President Hamid Karzai is struggling to win back the Afghan people’s confidence after the recent escalation in militant attacks.

Earlier on Wednesday, Ghulam Haidar Hameedi, the mayor of the southern Afghan city of Kandahar was killed in a suicide bomb attack claimed by the Taliban. Hameedi’s assassination was the third such incident in July after President Karzai’s half-brother and a key adviser were shot dead earlier in the month.

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Russia Opposes U.S.-NATO Missile System In Turkey, Black Sea

http://en.rian.ru/russia/20110728/165433768.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
July 28, 2011

Russia against U.S. missile shield elements in Black Sea

ANKARA: Russia is opposed to deploying sea-based missiles and radars of the planned U.S. missile shield in Europe in Turkey’s Black Sea region, Russia’s envoy to NATO said on Thursday.

Dmitry Rogozin, who is in the Turkish capital of Ankara as part of the NATO capitals’ tour for missile defense talks, said Russia was against deploying naval forces of countries “that shake their weapons and have no relation to the Black Sea basin.”

“The Black Sea has always been a sea of friendship and cooperation and it should remain so in the future,” Rogozin said.

Russia and NATO have agreed to work on the missile shield but NATO wants it to be based on two independent systems that exchange information, while Russia favors a joint system with full-scale interoperability.

Rogozin said NATO planned to deploy a radar integrated with the U.S. missile defense system on Turkish territory.

“As a country that has outlets in the Mediterranean and Black seas, Turkey would have to decide on whether to allow American sea-based missiles to be deployed there or not,” he said.

Rogozin is meeting with Turkish diplomats and defense officials, and said he would also brief President Abdullah Gul of the details of Russia-NATO talks on the missile defense system.

“Turkey is an extremely important player both in NATO and in the entire European Atlantic region. It is the rising star of Eurasia,” Rogozin said, adding that Russia and Turkey had much in common to be able to negotiate productively.

Russia has retained staunch opposition to the planned deployment of U.S. missile defense systems near its borders, claiming they would be a security threat. NATO and the United States insist that the shield would defend NATO members against missiles from North Korea and Iran and would not be directed at Russia.

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Kosovo: More Attacks On NATO Forces

http://en.rian.ru/world/20110728/165425189.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
July 28, 2011

NATO peacekeepers attacked in northern Kosovo

BELGRADE: Unknown gunmen attacked NATO peacekeepers in northern Kosovo for the second time in the past few hours, the Kosovo Force (KFOR) said in a statement.

NATO peacekeepers have been deployed to Kosovo’s Serb-dominated north after clashes broke out in the area on Monday following the Kosovo authorities’ decision to send special police forces to the border to enforce a ban on imports from Serbia, a move opposed by local Serbs.

Kosovo officials later said they ordered the withdrawal from the border posts after government customs officers had been installed at the sites.

Late on Wednesday, a group of several dozen people in masks were reported to have attacked the Jarine border crossing post in northern Kosovo with Molotov cocktails. The attackers reportedly approached the checkpoint from the north (Serbian-controlled territory).

There have been no reports of victims of injuries.

Earlier on Wednesday, some media reports said the Brnyak border crossing post was attacked and set on fire by a group of Kosovo Serbs. The reports have not been confirmed, but KFOR said security was strengthened at both border crossings.

Several hours before the attack of the Jarine checkpoint, two Mil Mi-171 (Hip) helicopters carrying Croatian peacekeepers were attacked by unknown gunmen in the area, the Croatian Defense Ministry said. No one was wounded in the attack.

KFOR Commander Gen. Erhard Buehler has been negotiating with representatives of Kosovo Albanians and Serbs to settle the situation, the KFOR statement said.

Serbian President Boris Tadic has condemned the attacks on peacekeepers. He said, however, that Belgrade “will not go to war” in response to Kosovo attempts to seize border checkpoints and will use only diplomatic means to resolve the conflict.

Kosovar Prime Minister Hashim Thaci has blamed the violence on the Serbian side.

Kosovo, which unilaterally proclaimed its independence from Serbia in 2008, has been recognized by a total of 76 out of 192 UN member states.

Serbs account for up to 10 percent of Kosovo’s population, making up the biggest non-Albanian community remaining in the breakaway region following the 1998-99 Kosovan war of independence.

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Kosovo Separatists Flex Muscles, Russia Concerned

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/07/27/53812067.html

Voice of Russia
July 27, 2011

Kosovo separatists flexing muscle

At least 8 people are known to have been injured after separatist authorities in Kosovo attempted to seize border crossings between Serb-populated northern areas and Serbia.

Russia calls on the United Nations and the European Union to step in and restore order in the border area. In a statement from its Foreign Ministry Wednesday, it also says all disputes between Belgrade and Pristina must be resolved through talks, and what happened at the border crossings is a deliberate provocation.

Back in 2008, Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia. Serbia continues to see is as a renegade province.

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http://rt.com/news/kosovo-serbia-russia-tensions/

RT
July 27, 2011

Russia concerned over tensions in Kosovo

Video at URL above

Russia has joined the EU and US in condemning Kosovo’s decision to send Special Forces to seize border crossings along the shared frontier with Serbia. Moscow says it threatens to destabilize the region.

­”The dramatic deterioration of the situation in northern Kosovo causes serious concerns,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement published on its website on Wednesday.

“We believe that the Kosovo Albanian authorities’ provocative actions destabilize the already fragile situation in the region, escalate tensions and undermine the negotiating process between Belgrade and Pristina,” it said.

NATO-led peacekeepers have been deployed to the area to help control the situation, which is stoking ethnic tensions. Hundreds of people blocked main roads in response to Kosovan police seizing two disputed border crossings. One police officer was killed in overnight clashes, two policemen have been wounded.

Kosovo says it is trying to enforce a ban on Serbian imports in response to a similar boycott of Kosovan goods.

Around 60,000 Serbs live in the north and do not recognize Kosovo’s independence, which it unilaterally declared in 2008.

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Canada Spends $3.3 Billion For Arctic Patrol Ships Against Russia

http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Security-Industry/2011/07/25/Canada-goes-ahead-with-Arctic-patrol-ships/UPI-40851311626012/

United Press International
July 25, 2011

Canada goes ahead with Arctic patrol ships

-Canada is keen to stamp its sovereignty on the area it sees as its own amid frequent challenges from Russia. It has bolstered and extended its military presence but is only now beginning to boost its forces.
-Canada plans to conduct more sea-borne surveillance to guard against what it sees as frequent Russian intrusions.
“The Arctic is part of us. Was. Is. And always will be,” former Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon told Russian hosts when he visited Moscow in October last year.

OTTAWA: Canada is going ahead with a $3.3 billion plan to beef up Arctic security and assert its sovereignty amid competing measures by other countries increasingly interested in the thawing region’s immense potential.

The funds will be used to build up to eight Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ships, the navy said. In addition to more than $3 billion in acquiring the vessels, another $4.5 billion will be needed to maintain them over an expected 25-year lifespan.

International efforts to flag ownership of parts of the Arctic has heated up in recent years as Arctic ice melts, offering numerous opportunities including alternative maritime routes.

Canada is keen to stamp its sovereignty on the area it sees as its own amid frequent challenges from Russia. It has bolstered and extended its military presence but is only now beginning to boost its forces.

In the current and future security environment, Canada must have effective tools for exercising control of Canada’s Exclusive Economic Zones, the 200-nautical-mile limit in all three oceans, particularly the Arctic, the Canadian navy said.

The navy ordered new ships to enable it to effectively patrol the Arctic even when iced. At present navy craft can only navigate the Arctic waters when there’s no ice.

Denmark, Russia and the United States have also boosted presence in the Arctic, introducing more ice-breaking vessels that can ply the frozen sea.

The ships would be built in Canada after an initial design and consultation period of at least two years but would likely be in service by the end of 2013.

Canada’s multipurpose, ice-capable offshore patrol ship “will enhance Canada’s ability to enforce its right, under international law, to be notified when foreign ships enter Canadian waters,” the navy said.

Canada plans to conduct more sea-borne surveillance to guard against what it sees as frequent Russian intrusions.

“The Arctic is part of us. Was. Is. And always will be,” former Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon told Russian hosts when he visited Moscow in October last year.

The Pravda newspaper complained Russia was painted as “the primary aggressor” in Western media reports on the international competition for control in the Arctic.

The Canadian navy said the new patrol ships would need to be built to negotiate all-year the Arctic’s icy waters, Newfoundland, the northwest coast of the Queen Charlotte Islands as well as the Lawrence River and berth at Quebec City. All ships will be armed.

Last year’s budget cuts raised speculation that Ottawa may ditch or drastically cut the Arctic ships program.

At one point the government considered reducing the caliber of the main gun from 76mm or 57mm to 25mm, procuring less powerful engines and limiting the number of vessels to six.

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Canadian Defence Chief Meets Troops Ahead Of Arctic Military Exercise

http://www.vancouversun.com/news/MacKay+meets+with+Rangers+ahead+Arctic+exercises/5152110/story.html

Vancouver Sun/Postmedia News
July 24, 2011

MacKay meets with Rangers ahead of Arctic exercises

WHITEHORSE: Canada’s defence minister met Sunday with Canadian Rangers ahead of a major, annual Arctic sovereignty operation.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay presented members of the 1st Canadian Ranger Patrol Group with Canadian Forces decoration medals in honour of their 12 years of service.

Starting Aug. 8, the 1st Ranger patrol group will take part in Operation Nanook, the military’s annual northern training exercise.

The Rangers, a sub-component of the Canadian Forces Reserve, patrol remote parts of Canada’s North…

Their numbers continue to climb, MacKay said, to nearly 4,700 Rangers from the 4,100 in 2007. The government’s goal is to have 5,000 Rangers by the end of 2012.

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Russian Arctic Force May Include Paratroopers: General

http://en.rian.ru/mlitary_news/20110728/165434778.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
July 28, 2011

Russia’s Arctic force may include paratroopers – general

MOSCOW: Units of the Russian Airborne Troops may be deployed in the Arctic as part of a permanent multi-branch contingent in the region, the Airborne Troops chief of staff said on Thursday.

Lt. Gen. Nikolai Ignatov said the possibility of paratroopers joining the Arctic contingent was being studied on the orders of the Airborne Troops commander, Lt. Gen. Vladimir Shamanov.

“As soon as the analysis is completed, we will submit a report to the Defense Ministry, which will make the final decision,” Ignatov said.

The general also said the Airborne Troops may include helicopter regiments by 2020, when the state arms procurement program is concluded.

“By that time [2020], we will have helicopters and everything else that we need,” Ignatov said.

Russia’s Airborne Troops currently number 32,000 personnel in four airborne divisions, an airborne assault brigade, and a special forces reconnaissance regiment.

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NATO Integrates Armenia For Global War Zone Deployments

http://www.panarmenian.net/eng/news/75093/NATO_praised_Armenias_implementation_of_Individual_Partnership_Action_Plans

PanArmenian.net
July 27, 2011

NATO praised Armenia’s implementation of Individual Partnership Action Plans

On July 27, the Armenian ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defence, Edward Nalbandian and Seyran Ohanyan, participated in a Brussels-hosted North Atlantic Alliance session in the 28+1 format.

During the session, Mr. Nalbandian dwelled on NATO–Armenia cooperation, Armenia’s foreign policy priorities, and recent developments in Karabakh settlement. The Foreign Minister gave a high assessment to Armenia-NATO collaboration in the framework of the Partnership for Peace Program and Individual Partnership Action Plans (IPAP). The Minister of Defence, in turn, briefed those present on the process and perspectives of reforms in Armenia’s defence system and security sector.

NATO representatives gave a high assessment to Armenia’s IPAP implementation, the process of reforms, and Armenia’s participation in Afghanistan and Kosovo peacekeeping missions, specifically noting Armenia’s expansion of its Afghanistan mission, while continuing the mission in Kosovo.

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Afghan War: French, Georgian Troops Conduct Artillery Training

http://www.aco.nato.int/page424201050.aspx

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations
July 27, 2011

French, Georgian soldiers meld to train Afghan Army artillerymen
By Master Sgt. Paul M. Hughes
Regional Support Command-South/NTM-A Public Affairs

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan…Four eight-man teams from the Afghan National Army’s 4th Kandak, 1st Brigade, 205th Corps, hustle to set up their Russian-made 122-millimeter howitzer D-30 guns as fast as they can.

In a unique partnership, the French instructors work with soldiers from the Georgian Army. The Georgians are experts with the D-30s as they use the same weapons. “We know it perfectly,” said Georgian instructor, Capt. Bezhan Kiknavelidze.

The course is four months long, but the French and Georgian instructors have been together for longer than that. Before their deployments, the soldiers worked together in both France and Georgia, and when they arrived in Afghanistan, they spent a month in Kabul preparing for the course at Camp Hero.

The Georgians are the first ever to be sent abroad by their country as instructors…

During the artillery course, the French soldiers do most of the classroom instruction, while the Georgians spend most of their time teaching the hands-on aspects.

The ANA artillerymen are slated to complete their training following a live-fire exercise in late September.

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Pakistan: NATO Oil Tanker Blown Up

http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=59922&Cat=2&dt=7/28/2011

News International
July 28, 2011

Nato oil tanker blown up

LANDIKOTAL: An oil-tanker carrying fuel for the Afghanistan-based Nato troops was destroyed in an explosion near an Army garrison, official and tribal sources said on Wednesday.

The sources said militants had attached a timing device with the tanker (621-TLA) that went off when it reached the Landikotal Bypass Road. The tanker caught fire after the explosion and caused the leakage of 50,000 litres of fuel…

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NATO Gives Swedish Military “Unbelievably High Marks”

http://www.thelocal.se/35174/20110726/

The Local
July 26, 2011

NATO gives high marks to Swedish military
David Landes

Sweden’s defence capabilities would allow it to independently defend itself against all but the most severe attacks, according to an analysis by NATO…

The positive review of Swedish military capabilities comes from NATO’s Planning and Review Process (PARP), which looked at Sweden’s defence capabilities as a part of the country’s participation in NATO’s Partnership for Peace (PfP), which began in 1995.

“Even if the Armed Forces in extreme cases will still need to be dependent on a mobilisation of reserves, with support from the Home Guard, Sweden’s newly developed functional combat forces have an operative capacity and combat competence which would in the first instance deter an attack and if that failed can defend the country against all but the most determined and drawn-out attacks,” concluded NATO, according to a document published by the Swedish Defence Ministry.

Speaking with Sveriges Radio (SR), Swedish defence minister Sten Tolgfors referred to the results of NATO’s review as “unbelievably high marks” for the new Swedish defence model.

The report is based in part on a future constellation for Sweden’s Armed Forces set to be put in place starting in 2014.

Despite the overall positive review from NATO, Fredrik Lindvall, a security analyst with the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI), told SR the review is line with the defence and security policy Sweden has had for the last 20 years which presupposes a reliance on other nations.

According to Tolgfors, Sweden’s move to voluntary recruitment of soldiers remains a challenge, something which NATO also points out in its review.

“It’s the main challenge ahead of us but we can also point out that so far we’ve had ten applicants per vacancy in the new basic military training for new volunteers,” he said.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Joseph Conrad: Men go mad in protest against “peculiar sanity” of war

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Joseph Conrad: Firing into a continent, a touch of insanity in the proceeding

Joseph Conrad: In modern war mankind cannot resist the temptation to use any stealthy, murderous contrivance

Joseph Conrad: Moral cannibals feeding on each other’s misfortunes: ‘It’s a damned bad war, but it’s better than no war at all.’

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Joseph Conrad
From Autocracy and War (1905)

From the firing of the first shot on the banks of the Sha-ho, the fate of the great battle of the Russo-Japanese war hung in the balance for more than a fortnight. The famous three-day battles, for which history has reserved the recognition of special pages, sink into insignificance before the struggles in Manchuria engaging half a million men on fronts of sixty miles, struggles lasting for weeks, flaming up fiercely and dying away from sheer exhaustion, to flame up again in desperate persistence, and end – as we have seen them end more than once – not from the victor obtaining a crushing advantage, but through the mortal weariness of the combatants.

We have seen these things, though we have seen them only in the cold, silent, colourless print of books and newspapers. In stigmatising the printed word as cold, silent and colourless, I have no intention of putting a slight upon the fidelity and the talents of men who have provided us with words to read about the battles in Manchuria. I only wished to suggest that in the nature of things, the war in the Far East has been made known to us, so far, in a grey reflection of its terrible and monotonous phases of pain, death, sickness; a reflection seen in the perspective of thousands of miles, in the dim atmosphere of official reticence, through the veil of inadequate words. Inadequate, I say, because what had to be reproduced is beyond the common experience of war, and our imagination, luckily for our peace of mind, has remained a slumbering faculty, notwithstanding the din of humanitarian talk and the real progress of humanitarian ideas. Direct vision of the fact, or the stimulus of a great art, can alone make it turn and open its eyes heavy with blessed sleep; and even there, as against the testimony of the senses and the stirring up of emotion, that saving callousness which reconciles us to the conditions of our existence, will assert itself under the guise of assent to fatal necessity, or in the enthusiasm of a purely aesthetic admiration of the rendering. In this age of knowledge our sympathetic imagination, to which alone we can look for the ultimate triumph of concord and justice, remains strangely impervious to information, however correctly and even picturesquely conveyed. As to the vaunted eloquence of a serried array of figures, it has all the futility of precision without force. It is the exploded superstition of enthusiastic statisticians. An over-worked horse falling in front of our windows, a man writhing under a cart-wheel in the streets awaken more genuine emotion, more horror, pity, and indignation than the stream of reports, appalling in their monotony, of tens of thousands of decaying bodies tainting the air of the Manchurian plains, of other tens of thousands of maimed bodies groaning in ditches, crawling on the frozen ground, filling the field hospitals; of the hundreds of thousands of survivors no less pathetic and even more tragic in being left alive by fate to the wretched exhaustion of their pitiful toil.

*****

The degradation of the ideas of freedom and justice at the root of the French Revolution is made manifest in the person of its heir; a personality without law or faith, whom it has been the fashion to represent as an eagle, but who was, in truth, more like a sort of vulture preying upon the body of a Europe which did, indeed, for some dozen of years, very much resemble a corpse. The subtle and manifold influence for evil of the Napoleonic episode as a school of violence, as a sower of national hatreds, as the direct provocator of obscurantism and reaction, of political tyranny and injustice, cannot well be exaggerated.

*****

It seems that in both armies many men are driven beyond the bounds of sanity by the stress of moral and physical misery. Great numbers of soldiers and regimental officers go mad as if by way of protest against the peculiar sanity of a state of war…

Categories: Uncategorized

Updates on Libyan war/Stop NATO news: July 27, 2011

July 27, 2011 2 comments

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NATO’s Libyan Air War: Almost 17,000 Air Missions, 6,285 Strike Sorties

OPEC Won’t “Give NATO Carte Blanche To Bomb Oil-Producing Countries”

Libya: Catholic Bishop Condemns NATO’s Bombing Of Food Depot

Kosovo: NATO Camp Firebombed

Serbian Police On Combat Readiness As NATO Helicopters Transport Kosovo Police

U.S. AFRICOM Commander Meets With Egyptian Junta Leader In Cairo

China Warns U.S. Against Deploying Spy Planes Along Its Coastline

U.S. Planning To Maintain Military Bases In Afghanistan?

Poland Pushes West’s Eastern Partnership In Caucasus, Ex-USSR

Armenian Defense And Foreign Ministers At NATO Headquarters

U.S. Warship Departs Estonian Capital After Five-Day Visit

Kosovo On Verge Of Armed Conflict

Sweden: Protest Held Outside Base Used For NATO Training

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NATO’s Libyan Air War: Almost 17,000 Air Missions, 6,285 Strike Sorties

http://www.nato.int/nato_static/assets/pdf/pdf_2011_07/20110727_110727-oup-update.pdf

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
July 27, 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, 06.00GMT) a total of 16,689 sorties, including 6,285 strike sorties, have been conducted.

Sorties conducted 26 JULY: 134

Strike sorties conducted 26 JULY: 46

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OPEC Won’t “Give NATO Carte Blanche To Bomb Oil-Producing Countries

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/07/27/53777539.html

Voice of Russia
July 27, 2011

OPEC says no to NATO bombing

OPEC will not increase oil production as long as NATO continues to bomb Libya reported the Minister of Energy and Petroleum of Venezuela Rafael Ramirez, who is a member of OPEC.

“We can not give NATO carte blanche to bomb oil-producing countries,” he said.

Ramirez warned oil producers of the possibility of the repetition of the events of 1998, when in the wake of the economic crisis, the Asian oil market was so saturated that the price fell below the level of 10 dollars per barrel.

The Venezuelan minister believes that the economically developed countries deliberately try to destabilize the countries in OPEC because of those advocating a fair price for oil.

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Libya: Catholic Bishop Condemns NATO’s Bombing Of Food Depot

http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=11167

Catholic Culture
July 27, 2011

Libya: bishop denounces NATO bombing of food store

Libya’s leading prelate – -a staunch critic of the NATO military intervention in Libya – has decried the bombing of a food store.

“A few days ago, NATO warplanes hit a food store just outside Tripoli, which contained oil, pasta, tomato sauce,” said Bishop Giovanni Martinelli, the apostolic vicar of Tripoli. “A river of oil came out of the warehouse, which was destroyed. I know they have also hit a social center. By what right does one hit a food center?”

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Kosovo: NATO Camp Firebombed

http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics-article.php?yyyy=2011&mm=07&dd=27&nav_id=75648

Beta News Agency/B92
July 27, 2011

Checkpoint in northern Kosovo set on fire

JARINJE: The checkpoint of Jarinje on the administrative line between Kosovo and central Serbia has been set on fire, reports said.

“A group of several dozen young men” was identified in reports as the perpetrators that set the checkpoint facilities on fire.

KFOR helicopters are flying over the area, while media crews are being evacuated.

Beta news agency reports that shots from automatic weapons were heard, and that Molotov cocktails were also thrown at a nearby KFOR camp, after which an explosion was heard.

Thick black smoke was seen rising from that area, according to this.

The attackers were described as “young men wearing hoods”.

Several hundred people are at the checkpoint.

According to reports, the young men were Serbs who came “from the direction of Kosovska Mitrovica”. They asked those gathered at the administrative line post to step away, and then started to demolish and burn the facilities.

Serbia’s state television RTS is reporting that Minister for Kosovo Goran Bogdanović and Belgrade Kosovo talks team chief Borislav Stefanović, who were at Brnjak, are now headed to Jarinje.

The crisis in northern Kosovo started late on Monday when the Kosovo Albanian authorities decided to attempt to take over Jarinje and Brnjak.

Speaking at Brnjak earier in the day, Serbian officials called on KFOR to honor an agreement reached on Tuesday, that was supposed to diffuse the flare-up in tensions and violence.

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http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics-article.php?yyyy=2011&mm=07&dd=27&nav_id=75647

Beta News Agency/Tanjug News Agency
July 27, 2011

Serbian officials call on KFOR to respect agreement

ZUPČE: Serbian officials today in Kosovo called on KFOR to restore the previous arrangement at administrative checkpoints of Jarinje in Brnjak in the Serb north.

Local Serbs there have been blocking traffic in protest on the Priština-Ribariće road leading to Brnjak.

Stefanović stressed that KFOR violated an agreement reached on Tuesday, and that the condition was for the two administrative line checkpoints to be managed as was the case before the Kosovo police, KPS, tried to use its Rosu unit to take them over three days ago.

“The situation on the Brnjak and Jarinje crossings must be as it was before. What they have done at Brnjak is an attempt to install the institutions of Priština on this crossing which they refer to as a ‘border’ crossing. It is not, and it never will be. They wish to do the same at Jarinje,” he warned.

Stefanović emphasized that the only way to solve the problem was for those who entered the checkpoint outside of the agreement, illegally, in order to unilaterally change the situation on the ground and thus prejudice the outcome of the Belgrade-Priština dialogue to leave there as soon as possible.

The Serbian official told the local Serbs gathered to hear him that both Bogdanović and himself demanded from the KFOR commander that the Kosovo customs workers and border police vacate the checkpoint facilities as soon as possible.

“If this does not happen, we will all stay here together,” Stefanović said, and warned that the situation was “serious”.

Goran Bogdanović also addressed the Serbs to tell them that the state will never abandon them or allow for “anyone to unilaterally change the reality and the situation on the ground”.

“We will stand with you and we are firm in our determination to defend what’s ours. We are not asking for what belongs to others, we are defending our own, and we must be persistent and firm in that,” said the minister.

He added that he will continue his talks with KFOR’s representatives, because they were an “organization” deployed in the province in line with the UN Security Council Resolution 1244.

But Bogdanović noted that KFOR “seems to be ready to violate that resolution at this point”.

The minister however expressed his belief that the situation at the two checkpoints would be restored to how it was three days ago.

Serb members of the KPS and EULEX customs were previously in charge at the administrative line.

“We will not give up on that goal, and let nobody doubt that,” was Bogdanović’s message.

Bogdanović and Stefanović were accompanied by SPC Bishop Teodosije, the head of the Kosovska Mitorovica District, and mayors of Serb towns in northern Kosovo.

Close to where the Serbs blocked the roads is a Portuguese KFOR unit, while the Kosovo Albanian customs officers moved their static booth “somewhat closer to the southern (ethnic Albanian) part of Kosovska Mitrovica”, reported Tanjug news agency.

Meanwhile Beta’s reporter at Brnjak said that 15 ethnic Albanians, members of the “Kosovo customs and border police” were flown in this morning by helicopter.

They told reporters that they were in the area of the town of Đakovica when they were ordered to leave, without being told where they were headed.

They added they were “scared”, and that they thought they were being taken to a crossing in an ethnic Albanian area.

There are also Serb members of the KPS at Brnjak, regulating traffic and performing other duties, said the news agency.

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Serbian Police On Combat Readiness As NATO Helicopters Transport Kosovo Police

http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics-article.php?yyyy=2011&mm=07&dd=27&nav_id=75645

Tanjug News Agency
July 27, 2011

Police raise combat readiness along administrative line

ŠIMANOVCI: Interior Minister Ivica Dačić has said that all Serbian police units deployed along the administrative line with Kosovo have raised their combat readies level.

“The night went relatively peacefully in Kosovo, but today we have received information that KFOR helicopters were used to transfer members of the Kosovo police to the Brnjak and Jarinje checkpoints,” Dačić said in Šimanovci on Wednesday.

He explained that it was unclear at this point whether this was yet another attempt to take over the administrative line crossings, and that the only information he had was that the units were transfered in KFOR helicopters.

He said the NATO-led force was a UN (mandate) mission that “cannot take part in such moves by the so-called government of Kosovo”.

Awaiting further developments, the minister explicitly blamed the Priština authorities for the tension in northern Kosovo.

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http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics-article.php?yyyy=2011&mm=07&dd=27&nav_id=75643

Serbia requests UN Security Council session on Kosovo

BELGRADE: In the wake of this week’s flare-up of tension and violence in northern Kosovo, Serbia has asked for a UN Security Council session dedicated to the problem.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Belgrade confirmed this for Beta news agency on Wednesday.

Serbia is yet to receive an answer from New York to the request, the ministry said.

Extraordinary sessions of the Council are called by the country holding the one-month presidency.

In July, that country is Germany.

Should the session be called, Serbia will be represented by her Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremić.

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http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics-article.php?yyyy=2011&mm=07&dd=27&nav_id=75644

Russia reacts to crisis, accuses Priština

MOSCOW: Russia reacted to the worsening situation in the northern, Serb parts of Kosovo to accuse the Kosovo Albanian authorities of being responsible for the crisis.

“We consider the provocations of Albanian authorities in Kosovo to be destabilizing the situation in the province – which is volatile as it is, and to be increasing tensions and undermining the negotiating process between Belgrade and Priština,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Wednesday.

Moscow now expects competent representatives of the international community – the UN and EU above all – to undertake necessary measures, and “control ambitions of the Kosovo authorities”.

“All contentious issues should be solved through negotiations and in line with UNSC Resolution 1244,” the Russian MFA statement said.

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U.S. AFRICOM Commander Meets With Egyptian Junta Leader In Cairo

http://www.almasryalyoum.com/en/node/480746

Al-Masry Al-Youm
July 26, 2011

Tantawy meets with commander of US Africa Command
Dalia Othman

Field Marshal Hussein Tantawy, president of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, met on Tuesday with General Carter Ham, commander of the United States Africa Command, who is heading a delegation to Cairo.

The meeting addressed issues of mutual interest, the latest political and economic developments in the region, Egypt’s role as a key partner in peace-keeping and the various challenges that face the African continent.

General Ham asserted his country’s interest in learning Egypt’s vision on African affairs, enhancing cooperation between Egypt…in Africa.

Egyptian Chief of Staff Sami Annan also met with Ham and discussed military cooperation between Egypt and the United States, the coordination of joint training in Africa and the exchange of political, economic and military expertise with African countries so as to achieve regional security in the Middle East and Africa.

The meeting was attended by leaders of the armed forces and the US ambassador to Egypt.

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China Warns U.S. Against Deploying Spy Planes Along Its Coastline

http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/90055445?China%20warns%20U.S.%20to%20stop%20monitoring%20its%20coastline%20with%20spy%20planes

All Headline News
July 27, 2011

China warns U.S. to stop monitoring its coastline with spy planes

China has demanded that the United States respect its sovereignty and security interests if it wants to keep its relations with Asia’s biggest economy unaffected.

Beijing’s warning came just hours after Taiwan accused Chinese aircraft of violating its airspace while chasing a U.S. U-2 reconnaissance jet.

Speaking to the Global Times, Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman said, “We want the United States to take concrete measures to boost a healthy and stable development of military relations.” The ministry also urged Washington to stop such flights, which it described as a major obstacle to good relations, adding that they had seriously harmed mutual trust between them.

Despite the warning, the U.S.’ chairman of joint chiefs of staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, is adamant of continue such operations in international airspace. “The Chinese would see us move out of there,” he said. “We’re not going to do that, from my perspective. These reconnaissance flights are important,” Mullen added.

This is not the first time China has warned U.S. over monitoring its coastline with such flights. The two countries have been at loggerheads since several decades. In 2001, the two engaged in a major diplomatic row when an American spy plane collided with Chinese jet near Hainan island, killing a Chinese pilot. In revenge, China detained the American plane crew for 11 days.

The military relations between the two nations severed further when U.S. considered arms sales to Taiwan, which China still considers as part of its territory. Washington is expected to make a decision on whether to sell 66 F-16 jets to Taiwan in October this year.

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U.S. Planning To Maintain Military Bases In Afghanistan?

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/07/26/53753585.html

Voice of Russia
July 26, 2011

US military bases in Afghanistan: to be or not to be?
Andrei Ptashnikov

The new US Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker has made a special declaration in Kabul about the alleged deployment of US military bases in that country.

The essence of this declaration is that the USA does not even think about establishing permanent military bases in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of its troops from that country in 2014. The ambassador stressed that there is no reason to fear that such bases may be used for putting military pressure on or even interfering in the internal affairs of countries bordering Afghanistan. Those countries are Iran and Pakistan and it is common knowledge that the USA’s relations with those countries are rather tense at present.

We wonder why Crocker decided to touch upon this subject in the early days of his period in office. Does he mean to confirm the USA’s peaceful plans in the region? He does, in a way, but this is obviously not the only reason. There have been a lot of rumours recently that the USA will not completely withdraw from Afghanistan even after 2014. The USA has not managed to defeat the Taliban even after almost ten years of war and it is unlikely that this objective will be achieved within the remaining three years. Who will control the country after the departure of US and NATO troops? Most experts admit that the Afghan army and security forces are incapable of establishing and maintaining law and order in the country so far. The current President Hamid Karzai is not a very strong political figure either, which is proved by the recent assassinations of his close associates.

In this case, is it possible that the Taliban can return to power as the best organized force in the country? It is possible and the White House is aware of this. A number of informed sources have leaked that the USA and the Taliban are carrying out secret talks on the future of Afghanistan after the full withdrawal of the troops of the international coalition from that country. If such talks are really in progress and if they are a success, can America trust the Taliban? Most likely no and Washington realizes this.

So what choice does the USA have to ensure that all its huge financial costs and human losses over 10 years of Afghan war were not in vain? It seems that there is very little choice. One option is to declare, as time gets closer to 2014, that the full withdrawal of American troops from the country is postponed until later. In that case the White House will not fulfil its promise and will confirm its helplessness in Afghanistan again. It is also unknown how long the war will have to last in that case because no one has ever managed to defeat that country or to impose one’s will on it in the course of its long history.

This means that the second option is more acceptable for America, which is establishing large US military bases in Afghanistan before US and NATO troops leave the country. This can be done, for example, on Hamid Karzai’s request. In that case all decencies will be observed, and the situation in that country will remain under control, and it will be easier to watch over uncooperative Iran. The White House can hardly fail to consider this option, no matter how vigorously the new US ambassador to Afghanistan denies this. There is no smoke without fire.

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Poland Pushes West’s Eastern Partnership In Caucasus, Ex-USSR

http://www.eurasianet.org/node/63953

STRATFOR
Juky 26, 2011

Poland’s Push for Influence in the Caucasus

Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski began a six-day tour of the South Caucasus on July 25 that will take him to Azerbaijan from July 25 to 26, Georgia from July 26 to 27 and Armenia from July 27 to 29. The tour is meant to advance the European Union’s Eastern Partnership (EP) program, which aims to boost the bloc’s cooperation with six former Soviet states (Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan) on the European Union’s eastern periphery.

…The more tangible effect of the trip may be its domestic political significance ahead of general elections in October, demonstrating to the Polish public that the government is not soft on Russia. However, Warsaw hopes the trip will advance its own interests and serve as a small and symbolic step to weaken Russia’s grip over these countries.

Poland currently holds the European Union’s rotating presidency and has put strengthening the EP — which to this point has been limited in terms of scope and resources — at the top of its agenda. In line with this mission, Warsaw has focused on courting the three eastern European countries in the EP program that are on Poland’s periphery, especially Belarus and Ukraine (both countries where Poland has historic cultural influence). In Belarus, Poland has supported political opposition groups, and in Ukraine, Warsaw has played a leading role in trying to broker an association agreement and free trade agreement between the EU and Kiev. These moves and others by Poland are intended to counter the Russian resurgence and Moscow’s growing influence in these countries.

The three Caucasus countries of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia have also been subject to Russia’s resurgence, but until this point have not received as much attention from Poland as part of the EP effort compared to the eastern European countries. This is something which Warsaw hopes to address via Komorowski’s weeklong tour…

Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan represents the pivot of the South Caucasus and is therefore the key country in the region for the West. Azerbaijan’s importance comes from both its location — it borders Russia and Iran in strategic areas — as well as its significant energy wealth. The latter has caused Azerbaijan to be heavily courted by the West to participate in energy projects like the Nabucco pipeline as a means of diversification from Russia’s energy grip. For this reason, Moscow has worked to block such projects…Poland has recently demonstrated an interest in reviving these talks, brokering a deal for the European Commission to begin negotiations with Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan (another potential supplier of Nabucco) on the energy project in September and, though this does not resolve the numerous challenges facing Nabucco, it does restart the discussion, which is itself important.

For Azerbaijan, Poland’s growing role in the EP also represents a unique opportunity. Azerbaijan is looking to diversify its military ties away from its traditional links to Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. It is in the process of attempting to build up its military, but the former Soviet military suppliers have capped what sort of equipment they are willing to supply. Baku is also interested in becoming more compliant to NATO standards. But in order to do this, Baku has to find a supplier willing to go against Russia’s wishes to supply weapons to the country. According to STRATFOR sources, Azerbaijan has been in discussions with Israel but is also looking for a NATO member to fill this role. Though Poland has not publicly stated any interest in this, it is the country that has been bold enough to stand up to Moscow in other areas, so they could potentially be the one Baku looks to in this matter.

Georgia

Georgia is the most pro-Western country in the Caucasus and hopes to eventually join Western institutions like the European Union and NATO…According to STRATFOR sources in Moscow, there have been rumors that the West — particularly the United States — wants to resume arms exports to Georgia, but Washington knows it would be too bold of a move against Moscow. Like the situation in Azerbaijan, there have been backchannel discussions that a third party could be such a supplier, such as Israel or Poland. Poland would likely be very careful in its consideration of such a move given the response from Russia, but Warsaw does want to show its support of Georgia in the security sphere in some way. Komorowski’s visit is therefore intended to show Georgia it has not lost its EU allies, and Poland’s regional presence and relationship with the United States could be a factor in making sure Tbilisi is on the European Union’s agenda.

Armenia

Armenia is the most difficult state for Poland and the West to woo, as it is essentially a Russian client state. Armenia hosts a Russian military base and Moscow owns much of Armenia’s energy and economic infrastructure. Therefore any cooperation between European Union and Armenia will be largely superficial, but economic deals could be a lever for Poland and the European Union to build a presence in the country over the long term.

Poland has a number of interests in increasing cooperation with the three Caucasus countries but also many significant challenges. Still, the EP is meant as an avenue for the European Union to build soft power and long-term influence in eastern states, and this is something Poland has seized as an avenue through which to advance its own interests, a goal which will face no shortage of opposition from Moscow.

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Armenian Defense And Foreign Ministers At NATO Headquarters

http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/news_76756.htm

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
July 27, 2011

Armenian ministers visit NATO

The Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defence of Armenia, Mr. Edward Nalbandyan and Mr. Seyran Ohanyan visited NATO Headquarters on Wednesday 27 July 2011 to address the North Atlantic Council.

They also met the Deputy Secretary General, Mr. Claudio Bisognero.

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U.S. Warship Departs Estonian Capital After Five-Day Visit

http://www.eucom.mil/english/fullstory.asp?article=USS-Carr-Departs-Tallinn-Estonia

United States European Command
July 27, 2011

USS Carr Departs Tallinn, Estonia
Ensign Brian T. Lance, USS Carr (FFG 52) Public Affairs

TALLINN, Estonia: USS Carr (FFG 52) completed a five-day port visit to Tallinn, Estonia, July 26, as part of a three-month deployment supporting theater security cooperation engagements throughout the Baltic nations.

While in port, Carr’s crew held a reception onboard hosted by Robert Gilchrist, the American Charge de’ Affaires ad interim to Estonia…

“The bond between the U.S. and Estonia remains strong,” said Gilchrist during the reception. “Estonian forces worked with us in Iraq and Afghanistan. They do big things with the resources they have.”

Carr is homeported out of Norfolk, Va., and is on a three month deployment supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility.

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Kosovo On Verge Of Armed Conflict

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/07/26/53771125.html

Voice of Russia
July 26, 2011

3 Serbs wounded in clashes near Zubin Potok in Kosovo

Three Serbs have been wounded in clashes in the village of Zubin Potok in the north of Kosovo, Radio KIM that broadcasts in Kosovo and Metohija reports. At about 4:00 p.m. local time, the sounds of gunfire were heard near the village of Varage. At least one Kosovo policeman was reportedly wounded. Controversial reports are coming from Kosovo.

The Tanjug News Agency quotes Milena Cvetkovic, the head doctor of a hospital at Kosovska Mitrovica, as saying that no new patients have been admitted since Tuesday morning. At the same time, Serbia’s Minister for Kosovo and Metohija Goran Bogdanovic has confirmed that the clashes did take place and that there are casualties among Serbs.

The Serbian television says that the Jarine border crossing in Kosovo has been shut. Reports about clashes near Zubin Potok have prompted local Serbs to seal off the road to the Brnjak border checkpoint. Earlier, Kosovo special task police made a failed attempt to storm the checkpoint, Mr. Boganovic said.

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http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/07/27/53775277.html

Voice of Russia
July 26, 2011

Kosovo on verge of conflict

Three Serbs were wounded in clashes with riot police in Kosovo near the village of Zubin Potok. According to the local radio station K.I.M. the situation in northern Kosovo escalated on Monday evening, when Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci ordered the police to establish control over two checkpoints along the dividing line in central Serbia.

Normally the responsibility for these checkpoints is handled by the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, EULEX.

One checkpoint was seized but later abandoned by Kosovo police commandos. The path to another checkpoint was blocked by local Serbs.

Tuesday afternoon, after the intervention of NATO international forces under the command of the Kosovo Force, KFOR, the situation seemed to have calmed down. But later it became apparent that it had not.

According to Serbian media on Tuesday the border crossing at Yasmin was closed. After reports of the clash near Zubin Potok, Kosovo Serbs also blocked the road leading to the border crossing at Brnyak.

The Voice of Russia talked to the head of the administration of Zubin Potok, Slavish Ristic, in Serbian and he had the following to say: “Zubin Potok still remains tense. People fear for their safety. The reasons for concern are the actions that members of the special forces of the Kosovo Police have taken.”

This morning the special division of the Kosovo police and members of the Rosa (Dew) Special Forces Unit seized the border checkpoint in the village of Brnyak. After lengthy negotiations which started at 13:00 hours between representatives of Belgrade, Pristina and KFOR, and representatives of “Rosa”, the border crossing was handed back to KFOR forces.

A half hour later, however, a different group of “Rosa” Forces again attempted to penetrate into Zubin Potok. Members of the Special Forces Unit opened fire on unarmed civilians who attempted to block the road. Fortunately, there were no casualties.

Currently the reports coming out of Kosovo are conflicting in nature. At approximately 16:00 Belgrade time (18.00 GMT) gunfire was heard near the village of Varaga. At least one Kosovo policeman was injured.

The chief doctor of the Kosovo-Mitrovitsa hospital, Milena Cvetkovic told the Tanjug News Agency that there had been no admissions to the hospital during the morning. However, the Minister for Kosovo-Metohija affairs, Goran Bogdanovic, confirmed that clashes had in fact taken place and that there were Serbs among the victims.

The head of Kosovska-Mitrovitsya Region, Radenko Nedelkovic, reported that on Tuesday night negotiations between the northern Kosovo Serbian authorities and the representatives of NATO forces (KFOR) had taken place.

The Serbs insist that the Albanian leadership withdraw its police commandos and special forces from the border areas. At the same time there are reports coming in that the Albanian special forces have already left the checkpoint they captured and moved in the direction of Kosovo-Mitrovitsya, and are now in the village of Zhupche.

According to other reports Minister Goran Bogdanovic and the Political Director for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Serbia, Borislav Stefanovic, had negotiated with the commander of KFOR Erhard Bühler.

Observers say that the recent relations between Belgrade and Pristina have seriously deteriorated. Last week, the Kosovo government imposed a ban on the import of goods from Serbia, citing the decision by Serbian authorities not to recognize Kosovo’s customs seal and thereby prevent the importation of goods from Kosovo into Serbia. The dispute between Belgrade and Pristina had led to the disruption of another round of talks which were to have taken place on practical issues.

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Sweden: Protest Held Outside Base Used For NATO Training

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/07/26/53771632.html

Voice of Russia
July 26, 2011

Pacifists hold protest campaign in Sweden

More than 200 pacifists from 17 countries gathered in Sweden to host a campaign of civil disobedience.

About 170 of them got into the territory of a test range in the northern town of Vidsel to express their protest against militarism.

The Vidsel test range is one of NATO`s major platforms for testing new military tactics.

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Categories: Uncategorized

D.H. Lawrence: All modern militarism is foul

July 27, 2011 2 comments

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

D.H. Lawrence: Future War, Murderous Weapons, Refinements of Evil

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D.H. Lawrence
From the Introduction to Memoirs of the Foreign Legion by Maurice Magnus (1922)

There is M-‘s manuscript then, like a map of the lower places of mankind’s activities. There is the war: foul, foul, unutterably foul. As foul as M- says. Let us make up our minds about it.

It is the only help: to realize, fully, and then make up our minds. The war was foul. As long as I am a man, I say it and assert it, and further I say, as long as I am a man such a war shall never occur again. It shall not, and it shall not. All modern militarism is foul. It shall go. A man I am, and above machines, and it shall go, forever, because I have found it vile, vile, too vile ever to experience again. Cannons shall go. Never again shall trenches be dug. They shall not, for I am a man, and such things are within the power of man, to break and make. I have said it, and as long as blood beats in my veins, I mean it. Blood beats in the veins of many men who mean it as well as I.

Man perhaps must fight. Mars, the great god of war, will be a god forever. Very well. Then if fight you must, fight you shall, and without engines, without machines. Fight if you like, as the Roman fought, with swords and spears, or like the Red Indian, with bows and arrows and knives and war paint. But never again shall you fight with the foul, base, fearful, monstrous machines of war which man invented for the last war. You shall not. The diabolic mechanisms are man’s, and I am a man. Therefore they are mine. And I smash them into oblivion. With every means in my power, except the means of these machines, I smash them into oblivion. I am at war! I, a man, am at war! – with these foul machines and contrivances that men have conjured up. Men have conjured them up. I, a man, will conjure them down again. Won’t I? – but I will! I am not one man, I am many, I am most.

Categories: Uncategorized

Updates on Libyan war/Stop NATO news: July 26, 2011

July 26, 2011 3 comments

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130 Days Of Bombing: 16,555 NATO Air Missions, 6,239 Strike Sorties

Libya Accuses NATO Of Bombing Hospital, Killing Seven People

NATO Bombs Libyan Hospital, Food Depot

NATO-ASEAN Partnership Against China?

U.S. Central Command Gets Own Spy Satellite For Greater Middle East War Zones

Georgia: U.S. Marines Lead Counterinsurgency Training

NATO Blackmails Turkey Over Chinese, Russian Air Defense Systems

NATO Attacks Afghan School, Kills Children

British Attack Helicopter Injures Five Afghan Children

Afghanistan: Major NATO Air Base Attacked

Tanzania: NATO Partner Denmark Joins U.S. Africa Partnership Station Training

Gambia: 41-Nation AFRICOM Exercise Ends With U.S. National Anthem

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130 Days Of Bombing: 16,555 NATO Air Missions, 6,239 Strike Sorties

http://www.nato.int/nato_static/assets/pdf/pdf_2011_07/20110726_110726-oup-update.pdf

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
July 26, 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, 06.00GMT) a total of 16,555 sorties, including 6,239 strike sorties, have been conducted.

Sorties conducted 25 JULY: 111

Strike sorties conducted 25 JULY: 54

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Libya Accuses NATO Of Bombing Hospital, Killing Seven People

http://www.rferl.org/content/qaddafi_government_libya_accuses_nato_bombing_hospital/24276647.html

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
July 25, 2011

Qaddafi Government Accuses NATO Of Bombing Hospital

The government of…Muammar Qaddafi has accused NATO of bombing a hospital and killing seven people in Zlitan, east of the capital, Tripoli.

Government minders took journalists to the destroyed hospital and showed them several food warehouses that the government said were damaged in the air strikes.

A NATO spokesman said the alliance would not release information on the strikes before July 26.

compiled from agency reports

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NATO Bombs Libyan Hospital, Food Depot

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/07/26/53727826.html

Voice of Russia
July 26, 2011

NATO bombs Libyan hospital

NATO aircraft has bombed out a hospital in the west of Libya, claim local authorities. According to the latest reports, 8 people, including 3 doctors, died in the attack.

A food supply depot and a medical depot have been damaged. Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry says another consignment of Russian humanitarian aid is due to arrive in Tripoli today.

In keeping with President Medvedev’s orders Russia delivers aid both to the western and the eastern regions of Libya.

On the 21st of this month, a Russian Emergencies Ministry plane brought a consignment of humanitarian aid to the stronghold of the opposition, – the city of Benghazi.

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NATO-ASEAN Partnership Against China?

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2011/07/26/sketching-out-a-future-asean-nato-partnership.html

Jakarta Post
July 26, 2011

Sketching out a future ASEAN-NATO partnership
Evan A. Laksmana*

-NATO should at least start thinking of engaging ASEAN early to avoid any surprises when a new, region-wide crisis in Asia comes knocking. For ASEAN, if we are serious about boosting our regional security community building, would it hurt to learn from a multi-national organization that has had the longest practical experience in the endeavor?

Jakarta: As the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) enters its seventh decade and as ASEAN consolidates its regional community building ahead of and beyond 2015, the bodies have much to learn from each other.

For NATO, ASEAN will be increasingly critical for the future of Asian stability and order and would be an ideal candidate for a strategic counterpart to tackle common regional and global security challenges — especially when ASEAN consolidates its regional community building, allowing it to share NATO’s role as a community of like-minded nations…

Southeast Asia’s geopolitical, geo-strategic, and geo-economic value also suggests that NATO’s future missions beyond its traditional area of operations might increasingly depend on ASEAN.

For ASEAN, as it further institutionalizes common security and defense arrangements, NATO’s ability to conduct multilateral defense planning and operations — as well as the standardization of arms, joint procurement or regional research and development — provides a wealth of learning materials and proven practices. There is also something to be learned from NATO’s multilateral crisis management.

And as some ASEAN militaries still struggle to improve operational readiness and effectiveness while circumnavigating the complexities of institutional management, NATO’s educational and training reform programs will come in handy.

If we can venture into the future for a second, how would a dialogue or partnership mechanism between ASEAN and NATO look?

Any future ASEAN-NATO partnership could at least be placed within five major policy areas: peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR), maritime security, defense reform and counterterrorism.

On maritime security, for example, there is much to learn from each other and there is ample room for cooperation between ASEAN and NATO in counter-piracy efforts, especially in the Gulf of Aden where the Alliance has an ongoing naval operation as part of the Standing NATO Maritime Group 1.

The same could be said for peacekeeping and HADR operations, where NATO has had a wealth experience, while ASEAN is in the process of revamping its own capabilities. Indeed, both are among the top agendas of Indonesia as ASEAN chair nation this year.

These five areas of engagement could be further executed in four levels of cooperation: strategic, institutional, operational and people-to-people.

Strategically, NATO can engage ASEAN in discussions and dialogue regarding the five security issues using two tracks.

In track one, the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Plus (consisting of all ASEAN countries plus Australia, the US, China, South Korea, Japan, India, Russia and New Zealand) as well as the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) provide critical dialogue venues.

In track two, two groupings are crucial: the ASEAN Institutes of Strategic and International Studies (ASEAN-ISIS), a network of nine major think tanks in Southeast Asia, and the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (CSCAP), a network of nearly all major Asia Pacific think tanks.

Both are critical because they have access — and have been recognized as such — to the track one process within ASEAN and the ARF. CSCAP in particular has several study groups that may be of interest to NATO, such as those pertaining to WMD proliferation, cyber crime or regional naval enhancement.

Institutionally, NATO could explore future cooperation or collaboration with either the ASEAN Secretariat, the network of ASEAN Peacekeeping Centers, the ASEAN Center for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief or even the ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation.

Such links could either explore practical issues of cooperation or focus on research regarding common issues of interest dealing with HADR, crisis management, maritime security or peacekeeping operations. They could also open the way for a future operational collaboration.

NATO, for example, could participate in a future region-wide peacekeeping or HADR exercises. This could either be done through the creation of a new venue or by piggybacking on existing operations such as Garuda Shield, ARF DIREX or ADX.

Other forms of diplomatic defense activities such as port visits or officer exchanges that are more practical and “neutral” might also help alleviate some of the sensitivities of regional countries regarding NATO’s visibility.

Only then, perhaps, can we consider various exercises to deepen the defense reform or transformation process in certain ASEAN countries or focus on new missions such as improving counterterrorism capabilities.

Finally, at the people-to-people level, NATO could engage ASEAN through research and academic engagements with regional think tanks and universities or through various public diplomatic events.

This would slowly and gradually raise the public profile and awareness of NATO’s potential contribution to regional stability.

If we can now come back down to earth for a while, it is easy to think of these sketches to be ahead of their time. This is at least the writer’s impression from discussions with various NATO officials on a recent trip.

While acknowledging the growing importance of non-member partners of NATO, they would prefer the Alliance to have a more careful and calibrated approach to regional engagements, especially given existing budgetary constraints, the various intra-alliance debates and regional sensitivities in Asia about NATO — as well as the imperative to conclude current operational missions.

But it should be remembered that Asians in general — and Southeast Asians in particular — need time to warm up to new actors, which is why we always prefer a sustainable “process” to deepen our sense of comfort with each other.

As such, NATO should at least start thinking of engaging ASEAN early to avoid any surprises when a new, region-wide crisis in Asia comes knocking. For ASEAN, if we are serious about boosting our regional security community building, would it hurt to learn from a multi-national organization that has had the longest practical experience in the endeavor?

*The writer is a Center for Strategic and International Studies researcher in Jakarta. This article is based on a paper he presented in Brussels, Belgium, at a NATO-Asia security dialogue.

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U.S. Central Command Gets Own Spy Satellite For Greater Middle East War Zones

http://www.stripes.com/news/centcom-s-spy-satellite-set-to-beam-images-from-war-zones-1.150088

Stars and Stripes
July 25, 2011

CENTCOM’s spy satellite set to beam images from war zones
By Chris Carroll

WASHINGTON: Commanders in Afghanistan and Iraq will soon be able to track the enemy with their own spy satellite.

ORS-1, developed by the Pentagon’s Operationally Responsive Space Office and launched June 29, is the first satellite dedicated to a single combatant command. It’s scheduled to start beaming back tactical imagery in August after a check of the satellite’s systems is completed in orbit.

The satellite adds a layer to CENTCOM’s arsenal of intelligence tools…Requests from combat commanders for overhead imagery that might have previously been handled by a slow-moving drone could be assigned to the satellite orbiting earth at more than 17,000 mph.

The 900-pound, dishwasher-sized satellite will survey the battlefield from orbit 280 miles high, using the same camera as the U-2 spy plane or Global Hawk drone – attached to a telescope that makes the satellite look similar to a tiny Hubble Space Telescope tilted toward the Earth.

An orbit that carries it over the CENTCOM region every 90 minutes will let OSR-1 train its camera on any given spot for about 10 minutes…It will be able to survey many locations across a broad area very quickly…and commanders can dispatch a drone to linger over areas identified by the satellite that need more in-depth coverage.

“From the time we got authority to proceed from the secretary of the Air Force to the time we launched was about 32 months. In a space acquisition context that’s lightning speed.”

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Georgia: U.S. Marines Lead Counterinsurgency Training

http://www.eucom.mil/english/fullstory.asp?article=Reserve-Marines-Georgian-soldiers-train

U.S. European Command
July 25, 2011

Side by Side: Reserve Marines and Georgian soldiers train together
Cpl. Nana Dannsaappiah, Black Sea Rotational Force

VAZIANI TRAINING AREA, Republic of Georgia: Georgian soldiers can be found fighting alongside U.S. Marines on the frontlines of the Afghanistan. But to ensure both parties work well together on the battlefield requires practice conducted on the training grounds.

Marines from Anti-Terrorism Battalion based in Rochester, N.Y., and Black Sea Rotational Force 11, along with soldiers from the Georgian 4th Infantry Brigade practiced Military Operations in an Urban Terrain (MOUT) here during Exercise Agile Spirit 2011.

Agile Spirit is designed to increase interoperability between the forces by exchanging and enhancing each country’s capacity in counterinsurgency (COIN) and peacekeeping (PKO) operations, including: small unit tactics, convoy operations, and counter-Improvised Explosive Device training.

In Overseas Contingency Operations, Marines conduct COIN operations in which they encounter enemies hiding in small towns and villages…The interoperability training between the Georgians and the Marines focused on overcoming MOUT challenges by sharing proven tactics and techniques among each other and practicing them numerous times.

With almost 1,000 troops contributing in Operation Enduring Freedom in the Helmand province, room-clearing techniques, MOUT and COIN training can really help while fighting on the frontlines alongside U.S. Marines.

The Marines and the Georgian Armed Forces will be training alongside each other for the next two weeks of Agile Spirit. This type of training and interoperability is a stepping stone to the success of the joint missions that are currently being conducted in Afghanistan.

Black Sea Rotational Force 11 is a rotational deployment of Marines to the Black Sea, Balkan and Caucasus regions to work with partner and allied nations to help build their military capacity…and build enduring partnerships with 13 nations throughout Eastern Europe.

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NATO Blackmails Turkey Over Chinese, Russian Air Defense Systems

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=nato-warns-turkey-against-buying-chinese-russian-air-defense-systems-2011-07-25

Hürriyet Daily News
July 25, 2011

NATO warns Turkey against buying Chinese, Russian air defense systems

NATO may avoid sharing ballistic missiles intelligence with Turkey if the naiton decides to buy Chinese or Russian systems for its missile defense program

Ankara: Ankara would have to operate without NATO’s intelligence information on incoming ballistic missiles if it chooses to buy Chinese or Russian systems for its national air and missile defense program, officials of the Western alliance have warned Turkey.

Participating in the ongoing competition to win Turkey’s national air and missile contract are the U.S. partnership between Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, with their Patriot air defense systems; Russia’s Rosoboronexport, marketing the S300; China’s CPMIEC (China Precision Machinery Export-Import Corp.), offering its HQ-9; and the Italian-French Eurosam, maker of the SAMP/T Aster 30. Turkey is planning to make its selection late this year or early next year.

Many Western officials and experts say that since the Russian and the Chinese systems are not compatible with NATO systems, their potential eventual victory might provide them with access to classified NATO information, and as a result may compromise NATO’s procedures.

But despite this criticism, Turkey so far has ruled against expelling the Chinese and Russian options, saying there is no need to exclude them from the Turkish competition.

One Western expert countered that “if, say, the Chinese win the competition, their systems will be in interaction, directly or indirectly, with NATO’s intelligence systems, and this may lead to the leak of critical NATO information to the Chinese, albeit inadvertently. So this is dangerous.”

“NATO won’t let that happen,” another Western official told the Hürriyet Daily News on Monday. “If the Chinese or the Russians win the Turkish contest, their systems will have to work separately. They won’t be linked to NATO information systems.”

This was the first time NATO has strongly urged Turkey against choosing the non-Western systems.

“One explanation is that Turkey itself doesn’t plan to [ultimately] select the Chinese or Russian alternatives, but still is retaining them among their options to put pressure on the Americans and the Europeans to [lower] their prices,” the Western expert said.

Turkey’s long-range air and missile defense systems program (T-Loramids) has been designed to counter both enemy aircraft and missiles.

NATO missile shield

The Western alliance decided during a leaders’ summit meeting in Lisbon in November last year to create the collective missile shield…Ankara agreed to the decision only after the alliance accepted a Turkish request that Iran or other countries would not be specifically mentioned as potential sources of threats.

NATO now is seeking to deploy a special X-band radar in Turkish territory for the early detection of missiles launched from the region.

Senior U.S. and Turkish officials discussed the matter in mid-July in Istanbul on the sidelines of a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and both sides reported progress toward an eventual deployment of the X-band radar on Turkish soil.

Ideally, in the event of a launch of a ballistic missile…it would be detected by the X-band radar, and U.S.-made SM-3 interceptors – based on U.S. Aegis destroyers to be deployed in the eastern Mediterranean and later possibly in Romania – would then be fired to hit the incoming missile mid-flight.

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NATO Attacks Afghan School, Kills Children

http://en.rian.ru/world/20110726/165394250.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
July 26, 2011

Civilians killed by NATO airstrike in eastern Afghanistan

KABUL: At least three civilians including two schoolchildren died and six were injured following a NATO airstrike in Kunar province in eastern Afghanistan, regional governor Said Fazlulla Wakhidi said on Tuesday.

The airstrike took place in the Vatapur district late on Monday night, the governor said…

NATO attack helicopters carried out an airstrike…but cannon shells from a helicopter hit a school, killing the civilians.

At least 1,462 civilians have been killed by fighting in Afghanistan in the first six months of this year, 14 percent more than the same period last year, according to UN human rights officials.

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British Attack Helicopter Injures Five Afghan Children

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-14277631

BBC News
July 25, 2011

Afghan children injured by UK Apache helicopter attack

Five Afghan children were injured in a strike carried out by a British Apache attack helicopter, the Ministry of Defence has said.

They were working in a field in the Nahr-e-Saraj area of Helmand Province on Saturday…

Civilian deaths

According to a recent United Nations report, the first six months of 2011 were the deadliest for civilians in Afghanistan since the war began in 2001.

The country saw 1,462 civilian deaths in January to June, a 15% increase on the same period last year. Most of the deaths were caused by roadside bombs and anti-government forces such as the Taliban.

While the total number of people killed by pro-government action fell by 9%, more people died in Nato air strikes, leaving 79 Afghans dead in the period in question.

More than half of those deaths have been attributed to the use of Apache ground attack helicopters.

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Afghanistan: Major NATO Air Base Attacked

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hFOgVWpXaihXkjtNK3AU6-0CJ-kA?docId=CNG.643344498e2f2a59f170cf3592a94df0.9b1

Agence France-Presse
July 25, 2011

Militants attack NATO airbase in Afghanistan

JALALABAD, Afghanistan: Militants injured two security forces personnel in a grenade attack Monday on a major NATO airbase at an airport in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad, the local police chief said.

“A few men threw hand grenades at the airport gate and the troops returned fire and the attackers fled,” said Sardar Sultani, the police chief for Nangarhar province, of which Jalalabad is the capital.

Two members of the security forces were “slightly injured”, he said, without specifying if they were foreign or Afghan military or police.

Witnesses had reported seeing explosions, including rocket fire, at the entrance to the airport.

An AFP correspondent in Jalalabad said he had heard gunfire, which lasted between 10 and 15 minutes, coming from the airport. He said that the shooting had stopped, but several helicopters were flying over the area.

NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said it was unable to comment on the attack.

Jalalabad airport, which is heavily protected by US forces, is a key ISAF airbase.

In November 2010, eight Taliban insurgents, including one wearing a suicide belt, opened fire at the airport without inflicting casualties, before being killed.

And in June last year the Taliban attacked the same base in broad daylight with rocket launchers and a car bomb. Two foreign soldiers were injured and several militants killed.

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Tanzania: NATO Partner Denmark Joins U.S. Africa Partnership Station Training

http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=61772

Navy NewsStand
July 26, 2011

U.S., Danish Sailors Begin Second Hub in APS East
By Lt. Cmdr. Suzanna Brugler, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania: U.S. Sailors joined forces with the Danish to kick-off the second training hub to take place in Tanzania this year as part of Africa Partnership Station (APS) East, July 25.

The first hub in Tanzania also took place in Dar Es Salaam from Feb. 22 to March 3. APS East…

U.S. Navy Sailors from Maritime Civil Affairs and Security Training Command (MCAST), based out of Dam Neck, Va., and U.S. 6th Fleet Director of Regional Engagements and Intelligence Partnerships, out of Naples, Italy, joined officers from the Danish Task Group International Maritime Capacity Building, at Naval Base, Sylowsvej, to hold various professional training courses…

At-sea training such as small boat operations and the APS “shiprider” program provide experiences many Tanzanian students had not had prior to taking APS East.

“Shipriders embedded on U.S. Navy ships are able to study how other people conduct their business; how they do their work. You cannot teach that in a classroom,” said Karia.

Over 70 students from Tanzania and Uganda are enrolled in APS East, Tanzania hub classes this week. More students from Djibouti are also expected to enroll in following classes.

APS is an international security cooperation initiative facilitated by Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, aimed at strengthening global maritime partnerships through training and collaborative activities…in Africa.

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Gambia: 41-Nation AFRICOM Exercise Ends With U.S. National Anthem

http://www.africom.mil/getArticle.asp?art=6999&lang=0

U.S. Africa Command
July 26, 2011

Largest African Communications Exercise Concludes in The Gambia
By Deborah Robin Croft
U.S. AFRICOM Public Affairs

BANJUL, The Gambia: The Gambian Army band played their national anthem followed by the U.S. national anthem on the parade grounds in Banjul, July 21, 2011, bringing to a close the largest communications and interoperability exercise on the African continent.

Gambian Vice President Isatou Njie-Saidy, along with General Carter Ham, commander of U.S. Africa Command; Brigadier General Robert Ferrell, U.S. Africa Command’s director of C4 Systems; U.S. Ambassador to The Gambia Pamela White; and U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Todd Hannah inspected the troops at the start of the closing ceremony for the fifth annual Africa Endeavor (AE) exercise.

Africa Endeavor is an annual U.S. Africa Command-sponsored, multilateral communications exercise, focusing on both technical and human interoperability and information exchange. This year, 35 African nations, five European countries, the United States, and four international organizations participated.

This year’s exercise was structured by region. Each region simulated the standup of a regional African standby force in response to a natural disaster.

Another milestone that AE11 achieved was incorporating two remote sites into the exercise and establishing long-distance, high-frequency radio communications from Banjul to the headquarters of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Abuja, Nigeria and the African Union (AU) headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Although it took a few attempts, the signal came in loud and clear on July 15.

Looking down the road three to five years from now, Ferrell said that he’d like to add another domain to include a maritime and eventually an air component. Currently, AE is primarily a land-based exercise.

African nations participating in AE 2011 included Algeria, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Egypt, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sao Tome, Senegal, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, and Zambia.

The first AE was held in Pretoria, South Africa in 2006. Subsequent exercises took place in Abuja, Nigeria in 2008, Libreville, Gabon in 2009, and Accra, Ghana in 2010.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Aldous Huxley: Rhetorical devices used to conceal fundamental absurdity and monstrosity of war

July 26, 2011 1 comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Aldous Huxley: Selections on war

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Aldous Huxley
From Words and Behavior (1936)

(In memory of Mons Lomblad)

Words form the thread on which we string our experiences. Without them we should live spasmodically and intermittently…

If, as so often happens, we choose to give continuity to our experience by means of words which falsify the facts, this is because the falsification is somehow to our advantage as egotists. Consider, for example, the case of war. War is enormously discreditable to those who order it to be waged and even to those who merely tolerate its existence. Furthermore, to developed sensibilities the facts of war are revolting and horrifying. To falsify these facts, and by so doing to make war seem less evil than it really is, and our own responsibility in tolerating war less heavy, is doubly to our advantage. By suppressing and distorting the truth, we protect our sensibilities and preserve our self-esteem. Now, language is, among other things, a device which men use for suppressing and distorting the truth. Finding the reality of war too unpleasant to contemplate, we create a verbal alternative to that reality, parallel with it, but in quality quite different from it. That which we contemplate thenceforward is not that to which we react emotionally and upon which we pass our moral judgments, is not war as it is in fact, but the fiction of war as it exists in our pleasantly falsifying verbiage. Our stupidity in using inappropriate language turns out, on analysis, to be the most refined cunning.

The most shocking fact about war is that its victims and its instruments are individual human beings, and that these individual human beings are condemned by the monstrous conventions of politics to murder or be murdered in quarrels not their own, to inflict upon the innocent, and innocent themselves of any crime against their enemies, to suffer cruelties of every kind.

The language of strategy and politics is designed, so far as it is possible, to conceal this fact, to make it appear as though wars were not fought by individuals drilled to murder one another in cold blood and without provocation, but either by impersonal and therefore wholly non-moral and impassible forces, or else by personified abstractions.

Here are a few examples of the first kind of falsification. In place of “cavalrymen” or “foot-soldiers” military writers like to speak of “sabres” and “rifles.” Here is a sentence from a description of the Battle of Marengo: “According to Victor’s report, the French retreat was orderly; it is certain, at any rate, that the regiments held together, for the six thousand Austrian sabres found no opportunity to charge home.” The battle is between sabres in line and muskets in échelon – a mere class of ironmongery.

On other occasions there is no question of anything so vulgarly material as ironmongery. The battles are between Platonic ideals, between abstractions of physics and mathematics. Forces interact; weights are flung into scales; masses are set in motion. Or else it is all a matter of geometry. Lines swing and sweep; are protracted or curved; pivot on a fixed point.

Alternatively, the combatants are personal, in the sense that they are personifications. There is “the enemy,” in the singular, making “his” plans, striking “his” blows. The attribution of personal characteristics to collectivities, to geographical expressions, to institutions, is a source, as we shall see, of endless confusions of political thought, of innumerable political mistakes and crimes. Personification in politics is an error which we make because it is to our advantage as egotists to be able to feel violently proud of our country and of ourselves as belonging to it, and to believe that all the misfortunes due to our own mistakes are really the work of the Foreigner. It is easier to feel violently toward a person than toward an abstraction; hence our habit of making political personifications. In some cases military personifications are merely special instances of political personifications. A particular collectivity, the army or the warring nation, is given the name and, along with the name, the attributes of a single person, in order that we may be able to love or hate it more intensely than we could do if we thought of it as what it really is: a number of diverse individuals. In other cases personification is used for the purpose of concealing the fundamental absurdity and monstrosity of war. What is absurd and monstrous about war is that men who have no personal quarrel should be trained to murder one another in cold blood. By personifying opposing armies or countries, we are able to think of war as a conflict between individuals. The same result is obtained by writing about war as though it were carried on exclusively by the generals in command and not by the private soldiers in their armies. (“Rennenkampf had pressed back von Schubert.”) The implication in both cases is that war is indistinguishable from a bout of fisticuffs in a bar room. Whereas in reality it is profoundly different. A scrap between two individuals is forgivable; mass murder, deliberately organized, is a monstrous iniquity. We still choose war as an instrument of policy; and to comprehend the full wickedness and absurdity of war would therefore be inconvenient. For, once we understood, we should have to make some effort to get rid of the abominable thing. Accordingly, when we talk about war, we use a language which conceals or embellishes its reality. Ignoring the facts, so far as we possibly can, we imply that battles are not fought by soldiers, but by things, principles, allegories, personified collectivities, or (at the most human) by opposing commanders, pitched against one another in single combat. For the same reason, when we have to describe the processes and the results of war, we employ a rich variety of euphemisms. Even the most violently patriotic and militaristic are reluctant to call a spade by its own name. To conceal their intentions even from themselves, they make use of picturesque metaphors. We find them, for example, clamoring for war planes numerous and powerful enough to go and “destroy the hornets in their nests” — in other words, to go and throw thermite, high explosives and vesicants upon the inhabitants of neighboring countries before they have time to come and do the same to us. And how reassuring is the language of historians and strategists! They write admiringly of those military geniuses who know “when to strike at the enemy’s line” (a single combatant deranges the geometrical constructions of a personification); when to “turn his flank”; when to “execute an enveloping movement.” As though they were engineers discussing the strength of materials and the distribution of stresses, they talk of abstract entities called “man power” and “fire power.” They sum up the long-drawn sufferings and atrocities of trench warfare in the phrase, “a war of attrition”; the massacre and mangling of human beings is assimilated to the grinding of a lens.

A dangerously abstract word, which figures in all discussions about war, is “force.” Those who believe in organizing collective security by means of military pacts against a possible aggressor are particularly fond of this word. “You cannot,” they say, “have international justice unless you are prepared to impose it by force.” “Peace-loving countries must unite to use force against aggressive dictatorships.” “Democratic institutions must be protected, if need be, by force.” And so on.

Now, the word “force,” when used in reference to human relations, has no single, definite meaning. There is the “force” used by parents when, without resort to any kind of physical violence, they compel their children to act or refrain from acting in some particular way. There is the “force” used by attendants in an asylum when they try to prevent a maniac from hurting himself or others. There is the “force” used by the police when they control a crowd, and that other “force” which they use in a baton charge. And finally there is the “force” used in war. This, of course, varies with the technological devices at the disposal of the belligerents, with the policies they are pursuing, and with the particular circumstances of the war in question. But in general it may be said that, in war, “force” connotes violence and fraud used to the limit of the combatants’ capacity.

Variations in quantity, if sufficiently great, produce variations in quality. The “force” that is war, particularly modern war, is very different from the “force” that is police action, and the use of the same abstract word to describe the two dissimilar processes is profoundly misleading. (Still more misleading, of course, is the explicit assimilation of a war, waged by allied League-of-Nations powers against an aggressor, to police action against a criminal. The first is the use of violence and fraud without limit against innocent and guilty alike; the second is the use of strictly limited violence and a minimum of fraud exclusively against the guilty.)

Reality is a succession of concrete and particular situations. When we think about such situations we should use the particular and concrete words which apply to them. If we use abstract words equally well (and equally badly) to other, quite dissimilar situations, it is certain that we shall think incorrectly.

Let us take the sentences quoted above and translate the abstract word “force” into language that will render (however inadequately) the concrete and particular realities of contemporary warfare.

“You cannot have international justice, unless you are prepared to impose it by force.” Translated, this becomes: “You cannot have international justice unless you are prepared, with a view to imposing a just settlement, to drop thermite, high explosives, and vesicants upon the upon the inhabitants of foreign cities and to have thermite, high explosives and vesicants dropped in return upon the inhabitants of your cities.” At the end of this proceeding, justice is to be imposed by the victorious party — that is, if there is a victorious party. It should be remarked that justice was to have been imposed by the victorious party at the end of the last war. But unfortunately, after four years of fighting, the temper of the victors was such that they were quite incapable of making a just settlement. The Allies are reaping in Nazi Germany what they sowed at Versailles. The victors of the next war will have undergone intensive bombardments with thermite, high explosives and vesicants. Will their temper be better than that of the Allies in 1918? Will they be in a fitter state to make a just settlement? The answer, quite obviously, is: No. It is psychologically all but impossible that justice should be secured by the methods of contemporary warfare.

The next two sentences may be taken together. “Peace-loving countries must unite to use force against aggressive dictatorships. Democratic institutions must be protected, if need be, by force.” Let us translate. “Peace-loving countries must unite to throw thermite, high explosives and vesicants on the inhabitants of countries ruled by aggressive dictators. They must do this, and of course abide the consequences, in order to preserve peace and democratic institutions.” Two questions immediately propound themselves. First, is it likely that peace can be secured by a process calculated to reduce the orderly life of our complicated societies to chaos? And, second, is it likely that democratic institutions will flourish in a state of chaos? Again, the answers are pretty clearly in the negative.

By using the abstract word “force,” instead of terms which at least attempt to describe the realities of war as it is today, the preachers of collective security through military collaboration disguise from themselves and from others, not only the contemporary facts, but also the probable consequences of their favorite policy. The attempt to secure justice, peace, and democracy by “force” seems reasonable enough until we realize, first, that this noncommittal word stands, in the circumstances of our age, for activities which can hardly fail to result in social chaos; and second, that the consequences of social chaos are injustice, chronic warfare and tyranny. The moment we think in concrete and particular terms of the concrete and particular process called “modern war,” we see that a policy which worked (or at least didn’t result in complete disaster) in the past has no prospect whatever of working in the immediate future. The attempt to secure justice, peace and democracy by means of a “force,” which means, at this particular moment of history, thermite, high explosives and vesicants, is about as reasonable as the attempt to put out a fire with a colorless liquid that happens to be, not water, but petrol.

The alternatives confronting us seem to be plain enough. Either we invent and conscientiously employ a new technique for making revolutions and settling international disputes; or else we cling to the old technique and, using “force” (that is to say, thermite, high explosives and vesicants), destroy ourselves. Those who, for whatever motive, disguise the nature of the second alternative under inappropriate language, render the world a grave disservice. They lead us into one of the temptations we find it hardest to resist — the temptation to run away from reality, to pretend that facts are not what they are. Like Shelley (but without Shelley’s acute awareness of what he was doing) we are perpetually weaving

A shroud of talk to hide us from the sun
Of this familiar life. [“Leghorn, July 1, 1820″]

We protect our minds by an elaborate system of abstractions, ambiguities, metaphors and similes from the reality we do not wish to know too clearly; we lie to ourselves, in order that we may still have the excuse of ignorance, the alibi of stupidity and incomprehension, possessing which we can continue with a good conscience to commit and tolerate the most monstrous crimes:

The poor wretch who has learned his only prayers
From curses, who knows scarcely words enough
To ask a blessing from his Heavenly Father,
Becomes a fluent phraseman, absolute
And technical in victories and defeats,
And all our dainty terms for fratricide;
Terms which we trundle smoothly o’er our tongues
Like mere abstractions, empty sounds to which
We join no meaning and attach no form!
As if the soldier died without a wound:
As if the fibers of this godlike frame
Were gored without a pang: as if the wretch
Who fell in battle, doing bloody deeds,
Passed off to Heaven translated and not killed;
As though he had no wife to pine for him,
No God to judge him. [Coleridge, ‘Fears in Solitude’ (1798)]

The language we use about war is inappropriate, and its inappropriateness is designed to conceal a reality so odious that we do not wish to know it…

Categories: Uncategorized

Updates on Libyan war: Stop NATO news: July 25, 2011

July 25, 2011 2 comments

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NATO Air Attacks Shake Libyan Capital, Environs

129-Day Libyan War: 16,444 NATO Sorties, 6,185 Strike Missions

NATO’s Air Assault On Libya: 16,281 Missions, 6,142 Strike Sorties

Britain: U.S. Crews Fly Around The Clock In Support Of Libyan War

NATO Troops Shoot Dead Afghan Female Doctor, Family Members

Italy Loses 41st Soldier In Afghan War

Afghanistan: Another NATO Helicopter Shot Down

Taiwan Urges NATO, U.S. Navy To Pay Compensation To Slain Captain’s Family

Pentagon Leads NATO Partnership For Peace Exercises In Ukraine

Ex-NATO, U.S. Military Chief Shalikashvili Dies

Ex-Top NATO, U.S. Commander: From Nazi Germany To Bosnia

U.S. Air Force Trains Croatian Officers For Global NATO Missions

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NATO Air Attacks Shake Libyan Capital, Environs

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-07/24/c_131005156.htm

Xinhua News Agency
July 24, 2011

NATO air raids shake Tripoli, environs

TRIPOLI: Tripoli and its environs were shaken by a latest round of NATO airstrikes in the wee hours of Sunday, local press said.

Libyan state-run TV said “imperialist crusaders” have attacked the southeastern suburbs of the capital.

Blasts were also heard near the residential compound of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Sounds of overflying NATO jets could be heard and columns of smokes could be seen after the explosions, according to local press reports.

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129-Day Libyan War: 16,444 NATO Sorties, 6,185 Strike Missions

http://www.nato.int/nato_static/assets/pdf/pdf_2011_07/20110725_110725-oup-update.pdf

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
July 25, 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, 06.00GMT) a total of 16,444 sorties, including 6,185 strike sorties, have been conducted.

Sorties conducted 24 JULY: 163

Strike sorties conducted 24 JULY: 43

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NATO’s Air Assault On Libya: 16,281 Missions, 6,142 Strike Sorties

http://www.nato.int/nato_static/assets/pdf/pdf_2011_07/20110724_110724-oup-update.pdf

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
July 24, 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, 06.00GMT) a total of 16,281 sorties, including 6,142 strike sorties, have been conducted.

Sorties conducted 23 JULY: 125

Strike sorties conducted 23 JULY: 56

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Britain: U.S. Crews Fly Around The Clock In Support Of Libyan War

http://www.usafe.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123264957

U.S. Air Forces in Europe
July 22, 2011

RAF Mildenhall supports NATO Libyan operations
by Senior Airman Rachel Waller
100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

RAF MILDENHALL, England: Joint Task Force Operation Odyssey Dawn began March 19 and the 100th Air Refueling Wing had an active role in supporting the operation, and now the wing continues to support the NATO-led Operation Unified Protector.

“Our mission here is to provide aerial refueling to all U.S. forces along with supporting the NATO countries and its allies,” said Maj. James Muniz, 100th Operations Group training chief.

Since the operations began, the 351st Air Refueling Squadron has off-loaded more than 40 million pounds of fuel to more than 4,000 receivers.

“Between here and other locations, our aircrews are flying about eight OUP lines a day,” said Capt. Tyler Berge, 100th Operations Support Squadron current operations chief.

Year-to-date, the 100th ARW has flown more than 800 sorties in support of OUP.

“Our sorties are significantly longer than our training sorties,” said Muniz. “Each sortie averages eight to 12 hours long.”

In total, the aircrew has flown more than 6,600 hours, and the number continues to increase daily.

“We’re the only air refueling wing in Europe, so it’s been an all-in competition for us,” said Col. Joseph DeMarco, 100th Operations Group commander. “For all the [aircraft] tails, crews and maintainers, it has been a full-time job.”

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NATO Troops Shoot Dead Afghan Female Doctor, Family Members

http://www.pajhwok.com/en/2011/07/24/karzai-orders-probe-lady-doctors-killing

Pajhwok Afghan News
July 24, 2011

Karzai orders probe into lady doctor’s killing

KABUL: President Hamid Karzai on Sunday ordered Afghanistan’s intelligence chief to investigate the death of a lady doctor in central Maidan Wardak province.

Ghazni Civil Hospital Director Dr. Ismayee Ibrahimzai told Pajhwok Afghan News on Saturday that Dr. Aqila Hekmat, in charge of the maternity ward, her 18-year-old son and nephew were shot dead by ISAF soldiers.

The doctor’s husband was injured in the shooting near the Sheikhabad area of Syedabad district on the Kabul-Kandahar highway soon after an convoy of NATO-led troops struck a roadside bomb.

Denouncing the incident, Karzai extended his condolences to the bereaved family and wished the doctor’s spouse speedy recovery. He directed the National Directorate of Security head to prove the killings.

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Italy Loses 41st Soldier In Afghan War

http://en.trend.az/regions/world/afghanistan/1909794.html

Trend News Agency
July 25, 2011

Italian soldier killed in Afghanistan

An Italian soldier was killed Monday and two others were injured in an attack in north-western Afghanistan, media reports said.

The attack took place near the village of Bala Murghab, the ANSA news agency reported.

The killing brings to 41 the number of Italian soldiers killed in Afghanistan since 2003 when Italy began deploying its troops in the country as part of the NATO mission, dpa reported.

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Afghanistan: Another NATO Helicopter Shot Down

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-14271446

BBC News
July 25, 2011

Nato helicopter crashes in Afghanistan

A Nato helicopter has crashed in eastern Afghanistan, but there have been no casualties, officials say.

A Taliban spokesman said they had shot down the helicopter in a mountainous region in Kunar province.

The US-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) said it was investigating the cause of the crash.

It said in a statement that the troops came under fire from militants but the crew and passengers of the helicopter were safe.

A government spokesman for the Kunar province Safiullah Wasifullah Wasify told the Associated Press news agency that the helicopter went down early on Monday in the Chapa Dara district.

He said he had received reports that it was shot down by a rocket.

The Taliban have in the past shot down helicopters of foreign forces in Afghanistan.

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Taiwan Urges NATO, U.S. Navy To Pay Compensation To Slain Captain’s Family

http://www.chinapost.com.tw/taiwan/foreign-affairs/2011/07/25/310977/MOFA-urges.htm

China Post
July 25, 2011

MOFA urges NATO, US to pay boat captain’s family

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) urged NATO and the U.S. Navy to provide compensation to the family of a Taiwanese fishing vessel captain who was killed in crossfire between Somali pirates and the naval forces of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the U.S. Navy.

The MOFA said in a release issued yesterday evening that Minister Timothy Chin-tien Yang Saturday received a formal report of an investigation into the incident from Director William Stanton of the Taipei Office of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT).

The report confirmed that Wu Lai-yu was accidentally killed during an anti-piracy operation off the Horn of Africa two months ago.

The MOFA said the U.S. Navy and NATO should consider giving proper compensation to Wu’s family, as he was the principal source of income for his family.

Wu’s family was briefed on the report the same day by MOFA officials, according to AIT Spokesman Christopher Kavanagh.

The report concluded that Wu “had been killed inadvertently by ammunition fired from the SWG (USS Stephen W. Groves)” and said that an autopsy was not performed due to a lack of trained medical personnel on board.

The warship was part of a NATO anti-piracy mission in the Indian Ocean.

A PDF version of the report was publicly released on the MOFA website with the approval of Wu’s family.

Asked whether the U.S. would issue compensation, Kavanagh said that “Washington is actively considering providing the family with an ex gratia payment.” An ex gratia payment is a payment made without the giver recognizing legal obligation.

Sources revealed that AIT Director Stanton in Taipei said the U.S. already noticed that the U.S. side failed to give timely notice to Taiwan after the incident took place.

Family of Captain Wu and officials of fishermen association in southern Pingtung County said they do not accept the U.S. probe report.

They complained that Wu should not be buried along with pirates after he was caught and killed in the crossfire from the U.S. Navy.

The report did not indicate how the compensation to the family will be made, they said.

To present their case, the Wu family and members of the fishermen association said they will go ahead with a planned protest at the AIT office tomorrow.

The USS Stephen W. Groves (SWG), operating under NATO-led counter piracy Combined Task Force 508, was directed by Combined Task Force 508 to conduct an operation on May 10, 2011, against the Jih Chun Tsai 68 to disrupt further pirate action.

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Pentagon Leads NATO Partnership For Peace Exercises In Ukraine

http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c32/191983.html

Itar-Tass
July 25, 2011

Ukrainian-American exercises begin at Yarovov training ground

KIEV: The Ukrainian-U.S. manoeuvres, Rapid Trident 2011, have begun at the Yavorov training ground, Lvov Region.

The manoeuvres are being held with NATO’s Partnership for Peace programme, the Ukrainian Defence Ministry’s press service reported on Monday.

“The key goal of the exercises is to train peacekeeping tasks and prepare national headquarters for involving in international peacekeeping operations within coalition forces,” the press service said.

Apart from servicemen of Ukraine and the U.S., the exercises involve representatives of 11 countries – Britain, Canada, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Serbia and Slovenia. The exercises will last till August 6.

Rapid Trident (formerly Peace Shield) series of joint exercises have been traditionally hosted in Ukraine starting from 1995, right after Ukraine joined the PfP. The Rapid Trident training mission, which is held annually, is a valuable training tool for North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Partnership for Peace countries and their militaries to gain practical experience working as a part of multinational staffs and to improve their interoperability.

In 2009 the initiative was accepted to do a rotation of the exercises to have a difference format during odd and even years. Thus, the 2011 exercise is a FTX-only exercise and in 2012 the exercise will also incorporate the Command-Post exercise (CPX) with several Brigade HQ’s working on the scenario and using modelling and simulation tools.

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Ex-NATO, U.S. Military Chief Shalikashvili Dies

http://en.trend.az/regions/world/usa/1909552.html

Deutsche Presse-Agentur
July 24, 2011

Former US general and NATO supreme commander dies aged 75

-During his nearly 40-year military career, Shalikashvili served in Vietnam and Korea before becoming NATO supreme commander in 1992.
In 1993, President Bill Clinton appointed him as the first foreign-born chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

Retired US General John Shalikashvili, the former NATO supreme commander, died Saturday at the age of 75 in Tacoma, Washington, dpa reported.

Born to a Georgian father and a Russian mother, he gained US citizenship in 1958, the same year he was drafted into the army, before rising to the highest post in the US military as the first foreign-born chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

President Barack Obama on Saturday called Shalikashvili “a genuine soldier-statesman whose extraordinary life represented the promise of America and the limitless possibilities that are open to those who choose to serve it.”

As chairman of the Joint Chiefs, he “strengthened our alliances in Europe and in Asia…and championed the Partnership for Peace with the former Soviet states,” Obama said.

Shalikashvili was born in 1936 in Warsaw. After World War II, the family settled in Germany before emigrating in 1952 to the United States.

The teenaged Shalikashvili was reputed to have learned English from John Wayne movies.

During his nearly 40-year military career, Shalikashvili served in Vietnam and Korea before becoming NATO supreme commander in 1992.

In 1993, President Bill Clinton appointed him as the first foreign-born chairman of the Joint Chiefs. In that post, Shalikashvili oversaw US military actions in places including Haiti and Bosnia, before his retirement in 1997.

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Ex-Top NATO, U.S. Commander: From Nazi Germany To Bosnia

http://rustavi2.com/news/news_text.php?id_news=42560&pg=1&im=main&ct=0&wth=

Rustavi 2
July 24, 2011

Former U.S. Joint Chiefs head Shalikashvili dies at 75

Retired General John Shalikashvili, an immigrant who rose to the position of Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff during the 1990s, has died. He was 75.

In a statement Saturday, President Barack Obama praised Shalikashvili as “a genuine soldier-statesman whose extraordinary life represented the promise of America” for those who choose to serve it.

His cause of death was not immediately available.

Shalikashvili was born in Poland of Georgian parents. He came to the United States as a teen-ager, learned English from John Wayne movies and rose to become the highest-ranking officer in the U.S. military.

Shalikashvili served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1997, heading the U.S. role in NATO air strikes on Bosnian Serb military targets in 1995.

Shalikashvili succeeded Gen. Colin Powell as chairman of the joint chiefs. Born in Warsaw in 1936 shortly before World War Two, he fled to Germany in a cattle car in 1944 ahead of the Soviet advance.

After retiring from the military, he served as a visiting professor at Stanford and Harvard Universities and publicly endorsed Democratic Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts in Kerry`s losing 2004 presidential campaign.

Shalikashvili, who also served as a director of the Boeing Co., survived a massive stroke in 2004 at his home near Fort Lewis, Washington, next to Tacoma.

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http://articles.latimes.com/1993-08-28/news/mn-28793_1_waffen-ss

Los Angeles Times
August 28, 1993

Shalikashvili’s Father Tied to Nazi Unit : Military: The man Clinton called a ‘Georgian army officer’ when nominating his son for Joint Chiefs post was said to be a Waffen SS major.
Melissa Healy

-Shalikashvili began collaborating with the Nazis in 1941, and perhaps as early as 1939, after the Georgian-born officer was released from a German POW camp in Poland. Following his release, he began organizing the Georgian Legion, a force of expatriates intent upon ***liberating*** Georgia, with German aid, from Soviet control.
-“What is relevant is that Gen. Shalikashvili has done a great job at NATO and that he’ll make a magnificent chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” Sen. Carl Levin, (D-Mich.), a lawmaker noted for his efforts to promote awareness of the Holocaust…

The father of John M. Shalikashvili, the Army general nominated by President Clinton to become America’s chief military commander, served as an officer in an elite Nazi military unit during World War II, according to information released Friday by a Jewish research institute.

The late Dimitri Shalikashvili, referred to by Clinton simply as a “Georgian army officer” when the President announced the nomination earlier this month, became a major in the Waffen SS in 1944, according to Rabbi Marvin Hier, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles.

Information compiled by the center, which collects historical data to help track down Nazi war criminals, indicates that the elder Shalikashvili’s association with the Nazis began after the family fled Poland in 1939 ahead of the Soviet Army’s westward advance.

On the basis of the father’s own unpublished memoirs – on file at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution – Hier said it appeared that the senior Shalikashvili began collaborating with the Nazis in 1941, and perhaps as early as 1939, after the Georgian-born officer was released from a German POW camp in Poland. Following his release, he began organizing the Georgian Legion, a force of expatriates intent upon ***liberating*** Georgia, with German aid, from Soviet control.

The allegation appears to hold little risk of derailing the nomination of Shalikashvili to become chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – a rise through the ranks that Clinton hailed as “a great American story.”

But it could raise questions about how the family was able to enter the United States in 1952, and how much Clinton knew about the senior Shalikashvili’s wartime activities when he named his son to the nation’s top military post on Aug. 11.

“What is relevant is that Gen. Shalikashvili has done a great job at NATO and that he’ll make a magnificent chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” Sen. Carl Levin, (D-Mich.), a lawmaker noted for his efforts to promote awareness of the Holocaust, said Friday. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Levin will be a key supporter of Shalikashvili’s nomination.

It was not immediately clear whether the White House knew the full details of the father’s wartime service when Clinton decided to nominate Shalikashvili to succeed Gen. Colin L. Powell. Officials acknowledged that they knew the senior Shalikashvili had served in the German army, but rejected suggestions that he was an active Nazi sympathizer.

White House spokeswoman Ricki Seidman, echoing Levin’s remark, declared Friday that the younger Shalikashvili’s “record stands on its own, and his father’s history is not relevant.” Defense Secretary Les Aspin, in a statement released by the Pentagon, praised the nominee’s “superb record of achievement” and added that “allegations about his father’s history are not relevant to Gen. Shalikashvili’s nomination.”

Gen. Shalikashvili’s office in Belgium could not be reached for comment on when his father died. According to Hoover archivist Anne Van Camp, the elder Shalikashvili’s widow donated the manuscript in 1980, some years after her husband’s death. Van Camp confirmed that Hier’s account of the memoirs accurately reflects their contents.

Hier emphasized that in releasing details of Dimitri Shalikashvili’s memoirs, the Wiesenthal Center does not oppose the nomination of his son, whom he called a “patriotic American” who deserves to be judged on his own merits and deeds.

According to his own account, Dimitri Shalikashvili became a member of the Waffen SS in 1944, when the Georgian Legion was subsumed into the elite Nazi organization. Until then, the legion, one of several national units organized and armed by the Nazis, had been under the command of the regular German army. The consolidation followed a key attempt on Adolf Hitler’s life, Shalikashvili wrote.

The Waffen SS was the most trusted arm of Hitler’s army in World War II.

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U.S. Air Force Trains Croatian Officers For Global NATO Missions

http://www.usafe.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123264991

U.S. Air Forces in Europe
July 22, 2011

31st LRS trains Croatian officers, builds partnership
by Senior Airman Katherine Windish
31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy: The 31st Logistics Readiness Squadron trained four Croatian air force officers during their visit here July 18-22.

The weeklong training familiarized the Croatians with pre-deployment logistics and planning processes. They learned how to handle material, set up supply stations in a deployed location, supply fuel, distribute construction materials to a field environment and establish a forward operating base.

The training will help the Croatians establish their own deployment program and train other members of their air force.

“They’re deploying to forward locations with us and so they’re here to learn how to move their [equipment] and also learn a little bit of our system,” said Manno…

We were able to familiarize ourselves with the processes for pre-deployment, said Croatian air force Lt. Col. Ivica Eaguz. We will be able to use these processes to make improvements to our systems in Croatia.

The Croatian visit to Aviano also helped foster relations between the two NATO participants. While Croatia and the United States work together in a deployed environment, this offered another opportunity to facilitate relations between the nations and promises greater cooperation in the future.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Aristides on the two types of war: Bad and worse

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Greek and Roman writers on war and peace

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Aristides
From Panathenaic Oration
Translated by C.A. Behr

[T]here are two varieties of war: aggression and self-defence. The former is unjust, and the latter, by being subject to compulsion also, inglorious, because determination is by nature distinct from compulsion. But, I think, he who acts justly under compulsion is better than a willing transgressor. However, one might say that he is not master of the situation.

*****

If oratory will assert that there is a law which justifies the utmost violence and that the mighty hand of Heracles ought to prevail…it will perish by its own arguments. What place or use is left for oratory or words, if force will define justice?…Where is persuasion, if force will prevail, and that too when that very art, whose product is persuasion, grants the use of force?

Categories: Uncategorized

Updates on Libyan war/Stop NATO news: July 23, 2011

July 23, 2011 1 comment

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NATO Air War Over Libya: 16,156 Flights, 6,086 Strike Missions

Libya: NATO Strikes Civilian Targets

NATO Attack Helicopters Intensify Raids Along Libyan Coast

Jordanians Hold Demonstration Against U.S. Interference In Region

Georgia: U.S. Marines Train “High-Quality Combat Units”

Iraqi, Afghan Wars: U.S. Trains Georgian Army For War With Russia

NATO Helicopter Gunships Violate Pakistani Airspace

Japanese F-15s Arrive For Red Flag-Alaska

Russia Strengthens Missile Defenses

American Commentary: Russia Is Real Target Of U.S.-NATO Missile System

Baku: U.S.-Azerbaijani Strategic Relations Discussed

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NATO Air War Over Libya: 16,156 Flights, 6,086 Strike Missions

http://www.nato.int/nato_static/assets/pdf/pdf_2011_07/20110723_110723-oup-update.pdf

North Atlantic Treaty Oragnization
July 23, 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, 06.00GMT) a total of 16,156 sorties, including 6,086 strike sorties, have been conducted.

Sorties conducted 22 JULY: 128

Strike sorties conducted 22 JULY: 46

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Libya: NATO Strikes Civilian Targets

http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2011/07/22/158831.html

Al Arabiya
July 22, 2011

Libya: NATO Strikes Civilian Spots

…Foreign media in Libya have shown what the government said were the sites of a number of NATO air strikes on civilian targets.

Journalists were taken to Zlitan, while air strikes were ongoing. A number of loud explosions were heard and smoke rose on the horizon from several miles away.

In a Zlitan hospital male patients told reporters they had been injured in a separate strike on Zlitan that targeted a civilian neighborhood, killing members of at least one family and injuring others.

The media have also visited a construction company site which had suffered extensive damage. A spokesman said the site belonged to a civilian, commercial concern and had no military connections.

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NATO Attack Helicopters Intensify Raids Along Libyan Coast

http://www.janes.com/products/janes/defence-security-report.aspx?ID=1065930099&channel=defence

Jane’s
July 22, 2011

NATO attack helos conduct raiding campaign over Libya
By Tim Ripley

UK and French attack helicopters (AHs) have been conducting a raiding strategy along the length of the Libyan coastline to keep regime forces off balance and uncertain as to where the next attack will come from, according to UK Army Air Corps (AAC) commanders involved in the mission over the North African country.

“AH attacks are a visible demonstration of NATO resolve,” Lieutenant Colonel Phillip Cook, head of the UK’s Joint Helicopter Command (JHC) Air Manoeuvre Planning Team (AMPT), told a media briefing on 8 July. “We are operating from Brega [on the eastern edge of regime-controlled territory] to Zuwaya [between the capital Tripoli and the Tunisian border]. This increases the risk and sense of uncertainty among regime forces and provides a vital psychological effect.”

The UK AgustaWestland WAH-64D Apache AH.1s embarked on the Royal Navy (RN) helicopter carrier HMS Ocean, in conjunction with French Army Light Aviation Eurocopter Tiger HAP and Aerospatiale SA342 Gazelle helicopters, flying from the amphibious assault ship BPC Tonnerre , began strike operations against Libyan targets on 3 June.

“In a 24-hour period Ocean and Tonnerre can appear anywhere on the Libyan coast, and then the regime will not know where we will strike next,” said an AAC officer who had recently served on HMS Ocean off Libya.

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Jordanians Hold Demonstration Against U.S. Interference In Region

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-07/23/c_131003417.htm

Xinhua News Agency
July 23, 2011

Jordanian protesters burn U.S. flag

AMMAN: Hundreds of Jordanians held a demonstration Friday, where they burnt a U.S. flag and stressed rejection of America’s interference in the region.

During the sit-in in downtown Amman, the demonstrators voiced rejection of any U.S. interference in reform efforts in the country.

Stressing the importance of unity among Jordanians of all origins, they called for uprooting corruption in the Arab kingdom and ending the “security iron fist.”

The demonstrators also condemned a police assault against several media personnel during a demonstration last Friday.

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Georgia: U.S. Marines Train “High-Quality Combat Units”

http://www.mod.gov.ge/index.php?page=77&lang=1&type=1&Id=1090

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
July 22, 2011

Open Door Day – Agile Spirit 2011

Today the Open Door Day of the military exercise Agile Spirit 2011 has been held in the Vaziani Training Area.

The combined military exercise called Agile Spirit 2011 with the participation of U.S. Marines and soldiers and the 4th Infantry Brigade of the Georgian Armed Forces began on July 18.

The focus of the exercise is to increase interoperability between the forces and exchange and enhance each other’s capacity in counterinsurgency and peacekeeping operations.

Defence Minister of Georgia Bacho Akhalaia, the U.S. Ambassador to Georgia John R. Bass and other representatives of the diplomatic corps attended the military exercise.

The U.S. Ambassador to Georgia John R. Bass briefed the media on strengthening bilateral cooperation between two countries: “I am pleased to be here to participate in this distinguished visitors’ portion of the exercise. This is an important part of our ongoing defense cooperation between the United States and Georgia. Today, for this period of the exercise for these two weeks we have US marines training alongside Georgian soldiers and also helping train Georgian soldiers for the types of mission that frankly both sets of soldiers are going to be experiencing in Afghanistan. It is fully consisted with out commitment to support the deployment and training and success of Georgia in the coalition in Afghanistan…and to bring stability in that region and in the world”.

The military-field exercise Agile Spirit is ongoing in the Vaziani Training Area. The scenario is maximally close to real situations – the incidents are simulated according to the ongoing conflict (Afghanistan).

The exercise is conducted by Georgian and US Marines together. They are carrying out “convoy, cordon and search operations”. They are also training in clearing buildings from terrorists, and seizing and disarming insurgents.

Defence Minister of Georgia Bacho Akhalaia spoke on the importance of the joint exercise, “The participation of Georgian military servicemen in such an exercise is very important. The main goal of the exercise is to raise the combat capability of those battalions which are taking part in this joint exercise. In this case American as well as Georgian soldiers are undergoing training together under equal circumstances. Consequently, the Georgian Army will have high quality combat units that are the product of such exercises and trainings”.

The large-scale exercise involves 350 Marines from the Marine Corps’ Black Sea Rotational Force 11 based in Constanta, Romania, the Anti-Terrorism Battalion based out of Bessemer, Ala., and 450 military servicemen of the Georgian 4th Infantry Brigade.

Head of Operational Preparation Division, J-3 Operational Planning Department of the Joint Staff of the GAF Colonel Zurab Tomauri is commanding the exercise from the Georgian side and from the US side LtCol. Nelson S. Cardella, commanding officer, Black Sea Rotational Force 11.

The combined exercise Agile Spirit 2011 will be officially closed on August 1.

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Iraqi, Afghan Wars: U.S. Trains Georgian Army For War With Russia

http://www.npr.org/2011/07/23/138622302/u-s-looks-to-european-allies-for-defense-help

National Public Radio
July 23, 2011

U.S. Looks To European Allies For Defense Help
by Tom Gjelten

With U.S. military spending coming under new pressure from congressional budget cutters, Pentagon planners want European allies to pick up a greater share of the defense burden…

One country pulling its share of the burden in Afghanistan is the Republic of Georgia, still aspiring to NATO membership. The Georgian army has more than 900 troops currently deployed in Afghanistan…

“It’s very important,” says Col. Nikola Janjgava, commander of a Georgian army battalion in Afghanistan. Janjgava told a NATO TV crew that his soldiers are becoming “more professional” as a result of their experience in Afghanistan.

“They are knowing how to work in this different environment,” Janjgava said. “They are knowing how to work with different nationalities. They are working in coalition warfare. As a young, newborn army, it’s very beneficial for Georgian armed forces.”

U.S. commanders welcome that attitude…

“Truthfully, early on, they were not that good,” Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, commanding general of U.S. Army Europe, said in an interview with NPR. “I think the commanders will tell you that. But forces like the Georgians, like the Romanians, like the Hungarians, when you talk to the coalition commanders today, most of them will say, ‘Hey, they can hunt now. They can fight.'”

Some of these militaries have spent nearly a decade in Afghanistan on what is essentially a counterinsurgency mission. But Hertling says their next engagement may be something entirely different, and their officers need to be prepared.

In August 2008, for example, a Georgian army unit was suddenly called home from Iraq to defend the country against a Russian invasion [sic]. Hertling was in Iraq at the time, commanding coalition troops, including the Georgian contingent.

“We were doing a pretty intensive operation when the Russian maneuvering into Georgia occurred,” Hertling says. “These were some of the Georgians that I had helped train. I saw them on the battlefield and then was asked to help them return to their country to fight the Russians.”

…Fighting insurgents in Afghanistan or Iraq has been useful for the Georgians, but as soldiers they need to be better prepared for what commanders call “full spectrum” operations.

Still, U.S. commanders are not complaining. These days, they need all the eager partners they can find.

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NATO Helicopter Gunships Violate Pakistani Airspace

http://nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Politics/23-Jul-2011/Nato-helicopters-violate-Pakistans-border-limits

The Nation
July 23, 2011

Nato helicopters violate Pakistan’s border limits

Nato helicopters violated Pakistani territory limits near the Pak-Afghan border area on Saturday.

According to a private TV, two Nato gunship helicopters violated Pakistan’s border limits in the areas of the Kurram agency. The gunship helicopters came 8 kilometer meters inside Pakistani borders.

The two helicopters remained in Pakistani airspace for sometime without sanction or authorization, and after making flights in different areas of Kurram agency, close to the Afghan border, returned back to their airbase in Afghanistan.

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Japanese F-15s Arrive For Red Flag-Alaska

http://www.pacaf.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123264460

Pacific Air Forces
July 21, 2011

Japanese F-15s arrive at Red Flag-Alaska
354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska: Several Japan Air Self-Defense Force Mitsubishi F-15 Eagles joined other RED FLAG-Alaska participants July 12 after having its entire F-15 fighter fleet grounded in response to an incident on July 4 with one of the fighter jets during a routine training exercise back in Japan.

The Mitsubishi F-15 Eagle forms part of JASDF fighter-interceptor aircraft inventory used to engage hostile aircraft. The F-15 was brought to RED-FLAG Alaska to help JASDF members improve their tactical flying skills and their ability to generate aircraft in a simulated combat environment.

In Japan’s first overseas military training exercise since the disastrous earthquake and tsunami in March, JASDF will be receiving world class training and experiencing a realistic combat simulation…

“Some of our major training goals as RF-A participants are to expand our fighters’ tactics,” said Lt. Col. Koichi Tokushige, JASDF F-15 Unit Commander. “We would like to improve cooperation between U.S. Forces and JSDAF as well as continue to strive for better understanding with our friends and allies in a joint environment.”

Ultimately, the arrival of the F-15s has motivated JASDF personnel who are ready to play their part in this large training exercise. The F-15 will fly a variety of tactics and missions in concert with other participating aircraft throughout the exercise.

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Russia Strengthens Missile Defenses

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article2285863.ece

The Hindu
July 23, 2011

Russia builds missile shield
Vladimir Radyuhin

Russia has built a missile defence shield covering two-thirds of the country, said a top military commander.

The new system will provide protection against missile attacks on Moscow and central Russia, where most of the industry is located, said Lieutenant General Valery Ivanov, commander of the newly formed air-and-space forces.

The missile defence system, which features S-300 and S-400 long-range anti-missiles, is undergoing tests and will become operational by December 1, he told reporters on Friday.

The S-400 system boasts more advanced jamming resistance features, more target engagement channels and enhanced capabilities to hit high-speed targets than its predecessor, S-300, according to specialists.

By 2015 the air-and-space command will begin inducting a new missile system, S-500, said General Ivanov. It is a fifth-generation surface-to-air missile capable of intercepting hypersonic ballistic targets flying in near space at a speed of 5 km per second.

The news was announced on the same day Russia’s NATO envoy Dmitry Rogozin met senior U.S. officials in Washington to discuss possible cooperation on missile defence. Moscow is seeking legal guarantees that the missile shield the U.S. is building for Europe will not target Russian strategic missiles. Mr. Rogozin said if the sides reach agreement Russia will accordingly modify its own missile defence system. Otherwise, the Russian missile shield will target U.S. missiles deployed in Europe.

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American Commentary: Russia Is Real Target Of U.S.-NATO Missile System

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2011/07/22/yes-a-missile-shield-should-protect-europe-from-russia/

Commentary
July 22, 2011

Yes, a Missile Shield Should Protect Europe from Russia
Seth Mandel

-Yes, Iran is a threat. It is a threat that must be taken as seriously as Rogozin suggests. But we have allies in Europe who cannot otherwise protect themselves against what they (reasonably) consider to be their main threat: Russia.

The Washington Post’s David Ignatius seems to have forgotten one rule of thumb when dealing with the representatives of authoritarian regimes: Seriousness does not equal sincerity.

Ignatius recently met with Russian envoy Dmitry Rogozin and Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov to talk missile defense. For the uninitiated, Rogozin has a Soviet charm, yet is a distinctly post-Soviet envoy; he functions as a sort of catch-all ambassador to anyone Russia is in the mood to talk to, as if he were a one-man ambassadorial kiosk floating around Moscow’s alleys in the Yeltsin years.

Rogozin’s charm seems to have worked on Ignatius, who writes that he was delighted Moscow even wanted to talk to American journalists about the issue of joint missile defense between the U.S. and Russia. Ignatius writes:

“Russia wants to be a real partner in the missile defense system, Rogozin said, rather than a ‘passive observer’ watching American operations, like ‘a tourist visiting a planetarium.’ He said the missile defense system should be proportional to the threat, which the U.S. says is chiefly from Iran. If so, he said, then why would the U.S. need to deploy advanced anti-missile systems late in this decade, at the end of the four-phase project, that seem more suited to stopping Russian than Iranian attacks?”

An avid hunter, Rogozin argued that the Americans were claiming they just wanted to shoot rabbits, but were proposing to carry guns that could bring down a bear.

That last phrase is quite clever, but it’s also the point of missile defense in Europe: to prevent Russia from getting any ideas. Russia has been increasingly defensive of its “near-abroad,” and has been making noises about protecting its sphere of influence – concepts that go back to the days of the Soviet Union and détente. And Rogozin often speaks about missile defense in these terms–Iran is the real threat, not Russia.

Yes, Iran is a threat. It is a threat that must be taken as seriously as Rogozin suggests. But we have allies in Europe who cannot otherwise protect themselves against what they (reasonably) consider to be their main threat: Russia. Missile defense is not an exercise in protecting anyone’s feelings. It’s an exercise in protecting ourselves and our allies from harm.

Rogozin can be convincing, and he seems to have Ignatius convinced. But the fact remains: a good missile defense system will necessarily make Russia unhappy – and Russia’s unhappiness at not being able to effectively threaten its neighbors should tell Ignatius all he needs to know.

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Baku: U.S.-Azerbaijani Strategic Relations Discussed

http://news.az/articles/politics/41033

News.Az
July 22, 2011

US-Azerbaijani relations discussed in Strategic Research Center

A delegation of the US Project of National Security is visiting Baku at the invitation of Azerbaijan’s Strategic Research Center.

According to the news service for the center, the delegation visited the Strategic Research Center on 22 July.

The guests were informed about the center’s activity: scientific magazines, it issues, scientific and analytical ties with brain centers and current and future projects implemented as part of cooperation.

It was followed by a round table on US-Azerbaijani relations, priorities of Azerbaijan’s internal and foreign policy.

Along with the current state of US-Azerbaijani relations, further prospects of cooperation between the two countries in the political, economic, military and humanitarian spheres, the meeting participants exchanged views around issues as the recent geopolitical processes in the South Caucasus, talks over the resolution of Nagorno Karabakh conflict, issues of regional cooperation, energy security, influence of energy projects on stability and security in the South Caucasus and so on.

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Categories: Uncategorized

George Meredith: On the Danger of War

Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

George Meredith
On the Danger of War

Avert, High Wisdom, never vainly wooed,
This threat of War, that shows a land brain-sick.
When nations gain the pitch where rhetoric
Seems reason they are ripe for cannon’s food.
Dark looms the issue though the cause be good,
But with the doubt ’tis our old devil’s trick.
O now the down-slope of the lunatic
Illumine lest we redden of that brood.
For not since man in his first view of thee
Ascended to the heavens giving sign
Within him of deep sky and sounded sea,
Did he unforfeiting thy laws transgress;
In peril of his blood his ears incline
To drums whose loudness is their emptiness.

Categories: Uncategorized

Updates on Libyan war/Stop NATO news: July 22, 2011

July 22, 2011 3 comments

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Britain Prepares Aircraft Carrier To Prolong Libyan War Into 2012

NATO’s Core Tasks After Summit: Waging World’s Two Wars

126-Day War: Over 16,000 NATO Air Missions, Over 6,000 Strike Sorties

Libyan War: Pentagon Considers NATO Request For More Drones

Libya: Bishop Laments NATO’s Rejection Of Ramadan Truce

NATO’s Women Warmongers

Video And Text: Mutilated Government Soldiers Found In Rebel-Held Libya

South Africa: U.S. Marines Lead Largest-Ever Joint Military Exercise

AFRICOM Commander In Gambia For 40-Nation Military Exercise

Armenia: U.S. To Lead First-Ever Joint Military Exercises

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Britain Prepares Aircraft Carrier To Prolong Libyan War Into 2012

http://www.janes.com/products/janes/defence-security-report.aspx?ID=1065930096&channel=defence

Jane’s
July 22, 2011

UK looks to send ‘Lusty’ to Libya
By Tim Ripley

UK military planners are preparing plans to deploy the Royal Navy’s (RN’s) remaining Invincible-class aircraft carrier, HMS Illustrious , to the Mediterranean Sea with a squadron of attack helicopters embarked to sustain strike operations against Libya into 2012.

At least one of the RN’s new Type 45 Daring-class destroyers is expected to be deployed on the type’s first combat mission to accompany HMS Illustrious if the plans are approved by the UK National Security Council. Royal Air Force Panavia Tornado GR.4 and Eurofighter Typhoon squadrons are also expected to start being rotated in September if NATO extends its Libya mission for a third 90-day period.

UK Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox hinted during a speech to the Royal United Services Institute in London on 13 July that preparations are under way to allow the country’s armed forces to rotate the contingent supporting the NATO campaign in Libya, saying that the length of operations there could not be predicted.

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NATO’s Core Tasks After Summit: Waging World’s Two Wars

http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/news_76633.htm

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
July 22, 2011

Defence College Change of Command and Graduation Ceremonies

- Adm Di Paola outlined NATO’s core tasks taken from the 2010 Lisbon Summit, and their relationships to NATO’s current operations in Libya and Afghanistan…The NDC was founded in 1951 by General Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Rome: Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola, Chairman of NATO’s Military Committee had the privilege of speaking at the Change of Command Ceremony for the Commandant of the NATO Defence College (NDC).

After 3 years of excellence NATO must bid farewell to Lieutenant General Wolf Dieter Loeser and welcome his successor Lieutenant General Arne-Bård Dalhaug. Adm Di Paola presented LtGen Loeser with the NATO Meritorious Service Medal in honour of his achievements as Commandant of the NDC in further raising the quality of the NDC courses.

In his address to the NDC Graduating class, Adm Di Paola outlined NATO’s core tasks taken from the 2010 Lisbon Summit, and their relationships to NATO’s current operations in Libya and Afghanistan. He underlined the importance of learning from such current events and having an institution such as the NDC to teach NATO’s future senior officers and those of its partner countries, the dexterity to deal with these real-world challenges.

The NDC is the Alliance’s premiere academic institution directed by the Military Committee. Its mission is to contribute to the effectiveness and cohesion of the Alliance by developing its role as a major center of education, study and research on transatlantic security issues and fostering strategic level thinking on politico-military matters. The NDC was founded in 1951 by General Dwight D. Eisenhower.

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126-Day War: Over 16,000 NATO Air Missions, Over 6,000 Strike Sorties

http://www.nato.int/nato_static/assets/pdf/pdf_2011_07/20110722_110722-oup-update.pdf

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
July 22, 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, 06.00GMT) a total of 16,028 sorties, including 6,040 strike sorties, have been conducted.

Sorties conducted 21 JULY: 124

Strike sorties conducted 21 JULY: 45

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Libyan War: Pentagon Considers NATO Request For More Drones

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-drones-libya-20110722,0,1130313.story?track=rss

Los Angeles Times
July 21, 2011

Pentagon mulls NATO request for more U.S. drones in Libya campaign

Reporting from Washington: The Obama administration is considering sending more Predator drones and other surveillance planes to bolster the NATO air war in Libya, and has reopened a debate over whether to give weapons to the rebels seeking to overthrow Moammar Kadafi, a senior Defense Department official said.

NATO commanders requested the sophisticated surveillance aircraft after concluding that they were running out of military targets in Libya after four months of bombing and missile strikes against Kadafi’s military forces and command facilities, U.S. and NATO officials said.

The Pentagon’s willingness to consider strengthening the North Atlantic Treaty Organization force in Libya marks an apparent shift since Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta took over the Pentagon early this month.

Panetta has emphasized that winning the war in Libya is one of his top priorities. His predecessor, Robert M. Gates, had urged European allies to do more and had stressed that the U.S. military was overstretched.

NATO commanders are especially eager to obtain more Predator drones, which can remain aloft for a dozen hours or longer, beaming live video and other intelligence data back to targeting analysts on the ground, a senior NATO officer said. The Predator drones can carry two air-to-ground missiles.

“It’s getting more difficult to find stuff to blow up,” said a senior NATO officer, noting that Kadafi’s forces are increasingly using civilian facilities to carry out military operations. “Predators really enable you study things and to develop a picture of what is going on.”

The Pentagon sent NATO several Predators to augment the Libya operation three months ago…

“We are looking at all the possibilities” for sending drones and other surveillance aircraft, said the senior Pentagon official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the debate is ongoing.

The official said sending more Predator drones would require transferring them from war zones in Afghanistan and Iraq, and counter-terrorism operations elsewhere, and that some U.S. officials and senior commanders oppose the move.

“The reason why this is hard is that everything we have is currently committed elsewhere,” the official added.

Ali Aujali, the rebels’ envoy in Washington, said the rebel leadership had long ago put in a request for U.S. military aid. He said the need is for small arms, antitank weapons and four-wheel-drive vehicles for the desert, as well as equipment to detect minefields laid by Kadafi’s forces.

Giving the rebels lethal aid for the first time would signal that the White House has decided to deepen the U.S. role in hopes of turning the tide in the rebels’ favor.

The Obama administration has furnished the rebels with uniforms, boots, radios, tents, medical supplies and other nonlethal assistance since April. But the United States declined to provide weapons and other lethal aid, in part because Washington did not formally recognize the rebels.

That hurdle was crossed last week when Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced that the United States would join more than 30 other nations in recognizing the rebel leadership coalition, known as the Transitional National Council, as Libya’s government.

“Now that the recognition has taken place, I think that discussion” of providing military aid “will be back on the table,” the senior Pentagon official said.

France and several other countries have acknowledged providing small arms and other military aid to the rebels. Any U.S. decision to send assistance would be made in consultation with allies, Defense Department officials said.

The immediate issue for the Pentagon is whether to meet NATO’s request for more Predators and other surveillance planes.

The Pentagon currently has assigned enough Predators to the operation to keep two over Libya around the clock, U.S. officials have said. In addition, the U.S. has provided a Global Hawk drone — an unarmed high-altitude surveillance plane — and dozens of other manned aircraft, which conduct surveillance, intelligence collection, aerial refueling and other support missions.

Most of the strikes against ground targets have been carried out by manned aircraft from France, Britain and a few other countries. But U.S. Predator drones also have carried out 64 strikes against ground targets since April, according to the Pentagon.

NATO’s formal request for more surveillance planes did not specifically ask for Predators, officials said, but alliance officials made it clear in discussions with U.S. officials that their preference was for more drones.

Times staff writer Paul Richter contributed to this report.

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Libya: Bishop Laments NATO’s Rejection Of Ramadan Truce

http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=11112

Catholic Culture
July 22, 2011

Libya: bishop laments NATO rejection of Ramadan truce

The apostolic vicar of Tripoli has decried NATO’s “indifference” to proposals for a Ramadan ceasefire in the conflict in Libya.

“What amazes me is the indifference of NATO and Europe to the proposed ceasefire for Ramadan,” said Bishop Giovanni Martinelli. “For all the Libyans (for or against Gaddafi) Ramadan is a sacred period, and [this] is a sentiment that should be respected.”

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NATO’s Women Warmongers

http://allafrica.com/stories/201107210929.html

The Herald
July 21, 2011

The Arena – Nato’s Women Warmongers

Out of all the Libya Contact Group representatives from 30 states and organisations that met in the Turkish capital Istanbul last Friday, July 15, United States Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton seemed the busiest, with one website describing her itinerary thus: “Secretary Clinton met with too many dignitaries to name. We see her here with several of her counterparts and Spain’s Trinidad Jimenez. She gave a Press conference as well as a major address to the organisation of the Islamic Conference.”

Apart from Clinton, two other outstanding women at the meeting were Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister Trinidad Jimenez, and the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton.

Dear reader, welcome to the world of elite and influential women who do not need to be in military garb for them to influence global events. Welcome also to women whose children are not fighting in brutal wars elsewhere, but who still enjoy the power that comes with directing these wars. These female warmongers are slowly destroying the adage that women are victims of war since they fully back and advocate for the wars currently being fought.

To them, it must be an amiable achievement – women who have shattered the glass ceiling, and have proceeded to rewrite the war narrative as policy formulators and decision makers.

The war in Libya has brought this element to the fore more than ever. On July 15 as Nato members met in Istanbul to deliberate on the fourth Libya Contact Group meeting (deposing of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi), it was evident that women were calling the shots – Hillary Clinton, Trinidad Jimenez and EU’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton. It was at this meeting that Clinton announced the US’ recognition of the Libyan rebel group.

Incidentally, it was during the Clinton administration in the 90s that we started seeing women who served in government, but who had an appetite for war. Madeleine Albright, Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State from 1997 – 2001 has a few quotable quotes on war which makes this remark quite fitting:

- “If we have to use force, it is because we are America. We are the indispensable nation. We stand tall. We see further into the future.”

- “Iraq is a long way from the US, but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face.”

George W. Bush invaded Iraq accusing Saddam Hussein of having weapons of mass destruction and, Condoleezza Rice was among members of his inner circle. She held the posts of chief security advisor and later Secretary of State, and below again are some interesting quotes from her:

- “We are at war, and our security as a nation depends on winning that war.”

- “The problem here is that there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly Saddam can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”

The post-2008 Zimbabwean elections also saw Jendayi Fraser, the US’ Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, working extremely hard to have Zimbabwe placed under the UN’s Chapter VII, a move that could have given the US and its coalition of the willing the slightest excuse to invade it. And all this at Fraser’s instigation!

The Obama era is no different. With Secretary of State Clinton and US envoy to the United Nations, Susan Rice, it is becoming so evident that women are as eager to have people of other nationalities maimed and killed through war, just like their male counterparts.

The reports about how Susan Rice hunted down South Africa’s ambassador to the UN so that South Africa, together with Nigeria and Gabon could vote for UN Security Council Resolution 1979, are telling.

Then, on March 20, John Avlon wrote: “That a diplomatic team led by Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, and Samantha Power advocated military action against (Muammar) Gaddafi may be a footnote in the Libyan conflict – but it is a significant mark of our nation’s evolution.”

According to Avlon: “The Libyan air strikes mark the first time in US history that a female-dominated diplomatic team has urged military action. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined with UN Ambassador Susan Rice and the influential Office of Multilateral and Human Rights Director Samantha Power to argue for air strikes against Libya. Their advice triggered an abrupt shift in US policy, overturning more cautious administrations’ counsellors.”

Just like Bush and his infamous post-9/11 assertions – if you are not for us, you are against us – Clinton has asked her critics regarding the Libyan conflict, “Whose side are you on?” Matt Welch wrote on the blog http://reason.com/ that Clinton responded to a question raised at a press conference in Jamaica, “. . . But the bottom line is, whose side are you on? Are you on Gaddafi’s side or are you on the side of the aspirations of the Libyan people and the international coalition that has been created to support them? For the Obama administration, the answer to that question is very easy.”

As she globe trots, week in, week out, Clinton with each press briefing leaves behind the chilling effects of how power can be used without due regard to its consequences. In her own assessment it’s either “yes” or “no” and no compromising.

On July 16 she told CNN regarding the situation in Syria, “The brutality has to stop . . . Syria can’t go back to the way it was before” . . . (Assad) “has lost his legitimacy in the eyes of his own people because of the brutality of their crackdown”.

That same day, she called for a speedy solution to Cyprus’ long-standing dispute: “We don’t think the status quo in Cyprus benefits anyone . . . We want to see a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation and we would like to see it as soon as possible,” she said. A statement that does not give room for negotiation. Avlon further remarks that passages from Samantha Power’s 2003 book A Problem From Hell offer insight into principles that may have led to this women-driven war campaign. Although the final decision was made by Obama, Avlon says: “In the end, that a female-led diplomatic team argued for war will be a footnote in this conflict as it unfolds. But it is historically significant. And that it seems almost unremarkable to contemporaries is a small mark of our constant evolution toward a more perfect union, even within our civilian-led military.”

Spanish Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez is no different. She has also attended the contact group meetings on Libya. At the Abu Dhabi meeting in June, she proposed implementing an aid plan for Libya, once Gaddafi had been overthrown, with the aim of giving the country democratic institutions and training a new army in collaboration with the Interim National Council which groups the rebels together.

Jimenez also said that the proposal of a “pact” between the international community and the Libyan opposition would be put into effect once Gaddafi left office. “We have seen that diplomatic, political, economic and military pressure is leaving Gaddafi more isolated every day.” (Source: Madrid EFE in Spanish – Spanish semi-official independent news agency).

Dear reader, you might argue that Zimbabwe had its own women of war: Mbuya Nehanda. But, is this the same? With remote-controlled fighter jets becoming the in-thing, how many women in Africa will also be advocating for wars in other parts of the world? Is this gender mainstreaming?

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Video And Text: Mutilated Government Soldiers Found In Rebel-Held Libya

http://rt.com/news/mutilated-corpses-libya-rights/

RT
July 22, 2011

Mutilated pro-Gaddafi soldiers found dead in rebel-controlled area – report

Video

A mass grave believed to contain the remains of Gaddafi loyalists has been discovered in the Nafusa Mountains in Libya, adding to concerns over the way the Libyan rebels treat captives and the civil population in territories under its control.

­The five mutilated bodies were found in a water tank just off the main road between Zintan, the area’s main town, and Al-Qawalish, according to The Daily Telegraph newspaper.

The identity of the men, one of whom had been decapitated, remains unknown.

The mutilated corpses were clad in green uniforms of a kind worn by troops loyal to the Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi.

Rebel commanders asked to comment on the find claimed that the men were most probably killed by Gaddafi’s forces while attempting to defect. However, after the discovery was reported to local authorities, the area was flattened by bulldozers and the corpses went missing.

The incident has heightened concerns that Libyan rebels may be abusing human rights in four towns they seized in the Nafusa Mountains in the North-West of the country. Human Rights Watch reported that in the past month, Libyan rebels have looted and damaged property, burnt homes and beaten individuals alleged to have supported government forces there.

The rebel military commander in the Nafusa Mountains, Colonel El-Moktar Firnana, has admitted that some abuses occurred after the rebels captured the towns.

Crimes committed by the rebels are being swept under the carpet to support NATO’s cause in the region, says Sukant Chandan, a spokesman for the British Civilians For Peace in Libya movement.

“Fundamentally, there has been a problem in the way the NATO nations and their media have portrayed these so-called rebels. These rebels have been conducting mass lynches of black people throughout the first several weeks and months of this crisis,” the activist told RT, adding that the question has been raised several times at press conferences, but has not been answered.

The media does not reflect these issues as “it does not fit the narrative,” concludes Chandan.

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South Africa: U.S. Marines Lead Largest-Ever Joint Military Exercise

http://www.dvidshub.net/news/74133/port-elizabeth-ceremony-kicks-off-largest-ever-joint-us-south-african-military-exercise

Marine Forces Reserve
July 22, 2011

Port Elizabeth ceremony kicks off largest ever joint U.S.-South African military exercise
by Cpl. Jad Sleiman

PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa: U.S. service members and South African National Defense Force soldiers came together July 22 to mark the opening of Exercise Shared Accord 2011 with a brief ceremony.

Shared Accord is a bi-lateral military training and civil assistance mission held annually throughout Africa. This year’s evolution represents the first joint U.S.-South African military exercise of significant size held in over a decade and the largest to date.

“We’re making a bit of history here,” South African Navy Rear Adm. Hanno Teuteberg, commander of Exercise Shared Accord, told the American and South African troops.

Approximately 700 U.S. service members, composed mainly of members of the Marine Corps Reserve along with a number of Guard and Reserve soldiers, sailors and airmen, have joined more than 1,400 SANDF troops for the event. Over the next week, the forces will engage in live-fire exercises at a training center in Grahamstown and civil assistance programs across the Eastern Cape before the exercise concludes early next month.


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http://www.grocotts.co.za/content/americans-are-here-21-07-2011

Grocott’s Mail
July 22, 2011

The Americans are here
Lungile Mpharu

-Shared Accord is one of 14 annual multinational exercises the US conducts on the continent to train US and African forces to conduct peacekeeping operations in sub-Saharan Africa, and one of two involving South Africa.
Last year’s edition of Shared Accord took place in Mozambique. Benin, Ghana, Senegal have also hosted the exercise.

More than 400 US Marines of the 4th Light Armoured Reconnaissance Battalion arrived in Grahamstown this week to train with South African soldiers and take part in a joint…exercise – and the army has warned that things could get noisy during the next three weeks.

Until 12 August, members of the South African National Defence Force and the US Armed Forces are participating in Exercise Shared Accord 2011 at the Grahamstown 6 South African Infantry Battalion base.

The American soldiers drove from Port Elizabeth to the Grahamstown army base in trucks on Monday, together with an assortment of weaponry, to meet their South African counterparts.

The troops had flown into the country, while their armoury and tanks had to get here by sea. They are docked at Coega harbour, in Port Elizabeth.

Augmented by troops from as far as Pretoria, most of the SANDF contingent are locally based members of 6 SAI.

The military said in a statement that the aim of the exercise was to provide collective training for the SANDF and US armed forces, “building interoperability and mutual understanding between the two forces”.

All services of the SANDF (SA Army, SA Air Force, SA Navy and SA Military Health Service) will be involved.

Included in the training will be live arms exercises and the army has warned that noise levels could be high in the next three weeks.

“We appeal to the community of Grahamstown to bear with us, specifically on 26 July when the noise is going to be at its loudest,” said 6SAI Communication Officer Royden Vlotman.

Port Elizabeth is also getting its share of the action, with Algoa Bay the site of “various SA Air Force and SA Navy components” involved in “exercises at sea”.

According to Defenceweb, Ex Shared Accord is an annually scheduled US-partner nation event and previous editions of Ex Shared Accord were in Benin, Ghana, Senegal and Mozambique. Defenceweb reports that Shared Accord is one of 14 annual multinational exercises the US conducts on the continent to train US and African forces to conduct peacekeeping operations in sub-Saharan Africa, and one of two involving South Africa.

Last year’s edition of Shared Accord took place in Mozambique. Benin, Ghana, Senegal have also hosted the exercise.

Joint exercises between South African and US armed forces, according to Defenceweb, are “somewhat uncommon because of political attitudes in the former, but are not as rare as may be thought”.

In July 2003 a battalion of US Rangers was deployed to De Brug, Bloemfontein, for Flintlock 2003 with the SA Army’s 44 Parachute Regiment. Medflag 2004 at the Hoedspruit, Mpumalanga Air Force Base featured 250 US Air Force personnel. One of the operations carried out there was a mass-casualty exercise with the SA Military Health Service and SA Air Force.

Minister of Defence Lindiwe Sisulu will be the guest of honour next Friday at the Grahamstown army base, where the marines are based, for a tactical weapons display. They will be demonstrating the centrepiece of the exercise, the LAV/25 – an eight-wheeled amphibious reconnaissance vehicle used by the United States Marine Corps, but made in Canada.

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AFRICOM Commander In Gambia For 40-Nation Military Exercise

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-07/22/c_131000999.htm

Xinhua News Agency
July 22, 2011

U. S. military commander for Africa command in Banjul for joint military exercise

BANJUL: The commander of the U. S. Africa Command, General Carter Ham, is in the Gambian capital Banjul for an on-going joint military exercise [Africa Endeavor 2011] involving 40 African countries.

Ham on Thursday called on Gambian Vice President and Minister of Women’s Affairs Aja Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy at the State House.

Accompanied by the chief of defense staff of the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF), Lt. General Masanneh Kinteh, Ham was at the State House to express his sincere appreciation to the vice president and the government of Gambia for successfully hosting the military exercise to be concluded on Thursday.

“It has been a wonderful opportunity for the 40 different nations to assemble here in The Gambia and participate in this very important military training. It would not have been possible without her support as well as the support of the chief of Defense Staff, Lt. Gen. Kinteh and the entire government,” he told reporters.

General Ham said the vice president of Gambia was pleased with the exercise, and went on to disclose that they discussed with the CDS of GAF the possibility of conducting a similar military exercise in the near future.

The exercise, which was organized by the U. S. government, the U. S. Department of State for Defense and the U. S. Africa Command, was meant to give the participating nations a unique opportunity to once again test their military communication equipment with a view to harmonizing their interoperability for future support to the African forces operations.

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Armenia: U.S. To Lead First-Ever Joint Military Exercises

http://asbarez.com/97182/u-s-armenia-to-hold-joint-military-drills/

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
July 22, 2011

U.S., Armenia to Hold Joint Military Drills
By Emil Danielyan

-The Defense Ministry statement Tonoyan…discussed in Washington the training of Armenian military personnel in the United States. It said the two sides also mapped out “new areas of further cooperation” stemming from Armenia’s recent “strategic defense review.”
The review is part of ongoing defense reforms which are envisaged by Armenia’s Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) with NATO launched in 2005. They are supposed to bring the Armenian military into greater conformity with U.S. and NATO standards.

WASHINGTON: The United States and Armenia have tentatively agreed to hold first-ever joint military exercises that will highlight their growing security ties, the Armenian Defense Ministry announced on Friday.

Ministry spokesman Davit Karapetian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service that the drills will likely take place next year or in 2013 and involve U.S. and Armenian troops engaged in multinational “peacekeeping” operations. He said an agreement to that effect was finalized during U.S.-Armenian “defense consultations” held in Washington this week.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense Alexander Vershbow and his deputy Celeste Wallander held the two-day talks with an Armenian delegation headed by First Deputy Defense Davit Tonoyan.

Tonoyan also met separately with U.S. Undersecretary of Defense Michele Flournoy and Eric Rubin, the newly appointed deputy assistant secretary of state for Europe and Eurasia. The Pentagon issued no statements on the talks.

The Defense Ministry in Yerevan said they took place “in a warm and constructive atmosphere.” “The parties expressed readiness to expand the spheres of cooperation,” read a ministry statement.

According to the statement, Tonoyan discussed with the Pentagon officials “joint exercises and trainings with the aim of participating in peacekeeping operations.”

Karapetian clarified that they reached a “preliminary agreement to hold joint exercises of peacekeeping forces of the two countries in Armenia in 2012-2013.” The drills will help to improve the interoperability of those forces, he said.

“This is very important considering the peacekeeping operations carried out by U.S. and Armenian troops in Afghanistan,” added the ministry spokesman.

Armenia last month almost tripled its participation in NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) for Afghanistan and currently has about 130 troops on the ground. Wallander praised the additional Armenian troop deployment there when she visited Yerevan later in June.

The Defense Ministry statement Tonoyan also discussed in Washington the training of Armenian military personnel in the United States. It said the two sides also mapped out “new areas of further cooperation” stemming from Armenia’s recent “strategic defense review.”

The review is part of ongoing defense reforms which are envisaged by Armenia’s Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) with NATO launched in 2005. They are supposed to bring the Armenian military into greater conformity with U.S. and NATO standards.

U.S. and Armenian troops have until now trained together only in multinational exercises organized by NATO. Armenia has hosted two such exercises in recent years.

Those drills as well as the Armenian participation in the U.S.-led missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo have underscored Armenia’s desire to complement its military alliance with Russia with closer defense links with the West. Yerevan and Moscow bolstered that alliance last year with an agreement that extended Russian military presence in the South Caucasus country by 24 years, until 2044.

Speaking to RFE/RL’s Armenian service in Yerevan, Wallander insisted that Russian-Armenian military ties are not an obstacle to growing military cooperation between the U.S. and Armenia.

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Categories: Uncategorized

U.S. Afghan Strategy: Senseless And Merciless

July 22, 2011 3 comments

Voice of Russia
July 22, 2011

US Afghan strategy: senseless and merciless
John Robles

Interview with Rick Rozoff, the manager of the Stop NATO website and mailing list and a contributing writer to Global Research.ca in Canada.

I want to ask you some questions about the transfer of command in Afghanistan from General Petraeus to General Allen. Do you see any definitive change in the situation in the country in the near future?

No, I don’t. This is the latest in a series of rotations of the top military commanders simultaneously, of course, throughout the US’s so-called Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and NATO’s International Security Assistance Force. Two years ago, Gen. David McKiernan was ousted and replaced by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who in turn was kicked out in favour of Gen. David Petraeus.

And now we have Marine General John Allen stepping in. Throughout that succession of top commanders, the situation has gone from bad to worse and, with recent events in Afghanistan, there is no reason to believe anything is going to be changed and certainly not improved. We do know that successive commanders intensified the brutality and intensity of military actions, that Petraeus most notably increased so-called night raids, special forces operations, which, as often as not, resulted in deaths of Afghan civilians but also in the intensification of air raids.

We know, for example, that, as of the end of last month, the first half of this year, almost 1,500 Afghan civilians were killed, which is the highest in that six-month period in the war and certainly higher than it was a year ago during the same period. There is also a recent report that stated that in the last two years 250,000 – a record – Afghan civilians have been forced to flee their towns and villages because of the intense fighting. So, if there is any index, there is no way of portraying the situation in Afghanistan as having become any better.

Why is the US in Afghanistan? Did I ask you this question?

I’ll give you my personal estimate and I think it’s the one that became apparent with the initial thrust into Afghanistan almost ten years ago, which occurred less than three months after the founding of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in the summer of 2001. My supposition is – not withstanding the hunt for Osama bin Laden and whatever else was presented as the casus belli for the invasion of Afghanistan and its continuation for ten years – that, in essence, the US and its Western allies wanted to plant themselves firmly at the point of confluence where Russia, China, Iran, India, Pakistan and other nations might be able to cooperate in building a multipolar alternative to the US-dominated unipolar world by being in Afghanistan and its environs. We have to keep in mind that the US and its NATO allies, their military facilities, are still based in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan, where the US recently has been told to leave a base from which it was waging drone missile attacks, which have killed 2,500 or so people in Pakistan; last year was the highest with almost a thousand people killed. In January of 2010 Dawn News, citing Pakistani Defense Ministry sources, stated there were something like 714 people killed in Pakistan by US drone missile attacks in the preceding year and out of those 714 only five were either al-Qaeda or Taliban fighters.

Five?

Five. And let’s assume, several hundred, if not a thousand or more civilians have been killed in the drone attacks, which are now, of course, being spread with increased intensity not only in Afghanistan and Pakistan and, earlier, in Iraq, but in Yemen, most recently in Somalia and with the deployment of US Predator drones in Libya, in that country. So we now have six countries in which the US is waging drone warfare. And I think we will see the intensification of that mode of warfare under Gen. Allen as he assumes the command of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan. The Pentagon is not responsible for those attacks. The Central Intelligence Agency is – and guess who is taking over that agency in September?

Petraeus?

Yes. So, there will be continuity on that end now that the top Western military commander in Afghanistan is in charge of the US government agency that is waging the drone attacks. So I think one would be justified in expecting an escalation of drone attacks inside Pakistan. The carnage inside Afghanistan is keeping pace with the killings by drone missile attacks, Hellfire missiles, inside Pakistan.

How would you characterize the entire campaign by NATO and the US in Afghanistan? As a complete failure, or were there any gains?

There was an article recently by the US Department of Defense, the Pentagon’s, press agency, American Forces Press Service, that just happened to mention in passing that the Shindand Air Base in Herat Province has tripled in size recently to become the second largest military air base in Afghanistan next to that at Bagram.

Last year, the US and its NATO allies stepped up the extension of air bases in Afghanistan – in Kandahar, in Mazar e Sharif, in Jalalabad in addition to Bagram and Shindand – they are going to have air bases that control the entire region, a good deal of the Greater Middle East, if you will, in addition to continuing troop transits.

They’ve also set up the Northern Distribution Network. It’s an extensive network of air, rail and truck transportation, which now includes 13 of 15 former Soviet Republics, all except Moldova and Ukraine currently.

Men and materiel are being moved in and out, and this is an amazing network, when you look at it, including just recently the first air flight from the US over the North Pole and then over Kazakhstan into Afghanistan. So, in terms of building up a military network around the world – and we also have to remember there are troops from over 50 countries serving under NATO in Afghanistan, which is the largest amount of countries offering troops for one military command in one nation in world history. We also have to recall that Afghanistan has become a training ground, if you will, to place US-NATO allies and partners in real-life combat situations, to integrate the militaries of at least 50 countries under, basically, US command, using English as their common language. I’m arguing that Afghanistan is a laboratory for integrating the militaries of these various countries.

Categories: Uncategorized

In Past Ten Years U.S. Has Expanded Military Network Throughout The World

July 22, 2011 1 comment

Stop NATO
July 22, 2011

In Past Ten Years U.S. Has Expanded Military Network Throughout The World
Rick Rozoff

The unprecedented expansion of American military presence throughout the world in the last decade, in support of and consolidated by attacks and invasions in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Pakistan, Yemen and Libya, has been marked by the Pentagon securing new bases in several continents and Oceania.

In the past ten years the U.S. has gained access to and expanded and upgraded dozens of bases abroad, in most every case in nations that had been off-limits to it during the Cold War and even the last decade of the 20th century.

These include multi-service (Army, Marines, Air Force and Navy) main operating, forward deployed and pre-positioning bases, storage and logistics facilities, base camps, air and naval installations, a global strategic airlift operation, interceptor missile and related radar bases, unmanned aerial vehicle (drone) launch pads, satellite surveillance sites, permanent training programs and centers, new regional task forces and even a new overseas military command: U.S. Africa Command, which takes in 54 nations, almost 30 percent of the member states of the United Nations.

Individually and in conjunction with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the U.S. has deployed or will soon do so armed forces to new locations ranging from “lily pads” to strategic air bases from the Baltic Sea to South America, Southeastern Europe to Southeast Asia, the Horn of Africa to Central and South Asia, the Indian Ocean to the Caspian Sea, the Caucasus to Central Europe, the South Pacific to the Black Sea.

The countries affected (as of last count, proceeding through the alphabet) include:

Afghanistan
Australia
Bahrain
Bulgaria
Colombia
Djibouti
Estonia
Ethiopia
Gabon
Georgia
Hungary
Iraq
Israel
Kenya
Kyrgyzstan
Lithuania
Mali
Morocco
Netherlands Antilles
Pakistan
Philippines
Poland
Romania
Senegal
Seychelles
Singapore
Uganda

With the activation of the Northern Distribution Network to supply the nearly ten-year war in Afghanistan, all but two of fifteen former Soviet Republics – Moldova and Ukraine – have been incorporated into troop and equipment transit routes for the world’s longest armed conflict: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. In January the Russian government announced that U.S. and NATO flights over the country in support of the Afghan war had reached “up to 4,500 flights in one direction in a year.” The next month Voice of Russia, citing Foreign Ministry figures, revealed that 15,000 U.S. military personnel and over 20,000 tons of cargo had crossed Russian territory en route to Afghanistan since October of 2009.

In recent years the U.S. has led military exercises on a regular (at least annual) basis, frequently with NATO and Asian NATO allies, in Bulgaria, Romania, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Cambodia and throughout the African continent (with Flintlock, Africa Endeavor, Natural Fire and Africa Partnership Station operations).

Most of the bases where American military personnel and assets have been and are being stationed are preexisting facilities – seven in Colombia, four each in Bulgaria and Romania, scores in Afghanistan and Iraq – but many are new: a missile shield-linked Forward-Based X-Band Radar installation deployed in Israel’s Negev Desert (with a range of 2,900 miles) in 2008 staffed by some 100 U.S. service members; a Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missile battery moved to Morag, Poland two years later with a comparable amount of military personnel assigned; a Reaper drone operation in Seychelles begun in the intervening year; a transit center in Kyrgyzstan through which an estimated 50,000 U.S. and other NATO troops pass each month to and from the Afghan war front, and so on. Washington will soon rotate F-16 squadrons to Poland and later in the decade will station Standard Missile-3 anti-ballistic interceptors in Poland and Romania with complementary radar sites being examined in nations like Bulgaria, Turkey, Ukraine and Azerbaijan.

The recently acquired bases, though hardly of the dimensions of those constructed after the Second World War and the Korean War, or for that matter of the almost 1,000-acre Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo, are sufficient for the needs of 21st century American warfare, shifting as it has to long-range bombing and helicopter gunship attacks, cruise and drone missile strikes, and special forces operations.

The ever-expanding range of U.S. military activities reached a new point last month when the Pentagon dispatched a C-5 Galaxy transport plane on a direct, non-stop flight from the Dover Air Force Base in Delaware across Canada and over the North Pole, then over Russia and Kazakhstan into the Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan.

The Heavy Airlift Wing established by the U.S. and eleven NATO allies and partners in 2009 at the Pápa Air Base in Hungary, the world’s first multinational strategic airlift operation, by this February had “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,” according to U.S. Air Forces In Europe.

The same source also announced early this year that the 65th Air Base Wing moved 15,000 aircraft with 22,000 personnel from 21 nations through the Lajes Field in Portugal’s Azores in 2010 for wars and other deployments in the east.

Air bases acquired in nations like Afghanistan, Bulgaria, Iraq and Romania have been upgraded not only for long-distance military transport but as potential strategic bases analogous in scope and purpose to those developed after World War II in Britain, Germany, Italy and Turkey.

In the second half of the last century the U.S. could boast of military supremacy in – control over – the entire Western Hemisphere, Western and Southern Europe, and most of the Pacific Ocean.

In the new century, with a World War Two-level $729 billion military budget this year and a head of state who boasts of being the commander-in-chief of “the world’s sole military superpower,” its reach spans almost the entire globe.

Categories: Uncategorized

Aeschylus: Ares, father of tears, mows the field of man

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Greek and Roman writers on war and peace

Aeschylus: The unpeopled land laments her youth

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Aeschylus
Translated by Philip Vellacott

From The Suppliants

Now hear my voice, you gods of heavenly birth,
While I pour out these offerings of prayer:
Never let flames leap and devour
In this Pelasgian city,
Nor lustful Ares raise his joyless clamor,
Who mows the field of man where others sowed.

Let eager prayer take wing,
That never may plague strip Argos of its men,
Nor civil war stain her soil,
With Argive blood shed by her own citizens,
Let her flower of youth grow unplucked;
Let not Ares, Aphrodite’s lover,
Man’s destroyer, cut off their prime.

May murder and devastation
Never come to tear this city,
To put a sword in the hand of Ares, father of tears…

The judge is Ares, who decides such causes, not
With damages in money, but with heavy toll
Of fallen men, and limbs convulsed in bloody death.

*****

From Seven Against Thebes

Come, all you gods who guard the country;
See us, threatened with slavery, joining in supplication.
A surge of soldiers with slanting crests
Seethes around our city,
And the breath of Ares drives them on.

Men’s blood is Ares’ diet.

The madness of Ares masters men in masses,
And breathes defilement over all reverent feeling.

A din of shouting fills the streets;
The fence of bastions fails;
Man faces man and falls before the spear.
Stained with blood, mothers of new-born infants
Cry for their young slaughtered at the breast;
Roving bands tear apart those of the same family.

He has raised his battle-cry; Ares has entered into him;
A Bacchant, drunk with lust of war…

Antigone: If you gave wounds, you also received wounds.
Ismene: If you dealt death, you also suffered death.
Antigone: With the spear you killed -
Ismene: By the spear you died -
Antigone: Pitiful in inflicting.
Ismene: Pitiful in suffering.
Antigone: Let the cry rise -
Ismene: Let the tear fall -
Antigone: For you who died.
Ismene: For you who killed.
Antigone: My heart is wild with sobs.
Ismene: My soul groans in my body.
Antigone: Brother, whom I weep for -
Ismene: Brother, most pitiable -
Antigone: You were killed by your brother.
Ismene: You killed your brother.
Antigone: Twofold sorrow to tell of -
Ismene: Twofold sorrow to see -
Antigone: Sorrow at the side of sorrow!
Ismene: Sorrow brother to sorrow!

Categories: Uncategorized

Updates on Libyan war/Stop NATO news: July 21, 2011

July 21, 2011 4 comments

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NATO’s Four-Month Bombing Campaign Has Cost Libya $50 Billion

NATO Aircraft Over Libya: Almost 16,000 Sorties, 6,000 Strike Missions

Romanian Warship Returns From NATO Libyan Blockade Mission

Afghan War: At Least 1,560 U.S. Soldiers Killed, Almost 13,000 Injured

Pakistan: This Year’s Death Toll From U.S. Drone Strikes Over 400

NATO Chief: Military Cuts “Will Leave China As World’s Policeman”

Guatemalan President Calls For “Central American NATO”

U.S., Australian Troops Stage Normandy Beach-Type Assault

U.S. AFRICOM Helps Forge African Union “Peace Support” Operations

Public Indifference To Afghan War Benefits Swedish Military

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NATO’s Four-Month Bombing Campaign Has Cost Libya $50 Billion

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/07/20/libya.cost.of.war/

CNN
July 20, 2011

Libyan government bemoans a prosperous future lost to civil war
By Ivan Watson

Tripoli, Libya: The Libyan government in Tripoli estimates the grinding conflict that has been tearing the country apart for the past five months has cost the national economy some $50 billion.

“The cost is colossal,” said Abdulhafid Zlitni, planning and finance minister for the Tripoli government. In an interview with CNN, Zlitni said the suspension of oil and gas exports had accounted for a huge chunk of the losses.

“The income foregone because of the stoppage of the export of oil is something like $20 billion,” he said.

This has brought an end to what had been a surge in prosperity for the North African country.

Last year, Libya’s economy was booming, with gross domestic product surging 10.3%, according to the International Monetary Fund.

And in a report published February 15, the IMF’s executive board concluded, “The outlook for Libya’s economy remains favorable.”

But two days later, protests against Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s 41-year rule erupted in the eastern city of Benghazi.

Today, the country is split into territories controlled by loyalists and opposition rebels. A NATO military alliance is now into the fourth month of a campaign of airstrikes…

The civil war has all but shattered ambitious plans to upgrade transport, housing and infrastructure in a country that had long been isolated from the international community.

“The main objective was to create capacity for the economy to stand on its feet away from oil and gas production,” recalled Zlitni somewhat wistfully, as he described a five-year, $170 billion plan to modernize Libya.

In March, the legions of foreign workers who had been contracted to build railroads, airports, apartment buildings and telecommunications networks began fleeing the rapidly escalating conflict by the tens of thousands. The exodus included large numbers of engineers, construction and oil workers from China, Turkey, Egypt, and the Philippines, who crossed the western border with Tunisia on foot…

Left behind were mammoth construction projects that still dot the Libyan landscape. Many of these unfinished structures were apartment buildings being built for an estimated 50,000 families across the country.

“So many infrastructure projects…were carried out by international companies,” Zlitni said. “Yet the stoppage of these projects could be felt in the economy. Particularly in the building sectors, the transportation sectors, the communication sectors.”

NATO is enforcing a no-fly zone over Gadhafi-controlled territory as well as a virtual blockade of Libyan ports.

The sanctions have created huge fuel shortages. Long lines of cars now wait at service stations.

This week, the government in Tripoli announced it was intervening to control rising prices of basic commodities.

“In a crisis situation like this traders tend to profit more than they should, and therefore there is an intervention by the ministry of foreign trade for the prices of consumer goods,” Zlitni said.

The minister said the government was fixing prices of rice, flour, meat, eggs, sugar and edible oils to prevent hardship among lower-income families.

“We subsidize, basically,” Zlitni said, “with large amount of funds.”

He pointed out that foreign countries have frozen tens of billions of dollars in Libyan government assets that had been carefully invested overseas in “treasury bills, bonds, stocks and investments in various international markets, whether in Europe, the USA or Asia.”

Zlitni compared Libya’s dwindling government coffers to the edible meat on an animal.

“This shouldn’t last long, otherwise we’ll be eating the fat and meat. And we’ll very soon arrive to the bones.”

Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced Washington formally recognized the council in Benghazi as Libya’s legitimate governing authority. State department officials said this could potentially give Benghazi access to some $30 billion in frozen Libyan funds in the United States.

“This is against international rules. The international monetary system cannot withstand action in this manner,” Zlitni said. “If you are freezing through United Nations Security Council action funds for any country, then you can’t confiscate it. There are legal obligations of the banks.”

But when asked what recourse Tripoli would have if the U.S. government went through with its threat, Zlitni conceded there are few options.

“We should file litigation against them,” he said.

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NATO Aircraft Over Libya: Almost 16,000 Sorties, 6,000 Strike Missions

http://www.nato.int/nato_static/assets/pdf/pdf_2011_07/20110721_110721-oup-update.pdf

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
July 21, 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, 06.00GMT) a total of 15,904 sorties, including 5,995 strike sorties*,have been conducted.

Sorties conducted 20 JULY: 122

Strike sorties conducted 20 JULY: 53

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Romanian Warship Returns From NATO Libyan Blockade Mission

http://www.romania-insider.com/romania%E2%80%99s-ferdinand-frigate-returns-after-tasks-conducted-in-the-mediterranean-sea/28957/

Romania Insider
July 20, 2011

Romania’s Ferdinand frigate returns after tasks conducted in the Mediterranean Sea

Romania’s “Regele Ferdinand” frigate will return to the country on Thursday this week, after finishing its tasks in the Mediterranean Sea during the “Unified Protector” operation to impose the embargo on Libya. A military ceremony is planned in the military port of Constanta, according to the Romanian Ministry of Defence.

Since its entry into the Romanian Navy service, the “Regele Ferdinand” frigate had a series of missions, the most important being “Active Endeavour” operations held in 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010 in the Mediterranean, the “Breeze-CERTEX” exercise in 2007, 2008 in Bulgaria, the “Noble Midas” exercise held in Croatia in 2007 and in 2008 in Italy.

During the mission held in the NATO naval group operating in Libya, the frigate covered over 17,400 nautical miles and performed about 770 specific tasks.

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Afghan War: At Least 1,560 U.S. Soldiers Killed, Almost 13,000 Injured

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/at-least-1560-us-military-deaths-in-afghanistan-since-2001/2011/07/19/gIQAR8ZAOI_story.html

Associated Press
July 19, 2011

At least 1,560 US military deaths in Afghanistan since 2001

As of Tuesday, July 19, 2011, at least 1,560 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count.

The AP count is two more than the Defense Department’s tally, last updated Tuesday at 10 a.m. EDT.

At least 1,295 military service members have died in Afghanistan as a result of hostile action, according to the military’s numbers.

Outside of Afghanistan, the department reports at least 99 more members of the U.S. military died in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Of those, 11 were the result of hostile action.

Since the start of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, 12,593 U.S. service members have been wounded in hostile action, according to the Defense Department.

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Pakistan: This Year’s Death Toll From U.S. Drone Strikes Over 400

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-07/21/c_13998418.htm

Xinhua News Agency
July 21, 2011

U.S. drone attack kills 4 in NW Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: At least four people were killed Wednesday when a U.S. drone targeted the North Waziristan tribal area in northwest Pakistan, local sources said.

The pilotless aircraft fired two missiles at a house in the Mir Ali area of North Waziristan which borders Afghanistan, they said.

The identities of the killed are not immediately known…

Since the start of 2011, the U.S. drones have launched at least 44 times (counted on daily times) of strikes in Pakistan’s northwest tribal areas, reportedly killing over 400 people in total.

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NATO Chief: Military Cuts “Will Leave China As World’s Policeman”

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/2011/07/21/defence-cuts-will-leave-china-as-the-world-s-policeman-warns-nato-chief-115875-23285232/

Daily Mirror
July 20, 2011

Defence cuts will leave China as the world’s policeman, warns Nato chief
by James Lyons

-The director [secretary] general said: “For the first time in the history of Nato we have seen an operation not led by the Americans.”

Defence cuts across Europe will diminish Nato’s global role and leave China as the world’s policemen, the alliance chief warned yesterday.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen praised Britain and France for taking the lead on the Libya conflict but said they could not have done it without US help.

And he claimed the slashing of troops by European leaders will hit military ­transport and intelligence.

Mr Fogh Rasmussen spoke out just days after Defence Secretary Liam Fox unveiled plans to cut the Army by 17,000.

The director [secretary] general said: “For the first time in the history of Nato we have seen an operation not led by the Americans.

“The Europeans couldn’t do this on their own and in that respect it is of course a matter of concern that we have seen substantial defence cuts in nearly all Nato allied nations. If the current development continues, the influence of Europe on the international scene will decline because of lack of critical transport capabilities, critical intelligence gathering capabilities and because of this Europe will not be able to participate in international crisis management.

“The gap will be filled by emerging powers like China and India, that’s a fact.”

Shadow Defence Secretary Jim Murphy also warned about the “imbalance” between the US and Europe.

In a Washington speech, he said: “Europe must pull its weight in Nato, or Nato will have little future. We’re either in this together, committed to playing our parts, or we’re not an alliance that will last.”

The Labour MP added: “It is important for the UK to make this case since we gain power and influence in our relations across the world through our being a strong partner with European nations.”

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Guatemalan President Calls For “Central American NATO”

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/0dca8868-ac8f-11e0-bac9-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1ShrDPMhr

Financial Times
July 20, 2011

Guatemala calls for Nato-style regional force
By Adam Thomson in Guatemala City

Central American nations straining to contain the threat from violent and well-armed drugs cartels should push for the creation of a regional Nato-style military force, Guatemala’s president has said.

In an interview with the Financial Times, centre-left President Álvaro Colom insisted that only a significant improvement in security intelligence combined with a regional project to combine military strength would rid Central America of the vicious gangs.

“What good is it if the forces of one country are pursuing drug traffickers who cross a river but then have to stop to avoid an international incident?” he said. “Why not have a type of Central American Nato?”

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U.S., Australian Troops Stage Normandy Beach-Type Assault

http://www.stripes.com/news/pacific/u-s-australian-troops-storm-the-beach-during-talisman-sabre-1.149672

Stars and Stripes
July 20, 2011

U.S., Australian troops storm the beach during Talisman Sabre
By Matthew M. Burke

SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan: U.S. Marines and their Australian counterparts stormed Freshwater Beach along the eastern coast of Australia on Tuesday as a part of Talisman Sabre 2011.

One of the biggest and most comprehensive operations of the ongoing exercise, the amphibious assault featured a beach assault and an airfield seizure complete with obstacles, such as enemy ambushes to simulated IED blasts.

Elements of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit aboard the USS Germantown and the Australian Army’s 7th Brigade took part in the assault, according to 31st MEU spokesman Capt. Caleb Eames. The U.S. and Australian troops were opposed by elements of the U.S. Army’s 2nd Infantry Division, Eames said in an email to Stars and Stripes.

“Executing a large operation such as this also brings the need for careful consideration of battle space management, ensuring your indirect fire from naval ships and from possible artillery assets are carefully coordinated with movements of forces on the ground and supporting aircraft,” Eames said.

“This Amphibious Assault is essentially the same type of operation that was conducted at Normandy – a forcible entry from the sea,” Eames said. “Of course, we now have modern technology that can give us a far clearer picture of what to expect ashore, aviation assets that can reach farther and faster in support of our guys on the ground, and a well-armored and well-equipped infantry force these days, but the basic concept remains the same.”

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U.S. AFRICOM Helps Forge African Union “Peace Support” Operations

http://www.hoa.africom.mil/hoaFreshening/getArticleFresh.asp?art=6981

Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa
July 21, 2011

African Union Stands Up Peace Support Operations Center
By Lieutenant Colonel Leslie Pratt
CJTF-HOA Public Affairs

-[T]he center seeks to coordinate the dissemination of information between five geographic AU regions….”There are 15 PSOD/UN missions on the African continent, so the information flow is fast”…Seven of the missions are being conducted with military advisors, five are liaison missions and three involve the deployment of 40,000 military personnel.

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia: African and partner nation military representatives assembled at the African Union (AU) here to launch operations at the newly established Peace Support Operations Centre (PSOC). Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) provided assistance in creating the center and worked with the local staff to help begin actual PSOC operations this month.

Officials put the new operations center through exercise paces in conjunction with African Endeavor 2011 (AE11), a multi-national command, control, communications and computer Information system interoperability exercise hosted by U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM). “This exercise isn’t specifically for the PSOC, but it does coincide with the center maturing and the beginning of manning and fulltime operations,” said U.S. Navy Commander Rick Mercadante, an engagements planner with CJTF-HOA.

According to Ghana Armed Forces Lt. Col. Joseph Aphour, an AU PSOD operations officer and officer in charge of the PSOC, the center seeks to coordinate the dissemination of information between five geographic AU regions. “This exercise has been very exciting and we’re learning lots of new techniques about how to better manage the flow of information to and from all regions across the entire continent,” he said.

CJTF-HOA was asked in 2009 to assist with the creation of the PSOC…

According to AFRICOM project manager Arthur Kelly, the center requires the development of standard operating procedures (SOPs) in order to support the PSOD. “The CJTF-HOA and AFRICOM staffs are sharing some ideas that will help develop workable SOPs,” Kelly said…

The Peace and Security Division (PSOD) of AU supports the promotion of peace, security and stability on the African continent through conflict prevention, management and resolution, and combating terrorism. The PSOC itself is housed under the PSOD.

“It was important to also monitor real world events and activities during the exercise,” Cirillo said. “There are 15 PSOD/UN missions on the African continent, so the information flow is fast,” he added. Seven of the missions are being conducted with military advisors, five are liaison missions and three involve the deployment of 40,000 military personnel.

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Public Indifference To Afghan War Benefits Swedish Military

http://www.thelocal.se/35018/20110718/

The Local
July 18, 2011

Afghan war disinterest benefits military: expert

The Swedish Armed Forces (Försvarsmakten) benefit from the relatively low political interest in the war in Afghanistan.

With their information campaigns, the Armed Forces aims to keep interest down, claims Wilhelm Agrell, Intelligence Analysis Professor at Lund University.

The war in Afghanistan has made the Swedish forces more similar to those of other countries at war, as major investments are made to control the media’s reports. If interest in the war had been greater, this control would have been lost, according to Agrell.

Just like the military in other warring countries, the Swedish Armed Forces have grown concerned with how the Afghanistan operation is described, anxious to see the media label it successful.

“It’s becoming more and more important to create a positive image of the operation, and the results that are achieved, because such an image affects the support from the general public, and if that support is lost, the political support for the operation will quickly disappear too,” he said to news agency TT.

“This image is fragile, and can crack quickly, and when it does, other media forces take over…,” said Agrell.

He is surprised that the Armed Forces have been so successful in controlling the media image, and believes that there has been little political criticism of the war.

“The main contributing factor is that this war is very far away. The image of the war is strongly controlled and very selective. Behind this there’s a large disinterest. The Afghanistan issue isn’t very big in Sweden, but has potential to grow if for instance very negative conditions about the operation are reported.”

Being quick is one alternative explanation for why the Armed Forces’ image of the war is dominant.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Pascal on war: An assassin if he kills in his own country, a hero if in another

Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Blaise Pascal
From Pensées
Translated by W. F. Trotter

“Why do you kill me? What! do you not live on the other side of the water? If you lived on this side, my friend, I should be an assassin, and it would be unjust to slay you in this manner. But since you live on the other side, I am a hero, and it is just.”

Can anything be more ridiculous than that a man should have the right to kill me because he lives on the other side of the water, and because his ruler has a quarrel with mine, though I have none with him?

Mine, thine.—”This dog is mine,” said those poor children; “that is my place in the sun.” Here is the beginning and the image of the usurpation of all the earth.

When the question for consideration is whether we ought to make war, and kill so many men — condemn so many Spaniards to death — only one man is judge, and he is an interested party. There should be a third, who is disinterested.

The most important affair in life is the choice of a calling; chance decides it. Custom makes men masons, soldiers, slaters. “He is a good slater,” says one, and, speaking of soldiers, remarks, “They are perfect fools.” But others affirm, “There is nothing great but war, the rest of men are good for nothing.” We choose our callings according as we hear this or that praised or despised in our childhood, for we naturally love truth and hate folly. These words move us; the only error is in their application. So great is the force of custom that out of those whom nature has only made men, are created all conditions of men. For some districts are full of masons, others of soldiers, etc. Certainly nature is not so uniform…

Diversion.—When I have occasionally set myself to consider the different distractions of men, the pains and perils to which they expose themselves at court or in war, whence arise so many quarrels, passions, bold and often bad ventures, etc., I have discovered that all the unhappiness of men arises from one single fact, that they cannot stay quietly in their own chamber. A man who has enough to live on, if he knew how to stay with pleasure at home, would not leave it to go to sea or to besiege a town. A commission in the army would not be bought so dearly, but that it is found insufferable not to budge from the town…

Categories: Uncategorized

Update on Libyan war/Stop NATO news: July 20, 2011

July 20, 2011 2 comments

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NATO Chief: Libyan Government Must Abdicate, War Can Go On Forever

NATO’s Libyan Air War: Nearly 16,000 Flights, 6,000 Combat Missions

NATO Troops Kill Afghan Woman, Wound Five Others

Pakistan Demands Investigation Into NATO Incursions

Baltic: U.S. Warship Hosts Estonian, Polish And Finnish Sailors

Polish General, Ex-Iraq Commander, Takes Charge Of EU Mission In Georgia

Somalia And Beyond: AFRICOM Trains Burundian Military For Deployments

Africa Partnership Station: U.S. Guided Missile Warship In Kenya

Poland Promotes EU Military Headquarters In Brussels

U.S. Plan To Fragment Yugoslavia Aimed To Hurt Russia

NATO Broadcasts “Public Service Announcement” Over Somali Radio

U.S. State Department’s New Point Man For The Caucasus

NATO Strategic Command To Send Consultants To “Reform” Ukrainian Armed Forces

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NATO Chief: Libyan Government Must Abdicate, War Can Go On Forever

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-14221318

BBC News
July 20, 2011

Nato Secretary General: Gaddafi must leave power

Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has said that the mission in Libya has been extended for another three months and will continue to be extended for as long as necessary.

In an interview with the BBC’s Chris Morris, Mr Rasmussen said the Gaddafi-led Libyan government should not try to “wait Nato out”.

The secretary general defended the pace of the mission saying he was not surprised it had taken this long. He said Nato has the necessary resources and was “prepared to continue the operation for as long as it takes”.

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NATO’s Libyan Air War: Nearly 16,000 Flights, 6,000 Combat Missions

http://www.nato.int/nato_static/assets/pdf/pdf_2011_07/20110720_110720-oup-update.pdf

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
July 20, 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, 06.00GMT) a total of 15,782 sorties, including 5,942 strike sorties, have been conducted.

Sorties conducted 19JULY: 113

Strike sorties conducted 19 JULY: 40

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NATO Troops Kill Afghan Woman, Wound Five Others

http://www.pajhwok.com/en/2011/07/19/woman-shot-dead-coalition-troops

Pajhwok Afghan News
July 19, 2011

Woman shot dead by coalition troops
by Farid Tanha

MAHMOOD RAQI: Coalition troops opened fired at a civilian car, killing one woman and injuring five others in Tagab district of central Kapisa province, a public representative said on Tuesday.

The incident took place in the Sherkhel area of the district late on Monday, provincial council member Najibullah Rahimi told Pajhwok Afghan News.

Abdul Hakim Akhunzada, the district chief, confirmed the shooting. However, he had no information about casualties.

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Pakistan Demands Investigation Into NATO Incursions

http://www.onlinenews.com.pk/details.php?id=181577

News International
July 20, 2011

Pak demands joint investigation into NATO incursions

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has formally expressed its reservations with the NATO forces and Afghan National Army over incursions inside Pakistani soil some two months ago.

According to defence sources, the Pakistani army has made a demand for a joint investigation of the incidents of incursions. Sources further told this agency that NATO and the Afghan National Army were not playing a vital role to stop the entry of Afghan militants inside Pakistani territory. Several than people, including security persons, women and children, have been killed over the last two months in incidents of incursions.

Defence sources further reported that incidents of shelling from Afghanistan have been increased in the months of June and July…

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Baltic: U.S. Warship Hosts Estonian, Polish And Finnish Sailors

http://www.eucom.mil/english/fullstory.asp?article=Multinational-Partners-Embark-Aboard-USS-Carr

United States European Command
July 19, 2011

Multinational Partners Embark Aboard USS Carr
Ensign Brian T. Lance, USS Carr Public Affairs Officer

BALTIC SEA: An Estonian lieutenant, Polish midshipman, and four Finnish midshipmen embarked aboard the guided-missile frigate USS Carr (FFG 52) during her deployment to the Baltic Sea, July 18.

The multinational group will use this opportunity to learn how the U.S. Navy navigates and conducts underway operations.

“Anytime we can embark officers from other nations is an opportunity to exchange knowledge and build a foundation of interoperability,” said Cmdr. Patrick E. Kulakowski, commanding officer of Carr…

Carr is homeported out of Norfolk, Va., and is on a three-month deployment supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility.

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Polish General, Ex-Iraq Commander, Takes Charge Of EU Mission In Georgia

http://www.interfax.com/newsinf.asp?id=260368

Interfax
July 19, 2011

Polish diplomat takes charge of EU mission in Georgia

TSKHINVALI, South Ossetia: olish diplomat and general Andrzej Tyszkiewicz has taken up the post of head of the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) in Georgia.

Tyszkiewicz, who is lieutenant general, commanded Polish forces in Iraq in 2003 and was Polish ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2005-2010, Pierre Morel, EU co-chairman of international talks in Geneva on consequences of the Russian-Georgian war of 2008, told a briefing in Tskhinvali in announcing Tyszkiewicz’s appointment.

Tyszkiewicz, who is arriving in Tbilisi on July 27, replaced German diplomat Hansjoerg Haber, who had headed the mission in Georgia since it was set up in October 2008.

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Somalia And Beyond: AFRICOM Trains Burundian Military For Deployments

http://www.army.mil/article/61835/U_S__Army_Africa_conducts_deployment_capability_training_in_Burundi/

U.S. Army Africa
July 19, 2011

U.S. Army Africa conducts deployment capability training in Burundi
By U.S. Army Africa Public Affairs Office

-“This successful military-to-military ADAPT event demonstrates the important partnerships between U.S. Army Africa and African partner nations in increasing deployment capabilities and capacity.”
-ADAPT is a four phase program, that occurs every 12 months and USARAF has already conducted training in Rwanda, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Botswana, and Ghana.

VICENZA, Italy: …U.S. Army Africa’s Africa Deployment Assistance Partnership Team, or ADAPT, conducted a deployment capability training event with uniformed members of the Burundian Defense Forces June 6-10, 2011, at the Bujumbura Military Airfield in Bujumbura, Burundi.

ADAPT is a U.S. Africa Command, or USAFRICOM, program managed and executed by USARAF. The team was in Bujumbura to share best practices on deploying personnel and equipment via aircraft, and to enhance force projection capabilities of African militaries to better support peace keeping operations [like the “peacekeeping mission” in Somalia], humanitarian relief operations and UN missions.

“This is our first ADAPT with the Burundian military,” Menzies said. “This event was based off of a pre-deployment site survey we conducted last year so the lesson plan was specifically tailored to meet existing Burundi training requirements.”

Menzies said another focus of the training is to foster positive relationships between the U.S. and African military forces.

“This successful military-to-military ADAPT event demonstrates the important partnerships between U.S. Army Africa and African partner nations in increasing deployment capabilities and capacity,” Menzies said.

Increasing deployment interoperability with U.S. forces in joint/combined operations, training and exercises is a focal point of this military-to-military training opportunity.

“Training and having the capability to deploy personnel and cargo are crucial enabling components to a deploying force. As a matter of fact, Burundian forces soldiers are already applying the ADAPT training to their real world operations,” Febles said.

ADAPT is a four phase program, that occurs every 12 months and USARAF has already conducted training in Rwanda, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Botswana, and Ghana.

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Africa Partnership Station: U.S. Guided Missile Warship In Kenya

http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=61653

Navy NewsStand
July 19, 2011

USS Samuel B. Roberts arrives in Mombasa
From Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs

MOMBASA, Kenya: USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58), along with embarked staff arrived in Mombasa, Kenya, July 19, to begin their involvement with Africa Partnership Station (APS) East’s 2011 Kenyan hub.

The Kenyan hub brings more than 85 maritime professionals from seven partner nations together for training designed to improve capacity and capability in the region…

The hub will also include visits from Commander, Combined Joint-Task Force, Horn of Africa, Rear Adm. Michael T. Franken, and Kenyan navy Commander, Major Gen. Ngewa Mukala.

APS is an international security cooperation initiative, facilitated by Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, aimed at strengthening global maritime partnerships through training and collaborative activities…

Samuel B. Roberts, an Oliver Hazard Perry class guided-missile frigate, is homeport at Naval Station Mayport, Fla., and is on a scheduled deployment to the Sixth Fleet area of responsibility.

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Poland Promotes EU Military Headquarters In Brussels

http://www.thenews.pl/9/7/Artykul/51380,Poland-champions-proposed-EU-military-HQ

Polish Radio
July 19, 2011

Poland champions proposed EU military HQ

Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski has admitted that the idea of establishing a permanent headquarters for EU defence and security operations, which has been championed by Poland, Germany and France, has not won the support of all EU countries.

Talking to reporters in Brussels, Monday, he declined to name the countries which are against the proposal…

The foreign ministers of Poland, Germany and France have issued a joint statement which says that Catherine Ashton’s report remains at the negotiation table and that the three countries would like to see a resumption of Europe’s defence capabilities, given mounting crises, dwindling resources at the disposal of individual states and growing expectations towards the EU.

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U.S. Plan To Fragment Yugoslavia Aimed To Hurt Russia

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/07/19/53437263.html

Voice of Russia
July 19, 2011

Will US apologize?

Boris Gontarev, Professor of international journalism at the Moscow State University of International Relations:

First of all, America should apologize, because the actions of America in the former Yugoslavia were absolutely unpardonable.

It is senseless, first of all, it is useless, and frankly, I couldn’t understand, what is all about.

But the point is, of course, that America is not accustomed to apologizing for anything at all. It is perfectly clear to me that the dissolution of Yugoslavia was a big plan to hurt Russia, I mean, it wasn’t exactly on the surface but in depth it was just that. America made a big mistake.

Well, it is not so much about the dissolution of Yugoslavia, but the creation of the first ever Islamic state in the heart of Europe, I mean Kosovo. Probably that is why they just don’t want to touch this question at all, because if they would apologize for Bosnia and Herzegovina, or for Montenegro, or for anything of the former Yugoslavia, and they have to touch this question of Kosovo, and Kosovo is just a disaster for Europe, that is my belief, and as a matter of fact it is just exactly an example of the famous clash of civilizations.

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NATO Broadcasts “Public Service Announcement” Over Somali Radio

http://www.aco.nato.int/resources/3/documents/Somali%20Broadcast.pdf

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations
July 20, 2011

NATO Begins Second Somali Radio Broadcasts

NATO Counter‐Piracy PSA

-“Please report any suspicious activity related to piracy in order to save the future of your own children, family and community. Call the NATO Shipping Centre on 0044‐ 1923956574. Your call will be answered by someone who speaks English.”

“This is a message from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). We are continuing our efforts to protect merchant vessels and innocent fishermen against piracy off the coast of Somalia in accordance with the United Nations mandate. NATO, European Union and the Combined Maritime Force, as well as non‐NATO countries are carrying out successful
disruptions and are seizing pirates’ vessels in order to prevent future attacks. Pirates are thieves and criminals and their activities are rejected by Islam. Some of them have been already prosecuted and convicted by the court. They will stay in prison for years instead of being with their families and contributing to their community. The number of pirates in jail continues to rise every day. Pirates are putting their lives in danger every time they sail armed with intent to hijack; this was proven recently with the death of several pirates off the coast Somali. Piracy won’t harm the pirate himself only, but his family and his community also in many ways. Do not let the same happen to your family! Tell others that piracy is wrong and do not let it damage the reputation of Somalia. Please report any suspicious activity related to piracy in order to save the future of your own children, family and community. Call the NATO Shipping Centre on 0044‐ 1923956574. Your call will be answered by someone who speaks English.”

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U.S. State Department’s New Point Man For The Caucasus

http://www.civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=23772

Civil Georgia
July 20, 2011

U.S. State Department’s New Point Man for Caucasus

Tbilisi: Eric Rubin, who most recently was deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassy in Moscow, has been appointed as Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs to oversee relations with countries in the Caucasus, as well as with Greece, Turkey and Cyprus.

Rubin, a career foreign service officer, has replaced Tina Kaidanow, who has been promoted as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs earlier this month.

In his new capacity Rubin participated on July 18 in a meeting of the U.S.-Georgia defense and security working group in frames of the strategic partnership charter between the two countries. Assistant Secretary of Defense Alexander Vershbow was also representing the U.S. at the meeting in Washington.

The Georgian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday, that Georgia’s participation in the Afghan operation and its transit potential, as well as bilateral defense cooperation, Georgia’s NATO integration and situation in the conflict areas were discussed during the meeting.

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NATO Strategic Command To Send Consultants To “Reform” Ukrainian Armed Forces

http://www.kyivpost.com/news/nation/detail/109022/

Interfax-Ukraine
July 20, 2011

NATO to send consultants to help reform Ukrainian Armed Forces

The command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has briefed a NATO delegation on army reform and prospects for international cooperation in Ukraine, according to the press service of the Defense Ministry of Ukraine.

This was discussed during a meeting between Chief of General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Hryhoriy Pedchenko and NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, Admiral James Stavridis, on July 19.

During the meeting, the Ukrainian side told the NATO representatives about the current state, development prospects and priorities of international cooperation of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Stavridis, in turn, noted that professionalism and readiness for the most complicated tasks of the Ukrainian detachments participating in NATO missions…

The NATO representatives also praised Ukraine’s work on improvement of the role of sergeants in the Ukrainian Armed Forces and offered assistance in this area.

“During the talks, the sides agreed on the possibility of sending to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry two sergeants from NATO strategic command on operations and the U.S. Armed Forces in Europe to act as consultants,” reads the report.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Arrian: Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and the fate of conquerors

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Greek and Roman writers on war and peace

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Arrian
From The Campaigns of Alexander
Translated by Aubrey de Sélincourt

Alexander…in one day’s march reached Anchialus, a town supposed to have been built by Sardanapalus the Assyrian. It is clear from the extent of the surrounding walls and the solidity of their foundations that it was originally a large town and grew to great importance. Close to the walls was the tomb of Sardanapalus, supporting a statue of him in the attitude of a man clapping his hands, with an inscription in Assyrian characters. According to the Assyrians the inscription was in verse, but, whether verse or not, the general sense of it was this: ‘Sardanapalus, son of Anakyndaraxes, built in one day Tarsus and Anchialus. O stranger, eat, drink, and play, for everything else in the life of a man is not worth this’ – and by ‘this’ was to be understood the clap of the hands. They also said that ‘play’ was something of a euphemism for the original Assyrian word.

*****

I have always liked the story of the Indian sages, some of whom Alexander chanced to come upon out of doors in a meadow where they used to meet to discuss philosophy. On the appearance of Alexander and his army, these venerable men stamped with their feet and gave no other sign of interest. Alexander asked them through interpreters what they meant by this odd behaviour, and they replied: ‘King Alexander, every man can possess only so much of the earth’s surface as this we are standing on. You are but human like the rest of us, save that you are always busy and up to no good, travelling so many miles from your home, a nuisance to yourself and to others. You will soon be dead, and then you will own just as much of this earth as will suffice to bury you.’ [1]

*****

…Alexander came to allow himself to emulate…the fashion of barbaric kings of treating their subjects as inferiors…I have no praise for such conduct; but in my opinion, at least, the splendid achievements of Alexander are the clearest possible proof that neither strength of body, nor noble blood, nor success in war even greater than Alexander’s own – not even the realization of his dream of circumnavigating Libya and Asia and adding them both to his empire, together with Europe too – that none of these things, I say, can make a man happy, unless he can win one more victory in addition to those the world thinks so great – the victory over himself.

[1] Alexander invaded the Indian subcontinent after conquering Ariana and Bactria, modern Afghanistan.

Categories: Uncategorized

Updates on Libyan war/Stop NATO news: July 19, 2011

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NATO’s Libya War: Attack Helicopters, Bombers, Predator And Reaper Drones

123-Day Air War: 15,669 NATO Sorties, Almost 6,000 Strike Missions

U.S. Marines Lead War Games In Georgia

Washington Meeting Promotes U.S./NATO-Georgia Military Ties

New NATO Commander Faces Riskiest Situation In 10-Year Afghan War

France, Germany, Poland Push EU Military Headquarters In Brussels

Combat Forces’ Effectiveness: NATO Joins EU Defense Officials In Baltic

U.S. And Polish F-16s: First American Fighter Jets In Ukraine

Parliamentarian: NATO Military Action Against Iran Implies Suicide

Canadian Military Stages Show Of Force Against Russia In Arctic

Oil, Gas, Diamond Rush In Arctic Region Heating Up

NATO, Pentagon Rehearse Combat Bombing Support In Baltic

NATO Continues To Transform Iraqi Armed Forces To Alliance Standards

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NATO’s Libya War: Attack Helicopters, Bombers, Predator And Reaper Drones

http://www.ainonline.com/news/single-news-page/article/attack-helicopters-boost-nato-air-ops-over-libya-30549/

Aviation International News
July 18, 2011

Attack Helicopters Boost NATO Air Ops over Libya
By Chris Pocock

Recent briefings in Brussels and London on Operation Unified Protector reveal that attack helicopters provided by France and the UK are now making key contributions to NATO-led operations over Libya, which has been extended until the end of September.

British AH-64 Apaches plus French Tigers and Gazelles have destroyed more than 300 targets since their introduction on June 4…The helicopters’ mix of weapons (Hellfire or HOT missiles, rockets and guns) might be more suited to attacking light vehicles and control points employed by Libyan regime forces in concealed and urban areas than the combat aircraft operating from higher altitude.

Nevertheless, fast jets continue to strike a variety of targets…

By early last week, the forces had flown some 15,000 sorties and struck nearly 3,000 targets…

• France claims to be flying 25 percent of total sorties, using Rafales, Super Etendards, Mirage 2000D/N/-5s, E-2C Hawkeyes, E-3F AWACS and KC-135 tankers. French Air Force Rafale operations have now moved from Solenzara to Sigonella.

• The deployment of RAF aircrew onboard U.S. Air Force RC-135 Rivet Joint sigint (signals intelligence) aircraft, in a co-manning arrangement. The RAF withdrew its last Nimrod R1 sigint aircraft from the Libyan operation last month, and retired the type from service…

• The U.S. continues to provide Predator UAV patrols. The Italian air force now has its first two Reaper UCAVs (unmanned combat air vehicles) operational at Amendola, from where they could provide 12- to 14-hour coverage over Libya per flight, if authorized by Rome.

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123-Day Air War: 15,669 NATO Sorties, Almost 6,000 Strike Missions

http://www.nato.int/nato_static/assets/pdf/pdf_2011_07/20110719_110719-oup-update.pdf

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
July 19, 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, 06.00GMT) a total of 15,669 sorties, including 5,902 strike sorties, have been conducted.

Sorties conducted 18 JULY: 129

Strike sorties conducted 18 JULY: 44

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U.S. Marines Lead War Games In Georgia

http://www.mod.gov.ge/index.php?page=77&lang=1&type=&Id=1083

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
July 18, 2011

“Agile Spirit” 2011

U.S. Marines and soldiers from the 4th Infantry Brigade of the Georgian Armed Forces will participate in a combined military exercise called Agile Spirit 2011. The exercise will be conducted in the Vaziani Training Area from July 18 and will last for two weeks.

The focus of the exercise is to increase interoperability between the forces and exchange and enhance each other’s capacity in counterinsurgency and peacekeeping operations.

The exercise will involve approximately 350 Marines from the Marine Corps’ Black Sea Rotational Force 11 based in Constanta, Romania, Anti-Terrorism Battalion based out of Bessemer, Ala. and 450 military servicemen of the Georgian 4th Infantry Brigade.

Agile Spirit is the first of what is scheduled to become an annual exercise and supplements other military engagements such as the Georgia Deployment Program, which is a U.S. Marine Corps program that prepares Georgian Armed Forces to deploy to Afghanistan in support of the International Security Assistance Force.

“Our Marines are eager to train with the Georgian Armed Forces to continue to build on an already strong partnership between our two countries,” said LtCol. Nelson S. Cardella, commanding officer, Black Sea Rotational Force 11…

“We are very glad that Georgia hosts this military exercise this year as the military of both countries are working together. Such kind of joint exercises are necessary for them. I hope that each participant of the exercise will successfully carry out their tasks,” declared the Deputy Chief of Joint Staff of GAF, Col Gigi Kalandadze.

Black Sea Rotational Force 11 is a rotational deployment of Marines to the Black Sea, Balkan and Caucasus regions to work with partner and allied nations to help build their military capacity, promote stability throughout the region, and build enduring partnerships with 13 nations throughout Eastern Europe.

The combined military exercise “Agile Spirit 2011” will be officially closed on August 1. DVD will be held on the 22nd of July and the military exercise will be also open for media representatives.

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Washington Meeting Promotes U.S./NATO-Georgia Military Ties

http://en.trend.az/news/politics/1907139.html

Trend News Agency
July 19, 2011

Georgian-U.S. security cooperation mulled
N. Kirtzkhalia

Tbilisi: Washington has hosted the fourth meeting of the Working Group on Defense and Security under the Georgian-American Charter of Strategic Partnership.

A two-hour meeting discussed a wide range of bilateral cooperation issues in defense and security.

The parties also discussed the roadmap for Georgia’s accession to NATO.

Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergi Kapanadze, Interior Ministry official Shota Utiashvili and First Deputy Defense Minister Nodar Kharshiladze attended the meeting.

U.S Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Eric Rubin and Assistant Deputy Minister of Defense Alexander Vershbow attended the meeting.

Kapanadze said the dialogue focused on the threats that face Georgia.

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New NATO Commander Faces Riskiest Situation In 10-Year Afghan War

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/07/18/53384542.html

Voice of Russia
July 18, 2011

New commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan faces the most risky situation in the last decade
Vladimir Gladkov

General John Allen has taken up the post of US commander of NATO troops in Afghanistan from his predecessor Gen David Petraeus. While Petraeus is returning to America to head the CIA, his successor is left to deal with a complicated situation in the troubled region.

The tensions in Afghanistan continue to rise – the transition came just hours after a close aide to Afghan President Hamid Karzai was assassinated during a daring attack on his home in Kabul. And less than a week ago, the president’s half-brother was killed in Kandahar. But even such critical losses weren’t enough to stop the handover of the first of seven areas announced to be passed to Afghan security forces from NATO. The inability of Afghan security to provide safety even to their top national leaders raises a great concern.

“There will be tough days ahead and I have no illusions about the challenges we will face together,” said Gen John Allen during the change of command ceremony. General Allen’s worries are more than justified. The strategy of his predecessor failed to reach a success. While the rate of attacks decreased, the number of casualties increased dramatically, making the first half of the year the most violent in the decade. And the recent attacks demonstrated that insurgents have enough resources and courage to launch deadly and well-planned raids even at the very heart of the country. This is easily proved by the recent assassination of Hamid Karzai’s half brother in Kandahar and the killing of Jan Mohammad Khan – a key presidential aide – in Kabul. Khan and influential lawmaker Hasham Watanwal were both shot dead by gunmen who breached Khan’s house on Sunday.

In the wake of such accidents, totally embarrassing to the national security forces, the beginning of the handover of Afghan provinces to Kabul’s responsibility looks like nothing but a suicidal decision. Bamyan province became the first of seven areas announced to be handed over to the local security forces. This transition is the first step to the implementation of NATO’s plan to give Kabul nationwide responsibility for security by the end of 2014. Barack Obama and his European allies have stated that they will soon begin the massive withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. Unfortunately, it is hard to find a less appropriate moment for such a promise.

A number of experts have repeatedly highlighted the poor discipline and fighting abilities of Afghan police and troops. The killings of the country’s senior officials may only prove those assessments. The forces unable to secure the safety of key authorities would hardly protect ordinary citizens from insurgents’ attacks.

The other questionable move is the UN’s decision to drop 14 former Taliban leaders from an international blacklist. Four of the “forgiven” are members of the High Peace Council – a controversial group, set up last year for talks with the Taliban. The Afghan government also asked for 50 more people to be dropped from the list, claiming they had successfully reintegrated into society.

Admitting their inability to wipe Taliban out of the region, US and NATO now try to reach a political settlement between the Afghan government and the Taliban before withdrawing troops.

But in the current situation, when the Taliban could easily outplay the government forces, this move risks crossing out all the achievements of the previous years. Due to a number of totally unreasonable decisions made both by the Afghanistan government and NATO, stability in the region is balancing on a sharp edge and the new commander of NATO forces should play his cards smart to avoid turning into a scapegoat when all hell breaks loose.

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France, Germany, Poland Push EU Military Headquarters In Brussels

http://www.expatica.com/fr/news/french-news/france-germany-poland-back-permanent-eu-military-hq_163980.html

Agence France-Presse
July 18, 2011

France, Germany, Poland back permanent EU military HQ

France, Germany and Poland want the idea of a permanent European Union military headquarters in Brussels to be pursued despite British opposition, their foreign ministers said Monday.

The ministers issued a joint statement after EU foreign and security policy chief Catherine Ashton released a report on possible ways for states to pool and share military capacities, which the ministers discussed.

The text of her report mentioned a “permanent civilian-military planning and conduct of operations capacity” or permanent European military headquarters, Alain Juppe, Guido Westerwelle and Radoslaw Sikorski said in the statement.

Ashton’s report also called for sharing defence capacities, improving EU-NATO relations and operational engagements by EU tactical groups, the statement said.

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Combat Forces’ Effectiveness: NATO Joins EU Defense Officials In Baltic

http://www.thenews.pl/9/7/Artykul/51344,EU-defence-officials-meet-in-Sopot

Polish Radio
July 18, 2011

EU defence officials meet in Sopot

Common security and defence policy, increasing the effectiveness of combat forces, as well as the future of the European Union’s military operations – these topics are to be discussed during a meeting of the EU’s defence ministers which gets under way in the Baltic resort of Sopot today.

The two-day informal conference of deputy defence ministers and heads of respective departments within the ministries will start in the Baltic resort of Sopot on Monday.

“No decisions will be made during the meeting. Its aim is to discuss issues of interest, present priorities and exchange opinions,” Marcin Kazmierski, the head of the department of security policy at the Polish Ministry of Defence told the PAP news agency.

Apart from Polish military officials, the assistant of NATO’s secretary-general responsible for defence policy will participate in it along with representatives of the European Defence Agency (EDA).

One of the priorities of Poland’s EU Council presidency is to increase the usefulness of bloc’s combat groups which assume their duties on a rotational basis, although they have yet to be deployed in a crisis situation.

The troops’ deployment in civilian efforts is one of the major points on the agenda, as well as the EU’s anti-piracy Atalanta naval mission in Somalia.

The conference is to prepare the ground for the informal meeting of the EU defence ministers in the south-western city of Wroclaw in September, after which a formal meeting in Brussels scheduled towards the end of Poland’s EU six-month presidency.

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U.S. And Polish F-16s: First American Fighter Jets In Ukraine

http://www.eucom.mil/english/fullstory.asp?article=Safer-skies-Ukrainian-horizon

United States European Command
July 17, 2011

Safer skies on the Ukrainian horizon
Maj. Matthew T. Mutti, SAFE SKIES 2011 Public Affairs Officer

Mirgorod Air Base, Ukraine: More than 140 members of the Air National Guard landed aircraft in Ukraine, preparing for a US European Command sponsored aerial military-to-military exchange event titled SAFE SKIES 2011.

A rainbow unit of Air National Guard Airmen comprised of members from Alabama, California, Washington and Massachusetts flew into a base that until July 15 had only seen use by Mig-29s and Su-27s. Following the advance teams of maintenance and support personnel, seven F-16Cs from Alabama and Iowa cut through the calm, blue Ukrainian sky. The F-16Cs were among the first American fighter jets to ever touchdown in this former Soviet-bloc country.

These National Guard Airmen are part of the State Partnership program which will play a major role in SAFE SKIES 2011, a joint US, Ukraine and Polish event where by the Air National Guard pilots will fly engagements with Ukrainian Su-27, Mig-29s and Polish F-16s on Air Sovereignty operations in preparation for the 2012 Olympics and 2012 EUROCup and 2014 Winter Games in Europe. This event is co-sponsored by US European Command, with an overall goal of promoting and enhancing multinational cooperation in an effort to promote airspace security.

“Working together with the Ukrainian and Polish Air Forces is important to US interests, in that it helps promote regional stability,” said Lt. Col. Robert Swertfager, SAFE SKIES 2011 Project Officer and F-16 pilot from the 144th Fighter Wing, California Air National Guard. “This event increases our collective capacity to address common security challenges.”

The foundation for the event is the National Guard State Partnership Program. The California National Guard is state partners with Ukraine, and the Illinois National Guard is partners with Poland. These partnerships have led the way over the past 6 years, developing relationships that allow for this massive collaborative effort.

After two years of planning, the fighters landed on July 16, with crowds of Ukrainian Air Force members watching as the Mirgorod Air Base ramp began to be filled with US fighter aircraft.

The effort to bring American fighters to the Ukraine was carefully coordinated by the guardsmen…

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Parliamentarian: NATO Military Action Against Iran Implies Suicide

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/189758.html

Press TV
July 19, 2011

‘NATO military action implies suicide’

A member of Iran’s Majlis (parliament) warns of a possible agreement to base a missile-shield radar in Turkey, stressing any military action by NATO against Iran will be tantamount to its suicide.

“In regard to the vigilance of nations, any military action by NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) will undoubtedly mean its suicide,” a member of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee Fatemeh Alia said on Monday.

She added that NATO played an active role in the region, directly or indirectly, after the 1979 victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran due to its fear of arrogant powers, Majlis news agency (ICANA) reported.

However, the legislator emphasized that the NATO military expedition failed to inflict damage on the Islamic Republic, adding the organization seeks to change regional developments in its own favor by waging a psychological warfare.

World nations have come to an understanding that the global arrogance has intensified insecurity under the pretext of establishing security, she said, adding NATO efforts will lead to adverse consequences.

The lawmaker denounced silence on NATO moves and highlighted the significance of taking steps towards shedding light on its plans.
Alia pointed to Iran’s great military might and warned NATO that any threat against the Islamic Republic will pose a serious danger to its interests.

Meanwhile, deputy chairman of the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee Hossein Ebrahimi also said that strengthening ties between Iran and its neighboring states will play an “effective” role in countering threats against Tehran.

He added that Iran may likely fail to establish ties with the Persian Gulf littoral states because they are influenced by the US “but we can turn NATO threats into opportunities through restoring ties with neighbors and even European countries.”

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Canadian Military Stages Show Of Force Against Russia In Arctic

http://www.newsahead.com/preview/2011/08/01/arctic-1-31-aug-2011-canadian-forces-stage-show-of-force-in-disputed-region/index.php

NewsAhead Agency
July 19, 2011

Canadian forces stage show of force in disputed region

Canadian Defence Minister Peter MacKay recently described Operation Nanook 11 as “the largest operation that has taken place in recent history.”

The now-annual Canadian military exercises in the Arctic were established to buttress Canada’s claim to part of the Arctic sea floor where Russian and Canadian claims overlap.

Russia is establishing permanent military bases in its northern territories to support its claim, and all five Arctic nations are racing to gather data to support their claims amid reports that global warming could leave the resource-rich region ice-free and accessible by 2030.

The United States Geological Survey says the Arctic seabed could hold 13 per cent of the world’s oil reserves and 30 per cent of its gas resources. The rival nations are Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the United States. In 2012 the data from each will go before a United Nations panel that will decide which nations own which sections of the Arctic seabed.

A Russian scientific expedition — led by a nuclear-powered icebreaker — has set sail for the Arctic to solidify Russia’s claim, and has announced it will station two new Arctic warfare brigades north of 60 degrees — a move that will expand Russia’s northern military capabilities far beyond those of Canada, according to the Montreal Gazette.

According to the Canadian Defence Department, Operation Nanook 11 is to play out in several phases on and near Baffin Island and Ellesmere Island, with more than 1,000 Canadian Forces personnel participating. It will involve CF-18 fighter jets as well a surveillance and transport aircraft, a warship, infantry companies from Quebec and Alberta, and 5 Canadian Ranger Patrol Group — Inuit reservists who have broad experience surviving in the extreme environment of the Far North.

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Oil, Gas, Diamond Rush In Arctic Region Heating Up

http://empowerednews.net/gold-rush-in-the-arctic-region-heating-up/1811993/

Empowered News
July 19, 2011

Gold rush in the Arctic Region Heating Up

After a study done by the U.S. Geological Survey in 2008, the Arctic Region is said to have a 90 billion barrels of unrecovered and undiscovered mineral gas and oil. It is one third of the world’s natural mineral gas combined. It is extremely very attractive for countries near the Arctic Circle.

That’s the reason why eight nations are claiming their presence in the Arctic Region namely the United States, Russia, Canada, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland. It is alarming for some to know that polar ice caps in the Arctic Region have been slowing melting. Many animals in the Polar Regions are becoming more vulnerable to extinction but for some nations, it will be a good business opportunity to explore the region once the ice caps are no longer there.

Recent reports said that military and naval activities have been intensified by the eight nations in the Arctic Region. For many years, the Arctic Region has never been explored but if the predicted melting of the polar ice caps continues, oil and natural gas might already be extracted.

Canada, which is not a diamond producing country, is now the world’s third largest producer of diamonds because of its strategic location near the Arctic Region. Aside from natural mineral gas and oil, the Arctic Region boosts many undiscovered minerals as what the experts claimed.

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NATO, Pentagon Rehearse Combat Bombing Support In Baltic

http://www.aco.nato.int/page424204140.aspx

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations
July 18, 2011

NATO training successfully completed at Adazi Training Area

Ramstein: Headquarters Allied Air Command Ramstein (HQ AC Ramstein) recently completed the ninth successful Baltic Region Training Event (BRTE IX), this time held at the Adazi Training Area some 15 kms northeast of the Riga, Latvia. For three days, Forward Air Controller (FAC) teams from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania practised how to call in Close Air Support for simulated “troops in contact” situations. The Lithuanian Air Force provided L-39 jets and crews while the United States Air Force sent F-16 fighters from Aviano Air Base, Italy, for the live training. Air-to-Air Refuelling support was provided by a USAF KC-135 Stratotanker from RAF Mildenhall in the United Kingdom.

BRTE IX execution took place on 12 July in two phases. The training involved the FACs on the ground and the NATO aircraft in the skies. “The main FAC focus is currency of capabilities and ROVER training”, said HptFw Littner, German Air Force, member of the HQ AC Ramstein FAC Capability Branch, “in coordination with the host nation we create realistic scenarios geared to participating aircraft, terrain features and FAC requirements.”

Later that afternoon, the second phase of BRTE IX involved French Quick Reaction Alert (Interceptor) (QRA(I)) assets from Šiauliai Air Base in Lithuania. After a Close Air Support mission, an L-39 simulated an aircraft electrical failure which required the Baltic Control and Reporting Centre (CRC) in Karmelava, Lithuania, to exercise an intercept by the French QRA(I) which then escorted the L-39 to a safe recovery at Šiauliai. The French Mirages executed a practice divert and landing at Riga International Airport

“It is an outstanding opportunity for me today,” stated Minister Pabriks at the end of the event, “to see best practice of NATO interoperability and solidarity, which we know is absolutely vital for the Alliance. I know the FAC capability is extremely important during operations like ISAF as well…We are extremely pleased that this successful training event was conducted in Latvia again,” Minister Pabriks added.

BRTE IX continues to display Alliance solidarity, partnership and integration. Allied aircraft and aircrews sent to the Baltics combined with Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania controllers and support personnel to provide trained and qualified FAC personnel to the Alliance. The mix of Allied ground and air assets show NATO at its best – train as you operate.

Held since late 2008, BRTEs have provided Air Command and Control training for Alliance air assets and reaffirmed NATO’s solidarity with Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. They have demonstrated how NATO ensures the security of Alliance airspace. “This time the scope of the training event is again on Air-Land-Integration, an important part of any joint campaign”, said General Baron.

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NATO Continues To Transform Iraqi Armed Forces To Alliance Standards

http://www.aco.nato.int/page4242050.aspx

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations
July 18, 2011

NTM-I conducts doctrine and training management Train-The-Trainer courses

Baghdad: Graduation ceremonies for both Doctrine Development and Training management train-the-trainer (T3) courses were held June 30, 2011 in the Ministerial Training and Development Center of the Iraqi Ministry of Defence here.

NTM-I Training Education and Doctrine Division (TEDAD) officers supported both courses.

Iraqi MoD Deputy Chief of Staff for Training, sLt. Gen. Hussein Dohi, Chief TEDAD British Army Brig. Mark Pountain, Head of Iraqi Doctrine Branch, sCapt. (Navy) Farkad and other key NTM-I and MoD representatives attended the ceremonies.

The two-week Doctrine T3 Course was the result of cooperative effort between NTM-I, USF-I and the Iraqi Doctrine Branch. This course was the first course that was actually taught by Iraqi specialists, while NTM-I advisors conducted mentoring assistance. Twelve high-ranking representatives from all branches of the Iraqi Armed Forces graduated this T3 course. These Iraqi officers are now qualified to support doctrine development in their respective units. As subject matter experts on doctrine these officers are a resource for their colleagues and subordinates.

The five-day Training Management course was designed for twenty-eight senior Iraqi officers that are leading training activities for the Iraqi Armed Forces. The course developed an understanding of training analysis,design and development, execution and evaluation processes and how these tools can be implemented in the Iraqi military environment in order to develop an enduring educational system, which can contribute to operational capability.

These NTM-I courses follow indentified needs in enabling the Iraq develop its long-term…capabilities in training and doctrine spheres. TEDAD plans to continue assisting with similar courses, as well as Training Authority Development and Training Manager Studies, to provide the Iraqi Armed Forces additional skills and techniques in training and education spheres.
________________________________________________________________________

The NATO Training Mission in Iraq (NTM-I) was established in 2004 at the request of the Iraqi Interim Government under the provisions of UN Security Council Resolution 1546…

The Training, Education and Doctrine Advisory Division (TEDAD) is one of the key output divisions of the NATO Training Mission – Iraq. Its Mission is to assist the Government of Iraq in building effective Iraqi-led security forces through:

Advice and training support across the National Defence University (NDU) and all subordinate organizations to develop the officer education and training system

Advice and training support to Iraqi senior enlisted personnel training

Planning and execution of out-of-country training events and coordination of NATO equipment donations in order to contribute to the development of self-sufficient, sustainable and effective Iraqi Security Forces.

TEDAD consists of approximately 45 personnel from 10 different countries and is led by a British Brigadier. The Division has 3 Branches:

- Officer Education and Training Advisory Branch (OETAB)

- Non-Commissioned Officer and Battle Staff Training Advisory Branch (NCO/BST)
– Training and Equipment Synchronization Cell (TESC)

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Categories: Uncategorized

Gustave Flaubert and George Sand: Monstrous conflicts of which we have no idea; warfare suppressed or civilization perishes

Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Gustave Flaubert and George Sand
Correspondence
Translated by A.L. McKensie

*****

To George Sand
Wednesday evening 1870

What has become of you, dear master, of you and yours? As for me, I am disheartened, distressed by the folly of my compatriots. The hopeless barbarism of humanity fills me with a black melancholy. That enthusiasm which has no intelligent motive makes me want to die, so as not to see it any longer.

The good Frenchman wants to fight: (1) because he thinks he is provoked to it by Prussia; (2) because the natural condition of man is savagery; (3) because war in itself contains a mystic element which enraptures crowds.

Have we returned to the wars of races? I fear so. The terrible butchery which is being prepared has not even a pretext. It is the desire to fight for the sake of fighting.

I bewail the destroyed bridges, the staved-in tunnels, all this human labor lost, in short a negation so radical.

The Congress of Peace is wrong at present. Civilization seems to me far off. Hobbes was right: Homo homini lupus.

I have begun Saint-Antoine [1], and it would go perhaps rather well, if I did not think of the war. And you?

The bourgeois here cannot contain himself. He thinks Prussia was too insolent and wants to “avenge himself.” Did you see that a gentleman has proposed in the Chamber the pillage of the duchy of Baden! Ah! why can’t I live among the Bedouins!

*****

To Gustave Flaubert
July 26, 1870

I think this war is infamous; that authorized Marseillaise, a sacrilege. Men are ferocious and conceited brutes; we are in the HALF AS MUCH of Pascal; when will come the MORE THAN EVER!

It is between 40 and 45 degrees IN THE SHADE here. They are burning the forests; another barbarous stupidity! The wolves come and walk into our court, and we chase them away at night…The trees are losing their leaves and perhaps their lives. Water for drinking is becoming scarce; the harvests are almost nothing; but we have war, what luck!

You said rightly that in order to work, a certain lightness was needed; where is it to be found in these accursed times?

*****

To George Sand
August 3, 1870

What! dear master, you too are demoralized, sad? What will become of the weak souls?

As for me, my heart is oppressed in a way that astonishes me, and I wallow in a bottomless melancholy, in spite of work, in spite of the good Saint-Antoine who ought to distract me. Is it the consequence of my repeated afflictions? Perhaps. But the war is a good deal responsible for it. I think that we are getting into the dark.

Behold then, the NATURAL MAN. Make theories now! Boast the progress, the enlightenment and the good sense of the masses, and the gentleness of the French people! I assure you that anyone here who ventured to preach peace would get himself murdered. Whatever happens, we have been set back for a long time to come.

Are the wars between races perhaps going to begin again? One will see, before a century passes, several millions of men kill one another in one engagement. All the East against all Europe, the old world against the new! Why not? Great united works like the Suez Canal are, perhaps, under another form, outlines and preparations for these monstrous conflicts of which we have no idea.

*****

To Gustave Flaubert
August 8, 1870

Are you in Paris in the midst of all this torment? What a lesson the people are getting who want absolute masters! France and Prussia are cutting each other’s throats for reasons that they don’t understand! Here we are in the midst of great disasters, and what tears at the end of it all, even should we be the victors! One sees nothing but poor peasants mourning for their children who are leaving.

The mobilization takes away those who were left with us and how they are being treated to begin with! What disorder, what disarray in that military administration, which absorbed everything and had to swallow up everything! Is this horrible experience going to prove to the world that warfare ought to be suppressed or that civilization has to perish?

We have reached the point this evening of knowing that we are beaten. Perhaps tomorrow we shall know that we have beaten, and what will there be good or useful from one or the other?

The peasant is working and ploughing his fields; digging hard always, sad or gay. He is imbecile, people say; no, he is a child in prosperity, a man in disaster, more of a man than we who complain; he says nothing, and while people are killing, he is sowing, repairing continually on one side what they are destroying from the other. We are going to try to do as he, and to hunt a bubbling spring fifty or a hundred yards below ground…

We are trying to dig into the bowels of the earth to forget all that is going on above it. But we cannot distract ourselves from this terror!

*****

To Gustave Flaubert
August 15, 1870

..This human butchery tears my poor heart to pieces. I tremble too for all my children and friends, who perhaps are to be hacked to pieces.

And YET, in the midst of all that, my soul exults and has ecstasies of faith; these terrific lessons which are necessary for us to understand our imbecility, must be of use to us. We are perhaps making our last return to the ways of the old world. There are sharp and clear principles for everyone today that ought to extricate them from this torment. Nothing is useless in the material order of the universe. The moral order cannot escape the law. Bad engenders good. I tell you that we are in the HALF AS MUCH of Pascal, so as to get TO THE MORE THAN EVER! That is all the mathematics that I understand.

*****

To George Sand
Sunday evening 1870

I don’t think that there is in all France a sadder man than I am! (It all depends on the sensitiveness of people.) I am dying of grief. That is the truth, and consolations irritate me. What distresses me is: (1) the ferocity of men; (2) the conviction that we are going to enter upon a stupid era. People will be utilitarian, military, American and Catholic! Very Catholic! You will see! The Prussian War ends the French Revolution and destroys it…

What a cataclysm! What a collapse! What misery! What abominations! Can one believe in progress and in civilization in the face of all that is going on? What use, pray, is science, since this people abounding in scholars commits abominations worthy of the Huns and worse than theirs, because they are systematic, cold-blooded, voluntary, and have for an excuse, neither passion nor hunger?

Ready-made phrases are not wanting: France will rise again! One must not despair! It is a salutary punishment! We were really too immoral! etc. Oh! eternal poppycock! No! one does not recover from such a blow!

Oh! if I could flee into a country where one does not see uniforms, where one does not hear the drum, where one does not talk of massacres, where one is not obliged to be a citizen!

1) His novel La Tentation de Saint Antoine (The Temptation of Saint Anthony)

Categories: Uncategorized

Updates on Libyan war/Stop NATO news: July 18, 2011

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Libyan War: 15,540 NATO Air Missions, 5,858 Strike Sorties

West’s “Political Solution” Is No Solution For Libya

Neighboring Niger Fears Somalia-Like Danger In Libya

U.S. Recognizes Its Future Stooges In A Divided Libya

Three NATO Soldiers Killed In Eastern Afghanistan

Ice Wars: Huge Oil, Mineral Deposits Heat Up Scramble For Arctic

Canadian Military: Future Wars To Be Fought For Natural Resources

U.S.-Georgia Charter On Strategic Partnership Meeting Plans NATO Accession

NATO Headquarters: Secretary General, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Discuss Annual National Program, Foreign Deployments

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Libyan War: 15,540 NATO Air Missions, 5,858 Strike Sorties

http://www.nato.int/nato_static/assets/pdf/pdf_2011_07/20110718_110718-oup-update.pdf

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
July 18, 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, 06.00GMT) a total of 15,540 sorties, including 5,858 strike sorties, have been conducted.

Sorties conducted 17 JULY: 122

Strike sorties conducted 17 JULY: 46

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West’s “Political Solution” Is No Solution For Libya

http://news.myjoyonline.com/features/201107/69411.asp

Ghana News
July 17, 2011

The West’s “Political Solution” is No Solution for Libya
By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

-That it has taken them such a long time to come to this realization is regrettable but unexpected because it is characteristic of war-mongers who repose more trust in armaments and raw military muscle than common sense in attempting to solve another country’s internal political problem…In substance, the “political solution” and the NATO military campaign are two sides of the same coin. The only difference now is that the Libya Contact Group is plastering the NATO military platform-of-action against Gaddafi with a political veneer and pretending to be approaching the conflict from a new angle altogether.

Some 15 top diplomats of the Libya Contact group, including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, met in Istanbul today (Friday, July 15) to discuss “a political solution” to the conflict in Libya while coordinating aid for the rebels.

The meeting — the fourth so far — came in the wake of the protracted stalemate in the fighting between forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi and his opponents. All those who mattered in the West’s political rhetoric about the NATO military campaign against Gaddafi attended the meeting.

China and Russia declined invitations to participate, which leaves lingering doubts on how acceptable any decision from the meeting might be to them and other countries critical of the military campaign or the West’s handling of the conflict.

The mere mentioning of “political solution” as the agenda for this meeting suggests that some common sense must be creeping into the heads of those war-mongers in the Libya Contact Group who have let loose their war-machine to cause needless devastation in Libya. Blinded by their love for military adventurism, they have refused to listen to reason or all suasion to abandon that option for a less costly political and diplomatic one. Now, they seem disillusioned and want to see things beyond their noses.

That it has taken them such a long time to come to this realization is regrettable but unexpected because it is characteristic of war-mongers who repose more trust in armaments and raw military muscle than common sense in attempting to solve another country’s internal political problem.

Even then, their kind of “political solution” is suspect because it is not different from how they’ve been handling the Libyan conflict since they rushed into it on March 19. In substance, the “political solution” and the NATO military campaign are two sides of the same coin. The only difference now is that the Libya Contact Group is plastering the NATO military platform-of-action against Gaddafi with a political veneer and pretending to be approaching the conflict from a new angle altogether.

Their so-called “political solution” has nothing to recommend it as such except that it will be enforced through channels other than or in support of air strikes on pro-Gaddafi forces and territories. I wonder how it can stop the hostilities or remove the Gaddafi menace to make it possible for the rebels to assume unfettered control of the country.

That’s why the emerging signs that the International Coalition or Libya Contact Group is still insistent on sidelining the Gaddafi faction or not seeking input from there as part of the political solution should be viewed clearly and condemned. The limitations of such a narrow-minded approach far outweigh any perceived benefit. Unless all the interested parties (the Gaddafi government, the rebels, and the external forces stage-managing the rebels conduct) see eye-to-eye on what constitutes a political solution or how to implement that solution, these highly one-sided efforts stand doomed even before they begin being made.

As usual, the meeting was attended by a representative of the rebels (the de facto Foreign Minister, Mahmoud Jibril) while no one from the Gaddafi government took part. Is this how to solve this intricate national problem? I don’t think so. No firm strategic measures seem to be put in place to ensure trust and commitment. It’s all the same arm-twisting tactics to force Gaddafi out of the way.

This lopsided approach to handling the issue is one of the main problems that the Libya Contact Group has failed to recognize or solve. They can’t hope to reach out successfully to all the parties involved in this conflict with this one-sided approach. The rebels have already sided with them, meaning that they have no hurdle to clear by way of seeking their support for whatever they have up their sleeves.

The Gaddafi government is the primary area of interest to connect with, but has consistently been excluded from such deliberations. How does the Libya Contact Group hope to arrive at an acceptable and workable solution to the conflict if it handles issues in this biased manner? Does it hope to make decisions and force them down the throats of the Gaddafi side? Such an imposition will not help ensure trust and commitment and will be the basis for failure.

We already have evidence of the measures that this Libya Contact Group has drawn up without input from the Gaddafi side.

In a final statement, the Contact Group raised a range of points, including an agreement by the participants “to deal” with the NTC “as the legitimate governing authority” in the country “until an interim authority is in place.” It also welcomed monetary pledges and encouraged financial help.

“Noting that the unfolding situation in Libya since mid-February has disrupted the operations of foreign companies and contractors, the Contact Group welcomed the commitment of the NTC to open up Libya to foreign investment as soon as possible and its commitment to honor any existing legal contracts signed under the Gadhafi regime,” it said.

It also cited “the need for establishment of a genuine cease-fire and provision of safe humanitarian access remain as urgent as ever.”

The group “urged all relevant parties to explore ways and means of paving the way for the formation of an interim government to ensure a smooth and peaceful transition of power with the widest popular support possible,” it said.

What this meeting has achieved is nothing but the rubber-stamping of predetermined measures to increase support for the rebels militarily and financially. Thus, with the consensus reached at today’s meeting, it will not be surprising if all forms of assistance start flowing in to Benghazi to boost the operational needs of the rebels.

Such a move will not solve the country’s problems or remove the Gaddafi menace. At best, it will only strengthen the hands of the rebel administration and help consolidate its hold on Eastern Libya. Until such time that Gaddafi’s hold on Tripoli and many cities in Western Libya is neutralized, his government will continue to call the shots and his loyalists will continue to disregard the rebel administration.

The upshot, then, will be the splitting of the country into two, as we have already predicted and as has been confirmed by unfolding events. Unless Gaddafi is killed and the potency of his loyalists neutralized, no one should start celebrating any success for the rebels.

The outcome of today’s meeting underlines the West’s half-hearted approach toward resolving the crisis through political means and not the wrong-headed military option that has exposed NATO’s weaknesses instead of helping it and the rebels achieve their objective of forcibly evicting Gaddafi from power.

As the Libya Contact Group pursues its own version of a “political solution” to the Libyan crisis, it’s worthy of note that such a move will be still-born unless the military option is relegated to the background. Perhaps, that’s why we haven’t heard of any more air strikes in Tripoli by NATO. For as long as NATO ramps up its military sorties and devastation, it can’t expect anything by way of a political solution to the conflict. But on the ground, the fighting between the Gaddafi loyalists and rebels continues.

Or that may explain why today’s meeting stressed the need for a ceasefire. The problem with this bent toward a ceasefire, however, is that the Libya Contact Group has shifted the burden to the Gaddafi faction and made a number of demands. Italy’s Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said the decision left Gaddafi “no other option” but to leave power.

He said the UN special envoy to Libya, Abdul Elah al-Khatib, would take the contact group’s ceasefire proposals to the Libyan leadership, and negotiate on their behalf. “This political package is a political offer, including a ceasefire,” he said.

As is to be expected, Gaddafi has already rejected the proposal and any demand for him to step down and leave his country. His resolve has been strengthened by thousands of his followers who attended rallies in Tripoli and Zlitan in his support. It seems Gaddafi is determined to remain in firm control, contrary to France’s claim.

In this case, then, what will the Libya Contact Group do but return to the military option? There is a conscious attempt to set the stage for running around in circles. That’s not how to solve problems.

What we can say for now is that the Libya Contact Groups’ so-called “political solution” means nothing to Gaddafi. Not only that but the exclusion of the African Union’s proposals for a political road map also shows the extent to which the Libya Contact Group’s unilateral actions and measures have disregarded other perspectives. This insistence on pushing through their own version of the “political solution” is disappointing, to say the least.

Probably, in the effort to prop up the rebel administration, the Libya Contact Group will continue to support NATO’s air strikes of pro-Gaddafi territories while the rebels intensify their anti-Gaddafi manouevres through underground contact cells in the hope that his opponents in the territories currently under his control will muster up enough bravado to incite uprisings for them to capitalize on.

Such measures have their negative backlash too. Now that Gaddafi has begun appealing to the nationalist spirit of his loyalists and given out millions of AK 47 assault rifles to them, it is obvious that the situation is definitely building up to a catastrophic point. I foresee violent confrontations and the likelihood of bloodshed. The immediate future looks drearier than expected — rather paradoxically so in a situation where people claim to be looking for a political solution to the crisis but are instead only reinforcing earlier hostilities against the Gaddafi faction.

What makes the Libyan crisis particularly intriguing is the fact that it is a civil war, not just an uprising by civilians to oust Gaddafi from power. What has happened since the Benghazi-based rebels over-ran the local military base and armed themselves to the teeth to fight Gaddafi is complicated and defies the military solution that the West quickly went for.

In this intricate web of a civil war — and considering the protracted stalemate that the military option has wrought — any effort to solve the problem must be holistic. It must be made in good faith and the interested parties totally committed to making peace and restoring normalcy to the country.

No half-hearted approach by way of discrimination against any party will lead to an amicable resolution of the conflict. Unfortunately, though, that is not what today’s meeting has provided. This so-called “political solution” will definitely add to the nightmare that the Libyan conflict has turned out to be for those who have unwittingly underrated Gaddafi’s resolve to resist his opponents.

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Neighboring Niger Fears Somalia-Like Danger In Libya

http://af.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idAFTRE76G0QH20110717

Reuters
July 17, 2011

Niger fears takeover by militants in neighbour Libya

NIAMEY: Niger fears that Islamic militants could seize power in Libya as a result of the civil war in its northern neighbour, President Mahamadou Issoufou said late on Saturday.

Speaking on state television, Issoufou said Niger would not take sides in the conflict, unlike several other African nations which back the rebels, and insisted the only solution to the violence was through a negotiated political accord.

“Niger’s interest is that this crisis does not result in fundamentalists taking power, that’s our concern,” said Issoufou, who won March elections which returned Niger to civilian rule after a year of military government.

“Niger’s interest is that the crisis resolves itself, that it does not drag on and that the Libyan state does not go the same way as Somalia,” he added. The Horn of Africa state is battling against al Shabaab rebels linked to al Qaeda.

Several African countries, including Senegal, Gambia and Liberia, have either distanced themselves from leader Muammar Gaddafi or overtly recognised the rebel National Transitional Council (NTC) as representing the Libyan people.

But Issoufou said that Niger, which is already struggling to deal with the return of some 211,000 migrant Nigeriens forced out of Libya by the violence, would remain neutral.

“On Libya, we are not aligning ourselves behind anyone,” he said, adding that African Union efforts to get agreement for a “roadmap” deal involving a cease-fire and a transitional phase leading to elections appeared to be making progress. He did not give further details.

Aside from the risk that the return of migrants destabilises Niger and other neighbours to the south of Libya, there are also concerns that arms spilling out of Libya will end up in the hands of al Qaeda-linked groups involved in trafficking, hostage-taking and clashes with armed forces in the region.

(Reporting by Abdoulaye Massalaatchi; Writing by Mark John; Editing by Elizabeth Fullerton)

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U.S. Recognizes Its Future Stooges In A Divided Libya

http://news.myjoyonline.com/features/201107/69417.asp

Ghana News
July 17, 2011

The U.S. recognizes its future stooges in a divided Libya
By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

Despite a NATO bombing campaign of more than 6,000 sorties against his forces and military installations, Gaddafi still remains entrenched in the capital Tripoli. Reports from Libya over the past few days indicate the rising tide of massive support for him by his followers, who have attended rallies and demonstrated their preparedness to confront the rebels and their backers.

Even as the stalemate in the fighting in Libya continues to confound the anti-Gaddafi elements, a number of measures are being taken to concretize the partitioning of the country into two administrative areas — Western Libya under Gaddafi and Eastern Libya under the rebel Transitional National Council (TNC).

The latest action is not unusual, even though delayed. The US has recognized the Libyan opposition as the country’s “legitimate governing authority.” This action is expected to boost the diplomatic interests of the TNC and weaken Gaddafi’s hold on power; but it doesn’t solve the country’s overarching political problem, which currently dominates the discourse on Libya.

From the tone of the US Foreign Secretary Hillary Clinton’s disclosure of this action at the just-ended 4th meeting of the Libya Contact Group in Istanbul, Turkey, we can foresee how the West is already working this diplomatic element into the military strategy for removing Gaddafi from office.

Announcing this decision, Mrs. Clinton said the US was satisfied that the TNC “continues to gain legitimacy as the representative of the Libyan people” and conducts “high-level diplomacy with governments worldwide” (BBC News, July 15, 2011).

Thus, “the United States views the Gaddafi regime as no longer having any legitimate authority in Libya,” Mrs. Clinton said.

“And so I am announcing today that, until an interim authority is in place, the United States will recognize the TNC as the legitimate governing authority for Libya, and we will deal with it on that basis.”

The US had previously stopped short of giving this recognition to the council, but Mrs. Clinton said that the body, based in Benghazi, Libya, “has offered important assurances today.”

They include “the promise:

to pursue a process of democratic reform that is inclusive both geographically and politically,

to uphold Libya’s international obligations, and

to disburse funds in a transparent manner to address the humanitarian and other needs of the Libyan people.”

Thus, Mrs. Clinton was emphatic that the US “appreciates these assurances from the TNC, which reinforce our confidence that it is the appropriate interlocutor for us in dealing with Libya’s present and addressing Libya’s future.” She added: “The TNC has offered important assurances today, including the promise to pursue a process of democratic reform that is inclusive both geographically and politically.”

Mrs. Clinton said the US “will help the TNC sustain its commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, and national unity of Libya, and we will look to it to remain steadfast in its commitment to human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

The US’ disgust for the Gaddafi government emerged too. “In contrast, the United States views the Gadhafi regime as no longer having any legitimate authority in Libya,” she said, adding that the coalition will continue to target Gadhafi’s command and control if he keeps threatening the citizenry.

Gaddafi swiftly rejected the move and insisted that he will not step down and will shed his blood in defence of his country and the legacy of his administration.

The US’ recognition of the TNC comes across as part of the efforts to narrow Gaddafi’s sphere of influence. It is nothing to suggest that the rebels will use it to eliminate Gaddafi or install themselves in office to begin presiding over the affairs of the country.

It, however, means that billions of dollars of Libyan assets frozen in US banks could be released to the rebels. Any action taken to release the funds to the rebels may be too premature, especially now that the rebels haven’t yet properly organized themselves into a credible group of politicians capable of managing the affairs of the entire country. They still remain a rag-tag force bound together by nothing but their common hatred for Gaddafi. The situation in their ranks may not be the same in a post-Gaddafi Libya.

The Libyan funds and assets in custody of the US shouldn’t be spent on purposes that will not serve the interests of the people. The rebels can’t claim to be in the majority in Libya. That’s why the US must hasten slowly in helping these rebels dissipate their country’s resources just because they want to get at Gaddafi.

This strategy of strengthening the hands of the rebels against the political authority that still controls the national capital city and a large part of the country and its majority population is a good recipe for the partitioning of countries.

From historical precedent, we can tell that mere diplomatic recognition doesn’t solve politically motivated problems that have unfortunately been worsened through recourse to military actions in support of one faction. The Korean Crisis (leading to the war between North and South Korea between 1950 and 1953 — whose repercussions are still being felt today) is still a major world problem despite the recognition given to South Korea by the US and all other powers-that-be.

North Korea is still stuck to the very Communist centrally controlled socio-economic development pattern and political ideology that prompted its conflict with the Western-leaning South Korea. The rush by the West to recognize South Korea and repudiate the North has left its permanent scar on the Korean Peninsula — which is the division of that area into two different systems of governance.

It seems a replica of that paradigm is in-the-making in Libya, especially as the rebel Transitional national Council strengthens Benghazi as the headquarters of its administration of Eastern Libya and Tripoli remains in the hands of Gaddafi. We are seeing the events unfold to reveal two Libyas. I hope this country doesn’t suffer that painful fate.

Even though more countries have recognized the rebel National Transitional Council as “the legitimate representatives of the Libyan people,” there is nothing specifically substantial happening to give the rebels that edge over Gaddafi.

I remain skeptical that this diplomatic manouevre will tilt the balance of forces in favour of the rebels such that the Gaddafi menace can be eradicated and Libya restored to normalcy without any worsening of the political or humanitarian problems.

First, the US’ move will give some morale boosting impetus to the rebels as they press on to engage the pro-Gaddafi forces. It doesn’t really translate into any victory unless NATO supports the rebel forces with the airstrikes that have so far aided their advances in pro-Gaddafi towns in the Nafusa Mountains in the west. Or unless NATO’s direct involvement in the fighting in other parts of Eastern Libya, such as Bregga, clear the way for the rebels to establish control over those places.

By extension, we can say that unless the military muscle is flexed alongside these diplomatic manouevres, nothing concrete will be achieved to benefit the rebels. No matter what the Western and Arab members of the Libya Contact Group do by way of drawing up a plan to end hostilities — to be presented to Muammar Gaddafi for him to obey — nothing other than the already-known loss of limb and property will happen.

Second, the US’ move is not unexpected, even though it was initially beset with foot-dragging. Being the major force behind NATO’s military campaign, the US has nothing else to do but to join the chorus in giving diplomatic recognition to the rebels. It is part of the conditions underlying the NATO action in Libya.

In the final analysis, whatever financial or military benefits may accrue to the rebel Transitional National Council will go a long way to strengthen its hands in managing the affairs of the territories under its control. It means that the administration will get the resources it needs to strengthen its grip on power in the eastern part of Libya. We will then see that administration as a parallel structure that is operating in competition with the Gaddafi one in a divided Libya.

The rebels’ hold on some areas in Western Libya is tenuous because of the ding-dong nature of the ongoing battle between them and the pro-Gaddafi forces. Not until they emerge as more powerful and, therefore, the ultimate winner of the battle, they can’t claim those territories and add them to their stronghold in Benghazi or elsewhere.

The fighting is still going on, even in Misrata, which the rebels claim as their territory. The NATO and rebels’ coordinated attack on Bregga in the East, which has remained a pro-Gaddafi base, will have its own implications when the dust settles. Bregga is an oil-rich territory that has much of Libya’s oil infrastructure. Its fall to the rebels will enhance their acquisitions but may not immediately yield resources for their benefit.

This recourse to diplomatic recognition for the rebel leadership is part of the concerted efforts by the West to strangle the Gaddafi government. It adds to the NATO military campaign and the one-sided “political solution” that the Libya Contact Group announced at the end of its meeting in Istanbul on Friday.

But it is not to be viewed as the solution that will help restore Libya to normalcy unless other measures are taken to win over those doggedly following Gaddafi. A post-Gaddafi Libya will not be stable if these forces continue to be sidelined and the rebels supported to impose their will on them.

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Three NATO Soldiers Killed In Eastern Afghanistan

http://www.rttnews.com/Content/GeneralNews.aspx?Node=B1&Id=1667157

RTT News
July 18, 2011

Three NATO Soldiers Killed In Afghanistan

Three NATO soldiers were killed in an improvised explosive device (IED) explosion in eastern Afghanistan on Tuesday, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said.

The ISAF statement did not disclose the nationality of the deceased, pending communication to the victims’ families.

Roadside bombings using IED have become a hallmark of Taliban strategy against NATO forces in the country, as it avoids direct confrontation with the troops while increasing casualties.

With this, the number of foreign troops killed in Afghanistan so far this year reached 312, according to iCasualties.org, an independent website that tracks military fatalities in Afghanistan.

The military casualties coincide with a change of foreign military command in Afghanistan.

U.S. Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen, who made his name in Iraq by striking alliances with Sunni leaders, took over as the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. military and NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan on Monday.

U.S. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus handed over the crucial and highly accountable responsibility to Gen. Allen at a change of command ceremony held in Afghan capital Kabul.

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Ice Wars: Huge Oil, Mineral Deposits Heat Up Scramble For Arctic

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/science/Ice-wars-Huge-oil-mineral-deposits-heating-up-Arctic/articleshow/9265504.cms

Press Trust of India
July 16, 2011

Ice wars: Huge oil, mineral deposits heating up Arctic

WASHINGTON: The Arctic, home to nearly 90 billion barrels of undiscovered oil and huge mineral deposits, is witnessing a gold rush-like scramble, including military activities from major powers to tap the riches of the frigid region.

According to climate scientists, the warming of the region is shrinking the polar ice cap at an alarming rate, reducing the permafrost layer and wreaking havoc on polar bears and other indigenous wildlife in the region.
If the global warming trend continues as many scientists project it to, it is likely that more and more resources will be discovered as the ice melts further.

What is bad for the animals, though, has been good for commerce, according to a CNN documentary “Ice Wars.”

The recession of the sea ice and the reduction in permafrost — combined with advances in technology – have allowed access to oil, mineral and natural gas deposits that were previously trapped in the ice.

The US, Canada, Russia, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Sweden and Finland all stake a claim to a portion of the Arctic. These countries make up the Arctic Council, a diplomatic forum designed to mediate disputes on Arctic problems.

The abundance of these valuable resources and the opportunity to exploit them has created a gold rush-like scramble in the high north, with fierce competition to determine which countries have the right to access the riches of the Arctic, the documentary says. This competition has brought in its wake a host of naval and military activities that the Arctic has not seen since the end of the Cold War.

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Canadian Military: Future Wars To Be Fought For Natural Resources

http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Future+wars+fought+resources/5022096/story.html

Vancouver Sun
June 29, 2011

Future wars to be fought for resources: DND
Estimated 60 countries likely to see water shortage by 2050
By Mike De Souza

-Another section of the report said that melting ice in the North and the potential reserves equivalent to as much as 22 per cent of the world’s fossil fuels, could also create new challenges for Canada in the Arctic.

Energy and water shortages combined with climate change could provoke wars within the next 15 years, warns an analysis by the Department of National Defence.

“Global reserves of crude oil could become problematic by 2025,” wrote Maj. John Sheahan in a draft version of the report, Army 2040: First Look. He wrote that barring the discovery of significant new reserves and adequate adoption of alternative fuel sources, critical energy shortages could before 2025.

“There can be little doubt that unrestricted access to reliable energy supplies is a global strategic issue, one for which, recently, numerous nations have been willing to fight, and have indeed done so,” said the report, released to Postmedia News through an Access to Information request.

“Thus the trend that envisions depletion of fossil fuels such as crude oil in coming decades may also contribute to international tensions if not violent conflict.”

Sheahan is part of a team of analysts that is researching long-term scenarios for Canada’s military.

The analysis warns that, even under conservative estimates, up to 60 countries could fall into a category of water scarcity or stress by 2050, making the natural resource “a key source of power” or a “basis for future conflict.”

The draft report said that despite some “vigorous debates” about the pace, cause, magnitude and impacts of global warming, there “can be no further debate that global climate change is occurring.”

Crop failures resulting in mass migrations and starvation, along with rising sea levels from melting ice caps and other factors, would be among the impacts.

“These sorts of changes could lead to impacts resulting in the abandonment of large urban and cropland areas, further aggravating a broad range of existing resource scarcities,” said the report.

The report said resource scarcity doesn’t directly cause violent conflicts, since those would also depend on other political, economic, military and social factors.

Another section of the report said that melting ice in the North and the potential reserves equivalent to as much as 22 per cent of the world’s fossil fuels, could also create new challenges for Canada in the Arctic.

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U.S.-Georgia Charter On Strategic Partnership Meeting Plans NATO Accession

http://en.trend.az/news/politics/1906783.html

Trend News Agency
July 18, 2011

Next meeting to be held in Washington today within Georgian-U.S charter on strategic partnership
N. Kirtskhalia

Tbilisi: The fourth meeting of the working group on defence and security will be held in Washington today within the Georgian-U.S Charter on Strategic Partnership, Deputy Foreign Minister Nino Kalandadze said at a press briefing today.

She said that a broad range of issues of bilateral cooperation in defense and security, transformation of the defense system, military education and development of military doctrine will be discussed.

“The sides will also discuss the road map of Georgia’s accession to NATO,” Kalandadze said.

Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergi Kapanadze, the head of analytical department of the Interior Ministry Shota Utiashvili and First Deputy Defence Minister Nodar Kharshiladze will attend the meeting.

U.S Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Eric Rubin and Assistant Deputy Secretary of Defense Alexander Vershbow will also attend the meeting.

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NATO Headquarters: Secretary General, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Discuss Annual National Program, Foreign Deployments

http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/news_76531.htm

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
July 18, 2011

Minister Kostyantyn Gryshchenko in the NATO Headquarters

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Mr. Kostyantyn Gryshchenko, visited NATO headquarters on Monday, 18 July and met with the Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen. During the meeting, the Secretary General reconfirmed that NATO remained committed to cooperation with Ukraine and to assisting Ukraine in its reforms.

The Secretary General underlined the importance of implementing the Annual National Programme (ANP) of Ukraine, including in the area of democracy and rule of law.

Secretary General Rasmussen and Minister Gryshchenko welcomed the steady pace of high-level dialogue and expressed their interest in further developing practical cooperation between Ukraine and the Alliance. “NATO and Ukraine have good projects to work on and it is important that our cooperation develops in new areas”, the Secretary General said. And he added: “The Annual National Programme remains essential, and I rely on your able chairmanship of the new Commission on Ukraine’s Cooperation with NATO to develop it in a timely manner”.

The Secretary General also thanked Foreign Minister Gryshchenko for Ukraine’s valuable participation in NATO-led operations and encouraged Ukraine to continue this commitment.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Stephen Spender: Ultima Ratio Regum

Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Stephen Spender

Ultima Ratio Regum (1939)

The guns spell money’s ultimate reason
In letters of lead on the spring hillside.
But the boy lying dead under the olive trees
Was too young and too silly
To have been notable to their important eye.
He was a better target for a kiss.

When he lived, tall factory hooters never summoned him.
Nor did restaurant plate-glass doors revolve to wave him in.
His name never appeared in the papers.
The world maintained its traditional wall
Round the dead with their gold sunk deep as a well,
Whilst his life, intangible as a Stock Exchange rumour, drifted outside.

O too lightly he threw down his cap
One day when the breeze threw petals from the trees.
The unflowering wall sprouted with guns,
Machine-gun anger quickly scythed the grasses;
Flags and leaves fell from hands and branches;
The tweed cap rotted in the nettles.

Consider his life which was valueless
In terms of employment, hotel ledgers, news files.
Consider. One bullet in ten thousand kills a man.
Ask. Was so much expenditure justified
On the death of one so young and so silly
Lying under the olive tree, O world, O death?

*****

Two Armies (1937)

Deep in the winter plain, two armies
Dig their machinery, to destroy each other.
Men freeze and hunger. No one is given leave
On either side, except the dead, and wounded.
These have their leave; while new battalions wait
On time at last to bring them violent peace.

All have become so nervous and so cold
That each man hates the cause and distant words
Which brought him here, more terribly than bullets.
Once a boy hummed a popular marching song,
Once a novice hand flapped the salute;
The voice was choked the lifted hand fell,
Shot through the wrist by those of his own side.

From their numb harvest all would flee, except
For discipline drilled once in an iron school
Which holds them at the point of a revolver.
Yet when they sleep, the images of home
Ride wishing horses of escape
Which herd the plain in a mass unspoken poem.

Finally, they cease to hate: for although hate
Bursts from the air and whips the earth like hail
Or pours it up in fountains to marvel at,
And although hundreds fell, who can connect
The inexhaustible anger of the guns
With the dumb patience of these tormented animals?

Clean silence drops at night when a little walk
Divides the sleeping armies, each
Huddled in linen woven by remote hands.
When the machines are stilled, a common suffering
Whitens the air with breath and makes both one
As though these enemies slept in each other’s arms.

Only the lucid friend to aerial raiders,
The brilliant pilot moon, stares down
Upon the plain she makes a shining bone
Cut by the shadow of many thousand bones.
Where amber clouds scatter on no-man’s-land
She regards death and time throw up
The furious words and minerals which kill life

Categories: Uncategorized

Updates on Libyan war/Stop NATO news: June 17, 2011

July 17, 2011 3 comments

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Over 20 Explosions As NATO Bombers Attack Tripoli Suburb

Aerial Onslaught: 15,418 NATO Sorties, 5,812 Strike Missions

Fight For Libyan Oil Continues

Libya’s “Freedom Fighters” Engage In Pillage

British, South African Heads Of States Set To Clash On Libya

Response To “Humanitarian Advice” By Former British Ambassador To Libya

Afghan Lawmakers Unanimously Demand NATO Stop Killing Civilians

Georgia’s Saakashvili Attends Otto Von Habsburg’s Funeral

AFRICOM Is In Place, The Recolonization Of Africa Commences

Turkish Popular Opposition To NATO Continues To Rise

Pakistan: Heightened Bullying By Doomed Superpower Leads To “Divorce”

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Over 20 Explosions As NATO Bombers Attack Tripoli Suburb

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-07/17/c_13989785.htm

Xinhua News Agency
July 17, 2011

E Tripoli suburbs hit by heavy NATO bombings: Xinhua reporters

TAJOURA, Libya: Tripoli’s eastern suburban town of Tajoura came under heavy NATO air strikes in the early hours of Sunday, and at least 20 huge explosions were heard by Xinhua correspondents at the scene.

The air strikes have been going on for at least an hour and heavy smoke was rising everywhere as the result of the bombings of the town, roughly 25 km east of Tripoli, the correspondents reported from there.

The raids were apparently targeting Libyan military installations and the number of casualties were not available since ambulances and rescuers have difficulty reaching the scene.

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Aerial Onslaught: 15,418 NATO Sorties, 5,812 Strike Missions

http://www.nato.int/nato_static/assets/pdf/pdf_2011_07/20110717_110717-oup-update.pdf

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
July 17, 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, 06.00GMT) a total of 15,418 sorties, including 5,812 strike sorties,have been conducted.

Sorties conducted 16 JULY: 110

Strike sorties conducted 16 JULY: 45

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Fight For Libyan Oil Continues

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/07/17/53329043.html

Voice of Russia
July 17, 2011

Fight for Libyan oil continues

At least 10 rebels have been killed and 172 more wounded in the fight for the oil-rich city of Brega in Libya.

The attack of the opposition has been checked by mortar fire of the pro-government forces controlling the city. Situated on the Gulf of Sirte on an open plane with most roads mined, Brega proves a difficult target. It has changes hands several times during the 5-month long Libyan crisis.

Meanwhile, Col Gaddafi has announced that his people are ready to die defending the country’s oil reserves.

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Libya’s “Freedom Fighters” Engage In Pillage

http://en.rian.ru/international_affairs/20110715/165214128.html

Russian Information Agency Novosyi
July 15, 2011

Libya’s “Freedom Fighters” Found to Engage in Pillage

-[F]rom the outset the NATO propaganda was selling Libyan rebels as knightly freedom fighters, and it transpires at the moment to what extent the picture is at odds with reality. The situation evokes similarities with Kosovo, where “freedom fighters” from the terrorist Kosovo Liberation Army, lauded by then-US Secretary of State M. Albright, mercilessly butchered defenseless people and even set up a network of trafficking forcibly extracted human organs. These days, Libyan rebels are treated as heroes by N. Sarkozy and NATO top brass, and there are no signs that the hypocrisy and bias will ever wane.

This story by Dmitri Sedov, political scientist and Strategic Culture Foundation expert, was published in International Affairs magazine.

According to a recent New York Times article, Human Rights Watch released materials citing cases of gross abuse by anti-Gadhafi rebels in a mountainous area located in the western part of Libya. Incidents are reported to have taken place in the towns of Qawalish, Awaniya, Rayaniyah and Zawiyat al-Bagul seized over the past month by the rebels from the government forces.

In what appeared to be a series of reprisals against Gadhafi backers, the population of the towns was chased away from the places and the locals’ property was extensively damaged. Two currently deserted medical centers and scores of local businesses were looted by the rebels. HRW also said rebels were beating suspected Gadhafi loyalists and torching their homes, while much of the abuse being directed against members of the Mashaashia tribe who are known to be traditional supporters of the Libyan government.

The information supplied by HRW resonated with audiences in the US and Europe, where the legitimacy and fairness of the military campaign which grew out of a fuzzy UN mandate and was launched to prop up the cause of Libya’s “freedom fighters” are being increasingly called into question. At the moment, it seems clear from the rebels’ conduct that a tide of retaliatory violence would sweep across Libya if the anti-Gadhafi forces prevail.

In the meantime, rebel officials are making awkward attempts to downplay the recent looting and arson in the western part of Libya. The region’s senior rebel commander Col. Mukhtar Farnana said in a follow-up interview that “the reprisals were not sanctioned” and even denied knowing any details of the incidents, but was at that point caught lying by HRW as, according to the watchdog, he was the individual who originally shared with the investigators specific information about the abuses and, moreover, conceded that those came as a “punishment” for collaboration with Gadhafi’s regime. HRW quoted the field commander as saying: “People who stayed in the towns were working with the army. Houses that were robbed and broken into were ones that the army had used, including for ammunition storage. Those people who were beaten were working for Qaddafi’s brigades”.

Rebel conduct under the conditions of unfolding armed conflict predictably tends to be mixed. Some of the captured soldiers and officers from the government forces are being detained under decent conditions, given medical treatment in hospitals, and even allowed to see their relatives, while there is reliable evidence that others were beaten at the point of capture or shot on site. Several prisoners in Misurata were shot through the feet as a means to prevent escape. On many occasions, journalists also witnessed rebels fire indiscriminately on towns held by the government forces, with makeshift rockets hitting obviously civilian targets. Gadhafi’s army faces similar accusations, but the flight of civilians from regions falling to them never reached the same proportions as that triggered by rebel advances.

A shocking instance where a crime had been committed by the rebels surfaced hours before HRW rolled out its sensational findings. In the zone between the Um al-Jersan and Qawalish villages, five bodies decomposed beyond recognition were unearthed from a deep concrete basin linked to the region’s water pipeline, with cloth bindings scattered around, which provides evidence that the people had had their arms and legs bound. Judging by remnants of military uniforms, the dead had been the government army’s servicemen. Pistol and rifle cartridges were also littered on site. Local residents pointed to heaps of rock and freshly turned dirt where, as they said, other dead bodies were rotting.

Western comments drawn by the HRW report largely revolve around the argument that no party to a ferocious civilian conflict can be realistically expected to emerge from it with a spotless reputation. That in itself is true, but it has to be taken into account in the context that from the outset the NATO propaganda was selling Libyan rebels as knightly freedom fighters, and it transpires at the moment to what extent the picture is at odds with reality. The situation evokes similarities with Kosovo, where “freedom fighters” from the terrorist Kosovo Liberation Army, lauded by then-US Secretary of State M. Albright, mercilessly butchered defenseless people and even set up a network of trafficking forcibly extracted human organs. These days, Libyan rebels are treated as heroes by N. Sarkozy and NATO top brass, and there are no signs that the hypocrisy and bias will ever wane.

Awakening even fleetingly the West’s hopelessly rigid public opinion takes a bombshell. Who knows, perhaps Serbia’s history could have taken a different turn if news had popped up at the peak of the Yugoslavian conflict that Kosovo Liberation Army guerrillas had carved up a European citizen and the extracted organs had been used for human repair in Italy’s clinics. It would be unethical to hope that, maybe, some British volunteer mistakenly falls victim to a reprisal by the Libyan rebels, but, absent even a minimal amount of common sense in big politics, this is going to be an imminent finale.

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British, South African Heads Of States Set To Clash On Libya

http://www.iol.co.za/news/politics/zuma-cameron-set-to-clash-1.1100282?showComments=true

Independent Online
July 16, 2011

Zuma, Cameron set to clash
By Peter Fabricius

The Libyan civil war is expected to figure prominently in discussions between visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron and President Jacob Zuma in Pretoria on Monday.

Zuma’s office announced yesterday that he would meet Cameron when he comes to South Africa on a working visit.

Sharp differences have emerged between South Africa, on the one side, and Britain and other Nato members on the other, about how to resolve the civil war which has been raging for five months between the forces of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his rebel enemies based in the eastern city of Benghazi.

Yesterday the International Contact Group, comprising Nato and other countries involved in the military coalition which is backing the rebels, met in Istanbul and recognised the Benghazi-based Transitional National Council (TNC) as the legitimate government of Libya.

South African officials had earlier warned against this decision, saying that legitimising the TNC and de-delegitimising Gaddafi’s government would mean embarking irrevocably on a course of “regime change” which would not solve Libya’s crisis.

Zuma’s Special Envoy on Libya Mac Maharaj had earlier told Independent Newspapers that although Gaddafi himself had agreed not to participate in a national dialogue proposed by the AU to find a solution solution, he needed to be represented indirectly in the dialogue to be able to persuade his considerable constituency to support the outcome.

Yesterday, other South African officials warned that simply removing Gaddafi from power as the International Contact Group (ICG) was demanding, risked handing over Libya to undemocratic forces.

They said the exact political allegiance of the TNC was unknown, but that it seemed to include a strong al-Qaeda element.

The officials said Pretoria was encouraged by statements from the French government this week that it was time to give negotiations a chance to resolve the conflict.

But, while there have been moves towards negotiations, there were no signs of war fatigue – especially not by Britain – at the ICG meeting in Istanbul yesterday. Russia and China, which have grown increasingly critical of the Nato military campaign, had been invited to attend but decided not to. Western diplomats based in Pretoria also expressed surprise that South Africa did not attend. It has had observer status at the group’s meeting.

The UN Secretary-General’s special envoy to Libya, Abdul Elah al-Khatib, was tasked by the group with presenting terms for Gaddafi to step down. But British Foreign Secretary William Hague said, at the same time as al-Khatib pursues a political settlement, “the military pressure on the regime will continue to intensify”.

Britain said it was sending four more Tornado reconnaissance planes to beef up the Nato mission. Such aircraft have become vital as Gaddafi’s forces have hidden their armour and artillery from Nato warplanes.

Britain said its warplanes had on Thursday destroyed a Libyan army armoured personnel carrier near Zlitan, west of the rebel stronghold of Misrata.

British aircraft have so far damaged or destroyed more than 500 Libyan military targets, including command and control sites…

Britain’s tough position on Gaddafi sets up a potentially heated meeting between Zuma and Cameron. It is understood that Cameron’s main purpose for the visit, at least officially, is to discuss UK investment and other economic ties with South Africa, but officials said Libya and other international issues were sure to be discussed.

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Response To “Humanitarian Advice” By Former British Ambassador To Libya

http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=47211

Middle East Online
July 17, 2011

Libya: A Case for Humanitarian Advice by a Former Ambassador
Mouamar Adul naser

We have seen your democracy in Iraq, and we witnessed with great admiration your highest human rights record in Abu Ghraib and Basra. We also remember your highest business standards in the Yamama deal with the Saudis. We know very well your ethics, principles and values, especially during the 2010 bombing of Gaza, Mouamar Adul naser tells former British ambassador to Libya.

-The endgame, Mr. Ambassador, will be you end in a resounding defeat by the Libyan people. Neither NATO, nor their rebels or their Gulf democratic allies will ever succeed in making Libyans submit.

Mr Oliver Miles, a former British ambassador to Libya 1981-84, advised NATO and the rebels to cut oil supplies as the only means to strangle Tripoli. He also found the killing of the young al Hamidi children acceptable, as part of the NATO humanitarian intervention. Sorry Mr Ambassador, it was bad ambassadorial advice, and the spirit of the children will always haunt their killers.

I have read your recent article in the Guardian newspaper. I am writing to you to raise some points in response to the claims you made. I challenge you to name any high ranking officer among those who were targeted in the Al Hamidi housing compound. The women and children were sleeping when at 4 clock in the morning, without any warning, a shower of eight missiles killed them. It was a premeditated murder to the highest degree committed by British pilots from high above. To all of us, this NATO crime will always be a reminder of the savagery of the West. Like the concentration camp of Al Agheala run by the Italian invaders in 1911, this horrendous murder by NATO in 2011 will be remembered just the same way by future Libyan generations.

Do you have the courage to visit Libya now Mr. Miles, just as you used to do many times before? You were coming on trade missions to promote personal and British business interests. You were indeed delighted to meet the same people you are trying to denounce today Mr. Ambassador.

You were also happy to honor their invitations to speak at their conferences and attend their events. Like Western political or business leaders who were very pleased to visit the tent, with an occasional kiss on the hand or smell of a shoe. They were also happy to be the host of Gaddaffi or his son in their countries. I can assure you Tripoli is safer than ever before. I will take you to tour the compound and see if you find any evidence of military purposes, or indeed any high ranking officer among the Al Hamidi family that you falsely claim.

The other point is the TNC representative you mentioned. Let us first just look at this more closely. This body was self-created and its members were self-appointed. They represent nobody but themselves. They are ex-ministers and individuals who were in office for as long as this regime existed.

The majority are a part of a corrupt circle that was part of the problem of this country. Libyans are happy to see them gone and believe me nobody will shed any tears on their departure. The mix of Islamists, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Libyan Fighting Group and Guantanamo graduates Libya allowed back into society. The other lot is what we Libyans call the dual nationality group, that have not lived in Libya for decades. A lot of them are really low-quality beggars, who recently were begging Saif in London for some handouts. Your friend Juma Alghumati is just one of them. Juma Alghumati from London and Ali Altarhouni from Washington are right to feel a sense of gratitude to NATO, as Anglo-Saxons but not as Libyans.

We Libyan always remember things like the 1917 declaration, the 1956 and 1967 attacks on Nasser in which the Tobruk base played a major role. We remember the land mines of your wars left behind in our beloved land, killing us even today, and ruining our agricultural potential.

We remember your fourteen barracks occupying Benghazi and your oil companies sucking our national wealth. However, we equally remember with great pride the 28th of March 1970, the day the Gaddaffi revolution ordered your army to leave Libya, marking the first real independence of the country. It was a day of real glory when your flag had to be lowered down and, by God, will never rise again on our great land. All your banks your oil companies, were nationalized to ensure our economic independence, and exercise real control over our national wealth.

All the names of streets, barracks and places written in English disappeared, to allow our Arabic language and culture to prevail. All your bars, discos and alcohol-trading shops were closed to retune Libya to its religious identity.

If the British are still nostalgic about all of this after forty years, I can assure you we will not let it happen again, only over our dead bodies Mr. Ambassador!

Your advice to NATO and their rebels to cut the oil pipeline to strangle us may not be as simple as you may think. Libyans will defend their national wealth which transformed this huge country to a modern one in four decades.

Electricity, water, health, housing, education, roads and many other services reached every remote corner of Libya. We have the highest income per capita in Africa and our literacy rate is second to none.

International organizations have put Libya high on the list of human development indicators. It will be a fight as fierce as the Italians found on their excursion to the fourth shore in 1911. The sovereign wealth fund which makes the West and their rebels’ mouths water will not be as easy either. We will fight it in every court in the world and confront this biggest international theft.

We Libyans are expected to contribute to the war effort. If the military needs the fuel to defeat NATO and their rebels, we will be happy to give it up.

Most of what you say about the damage to the pipeline is wishful thinking. Your advice to strangle the Libyan people, leaving them without electricity, water and other services, is to be expected from somebody whose country caused the most suffering to the Arabs. Anyway, our grandfathers fought you with a bare minimum and so will we. By God, nobody in Nafousa or anywhere else will be able to implement your tactics. You probably wish for more destruction to ensure future business contracts but this will not be the case. The endgame, Mr. Ambassador, will be you end in a resounding defeat by the Libyan people. Neither NATO, nor their rebels or their Gulf democratic allies will ever succeed in making Libyans submit.

We have seen your democracy in Iraq, and we witnessed with great admiration your highest human rights record in Abu Ghraib and Basra. We also remember your highest business standards in the Yamama deal with the Saudis. We know very well your ethics, principles and values, especially during the 2010 bombing of Gaza. The double standards and the moral corruption of the west are crystal clear today to everybody, Mr. Ambassador. The hypocrisy of most Western leaders and businessmen cannot be missed by even a blind or a deaf person. We perfectly understand why you target Libya and why Gaddaffi, Mr. Ambassador. He has consistently stood up and said no to you, from Africa to New York. He remains true to his word and will always be until the last moment.

Thank very much Mr. Ambassador and hope to see you in the lobbies of one of Tripoli hotels soon with the green Libyan flag, not the other one you probably wish. Yes, the green, not the one which reminds us of the days when you were the real masters and we, the Libyans were the slaves!

Honorable Libyan with one true Libyan nationality and a one who will never sell Libya cheap.

====

Afghan Lawmakers Unanimously Demand NATO Stop Killing Civilians

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/07/17/53348886.html

Voice of Russia
July 17, 2011

Afghan civilians die in NATO raids

The Afghan lawmakers have unanimously demanded that NATO stop killing civilians in their country.

This follows conclusions from a government probe into a NATO air raid Wednesday which killed 13 people in the eastern province of Khost. The fatalities turned out to be civilian, and they included 6 children.

The previous NATO air raid in the same province was last weekend. It, too, killed 13 innocent villagers.

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Georgia’s Saakashvili Attends Otto Von Habsburg’s Funeral

http://rustavi2.com/news/news_text.php?id_news=42462&pg=1&im=main&ct=0&wth=

Rustavi 2
July 16, 2011

Saakashvili attending funeral of Otto Habsburg

-Otto Habsburg visited Georgia in 2008. As reported, he also fought alongside Georgian officers against the communists in the Spanish civil war in the 30s of the XX century.
His daughter Gabriela received Georgian citizenship, studied the Georgian language and became ambassador of Georgia to Germany.

Otto Habsburg, the eldest son of the last Austro-Hungarian emperor, is being buried at Vienna`s Imperial Crypt Saturday in a funeral attended by royals and political leaders from across Europe.

The funeral, for which thousands of Austrians and tourists lined the streets of the historical city centre, marks the end of a week of ceremonies to honour Habsburg, who died on July 4 at his Bavarian home, aged 98.

His body will be buried in the crypt of his ancestors in the Austrian capital, but Habsburg`s heart will find a separate resting place in the Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma in northwest Hungary in a private family ceremony on Sunday, in accordance with his last wishes.

His wife Regina, who died last year, will be reburied beside him.

Otto Habsburg visited Georgia in 2008. As reported, he also fought alongside Georgian officers against the communists in the Spanish civil war in the 30s of the XX century.

His daughter Gabriela received Georgian citizenship, studied the Georgian language and became ambassador of Georgia to Germany.

Georgia`s president Mikheil Saakashvili, along with his wife, is also attending the burial ceremony in Vienna.

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AFRICOM Is In Place, The Recolonization Of Africa Commences

http://bulawayo24.com/index-id-opinion-sc-blogs-byo-5670-article-Enemy-sponsored+organisations+threaten+nation.html

Bulawayo24
July 16, 2011

Enemy-sponsored organisations threaten nation
by Tafataona Mahoso

-The “great democracies” of the West have been the most consistent and most persistent enemy of the African: during slavery, during the scramble for Africa after the Berlin Conference, during colonialism, during apartheid and now during the current effort to recolonise Africa, which we see in Libya and Cote d’Ivoire and the current illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe.
-Americans, the British and their European cousins have discouraged and even outlawed as dangerous to their own people are the very same qualities and habits they seek to impose, promote, fund and otherwise reward among our children and within our societies in Africa.
-“We tend to look to (those we think are) the experts, the well-educated, thoroughly trained and richly resourced Western journalists for a lead. When they dismiss African leadership with a few worn-out clichés, we follow suit. In the process we reduce our own politics, economics and situation in history into the juvenile language of (Western) tabloids.”
-Running parallel to the “civil society” network or superstructure is the series of military and intelligence co-operation programmes which Africom is supposed to consolidate. Once Africom is in place, the recolonisation process will have been completed.

Pan African thinkers may wish to ask themselves this question: “If South Africa were at war with Canada and in the process of bombing Canadian cities back to the Stone Age, would US President Barack Obama allow Mrs Zuma (the wife of the South African President) to come and have tea and talk charity with Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter (former US Presidents) in Washington DC?”

For anyone who knows what North Americans call the “American creed” or the Monroe Doctrine (which became the “Reagan Doctrine” in the 1980s), both US citizens and politicians would never allow such an affront. The first lady of a country at war with Canada would never be welcomed to tea by a former US President in Washington DC while the bombing was going on.

So, why was it that two weeks ago, while the US and Nato were bombing Libya and ridiculing African Union resolutions on the same war, Barack Obama had the temerity to send his wife to South Africa and the wife had expectations to meet both the President and First Lady of South Africa and felt snubbed when she was welcomed by President

Jacob Zuma’s wife and by former South African President Cde Nelson Mandela?

Tutored in governance matters by our enemies

Readers should not get me wrong. The problem is not with the North Americans and Nato as such.

The problem is with us Africans and how we have allowed ourselves to be tutored in governance matters by people who are our declared enemies or by organisations and individuals funded and managed by our declared enemies.

Now, how did Africans respond when Michelle Obama was welcomed by the third wife of President Zuma and allowed to meet Cde Nelson Mandela?

Too many Africans felt that it was Africa (and South Africa in particular) who had snubbed and insulted the US. Too many papers in South Africa and in our region even complained on behalf of the very same imperialists bombing Libya and recolonising Cote d’Ivoire.

Now, this willingness to apologise against our own dignity and interests while upholding the arrogance of the enemy is not natural. It has been cultivated over several centuries.

In 1957 a US citizen called Russell Kirk published a book called The American Cause in response to how the US had fared in the Korean War and how the rest of US society had responded to the war.

The book identified general as well as specific weaknesses among US soldiers and US citizens in the face of their “enemies” who were identified as the Chinese “communists”.

So, although the war was fought over Korea, the “enemy” was identified as Chinese “communists”.

The first general weakness the book identified was elaborated by John Dos Passos, who wrote the foreword to the book:

“Neglect of history has long been an American failing. When that blind spot is coupled with ignorance of the special nature of our own institutions the result is a sort of vacuum in the political part of the brain.

“Any high-sounding (alien) notion fashionable at the moment is (therefore) accepted without question. The victim is ready to be herded along any path of delusion the opinion-moulders choose.”

This observation is most interesting because the US has literally turned its own problems inside-out and up-side-down. The US sponsors political parties, NGOs and religious organisations to create among societies they wish to destabilise the very same problems, the very same weaknesses which Russell Kirk and John Dos Passos identified and sought to overcome among their own security forces and within their own society.

Almost all the political parties and NGOs sponsored in Zimbabwe by the US, Britain, the European Union, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand are engaged in activities and teachings which seek to erase or confuse the history of the African’s struggle for freedom, independence, self-determination and autonomy.

The whole doctrine of human rights and democracy is intended to make Africans feel and believe that they are only thankful receivers of freedom and human rights conceived, programmed, taught and funded by the West.

Our history, dangerous to imperialists

Why is our history dangerous to the Rhodies, the British, the US, and the European Union?

That history defines the perennial enemy of Africa and Africans.

The “great democracies” of the West have been the most consistent and most persistent enemy of the African: during slavery, during the scramble for Africa after the Berlin Conference, during colonialism, during apartheid and now during the current effort to recolonise Africa, which we see in Libya and Cote d’Ivoire and the current illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe.

The following books, for instance, reveal the truth that the Western democracies have been the most consistent and persistent enemies of the African:

Race and the construction of the disposable other, by Professor Bernard Magubane; The United States and the war against Zimbabwe, 1965-1980, by Professor Gerald Horne; Automating Apartheid: US Computer Exports to South Africa and the Arms Embargo, by the American Friends Service Committee; Apartheid Terrorism, by Phylis Johnson and David Martin; Destructive Engagement, by David Martin and Phylis Johnson; and Red Rubber, by E. D. Morel.

These books represent a tiny sample of the evidence which presents white Western governments as enemies of the African.

But what are the values and qualities which Western governments despise if exhibited by their own citizens but which the same governments teach, promote, sponsor and finance among the Africans through sponsored political parties, sponsored NGOs, sponsored churches and other agencies?

According to the American Cause, the following were the qualities or characteristics which the US government should have discouraged especially among those citizens who joined the security and defence forces to protect “US interests”:

Weak loyalties to family and community;
Weak loyalties to country, religion and colleagues;
A hazy concept of right and wrong;
Opportunism; and
Underrating or under-estimation of one’s own worth and so on.

Kirk quoted a Chinese military intelligence report on the Korean War which said ” . . . even among United States university graduates” there was little knowledge or understanding “of American political history or philosophy . . .”

The university graduate “is exceedingly insular and provincial, with little or no idea of the problems and aims of what he contemptuously describes as foreigners and their countries”.

Above all, Russel Kirk felt that the generation of the late 1950s in the US had moved away from what he considered to be the best of North American “pragmatism”, by which he meant the ability to integrate abstract concepts with practical applications and solutions in real-life situations. Kirk wanted to avoid raising a generation which could easily get lost in the world and die:

“In the prison camps (of the war in Korea), our men died by the thousands — not from physical mistreatment, except in a few instances, but principally from despair, bewilderment, and lack of faith.”

He then turned to what he believed were the best characteristics of the founders of his country which he wanted adapted for the education and grooming of new generations.

“Even the more radical among the founders . . . looked steadily to the past for guidance . . . They were not closet-philosophers, vainly pursuing the vision of a perfect society independent of (day-to-day) human experience . . .

“They knew political philosophy as well as history and law. They had read, many of them, Plato and Aristotle, Cicero and Seneca, St Augustine and Dante, Sir Edward Coke and Richard Hooker, John Locke and Edmund Burke . . . But they were not bookish . . . They did not divorce theory from practice. In their own careers they had united the authority of social custom with the authority of great books. They respected the wisdom of their ancestors.”

“Democratic reforms” inolving reinstalling white Rhodesians in strategic positions

But these are the qualities the West and its stooges among us denounce daily here. What they have sponsored here as “democratic reforms” instead involves reinstalling white Rhodesians in strategic positions and institutions for the purpose of overthrowing our liberation heroes and ethos as well as reversing the gains of our independence.

On 24 September 2009 the one major question CNN’s Christiane Amanpor asked President Mugabe was why the President had not appointed Roy Leslie Bennett Deputy Minister of Agriculture as demanded by the Rhodesian lobby.

And after MDC-T’s spokesperson Nelson Chamisa described Bennett as their party’s angel, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai made a major statement in which he made the following claims on behalf of Mr Bennett:

“Mr Mugabe has gone back on his word [to appoint Bennett]. He confirmed to me and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara on Monday that he has no intention of ever swearing in Roy. The matter of Roy Bennett has now become a personal vendetta and part of a racist agenda.”

This means Anglo-American imperialism has sponsored its Rhodesian kith and kin to retake the Zimbabwe economy and the MDC formations have gladly taken up the cause in the name of democratic reform!

We can add that these founders of North America did not rely on donors or donor-funded NGOs for guidance. We can add that the qualities and habits which the North

What Americans, the British and their European cousins have discouraged and even outlawed as dangerous to their own people are the very same qualities and habits they seek to impose, promote, fund and otherwise reward among our children and within our societies in Africa.

If one looks at the donor-funded advertisements preceding the launch of the Medium Term Plan (MTP) on July 7 2011, the whole thing has become even more removed from the economic conditions of the people and even more abstract than the IMF-World Bank-imposed Economic Structural Adjustment Programme ever was.

The jargon, the clichés and sound bites are all culled from glossy donor-funded brochures and project proposals whose purpose is to hide the realities of the devastation of people’s lives by illegal sanctions imposed only by white governments. The same governments are sponsoring the adverts. As the February 1998 issue of African Business pointed out, African teachers and opinion makers have to become original in order to stop selling out.

“Leaders who have grown up from their native soils cannot be put in the same category (as foreign-sponsored puppets). Many of them suffered great tribulations and made enormous sacrifices for (and with) their people . . . The challenges they faced (and continue to face) have been far more daunting than anything any Western leader has to confront since the World War . . . The issue of African leadership is a complex one and it needs substantial study.”

Unfortunately, most of us in Africa, particularly poorly qualified and badly paid journalists, just do not have the analytical tools to work through leadership issues.

“We tend to look to (those we think are) the experts, the well-educated, thoroughly trained and richly resourced Western journalists for a lead. When they dismiss African leadership with a few worn-out clichés, we follow suit. In the process we reduce our own politics, economics and situation in history into the juvenile language of (Western) tabloids.”

The problem which the editor of African Business referred to here is the removal of history and context from media stories.

It is no coincidence that the Pastoral Letter of the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference issued January 2011 focused on ownership of Zimbabwe’s liberation history.

The bishops’ conference is part of a long lineage of intercessors, interveners and mediators between African leaders and African communities, between African nations and white imperialism.

This long lineage to which the Catholic Church belongs is responsible for the stubbornness of the white template through which even the mass media owned by Africans themselves continue to misrepresent African leadership.

How the US controls “civil society” throughout Africa

Because of the disastrous effects of neoliberal economic structural adjustment and (in Zimbabwe) because of the effects of illegal sanctions as well, the number of foreign-funded NGOs has increased more than 10 times since the late 1980s.

Moreover, this aid is not limited to the civilian NGO sector. It is also military and strategic.

Africa is opening itself to much worse manipulations if it allows the US Africom project to grow and spread on African soil.

The Anglo-Saxon powers, led by the US, already control a continental network and superstructure of “civil society” throughout Africa. It ranges from individual activists and NGOs at the village level to national headquarters of the same NGOs operating on a nation-wide basis; it ranges from donor-funded, quasi-judicial human rights commissions to regional bodies such as the Sadc Tribunal, all the way to the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR.)

Running parallel to the “civil society” network or superstructure is the series of military and intelligence co-operation programmes which Africom is supposed to consolidate. Once Africom is in place, the recolonisation process will have been completed. Newman Chiadzwa and Farai Muguwu would then have their military counterparts right in our midst.

And there would be no end to co-ordinated manipulations such as what was recently attempted against Zimbabwe in Tel Aviv during the fourth week of June 2010 at the Kimberley Process Certification meeting.

In a recent paper, Professor Issa Shivji of the University of Dar es Salaam’s School of Law quoted Amilcar Cabral, Archie Mafeje and Frantz Fanon to demonstrate that African leaders must rise in a world and context where the ground has been undercut and paved over by imperialism.

They therefore have to reclaim African ground by unpaving the Cape to Cairo tarmac left by Cecil Rhodes and his descendants.

According to Professor Shivji: “Cabral also makes the point that ‘so long as imperialism is in existence, an independent African state must be a liberation movement in power, or it will not be independent’.

These are profound insights. “First (African) nationalism is constituted by the struggle of the people against imperialism, thus anti-imperialism defines African nationalism.

“Second, nationalism, as an expression of (African) struggle, continues so long as imperialism exists.

“Third, the (African) National Question in Africa, whose expression is nationalism (and which makes African leadership necessary), remains unresolved as long as there is imperialist domination.”

This nationalism and Pan-Africanism is what the white empire and its sponsored stooges and mouthpieces attack every day here.

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Turkish Popular Opposition To NATO Continues To Rise

http://www.setimes.com/cocoon/setimes/xhtml/en_GB/features/setimes/features/2011/07/16/feature-02

Southeast European Times
July 16, 2011

Turkish public, policymakers divided over NATO
Most analysts say the Alliance continues to be vital for Turkey’s national security. Can they convince an increasingly restive public?
By Anna Wood

Istanbul: Over the past decade, as Turkey’s prominence on the world stage has increased, its role in global alliances has shifted dramatically. The recently re-elected AKP administration has carved out a new space for the country to express its own views on international matters, even when those views clash with those of their allies.

Public opinion has followed suit, with polls registering increased skepticsm regarding NATO and the EU.

A report compiled by researchers at Istanbul’s Bahcesehir University earlier this year found that only 41% of those surveyed regarded NATO membership as essential for national security. By contrast, 67% held that view in 2004.

“It can be observed that compared to the people of the other countries, Turks were the most skeptical of NATO’s essentialness,” the researchers said.

A 2010 study conducted by Transatlantic Trends reveals similar findings: “Compared to last year, Turks were less convinced that NATO is essential, less interested in joining the EU, and less likely to say their country shares values with the West.”

Mustafa Kemal, a taxi driver in Istanbul whose parents named him after the founder of Turkey, holds a view shared by a considerable segment of the Turkish public. “They’re exploiting us,” he said. “Turkey is a strong country, but it is being managed by other countries.”

Policymakers and the country’s military take a different view, however. They continue to see NATO and relations with the EU as crucial for the country’s interests.

“Going it alone is not an option,” warns US-Turkey relations expert Mustafa Aydin. Turkey’s increasing global prominence, he said, means it has to play by the rules and accept burdens.

At the same time, he added, it is time for all sides to adjust their perceptions and expectations. “The US needs to make room for Turkey’s growing power and shouldn’t see it as a challenge,” Aydin said at a June Middle East Institute conference on Turkey in Washington.

For many Turks, views of the Alliance and of the United States are intertwined, according to SOAS Professor Emeritus William Hale.

“Attitudes towards NATO are probably mainly determined by Turkish attitudes towards the United States, which have been at rock-bottom since the invasion of Iraq,” he told SETimes.

In general, analysts say, Turkish policymakers face the challenge of persuading the public – many of whom grew up after the Cold War ended — of the Alliance’s importance to Turkey.

“In a world with two poles, NATO membership was a symbol of belonging to the Atlantic side,” said Professor Basak Zeynep Alpan of Middle East Technical University in Ankara. “In the wake of the Cold War, in a multi-polar world, it became relevant only on definite and specific topics, and this of course is reflected in the public’s perception.”

Convincing Kemal, the Istanbul driver, will be no easy task. “Today’s treaties were signed forty years ago. They aren’t appropriate for the current generation,” he told SETimes.

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Pakistan: Heightened Bullying By Doomed Superpower Leads To “Divorce”

http://nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Opinions/Columns/17-Jul-2011/Dollars-drones-and-development

The Nation
July 17, 2011

Dollars, drones and development
By Jalees Hazir

Last week, the United States of America threatened to hold back some $800 million it owes Pakistan in military aid. The move was aimed at pressurising Pakistan, or more specifically the defence and intelligence apparatus of the country, to unquestioningly execute plans and strategies prepared at the Pentagon and CIA and to start blindly obeying orders from Washington, DC.

To add to the pressure and give more teeth to this openly belligerent no-holds-barred US policy, the IMF also decided to further delay the release of its billion-dollar no-good loan instalments. From Afghanistan, the US-led NATO allies continued to send regular gifts of drones that attack our tribal belt with missiles and kill innocent Pakistanis. Lately, they have made it convenient for militant hordes to attack our security check posts and villages in FATA. Surely, these are no ordinary problems between two allies but signs of open hostility. The question is: Is it possible to reconcile the differences between the two countries? And more importantly, are we ready to defend ourselves?

Against the backdrop of this heightened bullying by the doomed superpower, the never-ending rounds of meetings between the defence and intelligence top brass of the two so-called allies intensified, and according to latest reports the two sides have decided to mend fences. Nothing official has been forthcoming about the agreements reached in the meetings if any. Even the information attributed to unnamed officials only talks about the points of disagreement. Yet, the impression created by these reports is that the two sides have managed to iron out some differences. As a proof of progress, the US would start releasing the funds that it had earlier threatened to withhold. In the absence of any authentic information regarding the rules of cooperation agreed upon in these meetings, it is difficult to say how long the precarious and superficial peace between the two sides would last. And given the essential divergence in the way the two sides would like to sort out the Afghanistan mess, it is not bound to last very long.

Those arguing for a continuation of this roller-coaster relationship like to talk about the tensions between the two countries as if they were issues between a married couple. They say that the spouses will continue to bicker, but divorce is not a possibility. They say the two countries are indispensable to each other and, therefore, it is imperative that they find a way to reconcile their conflicting positions. The US needs Pakistan’s cooperation to ensure a favourable end to the deathly game it has been playing in Afghanistan for a decade and Pakistan cannot be on the wrong side of the sole superpower that sponsors its civilian government and military operations with its dollars, they say. Actually, this is not a fair assessment of the relationship that was obviously not made in heaven. While the US is clearly dependent on Pakistan to fulfil its hegemonic designs in the region, notions about Pakistan’s dependence on the global bully are exaggerated.

When it becomes obvious that the continuation of a marriage would result in murder, a divorce is the only option.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Lucian: War propaganda and its hyperbole

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Greek and Roman writers on war and peace

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Lucian
From A True Story
Translated by A.M. Harmon

[S]tudents, I think, after much reading of serious works may profitably relax their minds and put them in better trim for future labour. It would be appropriate recreation for them if they were to take up the sort of reading that, instead of affording just pure amusement based on wit and humour, also boasts a little food for thought that the Muses would not altogether spurn; and I think they will consider the present work something of the kind. They will find it enticing not only for the novelty of its subject, for the humour of its plan and because I tell all kinds of lies in a plausible and specious way, but also because everything in my story is a more or less comical parody of one or another of the poets, historians and philosophers of old, who have written much that smacks of miracles and fables.

*****

Well, on reading all these authors, I did not find much fault with them for their lying, as I saw that this was already a common practice even among men who profess philosophy. I did wonder, though, that they thought that they could write untruths and not get caught at it. Therefore, as I myself, thanks to my vanity, was eager to hand something down to posterity, that I might not be the only one excluded from the privileges of poetic licence, and as I had nothing true to tell, not having had any adventures of significance, I took to lying. But my lying is far more honest than theirs, for though I tell the truth in nothing else, I shall at least be truthful in saying that I am a liar. I think I can escape the censure of the world by my own admission that I am not telling a word of truth. Be it understood, then, that I am writing about things which I have neither seen nor had to do with nor learned from others – which, in fact, do not exist at all and, in the nature of things, cannot exist. Therefore my readers should on no account believe in them.

*****

The Vulture Dragoons are commissioned to fly about the country and bring before the king any stranger they may find, so of course they arrested us and brought us before him. When he had looked us over and drawn his conclusions from our clothes, he said: “Then you are Greeks, are you, strangers?” and when we assented, “Well, how did you get here, with so much air to cross?”

We told him all, and he began and told us about himself: that he too was a human being, Endymion by name, who had once been ravished from our country in his sleep, and on coming there had been made king of the land. He said that his country was the moon that shines down on us.

He urged us to take heart, however, and suspect no danger, for we should have everything that we required. “And if I succeed,” said he, “in the war which I am now making on the people of the sun, you shall lead the happiest of lives with me.”

We asked who the enemy were, and what the quarrel was about. “Phaethon,” said he, “the king of the inhabitants of the sun – for it is inhabited, you know, as well as the moon – has been at war with us for a long time now. It began in this way. Once upon a time I gathered together the poorest people in my kingdom and undertook to plant a colony on the Morning Star, which was empty and uninhabited. Phaethon out of jealousy thwarted the colonisation, meeting us half-way at the head of his Ant Dragoons. At that time we were beaten, for we were not a match for them in strength, and we retreated: now, however, I desire to make war again and plant the colony. If you wish, then, you may take part with me in the expedition and I will give each of you one of my royal vultures and a complete outfit. We shall take the field to-morrow.” “Very well,” said I, “since you think it best.”

*****

Joining battle when the flags had been flown and the donkeys on both sides had brayed (for they had donkeys for trumpeters), they fought. The left wing of the Sunites fled at once, without even receiving the charge of the Vulture Horse, and we pursued, cutting them down. But their right wing got the better of the left on our side, and the Sky-mosquitoes advanced in pursuit right up to the infantry. Then, when the infantry came to the rescue, they broke and fled, especially as they saw that the forces on their left had been defeated. It was a glorious victory, in which many were taken alive and many were slain; so much blood flowed on the clouds that they were dyed and looked red, as they do in our country when the sun is setting, and so much also dripped down on the earth that I wonder whether something of the sort did not take place in the sky long ago, when Homer supposed that Zeus had sent a rain of blood on account of the death of Sarpedon.

*****

As for us, we were taken off to the sun that day, our hands tied behind our backs with a section of spider-web. The enemy decided not to lay siege to the city, but on their way back they built a wall through the air, so that the rays of the sun should no longer reach the moon. The wall was double, made of cloud, so that a genuine eclipse of the moon took place, and she was completely enshrouded in unbroken night. Hard pressed by this, Endymion sent and begged them to pull down the construction and not let them lead their lives in darkness. He promised to pay tribute, to be an ally and not to make war again, and volunteered to give hostages for all this. Phaethon and his people held two assemblies; on the first day they did not lay aside a particle of their anger, but on the second day they softened, and the peace was made on these terms:

On the following conditions the Sunites and their allies make peace with the Moonites and their allies, to wit:

That the Sunites tear down the dividing-wall and do not invade the moon again, and that they make over the prisoners of war, each at a set ransom;

That the Moonites permit the stars to be autonomous, and do not make war on the Sunites;

That each country aid the other if it be attacked;

That in yearly tribute the King of the Moonites pay the King of the Sunites ten thousand gallons of dew, and that he give ten thousand of his people as hostages…

Categories: Uncategorized

Updates on Libyan war/Stop NATO news: July 16, 2011

July 16, 2011 2 comments

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120-Day War: 15,308 NATO Sorties Over Libya, 5,767 Strike Missions

Britain Adding More Warplanes For Intensified Attacks On Libya

Several NATO Fighter Jets Violate Pakistani Airspace

Another NATO Soldier Killed By Afghan Counterpart

NATO Chief Criticizes Czech Republic For Not Spending More On Arms

“Protracted Conflicts In GUAM Area” To Be Discussed In UN

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120-Day War: 15,308 NATO Sorties Over Libya, 5,767 Strike Missions

http://www.nato.int/nato_static/assets/pdf/pdf_2011_07/20110716_110716-oup-update.pdf

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
July 16, 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, 06.00GMT) a total of 15,308 sorties, including 5,767 strike sorties*,have been conducted.

Sorties conducted 15 JULY: 115

Strike sorties conducted 15 JULY: 46

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Britain Adding More Warplanes For Intensified Attacks On Libya

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23970532-more-tornados-sent-to-libya-as-pressure-mounts-on-gaddafi.do

Evening Standard
July 16, 2011

More Tornados sent to Libya as pressure mounts on Gaddafi
Craig Woodhouse

Britain is sending four more warplanes to Libya to help a fresh military push to oust Colonel Gaddafi, it was announced today.

The extra Tornado GR4s will mainly fly intelligence-gathering missions but will also be able to aid bombing raids…

Foreign Secretary William Hague said “military pressure on the regime will continue to intensify” while a political solution is sought.

The UK has already provided 18 fast jets as part of the Nato-led mission, along with aircraft such as Apache attack helicopters. But amid fears of a stalemate in the country, Nato Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen called yesterday for members of the alliance to supply more air power.

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Several NATO Fighter Jets Violate Pakistani Airspace

http://nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Politics/16-Jul-2011/Nato-planes-again-violate-Pak-airspace–over-Kurram

The Nation
July 16, 2011

Nato planes again violate Pak airspace over Kurram

SADDA: Several Nato fighter jets violated Pakistan’s airspace over the Kurram Agency on Friday, causing panic among the locals.

According to locals, Nato aircraft crossed over into Kurram Agency through the Afghan border and flew up to five-kilometres across the border. The planes returned back to Afghanistan after a few minutes without any incident.

They went over Pakistani territory for a few minutes before returning to Afghanistan.

NATO helicopters entered the same region last year, firing several rockets that killed three Pakistani soldiers. The incident forced Islamabad to shut the Nato supply route that traverses Pakistan, suspending the delivery of goods to foreign troops in Afghanistan. Tensions between the two countries increased following a secret US raid on Pakistan in May that allegedly killed Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

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Another NATO Soldier Killed By Afghan Counterpart

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/16/us-afghanistan-violence-idUSTRE76F0RT20110716

Reuters
July 16, 2011

Afghan army soldier kills NATO service member

KANDAHAR: An Afghan army soldier killed at least one NATO soldier Saturday, near the southern Afghan city of Lashkar Gah…

“The shooting happened during a joint security patrol,” said the senior police detective, who asked not to be named as he was not authorized to speak to the media.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force said it was investigating an incident in southern Afghanistan.

“An individual wearing an Afghan National Army uniform turned his weapon against International Security Assistance Force service members in southern Afghanistan today, killing one service member,” ISAF said in a statement.

(Reporting by Ismail Sameem, writing by Emma Graham-Harrison, editing by Michelle Nichols)

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NATO Chief Criticizes Czech Republic For Not Spending More On Arms

http://www.ceskapozice.cz/en/news/politics-policy/nato-chief-warns-czechs-against-spending-cuts

Czech Position
July 15, 2011

NATO chief warns Czechs against spending cuts
NATO general secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen sends letter to PM Petr Nečas warning of Czech Republic becoming a ‘freeloader’
Tom Jones

Cuts in the Czech defense budget have prompted NATO general secretary, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, to warn Czech Prime Minister, Petr Nečas (Civic Democrats, ODS), that lower defense spending could undermine the Czech Republic’s future role in the alliance and, more immediately, have a negative impact on the country’s current role in joint NATO missions.

“Reducing the defense budget means not only lowering your ambitions, it could also have a negative influence Prague’s contribution to joint operations. And this is what concerns me,” Rasmussen said in the letter to PM Nečas cited by Friday’s edition of the daily Mladá fronta dnes (MfD).

When the Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999, the government at the time pledged to allocate no less than 2 percent of GDP to defense spending. In 2011, however, the Czech defense budget amounted to Kč 43.8 billion, which was just 1.15 percent of GDP for the previous year. And according to the draft budget for 2012, the government plans to allocate Kč 41.5 billion to the military. According to budget forecasts, the budget could be reduced to Kč 35 billion in three years’ time.

“The two-percent reduction in spending on the military over the past two years is a reason for reconsideration,” Rasmussen warns Nečas in the letter.

A number of scandals over alleged over-priced equipment orders and corrupt practices have rocked the Czech Ministry of Defense in recent years and have been instrumental in prompting the defense spending cuts.

“We rely on guarantees for our defense given by the alliance. Therefore, nothing will really happen if we again reduce the budget. NATO will protect us after all,” Deputy Defense Minister Jíři Šedivý told MfD ironically summarizing the Czech attitude towards NATO membership.

The Czech Republic is not the only new NATO member country to have reduced military spending in recent years. Neighboring Slovakia and Hungary have cut back on military training exercises and wages account for three quarters of the Slovak defense budget.

Rasmussen letter comes days after NATO headquarters criticized certain members for not participating in the NATO mission in Libya. Though the Czech foreign ministry has pledged humanitarian aid and assistance with rebuilding efforts in Libya, Prague unlike most of the large NATO member states has not recognized the rebel administration based in Benghazi as the country’s legitimate government.

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“Protracted Conflicts In GUAM Area” To Be Discussed In UN

http://en.apa.az/news.php?id=151667

Azeri Press Agency
July 16, 2011

Topics on situation in Azerbaijani occupied territories and “protracted conflicts” in GUAM area included in agenda of UN General Assembly’s autumn session
Habil Suleymanzadeh

Baku: Topics on the situation in the Azerbaijani occupied territories and “protracted conflicts” in the GUAM area are included in the agenda of forthcoming autumn session of the UN General Assembly.

APA reports quoting the UN’s official website that both topics were reflected in the General Assembly’s preliminary agenda called “Maintaining international peace and security”. The topic named “Situation in the Azerbaijani occupied territories” is at the 39th place of the agenda, and topic named “Protracted conflicts in the GUAM area and their implications for international peace, security and development” is at 35th place.

UN General Assembly’s meeting will begin on September 13 and finish on September 30.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Thomas Hardy: All-Earth-gladdening Law of Peace, war’s apology wholly stultified

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Thomas Hardy: Channel Firing

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Thomas Hardy

A Christmas Ghost Story (1899)

South of the Line, inland from far Durban,
A mouldering soldier lies–your countryman.
Awry and doubled up are his gray bones,
And on the breeze his puzzled phantom moans
Nightly to clear Canopus: “I would know
By whom and when the All-Earth-gladdening Law
Of Peace, brought in by that Man Crucified,
Was ruled to be inept, and set aside?

And what of logic or of truth appears
In tacking ‘Anno Domini’ to the years?
Near twenty-hundred livened thus have hied,
But tarries yet the Cause for which He died.”

*****

Christmas: 1924

‘Peace upon earth!’ was said. We sing it,
And pay a million priests to bring it.
After two thousand years of mass
We’ve got as far as poison-gas.

*****

In Time of ‘The Breaking of Nations’ (1915)

Only a man harrowing clods
In a slow silent walk
With an old horse that stumbles and nods
Half asleep as they stalk.

Only thin smoke without flame
From the heaps of couch-grass;
Yet this will go onward the same
Though Dynasties pass.

Yonder a maid and her wight
Come whispering by:
War’s annals will cloud into night
Ere their story die.

*****

Often When Warring (1915)

Often when warring for he wist not what,
An enemy-soldier, passing by one weak,
Has tendered water, wiped the burning cheek,
And cooled the lips so black and clammed and hot;

Then gone his way, and maybe quite forgot
The deed of grace amid the roar and reek;
Yet larger vision than loud arms bespeak
He there has reached, although he has known it not.

For natural mindsight, triumphing in the act
Over the throes of artificial rage,
Has thuswise muffled victory’s peal of pride,
Rended to ribands policy’s specious page
That deals but with evasion, code, and pact,
And war’s apology wholly stultified.

Categories: Uncategorized

Updates on Libyan war/Stop NATO news: June 15, 2011

July 15, 2011 1 comment

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NATO’s Air War In Libya: 15,193 Sorties, 5,721 Strike Missions

NATO Chief Demands More Warplanes For Strikes Against Libya

Venezuela Condemns NATO’s Military Aggression Against Libya

Britain Deploys Warship For NATO Libyan Operations

China, Russia Refuse To Attend Libya Contact Group Meeting In Turkey

Sources: U.S. Drone Strike Kills At Least 50 In Yemen

Clinton In Turkey: U.S. Missile System In Turkey – Or Caucasus?

NATO To Train 15,000 Afghan Police In Turkey

NATO’s Afghan War: 168 Attacks On Czech Troops So Far This Year

U.S.’s Second Top Military Chief: Budget Cuts Could Force Return To Draft

NATO Summit: Chicago Trains 13,000 Police For Mass Arrests

NATO-Georgia Commission Discusses “Energy Security”

“Global Energy Security”: Sixth Annual Silk Road Conference In Chicago

Germany Sued Over U.S.-NATO Nuclear Bomb Flights

Pakistan Demands U.S. End Secret Operations On Its Territory

Pentagon Unveils Cyberspace As Fifth Battlefield

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NATO’s Air War In Libya: 15,193 Sorties, 5,721 Strike Missions

http://www.nato.int/nato_static/assets/pdf/pdf_2011_07/20110715_110715-oup-update.pdf

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
July 15, 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, 06.00GMT) a total of 15,193 sorties, including 5,721 strike sorties, have been conducted.

Sorties conducted 14 JULY: 132

Strike sorties conducted 14 JULY: 48

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NATO Chief Demands More Warplanes For Strikes Against Libya

http://en.rian.ru/world/20110715/165209401.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
July 15, 2011

NATO chief calls for more strike aircraft to bomb Libya

BRUSSELS: NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen called on the alliance’s members to send more aircraft to deliver surgical strikes on Libyan targets, Western media said on Friday.

“I encourage all allies that have aircraft at their disposal to take part in that operation as well,” French news website 20minutes.fr quoted Rasmussen as saying during his meeting with the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

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Venezuela Condemns NATO’s Military Aggression Against Libya

http://english.cri.cn/6966/2011/07/15/2681s648670.htm

Xinhua News Agency
July 15, 2011

Chavez Blasts European Powers, Urges NATO to Stop Air Raids

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Thursday criticized European powers for their military intervention in Libya and urged NATO to stop air strikes against the North African country.

It was particularly wrong that the European powers continued to carry out military raids against targets in Libya when its leader Muammar Gaddafi had made repeated calls for a ceasefire, Chavez said in a live broadcast on state television.

Declaring that “Venezuea is with Libya,” Chavez repeated his appeal for world powers to engage in talks between Gaddafi’s government and the opposition.

“The Libyans are a heroic nation. Long live Libya and her independence. We are with you,” said Chavez.

He said the European powers, instead of engaging in war, should concentrate on resolving the economic crisis that has engulfed the EU zone for months.

The European countries should “get out of this chess game” and take care of their own problems, “so we can open a road toward peace, world balance and justice,” said Chavez, who described NATO air raids as “assassin bombings” and criticized in particular France, Britain and Spain.

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Britain Deploys Warship For NATO Libyan Operations

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-14154058

BBC News
July 14, 2011

HMS Sutherland left Highlands for Libya Nato operation

A warship that cut short a visit to a Highlands port has been involved in operations off Libya’s coast.

HMS Sutherland was in Invergordon in March to be given the freedom of the county of Sutherland.

It left the port a day earlier than expected but at the time the Royal Navy would not comment on the reason why.

The navy has now confirmed the frigate was first involved in an amphibious exercise in the Mediterranean before being diverted to Libya.

Warships have been blockading Libyan ports as part of Nato operations against Col Muammar Gaddafi and his forces.

HMS Sutherland has now been moved onto a maritime security role in the Middle East.

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China, Russia Refuse To Attend Libya Contact Group Meeting In Turkey

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=china-russia-refuse-to-attend-libya-contact-group-meeting-2011-07-14

Hürriyet Daily News
Juky 14, 201

China, Russia refuse to attend Libya Contact Group meeting
Sevil Küçükkoşum

ANKARA: China and Russia announce that they will not be taking part in a Libya Contact Group meeting to be held in Istanbul, which is expected to discuss a Turkish proposed road-map for a political settlement

Invited as permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, China and Russia will not participate in the international Libya Contact Group meeting to be held Friday in Istanbul.

Russia, which is critical of the NATO-led strikes in Libya, turned down Turkey’s invitation, while China, which has maintained a policy of non-interference in the conflict, has not said it will attend the meeting, a Turkish Foreign Ministry official told the Hürriyet Daily News on Thursday.

Major Western and regional powers will gather in Istanbul for the fourth meeting of the contact group, which seeks to bring an end to the Libyan crisis. China will skip the meeting “because the function and method of operation of this contact group need further study,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Thursday.

China did not use its veto in March to block a U.N. Security Council resolution that authorized the NATO military campaign against the Libyan regime. The country has, however, recently held discussions with representatives from both Tripoli and rebel-held Benghazi, calling these talks part of an effort to encourage a negotiated end to the fighting.

Russia also abstained from a vote on the U.N. resolution and criticized the scale and intent of the NATO-led military campaign.

Turkey is expected to propose a “road map” for discussion in the meeting that aims to find a political settlement between the representatives of the Libyan regime, excluding Col. Moammar Gadhafi and his inner circle, and the opposition in the North African country.

Abdul Ilah al-Khatib, the U.N. envoy for Libya, will brief participants on his recent discussions with representatives from Tripoli and the opposition in Benghazi, the Turkish Foreign Ministry official said.

Another key issue will be the Libyan opposition’s demand for access to the regime’s frozen assets. There is expected to be discussion on a formula of giving the opposition loans using the frozen assets as a guarantee, another Turkish diplomat told the Daily News.

“Since it’s not possible to release those frozen assets right now due to lack of legal grounds, an alternative of giving a loan in return for collecting that amount from the frozen bank accounts in the future will be discussed,” the diplomat said.

Visiting Turkey last week, Mahmud Jibril, a senior member of the National Transitional Council, called on the international community to release Libyan funds frozen under sanctions against Gadhafi’s regime in order to deliver them to the opposition.

The Libya Contact Group was established in March at a London conference to solve the Libyan crisis and coordinate international efforts in this direction. The fourth meeting of the group, to be held in Istanbul, will take place under the co-chairing of Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. High-level officials from 40 countries are expected to attend.

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Sources: U.S. Drone Strike Kills At Least 50 In Yemen

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/meast/07/15/yemen.drone.strike/

CNN
July 15, 2011

Sources: U.S. drone strike kills at least 50 in Yemen
By Hakim Almasmari

Sanaa, Yemen: A U.S. drone strike targeting militants in southern Yemen Thursday killed at least 50 people, two Yemeni security sources said.

This comes as the United States and the Yemeni government step up their efforts to target militants, including those Islamists who’ve taken over several cities in recent weeks.

“The casualty toll is high because fighters were gathered in that area with family members,” said the senior security source in Abyan.

Two eyewitnesses said that at least 30 civilians who were hiding from the continuous attacks were among the dead.

“No one knows who is dying in Abyan. We want to leave the province, but go to where? Leaving the province is a slow death for all of us,” said Yousra Bandar, a mother of three.

Two years ago, a U.S. drone attack in Abyan killed 62 people.

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Clinton In Turkey: U.S. Missile System In Turkey – Or Caucasus?

http://www.eurasianet.org/node/63886

EurasiaNet
July 14, 2011

Clinton Goes to Istanbul; Will Missile Defense be on the Agenda?
By Joshua Kucera

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visits Turkey on Friday, and some reports suggest that the Turkish government is prepared to agree to host a NATO missile defense system there. Turkey, you’ll recall, wanted to impose several conditions on the system’s deployment in Turkey, mainly that it not explicitly target Iran and that information from the system not be shared with Israel.

It’s not clear that any of those issues have been resolved, but a couple of U.S. senators have called on the administration to consider using the South Caucasus, instead. Senior U.S. missile defense officials, the senator wrote, have said that “a forward-deployed X-Band radar in either Georgia or Armenia would have significant advantages for the missile defense of the United States,” according to a letter obtained by ForeignPolicy.com blogger Josh Rogin. (Presumably the reference to Armenia is a mistake and they mean Azerbaijan, which gives a sense of how attuned to the regional dynamics the senators are.)

If this sounds familiar, it’s because the same senators said the same thing in February – though then they were accompanied by two additional senators. It’s not clear why those senators dropped out of this campaign, but it could be because the whole idea makes little sense…

Turkey is the only realistic place to expect these radars to be placed, so the real story would seem to be what sort of concessions Washington and Ankara are making to come to an agreement. We’ll see if any of that comes out of Clinton’s visit.

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NATO To Train 15,000 Afghan Police In Turkey

http://www.todayszaman.com/news-250553-turkey-to-train-15000-afghan-policemen-in-sivas.html

Zaman
July 15, 2011

Turkey to train 15,000 Afghan policemen in Sivas
SEDAT GÜNEÇ

-Turkey also made a monetary contribution of $2.5 million, while NATO, Japan and the United States allocated a $5 million fund for the project.

ANKARA: Turkey has taken up another training role for the Afghan police force as a part of its decade-long contribution to the reconstruction of Afghanistan and plans to train some 15,000 Afghan policemen at the Sivas Higher Vocational Police School in Central Anatolia.

In line with this role, 500 Afghan police cadets have already arrived in the designated training camp in Sivas. After the six-month training period, the graduates will serve as high-ranking chief officers back in their home country.

Turkey accepted the request put forth by NATO in mid 2011 for the training of thousands of Afghan homeland security forces, a development that brought the top brass of NATO forces and Afghan training authorities together in a joint effort to draw up a training plan for the Afghan force.

Turkey also made a monetary contribution of $2.5 million, while NATO, Japan and the United States allocated a $5 million fund for the project.

The training of the Afghan forces is expected to commence next week, following an opening ceremony to be led by Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin.

The main focus of the program will be on intelligence, counterterrorism, security, narcotics and other such fields. The extensive training program includes both theoretical and applied information, as Afghan policemen receive training in human rights, firearms use, building protection, close combat defense and security precautions against terrorist attacks.

Turkey has carried out similar training missions both inside and outside Afghanistan for the training of Afghan forces, another example of which was the training of the Afghan National Army in Kabul this past February.

Turkey has increased military and security training to Afghanistan as part of a NATO stabilization campaign. Hundreds of Turkish officers currently serve as instructors to the Afghan army and police. Turkey currently has nearly 2,000 military and security personnel deployed in Afghanistan. The Turkish contingent has helped train the army and police. It also operates a military hospital in Kabul. Under other NATO programs, Afghan cadets and police officers have come to Turkey to attend training programs here.

Turkey carries out the training effort as part of the NATO peacekeeping operation. In October 2010, Turkey announced that it would extend its command of the Kabul Regional Command by a year from Nov. 1.

Turkey, NATO’s only Muslim member [except for Albania], assumed the rotating command in Kabul in 2009, after a previous eight-month stint in 2007.

Turkey has around 1,800 troops in Kabul. No soldiers are assigned to combat missions. The Kabul command is designed to assist Afghanistan in its reconstruction and to help establish security there.

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NATO’s Afghan War: 168 Attacks On Czech Troops So Far This Year

http://www.praguepost.com/news/9443-seriously-injured-soldier-returns.html

Prague Post
July 13, 2011

Seriously injured soldier returns
Attacks on soldiers in Afghanistan have increased ‘several fold’
By Benjamin Cunningham

Afghanistan – Wounded soldier remains in serious condition

A Czech soldier who suffered “severe gunshot wounds” in Afghanistan is being treated at the Central Military Hospital in Prague-Střešovice, amid what a spokeswoman for the Czech Army General Staff (GŠAČR) said was a “several fold” increase in attacks since the beginning of the year.

The 31-year-old sergeant returned home aboard an Airbus A-319 alongside two other injured soldiers July 8, one who was wounded by stepping on a mine and another whose all-terrain vehicle drove over an improvised explosive device (IED). The other two soldiers have since been released from the hospital.

Officials are not revealing the specifics of the sergeant’s condition at the request of the family, GŠAČR spokeswoman Jana Růžičková said, adding that it is “still very serious.” He was serving a so-called “forward base” as part of Second Czech Army Operational Mentor and Liaison Team (AČROMLT), headquartered at Carwile Military Base in southern Wardak province.

The Czech military registered 60 attacks on personnel in January, but by May that number climbed to 168.

“One of the reasons is an important connecting highway to Kabul called Highway 1 goes through [Wardak province],” Růžičková said. “It is a highway where convoys carrying materials go and are often targeted by various groups. Due to the location of forward bases, the intensity of attacks against them has increased.”

On May 31, Sergeant Robert Vyroubal was killed after the vehicle carrying him, an Afghan interpreter and two other soldiers struck an IED in Wardak province. He was the fourth Czech soldier to die in Afghanistan, but the first in three years. Vyroubal was also serving for the OMLT.

The OMLT is one of four AČR operations in Afghanistan, along with the ISAF-commanded Task Force in Kabul, the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Logar province, and the 6th Helicopter Unit in Paktika province.

“We have taken certain measures to enhance security, but we cannot publicize specific details with regard to the safety of the soldiers,” Růžičková said of the reaction to the increased attacks.

Soldiers from the forward bases “will go through a process of combat-capabilities renewal on the main bases,” she said.

- Klára Jiřičná contributed to this report.

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U.S.’s Second Top Military Chief: Budget Cuts Could Force Return To Draft

http://www.stripes.com/news/cartwright-budget-cuts-could-force-a-return-to-the-draft-1.149228

Stars and Stripes
July 14, 2011

Cartwright: Budget cuts could force a return to the draft

The Pentagon is considering massive changes to the force — including a draft — amid fears that new and far deeper budget cuts are looming just over the horizon, a top military official said Thursday.

Marine Gen. James “Hoss” Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs, offered a timeline for how deep cuts will affect the force during the next decade, including big reductions in operational budgets, slashing the size of the active-duty force and even scaling back entitlements such as retirement and health care, according to the Military Times newspapers.

President Obama has proposed cutting $400 billion from the defense budget over the next 12 years, but Cartwright said the military is bracing for even deeper cuts.

He divided the next decade into three segments and outlined the changes troops should expect down the line as budget cuts take effect. First to go, he said, will be funding for things like training, flying hours and steaming days.

The next phase is force size, which could mean reductions in force, shifting more troops to the reserves or implementing a draft. Toward the end of the decade, Cartwright said, base closings and cuts to retirement and health care could come into play.

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NATO Summit: Chicago Trains 13,000 Police For Mass Arrests

http://www.suntimes.com/6513155-417/garry-mccarthy-to-nato-g-8-protesters-police-will-be-ready.html

Chicago Sun-Times
July 15, 2011

Garry McCarthy to NATO, G-8 protesters: Police will be ready
By Frank Main

-Joe Iosbaker, spokesman for the United National Antiwar Committee, said Thursday that he was scouting marching routes to McCormick Place, where he said the city might host the summits…“People are saying this will be larger than our RNC protest, which drew 30,000 people,” Iosbaker said, referring to the 2008 Republican National Convention held in St. Paul, Minn…About 50 groups have pledged their support for the demonstrations against NATO and will hold a planning meeting in Chicago on Aug. 28, Iosbaker said.

Battle lines between protesters and the police are already being drawn for the NATO and G-8 summits that Chicago will host next spring.

On Thursday, an anti-war organizer said he was scouting potential staging areas for crowds of protesters expected outside the summits in May.

Meanwhile, police Supt. Garry McCarthy said he’s been planning for three weeks. And he put a deputy superintendent, Debra Kirby, in charge of preparing the Chicago Police Department’s response.

“We have to train for mass arrests,” McCarthy said. “We have to train 13,000 police officers in arrest procedures and containment procedures. At the same time, we will not stop patrolling the city.”

McCarthy said he will send representatives to Pittsburgh and Seattle to learn how those cities dealt with massive protests. In Seattle, about 35,000 people protested a World Trade Organization meeting in 1999…There were violent clashes between protesters and police in Pittsburgh during a G-20 summit in 2009.

McCarthy said he is working with the U.S. Secret Service, State Department and other federal agencies to plan for the protection of the foreign dignitaries who will attend the summits here.

On June 22, President Barack Obama announced the high-level meetings were coming to Chicago — after Obama was lobbied by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, his former chief of staff.

The summits will be held from May 15-22. Chicago is the first U.S. city other than Washington to host a NATO meeting. The Group of Eight industrialized nations will meet here at the same time.

Joe Iosbaker, spokesman for the United National Antiwar Committee, said Thursday that he was scouting marching routes to McCormick Place, where he said the city might host the summits.

Iosbaker said he already sought permits for protesters to gather downtown at Daley Plaza and the federal plaza. He said he also may seek a permit for a staging area in a lakefront park.

“People are saying this will be larger than our RNC protest, which drew 30,000 people,” Iosbaker said, referring to the 2008 Republican National Convention held in St. Paul, Minn.

His group is planning for protests on May 15 and May 19, but he said he expects other coalitions will stage separate actions, too.

“I think there will be some synergy as the movement against corporate globalization comes together with the anti-war movement,” Iosbaker said. “Our slogan is ‘jobs, healthcare, education, housing — not war.’ ”

Iosbaker said he is hoping for a peaceful demonstration that will result in no arrests.

“We want our marches and rallies to be things that people can bring their children to,” he said. “We want everybody who wants to say something to these heads of state to be heard.”

About 50 groups have pledged their support for the demonstrations against NATO and will hold a planning meeting in Chicago on Aug. 28, Iosbaker said.

“We intend on having our rights respected — our rights to assemble, to speak and to march,” he said.

Last year, Iosbaker’s Logan Square home was searched by FBI agents in an “investigation into activities concerning the material support of terrorism.” No charges were filed against Iosbaker, who said the raid was an effort to stifle his war opposition.

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NATO-Georgia Commission Discusses “Energy Security”

http://rustavi2.com/news/news_text.php?id_news=42442&pg=1&im=main&ct=0&wth=

Rustavi 2
July 15, 2011

NATO-Georgia commission discussed energy security

A session of the NATO-Georgia commission was held in Brussels on Thursday to discuss energy security issues and the reforms implemented by Georgian government during the past few years.

The Georgian side was represented by the deputy minister of Energy Mrs. Maia Valishvili. She said the sides also discussed the issues of cooperation in the energy sector with Georgia`s friends and strategic partner states.

Valishvili said the NATO-Georgia commission was the best instrument for discussing energy security and other significant issues on international level.

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“Global Energy Security”: Sixth Annual Silk Road Conference In Chicago

http://en.apa.az/news.php?id=151596

Azeri Press Agency
July 15, 2011

Azerbaijan to play main partnership role of Sixth Annual Silk Road Conference in Chicago
Isabel Levine

Washington: Azerbaijan will play a main partnership role of the Sixth Annual Silk Road Conference next week in Chicago, APA’s Washington DC correspondent was told by the organizers.

The annual event will take place at the Illinois Institute of Technology July 20, with the continuing annual theme of “Global Energy Security”.

Elin Suleymanov, Counsel General of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Los Angeles, will address the auditorium on the topic of “the Importance of the Caspian Basin and Energy Resources” while other speakers, including Zaheer Pervaiz Khan, Counsel General of Pakistan in Chicago, Gabriel Dutu, Counsel for Economic Affairs, Consulate General of Romania [NATO Contact Embassay in Azerbaijan], and Fatih Yildiz, Counsel General of the Republic of Turkey in Chicago, will focus on other Regional Corridor for Energy Security issues including the Benefits of the Nabucco Pipeline.

Among the panelists, Gulmira Ryazeva, Research Fellow from the Center for Strategic Studies under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan will discuss the “Economic Realities of the Region.”

Prof. Ozgur Arslan Apaydin from Hacettepe University, Ankara will make a speech about “Natural Monopoly in Electricity and Natural Gas Industries.”

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Germany Sued Over U.S.-NATO Nuclear Bomb Flights

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/07/14/53247669.html

Voice of Russia
July 15, 2011

Is it right to live next door to bombs?
Maya Kanorskaya, Sergey Berets

Ms. Elke Koller, a 68-year old German pharmacist, has issued a lawsuit against the German government.

Ms. Koller insists that the government must take away 20 atomic bombs from an airbase 4 kms from her house in the town of Bühel. The bombs have been there since the time of the Cold War. She also demands that Germany must not take part in NATO’s nuclear program for Europe.

Ms. Koller backs her suit by a decision of the Hague international court, dating back to 1996, which says that nuclear weapons are incompatible with human rights. She believes that the fact that Germany has signed the treaty on non-proliferation of nuclear weapons automatically means that Germany must not possess atomic bombs.

“However, at maneuvers, pilots of German “Tornados” fly with American bombs on board,” Elke Koller says. “Here, at the Bühel airbase, norms of international laws and agreements are constantly violated.”

Lawyers from the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms have decided to support Ms. Koller. Former head of the German branch of this association Peter Becker, now a lawyer in Marburg, has helped her to formulate her suit on paper. He has also agreed to represent Ms. Koller’s interests in court.

In their turn, the defendants have asked the German Defense Ministry for a report about US’s pans to modernize its nuclear weapons deployed in Europe.

Lawyer Sylvia Spies, who is representing the interests of the defendants, says that the Federal government has very broad authority in foreign and defense policy, and a private person cannot dictate to the government what it must or must not do.

The atomic weapons at the “Fliegerhorst” airbase in Bühel, against which Ms. Koller is protesting, are stored in a special bunker, which can hold 44 bombs and is controlled by American soldiers.

At present, it is the 33rd squadron of fighter bombers of German air forces which is deployed at the “Fliegerhorst” base. This squadron is the only one in the German air forces which, according to NATO’s conception of using nuclear weapons in Europe, can have atomic bombs.

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Pakistan Demands U.S. End Secret Operations On Its Territory

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/07/15/53266225.html

Voice of Russia
July 15, 2011

Pakistan requires US to end secret operations

Islamabad insists that the US should end all secret operations on the territory of Pakistan, chief of Pakistan’s intelligence service said.

Director-General of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Ashmad Shuja Pasha made a statement to this effect as he met with the CIA’s Acting Director Michael Morell in Washington.

The relations between Pakistan and the US worsened after al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed by the US Navy Seals in Abbotabad on May 2nd in a special raid of which Pakistan knew nothing.

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Pentagon Unveils Cyberspace As Fifth Battlefield

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-07/15/c_13985877.htm

Xinhua News Agency
July 15, 2011

Pentagon unveils first cyberspace strategy

WASHINGTON: The Pentagon on Thursday unveiled an unclassified portion of its first cyberspace strategy, recognizing cyberspace as “an operational domain to organize, train, and equip.”

“It is the first DoD (Department of Defense) unified strategy for cyberspace and officially encapsulates a new way forward for DoD’s military, intelligence and business operations,” the Pentagon said in a statement.

The document, entitled Department of Defense Strategy for Operating in Cyberspace (DSOC), was formally unveiled by Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn during a speech at the National Defense University in Washington. An unclassified version was posted on the Pentagon’s website.

“This (strategy) allows DoD to organize, train, and equip for cyberspace as we do in air, land, maritime, and space to support national security interests,” the document says.

The blueprint also features a significant shift from “passive” to “active” defense against potential cyber threats. It defines active defense as the Pentagon’s “synchronized, real-time capability to discover, detect, analyze, and mitigate threats and vulnerabilities.”

As part of its active defenses, the Pentagon would introduce new operating concepts and capabilities on its networks, such as sensors, software and signatures to detect and stop malicious code before it affects U.S. operations.

The long-expected strategy is likely to cause concerns, both within the U.S. and aboard, over possible U.S. attempt to militarize cyberspace and gain dominance in the new warzone, analysts said.

During the speech, Lynn apparently tried to downplay those concerns, stressing its focus remains on defense.

“Our strategy’s overriding emphasis is on denying the benefit of an attack,” he said. “Far from militarizing cyberspace, our strategy of securing networks to deny the benefit of an attack will help dissuade military actors from using cyberspace for hostile purposes.”

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Categories: Uncategorized

Carl Sandburg: Ready to Kill

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

American writers on peace and against war

Carl Sandburg: What it costs to move two buttons one inch on the war map

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Carl Sandburg
Ready to Kill (1916)

Ten minutes now I have been looking at this.
I have gone by here before and wondered about it.
This is a bronze memorial of a famous general
Riding horseback with a flag and a sword and a revolver
on him.
I want to smash the whole thing into a pile of junk to be
hauled away to the scrap yard.
I put it straight to you,
After the farmer, the miner, the shop man, the factory
hand, the fireman and the teamster,
Have all been remembered with bronze memorials,
Shaping them on the job of getting all of us
Something to eat and something to wear,
When they stack a few silhouettes
Against the sky
Here in the park,
And show the real huskies that are doing the work of
the world, and feeding people instead of butchering them,
Then maybe I will stand here
And look easy at this general of the army holding a flag
in the air,
And riding like hell on horseback
Ready to kill anybody that gets in his way,
Ready to run the red blood and slush the bowels of men
all over the sweet new grass of the prairie.

*****

Killers (1915)

I am singing to you
Soft as a man with a dead child speaks;
Hard as a man in handcuffs,
Held where he cannot move:

Under the sun
Are sixteen million men,
Chosen for shining teeth,
Sharp eyes, hard legs,
And a running of young warm blood in their wrists.

And a red juice runs on the green grass;
And a red juice soaks the dark soil.
And the sixteen million are killing…and killing
and killing.

I never forget them day or night:
They beat on my head for memory of them;
They pound on my heart and I cry back to them,
To their homes and women, dreams and games.

I wake in the night and smell the trenches,
And hear the low stir of sleepers in lines
Sixteen million sleepers and pickets in the dark:
Some of them long sleepers for always,

Some of them tumbling to sleep to-morrow for always,
Fixed in the drag of the world’s heartbreak,
Eating and drinking, toiling…on a long job of killing.
Sixteen million men.

*****

Among the Red Guns

After waking at dawn one morning when the wind sang
low among dry leaves in an elm

Among the red guns,
In the hearts of soldiers
Running free blood
In the long, long campaign:
Dreams go on.

Among the leather saddles,
In the heads of soldiers
Heavy in the wracks and kills
Of all straight fighting:
Dreams go on.

Among the hot muzzles,
In the hands of soldiers
Brought from flesh-folds of women–
Soft amid the blood and crying–
In all your hearts and heads
Among the guns and saddles and muzzles:

Dreams,
Dreams go on,
Out of the dead on their backs,
Broken and no use any more:
Dreams of the way and the end go on.

*****

Fight

Red drips from my chin where I have been eating.
Not all the blood, nowhere near all, is wiped off my mouth.

Clots of red mess my hair
And the tiger, the buffalo, know how.

I was a killer.
Yes, I am a killer.

I come from killing.
I go to more.
I drive red joy ahead of me from killing.
Red gluts and red hungers run in the smears and juices
of my inside bones:
The child cries for a suck mother and I cry for war.

*****

Jaws

Seven nations stood with their hands on the jaws of death.
It was the first week in August, Nineteen Hundred Fourteen.
I was listening, you were listening, the whole world was
listening,
And all of us heard a Voice murmuring:
“I am the way and the light,
He that believeth on me
Shall not perish
But shall have everlasting life.”
Seven nations listening heard the Voice and answered:
“O Hell!”
The jaws of death began clicking and they go on clicking.
“O Hell!”

*****

Wars

In the old wars drum of hoofs and the beat of shod feet.
In the new wars hum of motors and the tread of rubber tires.
In the wars to come silent wheels and whirr of rods not
yet dreamed out in the heads of men.

In the old wars clutches of short swords and jabs into
faces with spears.
In the new wars long range guns and smashed walls, guns
running a spit of metal and men falling in tens and
twenties.
In the wars to come new silent deaths, new silent hurlers
not yet dreamed out in the heads of men.

In the old wars kings quarreling and thousands of men
following.
In the new wars kings quarreling and millions of men
following.
In the wars to come kings kicked under the dust and
millions of men following great causes not yet
dreamed out in the heads of men.

Categories: Uncategorized

Updates on Libyan war/Stop NATO news: July 14, 2011

July 14, 2011 5 comments

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Libyan War: NATO Air Missions Exceed 15,000, Combat Flights Near 6,000

NATO And Libya

Afghan Official: NATO Raid Kills Seven Civilians, Including Students

NATO Air Strikes: Afghan Civilian Deaths Up 15 Percent

2011 On Track To Be Deadliest Year For Civilians In Ten-Year War In Afghanistan

U.S., NATO Triple Size Of Afghan Air Base Near Iranian Border

Afghanistan: Dozens Of Western Troops Injured By Huge Blast

Bastille Day: French Afghan War Death Toll Reaches 70

Afghanistan: Six NATO Soldiers Killed, French Death Toll At 69

U.S. Building New Detention Centers Across Afghanistan

Defense Secretary Panetta Says What Obama Thinks

Canada Plans New Military Bases In The Arctic

Moldovan Defense Minister To Visit NATO Headquarters

Kosovo: NATO’s 12-Year-Old Archetypal “Success Case”

U.S. Marines Train Honduran Counterparts

NATO-Russia Council: In The Depths Of Uncertainty

Pirates Of The Black Sea: 20 Years Of NATO-Ukraine Partnership

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Libyan War: NATO Air Missions Exceed 15,000, Combat Flights Near 6,000

http://www.nato.int/nato_static/assets/pdf/pdf_2011_07/20110714_110714-oup-update.pdf

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
July 14, 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, 06.00GMT) a total of 15,061 sorties, including 5,673 strike sorties, have been conducted.

Sorties conducted 13 JULY: 130

Strike sorties conducted 13 JULY: 50

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NATO And Libya

http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=57562&Cat=9&dt=7/14/2011

News International
July 14, 2011

Nato and Libya
Franklin Lamb

On July 10, France seemingly allied itself with Russia and China in calling on Nato to immediately stop its counterproductive and counterintuitive bombing, as more countries witness public demonstrations against Nato’s actions in Libya. French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet said in Paris that military action in Libya must end and Colonel Qaddafi be welcomed around the negotiating table. Continual bombing of the country is not working, and diplomacy is the only solution – even if Qaddafi retains limited power. In an apparent U-turn in policy, Mr Longuet said Qaddafi could remain in Libya ‘in another room of the palace, with another title.’

Nato and the Obama administration can have no part of a dialogue because they will be the major losers if peace comes to Libya without Qaddafi leaving power.

The US State Department also issued a statement insisting that “the United States will continue efforts as part of a Nato coalition to enforce a UN Security Council-authorised no-fly zone in Libya designed to protect civilians under threat of attack, the State Department said. The spokesman did not mention that the no-fly zone was achieved back in March in 48 hours and that no Libya aircraft have flown since. Mission accomplished 100 days ago.

Since the beginning of the Nato operation, March 31, the alliance has conducted nearly 15,000 sorties, including close to 6000 bombing missions according to Nato’s media office in Naples.

The Russian and Chinese leadership has grown increasingly critical of Nato’s actions in Libya and are demanding an immediate and permanent ceasefire. Some cynics here are pointing out that these countries, unlike Nato, knows exactly what they are doing and it includes the realisation that they have an excellent chance to obtaining many billions of dollars in lucrative contracts. It is partly this realisation that it’s “all of nothing” that keeps the US and its potent military asset, Nato, focused on assassinating Col Qaddafi and breaking his civilian support base. If Qaddafi lives, Nato loses and so do the current major oil industry contractors who are reportedly becoming depressed seeing reports of all the Russian and Chinese businessmen arriving in Libya.

On July 9, 2011, Nato claimed its aircraft carried out another “precision strike” on a pro-Qaddafi missile firing position near Tawurgha, south of Misrata. The next morning, local inhabitants denied that the farm had any military activity on the property and an examination of the farm buildings failed to discovery any.

Nato is getting hammered by critics, especially by reporters from such groups as Jane’s Defence Weekly who know a thing or two about weapons and war. Last week Jane’s ridiculed the Nato commander who claimed that seeing satellite dishes on roofs were evidence of a particular site being a “command and control centre.” Jane’s found that assertion silly.

As international pressure builds on the White House to call off the Nato bombing campaign, several proposals are being discussed within the African Union, the Russian and Chinese Embassy’s, and even between the “Nato rebels” and representatives of the Libya government in Tripoli.

One possible scenario might be for Libya to offer Obama and Nato a fig leaf which would include Colonel Qaddafi “retiring to his tent to write and reflect” while dialogue takes place among the Libyan people, including the tribes and 600 plus Peoples Congresses which of course should have been allowed to take place as Congressman Dennis Kucinich and others insisted back in February, 2011 before Nato invaded.

Courtesy: http://www.counterpunch.org

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Afghan Official: NATO Raid Kills Seven Civilians, Including Students

http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2082997,00.html

Associated Press
July 14, 2011

Afghan Official Says NATO Killed 7 Civilians

KABUL: A local government official in eastern Afghanistan says NATO troops killed seven civilians in an overnight raid.

Khost provincial council member, Gul Mohammad Zazi, says international troops stormed into Matoon village on the outskirts of Khost city around midnight and fired into the windows of houses. He says the dead were not connected to the insurgency.

A neighbor, Asif Khan, says six people were killed and all were civilians. A spokesman for local schools, Sayed Musa Majro, says the dead included a teacher and two students.

————————————————————————–

http://www.focus-fen.net/index.php?id=n254594

Focus News Agency
July 14, 2011

Six civilians killed in NATO raid: Afghan officials

Khost: Afghan government officials on Thursday accused NATO of killing six civilians, including an 11-year-old girl, during a military operation targeting the Al-Qaeda-linked Haqqani network, AFP reported.

A demonstration broke out after bodies of the dead were carried through the eastern city of Khost and the provincial council announced it was going on strike in protest at the killing until a proper investigation was ordered.

“A teacher, a student, an 11-year-old girl and three other ordinary people were killed in the operation. They were civilians, innocent people,” said Khost provincial spokesman Mubarez Zadar.

“The coalition forces were given the wrong information and based on wrong information, they carried out an operation,” he said.

The provincial council said it had gone on strike in protest.

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NATO Air Strikes: Afghan Civilian Deaths Up 15 Percent

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/07/14/53217084.html

Voice of Russia
July 14, 2011

Afghan civilian death toll up 15% – survey

The number of civilians killed in Afghanistan in January-April, 2011, is 1400, which is a 15% increase, a report released by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) says.

The growing number of casualties is blamed on wrongly targeted NATO air strikes.

Six peaceful civilians, children among them, were killed during a strike in eastern Khost province overnight.

The Afghan President Hamid Karzai repeatedly addressed the US command in Afghanistan asking them to avoid targeting villages.

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2011 On Track To Be Deadliest Year For Civilians In Ten-Year War In Afghanistan

http://www.pajhwok.com/en/2011/07/14/1462-afghan-civilians-killed-half-2011-un

Pajhwok Afghan News
July 14, 2011

1,462 Afghan civilians killed in half of 2011: UN
by Muhammad Hassan Khetab

KABUL: Nearly 1,462 Afghan civilians were killed in violence related incidents across Afghanistan in the first half of 2011, showing a 15 percent surge in civilian casualties, the UN said on Thursday.

Putting the year on track to be the deadliest in a decade, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said the disturbing rise in deaths came after the United States sent thousands of extra troops into Afghanistan.

The annual mid-year report by the UN mission said insurgents accounted for 80 percent of all deaths and that NATO troops were responsible for 14 percent of killings, with half of all casualties caused by bomb attacks.

The mission’s human rights director Georgette Gagnon told a press conference in Kabul that a shift in the tactics of anti-government elements had increased the severity of their attacks on Afghan civilians. “We saw the trend going the wrong direction.”

The report said heightened conflict in the traditional fighting areas in the south and southeast, and the spread of the insurgency to parts of the west and north, meant “civilians experienced a downward spiral in protection.”

The United Nations “documented 1,462 civilian deaths in the first six months of 2011, an increase of 15 percent over the same period in 2010.”

According to the world body, the deadliest year on record in the current Afghan conflict, which began when US-led troops in 2001 invaded to bring down the Taliban regime, was in 2010 with the deaths of 2,777 civilians.

In the first half of 2010, the United Nations reported 1,271 deaths.

It attributed the rise to a wide range of increased violence, including a greater use of improvised bombs, suicide attacks and targeted killings, as well as more ground fighting and a rise in casualties from NATO air strikes.

The Taliban were responsible for the vast majority of civilian casualties in an increase of more 28 percent on last year.

NATO reduced the number of deaths it was responsible for by nine percent, and most were blamed on air strikes, mostly by Apache helicopters.

The UN representative in Afghanistan, Staffan de Mistura, said it had been in touch with the Taliban over its role in killing civilians.

“What we need from them is a factual change or in other words a reduction of indiscriminate civilian casualties,” he said at the press conference.

“They [Taliban] will not like this report, they will complain about it,” he said, as he appealed for reduced violence during the holy fasting month of Ramadan due to begin across the Islamic world in two weeks’ time.

The insurgent group last month condemned as “propaganda” U.N. data that blamed them for the deaths of more than 300 people in May, the deadliest month for civilians since it began tracking casualties in 2007.

The United Nations said civilian deaths from improvised explosives devices, or IEDs, increased 17 percent from the same period in 2010, making IEDs the single largest killer of non-combatants in the first half of 2011.

It also said the number of targeted killings of Afghan security and government personnel across the country rose to 190 from 181 in the same period in 2010.

Controversial night raids that US-led forces mounted to take out insurgent leaders accounted for two percent of civilian deaths, a slight decrease on the first half of 2010.

“However, resentment regarding these raids grew among the Afghan population,” the report said.

“Violent demonstrations sometimes followed night raids and led to deaths and injuries of civilians,” it said.

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U.S., NATO Triple Size Of Afghan Air Base Near Iranian Border

http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123263595

American Forces Press Service
838th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group
July 12, 2011

Shindand Air Base triples in size
by Lt. Col. Joe DelCampo

SHINDAND, Afghanistan: By expanding to nearly three times its original size, Shindand Air Base recently became the second largest airfield throughout Afghanistan.

Colonel Larry Bowers, the 838th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group commander, opened the new expansion area upon completion of construction of approximately eight miles of perimeter fence line.

Having been in the works since fall of 2010, completion of the “Far East Expansion” makes the base second only to Bastion Field in Lashkar Gah in size.

The project is part of a $500 million military construction effort to support Regional Command West and turn Shindand AB into the premier flight-training base in Afghanistan, officials said.

The new expansion is slated to become the new living and working area for more than 3,000 coalition forces and government contractors, officials said. The relocation of these members will make room for a new a 1.3-mile NATO training runway, with construction scheduled to begin in early 2012.

Leading the coordination for the project was Lt. Col. Lance McCuiston, an 838th AEAG civil engineer.

He said he faced many challenges during the project, including delays and design changes, and he is certain teamwork by multiple units and organizations contributed to overall project success.

Despite a period when contractors left the work site due to threats by individuals claiming to be local land owners and detection of seven improvised explosive devices, the project remained on track, he said.

“The arrival of new security forces members greatly increased the ability to defend Shindand,” McCuiston said. “It will be the mission of the security forces to patrol and defend this new battle space until completion of the project.”

On hand to celebrate the opening of the expansion were members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who established the $13 million contract necessary for construction of the perimeter fence in October 2010.

Members of the 877th Expeditionary Prime BEEF Squadron were also on hand, with eight of their engineers having worked throughout the last four months during construction of the Far East Expansion. Prime Base Engineer Emergency Forces are civil engineer forces organized for direct combat support or emergency recovery from natural disasters.

Their oversight of more than 80 construction projects was crucial in the opening of the new area and ensured the NATO training-runway project remained on track, officials said.

“The Far East Expansion has been an extremely fast-paced project with some significant obstacles along the way,” said Chief Master Sgt. Chris Hodge, the 877th EPBS superintendent. “Knowing that 10 years from now, the projects we designed and broke ground on will endure…”

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Afghanistan: Dozens Of Western Troops Injured By Huge Blast

http://www.stripes.com/huge-blast-in-afghanistan-hurts-dozens-of-coalition-troops-1.149123

Stars and Stripes
July 13, 2011

Huge blast in Afghanistan hurts dozens of coalition troops
By Neil Shea

MAIDAN SHAR, Afghanistan: A massive truck bomb exploded outside a small American base in southern Wardak province Wednesday morning, wounding dozens of coalition soldiers and four Afghan civilians, military officials said.

The explosion at Combat Outpost Dash-e-Towp near the town of Sayed Abad tore a hole nearly 30 feet wide in the earth-filled barriers surrounding the base, flattening several prefabricated buildings and heavily damaging the command center.

A total of 22 troops were wounded, of which six required medical attention, said Maj. Lee Ann Tumblson, spokeswoman for Regional Command-East. None of the wounds were life-threatening.

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Bastille Day: French Afghan War Death Toll Reaches 70

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-07/14/c_13985791.htm

Xinhua News Agency
July 14, 2011

French soldiers killed in Afghanistan totals 70

PARIS: French government on Thursday confirmed that one more of its soldiers was killed in east Afghanistan, bringing the total French fatalities in the country to 70 since 2001.

The soldier participated in an operation of zone control with Afghan police when his group was shot by insurgents, according to the statement.

The new fatality came a day after five French soldiers were killed as a suicide bomber attacked their military convoy northeast to Kabul, capital of Afghanistan.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy in the morning visited the Bercy military hospital to meet with soldiers injured in Afghanistan before the traditional military parade marking France’s National Festival took place on the Champs Elysees.

About 4,000 French soldiers were deployed on Afghan territories as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)…

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Afghanistan: Six NATO Soldiers Killed, French Death Toll At 69

http://en.apa.az/news.php?id=151474

Azeri Press Agency
July 14, 2011

6 NATO Troops Killed in Afghanistan

Baku: NATO says six of its service members died in two separate attacks in eastern Afghanistan Wednesday, APA reports quoting voanews.com website.

In the first attack in the Tagab district of Kapisa province, a suicide bomber killed five French soldiers.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s office said the bomber blew himself up near French troops who were protecting a local council meeting in the Joybar area. At least one Afghan civilian was also killed and four other French soldiers were wounded.

The deaths occurred a day after President Sarkozy visited Afghanistan and announced his country would pull out 1,000 troops by the end of 2012, roughly a quarter of France’s current force in Afghanistan.

Hours later, another NATO soldier was killed in an insurgent attack. The nationality of that soldier was not released.

Following the attack in Kapisa, Mr. Sarkozy’s office said that France is determined to remain part of the NATO-led coalition to bring stability to Afghanistan.

Wednesday’s suicide bombing brings the number of French troops killed in the country to 69 since 2001.

The attack on French forces was the worst since 2008, when 10 soldiers were killed and 21 wounded in a Taliban ambush in the Uzbin Valley, south of the Afghan capital.

Violence is at its worst point in Afghanistan since the U.S.-led invasion almost a decade ago.

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U.S. Building New Detention Centers Across Afghanistan

http://www.stripes.com/news/middle-east/afghanistan/u-s-building-new-jails-across-afghanistan-despite-drawdown-1.149062

Stars and Stripes
July 13, 2011

U.S. building new jails across Afghanistan despite drawdown
Dianna Cahn

The U.S. is supposed to hand over control of its massive new detention center outside Bagram Air Field to the Afghans this year, but new contracts reveal plans to build more jails in the war zone, Danger Room reports.

Afghanistan will take over the Parwan detention facility later this year, although negotiations have been difficult because of worries regarding the country’s corruption-prone judicial system. Hoping to create a new justice model, the U.S. military set up a judicial complex near the prison, but complaints from troops and Afghans persist throughout the country.

Despite the transfer at Parwan, high-risk detainees from Parwan will likely remain in U.S. custody and be transferred to new U.S.-run facilities, according to Danger Room.

The Army recently awarded a no-bid contract to an Afghan contractor to build a new U.S. government-controlled detention facility and plans to build another larger facility equipped with maximum-security holding cells, the military and technology blog noted.

Read more from Danger Room on U.S. plans to build more prisons in Afghanistan:

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/07/lockdown-u-s-building-new-jails-across-afghanistan/#more-51670

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Defense Secretary Panetta Says What Obama Thinks

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/07/14/53226872.html

Voice of Russia
July 14, 2011

What the President has on his mind, Defense Secretary has on the tip of his tongue
Boris Volkhonsky

-[I]n terms of foreign policy, there is no major difference between Barack Obama and his predecessor. And Mr. Panetta only explicitly presented what is implicit in Obama’s “Change that never was there” policy.

The newly appointed US Defense Secretary made his first foreign tour in his new capacity. Not surprisingly, the two countries he visited were Iraq and Afghanistan, where the US is waging two of its current three wars. Also unsurprisingly, the topic of Libya arose now and again.

Leon Panetta, the former CIA director and before that the White House Сhief of Staff during President Bill Clinton’s tenure, has for a long time been one of the most prominent behind-the-doors figures in the US establishment. Now, things have changed – in his capacity of the Defense Secretary he has become a public figure, whose words sometimes matter much more than he himself would like them to.

Panetta’s inexperience as a public politician has been noticed by many observers. In Iraq and Afghanistan he made it his goal to visit as many US military units and meet as many US soldiers as the short visit allowed. He did not spare words in praising the soldiers, saying that the main aim of his tour was to personally thank every US soldier for his/her courage and sacrifices. In this respect he tried to copy his predecessor Robert Gates, who is still very popular among the US troops and whose priority always was the welfare of the soldiers.

At the same time, observers have noticed several slips of the tongue and even gaffes in Mr. Panetta’s remarks. Speaking to the US soldiers about their presence in Iraq he said, “The reason you guys are here is because on 9/11 the United States got attacked.” Well, this used to be part of George W. Bush’s rhetoric back in 2003, when he tried to connect Saddam Hussein’s regime with the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Most Democrats, including the current President Barack Obama, have always rejected such claims.

Also, speaking about Libya, Panetta said that the central U.S. objective is “to do what we can to bring down the regime of Gaddafi.” This also goes counter to the official US line that the US engagement in the war against Gaddafi aims only at protecting the civilians.

Other gaffes in Mr. Panetta’s speeches included using harsh and sometimes rude wordings in characterizing some individuals and phenomena (like calling Osama bin Laden “that son of a bitch” or Iraq – “a damned country” having “a hell of a lot of resources”). All this might seem funny for observers in the US characterizing the new Defense Secretary’s personally. But for an outside observer, these gaffes really disclose the inner and deeply concealed trends dominating the actions of the present administration.

Indeed gaffes and slips of the tongue are hardly to be expected from a person of Mr. Panetta’s standing and experience. Therefore, they reflect the real intentions of the current administration whose topmost representative would not like to pronounce himself.

It is clear that the campaign in Libya with the US participation has long ago ceased to be aimed at “protecting the civilians” and will not stop until Gaddafi is removed from power. But one would not expect Obama to state it publicly. Hence the burden was taken by his Defense Secretary whose words could – should the need arise – be explained by his “inexperience”.

As for Iraq, the question why the US troops are still there and why they invaded the country back in 2003 has no plausible answer. Saddam Hussein was never connected with Al Qaeda and weapons of mass destruction were never found there. But the US troops are still in Iraq. Mr. Panetta was simply forced to give at least some explanation. And coming back to George W. Bush’s rhetoric was only too natural.

This brings us to a conclusion that has been looming for some time. In fact, in terms of foreign policy, there is no major difference between Barack Obama and his predecessor. And Mr. Panetta only explicitly presented what is implicit in Obama’s “Change that never was there” policy.

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Canada Plans New Military Bases In The Arctic

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/1024675–star-exclusive-canada-looking-at-building-military-bases-in-arctic

The Star
July 14, 0211

Star exclusive: Canada looking at building military bases in Arctic
The Canadian military is exploring a way to cut costs and speed up the movement of troops and equipment by building several new northern bases
Bob Weber

OTTAWA: It is costly to operate in the vast and inhospitable Arctic. But the Canadian military is exploring a way to cut costs and speed up the movement of troops and equipment by building several new northern bases.

Along the way it could help to strengthen the country’s Arctic sovereignty claims by placing additional boots on the tundra throughout the year.

The plan, sketched out in a study that was commissioned by the force’s operational support command, is a variation of the one put in place for overseas operations.

Barebones transportation hubs — essentially a suitable landing strip and storage facility — at strategic spots around the globe make it more efficient when soldiers are called out to a global hot spot in a pinch.

Just this week, Defence Minister Peter MacKay was in Kuwait to announce an agreement to use the country as a transit point for equipment coming out of combat in Kandahar and making the long journey home to Canada.

The military is looking at a domestic variant of those overseas hubs.

The plan could result in remote bases and a small-but-permanent military presence in far-off communities.

Locations could include Alert, Inuvik, Whitehorse, Rankin Inlet, Iqaluit or Nanisivik, according to the technical memorandum prepared by the research wing of the military last year.

The Canadian Forces says no decision has been made to go ahead with the construction of new hubs.

That could change.

“The hub concept referred to in this report is just one of many ideas being examined at the time to enhance our capabilities up in the North,” said Navy Lt. Greg Menzies.

The report is premised on the priority that the Conservative government has placed on a more rigorous defence of Canada’s territorial sovereignty in the North, where countries including Russia, Denmark and the United States are currently staking their claims to land and underwater territory.

“To maintain its sovereignty over its northern region, Canada will need to develop enforcement and surveillance capabilities for the Arctic,” the report says.

To that end, it envisions scenarios that could call for a military response in the North…

Currently, the Canadian Forces relies on the Canadian Rangers for operations in the North. More complex search and rescue requirements are handled out of an air force base in Winnipeg.

But this new plan would see the force’s hulking C-17 transport aircraft be loaded with personnel, supplies and a disassembled military helicopter — likely at CFB Trenton in Ontario — and dispatched to the northern hub. There, the helicopter would be reassembled and the Arctic hub would be used as a base for the mission.

The military wouldn’t speak to the costs of mounting an operation in the Arctic, but said the total budget for its annual northern exercise, Operation Nanook — which involves moving ships, aircraft, helicopters and about 1,000 personnel into the Arctic Circle — is about $15 million.

“The Canadian Forces are ready to execute all potential military tasks in Canada’s North and we’re always looking at ways to improve our response to possible threats in the North,” Menzies said.

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Moldovan Defense Minister To Visit NATO Headquarters

http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/news_76366.htm?mode=pressrelease

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
July 13, 2011

Visit to NATO of the Minister of Defence of the Republic of Moldova, Mr. Vitalie Marinuta

The Minister of Defence of Moldova, Mr. Vitalie Marinuta will visit NATO Headquarters on Wednesday 13 July 2011 to address the North Atlantic Council. He will also meet the Secretary General, Mr. Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

There will be no media opportunity. Video images and still photographs of the event will be available on the NATO website after the event.

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Kosovo: NATO’s 12-Year-Old Archetypal “Success Case”

http://praguemonitor.com/2011/07/13/hn-two-czech-state-attorneys-help-wipe-out-mafia-kosovo

Czech News Agency
July 13, 2011

HN: Two Czech state attorneys help wipe out mafia in Kosovo

Prague: Two Czech lawyers, Adam Basny, 35, and Petr Klement, 36, who help wipe out the mafia in Kosovo within the EULEX mission, told yesterday’s issue of daily Hospodarske noviny (HN) that they have got used to the danger they face in performing their duties.

State attorney Basny, an expert in fighting corruption, told the paper that the first thing he got when he arrived in Peje was a bulletproof vest, a gas mask and a kevlar helmet.

He has been on a year-long mission together with colleagues from other EU countries in western Kosovo since the beginning of the month, the paper writes.

“It was a challenge to fight crime in Kosovo,” Basny told HN.

Klement has been working in Kosovska Mitrovica since last October. Until then he was an international expert of the Czech Supreme State Attorney’s Office (NSZ) in Brno.

“Back at home I go to work by tram, here, in Kosovo, I use a service car and I always have to report it to the centre via a walkie-talkie. The state attorney’s office in Brno is not covered with barbed wire, runaway dogs are not running there adn electricity is always available,” Klement told HN.

“I must think of how to transport Albanian witnesses to court in the north because it is dangerous for them to walk around streets alone,” he added.

HN writes that Klement and Basny’s work is adventurous because the EU mission aims to push through law in Kosovo, a country divided by disputes between Albanians and Serbs and from which drugs are smuggled to the whole of Europe, HN writes.

Klement has already successfully solved several cases.

“I now have some 20 to 30 cases on the table, I have won everything to date. I only had to appeal in one case,” Klement told HN.

He has dealt with murders, robberies, customs frauds as well as massive environmental pollution, HN writes.

Klement said his worst case ended only last month. “A brother shot dead his sister who went out with her boy friend in the evening without the family’s permission. The brother was responsible for her safety under common law. The daughter put the family to shame, therefore he together with other relatives attacked her in the night in a car on her way back home,” Klement said.

“The proceedings ended with an agreement on guilt and punishment, approved by court. I will never forget the father who was another victim of this absurd act. With tears in his eyes he deplored the judge for the mildest possible punishment for his son who killed his daughter,” Klement said.

Kosovo that declared independence after wars with Serbia only three years ago is haunted mainly by corruption and gangs, HN writes.

That is why, it says, the prosecutors who are dealing with these cases are often in danger.

“One gets used to it. I paradoxically felt the biggest fear in a case that was not that serious. It was a drug case in which the relatives of one of the perpetrators did not like me asking him such questions that resulted in his proving himself guilty,” Klement told HN.

He will return to the NSZ in Brno in the autumn.

Basny also has some cases on his table, but he said they cannot be talked about. “They are the heaviest crimes, organised crime in its heaviest forms,” he said.

Basny told HN he does not fear for his life, also because he received thorough EULEX training.

“If you were afraid of physical liquidation, you would go nowhere. If they decide to get me, they will do it,” he told HN, adding that he always has a walkie-talkie on him.

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U.S. Marines Train Honduran Counterparts

http://www.marines.mil/unit/mctag/Pages/MarinesprovideguidanceandmentorshiptoRepublicofHondurasMarines.aspx

U.S. Marine Corps
July 13, 2011

Marines provide guidance and mentorship to Republic of Honduras Marines
By Gunnery Sgt. Alexis R. Mulero, Marine Corps Training and Advisory Group

LA CEIBA, Honduras: Seven Marines from Marine Corps Training and Advisory Group supported Marine Corps Forces, South by conducting a tactical assessment of the Republic of Honduras’ First Marine Infantry Battalion (Batallon de Infanteria Marina – (BIM) capabilities from June 6 – 10 and a three-day leadership seminar for their (BIM) noncommissioned officers from June 13-15.

During the assessment, the team focused their efforts on the six warfighting functions of command and control, intelligence, maneuver, fires, logistics and force protection.

This was the first tactical assessment conducted by a MCTAG Coordination Liaison and Assessment Team (CLAT) in support of a regional MARFOR since the CLAT stood up a little less than a year ago.

“We appreciate the assistance the U.S. Marines provided us during the last week,” said Capt. Nelson Varela, commanding officer of the BIM. “We look up to you (U.S. Marine Corps) as the world’s foremost fighting force. We are very grateful for the time you spent with us.”

U.S. Marine Corps Forces, South (MARFORSOUTH) is the U. S. Marine Corps Service Component Command for United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM).

MARFORSOUTH commands all Marine forces assigned to Commander SOUTHCOM; advises the Commander SOUTHCOM on the proper employment and support of Marine forces; conducts deployment/redeployment planning and execution of assigned/attached Marine forces; and accomplishes other operational missions as assigned.

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NATO-Russia Council: In The Depths Of Uncertainty

http://www.plenglish.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=304429&Itemid=1

Prensa Latina
July 13, 2011

Russia-Nato Council: in the depth of uncertainty
Antonio Rondón

-Russia and the United States were about to sign a joint statement within the framework of the summit of the seven most industrialized countries and Russia in France.
The document was prepared by Russian foreign deputy minister Sergei Ryabkov and US vice secretary of State Ellen Tauscher; but at the last moment, US President Barack Obama, apparently under pressure from the CIA and the Pentagon, refused to sign it.

Moscow: Russia and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) confirmed their differences regarding the European anti-missile defence system and the use of force against Libya at a recent meeting in Sochi.

Although there were some moves toward reconciliation, such as the statements by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who regarded the talks as promising, the specific outcome was negative.

Talks on the creation of a joint anti-missile defense system (AMD) in Europe bogged down, said Russian representative at NATO Dmitry Rogozin, after the meeting with his counterparts in the military bloc.

For Rogozin, Western partners refuse to listen to Russia’s opinion and act in accordance with a preconceived plan. The European anti-missile defense system is aimed at Russia’s strategic potential, said the official openly.

The meeting at the representative level in Sochi was attended by Medvedev and the Atlantic alliance’s secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who hardly acknowledged that both Moscow and Brussels are facing the same challenges and threats.

Russia’s proposal of signing a legal document to ensure that none of the parties will do anything against the other was rejected by Rasmussen, who said that the Foundational Act for Russian and NATO Cooperation of 1997 is enough.

According to the Kommersant daily, Russia and the United States were about to sign a joint statement within the framework of the summit of the seven most industrialized countries and Russia in France.

The document was prepared by Russian foreign deputy minister Sergei Ryabkov and US vice secretary of State Ellen Tauscher; but at the last moment, US President Barack Obama, apparently under pressure from the CIA and the Pentagon, refused to sign it.

The meeting in Sochi widened even more the gap of understanding between both parties, especially with regard to the idea launched last November by Medvedev at the Russia-NATO Council summit in Lisbon for creating a sectorial AMD.

The scheme consisted of dividing the European region into collective responsibility zones for protecting one another, but Rasmussen insisted on the need, and even said it would benefit NATO, for Russia to create its own anti-missile shield.

Both systems (separately) could collaborate in the future, exchange information and avoid attacks from the outside, affirmed NATO’s secretary general.

“We could not agree on the sectoral AMD for Europe”, admitted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

The Russian diplomat stressed that the fifth clause of the Washington Agreement prevents the 28 members of the Atlantic alliance from delegating their defence to non-member countries of the military block.

The local press commented before the beginning of the meeting in Sochi that Poland had insisted on the need of bring up the issue of the Washington Agreement, in the midst of its plans to keep not only Patriot missiles in its territory, but also to deploy F-16 fighter-bombers.

According to the Nezavisimaya Gazeta (NZ) daily, Warsaw agreed with the Pentagon to transfer two US F-16 squadrons located at the Italian airbase at Aviano to a new installation in Polish territory.

We know that bi-lateral agreements are being established for deploying part of the US AMD in Europe and increasing the activity of warships that will be part of that system’s naval component, stated Lavrov.

The Russian foreign minister referred to the participation of the US ship Monterrey, provided with anti-missile systems, in joint maneuvers with Ukraine in the Black Sea, and its recent call on Georgian ports, something rejected by Moscow on all occasions.

The White House in no way takes into account the Kremlin’s concerns, said Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov last June after a meeting with his coleagues of the Russia-NATO Council in Brussel.

The United States is willing to deploy the SM-3s [Standard Missile-3s], which in their modified version has a greater reach, to all of the Russian European region and they can be installed on land, while the original version was for ships, NG affirmed.

The Atlantic Alliance’s secretary general seeks to postpone the solution to mutual differences until next year, at the summit of the Russian-NATO council in Chicago.

On the other hand, there were not many coincidences concerning the interpretation by both sides of the UN Security Council’s resolution 1973 on Libya.

Prior to the beginning of the council’s meeting, Medvedev talked to his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma, who had recently undertaken a mission as a mediator for reconciling stands, and he had stressed the need of a peaceful way out of the conflict in Libya.

Rasmussen repeated the arguments used by NATO for explaining its bombings against Libya, started last March 19, based on the supposed mission of protecting civilians, among whom they have caused hundreds of deaths and wounded.

Lavrov warned that the Atlantic alliance interprets the so-called resolution as permission to do whatever they feel like with the announced objective of protecting civilians.

In fact, although that is forbidden on account of the UN Security Council’s resolution 1970, Rasmussen thinks that providing military supplies to the Libyan armed opposition is aimed at “protecting the population”.

Any kind of weapon supply to Libya is in violation of the Security Council’s resolutions 1970 and 1973, as is sending military instructors to that country, denounced Lavrov.

The friendly environment of Sochi, which for the first time is the venue for a meeting of the aforementioned council, was not reflected at all in the tone of the talks, which rather confirmed differences and created greater uncertainty in Russia-NATO relations.

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Pirates Of The Black Sea: 20 Years Of NATO-Ukraine Partnership

http://www.interfax.com/newsinf.asp?pg=2&id=259277

Interfax
July 14, 2011

NATO hopes to cooperate with Ukraine in combating sea pirates

KYIV: NATO hopes for the Ukrainian involvement in anti-piracy operations, Assistant Secretary General of NATO for Political Affairs and Security Policy Dirk Brengelmann said at a video address to the roundtable ‘Ukraine-NATO: 20 Years of Partnership. Achievements and Prospects’ in Kyiv on Thursday.

He said the sides could and must do a lot more in combating sea piracy and the alliance expected broader cooperation with Ukraine in the provision of safe shipping.

An increasing number of Ukrainian ships and sailors fall victim to sea pirate attacks off the Horn of Ukraine, he said. The Ukrainian Navy has cooperated with NATO in the anti-terror operation in the Mediterranean Sea and it would be expedient for Ukrainian sailors to join the NATO anti-piracy operation, he said.

Ukraine is already taking part in the EU anti-piracy operation Atalanta.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Sophocles: War the destroyer

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Greek and Roman writers on war and peace

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Sophocles
From Oedipus the King
Translated by E. H. Plumptre

…Ares the destroyer drive away!
Who now, though hushed the din of brazen shield,
With battle-cry wars on me fierce and hot.
Bid him go back in flight,
Retreat from this our land,
Or to the ocean bed,
Where Amphitrite sleeps,
Or to the homeless sea
Which sweeps the Thracian shore.
If waning night spares aught
That doth the day assail:
Do thou, then, Sire almighty,
Wielding the lightning’s strength,
Blast him with thy hot thunder.

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From Ajax
Translated by R. C. Trevelyan

Like iron dipped, yet now grow soft with pity
Before this woman, whom I am loath to leave
Midst foes a widow with this orphaned child.
But I will seek the meadows by the shore:
There will I wash and purge these stains, if so
I may appease Athena’s heavy wrath.
Then will I find some lonely place, where I
May hide this sword, beyond all others cursed,
Buried where none may see it, deep in earth.
May night and Hades keep it there below.

*****

After fierce tempest calm will ever lull
The moaning sea; and Sleep, that masters all,
Binds life awhile, yet loosens soon the bond.
And who am I that I should not learn wisdom?
Of all men I, whom proof hath taught of late
How so far only should we hate our foes
As though we soon might love them…

*****

And over the far Icarian billows come, O king Apollo,
From Delos in haste, come thou,
Thy kindly power here in our midst revealing.

Ares hath lifted horror and anguish from our eyes.
Io, Io! Now again,
Now, O Zeus, can the bright and blithe
Glory of happier days return
To our swift-voyaging ships, for now
Hath Ajax wholly forgot his grief,
And all rites due to the gods he now
Fain would meetly perform with loyal worship.
Mighty is time to dwindle all things.
Nought would I call too strange for belief, when Ajax thus beyond hope
Hath learnt to repent his proud feuds,
And lay aside anger against the Atreidae.

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From Philoctetes
Translated by E.F. Watling

War never picks the worst men for his victims,
But always the best.

Categories: Uncategorized

Updates on Libyan war/Stop NATO news: July 13, 2011

July 13, 2011 2 comments

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Libyan Prosecutor: NATO Air Strikes Have Killed 1,100, Wounded 4,500

117-Day War: France Extends Libyan Military Mission

NATO’s Four-Month War: 14,931 Air Missions, 5,623 Strike Sorties

Afghan War: NATO’s Yearly Death Toll Exceeds 300

At Least Five NATO Soldiers Killed In Afghanistan

Poll: 68% Of Israelis Back NATO Membership, 60% NATO Troops In Palestine

Georgia: Base To Be Used For Training NATO Militaries

Afghanistan: NATO Air Strike Kills Four Civilians In Kunar Province

Latvia: French NATO Jet Scrambled On Intercept Mission

Commentary: End U.S. Imperialism To End Strife

Max Boot’s Dangerous, Deluded Vision

Oil Imperialism

Pakistan To Withdraw Troops From Afghan Border If U.S. Cuts Aid

NATO Chief Promotes Complete Absorption Of The Balkans

U.S. Army Riddles Bavarian Buildings With Machine Gun Fire

Afghan War: Germany Orders 76 New Armored Vehicles

Angola: Germany Expands Military Role In Africa

New Arms Race: Germany, World’s Third Largest Weapons Exporter

Video And Text: Interceptor Missile Row Mars American-Russian Relations

“Use Of Force”: NATO To Upgrade Military Partnership With Azerbaijan

France Leads NATO Military Training At Georgian Base

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Libyan Prosecutor: NATO Air Strikes Have Killed 1,100, Wounded 4,500

http://www.ajc.com/news/nation-world/libya-nato-strikes-have-1013666.html

Associated Press
July 13, 2011

Libya: NATO strikes have killed 1,100 since March
By Paul Shemm

TRIPOLI, Libya: Libya’s prosecutor says more than 1,100 Libyans have been killed and 4,500 wounded since NATO’s campaign of airstrikes began on March 19.

Mohammed Zikri al-Mahjoubi said Wednesday that he will charge NATO’s chief in a Libyan court with genocide over the air campaign. He outlined 10 charges against Anders Fogh Rasmussen, including killing and wounding civilians, destroying public buildings and attempted murder of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

….

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117-Day War: France Extends Libyan Military Mission

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-07/13/c_13981065.htm

Xinhua News Agency
July 13, 2011

French parliament authorises extension of military mission in Libya

-Since France took the lead in launching air strikes against pro-Gaddafi troop on March 19, it has mobilized around 4,400 soldiers, 40 fighting jets, 8 vessels and 18 helicopters in the coalition operation backed first by Britain and then NATO…

PARIS: The French parliament on Tuesday gave the green light for the extension of the country’s military intervention against Libya’s Gaddafi regime, while senior officials insisted that political solutions are “to take shape” and contacts going on.

The French Senate, the upper house, approved in the evening to prolong the military intervention in Libya with 311 votes for and 24 against the bill proposed by the government. Earlier in the afternoon, deputies of the lower house (the National Assembly) gave a nod to the bill with 482 votes in favor and 27 against.

According to the French constitution amended in 2008, a parliamentary commission has to examine any military operation of French troops if their mission exceeds four months.

Before the parliament started debate over the continuation of the operation, Prime Minister Francois Fillon appealed to the legislators to agree with the government, noting a political solution was “beginning to take shape” though the intervention against pro-Gaddafi forces had seen no quick end.

Like what happened in the National Assembly, a large majority of the senators, including those of the ruling party UMP and the opposition Socialist, let pass the bill authorizing the four-month long military intervention to continue in Libya.

Since France took the lead in launching air strikes against pro-Gaddafi troop on March 19, it has mobilized around 4,400 soldiers, 40 fighting jets, 8 vessels and 18 helicopters in the coalition operation backed first by Britain and then NATO, according to official data.

French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet estimated that the cost of France’s part in the operation had exceeded 160 million euros (223.6 million US dollars) by the end of June.

In an interview published by French daily Le Figaro on Tuesday, Libyan Prime Minister Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi said Tripoli was ready to negotiate directly with France and Gaddafi wouldn’t participate in the discussion.

Meanwhile, he called on NATO to stop military strikes in Libya first.

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NATO’s Four-Month War: 14,931 Air Missions, 5,623 Strike Sorties

http://www.aco.nato.int/resources/3/documents/Libya%20update%20July%2011/2011-07-13%20oup-update%5B1%5D.pdf

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations
July 13, 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, 06.00GMT) a total of 14,931 sorties, including 5,623 strike sorties, have been conducted.

Sorties conducted 12 JULY: 127

Strike sorties conducted 12 JULY: 35

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Afghan War: NATO’s Yearly Death Toll Exceeds 300

http://channel6newsonline.com/2011/07/coalition-death-toll-in-afghanistan-so-far-this-year-reaches-300/

BNO News
July 13, 2011

Coalition death toll in Afghanistan so far this year reaches 300

KABUL: Three more coalition service members have been killed in southern and western Afghanistan, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said on Wednesday, raising the coalition death toll so far this year to more than 300.

The toll is a grim reminder that insurgent groups such as the Taliban are still capable of inflicting heavy losses on coalition forces, but the number is lower when compared to last year. A total of 356 coalition service members were killed between January 1st and July 12 last year.

However, the overall coalition death toll also includes a number of casualties from non-hostile incidents such as vehicle accidents, but the vast majority of service members are killed as a result of insurgent attacks. Most die in the southern region of Afghanistan, mainly due to improvised explosive device (IED) attacks.

The latest casualties took place in southern and western Afghanistan on Tuesday and Wednesday. In southern Afghanistan, two ISAF service members were killed as a result of two separate insurgent attacks. A third service member was killed in western Afghanistan as a result of a roadside bomb.

As usual, the multinational force gave no details about the nationalities of those killed or the exact location of the attacks. “It is ISAF policy to defer casualty identification procedures to the relevant national authorities,” a brief statement said.

Coalition casualties in Afghanistan have been rising sharply in recent years, with a total coalition death toll of 709 in 2010, making it the deadliest year for international troops since the war began…

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At Least Five NATO Soldiers Killed In Afghanistan

http://en.trend.az/regions/world/afghanistan/1904836.html

Trend News Agency
July 13, 2011

Five NATO soldiers killed in attack in Afghanistan

Five NATO service members were killed in an insurgent attack in eastern Afghanistan, the military alliance said on Wednesday, Xinhua reported.

————————————————————————–

http://en.trend.az/regions/world/afghanistan/1904900.html

Deustche Presse-Agentur
July 13, 2011

5 ISAF soldiers, 2 Afghan police killed in Afghan violence (UPDATE)

At least five NATO-led soldiers and two Afghan police were killed Wednesday in separate incidents in Afghanistan, officials said, DPA reported.

“An insurgent attack in eastern Afghanistan has resulted in the deaths of 5 ISAF service members,” said Major Tim James, a spokesman with NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.

The incident took place in Kapisa province, north of Kabul, where French soldiers are based.

“According to our operational reports, there was a rocket attack and a suicide bomber might also have been involved,” James said, noting that there were a number of civilian casualties as well.

Abdul Hakim, the district governor of Tagab district in Kapisa, said two Afghan civilians and a policeman were among the injured.

The report of deaths comes only a day after French President Nicolas Sarkozy visited Afghanistan where he announced the withdrawal of 1,000 troops by the end of 2012.

Elsewhere, a roadside bomb killed two policemen in eastern province, bordering Pakistan.

“At 10.30 in the morning, a roadside bomb struck when a border police vehicle was passing by. Two policemen were killed and five others were injured in the incident,” Ahmadzia Abdulzai, governor’s spokesman, said.

There were no civilian casualties, he said.

The incident took place in Laliband village of the Lalpur district in eastern Nangarhar province.

Meanwhile, a suicide bomber with vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (IED) attacked an army base in central Wardak province.

“There were some ISAF casualties. Civilians were also hurt in the incident,” NATO’s James said, without elaborating.

At least 300 foreign soldiers have been killed so far this year in the Taliban war…

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Poll: 68% Of Israelis Back NATO Membership, 60% NATO Troops In Palestine

http://english.cri.cn/6966/2011/07/12/1461s648044.htm

Xinhua News Agency
July 13, 2011

Israelis Back Deploying NATO Forces in West Bank, Gaza: Poll

More than 60 percent of Israelis said they would back deploying NATO troops in the West Bank and Gaza, according to a just-released survey by pollsters at the Ben- Gurion University (BGU) of the Negev.

According to the “Israeli Positions on the EU” survey, 64 percent of Israeli Jews and 63 percent of Israeli Arabs citizens would support seeing peacekeeping forces in the Palestinian National Authority and Hamas-ruled areas, respectively. In 2009, 54 percent supported the idea.

In the poll, compiled by Sharon Pardo of the Department of Politics and Government, 68 percent are for joining North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Around 81 percent of Israelis want Israel to join the European Union (EU), up from 69 percent in 2009, and 43 percent would like to see stronger relations with the EU, against 20 percent with the UN and seven percent with NATO.

According to Pardo, “the message is quite clear, Israelis are not for isolationism, they want cooperation.”

The poll canvassed 1,000 Israelis from different walks if life in mid-June and had a 3.3 percent margin of error, according to the school.

“Israelis are really into strengthening and deepening the cooperation between Israel and the EU,” Pardo said, adding, ” Israelis understand the importance of the EU for the future of Israel and they want to strengthen the relations.”

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Georgia: Base To Be Used For Training NATO Militaries

http://en.trend.az/news/politics/1904483.html

Trend News Agency
July 12, 2011

Georgian military base becomes eligible to train NATO military
N. Kirtskhalia

Tbilisi: The Sachkhere military base (in the region of Imereti, Western Georgia) on training mountain soldiers got the status of PFP (Partnership for Peace], which gives it the right to train NATO military[ies].

The Georgian Defense Ministry reported that today the Ambassador of France to Georgia, Eric Fournier, and Deputy Defence Minister of Georgia Nodar Kharshiladze visited the base.

The deputy minister said henceforth the military base in Sachkhere, which was built by France, will begin to train NATO militaries.

“The program on training of mountain shooters upon NATO standards will already start in September,” he said.

Today, Fournier and Kharshiladze opened the honorary board on conferring the status of PFP upon Sachkhere military base.

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Afghanistan: NATO Air Strike Kills Four Civilians In Kunar Province

http://www.pajhwok.com/en/2011/07/12/airstrike-kills-4-civilians-kunar-governor

Pajhwok Afghan News
July 12, 2011

Airstrike kills 4 civilians in Kunar: governor
by Khan Wali Salarzai

ASADABAD: Four civilians were killed and a fifth injured in an airstrike by NATO-led forces in the Asmar district of eastern Kunar province, the governor said on Tuesday.

The air raid was carried out on Tuesday afternoon in the Sewr area, Syed Fazlullah Wahidi, told Pajhwok Afghan News.

The airstrike came after militants fired rockets shells at a base of foreign troops from nearby mountains, he said.

The casualties occurred when jets dropped bombs on suspected positions. One of the bombs hit a civilian house, killing four inmates and injuring a fifth, he said.

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Latvia: French NATO Jet Scrambled On Intercept Mission

http://www.expatica.com/fr/news/french-news/french-nato-jet-scrambled-on-latvian-intercept-mission_162767.html

Agence France-Presse
July 12, 2011

French NATO jet scrambled on Latvian intercept mission

A French NATO jet was scrambled Tuesday to intercept three unidentified aircraft over Latvian airspace, the Baltic state’s defence minister said, as news reports said the planes were German.

“The French Mirage did its duty very well,” Defence Minister Artis Pabriks told AFP.

“Planes appeared on our screens which were unidentified and not responding. We were not too worried, but the principle is that there must be identification, so we followed the procedures,” he added.

The Mirage 2000C interceptor took off from NATO’s Siauliai airbase in Lithuania after three small jet aircraft were detected flying over neighbouring Latvia.

France currently holds the rotating duties of patrolling the airspace of ex-Soviet Latvia, Lithuania and fellow Baltic state Estonia, whose own air forces lack suitable aircraft for the job despite being NATO members since 2004.

The French jet successfully forced the unidentified aircraft to land at the Adazi military base in Latvia, where the pilots were held by police.

They turned out to be German civilians who had travelled via Poland and Lithuania who had not followed correct flight plan procedures, the Baltic News Service reported.

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Commentary: End U.S. Imperialism To End Strife

http://www.thetowntalk.com/article/20110709/OPINION/107090316

Alexandria Town Talk
July 9, 2011

End U.S. imperialism to end strife
Sheldon Richman

Despite President Barack Obama’s trumpeted force drawdown in Afghanistan, by the end of next summer more than twice as many U.S. troops will be fighting in that country’s civil war as there were when he became president in 2009. A force of about 70,000 will remain there at least until the end of 2014.

Obama’s speech the other night was mostly show, a spectacle to make the war-weary public think he’s taking substantial steps toward disengagement.

It is easy for a president to manipulate public opinion, especially in foreign affairs and most especially when the mainstream media are so compliant. The war will go on, but probably under the radar more than before. The public and mainstream media attitude will be, “The president said the war is ending, so there’s no need to pay attention.”

One problem: Not much is changing.

Politicians and pundits will debate whether Obama’s drawdown is too slow or too fast. The president explicitly took a middle position between those who wanted merely a token withdrawal, such as the top military brass and U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and those who want an immediate exit, such as U.S. Reps. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, and Ron Paul, R-Texas.

But the pace is hardly the main issue. The main issue is the empire. If all combat troops were removed from Afghanistan tomorrow, the U.S. government would continue to treat that country like a protectorate. It’s the paradigm of empire that must be rejected.

Obama and the U.S. policy elite have no intention of reconsidering America’s hegemonic role in the world.

Fiscal difficulties have forced a reconsideration of tactics, but the imperial framework remains. As President George H.W. Bush said in 1991 as he prepared to move against Iraq: “What we say goes.”

Empires always require myths, and the U.S. empire is no different. Before Obama’s speech, McCain and others campaigned for no more than a token drawdown by asserting that Afghanistan would become a threat to Americans if the U.S. military disengaged, just as it did — supposedly — after the Soviets withdrew in 1989.

“We withdrew from Afghanistan one time,” McCain said. “We withdrew from Afghanistan and the Taliban came, eventually followed by al-Qaeda, followed by the attacks on the United States of America.”

That is empire-serving nonsense. The policymakers did not abandon Afghanistan; they tried to micromanage it in defiance of Afghan history and culture.

Instead of letting the conflicting Afghan factions find some way to peace after a decade of brutal Soviet intrusion, the U.S. fanned the flames of civil war.

Neither neglect of Afghanistan nor intervention prompted al-Qaeda’s attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. It was a half-century of U.S. support for brutality in the Muslim and Arab world.

As long as the U.S. government eyes the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia the way an imperial power eyes its colonies, there will be threats to counter. The path to American security lies in renouncing a foreign policy designed to rule the world.

Sheldon Richman is senior fellow at the libertarian Future of Freedom Foundation (www.fff.org) in Fairfax, Va.

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Max Boot’s Dangerous, Deluded Vision

http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/stephen-glain/2011/07/11/max-boots-dangerous-deluded-vision

U.S. News & World Report
July 11, 2011

Max Boot’s Dangerous, Deluded Vision
By Stephen Glain

I refer readers to a column penned by Max Boot, fountainhead for American militarism and herald of threats largely imagined, which appeared last week in the Los Angeles Times. It is a fine specimen of alarmist cant, drawn from antique and erroneous reference points and resonant among those who conflate defense spending cuts with unilateral disarmament.

Boot, who has built a career shilling for American empire and the ruinous investment of human and capital resources needed to sustain it, warns us that a curtailing of U.S. commitments overseas–specifically when it comes to nation-building, or “stability operations,” in Pentagon parlance–will create failed states ripe for the taking by Bad Guys. Among other things, he associates America’s withdrawal from Southeast Asia in the early 1970s with the fall of the U.S.-backed regime in South Vietnam, the holocaust in Cambodia, the Iranian hostage crisis, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and the evolution of al Qaeda.

Who would have thought that America’s withdrawal from the quagmire it created for itself in Vietnam would have precipitated such a nasty chain of events? Practically no one except Boot, whose understanding of the evidence he marshals on his own behalf must have been nurtured in the hot house that is the Council of Foreign Relations, where he is a senior fellow.

The scandal of America’s history in Vietnam was not its withdrawal but the fact that it assumed France’s corrupt colonial mission there in the first place. It was George Kennan, the sage foreign policy expert, who rightly declared Vietnam was a geopolitical irrelevancy and correctly dismissed fears that a U.S. pullout would foster a series of Soviet proxy states throughout Southeast Asia–the “falling dominoes” theory that so closely echoes the canard Boot is pedaling today.

The genocide in Cambodia was triggered not by the removal of U.S. forces from Vietnam but by Richard Nixon’s decision to widen the war by bombing Viet Cong enclaves along Cambodia’s eastern frontier, which destabilized the neutralist government in Phnom Penh and paved the way for the murderous Khmer Rouge. The Iranian hostage crisis was the bill for Washington’s close ties with Iran’s venal and incompetent Shah; it was no more related to Vietnam than was Moscow’s decision to invade Afghanistan, which declassified Russian archives show was a reluctant effort to protect a client regime in Kabul from an Islamist insurgency, not unlike America’s objectives in Afghanistan today. [See photos of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.]

To suggest, as Boot does, that the rise of al Qaeda was a consequence of America’s climb-down from Southeast Asia and the decade of “isolationism” that followed is to ignore Osama bin Laden’s 1996 fatwa against the “aggression, iniquity and injustice imposed on [the Muslim world] by the Zionist-Crusader alliance,” a reference to America’s close relations with Israel as well as pliant but oppressive Arab dictators like Egypt’s recently ousted Hosni Mubarak. Nowhere in Bin Laden’s 11,600-word screed is Vietnam even mentioned.

Boot is correct that American isolationists in the 1930s impaired the nation’s preparedness in the run-up to World War II. But the 2010s are not the 1930s, and isolationism is not an option for any country participating in today’s highly integrated global economy. Moreover, to imply as he does that a country that spends more on national security than the rest of the world combined eschews the burden of nation-building at its peril is nonsense.

Boot bewails our estrangement with stability operations, which he says are a byproduct of the failed U.S. mission to stabilize Somalia in 1992. In fact, Americans’ low regard for nation-building dates back to the late 19th century, when Washington wasted whole decades and thousands of lives trying to rebuild the Philippines after its imperial thrust through Asia and Latin America. Ironically, Boot lists the Philippines, along with Iraq, Afghanistan, Chad, Colombia and Mexico, as a host of U.S. military operations arrayed against “gangsters, terrorists and other threats.” Such concentrated deployments, he argues, is “a good way to avoid a large-scale troop commitment” abroad. He concludes with a proposal for a new government agency–a “Department of Peace,” he calls it–dedicated exclusively to nation-building.

Given how three of the five countries Boots celebrates as models of stability operations have at one time or another endured massive occupations of U.S. troops, one could argue that nation building does as much to enable the use of armed force as it does to preempt it. Certainly it is intrinsic to the messianic seam in U.S. foreign policy, which is itself the fuel of empire. Boot’s Department of Peace is not as revolutionary as he seems to think. It would be, rather, only the latest such Orwellian conceit in our imperial project.

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Oil Imperialism

http://www.frontline.in/stories/20110729281502100.htm

Frontline
July 12, 2011

Oil imperialism
John Cherian

The U.S. game plan, since the oil shock of 1973, has been to control the oil market by keeping the focus on the West Asian region

It is not a coincidence that global oil prices spiralled upwards immediately after the attack on Libya by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) forces in March. Oil production in the country has since virtually come to a halt. Libya holds the largest crude reserves in Africa and the ninth largest in the world. Libyan oil is considered to be of the highest quality. Oil prices have gone up by 35 per cent since the Western-backed rebellion in Libya started in the last week of February.

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the cartel that plays an important role in controlling output and prices, is now divided down the middle. Member-countries such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait and Qatar, instigated by the United States, openly aid the Libyan rebels operating out of Benghazi, while another member, Algeria, has denounced the “foreign intervention” in the conflict in Libya, also an OPEC member. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was one of the first world leaders to call for a peaceful settlement of the conflict. He issued a dire warning about the harmful political and economic consequences of the NATO-led war for the international community.

Oil has gained 9.5 per cent this year. For a period it crossed the critical $100-a-barrel mark. While the divisions in OPEC precluded an agreement to increase output, the war in Libya has blocked the supply of 1.4 million barrels a day. The International Energy Agency (IEA) said in a statement on May 16 that there was an “urgent need” to pump more oil to help bring down global oil prices, which were threatening the economies of most countries, including India.

Washington’s numerous attempts at toppling or assassinating the Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi were closely linked to the desire to take control of Libya’s oil. In previous wars, too, it was oil and gas that the West was after. Every time the U.S. goes to war for oil, the price of the precious commodity starts skyrocketing. It happened after the first Gulf War and before that after the 1973 war between Israel and Egypt. Arab nations used the oil weapon collectively to pressure the U.S. into forcing Israel to agree to a ceasefire.

The important reason why the U.S. went into Iraq was to gain control of its oil. The assumption was that once the U.S. established control over the Iraqi oil sector, it would be able to control OPEC’s ability to manipulate energy prices. Iraq has the third largest known reserves of oil after Saudi Arabia and Iran. However, things have not gone according to the American blueprint for Iraq. The Shia-dominated Iraqi government is no quisling of the U.S.; it strives to maintain equidistance from Washington and Teheran. The vast Iraqi oil reserves still remain untapped. Oil production under Saddam Hussein was higher than what it is now and attacks on pipelines by the resistance forces continue to happen sporadically.

In Afghanistan, the American dream was to build a gas pipeline that would carry Central Asian gas to lucrative markets in India and beyond. The ongoing attempts to destabilise Iran are motivated primarily by the desire to control that country’s hydrocarbon assets. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)-engineered coup against the democratically elected government of Mohammed Mossadegh in 1953 took place after the nationalisation of the Western oil companies. The oil companies were against nationalisation after the revolution that toppled the Shah in 1979. The West was quick to impose economic sanctions on the country. The CIA-backed coup attempt against Hugo Chavez in 2002 was also aimed at reversing Venezuelan state control over hydrocarbon assets.

Additional punitive sanctions that were put in place recently by the Obama administration against Iran and Venezuela could push petrol prices even higher. Recently, U.S. lawmakers introduced in both Houses of Congress bills that empower the imposition of more draconian unilateral sanctions on Iran. If implemented, the new sanctions will prohibit both countries and companies from buying oil and gas from Iran.

Many Indian companies have already stopped dealing with Iran. The Indian market could have had access to cheap energy had the proposed Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline materialised. However, Western machinations, coupled with arm-twisting by Washington, have ensured that it will not.

Iran, along with Qatar, has the biggest known gas deposits in the world. It needs $200 billion in foreign investments to tap its oil and gas reserves. Currently, sanctions have made it difficult for the country to refine its own oil and forced it to import even from India. Besides, the government is forced to use domestically a significant amount of its oil meant for export.

U.S. “vital interest”

Ever since the “oil shock” of 1973, Washington’s game plan has been to control the oil market and its main focus has been West Asia. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter declared the Persian Gulf an exclusive zone of American influence. “An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the USA, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force,” Carter said. He created a Rapid Deployment Force, which later became the U.S. Central Command, or CENTCOM. Under his successors, the U.S. built military bases all over West Asia.

The two wars against Iraq, whose government was the first to nationalise oil resources, followed. In 2008, the Bush administration set up the Africa Command (AFRICOM), which is currently headquartered in Germany as no African country has so far provided basing facilities. AFRICOM is playing a lead role in the war in Libya.

According to recent projections by the U.S. Department of Energy, West Asia and North Africa will jointly provide approximately 43 per cent of the world’s crude petroleum supply by 2035 and contribute a greater share of the world’s exportable oil.

The West has played a key role in dividing Sudan, one of the main oil exporters in Africa. Most of the oilfields were in South Sudan, which became formally independent early in July. Western oil companies are expected to reap handsome benefits. Libya, too, is headed for balkanisation. The area under the control of the Western-backed rebels is where most of the oil and gas fields are located.

Western oil corporations are also attempting to monopolise Central Asia’s huge hydrocarbon deposits by building a network of pipelines that bypass existing Russian pipelines and circumvent Iran. The Western-financed Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline is an example. It pumps Caspian oil, taking a circuitous route through Georgia and Turkey. Oil and gas from the Caspian region can be transported more easily and cheaply through Iran and then onward to the lucrative Asian markets.

Russia and China are working to thwart America’s game plan for the region. Under the auspices of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), energy cooperation between the member-states, which include the Central Asian states, has led to the emergence of alternative pipelines. India, Pakistan and Iran have “observer status” in the SCO and hope to become full-fledged members in the near future.

According to Professor Michael Klare, an American expert on global oil politics, the American military has been transformed into a “global oil-protection” service for the benefit of U.S. corporations and consumers, fighting battles overseas and establishing bases all over the world. The U.S. Army, which is engaged in wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya at present, is itself one of the biggest consumers of oil. Klare writes that Pentagon’s annual consumption of oil for its Afghanistan operation is more than the annual petroleum usage of Bangladesh, a country with a population of more than 150 million.

Documents of the U.S. State Department accessed by WikiLeaks show that Washington was highly critical of the Libyan government’s “resource nationalism”. The cables were especially critical of a speech by Qaddafi in 2006, in which he said: “Oil companies are controlled by foreigners who have made millions from them. Now Libyans must take their place to profit from this money.” Qaddafi had allowed Western oil companies back in return for the lifting of the economic and political sanctions on the country in 2004. But in recent years, the Libyan government was trying to regain control of its oil assets by trying to limit the profits of the Western-owned oil giants. The cables talk of Qaddafi pressuring the oil companies to hire more Libyans in managerial positions. To add to the discomfiture of the West, many of the recent oil concessions were given to Chinese oil companies.

Another State Department cable, in 2009, notes with alarm a speech by Qaddafi suggesting that all oil-exporting states nationalise their oil production in view of the falling oil prices. The leaked cables make it clear that the West’s hostility towards Qaddafi is on the issue of control of the country’s vast hydrocarbon resources. “Those who dominate Libya’s political and economic leadership are pursuing increasingly nationalistic policies in the energy sector that could jeopardise efficient exploitation of Libya’s extensive oil and gas reserves,” a 2007 cable states. The Libyan rebel leadership seems to have assured Washington that a post-Qaddafi Libya will be a safe place for the big oil companies to rake in profits.

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Pakistan To Withdraw Troops From Afghan Border If U.S. Cuts Aid

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-07/12/c_13980190.htm

Xinhua News Agency
July 12, 2011

Pakistan to pull troops from Afghan border if U.S. cuts aid

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Defense Minister Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar has threatened that the government will pull back troops from the tribal regions along border with Afghanistan in reaction to the suspension of nearly 800 million U. S. dollars of military aid.

The defense minister told local TV Express in an interview scheduled to be broadcast Tuesday night that the government would pull back troops from the nearly 1,100 check posts set up along the Pak-Afghan border, who have been deployed to check illegal cross-border movement.

He said that 300 million U.S. dollars of this aid specifically goes to troops serving in this troubled region. “This money (U.S. military aid) is not for fighting the war, but is money that we have spent already,” he said, adding that Pakistan could not afford to keep its military out in the mountains or in the border areas for a long period of time.

“The next step would be that the government or the armed forces will pull back the forces from the border areas,” said the defense minister.

The U.S. aid was blocked to react to Pakistan’s decision to expel over 100 U.S. military personnel who had been in Pakistan to impart training to Pakistani forces.

Reports said that the United States is also angry at Pakistan’s refusal to grant more visas to its military officers. The U.S. is also considering a move to mount pressure on Islamabad to take more steps against the militants.

To a question about the U.S. Defense Minister Leon Panetta’s assertion that al-Qaida chief al-Zawahiri is hiding in Pakistan, Mukhtar said that he hoped the United States would not repeat the mistakes it made in the raid to kill Osama Bin Laden. “This time round we hope the Americans will work with the Pakistanis and share their intelligence,” he added.

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NATO Chief Promotes Complete Absorption Of The Balkans

http://www.nato.int/cps/en/SID-E8B5B9BE-D6311B7F/natolive/news_76329.htm

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
July 11, 2011

Western Balkans: moving closer to Euro-Atlantic integration

For nearly two decades, NATO [has been active] in the Western Balkans. In that time, the region’s engagement with NATO has been shifting increasingly from peacekeeping and crisis management towards Euro-Atlantic integration.

“We want to see the whole of this region sharing the stability and the well-being of the Euro-Atlantic community of nations,” said NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen during a speech in Montenegro on 29 June…

Within a few years of having deployed its first peacekeeping mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina in December 1995, NATO mobilized to intervene in the Kosovo crisis…and deployed the NATO-led Kosovo Force in 1999. In 2001, NATO along with the European Union came to the assistance of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia¹ [sic], facilitating the end of an internal conflict…

While the mission in Kosovo is ongoing, the focus of relations with partners in the region has shifted towards developing cooperation to promote reform and Euro-Atlantic integration. NATO’s Partnership for Peace programme has had a major impact, engaging partner countries in political dialogue and helping them with reform challenges, especially in the defence sector.

The Secretary General stressed that NATO would continue supporting the entire region on the way to Euro-Atlantic integration and that the Alliance’s door is open…

Members and partners

An important indicator of the progress that has already been made in the region is that some former partners have joined the Alliance, namely Albania (2009), Croatia (2009) and Slovenia (2004).

Three partners in the Western Balkans are membership aspirants. The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia¹, will be invited to start accession talks when a solution to the issue over the country’s name has been reached.

Montenegro joined the MAP in 2009 and Bosnia and Herzegovina was invited to MAP in 2010, pending the resolution of a key issue concerning immovable defence property.

While Serbia does not currently aspire to join NATO, it is seeking to deepen cooperation with the Alliance and further its European Union integration goals.

No longer “security consumers”

Another important measure of progress in the Western Balkans is the fact that partners that were previously “security consumers” are now themselves contributing to international security by supporting peace-support operations abroad.

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia¹ has been contributing to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan since 2002, Bosnia and Herzegovina since 2009, and Montenegro since 2010.

1. Turkey recognizes the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name.

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U.S. Army Riddles Bavarian Buildings With Machine Gun Fire

http://www.thelocal.de/national/20110712-36227.html

The Local (Germany)
July 12, 2011

Stray US Army bullets hit Bavarian buildings

-Last year a Black Hawk helicopter crashed near a Mannheim motorway killing three soldiers, though no civilians were hurt.
Ten years ago, an elementary school near the Grafenwöhr installation was hit by a shell during training.

Authorities are investigating how shots fired during a training exercise at the Grafenwöhr US military installation in Bavaria ended up hitting a school and residential building in the nearby town on Friday.

“I was worried about the city, but fortunately nothing serious happened,” deputy Mayor Udo Greim told the Süddeutsche Zeitung. The newspaper reported that there have been similar incidents three or four times over the past 25 years.

In a statement, the US Army said the bullets came from 12.7-millimetre rounds fired by a machine gun mounted on a Humvee. They hit several buildings, including a vocational school and residential building.

It added that US military and German police were looking into what happened and how such incidents can be prevented.

US military accidents occur periodically, though are rarely pose a danger to civilians. Last year a Black Hawk helicopter crashed near a Mannheim motorway killing three soldiers, though no civilians were hurt.

Ten years ago, an elementary school near the Grafenwöhr installation was hit by a shell during training.

————————————————————————–

http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/europe/news/article_1650502.php/US-Army-accidentally-shoots-at-German-town

Deutsche Presse-Agentur
July 11, 2011

US Army accidentally shoots at German town

Grafenwoehr, Germany: Stray bullets from a US Army firing range in southern Germany accidentally hit civilian buildings in a nearby town during shooting practice, the US military and German police said Monday.

Both are investigating why 12.7-millimetre rounds, fired Friday from a four-wheel-drive vehicle, hit a vocational school, a house and a garage outside the Grafenwoehr US Army training ground, 200 kilometres north of Munich.

Police said nobody was injured in the incident. An army spokesman said an investigation has begun. The buildings were 5 kilometres from where the heavy machine gun mounted on the vehicle was firing.

Ten years ago, a wayward shell hit a German elementary school near the grounds, where troops train before heading to Afghanistan.

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Afghan War: Germany Orders 76 New Armored Vehicles

http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Security-Industry/2011/07/11/Germany-orders-armored-vehicles/UPI-27821310388420/

United Press International
July 11, 2011

Germany orders armored vehicles

KOBLENZ, Germany: Germany’s defense procurement agency has contracted Daimler AG for 76 ENOK command and operations vehicles.

The ENOK has been used on operational deployments by German forces since February.

Germany has military forces in Afghanistan as part of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force.

Daimler AG said that in comparison to the vehicle with special protection kit Wolf SSA, which is effectively the same size class and also used on operational deployments, the ENOK features significantly improved protection in the field against mines and improvised explosive devices.

The vehicles procured under the contract will be the military police vehicle variant. They are to be delivered by the end of 2013, the company said.

The monetary value of the contract wasn’t disclosed.

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Angola: Germany Expands Military Role In Africa

http://www.portalangop.co.ao/motix/en_us/noticias/politica/2011/6/28/German-defence-attache-accredited,af7049e2-b888-4442-bbf5-1605270d3e29.html

Angola Press
July 12, 2011

German defence attaché accredited

-The attaché is…an official cadet of the logistics body of the army, chief of staff of the 31st parachute [unit], assistant director for the Horn of Africa of the Central Command combined planning group in Tampa, United States of America.

Luanda: Lt. Colonel Thamas Brillisauer was accredited Monday in Luanda as non-resident German defence attaché to Angola.

The accreditation ceremony was presided over by the director of International Relations of the National Defence Ministry, Admiral André Mendes de Carvalho “Miau”.

Addressing the ceremony, the senior officer of the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA) said that the Federal Republic of Germany is among the main countries based in Europe with a strong economy and [with] which Angola intends to strengthen cooperation in military field.

In his turn, Lt Colonel Thomas Brillisauer stressed the fact Angola to be one of the strongest countries in the southern and central region of Africa which also the Germany wants to reinforce ties in military field.

Born on November 28, 1965 in Frankfurt, the German defence attaché joined the Armed Forces of Germany in 1975 and concluded two university courses.

The attaché is also an official cadet of the logistics body of the army, chief of staff of the 31st parachute [unit], assistant director for the Horn of Africa of the Central Command combined planning group in Tampa, United States of America.

The accreditation ceremony of German defence attaché took place on the eve of the visit to Angola of German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, as part of strengthening bilateral cooperation.

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New Arms Race: Germany, World’s Third Largest Weapons Exporter

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,773626,00.html

Der Spiegel
July 11, 2011

A New Arms Race
Exports Booming for German Weapons Manufacturers
By Dietmar Hawranek, Markus Dettmer and Ralf Beste

-The international arms industry doesn’t face crises; crises are its business. In 2010, global arms expenditures rose to $1.63 trillion (€1.14 trillion). This represents a growth of 56 percent over the last decade, according to SIPRI. Indeed, almost one-tenth of all the money generated by global weapons exports ends up in the pockets of the German defense industry.
-Gone are the days when huge formations of soldiers faced off against each other. These days, fighting is conducted in many places at the same time and often by small units. This type of fighting calls for high-tech solutions, including drones, satellites, radars and electronic gadgetry. Much of this is based on technology in fields where Germany companies are among the world’s leaders.

A decrease in orders from its own military has led Germany’s arms industry to turn the focus of its sales efforts abroad. It has recently enjoyed amazing successes despite seemingly strict export controls.

For Frank Haun, it’s all a matter of “red” or “blue,” a minor color change on his map of the world.

Haun is the boss of Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), a Munich-based defense company whose product line includes tanks and other armored vehicles. Not long ago, Haun used a projector to display a map of the world on the wall for some visitors. Countries his company could export arms to – such as Canada, Brazil and Chile – were in blue. Those in yellow could only import arms under certain conditions. And, as a general rule, the firm considered those in red to be off-limits for exports. The Gulf region was lit up in red.

At the time, KMW figured that it wouldn’t get official permission to export its wares to the crisis-hit region. “Whether a country is red, yellow or blue is something the German government decides,” Haun says.

But now, red might suddenly turn blue: Germany’s Federal Security Council, a group that decides which weapons exports to allow, has green-lighted the sale of more than 200 model 2A7+ Leopard tanks to Saudi Arabia.

News of the deal has unleashed a controversy in Germany over the country’s foreign and arms export policies, the likes of which hasn’t been seen for quite some time. But the tank deal with Saudi Arabia has also thrown a spotlight on an industry that prefers to do business in the shadows. In fact, the industry usually only causes a stir once a year: when the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) publishes its annual ranking of the world’s largest arms exporters.

Behind the Big Guns

Germany is in third place among the world’s biggest weapons suppliers, behind only the big guns of Russia and the United States and in front of France and Great Britain. Its arms are coveted around the world: tanks from Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall; submarines from ThyssenKrupp; fighter jets, helicopters and drones from EADS; missiles and munitions from Diehl; rifles from Heckler & Koch; torpedoes from Atlas Elektronik; and telescopic sights from Carl Zeiss.

The United States military is generally only allowed to order armaments from domestic suppliers. But even it makes an exception when it comes to Germany: For their tanks, they order the smooth-bore guns made by Rheinmetall because they are more precise than those developed in the US.

The international arms industry doesn’t face crises; crises are its business. In 2010, global arms expenditures rose to $1.63 trillion (€1.14 trillion). This represents a growth of 56 percent over the last decade, according to SIPRI. Indeed, almost one-tenth of all the money generated by global weapons exports ends up in the pockets of the German defense industry.

But what is it about the German arms industry that has made it so successful? And how can it still succeed in exporting so many weapons despite what appear to be strict export controls?

‘The Number of Global Trouble Spots is Rising’

In late February, Abu Dhabi is pleasantly warm; the temperatures stay far below the 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) found here in the summer. Indeed, it is the best time to take a trip to the United Arab Emirates. And, every other year, it is also the best place to be if you’re in the global arms business as the executives of arms companies meet here with military and government officials for the industry’s largest worldwide trade fair.

The hosts of the 10th International Defence Exhibition & Conference, which was held in mid-February, reported record figures. The trade fair saw 1,060 exhibitors from 52 countries showcase their wares for everyday military needs. There were helicopters that can destroy any kind of ground targets and ground defenses that can shoot any helicopter out of the sky. There were tanks that can withstand any attack, and defensive weapons that can penetrate any armor.

The pavilion in Abu Dhabi reserved for German companies included displays from Diehl, Krauss-Maffei, Rheinmetall, Carl Zeiss Optronics and many others, and was bigger than those of the United States and Russia.

Rheinmetall was displaying tanks and defensive weapons systems. Company head Klaus Eberhardt will admit that “the number of global trouble spots is rising,” but won’t say he is pleased about that fact. Either way, his company is benefiting from the increase. Eberhardt estimates that the global arms trade will increase by between 5 and 6 percent this year.

Changing Times

Like most other German arms companies, Rheinmetall has adapted its business to fit changing times. A decade ago, the companies primarily supplied Germany’s military, the Bundeswehr. But these days, roughly 70 percent of their products are sold to foreign clients.

German arms companies enjoy a reputation for delivering high-tech weapons of the highest quality. For example, the ThyssenKrupp submarines outfitted with fuel cells are considered the best in the world because they are practically undetectable.

The companies are also profiting from how military conflicts have changed. Gone are the days when huge formations of soldiers faced off against each other. These days, fighting is conducted in many places at the same time and often by small units. This type of fighting calls for high-tech solutions, including drones, satellites, radars and electronic gadgetry. Much of this is based on technology in fields where Germany companies are among the world’s leaders.

Precision Firing at Full Speed

What’s more, manufacturers are increasingly taking know-how that has been employed in civilian products and putting it to use in military projects. Take the example of Carl Zeiss, the optics company with a long and distinguished history that is primarily know for making lenses for glasses and binoculars. Through its Carl Zeiss Optronics subsidiary, the company now offers telescopic sights for gunners and alignment systems for the “Leopard 2″ tank that allow for precision firing even at full speed.

Optronics is the defense division of the Carl Zeiss Group and numbers among the leading companies in the world when it comes to optical systems. Its product portfolio includes infrared cameras for border surveillance, multi-sensor systems for drones, laser communication systems that cannot be intercepted and night-vision devices that can be employed at sea, on land and in the air.

The German arms industry is made up of both lesser-known companies and big names. Global giants Siemens and SAP offer military software solutions. At the same time, Kärchner, a medium-sized company known for high-pressure cleaners, is also a world leader when it comes to NBC (nuclear, biological, and chemical) protection and water treatment. And, whether big or small, they all see their future in exports.

“Growth doesn’t come from Europe anymore,” says Stefan Zoller, head of Cassidian, a defense company that is an offshoot of EADS. Defense budgets in Europe are stagnating, Zoller explains, and the biggest opportunities are to be found in the Middle East, India and Brazil. Over the next decade, Cassidian hopes to double its sales volume to €12 billion. At the moment, a quarter of the company’s sales are generated outside Europe, and it expects this figure to rise to 40 percent in the near future.

German Arms Manufacturers ‘Need Government Support’

For years, executives from German arms companies complained about the competitive disadvantage they faced compared to rival companies in France, Great Britain and the United States. They bemoaned the fact that politicians from these countries didn’t think twice about promoting their arms manufacturers abroad, while German ministers and chancellors steered clear from doing so. But, to the great joy of the German arms industry, things have now changed.

As Zoller puts it, German arms manufacturers “need the support of the federal government in this global race.” His company has high hopes in border security, a branch of the industry recently enjoying increased attention. The company has been contracted by Saudi Arabia to set up radars, sensors, cameras and other electronic gadgetry to safeguard 9,000 kilometers (5,600 miles) of border as well as air and sea ports.

Cassidian’s success in landing the €2 billion contract was probably helped by the fact that the German government had just recently signed an agreement in Riyadh to collaborate with the Saudis on security issues, which involves having officers from Germany’s federal police force train their border police. Zoller was recently quoted as saying that the Saudi government “had put the country’s security in our hands to a major extent.”

Since then, it has emerged that the Saudis aren’t just depending on Cassidian, but also on Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, the manufacturer of the “Leopard 2″ tanks.

Almost half of KMW’s sales continue to come from the “Leopard 2,” which was originally developed in the 1970s. But in most cases, modern armies need different kinds of tanks. As the website of KMW puts it, “the clearly defined frontlines of the Cold War era have been replaced by a multitude of globally dispersed hotspots as the primary deployment scenarios of modern armies.” To respond to these changing needs, KMW has outfitted the “Leopard 2″ with an “obstacle clearance blade,” which can push either cars or demonstrators out of the way, as well as a mounted machine gun as a “secondary weapon.”

With this “upgrade kit,” the “Leopard 2″ becomes the “Leopard 2A7+.” This is the model that won over the Saudis, the model that is apparently superior to the tanks made by French and American competitors.

‘The Export of Weapons of War Is Not Approved, Unless…’

Each December, Germany’s federal government releases a report on the previous year’s arms exports. The report includes a list of all the permits issued to export weapons and other military equipment. Since 2000, Saudi Arabia has numbered among Germany’s top 20 clients for such goods. Deals involving the export of missile parts, machine guns, munitions and artillery shells to Riyadh were approved – even in the years when Germany was led by a coalition government made up of the center-left Social Democrats and the Green Party (1998-2005).

The planned tank deal, however, would take things to a whole new level. In 2009, Germany’s government green-lighted deals worth a total of €167.9 million in arms exports to Saudi Arabia. But a contract to supply 200 “Leopard 2A7+” tanks would be worth roughly €2 billion.

In total, Berlin approved about €7 billion in global arms exports in 2009. The most important buyers were the United States, followed by the United Arab Emirates and Great Britain.

The “political principles” that the federal cabinet last tightened on Jan. 19, 2000 are meant to provide guidelines which the Federal Security Council can base its decisions on. These guidelines are supposed to attach “particular weight” to the “observation of human rights in the destination country.” This criterion alone would have been enough to block the export of tanks to Saudi Arabia.

The guidelines are also meant to block the approval of arms exports to countries “in which there is a risk of armed conflict breaking out.” The Middle East is considered a trouble spot, so it would only seem logical that Saudi Arabia would not be allowed to receive tanks.

But these “political principles” also offer some loopholes, which usually start off along the lines of: “The export of weapons of war is not permitted, unless…” For example, an exception is possible when “special interests of foreign or security policy” argue in its favor. Indeed, this was the exception the Federal Security Council cited in justifying its approval of the tank deal with Saudi Arabia.

Redirecting Export Deals through Other Countries

Still, for many arms export deals, German companies do not have to get the government’s blessing. Indeed, international collaborations allow members to redirect their deals through countries with more liberal export regulations.

The best example of this practice is the “Eurofighter,” which was developed by a collaboration of Germany, Italy, Great Britain and Spain. Since each of these countries handles its own exports, Great Britain can close deals that wouldn’t get the blessing of Germany’s Federal Security Council — but Germany benefits from the transaction either way. Indeed, the British closed a €6.4 billion deal with the Saudis for 72 of the fighter jets.

Since it is getting increasingly expensive to develop new weapons systems, this type of collaboration is becoming more common. Likewise, it’s not just airplanes that German manufacturers are jointly developing with foreign partners; it’s also helicopters and missiles. And these partners can take charge of the export deals at any time.

The potential consequences of this kind of structure can be seen in the conflict in Libya. When the UN Security Council voted on whether to establish a no-fly zone in Libya, Germany abstained. The stated reason for the abstention was the desire to not have German soldiers participate in the war.

Despite this desire, however, Germany is still playing a role in the fighting, with “Made in Germany” written on many of the weapons used – by both sides. For example, the military transports ferrying Gadhafi’s tanks to the frontline are made by Mercedes-Benz. His soldiers are using German jamming devices to disrupt communications between their opponents. And Gadhafi’s troops can shoot down low-flying helicopters with the French-German “Milan 3″ anti-tank missiles, whose launchers are manufactured at a factory in the Bavarian town of Schrobenhausen.

NATO troops also rely on German technology in the form of the “Eurofighters.” And even the Libya rebel forces can make use of German engineering after having reportedly been supplied with “Milan 3″ missiles by Qatar.

Fundamental Problems

All of this would seem to make the war in Libya good business for the makers of the “Milan 3.” But the fact that three parties involved in the fighting are all using weapons made in Germany shows the fundamental problem of these kinds of arms export policies.

Tanks, helicopters, airplanes, missiles and guns can often be in service for several decades. This makes the chances slim that the buyer countries will only use them in this period for defensive purposes and not for attacking another country or suppressing the domestic population.

This is what makes each decision on whether to approve an export deal so difficult. And the debates on such issues will only increase.

Under these circumstances, Germany’s federal government must avoid liberally handing out export permits in order to safeguard the survival of the domestic arms industry. Though most German arms manufacturers rely on exports, the health of German’s export economy does not depend on the arms industry.

Roughly 80,000 people work in Germany’s arms industry. In terms of sheer figures, this makes the wind-energy industry – with its 100,000 jobs – more important.

What’s more, many of the weapon makers are also involved in producing items with non-military uses, and they could strengthen these activities if their arms business declines. Rheinmetall, for example, generates almost half of its sales with components for the automotive industry.

Indeed, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann is the only company whose well-being is solely dependent on military deals. At the moment, the company has declined to make any statement on the planned tank deal with Saudi Arabia and will only say that “the permit situation has not changed.”

On the company’s boss’s world map, the Middle East is still marked in red.

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Video And Text: Interceptor Missile Row Mars American-Russian Relations

http://rt.com/news/missile-defense-shield-us/

RT
July 13, 2011

Anti-missile row mars Russian-American thaw

Video

Speaking in Washington, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has reiterated the need for cooperation over the US plans for a European missile shield. The issue is creating a widening chasm between the two nations.

­Washington maintains the shield is to protect against attacks from rogue states such as Iran, but Moscow is increasingly discontented with the plan. Russia wants legally binding guarantees that the system will not compromise its own security, but all the US is prepared to offer is its word on it.

Some experts explain Russia’s concern with promises in the past that were never fulfilled. For example, when the Soviet Union collapsed, Moscow was assured that NATO would not expand towards its borders. But the alliance did, recruiting new members over two decades.

Russia insists that words are good, but words put on paper and properly signed and ratified are much better. Moscow wants the strategic balance in the world not to be tipped by the shield.

“Facts on the ground, that have been created on the basis of American national design of missile defense, which was not accepted by us as a reasonable way to respond to what is perceived as being the purpose of this anti-missile system. So we want to stick to the original agreement that there will be no parts of the system that would create risks for the strategic stability and for the potential in the strategic stability area, namely strategic arsenals of the participants of the system,” Lavrov said.

Russia has offered to build a missile shield in Europe with NATO, but that offer was turned down. NATO said Russia can participate, but it can’t be a joint project because Russia is not part of the alliance.

The shield is to have the whole of Europe covered. Romania was chosen as one of the locations for elements of the system, and the local population seems to be much less doubtful about the project, as compared to people in Poland and the Czech Republic, who protested against similar plans on their soil.

The vice-mayor of the Romanian village of Deveselu still cannot believe his luck. After Washington picked the place in Romania’s poorest region to locate a new radar base, locals have been all smiles about hypothetical investment.

“When we first heard that the US will build a radar base here, we were a little bit scared. But later we were informed that having this base here would mean better infrastructure and possibly jobs for us locals. The airbase in Deveselu was deserted for ages, now it will have a second chance,” he told RT.

The proposed base is to consist of radar facilities and interceptor rockets. It is scheduled to be built by 2015 and will become instrumental in President Obama’s European anti-missile defense shield.

In the 1950s, an airbase in the Romanian town of Deveselu was used by the Soviet forces. Now, with Washington’s plans to place a radar base there, locals have a joke: should Bucharest change its foreign policy again, the place will be occupied by the Chinese.

Similar plans were no joke for some in other European countries. Thousands in the Czech Republic and Poland protested against the initiative to have military bases on their soil, with mixed results. While the first line of interceptor missiles was eventually placed in Poland, the Czechs suddenly pulled out of the anti-missile defense plans. In Romania, there have been no demonstrations like that at all.

“There is a historic reason which makes Romania one of the most pro-American countries in the world. It has been explained to us by our older generations that bad things and the communists came from the East, so everybody expected the Americans to balance the whole thing. So there is this sentiment and feeling that the US presence is a counter-balance to the Russian presence or influence in the region,” explains Iulian Chifu, Director of the Centre of Conflict Prevention and Warning in Bucharest.

If that is the case then what security would this new shield provide? And, most importantly, defense from whom? Not even two years since Barack Obama restructured the Bush-era European shield scheme, Moscow’s delight over the US president’s move was replaced by feelings of discontent and concern.

“We are worried that Washington does something before informing us of these actions. It is unclear what exactly they are creating. As soon as we understand, that this system won’t be used against Russia, when we will have legally binding guarantees to that, then this tension will be resolved,” Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov says.

Despite being described as fruitful, the recent summit between President Medvedev and NATO ambassadors in Sochi brought no consensus on anti-missile defense. So experts say the issue will remain a thorn in the side for both Moscow and Washington. At least until next year, when the next NATO-Russia council meeting will be held in Chicago. By that time, construction of the radar facility in Deveselu would most likely be in full swing.

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“Use Of Force”: NATO To Upgrade Military Partnership With Azerbaijan

http://en.apa.az/news.php?id=151414

Azeri Press Agency
July 13, 2011

Individual Partnership Action Plan between Azerbaijan and NATO likely to be confirmed in the short run
Rashad Suleymanov

Baku: The third stage of the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) between Azerbaijan and NATO will likely be confirmed in the short run, sources in the Azerbaijani government told APA.

The meeting of the sides concerning the discussion of the third stage is expected to take place late in August or early in September. Unlike the previous stages there will be a number of additions in the new phase.

Though the confirmation of the third stage of the IPAP had been planned for April, the issue proposed by Azerbaijan, “use of other methods – use of force – in the solution of territorial integrity” caused NATO’s discontent. This is the major theme among the issues discussed between the sides.

The implementation of the plan will start after confirmation.

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France Leads NATO Military Training At Georgian Base

http://www.mod.gov.ge/index.php?page=77&lang=1&type=1&Id=1077

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
July 12, 2011

Sachkhere Mountain Training School

Deputy Defence Minister of Georgia Nodar Kharshiladze visited the Sachkhere Mountain Training School today. Along with the Ambassador of France to Georgia Eric Fournier, the Deputy Minister opened the PfP (Partnership for Peace) status board. The Sachkhere Mountain Training School received PfP status several months ago. Thus, new standard trainings will be launched there in the summer and autumn.

While visiting the Sachkere Military base the guests were briefed on the development process and scheduled trainings in the School.

Under PfP status the School will train military units of NATO and its partner countries armed forces.

In September the instructors of the Mountain Training School will conduct a mountain training basic summer course for the military servicemen of NATO countries. The essential part of the course consists of practical exercises. Its aim is to provide soldiers with the basic mountain-technical skills and master them in operating under mountain circumstances. The exercise will be conducted in the English language and the listeners will be provided by the appropriate mountain technical equipment during trainings.

Under the schedule military servicemen from Poland, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia will undergo trainings in the Sachkhere Mountain Training School as well.

The mountain exercises are conducted on six various specified training terrains. Each terrain is prepared by French and Georgian mountain instructors where safety measures are maximally protected.

The trainings will be basically conducted by Georgian military servicemen. The school instructors were prepared under a three-year program by a French mountain instructors group. They underwent summer, as well winter, training courses. Since 2009 the mountain instructors have been improving their skills in the High Mountain Training School of France (EMHM).

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Categories: Uncategorized

Richard Aldington: Pools and ponds of blood, the huge black dogs of hell

Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Richard Aldington
From Images of War (1919)

In the Trenches

I

Not that we are weary,
Not that we fear,
Not that we are lonely
Though never alone -
Not these, not these destroy us;
But that each rush and crash
Of mortar and shell,
Each cruel bitter shriek of bullet
That tears the wind like a blade,
Each wound on the breast of earth,
Of Demeter, our Mother, wound us also,
Sever and rend the fine fabric
Of the wings of our frail souls,
Scatter into dust the bright wings
Of Psyche!

II

Impotent

Impotent,
How important is all this clamour,
This destruction and contest
Night after night comes the moon
Haughty and perfect;
Night after night the Pleiades sing
And Orion swings his belt across the sky.
Night after night the frost
Crumbles the hard earth.

Soon the spring will drop flowers
And patient creeping stalk and leaf
Along these barren lines
Where the huge rats scuttle
And the hawk shrieks to the carrion crow.

Can you stay them with your noise?
Then kill winter with your cannon,
Hold back Orion with your bayonets
And crush the spring leaf with your armies?

*****

Dawn

The grim dawn lightens thin bleak clouds;
In the hill-clefts beyond the flooded meadows
Lies death-pale, death-still mist.

We trudge along wearily,
Heavy with lack of sleep,
Spiritless, yet with pretence of gaiety.

The sun brings crimson to the colourless sky;
Light gleams from brass and steel—
We trudge on wearily—

0 God, end this bleak anguish
Soon, soon, with vivid crimson death,
End it in mist-pale sleep!

*****

Picket

I

First Watch: Night

The stars which night by night of late
Were plain to all men’s eyes
Are veiled in cloud,
As my clear happy mind
In this brief solitude.

II

Last Watch: Dawn
Dusk and deep silence…

Three soldiers huddled on a bench
Over a red-hot brazier,
And a fourth one stands apart
Watching the cold rainy dawn.

Then the familiar sound of birds—
Clear cock-crow, caw of rooks,
Frail pipe of linnet, the “ting! ting!” of chaffinches,
And over all the lark
Outpiercing even the robin…

Wearily the sentry moves
Muttering the one word: “Peace.”

*****

Barrage

Thunder,
The gallop of innumerable Walkyrie impetuous for battle,
The beating of vast eagle wings above Prometheus,
The contest of tall barbaric gods smitten by the hammer of Thor,
Pursuit! Pursuit! Pursuit!
The huge black dogs of hell
Leaping, full-mouthed, in murderous pursuit!

*****

Bombardment

Four days the earth was rent and torn
By bursting steel,
The houses fell about us;
Three nights we dared not sleep,
Sweating, and listening for the imminent crash
Which meant our death.

The fourth night every man,
Nerve-tortured, racked to exhaustion,
Slept, muttering and twitching,
While the shells crashed overhead.

The fifth day there came a hush;
We left our holes

And looked above the wreckage of the earth
To where the white clouds moved in silent lines
Across the untroubled blue.

*****

The Blood of the Young Men

I

Give us back the close veil of the senses,
Let us not see, ah, hide from us
The red blood splashed upon the walls,
The good red blood, the young, the lovely blood
Trampled unseeingly by passing feet,
Feet of the old men, feet of the cold cruel women,
Feet of the careless children, endlessly passing…

II

Day has become an agony, night alone now,
That leisurely shadow, hides the blood-stains,
The horrible stains and clots of day-time.

III

All the garments of all the people,
All the wheels of all the traffic,
All the cold indifferent faces,
All the fronts of the houses,
All the stones of the street —
Ghastly! Horribly smeared with blood-stains.

IV

The horror of it!
When a woman holds out a white hand
Suddenly to know it drips black putrid blood;
When an old man sits, serene and healthy,
In clean white linen, with clean white hair,
Suddenly to know the linen foully spotted,
To see the white hair streaked with dripping blood.

V

O these pools and ponds of blood,
Slowly dripped in, slowly brimming lakes,
Blood of the young men, blood of their bodies,
Squeezed and crushed out to purple the garments of
Dives,
Poured out to colour the lips of Magdalen,
Magdalen who loves not, whose sins are loveless.
O this steady drain of the weary bodies,
This beating of hearts growing dimmer and dimmer,
This bitter indifference of the old men,
This exquisite indifference of women.

VI

Old men, you will grow stronger and healthier
With broad red cheeks and clear hard eyes —
Is not your meat and drink the choicest?
Blood of the young, dear flesh of the young men?

VII

Ah, you women, cruel exquisite women,
What a love-fountain is poured out for you,
What coloured streams for your pleasure!

Go your ways, pass on, forget them;
Give your lips and breasts to the old men,
The kindly, impetuous, glowing, old men!
They who will love you indeed, indeed, dears,
Not as we do, drained of our blood, with weeping.
Sell yourselves, oh, give yourselves to the cripples,
Give yourselves to the weak, the poor forgotten,
Give yourselves to those who escape the torture
And buy their blood from the pools with weight of
gold.

Give yourselves to them, pass on, forget us;
We, any few that are left, a remnant,
Sit alone together in cold and darkness,
Dare not face the light for fear we discover
The dread woe, the agony in our faces,
Sit alone without sound in bitter dreaming
Of our friends, our dear brothers, the young men,
Who were mangled and abolished, squeezed dry of
blood,
Emptied and cast aside that the lakes might widen,
That the lips of the women might be sweet to the old men.

VIII

Go your ways, you women, pass and forget us,
We are sick of blood, of the taste and sight of it;
Go now to those who bleed not and to the old men,
They will give you beautiful love in answer!
But we, we are alone, we are desolate,
Thinning the blood of our brothers with weeping,
Crying for our brothers, the men we fought with,
Crying out, mourning them, alone with our dead ones;
Praying that our eyes may be blinded
Lest we go mad in a world of scarlet,
Dripping, oozing from the veins of our brothers.

Categories: Uncategorized

Updates on Libyan war/Stop NATO news: July 12, 2011

July 12, 2011 2 comments

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Libya: Almost 15,000 NATO Sorties, 5,588 Combat Missions

Video And Text: Libyan Campaign Staged To Start Conquest Of Africa

Video And Text: France, NATO Make Mockery Of UN Resolution On Libya

Ellen Tauscher, Colin Powell: U.S. Missile System To Cover All Of Europe

Afghan Officials: NATO Air Strike Kills Up To 16 Civilians

U.S. Drone Strikes Kill At Least 45 “Militants” In Pakistan

U.S., French Security Guards Violently Disperse Syrian Protesters

Afghan War: French Death Toll Reaches 63

Afghanistan: Italy Loses 40th Soldier

U.S. Marines: AFRICOM “Adding Muscle” To African Counterinsurgency Campaigns

“Militaries Are All About Peace”: AFRICOM Launches 39-Nation Communications Exercise

U.S. Navy Trains Special Forces In Uganda

Japan: U.S. Army To Open New Battle Systems Center For Afghan-, Iraqi-Style Wars

Australia: 22,000 U.S., Canadian, Local Troops In Full-Spectrum War Games

Serbia: U.S., Britain, France Block UN Kosovo Organ Trafficking Probe

NATO Awards Dutch Commander For Mediterranean, Horn Of Africa Missions

ACT: NATO, Pentagon Integrate Global Military Transformation

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Libya: Almost 15,000 NATO Sorties, 5,588 Combat Missions

http://www.aco.nato.int/resources/3/documents/Libya%20update%20July%2011/20110712OUP-Update.pdf

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations
July 12, 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, 06.00GMT) a total of 14,804 sorties, including 5,588 strike sorties,have been conducted.

Sorties conducted 11 JULY: 132

Strike sorties conducted 11JULY: 49

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Video And Text: Libyan Campaign Staged To Start Conquest Of Africa

http://rt.com/news/libia-syria-war-africa/

RT
July 12, 2011

“Libyan campaign was staged to start conquering Africa”

Video

The NATO-led intervention in Libya and the unrest in Syria are both steps in a decades-long plan by the US and its allies to completely reshape the face of Africa, believes independent journalist and peace activist Thierry Maysan.

“It’s quite obvious that the USA wanted to enter war at the same time with Libya and Syria. That wish was made public by John Bolton in 2002. The plan was passed over to France and Britain, who decided to bring it to life in November last year,” the author believes.

What is called public uprising of the free-loving people are actually coup attempts staged by the Western nations, Maysan says.

The operation in Libya in particular is marked by an astounding number of lies fed to the public, he added.

“By the time of the UN Security Council vote everyone had decided on the basis of reports submitted to the council. And the Security Council was certain that during the demonstrations in Benghazi the government killed 6,000 citizens – a terrible number. But now five months later the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, which accused the Libyan leadership, has reduced the number… Now the prosecutor is building up his evidence on 208 victims instead of 6,000,” he pointed out.

In another example, footage was circulated by foreign TV channels allegedly showing Gaddafi’s soldiers raping women in retribution for the uprising. The video later turned out to be a rare Libyan amateur porn flick, Maysan said. The lies are meant to hide what the West wants to do in the region, the journalist believes.

“NATO keeps lying at every stage, which is surprising, because during the war in Kosovo NATO would normally lie only to conceal its mistakes. This time it’s being done not to conceal the mistakes, but to conceal the strategy,” he told RT.

The initial plan to overthrow the government in Tripoli has now obviously failed, so now the strategy has changed, the journalist believes.

“Western TV channels don’t speak of oppression and rebellion anymore, but of a civil war, thus trying to prepare public opinion for a declaration to divide the country into two parts: Cyrenaica on one side and Tripolitania on another, with the UN forces in between to separate the parties,” he said.

Civilian losses are not important for those behind this plan, Maysan says.

“From the moment it was decided to launch this operation, the lives of civilians have not been taken into account. Everything we used to see in the Middle East is not transpiring in this region. This is just a beginning. It’s just a question of re-arrangement of this region, and we are yet to see a series of wars,” he expects.

The scenario for Syria was designed in exactly the same way as the scenario for Libya, but it went in another direction, the activist argues.

“I think some countries, Russia included, thought better of it and prevented it. That is why at the moment there is no war in Syria. Even though some Western leaders repeat every day that it is necessary to go to war,” he said.

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Video And Text: France, NATO Make Mockery Of UN Resolution On Libya

http://rt.com/news/french-libya-sarkozy-campaign/

RT
July 12, 2011

Breaking French teeth with Libyan nut

Video

As the French Parliament is scheduled to vote on an extension to the military campaign in Libya, some analysts believe the campaign has turned into a disaster and a ground invasion is the only option Sarkozy now has.

Boxers like to brag they will crush their opponent, but they are often wrong, and get a nasty surprise getting knocked out.

Much like a boxer before an easy match, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe boasted France would win Libya in “days or weeks”. The war is into a fourth month, with no final round in sight. Nicolas Sarkozy with his Western allies seem shocked that their little opponent is fighting back.

“It’s not just an embarrassment for Sarkozy, it’s an embarrassment for the whole of NATO for the whole West,” Lode Vanoost, deputy speaker of the Belgian parliament believes.

Paris even admits arming Libya’s rebels. Those weapons may well be going to terrorists.

“Militants from Somalia went to Libya for training within the last two or three years. We have the flight records and everything else. So it’s strange in many ways. The Western support of some of the rebel groups in Libya must be questioned, because in some cases I think we are effectively arming Al-Qaeda,” says Brian Johnson-Thomas, an arms trafficking expert for the UN Security Council.

It is making a mockery of the UN resolution on foreign intervention in the country.

“They are violating in every possible way, bombing civilians, giving arms to the rebels, etc. None of this was in the spirit of the resolution,” says writer Jean Bricmont.

Witnesses add that the NATO bombing of Libya is causing widespread atrocities.

“For every one military person that was supposedly a casualty there were ten civilians,” Franklin Lamb, a human rights lawyer who works in the Libyan capital Tripoli, describes the situation.

France categorically ruled out sending ground troops. But some experts predict it is the only way to break the Libyan deadlock.

The moves are splitting the NATO coalition. Silvio Berlusconi, head of the key partner Italy, admits invading Libya was a mistake. And in a stunning U-turn, the French Defence Minister says Colonel Gaddafi should negotiate with the rebels.

“This is the same man they already indicted in the International Court. Technically, from a legal point of view, it’s even impossible. What they’re saying now is that a person accused of war crimes or crimes against humanity is a suitable partner in negotiations. And of course our media here are not going to pose these questions – certainly not in France. On the contrary,” Belgian MP Lode Vanoost says.

Russia has abstained in the UN’s vote warning foreign bombs would bring havoc in Libya. Juppe said his latest talks with his counterpart Sergey Lavrov were “lively”. It is diplomat speak for a “blazing row”.

With French presidential elections just nine months away, Sarkozy advisors said a successful war could resurrect his chances. Instead, one paper writes, “Libya’s becoming a slow-motion car crash for France’s deeply unpopular president.”

Sarkozy is a fan of jogging. Excessive sweating is understandable, as his Libyan sprint is turning into a marathon.

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Ellen Tauscher, Colin Powell: U.S. Missile System To Cover All Of Europe

http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=130153

Sofia News Agency
July 12, 2011

US Missile Shield to Cover Entire Bulgaria under New Plan

The US missile defense shield will cover the entire territory of Europe, including all Bulgaria, according to US Undersecretary of State Ellen Tauscher.

Tauscher, who is in charge of arms control and international security affairs at the US State Department, has made the statement Monday, during a meeting in Washington DC with a group of Members of the European Parliament, including former Bulgarian Foreign Affairs Minister, Ivaylo Kalfin.

The Undersecretary confirmed the new American concept is to cover the entire territory of the Old Continent with all Bulgarian regions, which were not included in the earlier draft.

Tauscher further informed that talks between Washington and partners in Eastern Europe are in an advanced stage and the exact location of the radars is being ironed out at the moment.

The meeting also included a discussion about the reform of NATO and about disarmament.

Former US Secretary of State, National Security Advisor, Commander of the US Army Forces Command and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Colin Powell, was also present at the meeting.

Powell voiced the opinion of the US Administration, recently expressed by Defense Secretary, Robert Gates that Europe must be more active in NATO’s missions in order to have its stability guaranteed in the future.

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Afghan Officials: NATO Air Strike Kills Up To 16 Civilians

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/07/12/afghanistan.air.strike/

CNN
July 12, 2011

Afghan officials: Up to 16 civilians killed in NATO strike
From Matiullah Mati

Kabul, Afghanistan: Afghan officials say a NATO airstrike in Logar province Monday killed at least nine and up to 16 people.

The International Security Assistance Force confirmed Tuesday that it had carried out an attack in the Azra district of the province, but “I cannot confirm if there are any civilians killed,” said Capt. Justin Brockhoff.

Sifatullah Haqmal, a district lawmaker, said four Taliban militants were killed but the rest were civilians.

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U.S. Drone Strikes Kill At Least 45 “Militants” In Pakistan

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/12/us-pakistan-missile-idUSTRE76B0I320110712

Reuters
July 12, 2011

MIRANSHAH, Pakistan: At least 45 suspected militants were killed by missiles launched by U.S. drone aircraft in Pakistan’s northwest in less than 24 hours, local intelligence officials said on Tuesday, one of the largest death tolls to date in the controversial air bombing campaign.

Coming a day after Washington announced an $800 million delay in military assistance amid worsening U.S.-Pakistan ties, the attacks could exacerbate tensions between the two uneasy allies in the war against militants.

It was the second-largest death toll in a day in the unacknowledged U.S. drone campaign against militants in Pakistan’s northwest. In June 2009, about 70 suspected militants were killed in a drone attack in South Waziristan.

More than 135 militants have been killed since the beginning of June in drone attacks, according to Reuters figures and based on statements from local intelligence officials.

The United States this week said it was holding back $800 million in military aid to Pakistan in a show of displeasure over Pakistan’s cutback of U.S. military trainers, limits on visa for U.S. personnel and other bilateral irritants.

The Pakistan military said on Monday it could do without the U.S. assistance by depending on its own resources or turning to “all-weather friend” China.

(Writing by Zeeshan Haider; Editing by Chris Allbritton and Nick Macfie)

====

U.S., French Security Guards Violently Disperse Syrian Protesters

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-07/12/c_13979209.htm

Xinhua News Agency
July 11, 2011

Security guards of U.S., French embassies in Damascus violently disperse protestors: witnesses

DAMASCUS: Security guards of the U.S. and French embassies in Damascus fired tear gas and live bullets in the air Monday to disperse hundreds of angry pro-government protestors, who staged a sit-in before the two embassies to protest against the U.S. and France stances toward Syria, witnesses told Xinhua.

Witnesses said some protestors had tried to storm the French embassy after the embassy’s guards opened fire in the air to disperse the crowds, adding that French guards held two protestors inside the embassy and beat them before letting them go.

They further said security guards with rifles were spotted on the embassy’s rooftop, ready for more action.

According to witnesses, protestors in front of the U.S. embassy pulled down the American flag and replaced it with the Syrian flag, adding the embassy guards fired tear gas to disperse the angry protestors, who made it clear that they will not disperse until the ambassadors are fired.

This move was triggered by the unauthorized and controversial visit of the U.S. and French ambassadors to the violence-hit city of Hama on Friday, where the ambassadors went to follow up the anti-government protests.

The visit of the ambassadors has triggered resentment by Syrian authorities, which accused them of fueling the protests in that troubled area.

Syrian Foreign Ministry summoned Sunday the ambassadors of the United States and France to lodge its protest over their recent visits to the restive province of Hama in central Syria without obtaining a prior permission from the ministry.

In a statement sent to Xinhua, Syrian Foreign Ministry said the visit poses a “clear interference in Syria’s internal affairs, a matter which demonstrates the presence of a foreign encouragement and support to all that might undermine security and stability in the country, at a time when the national dialogue aiming at building up Syria’s future is being released.”

The city of Hama has a storied history of rebellion against the Syrian leadership and was a stronghold of the banned Muslim Brotherhood, which staged a bloody rebellion in 1982. It is now witnessing the largest turnout since the eruption of protests in mid-March, and also under a self-declared general strike since last Friday.

====

Afghan War: French Death Toll Reaches 63

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-07/11/c_13978662.htm

Xinhua News Agency
July 11, 2011

One French soldier accidentally shot dead in Afghanistan

PARIS: A French soldier was accidentally shot dead by a national serviceman on Monday in eastern Afghanistan, raising the total fatalities to 64, the French Defense Ministry said.

The soldier…succumbed to his injuries after another French soldier accidentally shot him, the ministry said on its website.

An investigation is underway to identify the exact causes of the accident, according to the ministry website.

Last month, France announced a progressive withdrawal of French troops from Afghanistan would start in this summer.

About 4,000 French soldiers were deployed in Afghan territories as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)…

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Afghanistan: Italy Loses 40th Soldier

http://en.trend.az/regions/world/afghanistan/1904178.html

Deutsche Presse-Agentur
July 12, 2011

Italian soldier killed in Afganistan bomb blast

An Italian soldier was killed Tuesday in a bomb attack in Afghanistan, media reports said.

The soldier, 28, was hit by the blast shortly after he had got out of a vehicle in the western Afghan district of Bakwa, the ANSA news agency reported.

The death brings to 40 the number of Italian soldiers who have died in Afghanistan since Italy began deploying troops in 2002 as part of NATO’s mission in the country, DPA reported.

====

U.S. Marines: AFRICOM “Adding Muscle” To African Counterinsurgency Campaigns

http://www.stripes.com/news/africom-marine-task-force-to-help-train-militaries-fighting-al-qaida-linked-groups-in-somalia-maghreb-region-1.148904

Stars and Stripes
July 11, 2011

AFRICOM Marine task force to help train militaries fighting al-Qaida-linked groups in Somalia, Maghreb region
By John Vandiver

-The establishment of an Africa-focused Marine task force comes at a time when the Pentagon is attempting to apply more pressure to groups designated as terrorist organizations by the U.S. State Department, such as the Somali militant group al-Shabab.
The U.S. recently committed $45 million in military equipment aimed at helping Uganda and Burundi, which have forces deployed in Somalia, more effectively engage in urban combat, according to the Pentagon.
-The Marines also will work with militaries in northern Africa…as part of Operation Enduring Freedom – Trans-Sahara.

STUTTGART, Germany: With an eye on insurgent movements in Somalia and volatile parts of northern Africa, a new Marine task force has been assigned to U.S. Africa Command as part of an effort to ramp up training partnerships with militaries fighting al-Qaida-linked groups on the continent.

The addition of the Marine infantrymen, coupled with the recent commissioning of an Africa-focused Naval Special Warfare unit based is Stuttgart, home of the AFRICOM headquarters, suggests AFRICOM is starting to add some muscle.

The Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force, expected to be based in southern Europe, will focus on training African troops deploying as peacekeepers to Somalia, while also bolstering militaries attempting to take on groups affiliated with al-Qaida that are operating across the Maghreb region…

The unit, which includes air and ground elements, could grow from 123 Marines to about 364 troops in the next few years, if the initial missions prove successful, said Brig. Gen. Paul Brier, deputy commander of MARFOR Africa.

The establishment of an Africa-focused Marine task force comes at a time when the Pentagon is attempting to apply more pressure to groups designated as terrorist organizations by the U.S. State Department, such as the Somali militant group al-Shabab.

The U.S. recently committed $45 million in military equipment aimed at helping Uganda and Burundi, which have forces deployed in Somalia, more effectively engage in urban combat, according to the Pentagon. The two countries provide the bulk of the 9,000 African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia.

The Washington Post recently reported that a U.S. drone attacked insurgent targets in Somalia in June.

[H]uman rights groups have raised concerns about civilians caught between al-Shabab fighters and the AU force, which has been accused of indiscriminately firing mortars at targets and killing non-combatants in the process.

Marine officials say…the new task force will aim to…provide…local forces with better tactics for confronting the threats that surround them.

“We’re refining their capabilities,” said Col. James Bright, chief of staff at MARFOR Africa.

The Marines also will work with militaries in northern Africa, where al-Qaida affiliates have long been a concern for the U.S., as part of Operation Enduring Freedom – Trans-Sahara.

The plan to establish a Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force dedicated exclusively to AFRICOM missions has been in development for two years.

The unit’s members have now been selected, and preparations are under way to forward-deploy them in Europe in a matter of months, according to Marines at the command’s Panzer Kaserne headquarters in Stuttgart…

The U.S. maintains numerous military bases in southern Europe, including Italy, which hosts the Navy’s 6th Fleet and also Army and Air Force units. The U.S. also maintains a naval presence in Rota, Spain.

As a back-up plan, the Marines could operate out of the U.S., if efforts to forward-deploy fall through, Vesely said. New troops will be rotated into the unit every six months.

Brier, the outgoing deputy commander of Marine Forces Africa, acknowledged the SPMAGTF is being formed at a time when troops and resources are stretched thin. However, the unit should be able to grow over time as the Corps looks for efficient ways to return Marines to their more expeditionary roots after years spent on combat outposts in Iraq and Afghanistan, Brier said.

“We’re doing it with the idea of, how do we sustain it for the long-haul,” Brier said.

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“Militaries Are All About Peace”: AFRICOM Launches 39-Nation Communications Exercise

http://www.africom.mil/getArticle.asp?art=6896&lang=0

U.S. Africa Command
July 12, 2011

Africa Endeavor 2011 Kicks Off in Banjul
By Deborah Robin Croft
U.S. AFRICOM Public Affairs

BANJUL, The Gambia: Africa Endeavor (AE) 2011, the largest communications interoperability exercise on the African continent, kicked off on Monday, July 11 in Banjul with hundreds of observers on the parade grounds witnessing the opening ceremony.

The event began with remarks delivered by Brigadier General Robert Ferrell, U.S. Africa Command director of C4 Systems, Dr. Isatou Njie-Saidy, vice president of The Gambia, and Pamela White, U.S. ambassador to the Gambia.

Africa Endeavor is an AFRICOM-sponsored multilateral communications exercise focusing on technical and human interoperability and information sharing among African militaries. AE 2011 is being conducted with thirty four African nations, five western nations, and five international organizations.

….

Building upon the previous exercises, this year’s program focuses on regional organizations and command and control messaging up and down the echelons of the command…

In her opening remarks, Ambassador White expressed the essential goal for these exercises in establishing communications techniques and universal standards throughout Africa. “Militaries are all about peace and we must understand that and that’s what we’re doing here today – finding a way to make peace happen. We know that talking is better than shooting, we know that negotiation is better than confrontation, and we know that peace is better than war.”

AE 2011 is a combination of the planning and labor conducted throughout the last year. The planning cycle for AE 2011 began in November 2010 during the initial planning conference in Mauritius as the technicians and delegation chiefs began discussing their expectations for the exercise. The second planning conference took place in Mali in January, and the third and final planning conference took place in Banjul in April.

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U.S. Navy Trains Special Forces In Uganda

http://www.africom.mil/getArticle.asp?art=6886&lang=0

U.S. Africa Command
July 11, 2011

Cadets, Midshipmen, UPDF Partner throughout Uganda
By Petty Officer 2nd Class Timothy Wilson
CJTF-HOA Public Affairs

ENTEBBE, Uganda: Cadets from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, participated in a weeklong leadership training workshop June 2011 in cities throughout Uganda with the Ugandan Peoples Defense Force (UPDF).

The first phase training, which began June 8, consisted of classroom instruction with Tanzanian instructors, physical training and familiarization with Ugandan military tactics.

Tanzanian Army Major Paul Masinde, officer in charge of training at the Junior Staff College (JSC), at Jinja, said that the instruction is crucial for those in leadership positions.

The platoon course instruction ranged from understanding differing leadership styles, planning methods and execution, platoon formations and movements.

Every morning and afternoon, the cadets and midshipmen participated in formation runs with their Ugandan counterparts in a team-building exercise.

During the next phase of training, the cadets and midshipmen travelled to Entebbe to work with Ugandan soldiers training for selection into the UPDF Special Forces.

U.S. Army 1st Lieutenant Tim Wilkens, officer-in-charge for the Army training team working with the soldiers participating in the Advanced Infantry Combat Course, said it is very important to understand the militaries U.S. service members are partnering with in order to accomplish any mission.

In addition to physically performing some platoon-level movements, the cadets and midshipmen fired a fully automatic Soviet AK-47 assault rifle.

“Understanding the capabilities of weapons on the battlefield is crucial,” said Wilkens. “If you are out of ammo, most likely you will pick up an unfamiliar weapon.”

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Top Chinese General Criticizes U.S. Military Policy In Asia

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/07/11/china.mullen/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

CNN
July 11, 2011

Top Chinese general takes aim at U.S. military policy
By Steve Jiang

-“If the U.S. could reduce its military spending a little, and spend more on improving the livelihood of the American people and doing more good things for the world – wouldn’t that be a better scenario?”

Beijing: One day after the top American military officer declared that China “has arrived as a world power,” his Chinese counterpart Monday played down the capabilities of the 3 million strong People’s Liberation Army while criticizing the role of U.S. armed forces in the Asia Pacific region.

Calling $700 billion a year in U.S. defense spending six times the Chinese budget, Gen. Chen Bingde, the PLA’s chief of the General Staff, brushed aside notions that China would challenge America’s military supremacy by building its own aircraft carriers while developing carrier-killing missiles.

“We are still 20, 30 years behind the United States, no matter how much we have developed,” he said at a joint press briefing with Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Chen was blunt in expressing China’s view on the United States conducting two military exercises in the Asia Pacific region – with the Philippines and Vietnam, respectively – amid rising tensions over territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

“We think the timing of those joint exercises is inappropriate,” he said.

Mullen, in China for a rare four-day visit to promote military-to-military ties, pointed out to his host that such war games were long planned and small in scale.

“It’s not that difficult to change the schedule,” Chen responded.

China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan all have competing claims to parts of the 1.3-million-square-mile patch of the Pacific Ocean. The vast area of waters, dotted with partially submerged atolls and reefs, contain some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes and are thought to hold large deposits of oil and natural gas.

The United States officially stays neutral in the disputes, but Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has angered China since she declared last July maritime freedom in the area a U.S. national interest and expressed willingness to facilitate multilateral talks on the issue.

As Mullen repeated Washington’s stance, Chen fired back.

“In the South China Sea, freedom of navigation has never been a problem,” he said. “It serves as an excuse to sensationalize the issue.”

“Some countries might be thinking of relying on U.S. support to address the issue – that’s not realistic,” he added.

Chen pledged to work for a peaceful resolution to the disputes but showed clear irritation at “frequent, close-in reconnaissance activities by U.S. planes and ships against China,” calling them unnecessary and counterproductive to improving military relations.

Emphasizing the routine nature of such U.S. military actions, Mullen acknowledged Beijing’s concern.

“The United States has enduring interests in the region,” he said. “We will continue to support those enduring interests and we want to do it in a way that is supportive of this relationship as well.”

Mullen, whose visit marked the first of its kind in four years, started his trip Sunday. He has addressed university students in Beijing, visited normally top-secret missile force facilities and met the Chinese vice president.

Despite his assertive tone, Chen described his country — already the world’s second-largest economy — as a poor one due to its population of 1.3 billion people. He reassured the audience that China would use its newfound strength only for self-defense and the improvement of global security.

“Our sole purpose is to make China a better country and the Chinese people live happier lives,” he said. “If we spend too much money on the military, the people won’t agree.”

The top general of the world’s largest military force apparently even keeps the welfare of American taxpayers in mind.

“I know the U.S. is still recovering from the financial crisis,” Chen pondered aloud at the joint press briefing. “But it’s still spending so much money on its military – isn’t that placing too much pressure on the taxpayers?”

“If the U.S. could reduce its military spending a little, and spend more on improving the livelihood of the American people and doing more good things for the world – wouldn’t that be a better scenario?”

====

Japan: U.S. Army To Open New Battle Systems Center For Afghan-, Iraqi-Style Wars

http://www.stripes.com/news/pacific/japan/u-s-army-to-open-battle-systems-training-center-in-japan-1.148871

Stars and Stripes
July 11, 2011

U.S. Army to open battle systems training center in Japan
By Seth Robson

-The Sagami Mission Command Training Center is part of a network of 28 such Army-run facilities worldwide, but the first in Asia, according to director Hal Ayrton.
-The center will train command groups that could control thousands of troops in battle. It could also be used for a rehearsal exercise to prepare troops for a particular mission…

TOKYO: The Army soon will open a $17 million facility near Tokyo that will train Army commanders and soldiers on computerized battle command systems that have been used extensively in Iraq and Afghanistan to control friendly forces and track insurgents.

The Sagami Mission Command Training Center is part of a network of 28 such Army-run facilities worldwide, but the first in Asia, according to director Hal Ayrton.

“The (low) number of tactical missions we have had to perform here, until recently, meant the priority has been stateside units,” said U.S. Army Japan spokesman Maj. Randall Baucom.

The Army opened the doors of the new facility to the media last week. It will officially open Aug. 4 at Sagami General Depot.

The center includes classrooms for individual instruction as well as areas that can be configured for use as a tactical operations center. Part of the center is set aside for a staff of up to 17 who can run simulations through the battle command systems to test commanders with different scenarios such as disaster relief operations, Ayrton said.

U.S. Army Japan has begun using some of the systems in the field, including Blue Force Tracker, which tracks vehicles on the battlefield, and it will soon start fielding a computerized intelligence collection system.

Some of the features of the new systems include giving commanders access to instant messages from ground troops, or providing Google Earth-style maps that display a wide range of information including signals from GPS devices attached to equipment on the battlefield.

The center will train command groups that could control thousands of troops in battle. It could also be used for a rehearsal exercise to prepare troops for a particular mission, Ayrton said.

The center also will be able to combine individual virtual training, in which a soldier navigates a mission on a computer screen, with command group training. In that case, information relayed to the battle command systems would be based on the actions of individual soldiers playing simulations, Ayrton said.

“The commanders in another room will be calling back to people in these simulations with further instructions,” he said.

The facility, which took 18 months to build, includes 35,000-square-feet of indoor space along with 65,000-square-feet of outdoor space equipped with power supplies and communications networks where units can set up command posts and other field equipment, according to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project manager Tanya Bazemore.

Soldiers who train at the facility will be eligible for college credits or promotion points, Ayrton said.

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Australia: 22,000 U.S., Canadian, Local Troops In Full-Spectrum War Games

http://www.stripes.com/news/navy/talisman-sabre-kicks-off-in-australia-1.148876

Stars and Stripes
July 11, 2011

Talisman Sabre kicks off in Australia

TOKYO: Talisman Sabre 2011, a joint U.S. and Australia military training exercise, kicked off Sunday with an open house at the Rockhampton Showgrounds in central Queensland, Australia.

The event featured a variety of military vehicles and equipment, as well as hands-on displays.

Australia and U.S. military troops will conduct land, sea and air training throughout Queensland and the Northern Territory through July 29, U.S. military officials said.

Some 22,000 personnel from the U.S., Australia and Canada – including about 14,000 U.S. servicemembers from the Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Army – are taking part in the military and humanitarian exercise.

This is the fourth Talisman Sabre exercise. For the first time, there will be a significant presence of civilians from government agencies in the U.S. and Australia. Officials from the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Agriculture and Department of Justice will be on hand in an attempt to better synchronize their efforts with the military boots on the ground.

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Serbia: U.S., Britain, France Block UN Kosovo Organ Trafficking Probe

http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics-article.php?yyyy=2011&mm=07&dd=11&nav_id=75379

Tanjug News Agency
July 11, 2011

“Big powers against UN-mandate organ trafficking probe”

-“I would like to believe that, in the weeks to come, we will manage to overcome the obstacle and achieve progress. If that does not happen, it will be extremely difficult to resist the impression that there is something in the case of human organ trafficking in Kosovo that, for some reason, should by no means see the light of day.”

BELGRADE: The U.S., Britain and France are hindering Serbia’s request for the investigation into human organ trafficking in Kosovo to be conducted under the UN mandate.

This is according to Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremić.

“Our request for the investigators to work with a mandate on the case of organ trafficking in Kosovo and Albania, and submit their reports to the UN Security Council, has unfortunately been hindered by those who have the institutional capacity to do that,” Jeremić told Belgrade-based daily Blic in an interview.

He identified those countries as the United States, Britain and France.

When asked about whether this “ruins the last chance to carry out an independent investigation under the mandate of the UN Security Council”, Jeremic said that “talks continued”.

“I would like to believe that, in the weeks to come, we will manage to overcome the obstacle and achieve progress. If that does not happen, it will be extremely difficult to resist the impression that there is something in the case of human organ trafficking in Kosovo that, for some reason, should by no means see the light of day.”

The Marty report published in late 2010 named members of the ethnic Albanian KLA as perpetrators of the body part trafficking atrocities, and kidnapped Serb and other civilians as their victims.

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NATO Awards Dutch Commander For Mediterranean, Horn Of Africa Missions

http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/news_76341.htm

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
July 11, 2011

Captain Hugo Ammerlaan receives the NATO Meritorious Service Medal

Brussels: Captain Hugo Ammerlaan, Royal Netherlands Navy, was awarded with the NATO Meritorious Service Medal by Lt. General Juergen Bornemann, Director General of the IMS. Capt Ammerlaan was awarded this honor due to his command of the ship HNLMS DE Zeven Provinciën in Operations Ocean Shield and Active Endeavour and as SNMG2 flagship and his participation in Exercise Joint Warrior 102.

The NATO Meritorious Service Medal is awarded to commend staff whose personal initiative and dedication went beyond their duty to make a difference both to their colleagues, and to NATO as an organization.

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ACT: NATO, Pentagon Integrate Global Military Transformation

http://www.act.nato.int/multimedia/archive/42-news-stories/685-senior-leaders-discuss-future-act-us-relations

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Transformation
July 7, 2011

Senior Leaders discuss future ACT-US Relations

Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, French Air Force General Stephane Abrial and other senior ACT leaders met with General James E. Cartwright, Vice Chairman of the United States’ Joint Chiefs of Staff and General Raymond T. Odierno, Commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command (US JFCOM) for transition talks on July 7.

With the coming disestablishment of JFCOM, these tri-lateral talks offered an opportunity for a face-to-face discussion to on the future connections between ACT and the U.S. Department of Defense Joint Staff.

ACT and JFCOM have for several years had a close collaborative relationship based on a similarity of missions. The organisations share efforts and work together to improve Alliance military capabilities.

“ACT will continue to remain closely linked to US military transformational efforts in the future, working with the Americans to ensure this cooperation continues” General Abrial said.

The Commanders agreed to meet on a regular basis to assess the progress in this relationship.

Mr. Joseph Mcmillan, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs also participated in the talks.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Conrad Aiken: Vast symphonic dance of death

July 12, 2011 1 comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

American writers on peace and against war

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Conrad Aiken
1915: The Trenches

I

All night long, it has seemed for many years,
We have heard the terrible sound of guns,
All night long we have lain and watched the calm stars.
We cannot sleep, though we are tired,
The sound of guns is in our ears,
We are growing old and grey,
We have forgotten many simple things.
Is this you? Is this I?
Will the word come to charge today?…
All night long, all night long,
We listen and cannot close our eyes,
We see the ring of violet flashes
Endlessly darting against the skies,
We feel the firm earth shake beneath us,
And all the world we have walked upon
Crumbles to nothing, crumbles to chaos,
Crumbles to incoherent dust;
Till it seems we can never walk again,
That it is foolish to have feet, foolish to be men,
Foolish to think, foolish to have such brains,
And useless to remember
The world we came from,
The world we never shall see again…
All night long we lie this way,
We cannot talk, I look to see what you are thinking,
And you, and you,–
We are all thinking, ‘Will it come to-day?’
Get your bayonets ready, then–
See that they are sharp and bright,
See that they have thirsty edges,
Remember that we are savage men,
Motherless men who have no past…
Nothing of beauty to call to mind,
No tenderness to stay our hands…
…We are tired, we have thought all this before,
We have seen it all and thought it all,
Our thumbs are calloused with feeling the bayonet’s edge,
We have known it all and felt it all
Till we can know no more.

II

All night long we lie
Stupidly watching the smoke puff over the sky,
Stupidly watching the interminable stars
Come out again, peaceful and cold and high,
Swim into the smoke again, or melt in a flare of red…
All night long, all night long,
Hearing the terrible battle of guns,
We think we shall soon be dead,
We sleep for a second, and wake again,
We dream we are filling pans and baking bread,
Or hoeing the witch-grass out of the wheat,
We dream we are turning lathes,
Or open our shops, in the early morning,
And look for a moment along the quiet street…
And we do not laugh, though it is strange
In a harrowing second of time
To traverse so many worlds, so many ages,
And come to this chaos again,
This vast symphonic dance of death,
This incoherent dust.

III

We are growing old, we are older than the stars:
You whom I knew a moment ago
Have walked through ages of silence since then,
Memory is forsaking me,
I no longer know
If we are one or two or the blades of grass…
All night long, lying together,
We think in caverns of dreadful sound,
We grope among falling boulders,
We are overtaken and crushed, we rise once more,
Performing, wearily,
The senseless things we have performed so often before.
Yesterday is coming again,
Yesterday and the day before,
And a million others, all alike, one by one,
Sulphurous clouds and a red sun,
Sulphurous clouds and a yellow moon,
And a cold drizzle of endless rain
Driving across them, wetting the barrels of guns,
Dripping, soaking, pattering, slipping,
Chilling our hands, numbing our feet,
Glistening on our chins.
And then, all over again, after grey ages,
Sulphurous clouds and a red sun,
Sulphurous clouds and a yellow moon…
I had my childhood once, now I have children,
A boy who is learning to read, a girl who is learning to sew,
And my wife has brown hair and blue eyes…
Our parapet is blown away,
Blown away by a gust of sound,
Dust is falling upon us, blood is dripping upon us,
We are standing somewhere between earth and stars,
Not knowing if we are alive or dead…
All night long it is so,
All night long we hear the guns, and do not know
If the word will come to charge to-day.

IV

It will be like that other charge–
We will climb out and run
Yelling like madmen in the sun
Running stiffly on the scorched dust
Hardly hearing our voices
Running after the man who points with his hand
At a certain shattered tree,
Running through sheets of fire like idiots,
Sometimes falling, sometimes rising.
I will not remember, then,
How I walked by a hedge of wild roses,
And shook the dew off, with my sleeve,
I will not remember
The shape of my sweetheart’s mouth, but with other things
Ringing like anvils in my brain
I will run, I will die, I will forget.
I will hear nothing, and forget…
I will remember that we are savage men,
Motherless men who have no past,
Nothing of beauty to call to mind
No tenderness to stay our hands…

V

We are tired, we have thought all this before,
We have seen it all, and thought it all.
We have tried to forget, we have tried to change,
We have struggled to climb an invisible wall,
But if we should climb it, could we ever return?
We have known it all, and felt it all
Till we can know no more…
Let us climb out and end it, then,
Lest it become immortal.
Let us climb out and end it, then,
Just for the change…
This is the same night, still, and you, and I,
Struggling to keep our feet in a chaos of sound.
And the same puff of smoke
Passes, to leave the same stars in the sky.

VI

Out there, in the moonlight,
How still in the grass they lie,
Those who panted beside us, or stumbled before us,
Those who yelled like madmen and ran at the sun,
Flinging their guns before them.
One of them stares all day at the sky
As if he had seen some strange thing there,
One of them tightly holds his gun
As if he dreaded a danger there,
One of them stoops above his friend,
By moon and sun we see him there.
One of them saw white cottage walls
With purple clematis flowers and leaves,
And heard through trees his waterfalls
And whistled under the eaves;
One of them walked on yellow sand
And watched a young girl gathering shells–
Once, a white wave caught her hand…
One of them heard how certain bells
Chimed in a valley, mellow and slow,
Just as he turned to go…

VII

All night long, all night long,
We see them and do not remember them,
We hear the terrible sounds of guns,
We see the white rays darting and darting,
We are beaten down and crawl to our feet,
We wipe the dirt from mouths and eyes,
Dust-coloured animals creeping in dust,
Animals stupefied by sound;
We are beaten down, and some of us rise,
And some become a part of the ground,
But what do we care? We never knew them,
Or if we did it was long ago…
Night will end in a year or so,
We look at each other as if to say,
Across the void of time between us,
‘Will the word come to-day?’

Categories: Uncategorized

Updates on Libyan war/Stop NATO news: July 11, 2011

July 11, 2011 2 comments

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NATO’s Libyan War: 14,672 Sorties, 5,539 Strike Missions

Canadian Warship Leaves For Libyan War Mission

Russia Reiterates Opposition To Application Of Libyan Scenario To Syria

U.S., Australia Launch Large-Scale War Games

U.S. To Upgrade Israeli Patriot Interceptor Missile System

Washington Suspends Military Aid To Pakistan

Afghan War: NATO 2011 Death Toll Nears 300

U.S. Reiterates Demand For Yemeni President To Step Down

Rockets Hit Baghdad’s Green Zone During U.S. Defense Chief’s Visit

Pentagon: New Defense Secretary, Same Failed Policy

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NATO’s Libyan War: 14,672 Sorties, 5,539 Strike Missions

http://www.aco.nato.int/resources/3/documents/Libya%20update%20July%2011/20110711oup-update%5B1%5D.pdf

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations
July 11, 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, 06.00GMT) a total of 14,672 sorties, including 5,539 strike sorties, have been conducted.

Sorties conducted 10 JULY: 139

Strike sorties conducted 10 JULY: 54

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Canadian Warship Leaves For Libyan War Mission

http://www.timescolonist.com/news/HMCS+Vancouver+ready+Libya+mission+despite+fire/5080142/story.html

Victoria Times Colonist
July 10, 2011

HMCS Vancouver ready for Libya mission despite fire

A small fire on board HMCS Vancouver will only delay the ship’s departure time for its mission off Libya by an hour or so, navy spokeswoman Lieut. Diane Larose said Saturday.

A boiler caught fire around 8 p.m. Friday, but the blaze was quickly detected and put out by the ship’s personnel and dockyard fire department.

The equipment sustained minor damage, but no one was injured. “All of the repairs are within the capabilities of the ship’s staff and our fleet maintenance facility,” Larose said.

“They will be able to affect all those repairs before the ship’s departure tomorrow [Sunday}.”

The cause of the fire is being investigated.

HMCS Vancouver is due to depart this afternoon for Operation Mobile, as part of Canada’s contribution to NATO efforts around Libya.

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Russia Reiterates Opposition To Application Of Libyan Scenario To Syria

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/07/11/53045825.html

Voice of Russia
July 11, 2011

Moscow warns against Libyan scenario for Syria – Lavrov

Moscow is warning against a Libyan scenario for Syria, says the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

He says he will urge his counterparts during the forthcoming ministerial meeting of the four international mediators in a Middle East settlement, namely Russia, the United States, the United Nations and the European Union not to put the entire responsibility for the Syrian crisis on the Syrian leadership, but to impel the Syrian opposition to sit down at the negotiating table with President Bashar Assad.

The Russian Foreign Minister said in an interview with the Rossiyskaya Gazeta daily that the EU, the United Nations, Russia and the Cooperation Council of the Arab States for the Gulf have applied this kind of pattern to Yemen.

Lavrov opposed double standards in dealing with crises in the countries of the Middle East. No party to either the Libyan, or the Syrian crisis should be demonized, Lavrov said.

He is leaving for Washington today to attend the four mediators’ meeting there.

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U.S., Australia Launch Large-Scale War Games

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-07/11/c_13977374.htm

Xinhua News Agency
July 11, 2011

Australia, U.S. joint military exercise begins

CANBERRA: Australia’s largest joint military training exercise with U.S. begins on Monday, with about 14,000 U.S. and 8500 Australian troops participating in the training in real world scenarios on land, air and sea until July 29.

These personnel will take part in simulated battles at Shoalwater Bay near Rockhampton, and other sites in Queensland and the Northern Territory. There will also be 30 warships in the Coral Sea. Joint Task Force Commander, Vice Admiral Scott Van Buskirk, Commander of the U.S. 7th Fleet, said the exercise was important for Australia and the U.S. to maintain close military ties.

“By exercising together we will increase interoperability, flexibility and readiness…in the Pacific,” Vice Admiral Van Buskirk said in a statement released on Monday.

The U.S. Ambassador to Australia, Jeffrey Bleich, said there is a possibility of a greater U.S. military involvement in Australia.

Bleich, who is visiting central Queensland for the start of the exercise, said military issues were discussed in recent talks between U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and the Australian federal government.

“One possibility would be to have more equipment stored here, the chance to do more exercises like Talisman Sabre,” he told ABC News on Monday.

“We’re looking at all of those as serious options and certainly the Northern Territory and other parts of Australia are in the mix. “

Australian Defense Force also said the Talisman Sabre exercise is Australia ‘s largest joint military training exercise, and it is important to the security of the region.

This year’s Talisman Sabre exercise involves a number of non-military organizations, so that they can try to make the exercises as realistic as they possibly can.

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U.S. To Upgrade Israeli Patriot Interceptor Missile System

http://www.jpost.com/Defense/Article.aspx?id=228624

Jerusalem Post
July 10, 2011

IAF upgrading Patriot missile defense system
By Yaakov Katz

Upgrades will include the installation of new software as well as hardware changes to the radar system that accompanies the system

The air force has approved a set of upgrades for its Patriot missile defense system that will boost its interception capabilities, IAF sources say.

The upgrades will include the installation of new software as well as hardware changes to the radar system that accompanies the system, which Israel first received from the United States ahead of the First Gulf War in 1991.

The upgrades will enable the IAF to one day receive PAC-3 missiles, a more advanced version of the interceptor currently used by Israel that is already in service in the United States.

The PAC-3 is believed to be capable of intercepting most of Syria’s missiles. It is an improved version of the PAC-2 in terms of coverage and lethality.

The PAC-3 has an interceptor missile that uses a hit-to-kill system rather than an exploding warhead used by the PAC-2. The PAC-3 missile is also smaller, so using it 16 missile could be fired from Israel’s current launchers instead of just four PAC- 2 interceptors.

“The upgrades will see improvements in the system’s ability to detect and intercept missiles that could not have intercepted before,” an IAF source said.

The Patriot serves as Israel’s defense system against medium-range missiles, while the Iron Dome anti-rocket system is used against short-range ones and the Arrow-2 is designed to intercept long-range ballistic missiles.

The IAF plans to replace the Patriot with the David’s Sling, a missile system under development by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and the Massachusetts-based Raytheon Company to defend against…missiles with ranges between 70 and 300 kilometers.

The IAF plans to establish a battalion that will operate the David’s Sling in the near future, so it will be ready to receive the missile defense system in 2012 when it is expected to become operational.

David’s Sling uses an interceptor called Stunner, fitted into a launcher that can hold 16 missiles. It works together with an advanced phased-array radar made by Israel Aerospace Industries.

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Washington Suspends Military Aid To Pakistan

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/07/10/53016779.html

Voice of Russia
July 10, 2011

U.S. suspends military aid to Pakistan

The United States is partially suspending military aid to Pakistan. The New York Times newspaper says that $800 million, or more than one-third of the annual aid, will be frozen. Washington motivates the move by insufficient counterterrorism efforts on the part of Pakistan.

U.S.-Pakistani relations have cooled down considerably since the May 2 killing of the world’s number one terrorist Osama bin Laden in his home near Islamabad in a special U.S. operation of which Pakistan had not been notified.

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http://en.rian.ru/world/20110710/165122325.html

Russian Information Agency Novost
July 10, 2011

World

U.S. suspends funding Pakistani army

MOSCOW: The United States suspended a $800 million aid to Pakistan amid the “complicated relationship” between the two countries, White House Chief of Staff William Daley said on Sunday.

Daley’s statement comes as the U.S.-Pakistani relations are worsening after al Qaeda’s leader, Osama bin Laden, who was killed in his Pakistani compound during the U.S. raid on May 2.

“Right now Obviously there’s still a lot of pain that the political system in Pakistan is feeling by virtue of the raid that we did to get Osama bin Laden. We have no regrets over (that raid),” Daley said in an interview with ABS News.

The U.S. officials suspected that Pakistani authorities knew about bin Laden’s whereabouts, while Pakistan slammed the United States for carrying out a secret military raid without Islamabad’s consent.

The $800 million is about a third of the annual U.S. military aid sent to Pakistan to assist counterterrorism operations as well as to provide the country with military equipment such as radios, night-vision goggles and helicopter spare parts.

“It’s a complicated relationship and a very difficult complicated part of the world,” Daley said. “They’ve taken some steps that have given us reason to pause on some of the aid which we’re giving to the military, and we’re trying to work through that.”

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Afghan War: NATO 2011 Death Toll Nears 300

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=20117\11\story_11-7-2011_pg7_5

Agence France-Presse
July 10, 2011

Three NATO soldiers among six killed in Afghan attacks

HERAT: Three NATO soldiers and three policemen were killed in bomb and insurgent attacks in the restive south and east on Sunday, as the top US commander in the country said the overall number of insurgent attacks had decreased this summer.

NATO said one coalition soldier died following an insurgent attack and another was killed in a bomb explosion in the south, while a third service member died after another insurgent attack in the east.

In southern Kandahar city, three Afghan policemen were killed, while three policemen and three civilians were wounded, in a roadside bomb blast that ripped through a police vehicle, provincial police chief Abdul Raziq told AFP.

Sunday’s incidents brought the overall death toll for foreign forces to 293 this year in Afghanistan, according to a tally based on that collected by the independent website iCasualties.org.

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U.S. Reiterates Demand For Yemeni President To Step Down

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/07/11/53038261.html

Voice of Russia
July 11, 2011

The U.S. persists in urging Saleh to relinquish power

The Obama administration persists in urging Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh to relinquish power.

As reported in the White House, Assistant to the President on anti-terrorism, John Brennan met with Saleh in the Saudi capital Riyadh, where the Yemeni leader is being treated for injured sustained during the shelling of June 3rd .

“Brennan called on President Saleh to go through as quickly as possible with his promise to sign a plan of peaceful transfer of power, developed with the assistance of the Cooperation Council of Arab Gulf states,” – reads the statement of the American administration.

Obama’s aide made it clear that “as soon as the power transfer plan is signed and put into effect”, the United States, with “other friends of Yemen” will provide the necessary flow of assistance to that country.

“The U.S. believes that transition to democracy in Yemen should begin immediately, so that the Yemeni people be granted a chance to achieve their aspirations,” – says the statement.

The power transfer plan provides for Saleh’s resignation in 30 days after he puts his signature to the document. This was initially expected to happen on May 22, but the Yemeni president, who’s been at the helm for 33 years, went back on his word, reports ITAR-TASS.

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http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-07/11/c_13976772.htm

Xinhua News Agency
July 11, 2011

Obama aide urges Yemeni president to hand over power

WASHINGTON: A top aide to U.S. President Barack Obama on Sunday met with Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and urged him to “fulfill expeditiously” his pledge to sign a deal for peaceful transition in his country, the White House said.

John Brennan, Obama’s assistant for counterterrorism and homeland security, met with Saleh in Riyadh, capital of Saudi Arabia, where the Yemeni president is recuperating from injuries sustained during an attack on his presidential palace in early June.

“During the meeting, Mr. Brennan called upon President Saleh to fulfill expeditiously his pledge to sign the GCC-brokered agreement for peaceful and constitutional political transition in Yemen,” the White House said in a statement.

Brennan told Saleh that “the United States is working closely with Yemen’s friends and supporters in the Gulf Cooperation Council, Europe and elsewhere to ensure that much needed assistance will flow to Yemen as soon as the GCC proposal is signed and implemented,” adding that the U.S. believes that a transition in Yemen should begin immediately so that the Yemeni people can realize their aspirations.

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Rockets Hit Baghdad’s Green Zone During U.S. Defense Chief’s Visit

http://en.rian.ru/world/20110711/165133749.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
July 11, 2011

Rockets hit Baghdad Green Zone as U.S. defense secretary visits city

MOSCOW” Three rockets landed in the Iraqi capital Baghdad’s protected Green Zone on Monday whilst U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was visiting the city, media quoted an Iraqi police source as saying.

No one was injured as a result of the attack on the area, which houses government buildings and foreign embassies, Xinhua reported.

The rockets were launched from the predominantly Shiite district of Zaafaraniyah in the southeast of Baghdad, which is loyal to a Shiite cleric who opposes the presence of U.S. troops in the country.

Panetta is expected to discuss keeping some troops in Iraq after 2011 during his visit.

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Pentagon: New Defense Secretary, Same Failed Policy

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/07/11/53066234.html

Voice of Russia
July 11, 2011

New Defense Secretary, Old Policy
Boris Volkhonsky

Over the weekend, the newly appointed US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta made a tour of the two battlegrounds the Barack Obama’s administration has inherited from George W. Bush – Afghanistan and Iraq.

In Afghanistan, Mr. Panetta stated that Al-Qaeda’s defeat is “within reach” and eliminating as few as 10 of the group’s top figures could cripple its ability to strike the West. Knowing how long it has already taken to eliminate much less than 10 top Al Qaeda figures, it would be reasonable to suggest that the complete defeat of Al Qaeda should be postponed to much later times than the proclaimed deadline for American troop withdrawal, i.e. 2014.

Leon Panetta’s task in Iraq was a little bit more complicated than just demonstrating wishful thinking. The core problem is the fate of the 46,000 American troops remaining in that country. As is commonly known, about one year ago President Obama declared that American combat troops had been completely withdrawn. The remaining troops were relabeled as non-combat, which has not prevented militant attacks on them and casualties on both sides.

One of the tasks given to Leon Panetta by his boss was to discuss with Iraqi officials the concrete dates and conditions for the withdrawal of the remaining troops. President Obama has announced that he plans to complete the withdrawal by December 31 this year. But his plans of speedy withdrawal both from Iraq and Afghanistan have aroused a wave of criticism from the military. Among the critics was Mr. Panetta’s predecessor as Defense Secretary, Robert Gates. Now, Panetta has to decide what to do with the legacy he has inherited.

Mr. Panetta himself abstained from giving a decisive answer whether he is going to press on Iraqi officials to invite the US troops for a longer period, but made it clear that such an invitation would be welcomed by the US administration.

“I’ll encourage them to make a decision so that we know where we’re going. If they do make a request, we ought to seriously consider it,” he said to the journalists.

Such an option has been a topic of discussion in Washington for some time, with some US officials saying that Iraq could benefit from continued military assistance to bolster its air defenses, conduct training and mount counterterrorism operations. But that would require a formal invitation the US has not yet received.

The complexity of the situation lies in the fact that the intensity of the insurgents’ attacks on the US troops in Iraq has risen during the past months. On the one hand, it demonstrates the inability of the present Iraqi leadership to handle the situation without outside support and on the other hand it presents the increased risk of casualties among American servicemen if the US eventually receives an invitation from the Iraqi government to stay. None of the options are likely to please the US electorate.

Most of the attacks on American soldiers have been blamed on Shiite militias backed by Iran. The influential Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has already warned that attacks on US troops in Iraq will go on if the US decides to prolong its stay after December 2011.

All this turns the whole situation into a lose-lose one for the present US administration. Even if there is a formal invitation for the troops to stay, hardly anyone – be it in Iraq or in the US – will reject the idea that it was not a forced one on the part of Iraqi leadership. And that means an escalation of violence, and more starred and striped coffins in the US.

But a complete withdrawal with an inevitable triumph of today’s most fierce opponents of the US would mean a recognition of defeat, which could be disastrous, if not suicidal for the commander-in-chief seeking reelection in 2012.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Updates on Libyan war/Stop NATO news: July 9, 2011

July 9, 2011 4 comments

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NATO Air War Over North Africa: 14,421 Air Missions, 5,437 Strike Sorties

Caribbean Community Heads Of State Condemn NATO’s War On Libya

Romanian President: Would Have Joined Hitler’s Invasion Of Russia

Romania: U.S. Navy Leads Drills With Black And Caspian Seas NATO Partners

Counterinsurgency: U.S. Marines Conduct Training In Eight Black Sea, Balkans Countries

Israel’s Netanyahu, Military Follow U.S. And NATO Into Bulgaria

Georgia: Pentagon And NATO MIlitary Outpost In The Caucasus

New NATO-EU Adjunct: Weimar Triangle Combat Group

Afghan Guard Slays Two NATO Soldiers

Pakistani Retaliation Silences NATO Guns At Border

NATO Tankers Attacked In Pakistan

Arctic: One Of World’s Main Geostrategic Centers

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NATO Air War Over North Africa: 14,421 Air Missions, 5,437 Strike Sorties

http://www.aco.nato.int/resources/3/documents/Libya%20update%20July%2011/20110709oup-update.pdf

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations
July 9, 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, 06.00GMT) a total of 14,421 sorties, including 5,437 strike sorties,have been conducted.

Sorties conducted 08 JULY: 140

Strike sorties conducted 08 JULY:49

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Caribbean Community Heads Of State Condemn NATO’s War On Libya

http://www.thedominican.net/2011/07/skerrit-denounces-nato-actions.html

The Dominican
July 8, 2011

Skerrit denounces NATO actions expresses support for Libyan leader Gaddafi

Basseterre: Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit of Dominica has strongly denounced NATO military action in Libya and voiced unequivocal support for Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in the ongoing military campaign.

Speaking at the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) heads of government meeting in St Kitts, Skerrit denounced NATO action against free Libya and expressed the full solidarity of the government and people of Dominica with the Libyan people and their Leader Muammar Gaddafi.

“We are ready to offer all assistance which you need to support the Libyan people… and I myself am proud of the relationship I have with the Leader Muammar Gaddafi, he said. He also expressed his support to the African initiative.

Skerrit however did not elaborate on the type of assistance that he was ready togive to the Libyan leader and people.

Skerrit’s remarks came as the heads of state of CARICOM openly condemned what they referred to as white racist aggression against Libya and called for an immediate halt to this aggression.

The heads of state pointed to what they referred to as NATO’s indiscriminate targeting of civilians in residential areas and called for an immediate halt to the aggression, claiming that it was a violation of the UN Security Council resolution which was aimed at protecting civilians.

Current Chairman of CARICOM, the Prime Minister of St Kitts, said the group understood the roots of the plot being hatched against Libya because of its pro-Africa policies and its oil potential.

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Romanian President: Would Have Joined Hitler’s Invasion Of Russia

http://www.nineoclock.ro/voronin-urges-eu-to-publicly-denounce-basescu%e2%80%99s-wwii-statements/

Nine O’Clock News (Romania)
July 7, 2011

Voronin urges EU to publicly denounce Basescu’s WWII statements

The head of the Republic of Moldova’s Communist Party, former President Vladimir Voronin, yesterday criticised President Traian Basescu’s recent comments about the Second World War and demanded that the EU publicly denounce the Romanian head of state for his words, Pro TV Chisinau reported.

In a TV show on June 22, President Basescu said he would have done the same as Marshal Ion Antonescu did during the war, when joining Germany in invading the Soviet Union. “We had an ally and we had a territory to recover (e.n. Moldova). If I had faced the same conditions I would have done it,” Basescu argued.

“The president of a EU member state labelled as correct the actions of a war criminal and Nazi executioner, Antonescu, by whose actions more than 300,000 people were exterminated,” Voronin said yesterday.

Basescu’s comments were fiercely criticised by the opposition and large parts of the public, but also by Russia, which said the head of state was practically trying to justify his country’s decision to join the war against the Soviet Union on Hitler’s side. Moreover, it was reported that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev also had some very tough comments on Basescu during the NATO-Russia council earlier this week. Asked to comment on the reports, NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen refused.

“President Medvedev talks about this matter in a confidential diplomatic framework and in the terms appropriate for this framework. The Romanian envoy to NATO replied in the same framework and the same terms,” he said. NATO envoy Sorin Ducaru too refused to make any comments.

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http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c154/181545_print.html

Itar-Tass
July 8, 2011

Moldova’s former Pres urges EU to condemn Romanian Pres statement.

CHISINAU: Moldova’s former President Vladimir Voronin on Thursday expressed surprise over the absence of reaction on the part of the European Union to the remarks made by Romanian President Trajan Basescu regarding Hitler’s aggression against the USSR in 1941.

Basescu said earlier this week he would have sent Romanian soldiers to take part in the occupation of the USSR along with Hitler’s forces in 1941.

Romanian dictator Ion Antonescu did send Romanian troops to war against the Soviet Union in June 1941.

‘We’re indignant over Basescu’s statement,” Vladimir Voronin said Thursday as he met in Chisinau with European Council President Herman van Rompuy. “In actual fact, Basescu, who is president of an EU member-state, justified the war criminal and butcher Antonescu, whose immediate involvement – in the punitive operations – took away the lives of more than 300,000.”

“Now Basescu says that if he had been in Antonescu’s position seventy years ago, he, too, would have ordered the troops to cross the river Prut,” Voronin said.

“We expect condemnation of these statements,” Voronin said.

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Romania: U.S. Navy Leads Drills With Black And Caspian Seas NATO Partners

http://www.eucom.mil/english/fullstory.asp?article=Diving-Teams-Participate-Eurasian-Partnership-Dive

U.S. European Command
July 6, 2011

Diving Teams Participate in Eurasian Partnership Dive 2011
Lieutenant Liubov Russell, Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs

CONSTANTA, Romania: Azerbaijani, Bulgarian, Georgian, Romanian, Ukrainian and U.S. diving teams met last week in Constanta, Romania, for the engagement event Eurasian Partnership (EP) Dive 2011, co-hosted by the Romanian and U.S. navies.

The exercise was able to determine the progress made by NATO allies and partners towards diving interoperability and training, manning and equipment capabilities.

Master Chief Navy Diver Kelly Polk was convinced that the international meet with four Black Sea and one Caspian Sea country was an excellent opportunity to extend the international relations and goodwill of the U.S. Navy.

The participants left EP Dive 2011 aligned in its vision and approach to collective security. Engagements like this better equip the participating nations to address the full range of security challenges of the Black Sea Region.

This was the second international event for Company 26 this month, after the exercise Sea Breeze 2011 in Sevastopol, Ukraine.

Company 26 of Mobile Diving Salvage Unit (MDSU) 2, is homeported in Little Creek, Va., and is currently embarked aboard USNS Grasp (T-ARS 51).

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Counterinsurgency: U.S. Marines Conduct Training In Eight Black Sea, Balkans Countries

http://www.marines.mil/unit/marforeur/Pages/NCOBulgaria.aspx

U.S. Marine Corps
July 7, 2011

Marines advise, help build NCO corps throughout Black Sea Region
By Cpl. Tatum Vayavananda, Black Sea Rotational Force

VELIKO TARNOVO, Bulgaria…Marines with Black Sea Rotational Force 11’s NCO Development detachment is showing parts of the world what it means to be an NCO by recently finishing their fourth stop in their eight-country tour to advise the importance of NCO leadership to partner nations.

“In the counterinsurgency environment we are operating in [today] it’s important to develop NCOs and allow them to make the decision to drive the battle at a lower level,” said Lt. Col. Nelson S. Cardella, commanding officer, BSRF-11.

“It’s the only way we’re going to win and training other nations is very important,” said Cardella, “That’s why we’re here.”

Each participating country has re-evaluated how they use their NCO corps, how they are trained and the responsibility that is given at that level.

“NCO leadership still varies a lot, from some countries that follow the old Soviet-style and hold most of the power in the commissioned ranks, to other countries that have already progressed to where sergeants make a lot of decisions,” said First Sgt. Gerry M. Amundson, first sergeant, BSRF-11.

“We are not only here teaching but learning how every country does what they do so we can operate better as a multi-national force,” added the Port Townsen, Wash., native.

….

The two-week courses focus on advising in core-values of the Marine NCO, small-unit leadership, decision-making ability, leadership traits, leading troops and military professionalism and proficiency. In most cases, the Marines conduct their training to NCO instructors from foreign militaries to supplement already existing leadership training programs.

The most recent training was conducted in Bulgaria, where Marines advised Bulgarian NCO instructors from the Bulgarian Land Forces NCO College.

The Marines have been traveling around the Black Sea, Balkan and Caucasus regions of Eastern Europe since April providing the NCO development course to the participating Eastern European countries who have requested it. They have conducted NCO-development training with Romania, Serbia, Azerbaijan and Bulgaria with future stops in Georgia, Ukraine, Bosnia and Macedonia.

Black Sea Rotational Force is a rotational deployment of Marines to the Black Sea, Balkan and Caucasus regions of Eastern Europe to participate in security cooperation to build military capacity, provide regional stability, and develop lasting partnerships with nations in the region. BSRF-11 will be operating as a Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force until September of this year.

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Israel’s Netanyahu, Military Follow U.S. And NATO Into Bulgaria

http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=130022

Sofia News Agency
July 7, 2011

Bulgaria, Israel to Ink Deals on Defense Cooperation, Joint Military Drills
Defense

Bulgaria and Israel are going to hammer our agreements for close cooperation in defense, their Prime Ministers Boyko Borisov and Benjamin Netanyahu announced after the historic joint sitting of their Cabinets in Sofia.

After the joint sitting on Thursday, the governments of Bulgaria and Israel signed several bilateral agreements in fields such as economy, agriculture, and culture; bilateral deals in defense, however, are still being hammered out.

“We have not signed any defense agreements today but we are about to sign two agreements in defense and defense systems, and potentially on joint military drills. Negotiations are going on at the moment so when they become ready we will inform you,” Borisov told journalists during his joint news conference with Netanyahu in Sofia.

The Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, who was praised in Sofia by then Director of Mossad Meir Dagan in October 2010, assessed highly the cooperation between Bulgaria and Israel in the field of defense, security, and intelligence.

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http://www.sofiaecho.com/2011/07/06/1118714_impressive-co-operation

Sofia Echo
July 6, 2011

‘Impressive co-operation’
By Clive Leviev-Sawyer

Bulgaria is an important country for Israel for a wide range of reasons – and the visit by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and an eihgt-strong Cabinet team is evidence of the intensity of bilateral relations, ambassador Noah Gal Gendler told The Sofia Echo on the eve of the visit.

“Since the Government headed by Prime Minister Boiko Borissov was established, in the past three years, President Georgi Purvanov has visited Israel, President Shimon Peres has visited Bulgaria, and now the Prime Minister of Israel is coming to Bulgaria with eight of his ministers, almost half of our Government,” Gal Gendler says.

The last time an Israeli head of government visited Bulgaria was in 1991, when then-prime minister Yitzhak Shamir was here. The July 2011 visit is of an entirely different scale, of a government-to-government scale that Israel normally shares only with countries such as the United States, France, Italy and Germany; in relations with Jerusalem, it is a first for Bulgaria.

More evidence of excellent relations is in the significant number of ministerial visits, with Israel’s ministers of national infrastructure, social welfare, internal security and foreign affairs having been to Sofia and Bulgaria’s ministers of foreign affairs, social welfare, interior and agriculture having been to Israel.

The visit by Prime Minister Netanyahu – who has been to Bulgaria before as a deputy foreign minister and who continues to hold Bulgaria in high regard – will see important agreements signed: on military co-operation, research and development in the private sector and an amendment to the agreement on protection on private investments.

The military co-operation agreement will allow shared use of Bulgarian military facilities and air space for Israeli air force training exercises, to the benefit of both air forces.

Taken together, the three agreements will cover all necessary requirements for high-tech co-operation in civil and military areas.

Further agreements are in the works, with negotiations ongoing, including on co-operation in communication technologies, a maritime agreement, an Open Sky aviation agreement, cinema co-production and a programme for co-operation in education, culture and science.

“It is important to say that now all issues related to our bilateral relations are on the table. We can talk about everything: co-operation in economic affairs, technology, culture, political, military and defence co-operation.” He adds: “We see Bulgaria as a friendly country, even one that is a similar size to our own; we understand each other and so we can do a lot together”.

There is a further strategically important element in bilateral relations.

“Bulgaria, for us, is not only a part of the European Union but also a gateway to the Balkans. Given that Israel does not have diplomatic representation in all of the countries of the Balkans, Bulgaria is able to assist us a great deal in relations with the countries of the region.”

Economic matters

Israeli investments in Bulgaria, directly through Israeli companies or through Israeli-owned companies registered in other states in Europe, adds up to an estimated 1.5 billion euro.

“Mainly in real estate and construction – we have, in Bulgaria, more than 10 malls, logistics centres, business centres and thousands of apartments that either belong to or were built by Israelis. We are very satisfied with these numbers but at the same time, it’s not enough.”

Plans are to extend the scope of activities, mainly in investment in the field of medical services and high-tech co-operation “but when I talk about high-tech I am not talking about producing modems or computers, I am talking about R and D – laboratories, making connections among companies in the US, in Israel and in Bulgaria”.

With Israel’s finance minister participating in the visit, the country’s eagerness to share its experiences with Bulgaria will be borne out in talks with Bulgaria’s Finance Minister Simeon Dyankov.

Israel is negotiating with Greece and Cyprus about the development of a new natural gas system in the Middle East, Mediterranean and South Eastern Europe and “Bulgaria will definitely be part of this,” Gal Gendler says.

Ambition and optimism are the order of the day, from a bold plan based on an idea by President Peres, to bring together Israeli know-how, international money and Bulgarian resources to make this country the grain powerhouse of Europe, to the ambition to follow up the Netanyahu visit with an equivalent visit by Bulgaria in 2012.

“There is impressive co-operation between our two states and our two peoples,” Gal Gendler says.

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Georgia: Pentagon And NATO MIlitary Outpost In The Caucasus

http://www.mod.gov.ge/index.php?page=77&lang=1&type=1&Id=1071

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
July 6, 2011

Awarding Ceremony

The awarding ceremony to the military servicemen of the III Infantry Brigade of the Georgian Armed Forces has been held in Kutaisi today. “For participating in the international peacekeeping mission”, service and state rewards were granted to the 32nd Battalion and Infantry Company personnel participated in the ISAF mission. Defence Minister of Georgia Bacho Akhalaia, the leadership of GAF [Georgian Armed Forces] and a son of Colonel Ramaz Gogishvili deceased in Afghanistan awarded the soldiers.

1,019 military servicemen received Medals for participating in the international mission. Four soldiers were awarded by Vakhtang Gorgasali the III rank Order and 122 military servicemen were granted the state and service medals.

Georgia is one of the largest contributors per capita to the ISAF military operation ongoing under the aegis of NATO in Afghanistan. Initially, up to 50 military servicemen were deployed in the peacekeeping mission in 2004…Since November 16, 2009 the Georgian Peacekeeping Company has been undergoing the mission in Kabul as a part of the French peace contingent at the military base “Warehouse” of the Regional Command’s HQs.

From April of 2010, a total of 750 military servants of the 31st Infantry Battalion of the III Infantry Brigade of the GAF were sent to the province of Helmand, a southern province of Afghanistan.

The Georgian peace contingent was carrying out there a full spectrum of security operations side by side with the US military forces.

During November of 2010, the 31st Battalion, deployed in Afghanistan, was rotated by the 32nd Battalion of III Infantry Brigade. The 32nd Battalion returned in Georgia in May 2011.

Both battalions underwent 6 month intensive training in the Krtsanisi Training Center under the guidance of the Expeditionary Brigade of US Marine Corps.

The Battalion personnel also went through preparation in the US Joint Multinational Readiness Center (JMRC) based in the German city of Hohenfels. Georgian soldiers` preparedness level to engage in particular peace support operations in Afghanistan was positively evaluated by both the Center’s experts and the Trainers and Advisors Group of US marines.

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New NATO-EU Adjunct: Weimar Triangle Combat Group

http://www.thenews.pl/1/10/Artykul/51073,Weimar-Triangle-initiates-special-military-unit

Polish Radio
July 5, 2011

Weimar Triangle initiates special military unit

John Beauchamp: Polish, French and German soldiers will join forces to create a special military unit, following the signing of an agreement in Brussels.

The so-called Weimar Combat Group (Weimarska Grupa Bojowa) will comprise of 1,700 soldiers, and is due to be be fully operational in 2013.

According to Major General Janusz Bojarski, Polish representative for the NATO military committee and the EU, the unit will be a strategic reserve of the EU, capable of taking up rapid response tasks.

“They will be appointed to perform any operations that might arise,” he revealed to Polish Radio. “The combat group could be activated in practically every crisis which the European Union finds itself in,” he continued.

“Such a situation could arise today or tomorrow, we cannot know when, but we must have some military instrument which will allow us to react to crisis situations,” Bojarski commented.

The unit takes its name from the Weimar Triangle, a political grouping of France, Germany and Poland that was formed in 1991 following the collapse of the Iron Curtain.

Following the signing of the agreement, specifics will now be finalised by experts from the three countries in question.

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Afghan Guard Slays Two NATO Soldiers

http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/southasia/news/article_1650148.php/Two-NATO-soldiers-killed-in-shootout-with-Afghan-bodyguard

Deutsche Presse-Agentur
July 9, 2011

Two NATO soldiers killed in shootout with Afghan bodyguard

Kabul: Two NATO soldiers were killed and another injured in a shootout with a bodyguard for an official from a local intelligence agency in Afghanistan’s northern province of Panjshir on Saturday, an Afghan official said.

Deputy governor of Panjshir, Abdul Rahman Kabiri, confirmed the incident, saying the man stationed at the office of the National Directorate for Security had fired at the NATO Provincial Reconstruction Team members.

‘As a result, two soldiers were killed and another one injured.’

The injured soldier killed the man, who had been employed as a bodyguard for an NDS official, Kabiri said.

The soldiers were immediately evacuated by military helicopter from the district, he said.

‘We can confirm there has been a shooting incident involving ISAF soldiers in Panjshir province,’ said Major Tim James, spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.

‘There are also been casualties on ISAF side,’ he said, without elaborating.

Afghan security guards have killed at least 57 coalition troops since 2007. This year alone, there has been at least eight incidents involving Afghan security personnel and Western allies.

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Pakistani Retaliation Silences NATO Guns At Border

http://nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Politics/09-Jul-2011/Pak-retaliation-silences-Nato-guns-at-border

The Nation
July 9, 2011

Pak retaliation silences Nato guns at border

-So far 55 security personnel had been killed and many more sustained injures in five cross-border attacks. These attacks had been carried out in Upper Dir, the Bajaur Agency and the Mohmand Agency in a month’s time.

NORTH WAZIRISTAN: Sixteen mortar shells fired from Afghanistan fell near a Pakistani military checkpost in North Waziristan on Friday. However, no casualty was reported in the incident.

The shells, fired by Nato-led forces, landed near the Wai post at Tehsil Ghulam Khan in North Waziristan Agency. Security officials said that these rockets were fired from the border Afghan province of Khost.

The Pakistani forces in the area returned the fire, due to which Nato and Afghan forces stopped firing rockets at Wai checkpost, which is situated a few kilometres from the border.

It is worth mentioning that the latest incident of rockets fired from inside Afghanistan has taken place a day after Pakistani, Afghan and Nato military officials had met in Peshawar, where they discussed cross-border attacks.

So far 55 security personnel had been killed and many more sustained injures in five cross-border attacks. These attacks had been carried out in Upper Dir, the Bajaur Agency and the Mohmand Agency in a month’s time.

Agencies add: Official sources said that shelling was carried out by Nato forces from the Afghan side of the border.

Residents were quoted as saying that around 18 mortar shells landed near a security forces checkpost.

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NATO Tankers Attacked In Pakistan

http://www.thenews.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=18380

News International
July 18, 2011

Firing on three NATO oil tankers

MASTUNG: Miscreants opened fire on three NATO oil tankers along the Quetta-Sibi section Friday. Thousands of litres of petrol was spilled away.

According to details, three oil tankers were heading towards Afghanistan today. When these reached Kirri Dhor in Tehsil Dasht along the Quetta-Sibi section of national highway, miscreants opened fire on them. Bullets made holes in the tankers and the entire oil was spilled.

There was no report of any casualty or human loss. Miscreants ran away from the scene.

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Arctic: One Of World’s Main Geostrategic Centers

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/07/09/52998014.html

Voice of Russia
July 9, 2011

Area of enhanced responsibility

The protection of national interests and cooperation in the Arctic, as well as the delimitation of Polar Regions, has come under active discussion this past week. The NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has warned against unleashing a new cold war in the Arctic [sic]. Russia has again opted for peace dialogue. This country hopes that the expedition aboard the Academician Fyodorov research vessel that started on Monday will help ensure a fair border demarcation in the Arctic. The Voice of Russia has more.

In recent years, the Arctic has become one of the main geopolitical centres, says the Director of the Centre for European Security Tatyana Parkhalina in an interview with the Voice of Russia, and elaborates.

“Some countries grew keenly interested in the Arctic some five or six years ago,” Tatyana Parkhalina says. “The interest was prompted by global climate change and Arctic snow melting. Also, the region boasts important mineral resources. Those that are mostly interested are, of course, the Arctic states, of which Russia is one. NATO held a conference on the development of the Arctic in Reykjavik three years ago.”

New technologies likewise boost interest in the Arctic, since now it is possible to mine for hydrocarbons from the Arctic Seabed, (the region boasts at least a quarter of world deposits of hydrocarbons), and also o lay new cheaper sea routes. Great profits will shape an altogether different policy, one that may result in a military standoff, says the editor-in-chief of the National Defence magazine Igor Korotchenko, and elaborates.

“Global warming,” Igor Korotchenko says, “may result in new large ice-free water areas that could be used for free passage via the Arctic Ocean and for minimizing shipping costs. But internationally, Arctic territories are disputed, so the Arctic countries are building up their military might in the region. The United States, Canada and other polar states have drastically galvanized their effort to that end. Even China has been sending icebreaker expeditions to the Arctic now and again.”

China says it will commission a second icebreaker in 2013 to send expeditions to the Arctic and the Antarctic. Japan, Malaysia and Thailand have also shown interest in the Arctic and have even tried to impose their own terms of interaction in the region, says the Head of the Centre for North European and Baltic Research of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s MGIMO University, Lev Voronkov, and elaborates.

“The non-Arctic countries have no legal basis to claim the continental shelf,” Lev Voronkov says, “still they are eager to get their own piece of cake, so they are trying to create a new legal status for the Arctic, similar to the one that’s in effect in the Antarctic, – international governance. But this is at variance with the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Under the Convention, it is only the coastal countries that have the right to the adjacent continental shelf.”

The recent developments prove the need for Russia’s speedy consolidation of the right to the part of the region that this country lays claim to. Under international law, it is only water from the Kola Peninsula to the Arctic Pole to the Bering Strait that Russia has the right to at present.

The Academician Fyodorov expedition will now have to prove that Russia also has the right to the shelf and therefore to the entrails. The expedition will last for two months, during which time scientists on board the vessel will take seismic measurements to determine the thickness of bed deposits. The results of the research, as well as those of last year’s expedition will underlie the report that Russia will submit to the United Nations in 2014 as a claim to the shelf. But Russia already has sufficient evidence to prove the possession of the shelf, since the issue was studied in Soviet times, says Professor, Doctor of Geology and Mineralogy Igor Davidenko, and elaborates.

“Back in 1984,” Igor Davidenko says, “the Soviet Union made public a map showing that two ridges are the continuation of our continent. This can be disputed now because a lot of water has flowed under the bridge since. But the right of primogeniture should be proven. We should lift earth material samples and compare them with those on the US and Greenland shores. And thus prove that the Lomonosov ridge is part of the Siberian structure.”

But it is not impossible that the world community may delay recognition of Russia’s right to the shelf. It already did so once, back in 2001, alleging the lack of evidence. Tatyana Parkahlina feels that this is due to the fact that the world traditionally grows cautious whenever Russia grows active.

“Russia has tried to establish its presence in the region, Tatyana Parkhalina says, by sending expeditions there. But the world community is afraid of a military and political development of the region.”

This past week has offered another graphic example of the western countries’ stand on Russia. First, the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said that the development of Arctic territories was one of Russia’s priorities.

“Russia will clearly build up its presence in the Arctic,” Vladimir Putin says. “We are open for dialogue with our neighbours in the Arctic region, of course, but we will defend our geopolitical interests firmly and consistently. We will set up border infrastructure, weather forecasting stations, as well as systems to monitor nature and bio-resources in the region.”

Putin also said Russia would add two more military brigades to the existing one in the Arctic. Canada responded in a matter of days by saying it would hold large-scale war games in the Arctic in August. This prompted some experts to describe the situation as the outbreak of another “Arctic”-cold war…

At present, Russia as an Arctic nation boasts a number of strategic advantages, such as a powerful icebreaker fleet that also comprises six nuclear-powered icebreakers; such as seaports and the entire required infrastructure to explore and develop the Arctic. The Northern Sea Route is Russia’s national asset and the shortest way from Europe to Asia. For this reason, Russia will play the core role in an Arctic settlement.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Samuel Taylor Coleridge: All our dainty terms for fratricide

July 9, 2011 1 comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Samuel Taylor Coleridge: War and all its dread vicissitudes pleasingly agitate their stagnant hearts

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Samuel Taylor Coleridge
From Fears in Solitude (1798)

Secure from actual warfare, we have loved
To swell the war-whoop, passionate for war!
Alas! for ages ignorant of all
Its ghastlier workings, (famine or blue plague,
Battle, or siege, or flight through wintry snows,)
We, this whole people, have been clamorous
For war and bloodshed; animating sports,
The which we pay for as a thing to talk of,
Spectators and not combatants! No guess
Anticipative of a wrong unfelt,
No speculation on contingency,
However dim and vague, too vague and dim
To yield a justifying cause; and forth,
(Stuffed out with big preamble, holy names,
And adjurations of the God in Heaven,)
We send our mandates for the certain death
Of thousands and ten thousands! Boys and girls,
And women, that would groan to see a child
Pull off an insect’s leg, all read of war,
The best amusement for our morning meal!
The poor wretch, who has learnt his only prayers
From curses, who knows scarcely words enough
To ask a blessing from his Heavenly Father,
Becomes a fluent phraseman, absolute
And technical in victories and defeats,
And all our dainty terms for fratricide;
Terms which we trundle smoothly o’er our tongues
Like mere abstractions, empty sounds to which
We join no feeling and attach no form!
As if the soldier died without a wound;
As if the fibres of this godlike frame
Were gored without a pang; as if the wretch,
Who fell in battle, doing bloody deeds,
Passed off to Heaven, translated and not killed;
As though he had no wife to pine for him,
No God to judge him! Therefore, evil days
Are coming on us, O my countrymen!
And what if all-avenging Providence,
Strong and retributive, should make us know
The meaning of our words, force us to feel
The desolation and the agony
Of our fierce doings?

Categories: Uncategorized

Updates on Libyan war/Stop NATO news: July 8, 2011

July 8, 2011 2 comments

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112-Day War: 14,281 NATO Sorties, 5,388 Combat Missions Over Libya

NATO Warplanes Target Libyan Oil Depots

NATO Bombing In Libya Leads To Drawn-Out War, More Civilian Deaths

NATO Enlists More Member States For Lengthening Libyan War

Videos And Text: NATO Bombs Libyan Civilians, Plans Ground Operation

Libyan War: The Rising Voice Of Reason

How Many Wars Are Too Many?

An African Solution

Horn Of Africa: Japan Opens Military Base In Djibouti

Germany’s Tank Deal With Saudi Arabia Violates Final Taboo

Senegal: Western Client Regime Deploys Army Against Protesters

Shanghai Cooperation Organization Opposes U.S. Missile Shield Plans

NATO, Afghan Forces Fire 18 Mortar Rounds Into Pakistan

Pakistan: 40th U.S. Drone Strike Of The Year Kills At Least Six

Report: U.S. To Sign Missile Shield Agreement With Turkey

NATO-Russia Missile Defense Talks Stall

Russian Bombers Patrol Skies Over Pacific, Sea Of Japan

Japan Scrambles Jet Fighters To Intercept Russian Bombers

Emerging Security Challenges: NATO Says Azerbaijan Reliable Partner

Syria Accuses U.S. Ambassador Of Interfering In Internal Affairs

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112-Day War: 14,281 NATO Sorties, 5,388 Combat Missions Over Libya

http://www.aco.nato.int/resources/3/documents/Libya%20update%20July%2011/20110708_110708-oup-update%5B1%5D.pdf

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
July 8, 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, 06.00GMT) a total of 14,281 sorties, including 5,388 strike sorties, have been conducted.

Sorties conducted 07 JULY: 134

Strike sorties conducted 07 JULY:46

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NATO Warplanes Target Libyan Oil Depots

http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Energy-Resources/2011/07/08/NATO-forces-hit-Libyan-oil-depots/UPI-57381310122286/”>http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Energy-Resources/2011/07/08/NATO-forces-hit-Libyan-oil-depots/UPI-57381310122286/

United Press International
July 8, 2011

NATO forces hit Libyan oil depots

BRUSSELS: NATO forces for the first time since the conflict struck Libyan oil facilities in an effort to cut off fuel supplies to Gadhafi loyalists, a commander said.

For the first time since the conflict began, NATO forces struck oil facilities at Brega as rebel fighters moved closer to Tripoli.

British navy Rear Adm. Russ Harding told London’s newspaper The Independent that…Targets included refueling depots, Harding said.

“By depriving Gadhafi of fuel we are depriving him of mobility,” said Harding. “We have seen his forces drive deep down into the desert to pick up supplies, pick up ammunition.”

The Libyan conflict shuttered a major African oil supplier, prompting the International Energy Agency to order its members to release emergency oil stockpiles.

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NATO Bombing In Libya Leads To Drawn-Out War, More Civilian Deaths

http://usa.mediamonitors.net/content/view/full/87770

Media Monitors Network
July 8, 2011

NATO bombing in Libya leads to drawn-out war, more civilian deaths
by Rachelle Marshall

The U.S. is now actively at war in four countries, counting the covert operations in Yemen and Pakistan, and maintains a sizable army in Iraq. All of these wars, like those of the past, were begun for purportedly noble purposes such as combatting terrorists, spreading democracy or protecting civilians. After 10 years of continuous warfare, however, only one of these aims has been accomplished — the killing of master terrorist Osama bin Laden — and meanwhile the U.S. has gained an expanded military presence in the region that is likely to become permanent.

NATO’s expanded interpretation of a U.N. mandate to intervene in Libya to protect civilians has increased, not lessened, the number of civilian deaths. An intensive bombing campaign directed at Col. Muammar Qaddafi’s army enabled his opponents to maintain a foothold in the city of Misurata, which Qaddafi’s forces then subjected to constant shelling, with hundreds more deaths as a result. Qaddafi has repeatedly offered a cease-fire only to be turned down.

President Barack Obama’s prediction of a bloodbath if NATO did not intervene was disputed by Prof. Alan J. Kuperman of the University of Texas, who wrote in the April 14 Boston Globe that until Misurata came under siege, Libyan soldiers were targeting only rebel fighters. His statement was backed up by Human Rights Watch, which found that no bloodbaths or arbitrary killings took place in the cities recaptured by Qaddafi’s troops.

In any case, bombing populated areas is hardly a way to prevent civilian casualties. NATO’s repeated bombing of Qaddafi’s family compound in Tripoli in late April killed Qaddafi’s son and three grandchildren, all under 4, and angered even Qaddafi’s enemies. Administration officials said the intent was not to kill the Libyan leader but to “change his calculus” and force him to surrender.

Whatever their intent, the allies agreed that Qaddafi had to go. “It’s a non-negotiable demand,” said State Department spokesman Mark Toner in rejecting a proposal by the African Union for a cease-fire and the promise of reforms to Qaddafi’s regime. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stressed that nothing could be resolved without “the departure of Qaddafi from power and from Libya.”

The administration has yet to suggest a possible successor to Qaddafi. A State Department official praised his opponents as “a group of disparate individuals that has formed in the face of Colonel Qaddafi’s onslaught and oppression and has done a good job at coalescing, at forming a leadership, at creating certain values, and communicating those values and ideals.”

But in the same week, New York Times reporters in Benghazi described the rebels as “a ragtag, undisciplined force,” prone to firing high-explosive munitions repeatedly and indiscriminately, causing numbers of unnecessary casualties. The rebels could not even agree on which of two squabbling generals was their top officer. One of the rival generals, Abdul Fattah Younes, only recently defected from the Qaddafi regime. The other, Khalifa Hifter, returned from exile in suburban Virginia, where he was in frequent communication with the CIA. Both claimed to be in charge.

“I control everybody, the rebels and the regular army forces,” Hifter said on April 18. “I am the field commander.” A member of the rebels’ civilian leadership, the Transitional National Council, disagreed, saying, “This is not true. General Younes is over him for sure, and General Hifter is under him.” There is no way to check. The Council is self-appointed, and most of its members’ names are kept secret for security reasons.

The U.N.’s limited mandate, the rebels’ disorganization, and Qaddafi’s ability to resist indicate that there can be no military solution. NATO’s policy of waiting until Qaddafi weakens is ill-advised, according to Tomas Valasek, a defense expert at the Center for European Reform. “It may take everyone longer to realize that this is as far as military force takes us,” he said. “Unless we want a divided Libya we need to sit down and negotiate.”

Given NATO’s recent decision to escalate the bombing, negotiations are likely to be a long way off.

As the Obama administration wages war in Libya ostensibly to protect civilians, it continues to send arms to Bahrain, where King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa clamped down on peaceful protests by placing the country under martial law and calling in a 2,000-man army mobilized by Saudi Arabia. Over a thousand people in Bahrain, including dozens of medical workers, have been jailed and reportedly tortured, and clinics that serve the poor forced to close.

Criticism of the government is grounds for shutting down newspapers and political parties and arresting journalists. Bahrainis who call for moderate reforms are prosecuted for incitement. By mid-April at least four people had died in police custody, their bodies found covered with bruises. Others have disappeared.

More Difficult Challenges

Obama faces still more difficult choices in his war against the Taliban, who are deeply entrenched in large areas of Afghanistan. The more than 10 -year hunt for al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden ended on May 1, when U.S. commandoes, acting on information obtained from a prisoner in one of the CIA’s “black sites,” cornered him in a compound deep inside Pakistan and shot him to death. But a war launched in 2001 to eliminate the perpetrators of 9/11 has since taken on more amorphous goals, and obstacles to a NATO victory have multiplied rather than decreased.

Night raids that killed at least 80 civilians last year continue to enrage villagers and gain recruits for the Taliban. The escape in late April of nearly 500 prisoners from Afghanistan’s largest prison was evidence that the Taliban had infiltrated even the prison guards. In the past two years 48 NATO troops have been killed by Afghan soldiers.

A major source of anti-American resentment both in Afghanistan and Pakistan are the drone missile attacks that have greatly increased since Obama took office. Geoff Simons in the April-May issue of The Lind cites a 2009 study by Daniel Byman, senior fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, that concluded that an average of 10 civilians to one Taliban fighter were being killed by drones. On April 22, just after top Pakistani military officials again pleaded for a halt in the attacks, a U.S. missile killed five children and four women.

The fact that bin Laden was found living in Pakistan is certain to deepen U.S. mistrust of the Pakistani military, and increase existing tensions between the two countries. Obama’s recent appointment of Gen. David Petraeus to head the CIA, which controls the drone flights, is hardly likely to please the Pakistanis, who resent the CIA’s presence in their country and, unlike Petraeus, favor efforts to achieve reconciliation with the Taliban and its allies in the border region. Both groups have worked closely with the Pakistani military in the past and could be counted on for help in a conflict with India.

Pakistan’s leaders also have reason to fear that continuation of an unpopular war could bring on the kind of revolts that have occurred in Arab countries. Huge income disparities, the lack of government services, and official corruption that have caused upheavals elsewhere are even more severe in Pakistan.

“We don’t know what the Americans’ endgame is,” a Pakistani security official once complained. It is now evident that Washington’s endgame is to withdraw some 33,000 troops from Afghanistan starting in August, but keep others permanently in the country. The administration has begun talks with the Afghan government on forming a Strategic Partnership Declaration that would allow American soldiers to remain indefinitely. Mrs. Clinton described the proposed arrangement as “a long-term framework for our bilateral cooperation.” Others might call a military agreement between the world’s most powerful nation and one of its poorest, a plan for permanent occupation.

“There was a time when the Americans were struggling to find one base in Central Asia,” a regional diplomat noted. “Here is a place where they can have all the bases they want, and Afghanistan is a place between two potential nuclear Islamic powers, Iran and Pakistan.” Petraeus told the Senate Armed Services Committee last March that “It’s important to stay engaged in a region in which we have such vital interests.” He failed to say what those interests are.

A NATO victory in Afghanistan has long been out of the question. The Partnership Declaration is likely to put peace out of reach as well. There is no way the Taliban will accept a permanent American presence as part of any peace agreement. The potential impasse is especially disturbing in view of a recent report published by New York University that suggests the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan was unnecessary.

The authors of the study, Profs. Alex van Linschoten and Felix Kuehn, say the Taliban had had no advance knowledge of the 9/11 attacks, and would have been more than willing to renounce al-Qaeda in return for guarantees of security. They offered to do so in 2002, as well as to take part in a process of political engagement and reconciliation. The Afghan government showed no interest, and arrested the Taliban member who came to Kabul to discuss the offer.

Still a Presence in Iraq

Americans will also remain in Iraq for the foreseeable future. Baghdad is the site of the largest U.S. embassy in the world, which the State Department plans to staff with 16,000 employees plus an army of civilian contractors to protect them. Military commanders are reportedly also looking into “creative ways” to keep at least 10,000 soldiers in Iraq indefinitely to promote stability and guard Iraq’s border with Iran.

One potential obstacle to this plan is Moqtada al-Sadr, a principal partner in the ruling government coalition who has vowed to renew insurgent warfare if any U.S. troops remain. What should worry Obama even more, however, is the nature of the Iraqi regime American forces will be protecting. Gates recently called Iraq “an extraordinary success story,” saying, “It’s new and it is a democracy.” The “democracy” Gates referred to is run by an autocrat, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who oversees the army and police and whose personal security force runs secret prisons where prisoners have been found brutally tortured.

Maliki has assumed the roles of minister of interior and defense, and recently took control of the agencies that run the central bank, conduct elections, and investigate corruption. Aliya Nasaif, an opposition member of parliament, commented, “This is the beginning of dictatorship. We are regressing by centuries.”

The “success” achieved by the U.S. in Iraq so far has consisted of replacing one tyrant with another, and transforming a modern state into a society plagued by unemployment, a shortage of electricity and clean water, and sectarian violence. Instead of spending more resources maintaining an occupation army, Obama would do better to help the Iraqi people repair the damage that war and occupation have brought to their country.

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NATO Enlists More Member States For Lengthening Libyan War

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-07/07/c_13972137.htm

Xinhua News Agency
July 7, 2011

NATO’s Libya campaign gets “additional contributions”

BRUSSELS:- NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said on Thursday that “quite a few” NATO countries had pledged more support for the military alliance’s mission in Libya.

“In this morning’s North Atlantic Council, quite a few allies made additional contributions to the mission, so in terms of staff and resources, we remain fully confident that all allies are continuing to contribute to this mission in the ways that they can,” Lungescu told a press briefing at NATO headquarters.

“They continue to support it both in terms of political will and contribution in assets and resources to see it through,” she said.

However, the spokeswoman declined to give more details.

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Videos/Text: NATO Bombs Libyan Civilians, Plans Ground Operation

http://rt.com/news/libya-nato-rebels-strikes/

RT
July 8, 2011

‘If NATO loses in Libya, the consequences will be enormous’ – lawyer

Video

NATO has denied a top Libyan official’s claims that they are intentionally using their airstrikes to assist rebel advances. Meanwhile, international lawyer Franklin Lamb claims that if NATO loses in Libya, it will face enormous financial consequences.

­Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim told the Associated Press on Thursday that NATO has intensified bombing during the last days is the “final phase” of NATO’s air campaign.

“The aim of these attacks is to help the rebels to advance,” he claimed, adding that it will be civilians who will pay the price. “But I assure you, it will be another failure for them.”

Meanwhile, Franklin Lamb, from the Americans Concerned for Middle East Peace organization, says NATO will pay a price as well – in financial losses.

“If NATO loses, the consequences are enormous,” he said. “There are enormous – trillion dollar – financial consequences for those NATO member countries that are seen as aggressors and invaders here.”

But Lamb suggested that NATO will not launch a ground operation because of the potential for civilian casualties and because of negative international opinion.

“The only thing they can do to possibly achieve victory is assassinate Gaddafi – and to do that, they might have to come in on the ground,” he argued. “I do not think this is going to happen. I think it would be a disaster. They cannot take the casualties and world opinion that would result from an invasion.”

A spokesman for the NATO military operation in Libya, Wing Commander Mike Bracken, insisted the alliance is not involved in ground battles. NATO is tracking the fighting between rebels and Gaddafi forces, though the main aim is protection of civilians, Bracken stressed.

NATO said Saturday it has begun ramping up its airstrikes on military targets in western Libya, where rebels are advancing through territory still largely controlled by Gaddafi’s forces.

On Wednesday, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen reported that the alliance had targeted more than 2,700 military targets in Libya since its campaign there began.

“The momentum is against Gaddafi, his economic strength to sustain war is declining, his generals and ministers are deserting, the international community has turned against him,” he claimed. “For Gaddafi, the game is over.”

Meanwhile, a delegation of Libyan tribal representatives arrived in Egypt’s capital on Thursday to negotiate with rebel leaders.

The people in Libya, meanwhile, are preparing for a possible ground invasion, Lamb said.

“Over a million have been armed. I have seen women, some older than 60 and one woman, 70, training. I think we are going to see a popular militia, a popular army emerge from the neighborhood if there is an invasion,” Lamb stated.

Andrew Gavin Marshall from the Center for Research on Globalization says that a ground invasion is quite likely, and that the process is already underway.

“There have been certain Western ground forces in Libya since before the NATO bombardment,” he said. “In early March the CIA, MI6 from Britain, special forces from both the UK and US were on the ground. And in April, France, Italy and the US agreed to send military advisers into Libya. And this drew a lot of parallels to Vietnam. First military advisers were sent, later the troops followed.”

He added that according to some reports, “a full-scale ground invasion [by the West] is being discussed. It may even be launched within the next few weeks. Other military sources in the US said they are preparing for the ground invasion by October.”

====

Libyan War: The Rising Voice Of Reason

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/2011-07/08/content_12859232.htm

China Daily
July 8, 2011

Rising voice of reason
By Huang Shejiao*

The African Union should take a leading role in the continent’s affairs and in finding a peaceful solution to the Libya crisis

Since the beginning of this year Africa has entered an eventful period. The Republic of Cote d’Ivoire underwent a post-election crisis; South Sudan will officially declare separation on July 9 after a national referendum on independence; the presidents of Tunisia and Egypt stepped down; domestic clashes inside Libya invited continuing air strikes from NATO; and Somalia, which has been in anarchy for two decades, was once again listed as the No 1 “failed state” by the United States for the fourth consecutive year.

All these have had a negative impact on Africa’s political and economic development, resulting in unprecedented challenges for the African Union (AU), which held its 17th summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea from June 23 to July 1.

Though the theme of the summit was “Accelerating Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development”, with Libya still in turmoil the AU cannot justify itself if it did not discuss the ongoing conflict in Libya and clearly express its position in safeguarding African interests.

To be fair, over the past six months, the AU has made unremitting mediation efforts and tried to restrain the warfare. After the UN Security Council approved a no-fly zone over Libya, forces from France, the United Kingdom and the United States launched air strikes against forces loyal to Muammar Gadhafi, causing civilian casualties and complicating the situation. The AU called for an immediate halt to the bombing as it went beyond the mandate of the UN Security Council and sought the beginning of negotiations.

As early as March 10, the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) charted a roadmap for peaceful resolution of the Libyan crisis. Later, the AU and some Western countries met with the two conflicting parties of Libya so as to reach a ceasefire as quickly as possible and start negotiations.

Taking advantage of the meetings of the Libyan Liaison Group held in Doha and Rome, and meetings with the EU Political and Security Committee and the UN Security Council, the AUPSC reiterated the need for an “African solution” to the conflict.

However, the US-led NATO forces are continuing air strikes against the government in Tripoli until Gadhafi relinquishes power.

From the beginning of the armed conflict, some Western leaders have been declaring that the Gadhafi regime had already lost “moral legitimacy” and he must step down. However, the continuation of outside military intervention has defeated the very purpose of the UN resolution to protect civilians and caused greater suffering for the Libyan people. The West is determined to remove Gadhafi at any cost and the International Criminal Court has now issued a warrant for Gadhafi’s arrest.

Through intervention in Libya some Western countries want to achieve their own purposes. First, to reverse the trend of the relationship between the West and Africa: Over the past 10 years, the AU has stressed the joint efforts of African countries in speaking with one voice and strengthening solidarity. At the past two EU-Africa summits, the AU held out against the West’s unreasonable demands for refusing the presence of the Sudanese and Zimbabwean presidents.

Second, some Western countries want to dominate African affairs in terms of the political process, economic development and external cooperation. Third, the West intends to indirectly suppress the cooperation between emerging economies and African countries, which is steadily growing.

In fact, the AU has perceived the West’s intentions. The extraordinary session of the AU held on May 25 expressed “surprise and disappointment” at the attempts to marginalize the continent and restrict its efforts to resolve the Libyan conflict.

Though some African countries support the position of the West, in general they adhere to a peaceful solution to the Libyan crisis. The proposal drafted at the summit that the Libyan government and the rebel Transitional National Council (TNC) hold transitional negotiations in Ethiopia is a move in line with Africa’s interests.

AU Commission Chairman Jean Ping said at the opening of the summit that the AU opposes the NATO operations against Libya and will continue to seek a political solution. Now the problem is that with the support of some Western countries Libya’s TNC does not accept the new AU framework for ending the conflict. The AU needs to make greater efforts to fulfill its leading role in African affairs.

*The author is a research scholar with the China International Studies Research Fund.

====

How Many Wars Are Too Many?

http://jacksonville.com/opinion/letters-readers/2011-07-07/story/guest-column-how-many-wars-are-too-many

Florida Times-Union
July 7, 2011

Guest column: How many wars are too many?
H. Thomas Hayden*

- News reports say that an overwhelming number of voters believe the U.S. is involved in too many foreign conflicts and should pull back its troops, according to a new poll conducted for The Hill.
They report that 72 percent of those polled said the United States is fighting in too many places, with only 16 percent saying the current level of engagement represented an appropriate level.

There seems to be a problem with math at The Washington Post, or maybe they do not count all wars that the U.S. is involved in.

Maybe they count only bad wars and the ones that are being called “good wars” do not count.

If my math is right, the U.S. is involved in five wars – count them: (1) Iraq, (2) Afghanistan, (3) Libya, (4) Yemen and (5) Somalia.

The Washington Post on June 28 referred to “two deeply unpopular wars.”

Maybe the others are “popular wars.”

We have Yemen, where we are using drones to hunt and kill al-Qaida members who are a large part of the rebels.

We have Libya, where we are funding or providing resources to NATO, not to mention the Navy in the Mediterranean flying reconnaissance missions.

And we have Somalia, where we have clandestine engagements to include providing funds, training and resources to the national government fighting the al Shabaab jihadists.

Even Gates does it

Defense Secretary Robert Gates responded in a recent interview: “There hasn’t exactly been time to be a bold visionary in the middle of two wars.”

If the focus has been on two wars, who is watching the others?

In January 2007, as the first 30,000 surge troops were heading toward Iraq, Gates scheduled a September review to evaluate whether the new war strategy and additional troops were producing tangible progress. He did the same thing again in Afghanistan.

However, before we get to the next review, the U.S. has already announced its withdrawal policy.

The White House policy decision to send 33,000 to Afghanistan has generally had a positive effect on bringing the war to a successful conclusion – no victory but possibly a successful political conclusion.

Sen. John McCain has predicted that the decision to have all surge troops out of Afghanistan before the next presidential election will result in the early exit from Afghanistan of all other coalition countries:

“We’re going to see a domino effect here of this announcement. No elected leader of our alliance is going to tell his people they’re staying when the Americans are going.”

Drones at war

Maybe it’s not fair to call it a war in Yemen because what’s new is that this will be a CIA drone attack program that is a massive escalation.

Then on Libya, the administration decided it had the legal authority to continue the U.S. military campaign in Libya without congressional approval over the objections of Justice Department and Pentagon lawyers, according to a recent article in The New York Times.

In Somalia in January 2007, the U.S. militarily interceded in Somalia for the first time since the United Nations deployment by conducting airstrikes using AC-130 gunships against Islamist positions.

Also, naval forces have deployed offshore to prevent support by sea. Just last week a U.S. drone aircraft fired on a convoy in southern Somalia carrying two senior members of al-Shabaab.

News reports say that an overwhelming number of voters believe the U.S. is involved in too many foreign conflicts and should pull back its troops, according to a new poll conducted for The Hill.

They report that 72 percent of those polled said the United States is fighting in too many places, with only 16 percent saying the current level of engagement represented an appropriate level. Twelve percent said they weren’t sure.

*H. Thomas Hayden of St. Marys, Ga., served for over 35 years in the Agency for International Development, Marine Corps, defense industry and the Pentagon. He has a blog on current events at http://www.poliquicks.com.

====

An African Solution

http://www.dawn.com/2011/07/08/african-solution.html

Dawn News
July 8, 2011

African solution

Although Libyan rebels, backed by Nato, continue to clash with Muammar Qadhafi`s forces in parts of the North African country, the situation has, for all practical purposes, reached a stalemate.

Thousands, including civilians, have been killed thus far on both sides since anti-regime demonstrations, inspired by the `Arab Spring`, broke out in February. Col Qadhafi has struck back with a vengeance, and the result has been a bitter civil war that threatens the unity of Libya.

In such a bleak scenario, a South Africa-led African Union peace initiative seems to be the best option to end hostilities. The AU does not support the Nato-led military campaign targeting Col Qadhafi`s forces, and South African President Jacob Zuma has recently stepped up efforts to broker a peace deal.

There are some indications — according to foreign diplomats — that Col Qadhafi may be willing to step down, a development that should placate the Libyan opposition. The South African foreign minister told a press conference in Pretoria…that the African Union should be given the “political space” to deal with the crisis, observing that the continental body is “central to any solution in Libya”.

We believe an African solution to an African problem is a far better alternative to reliance on military muscle. The colonel trusts South Africa as post-apartheid both countries have enjoyed cordial relations, unlike the Libyan strongman`s stormy relationships with the West and much of the Arab world.

He should commit to a time frame so that an exit strategy can be formulated. If there is indeed a negotiated settlement, Nato should respect the outcome. Overall, the AU has been quite active in trying to resolve Africa`s myriad crises, much more so than, say, the Arab League has been in trying to untangle the Arab world`s conflicts. In this, as in all other situations, a negotiated settlement should be preferred to force and the African Union should be allowed to bring Libya`s belligerents to the table to help resolve the crisis.

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Horn Of Africa: Japan Opens Military Base In Djibouti

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-07-08/japan-opens-military-base-in-djibouti-to-help-combat-piracy.html

Bloomberg News
July 8, 2011

Japan Opens Military Base in Djibouti to Help Combat Piracy
By Mohamed Osman Farah

Japan opened a military base in Djibouti that will be used to help combat piracy off the coast of the Horn of Africa, said Admiral Kenichi Kuramoto, commander of Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force.

Japan has about 600 people in the MSDF, 180 of whom will be stationed at the base near the main international airport in the capital, Djibouti City, Kuramoto said. He spoke at a ceremony yesterday attended by Djiboutian Prime Minister Mohamed Dileita Dileita and Japanese Senior Vice Defense Minister Katsuya Ogawa.

Japanese forces arrived in Djibouti in 2009 and have been stationed at Camp Lemonnier, the U.S. military base in Djibouti…

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Germany’s Tank Deal With Saudi Arabia Violates Final Taboo

http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,15216519,00.html

Deutsche Welle
July 7, 2011

Germany’s tank deal breaks last export taboo

Germany’s tank deal with Saudi Arabia has caused outrage, drawing criticism from across the political spectrum. But while the government maintains its silence, critics say it marks a sea change in arms export policy.

The anonymous Saudi source probably had no idea what trouble he was causing. On Monday, the informant told a Reuters reporter about Saudi Arabia’s deal to buy 200 2A7+ Leopard tanks from Germany.

The news caused outrage throughout Germany. Memories of Saudi troops suppressing Bahraini democracy protestors are still fresh, and the mood was not improved by a video posted to Youtube apparently showing how the 2A7+ can be used to break up demonstrations.

The video showed a German army demonstration of a prototype Leopard, and came complete with a voiceover explaining how the tank can be fitted with a water cannon.

Renke Brahms, peace commissioner for the Evangelical Church in Germany, told the Passauer Neuen Presse newspaper, “If German Leopard tanks are being used to clear barricades and suppress demonstrations, then we carry some responsibility for violating human rights.”

A new precedent

This deal with Saudi Arabia is significant for historical reasons…Germany has been exporting other weapons there for some time, and is also part of a much bigger deal to export Eurofighters to the country.

“Even Chancellor Gerhard Schröder’s government delivered patrol ships, military vehicles, machine pistols and sniper rifles there,” [Jürgen Grässlin, spokesman for the campaign “Action Outcry: Stop the Weapons Exports”] says. “Merkel’s government has exported even more weapons to Saudi Arabia, but with the export of the tanks the last taboo has been broken.”

“The tanks are different,” Grässlin explains. “By traditional thinking, the Leopard is a German combat tank, and the big companies involved in its manufacture are German – Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann.”

“In the history of the German arms trade, combat tank exports were always very controversial. Saudi Arabia has been asking for German tanks since the 1980s, but up until now all the German governments – from Chancellor Helmut Kohl onwards – have refused to allow them,” he added.

Why now?

It seems particularly egregious that Germany should suddenly approve a major sale of heavy weaponry to a Middle Eastern dictatorship when the region is in massive turmoil. Grässlin points out that, were it not for this week’s leak, reports of the exports would probably not have emerged until next year, which may have been a factor.

And Germany has large economic incentives for approving the deal, according to Mark Bromley, a researcher with the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). “The Free Democrats have argued that Germany is more restrictive than other European countries, and is missing out on business opportunities,” he told Deutsche Welle. “Also, Germany, like other European countries, is facing falling defense budgets, leaving less money for domestic procurement from industry. This may be leading to more pressure to find markets abroad.”

There is speculation, therefore, that Israel’s attitude to Saudi Arabia may have been changed by the “Arab Spring.” “It seems that with the German tank deal, there was contact with the Israeli government, so apparently objections weren’t raised,” says Bromley. “Obviously there’s a change in Germany, but presumably Israel has voiced opposition to these deals in the past and is not doing so now, so maybe there’s a re-calculation in Israel as well.”

Secret council

For the past few days, the German government has been avoiding questions about the deal, which was allegedly green-lit last week by the Federal Security Council, the cabinet sub-committee that deals with all arms exports. This committee, which meets behind closed doors, comprises Chancellor Angela Merkel, Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and other members of the cabinet.

According to official government policy, the council is supposed to veto all weapons deals with countries that have questionable human rights records. The principle, agreed by the cabinet in 2000, reads, “Armaments exports are categorically not approved if there is ‘sufficient suspicion’ that the armaments in question are being used for internal repression or other continuing and systematic human rights abuses.”

But Merkel, Westerwelle and de Maiziere have a perfect excuse for not answering awkward questions about the council’s decision – it would be illegal. According to government regulations, all cabinet sub-committee meetings are state secrets.

This allows the government to maintain silence in the face of vehement demands for information from opposition parties. In a parliamentary question and answer session on Wednesday, Hans-Joachim Otto, parliamentary state secretary at the Economics Ministry, said the Federal Security Council always met confidentially. “That is why the government cannot take a position on the press reports about the council’s alleged decisions. That has always been the case,” he said.

So far, the government has not yet confirmed that the Leopard deal even took place, but as Grässlin says, the fact that they have not denied it speaks volumes.

Author: Ben Knight
Editor: Rob Mudge

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Senegal: Western Client Regime Deploys Army Against Protesters

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/29/us-senegal-politics-idUSTRE75S31O20110629

Reuters
July 7, 2011

Senegal deploys army to halt anti-government riots
By Diadie Ba

DAKAR: Senegal said Wednesday it had deployed the army to help end a spate of riots that destroyed state buildings and left charred vehicles in the streets of the capital Dakar.

The normally tranquil West African country has been rocked by protests over power cuts that have catalyzed public anger against President Abdoulaye Wade…

“We mean business now,” Serigne Mbacke Ndiaye, a spokesman for Wade, told Reuters by telephone, confirming the deployment of the army around key sites in the city.

Another official said the deployment of the military would free up between 400 and 500 riot police and gendarmes to “deal with demonstrators” if needed.

Several soldiers armed with rifles guarded Dakar’s only tunnel, while others were seen posted at the coastal city’s African Renaissance Monument – a towering $27 million statue built by Wade in 2009, Reuters witnesses said.

Monday night thousands of demonstrators went on a rampage over power cuts that had lasted more than 30 hours in some neighborhoods, destroying the offices of state utility Senelec, looting other buildings and trashing cars.

Senegal has earned a reputation as West Africa’s most stable and democratic country but is seeing rising public frustration over worsening public services, particularly in power generation, since Wade took power in 2000.

Monday night’s riots followed anti-government protests last week after Wade tried to alter the constitution in a way his rivals said would make it easier for him to get re-elected in February polls.

During the protests, police in full riot gear were seen huddling in groups, some with their backs turned, under a rain of rocks thrown by demonstrators.

Senegal’s opposition is calling for Wade to bow out of the coming elections, but has condemned the looting.

(Editing by Richard Valdmanis and Richard Meares)

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Shanghai Cooperation Organization Opposes U.S. Missile Shield Plans

http://www.voanews.com/english/news/europe/Shanghai-Cooperation-Organization-Opposes-US-Missile-Defense-Plan-125165754.html

Voice of America News
July 7, 2011

Shanghai Cooperation Organization Opposes US Missile Defense Plan
André de Nesnera 

Washington: Russia continues to oppose U.S. plans for a ballistic missile defense system. We look at Moscow’s view and the position taken by a group known as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which includes Russia and China.

Defense system

For years, Russia has been very critical of U.S. plans for a ballistic missile defense system in Europe.

In 2009, President Barack Obama shelved a Bush administration proposal to station 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a radar facility in the Czech Republic.

Arms control expert Joseph Cirincione says the new plan is far more flexible.

“The U.S. is deploying a new system of anti-missile interceptors based on Aegis destroyers and cruisers,” he said. “But the plans for that system also include advanced land-based versions, some of which would be based in former Warsaw Pact countries, including Poland and Romania. And if those missiles achieve the capability the U.S. would like to see for them, they would have some capability to shoot down Russian long-range ballistic missiles – that worries Russia.”

Russian opposition

The United States has consistently stated that the ballistic missile defense plan is not aimed at Russia but is to defend against possible missile attacks from countries such as Iran.

Cirincione says there is another reason why Russia opposes the missile defense plan.

“Russia doesn’t like having such a strong U.S. presence on its borders – and it leads to suspicions,” he added.

“The U.S. presence in Afghanistan, in Iraq, the bases we have, the supply agreements we have with Uzbekistan and other countries,” continued Cirincione. “…Russia is very concerned about what it sees as a growing U.S. presence on its borders.”

Shanghai Cooperation Organization

Russia is part of a regional alliance known as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The other members are Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and China. Some experts say Russia sees the organization as a potential counter to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization – or NATO.

At its summit meeting last month, the six members criticized the missile defense shield, saying “it could harm strategic stability and international security.”

Chinese-Russian agreement

Marko Papic, analyst with STRATFOR, a private intelligence firm, says it is very significant that Moscow persuaded Beijing to sign a document opposing the U.S. ballistic missile defense plan – or BMD.

“The organization itself is not important. What’s important is that China is also voicing displeasure over the BMD. And it’s not doing so because it cares about what’s going on in Europe for Europe’s sake, but rather it shows that Beijing is worried that the BMD system in Europe could become a model – a strategic model – that the United States applies in other parts of the world, including in China’s neighborhood,” said Papic.

At the NATO summit in Lisbon last year, the United States and Russia agreed to collaborate on the issue of missile defense. Experts say while some progress has been made, Moscow is still fundamentally opposed to the U.S. missile defense plan.

Viktor Kremenyuk, a respected analyst at Moscow’s Institute for U.S. and Canada Studies, told Russian media that if Moscow and Washington do not agree on a joint missile shield, then Russia will turn to China for help.

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NATO, Afghan Forces Fire 18 Mortar Rounds Into Pakistan

http://nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Politics/08-Jul-2011/Afghan-NATO-forces-fire-rockets-into-Pakistan

The Nation
July 8, 2011

Afghan, NATO forces fire rockets into Pakistan

Afghan and NATO-led troops fired rockets into Pakistan’s tribal region of North Waziristan on Friday, causing no injuries.

Residents were quoted as saying that around 18 mortar shells landed near a security forces checkpost at Ghulam Khan border area, adding the security force returned fire.

The incident took place a day after Pakistani, Afghan and Nato military officials met in the Peshawar to discuss preventing repeat of cross border firing.

55 security personnel were killed and over 80 others injured in five cross border attacks in the Dir district and Bajaur and Mohmand tribal regions in a month time.

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Pakistan: 40th U.S. Drone Strike Of The Year Kills At Least Six

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-07/06/c_13967531.htm

Xinhua News Agency
July 6, 2011

6 killed in US drone strike in NW Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: At least six people were killed and five others injured in a US drone strike launched late Tuesday night in Pakistan’s northwest tribal area of North Waziristan, reported local TV channel Express.

According to the local media reports, the strike took place at about 11:00 p.m. local time when US drones fired four missiles at a house suspected of hiding militants in the Mir Ali area of North Waziristan.

Tuesday’s US drone strike is the 40th (counted on daily basis) of its kind in Pakistan since this year. To date, a total of 349 people have reportedly been killed in such strikes in 2011.

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Report: U.S. To Sign Missile Shield Agreement With Turkey

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/07/08/52941486.html

Voice of Russia
July 8, 2011

US to sign antimissile agreement with Turkey

According to the Washington Times, the United States is close to signing an agreement with Turkey on deploying its antimissile radar there.

The talks are due over next week, but so far it’s been unclear whether Washington has accepted Turkey’s demand that it should not share radar information with Israel, the US daily reports.

Earlier, the United States planned to deploy its ABM systems in the Czech Republic and Poland, but Russia strongly opposed the plans as threatening its national security.

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NATO-Russia Missile Defense Talks Stall

http://www.rbcnews.com/komment/komment.shtml

RosBusinessConsulting
July 8, 2011

Russian-NATO missile defense talks stall

Russia has failed to secure from NATO admission to a common anti-missile defense system in Europe. The Kremlin’s threats to deploy its own anti-missile shield and pull out of the treaty for further reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms (New START) backfired on Russia. During yesterday’s negotiations in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen politely showed Russia the door, saying that Russia can build its own anti-missile system, which is in NATO’s interests. Despite Russian Foreign Ministry’s faint hope for a continuation of cooperation, experts believe that the talks failed at this stage, although this is not likely to trigger a new arms race.

“We have failed to agree with NATO on a sectoral approach (to establishing a blanket anti-missile defense system),” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov admitted to journalists on Monday. NATO attributed its refusal to its mutual defense obligations arising from the Washington Treaty on the establishment of NATO, whereby the members of the alliance are to provide immediate assistance to each other in case of military attack.

Rasmussen called for two anti-missile defense systems, which would exchange information for more effective protection of NATO and Russian territories. NATO’s head also rejected Russia’s proposal to conclude an agreement guaranteeing that the two systems would not be targeted at one another.

Russia had to content itself with repeated verbal assurances that NATO’s missile shield would not be aimed at Russia.

Representatives of the Russian delegation declined to specify whether the issue of Russia’s abrogating New START was raised at the negotiations. Russia’s envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin spoke about this possibility prior to the negotiations.

Alexander Khramchikhin of the Moscow-based Institute for Political and Military Analysis commented on the results of the meeting “the Russian NATO Council has made no headway in the discussion of the anti-missile defense system”. The parties stick to their mutually exclusive positions and no one is prepared to make concessions, he added. The negotiations were deadlocked before the Sochi meeting, which once again showed that there is no opportunity to reach an agreement, he concluded.

A spokesperson for the Kremlin told RBC Daily that negotiations are in progress.

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Russian Bombers Patrol Skies Over Pacific, Sea Of Japan

http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c32/181944.html

Itar-Tass
July 8, 2011

Russia’s bombers patrol skies over Pacific, Sea of Japan

MOSCOW: Russia’s long-range aviation crews have patrolled skies over the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan, Air Force spokesman, Colonel Vladimir Drik told Itar-Tass on Friday.

“Two turboprop bombers Tu-95MS that had taken off from the Ukrainka air base in the Amur region successfully fulfilled their patrol tasks,” he said. “They flew over neutral waters in the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan. The crews mastered their skills of flying over an area without landmarks. The flight lasted around 11 hours.”

“At certain stages the long-range aviation bombers were escorted by Japan’s two F-15 and two F-2 jets,” he said.

“All flights of the Russian Air Force were carried out in strict compliance with the international rules on the use of the air space over neutral waters without violating other countries’ borders,” Drik said.

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Japan Scrambles Jet Fighters To Intercept Russian Bombers

http://en.trend.az/regions/world/russia/1902787.html

Deutsche Presse-Agentur
July 8, 2011

Japan scrambles jet fighters to intercept Russian bombers

The Japanese air force scrambled jet fighters to intercept a pair of Russian naval bombers patrolling over the northeast Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan, Russian officials said Friday, DPA reported.

The two Tu-95 turboprop bombers remained in international air space for their entire 11-hour flight, according to Defence MInistry spokesman Vladimir Drik.

Japan sent two-fighter pairs of F-15 and F-2 aircraft to intercept and then escort the Russian bombers over portions of the flight, and there was no conflict between the two sides, Drik said, the Interfax news agency reported.

Russia in 2007, after a 15-year halt, renewed long distance sea patrols by Tu-95 bombers. The flights have reached to the Aleutian Islands, Canada’s north coast, and sea space north of Iceland and Norway.

Tu-95 patrols to the edge of NATO airspace and their interception by NATO fighters were regular occurrence during the Cold War.

Frequently called a “Bear” by pilots, the Tu-95 is a long-range aircraft usually armed with anti-ship missiles. It main base in the Russian Far East is the Ukrainka airfield, near the Amur River.

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Emerging Security Challenges: NATO Says Azerbaijan Reliable Partner

http://en.trend.az/news/politics/1902483.html

Trend News Agency
July 8, 2011

NATO: Azerbaijan a reliable partner
M. Aliyev

Baku: At an event dedicated to the completion of “Project Saloglu,” NATO’s Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges Gabor Iklody said Azerbaijan is a reliable partner for NATO and that the Azerbaijan-Alliance relations will continue its further development.

Iklody is on visit to Baku and is attending an event to complete the “Saloglu Project” on cleaning unexploded ordnance. It is one of the largest conversion projects supported by NATO.

Iklody said the “Saloglu Project” was conducted by the Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action (ANAMA) at the highest level.

In the future, he said, another foundation will be created for further work on mine clearance in Azerbaijan.

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Syria Accuses U.S. Ambassador Of Interfering In Internal Affairs

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/07/08/52945373.html

Voice of Russia
July 8, 2011

Syria says US Ambassador interferes in internal affairs

The Syrian authorities have described the recent unwarranted visit of the city of Hama by the US Ambassador in Damascus as interference in the country’s internal affairs.

Hama has been the site of antigovernment protests in recent days.

The US State Department says in an explanation that Robert Ford arrived in Hama to voice solidarity with the protesters.

But the Syrian Foreign Ministry says the US Ambassador’s unauthorized presence in Hama amounts to inciting escalation of tension and is convincing evidence that the United States is involved in the ongoing events.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Militarization Of The Arctic

*****

Updates on Libyan war/Stop NATO news: July 7, 2011

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http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/07/07/52918275.html

Voice of Russia
July 7, 2011

Militarization of the Arctic
John Robles

Interview with Rick Rozoff, the manager of the Stop NATO website and mailing list and a contributing writer to Global Research.ca

Canada has announced that they will be conducting large-scale exercises in the Arctic. NATO also announced claims on the Arctic. What can you say about the militarization of the Arctic?

It’s something that has been under way, rather in earnest, for the last four years. What I think is most noteworthy is that Canadian Defence Minister Peter MacKay, while visiting his nation’s troops in Afghanistan last week, accompanied by the top military commander of Canada, Walter Natynczyk, who’s by the way being touted for a top NATO post – at least Canada is promoting that – mentioned this year‘s now annual Canadian “sovereignty exercises” in the Arctic Ocean codenamed Operation Nanook will be the largest to date, with at least a thousand Canadian military personnel participating.

Last year’s Operation Nanook was the largest to date at that time, which included 900 Canadian troops. But I think what’s even more revealing than the size of the Canadian contingent was that for the first time ever – and these exercises began in 2007 and were referred to as “sovereignty exercises” – they occurred directly in response to Russia renewing territorial claims in the Arctic Ocean, particularly using the Lomonosov and the Mendeleev Ridges to sustain their claim.

Do you know what the current status of the claimed zone of the Lomonosov Ridge is?

The claims have to be adjudicated in the United Nations. These were, in some sense, all but abandoned in the waning days of the former Soviet Union by the Mikhail Gorbachev administration. But Russia, over the last six or so years, has expressed renewed interest in the Arctic for a number of reasons.

There was a US geological survey perhaps two or three years ago that suggested that as much as 30% of hitherto undiscovered gas and 13% of oil resources exist in the Arctic Ocean.

So, there are natural resources that are involved. Of course, now, with the melting of the polar ice cap and the opening of the much-fabled Northwest Passage north of Canada, which connects the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans and would allow nations – China is one – to circumvent the Panama Canal or even longer journeys for commercial shipping and for the shipping of energy supplies, the Arctic is taking on increasing, not only economic, but, one can argue, geostrategic importance at the moment.

Russia is simply pursuing, as any nation could and should, I suppose, its national, economic and other interests in the Arctic.

But, as a response, Canada started holding regular military exercises in the Arctic – the Operation Nanook maneuvers. And last year, as I was going to mention, for the first time ever the exercises included the participation of militaries from other countries, and those two countries were the United States and Denmark.

The United States and Denmark along with the fifth claimant to the Arctic territory, Norway, are, of course, members of the North Atlantic treaty Organization.

Russia alone of Arctic claimants is not. And it’s ironic or revealing, as you will, that Denmark and the US are the only two countries that have direct territorial disputes with Canada: in the case of the US with the Beaufort Sea, which is claimed simultaneously through the US’s state of Alaska and Canada’s Yukon Territory; and, on the other end. the Eastern, something called Hans Island, which is claimed by both Denmark through its Greenland possession and by Canada. So that, although the only real disputes that exist are between the US and Canada and Denmark and Canada, nevertheless these three countries, three NATO members, engaged in common military exercises last August – Operation Nanook 2010 – with the clear indication that NATO countries are closing ranks against the only non-NATO claimant, which, of course, is Russia.

Are you saying that NATO has an interest in the Arctic?

Yes, most surely. And it’s acknowledged it. In January 2009, in the last days of the George W. Bush Administration, the White House issued a Presidential National Security Directive, Directive 66, in relation to the Arctic.

It claimed amongst other things that not only does the US contend with Canada for part of the Beaufort Sea, but the US maintains the Northwest Passage as international waters, whereas Canada claims that it’s entirely its own.

And National Security Directive #66 included amongst other things that US warships and warplanes should have free passage through the area.

And within, I believe, about couple of weeks after that, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization held an unprecedented summit in Iceland, something to the effect of Security Prospects in the High North, at which point NATO openly acknowledged having strategic interests in the Arctic region.

This meeting was top-level. It was attended not only by the Secretary General of NATO, but by the Alliance’s two top military commanders, Supreme Allied Commander Europe, who, as you know, was an American commander at that and has been at all times, but also the Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, which is based in Norfolk, Virginia, as well as the head of the NATO Military Committee.

They weren’t talking about the weather. It was clear that NATO has charted out the Arctic as yet another area [of interest]. And this is quite in line with the new NATO Strategic Concept, which was adopted at the Lisbon Summit of the military bloc last November which highlighted in particular so-called energy security issues, that NATO has a self-appointed role, or mission, to protect energy security in the Caspian Sea, in the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa and indeed everywhere in the world – and certainly now in the Arctic.

For whom?

For the interests, I presume, of the leading NATO member states – the United States, France, Britain, Germany, Italy and so forth – as against the rest of the world.

Categories: Uncategorized

Updates on Libyan war/Stop NATO news: July 7, 2011

July 7, 2011 4 comments

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U.S. Must End Its Illegal War In Libya Now: Dennis Kucinich

Air War Over Libya: 14,147 Air Missions, 5,342 Combat Flights

NATO’s Libya War Longer Than Yugoslav War With No End In Sight: Russian Foreign Minister

Ex-NATO Chief Robertson Blusters On 110-Day Libyan War

NATO Officials To Meet Libyan Rebel Leader

Russia Accuses NATO Of Obstructing Political Negotiations In Libya

Libyan Family Takes Legal Action Against NATO For Killing Relatives

Africa, Middle East, “Color Revolutions”: EU Rapid Reaction Force To Report To NATO

NATO Warplanes Bomb Libyan Fueling Equipment

Russia Opposes West’s Unilateral Pressure On Syria As Inadmissable

Official: NATO Air Strike Kills Eight Afghan Children, Three Women

Hundreds Of Afghans Protest NATO Air Raid Killings

Return To Afghan War Zone: Dutch Troops Start Training Mission

Kosovo: NATO Pseudo-State Moves To Complete Ethnic Cleansing

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U.S. Must End Its Illegal War In Libya Now: Dennis Kucinich

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/jul/06/libya-nato1

The Guardian
July 6, 2011

The US must end its illegal war in Libya now
President Obama has ripped up the US constitution for Nato’s ill-considered Libyan adventure. Congress must restore sense
Dennis Kucinich

This week, I am sponsoring legislation in the United States Congress that will end US military involvement in Libya for the following reasons:

First, the war is illegal under the United States constitution and our War Powers Act, because only the US Congress has the authority to declare war and the president has been unable to show that the US faced an imminent threat from Libya. The president even ignored his top legal advisers at the Pentagon and the department of justice who insisted he needed congressional approval before bombing Libya.

Second, the war has reached a stalemate and is unwinnable without the deployment of Nato ground troops, effectively an invasion of Libya. The whole operation was terribly ill-considered from the beginning. While Nato supports the Benghazi-based opposition (situated in the oil-rich north-east), there is little evidence that the opposition has support of the majority of Libyans. The leading opposition group, the National Front for the Salvation of Libya (which had reportedly been backed by the CIA in the 1980s), should never have launched an armed civil war against the government if they had no chance absent a massive Nato air campaign and the introduction of Nato troops. Their reckless actions, encouraged by western political, military and intelligence interests, created the humanitarian crisis that was then used to justify the Nato war campaign.

Third, the United States cannot afford it. The US cost of the mission is projected to soon reach more than $1bn, and we are already engaged in massive cutbacks of civil services for our own people.

It is not surprising that a majority of Republicans, Democrats and independents alike think the US should not be involved in Libya.

This war is misguided. An invasion would be a disaster. Nato already is out of control, using a UN mandate allowing for protection of civilians as the flimsy pretext for an unauthorised mission of regime change through massive violence. In a just world, the Nato commander would be held responsible for any violations of international law. As a means of continuing the civil war, Nato member France and coalition ally Qatar have both admitted shipping weapons to Libya, in open violation of the United Nations arms embargo.

In the end, the biggest casualty of this game of nations will be the legitimacy of the UN, its resolutions and mandates, and international rule of law. This condition must be reversed. The ban on arms supplies to Libya must be enforced, not subverted by Nato countries. The US must cease its illegal and counterproductive support for a military resolution now.

The US Congress must act to cut off funds for the war because there is no military solution in Libya. Serious negotiations for a political solution must begin to end the violence and create an environment for peace negotiations to fulfil the legitimate, democratic aspirations of the people. A political solution will become viable when the opposition understands that regime change is the privilege of the Libyan people, not of Nato.

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Air War Over Libya: 14,147 Air Missions, 5,342 Combat Flights

http://www.aco.nato.int/resources/3/documents/Libya%20update%20July%2011/20110707oup-update%5B1%5D.pdf

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations
July 7, 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 14,147 sorties, including 5,342 strike sorties, have been conducted.

Sorties conducted 06 JULY: 140

Strike sorties conducted 06 JULY: 57

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NATO’s Libya War Longer Than Yugoslav War With No End In Sight: Russian Foreign Minister

http://en.rian.ru/russia/20110707/165073153.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
July 7, 2011

Russia’s Lavrov says no end in sight to Libyan conflict

MOSCOW: The military conflict in Libya has reached a stalemate, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday.

“NATO is caught in tricky situation, they have already been bombing Libya for longer than they bombed Yugoslavia…and no end is in sight,” Lavrov told the Vesti-24 TV channel.

He also said the cost of the conflict in human terms was “high.”

Libya has been rocked by fighting between pro- and anti-government forces since mid-February. International NATO-led military operation began on March 19 following a UN resolution and was extended until late September.

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Ex-NATO Chief Robertson Blusters On 110-Day Libyan War

http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/07/06/former_nato_head_we_re_not_doing_the_job_in_libya

Foreign Policy
July 6, 2011

Former NATO head: We’re not doing the job in Libya
Posted By Robert Zeliger

The NATO campaign in Libya is “not going as well as it should,” says George Robertson, the former U.K. defense secretary who served as NATO’s secretary general from 1999 until 2003. European countries lack the military capacity to bring the operation to a close and NATO has failed to mount an effective psychological campaign against members of Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi’s regime – to convince them their days are truly numbered.

All that means “it’s taking longer to achieve than it should,” he told Foreign Policy, ahead of a speech he will give tonight on the topic at Chatham House in London, where he is an outgoing president.

The NATO bombing campaign, now in its fourth month, has gone on longer than many leaders thought it would. Qaddafi is still in power. Government and rebel forces have fought each other to a standstill.

Yet, NATO officials insist the campaign is going well. “The noose is tightening around [Qaddafi], and there’s very few places for him to go,” Gen. Charles Bouchard, the Canadian head of the operations, told the Washington Post in late June.

Robertson notes that members of the alliance are committed to achieving their goals in Libya, but “don’t express it regularly enough” and that populations are preoccupied with the more immediate concerns of the economic crisis, unemployment, and deficit reduction plans.

“I think the European allies – especially those that are doing nothing at the moment – need to do more,” says Robertson. “And in the longer term, the European countries have got to achieve the capabilities that will allow them to do things in their own backyard without necessarily depending on the Americans.”

Robertson echoes outgoing U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who said on his farewell tour of Europe last month that not all countries were sharing the costs of the Libya operation.

“While every alliance member voted for the Libya mission, less than half have participated at all, and fewer than a third have been willing to participate in the strike mission,” Gates said. “We have the spectacle of an air operations center designed to handle more than 300 sorties a day struggling to launch about 150.”

Robertson tells FP:

“I think Mr. Gates makes a fair point when he says this mighty alliance after only a few weeks against a pretty impoverished country finds itself out of ammunition. We don’t have the right planes with precision bombing. We don’t have enough deployable troops. We don’t have the assets at sea that would allow the bombing campaign to take place. But we’ve pretended up to now that because the Europeans spend $300 billion a year in defense, that we must be well armed. We are. But it’s the wrong stuff. It’s for the Cold War not the next war. “

Robertson says Libya has become a true turning point for the decades-old alliance. In a nutshell, the old contract between the Europeans and the United States – that the U.S. would supply the hardware as long as Europeans provided political cover to the operations – has ended.

“In Libya, the Americans did what I always suggested they might do – which is to say, ‘It’s your fight, please take the lead. You’re big enough, you’re brave enough, you’re strong enough. You do it,'” says Robertson. “I think that’s changed things forever. This is the wake up call. People have to realize they are not ready for the next problem that comes up.”

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NATO Officials To Meet Libyan Rebel Leader

http://en.trend.az/regions/met/arabicr/1901831.html

Deutsche Presse-Agentur
July 6, 2011

Libyan rebel leader to meet NATO officials next week

The leader of Libya’s rebel Transitional National Council will meet with NATO ambassadors next week to “exchange points of view” about the situation in the conflict-torn North African country, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Wednesday, dpa reported.

The alliance has flown more than 14,000 sorties over Libya since taking command of an international military operation meant to protect civilians from leader Moamer Gaddafi’s troops.

Mahmoud Jibril and other representatives from the Libyan opposition will meet informally with the ambassadors on NATO’s North Atlantic Council on Wednesday in Brussels. Jibril is also due to hold a separate meeting with Rasmussen.

“I think Mr. Jibril will present the (opposition’s) roadmap for the transition towards democracy in Libya,” Rasmussen told reporters in Brussels. “But the primary goal is to exchange points of view.”

The president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, will “most probably” also meet Jibril during his stay in the Belgian capital, a European Union source said.

Jibril has had interactions with both EU and NATO officials before.

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Russia Accuses NATO Of Obstructing Political Negotiations In Libya

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-07/06/c_13969737.htm

Xinhua News Agency
July 6, 2011

Russia accuses NATO of hindering political process in Libya

MOSCOW: Russian envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin on Wednesday accused NATO of undermining Libyan opposition efforts to start talks with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, according to local media reports.

In an interview with the Russia-24 television channel, Rogozin said both Tripoli and Benghazi realized the conflict in the north African country had gone too far and it must be stopped.

“But it is impossible to start political process while NATO airstrikes continue,” Rogozin said, adding that “NATO has long gone beyond what was expected and ordered by the 1973 resolution on Libya.”

“Now, common sense dictates that NATO must stop its actions and, on top of this, not get involved in this civil war on the side of one of the parties,” he said.

On missile defense cooperation between Russia and NATO, Rogozin said the potential of talks between the two sides “has not been exhausted yet.”

Rogozin also warned that, unless a compromise was found before the NATO summit in May 2012, Moscow should start “to prepare itself for a response step by step.”

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Libyan Family Takes Legal Action Against NATO For Killing Relatives

Sky News
July 7, 2011

Libyan Family Take Legal Action Against Nato
Lisa Holland, in Tripoli

A family who say they lost five relatives in an air strike Nato admitted was a mistake are taking legal action over the deaths.

They have told Sky News they started court proceedings with the help of the Libyan government and plan to sue Nato.

Mohamed Ali Gurari says he lost his daughter Karima, son in law Abdullah, and grandchildren seven-month-old Jumanah and two-year-old Khaled in the bombing.

The Libyan government claims they were among nine civilians killed.

Standing amongst the rubble, Mr Gurari said: “If I had a chance to talk to David Cameron, I would tell him to stop. Is this what he calls protection?

“In less than a minute the whole house collapsed on them while they were asleep.”

The women of the family spoke inside the house, clutching pictures of their family.

Karima’s sister Najat said: “My sister was a teacher. She had nothing to do with the army or the government.”

Meanwhile, the Libyan government has issued indictments against a list of 21 figures in the Transitional National Council.

They include the man seen as its leader, Mustafa Abdul Jalil. It accuses them of conspiring with foreign countries, and names France, Britain and America as “pressurising” them into launching “aggression” against Libya.

The indictments accuse the listed figures of supplying foreign governments with military secrets and guiding them to military locations.

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Africa, Middle East, “Color Revolutions”: EU Rapid Reaction Force To Report To NATO

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/07/07/52908447.html

Voice of Russia
July 7, 2011

Poland, Germany, France form united front
Natalya Kovalenko

-What the West means by “conflict resolution” becomes clear in the example of Libya. Countries across the world are fighting for control of natural resources. If the government of a resources-rich country proves weak, a small military group will be enough.

Germany, Poland and France have agreed to set up a rapid reaction force which would act as an EU strategic reserve and would be ready to effectively handle conflicts by 2013.

A 1,700-strong rapid reaction group is necessary to address crises, said a Polish representative to the NATO-EU military committee. Poland is assuming the command of the group, supplying the bulk of personnel and a mechanized battalion, France is going to guarantee medicare, and Germany will be responsible for maintenance.

The group’s command will be based in a Paris suburb. Even though it will report to NATO, it is basically European, says Director of the Russia and Germany Center Alexander Rar.

A EU rapid reaction force, formed by several countries, should be prepared to tackle crisis in any part of the world within 5 to 10 days. First and foremost, it should focus on conflict prevention and peace-keeping, Europeans say. Vladimir Baranovsky, Deputy Director of the Institute of Global Economy and International Relations, is skeptical about that.

“Any military preparations contribute to the arms race, he says, even though their organizers cite different reasons. The EU is currently attempting to create an army which would enable it to take part in what it describes as conflict resolution.”

What the West means by “conflict resolution” becomes clear in the example of Libya. Countries across the world are fighting for control of natural resources. If the government of a resources-rich country proves weak, a small military group will be enough. Konstantin Sivkov, Vice-President of the Geopolitical Problems Academy, gives his opinion.

“A 1,500-men contingent will pose no threat for a stable state but in a country destabilized by a colour revolution, it can easily propel the desired regime to power.”

Polish Ambassador to Russia Wojciech Zajaczkowski openly said commenting on the decision to set up a rapid reaction group that it could come handy in the Middle East or North Africa.

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NATO Warplanes Bomb Libyan Fueling Equipment

http://www.nato.int/cps/en/SID-CBB19B3A-D69A20C3/natolive/news_76142.htm

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
July 6, 2011

NATO cuts off pro-Qadhafi access to fuel in Brega

On 6 July 2011, NATO aircraft struck military refuelling equipment to deny pro-Qadhafi forces access to fuel in the Brega area. Sustained observation of the area by NATO intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets proved it was being used to provide fuel for military vehicles and equipment…

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Russia Opposes West’s Unilateral Pressure On Syria As Inadmissable

http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c32/181315.html

Itar-Tass
July 7, 2011

FM considers West stance on unilateral pressure on Syria inadmissible

MOSCOW: Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov considers inadmissible the situation when the West puts pressure only on the Syrian authorities in order to normalise the climate in the country.

“The position of our Western partners is that they insist on putting pressure on one side – the government and the president,” Lavrov said in an interview with Rossiya 24 Channel on Thursday.

“We consider this approach wrong. We want the same approach to be used towards Syria like as in Yemen,” the Russian minister pointed out.

“In any case the actions are inadmissible when peaceful civilians die. It is inadmissible to use force and violence by the opposition and make demonstrators a target for police,” he said.

“We spoke about it without disguise and we continue to speak about it,” Lavrov added.

In June, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Russia came against a U.N. Security Council resolution on Syria and the country’s position remains unchanged.

“In the context of the discussions currently underway in New York I want to rivet your attention on a statement by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov after the SCO summit in Astana. Lavrov said we came against a U.N. Security Council resolution on Syria,” the diplomat said.

“Our position has been outlined by the Russian president some time ago and it remains unchanged,” Lukashevich said.

He considers a dialogue, which is proposed by Syria’s authorities, an optimal way to settle the situation in the country. “We confirm that the dialogue, which is proposed by Syria’s authorities, is an optimal way to settle the situation,” Lukashevich stressed.

“We believe that it should be substantiated and ensure further path to the deep democratic reforms, including the democratic renovation of the Syrian state and society, sustainable economic development and the observance of human rights and freedoms,” the diplomat said.

At the same time, Lukashevich noted that the situation in Syria “remains extremely tense”. “These days mass media have reported on peaceful protest actions, as well as armed actions by extremists and militants’ attempts to seize certain settlements in border regions that led to killings of civilians, law enforcers, destroying state institutions and fearing the peaceful population,” the diplomat said.

“As a result of the Syrian army’s actions the authorities placed control over all regions as a whole,” he added.

Lavrov also said Russia was against submitting Syria’s issue to the U.N. Security Council.

Russia “is against submitting the Syrian issue to the U.N. Security Council”, he said.

This issue was also in the focus of the G-8 summit in Deauville.

President Dmitry Medvedev said Russia did not favour sanctions against Syria but Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must ensure democratic transformations.

While discussing sanctions against Syria, one must remember that the United States and the European Union have already endorsed such, he said. “As a rule, the number of sanctions is immaterial for results. No one has been pushing for sanctions at the UN Security Council,” he added.

“I had a telephone conversation with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad about two days ago. We do not favour sanctions. We think that President al-Assad must pass from words to deeds and really hold democratic transformations in his country: to give the voting right to the opposition, to amend election laws and to prevent violence in opposition actions,” he said.

President Medvedev said he hoped that the reform policy declared by the Syrian leader would be very energetic, the Kremlin reported.

“Medvedev expressed the principled position of the Russian Federation on the events in and around Syria and expressed the hope that the reform policy declared by Bashar al-Assad would be held very energetically and in a broad dialog with the national public,” the Kremlin said.

Al-Assad said that the Syrian administration “was doing everything to ensure the free and peaceful expression of will by Syrian citizens. At the same time, the Syrian administration will not allow radical and fundamentalist groups to operate. The reform policy is the course to be implemented consistently and dynamically.”

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Official: NATO Air Strike Kills Eight Afghan Children, Three Women

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/07/07/afghanistan.civilian.deaths/

CNN
July 7, 2011

Official: 11 Afghan civilians killed in NATO-led strike
From Matiullah Mati

Kabul, Afghanistan: Eight children and three women died in eastern Afghanistan when NATO-led forces bombarded houses, a provincial official told CNN Thursday.

The incident took place Wednesday in Khost province’s Domandera district, according to Khost upper house member and foreign relations chief Arifullah Pashton.

There was no immediate reaction from NATO’s International Security Assistance Force about civilian casualties in Khost…

Pashton said hundreds of people in the district demonstrated against the alliance Thursday and chanted, “Death to the United States” and “Death to NATO.”

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Hundreds Of Afghans Protest NATO Air Raid Killings

http://af.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idAFTRE7653Y520110706

Reuters
July 6, 2011

Hundreds of Afghans protest NATO air raid deaths

GHAZNI, Afghanistan: Hundreds of people gathered in a restive Afghan province to protest the deaths of two young shepherds they said were killed by a foreign air strike on Wednesday, an Afghan official said.

NATO-led forces said an air strike killed one man in Ghazni province, southwest of Kabul, after he was observed digging in the road at a spot where a homemade bomb had previously been buried.

Residents of Khogyani took two bodies to the provincial capital, Ghazni city, provincial police chief Zelawar Zahed told Reuters. The residents said both were shepherds, not insurgents, and had been killed in an air strike.

Around 250 people demonstrated in Khogyani and then tried to take their protest to Ghazni City but only around 50 were allowed to enter, Khogyani district governor Munshi Habib said.

Protesters chanted slogans like “death to foreign troops” for around two hours, before dispersing peacefully, Zahed added.

The mistaken killing of civilians by foreign troops is a major source of friction between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his Western backers, and has soured the feelings of many ordinary Afghans towards foreign forces.

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Return To Afghan War Zone: Dutch Troops Start Training Mission

http://www.rnw.nl/english/bulletin/dutch-soldiers-leave-kunduz

Radio Netherlands
July 7, 2011

Dutch soldiers leave for Kunduz

More than 160 Dutch soldiers are leaving for the Afghan province of Kunduz on Thursday afternoon to take part in a NATO police training mission.

Prior to their departure from the Eindhoven air force base, the troops will be addressed by Defence Minister Hans Hillen. The Dutch soldiers and police officers who have been in Kunduz since early this year to make preparations for the training mission, were visited by Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal on Wednesday.

Early this year, a majority in parliament voted in favour of the training mission after a number of conditions of the Green Left party and the Christian Union were met. The two parties wanted guarantees regarding the quality of the training and the job descriptions of the Afghan police officers…

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Kosovo: NATO Pseudo-State Moves To Complete Ethnic Cleansing

http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics-article.php?yyyy=2011&mm=07&dd=07&nav_id=75316

Politika/Tanjug News Agency
July 7, 2011

K. Albanians “trying to finalize ethnic cleansing”

BELGRADE: The Kosovo Ministry will urgently inform the EU mission in Kosovo, EULEX, about the cases of “Albanization and assimilation of Serbs”, says Goran Bogdanović.

The minister for Kosovo stated on Thursday that this will come along with a request for the practice “to end immediately”.

“The representatives of the international community in Kosovo cannot ignore what is happening to Serbs, and not only to Serbs but also to other peoples and ethnic groups,” Bogdanović.

His comments refer to frequent changes of the personal data in Kosovo IDs issued for Serbs, which they required so as to realize their right to pension allowance.

“It is unacceptable for the names of Serbs to be Albanized in the documents issued by Priština, and that their Serb nationality be changed into ‘Kosovar’,” Bogdanović stated for the Belgrade-based daily Politika.

He added that this was yet another indicator that the Kosovo Albanian authorities were using all methods to gradually assimilate those Serbs in Kosovo that they had not managed to drive out of their homes – “and thus bring ethnic cleansing to an end”.

Bogdanović said that recent attempts to re-designate Serb monasteries and cultural heritage as “Kosovo’s heritage” was an obvious example of how Priština was trying to “Albanize” Serbian history and culture, falsify facts and presents someone else’s cultural identity as their own.

“Such moves demonstrate how much Priština cares about a multi-ethnic society, but also bring harm to the dialogue (between Belgrade and Priština) and the agreement that has been reached,” Bogdanović stressed.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Risk-Free And Above The Law: U.S. Globalizes Drone Warfare

July 6, 2011 3 comments

Stop NATO
July 7, 2011

Risk-Free And Above The Law: U.S. Globalizes Drone Warfare
Rick Rozoff

Last week the Washington Post, the New York Times and other major American newspapers reported that the U.S. launched its first unmanned aerial vehicle (drone) missile attack inside Somalia.

The strike was the first acknowledged Pentagon military attack inside the Horn of Africa nation since a helicopter raid staged by commandos in 2009 and the first use of an American drone to conduct a missile strike there. Drones had earlier been used in the country in their original capacity, for surveillance, including identifying targets for bomb and missile attacks, one being shot down in October of 2009. But as Britain’s The Guardian reported on July 30, the strike in Somalia marked “the expansion of the pilotless war campaign to a sixth country,” as the remote-controlled aircraft have already been employed to deadly effect in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen and most recently Libya.

The lethal Somali mission was reportedly carried out by the U.S. Special Operations Command, in charge of executing special forces operations of the respective units of the four main branches of the American military: The Army, Marines, Air Force and Navy. On July 4 the U.S. armed forces publication Stars and Stripes reported that there are currently 7,000 American special forces in Afghanistan and another 3,000 in Iraq, with the bulk of the latter to be transferred to the first country in what was described as a “mini-surge” of special operations troops to compensate for the withdrawal of 10,000 other troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year.

Last week BBC News reported on the proposed transfer of drone aircraft by the U.S. to its military client states Uganda and Burundi for the war in Somalia. Citing American defense officials, BBC disclosed that four drones will be supplied to the two nations who have 9,000 troops engaged in combat operations against anti-government insurgents in the Somali capital of Mogadishu.

According to a New York Times feature of July 1: “[T]he United States has largely been relying on proxy forces in Somalia, including African Union peacekeepers from Uganda and Burundi, to support Somalia’s fragile government. The Pentagon is sending nearly $45 million in military supplies, including night-vision equipment and four small unarmed drones, to Uganda and Burundi to help combat the rising terror threat in Somalia. During the Ethiopian invasion of Somalia in 2007, clandestine operatives from the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command initiated missions into Somalia from an airstrip in Ethiopia.”

On June 15 a major newspaper in the United Arab Emirates, The National, reported on the escalation of deadly U.S. drone attacks in Yemen, across the Gulf of Aden from Somalia. It cited an official with the Yemeni Ministry of Defense claiming that the U.S. had launched over 15 drone strikes in the country in the first two weeks of June. The newspaper also quoted the deputy governor of Abyan province, Abdullah Luqman, decrying the attacks and stating: “These are the lives of innocent people being killed. At least 130 people have been killed in the last two weeks by US drones.”

The leader of an observation committee created to evacuate local residents added that “more than 40,000 people have left Abyan province because they feared drone strikes.”

The same defense official mentioned above warned that the “United States is turning Yemen into another Pakistan.” [1]

Recent reports in the American press reveal that the Pentagon will establish a new air base in the Persian Gulf from which to intensify drone strikes in Yemen. According to a Russian source, “The location is kept secret but some say this might be Bahrain as it already has a US base [the headquarters of the U.S. Fifth Fleet] and provides the safest route to Yemen for US drones through American ally Saudi Arabia.” [2]

The drone missile assaults in Pakistan, which caused a record number of deaths – over 1,000 – last year, are carried out by the Special Activities Division of the Central Intelligence Agency, whose last director is the new secretary of defense, Leon Panetta, a transfer that presages a yet greater intensification of the deadly attacks inside the South Asian nation.

On June 5 the 40th drone strike of the year killed at least six people in South Waziristan in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas, bringing the death toll this year to at least 350.

Late last month the Pakistani government ordered the U.S. to vacate the Shamsi Air Base in the province of Balochistan which had been used for drone strikes inside the nation. Washington has in the interim shifted those operations to upgraded air bases in Afghanistan near the Pakistani border. A recent poll conducted by the Pew Research Center found that only 3 percent of Pakistanis support the drone attacks in the country’s tribal belt.

At the end of June, 28 people were reported killed by drone strikes in the South Waziristan Agency, with a local resident quoted by Pajhwok Afghan News as stating “that 20 civilians were killed and several others injured in the second attack.” [3]

Some 2,100 of the 2,500 people killed in the strikes since they began in 2004 have lost their lives since 2009, when Barack Obama became the president of the U.S. and Leon Panetta director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

On July 5 a British Reaper drone killed at least four Afghan civilians and wounded two more in a missile attack in Helmand province. The use of the Reaper, rightly referred to as the world’s deadliest drone, marks the crossing of an ominous threshold. It is the first of what is described as a hunter-killer – long-endurance, high-altitude – remote-piloted aircraft that can be equipped with fifteen times the amount of weaponry and fly at three times the speed of the Predator used in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya. (The U.S. has used Reapers in Iraq since 2008 and in Afghanistan starting the following year. Toward the end of 2009 the Pentagon deployed Reapers to the East African island nation of Seychelles along with over 100 military personnel.)

On June 28 the U.S. lost the third of three drones in Afghanistan in as many days.

A recent Refugees International report stated that over 250,000 Afghans have been forced to flee their towns and villages during the last two years, over 91,000 so far this year: “Not only have NATO-led troops and Afghan forces failed to protect Afghans, but international airstrikes and night raids by U.S. Special Forces were destroying homes, crops and infrastructure, traumatising civilians and displacing tens of thousands of people.” [4]

Last month an RT feature suitably titled “US expands drone war, extremists expect new recruits” stated:

“The US has stepped up its drone attacks against militants in the Middle East, but the growing number of civilian deaths in the strikes has sparked public anger, with concern the action is driving up the number of extremist recruits.

“In Pakistan, CIA drone strikes aim at terrorists but end up killing mostly civilians. Public outrage is growing. Hatred and anger foster more terror.

“Washington now sees Yemen as the most dangerous Al-Qaeda outpost, and is planning to step up drone attacks on the country, establishing a base in the Persian Gulf specifically for that purpose.”

The source added:

“Americans are likely to have a freer hand going it alone, with the CIA to take a central role.

“As the agency is not subject to the accountability the US military is legally under, one can expect more bombs to fall on Yemen.

“There is fury in Yemen over the killing of scores of civilians by the drone strikes. In one attack there, the American military presumably aiming at an Al-Qaeda training camp ended up killing dozens of women and children. In another strike a year ago, a drone mistakenly killed a deputy governor in Yemen, his family and aides.

“With the expansion of the drone war it seems the US is seeking only a missile solution to fighting Al-Qaeda. Analysts say that some of the main features of this global chase are not having to take into account the voice of the nation that they are bombing and the lack of accountability when it comes to civilian deaths. These features add more paradox to the US strategy, with many asking whether America is fighting and fostering terror at the same time.” [5]

Analyst Denis Fedutinov told Voice of Russia last month:

“The US used drones already in the Balkans campaign, then in Iraq and Afghanistan and now in Libya. The US and Israel are the world drone leaders. Now America has several thousand drones of different classes.” [6]

In fact, last year U.S. Marine Corps Brigadier General Glenn Walters told an Institute for Defense and Government Advancement conference that ten years ago America had 200 drones in its arsenal, but by 2010 that number had risen to 6,000 and that by next year it would be 8,000. A fortyfold increase.

And in May of 2010 “NATO representatives from around the world” visited the Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center in the state of Indiana to observe drone flight tests.

By transferring control of the 110-day war against Libya from U.S. Africa Command to NATO on March 31 the Obama administration intended to, among other purposes, evade accountability to Congress (and federal law) under provisions of the War Powers Resolution of 1973.

The resolution mandates that Congress must authorize military actions initiated by the president within 60 days of their commencement or grant him a 30-day extension. The 60-day limit was reached on May 20.

The White House responded to Congressional opposition to prolonging military action in Libya by releasing a 38-page report that claimed “US military operations are distinct from the kind of ‘hostilities’ contemplated by the resolution’s 60-day termination provision.”

It also maintained that “U.S. operations do not involve sustained fighting or active exchanges of fire with hostile forces, nor do they involve U.S. ground troops.”

Which is to say, as long as American military personnel are not in harm’s way it is not a war. Legal Adviser of the State Department Harold Koh stated: “We are acting lawfully…We are not saying the War Powers Resolution is unconstitutional or should be scrapped or that we can refuse to consult Congress. We are saying the limited nature of this particular mission is not the kind of ‘hostilities’ envisioned by the War Powers Resolution.”

General Carter Ham, the head of U.S. Africa Command, last month “said a Republican-sponsored bill that would block American Predator drone strikes in Libya would hurt the North Atlantic Treaty Organization alliance,” and “predicted that NATO would be unable to replace certain key U.S. missions, including the drone strikes and attacks to neutralize Libyan air defenses that threaten allied planes, if proposed funding cuts are made.” [7]

The launching of over 200 cruise missiles into Libya in the opening days of the war and the fact that, as the New York Times reported on June 21, “American warplanes have struck at Libyan air defenses about 60 times, and remotely operated drones have fired missiles at Libyan forces about 30 times” since command of the war was transferred from U.S. Africa Command to NATO – after which NATO has conducted over 14,000 air missions, more than 5,000 termed strike sorties – do not constitute armed hostilities in the mind of Mr. Koh, who stated last year that “U.S. targeting practices, including lethal operations conducted with the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), comply with all applicable law, including the laws of war.” According to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s top legal adviser, deadly drone attacks are “consistent with its [the U.S.’s] inherent right to self-defense.” [8] Koh cagily refers to murdering people on a grand scale by remote activation as targeted killing rather than targeted assassination, as the second is expressly prohibited under international law.

In a rare instance of dissenting from White House war policy, last month the New York Times published the following:

“Jack L. Goldsmith, who led the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel during the Bush administration, said the Obama theory would set a precedent expanding future presidents’ unauthorized war-making powers, especially given the rise of remote-controlled combat technology.”

It further quoted Goldsmith directly:

“The administration’s theory implies that the president can wage war with drones and all manner of offshore missiles without having to bother with the War Powers Resolution’s time limits.”

Neither cruise missiles nor Hellfire missile-equipped unmanned aerial vehicles have pilots on board, so the lives of U.S. service members are safe as Pakistanis, Afghans, Libyans, Iraqis, Yemenis and Somalis are torn to shreds by U.S. strikes.

Wars of aggression are now both safe and “legal.”

1) The National, June 15, 2011

http://www.thenational.ae/news/worldwide/middle-east/us-makes-a-drone-attack-a-day-in-yemen

2) Voice of Russia, June 16, 2011
3) Pajhwok Afghan News, June 28, 2011
4) NATO airstrikes, night raids blamed for Afghan IDP crisis – report
AlertNet, June 29, 2011
5) RT, June 22, 2011

http://rt.com/news/us-drone-war-al-qaeda

6) Voice of Russia, June 16, 2011
7) Wall Street Journal, June 23, 2011
8) Inside Justice, March 26, 2011 http://insidejustice.com/law/index.php/intl/2010/03/26/asil_koh_drone_war_law

Categories: Uncategorized

Updates on Libya war/Stop NATO news: July 6, 2011

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NATO’s Air War In Libya: Over 14,000 Air Missions, 5,285 Strike Sorties

NATO Model In Libya: Destroy The Country, Let Others Do The Dirty Work

Should Have Seen It Coming: South Africans Rally Against NATO’s Libyan War

British Reaper Drone Attack Kills Four Afghan Civilians

France, Germany, Poland Establish EU Battle Group

Russia Concerned Over NATO Intrusion In Arctic: Admiral

NATO Uses Azerbaijan For Afghan War Nexus, Caspian Energy Strategy

Azerbaijani Cargo Plane Crashes In Afghanistan

“Occupied Territories”: Polish General Takes Over EU Mission In Georgia

Tbilisi: NATO Delegation Discusses Georgia’s Integration

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NATO’s Air War In Libya: Over 14,000 Air Missions, 5,285 Strike Sorties

http://www.aco.nato.int/resources/3/documents/Libya%20update%20July%2011/20110706oup-update.pdf

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations
July 6, 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 14,007 sorties, including 5,285 strike sorties, have been conducted.

Sorties conducted 05 JULY: 134

Strike sorties conducted 05 JULY: 56

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NATO Model In Libya: Destroy The Country, Let Others Do The Dirty Work

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/07/06/52864006.html

Voice of Russia
July 6, 2011

NATO abstains from democratizing Libya?
Boris Volkhonsky

-Mr. Rasmussen’s words…clearly demonstrate the division of duties in the modern world as envisioned by NATO and primarily by the US. A similar situation has been created in Iraq and Afghanistan and now its third edition is being prepared in Libya.
-The whole infrastructure will have been ruined by military activity on the ground and especially by the airstrikes. It will take years and billions of dollars to compensate for the devastation caused by NATO operations.
-This may be the ultimate NATO aim – not just removing Gaddafi, but replacing him with an obedient figure. But one should know – history teaches that puppet regimes ARE obedient, but usually don’t last long.

While none of the parties involved in the conflict in Libya can definitely forecast the future, speculation on the topic continues. It is widely assumed that sooner or later Colonel Gaddafi will have to step down. But what’s next remains a mystery for everybody.

On Tuesday, at a press conference in St. Petersburg, a day after the meeting of the Russia–NATO Council in Sochi, the head of the North Atlantic alliance Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that NATO’s not seeking “a leading NATO role in a post-Gaddafi period.” According to the Secretary General, this leading role should be taken by the UN so as to avoid a power vacuum in Libya.

Definitely this is a kind of acknowledgement of the futility of all NATO efforts that have now lasted for more than three and a half months. The war against Gaddafi has been going at full scale, but with little effect. The Colonel is still in power in Tripoli; he controls most of the western part of the country and shows no signs of being ready to step down although reports pointing to this appear now and then.

The rebels, even assisted by massive NATO airstrikes that cause more casualties among civilians than among Gaddafi troops, do not seem to have made any significant advance towards Tripoli. More so, the sense of frustration with NATO’s so-called assistance is growing among the rebels. If early in March–April the overwhelming feeling was that of gratitude to NATO, this feeling is fading now.

But Mr. Rasmussen’s words indeed signal much more than a pure acknowledgement of NATO’s and the rebels’ impotence.

First of all, they clearly demonstrate the division of duties in the modern world as envisioned by NATO and primarily by the US. A similar situation has been created in Iraq and Afghanistan and now its third edition is being prepared in Libya.

In all cases, NATO created havoc by overthrowing the existing regimes, then the alliance brought to power some puppets unable to cope with the situation, but withdrew itself from solving further problems, putting the burden on somebody else’s shoulders.

Thus the destructive role of NATO is further demonstrated by its actions in Libya. There can be no doubt that post-Gaddafi Libya will be much weaker than it was under his dictatorship. The whole infrastructure will have been ruined by military activity on the ground and especially by the airstrikes. It will take years and billions of dollars to compensate for the devastation caused by NATO operations. And there definitely is no guarantee that the new government, whoever heads it, will be much more democratic than the Gaddafi regime.

So, it is only wise for NATO to wash its hands after the primary aim of the operation is achieved and Gaddafi steps down. NATO’s chief probably thinks that the Alliance’s airstrikes have already done enough to promote democracy in Libya. The rest – and that involves a lot of dirty work at the grass-root level – should be borne by somebody else.

Après nous le déluge- Let there be a flood after us – is the old motto of all irresponsible leaders and Anders Fogh Rasmussen is not the first and definitely not the last one to follow it.

But what the whole wording of his statement suggests has been recently revealed by Tom Dale in The Guardian. Based on numerous facts and observations, his conclusion is clear and unequivocal: in fact, NATO does not really want the rebels to succeed because their victory could lead to a period of a long-lasting instability. Therefore, the Alliance is waiting for Gaddafi’s inner circle to revolt against the Colonel. That would mean that the new regime would be formed by the ex-regime figures – some of them now being located in Tripoli, others are among the rebels. And that would mean that NATO will still have the levers that would enable it to manipulate the new regime in Libya.

This may be the ultimate NATO aim – not just removing Gaddafi, but replacing him with an obedient figure. But one should know – history teaches that puppet regimes ARE obedient, but usually don’t last long.

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Should Have Seen It Coming: South Africans Rally Against NATO’s Libyan War

http://mg.co.za/article/2011-07-06-sa-should-have-seen-nato-blitz-coming-says-malema

South African Press Association/Associated Press
July 6, 2011

SA should have seen Nato blitz coming, says Malema

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA: ANC Youth League president Julius Malema has blasted South Africa’s initial decision to support a UN resolution that has been used to justify Nato airstrikes on Libya, saying the country should have realised Nato would overstep its mandate.

He was speaking at a rally outside the US embassy in Pretoria on Wednesday, where more than 1,000 South Africans demonstrated, calling for an end to Nato’s bombing campaign in Libya.

President Jacob Zuma has faced criticism at home for supporting the United Nations resolution, intended to protect civilians in Libya, that has driven Nato’s interventions in that country.

Zuma has accused Nato of overstepping the resolution’s mandate, and is now leading the African Union’s mediation efforts to secure a peaceful, negotiated and political settlement to the conflict.

Wednesday’s union-organised rally ended with the handing over of a memorandum to US officials, saying the air strikes were undermining the AU’s efforts to negotiate a solution to the conflict.

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British Reaper Drone Attack Kills Four Afghan Civilians

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/world-news/raf-drone-kills-afghan-civilians-16019930.html

Belfast Telegraph
July 5, 2011

RAF drone kills Afghan civilians

Four Afghan civilians have been killed and two more wounded when an RAF drone…fired on two trucks in Helmand province.

It is the first time civilians have died in an attack by one of the UK’s Reaper planes.

The air strike…comes amid growing disquiet over the use of unmanned aircraft in conflict zones.

The group was struck on March 25 after forces tracking the enemy on the ground correctly identified members of the Taliban in two vehicles and signalled for the Reaper to attack.

Its pilots were thousands of miles away at an American air force base in Nevada when they were instructed to fire in the Now Zad district of north Helmand.

An International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) investigation later concluded the Reaper crews had acted in accordance with “extant procedures and UK Rules of Engagement”.

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France, Germany, Poland Establish EU Battle Group

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/07/06/52848113.html

Voice of Russia
July 6, 2011

Germany, France, Poland set up joint EU battle group

Germany, France and Poland are setting up an EU joint battle group that should be ready for deployment in crisis areas as of 2013.

An agreement to that end was signed in Brussels yesterday by officials of the three countries’ Defence Ministries. EU battle groups are formed by the European Union Rapid Reaction Force. Battle groups are multinational units, 1,500 man-strong each.

According to the news media, Poland will assume the command of the tripartite battle group, since Warsaw will provide the greatest number of personnel. Germany will take care of logistic support, while France, of medical aid.

The command centre of the battle group will be deployed in the Paris suburb of Mont Valerien.

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Russia Concerned Over NATO Intrusion In Arctic: Admiral

http://en.rian.ru/russia/20110706/165057023.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
July 6, 2011

Russia concerned over NATO, Eastern countries activation in Arctic

NARYAN-MAR: Russia’s economic interests are threatened by the activities of NATO and a number of Asian countries in the Arctic, Navy commander Adm. Vladimir Vysotsky said on Wednesday.

“Currently, a wide range of threats, which may negatively effect Russian economic interests, are concentrated in the Arctic,” Vysotsky said.

“Recently, we received confirmation that NATO has marked out the Arctic as a zone of its interests,” Vysotsky said.

Vysotsky also said that apart from NATO states, China, Japan, the two Koreas and such “well-known Arctic countries” as Malaysia and Thailand have also intensified their activities in the Arctic.

Russia is planning to file a proposal a UN Commission in 2012 to expand its Arctic shelf borders, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said.

The nuclear-powered icebreaker Rossiya left the port of Murmansk on Tuesday to accompany a research vessel on a second mission to determine the boundaries of Russia’s continental shelf in the Arctic.

Russia is in a dispute with Canada over the Lomonosov Ridge, with both countries trying to persuade a UN commission that it is an extension of its own continental shelf. The sides have agreed that scientific evidence should resolve the dispute.

A settlement of the dispute in Russia’s favor would give the country the right to develop vast energy resources on the Arctic shelf.

————————————————————————–

http://en.rian.ru/russia/20110706/165053561.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
July 6, 2011

NARYAN-MAR: Russia is planning to file a proposal a UN Commission in 2012 to expand its Arctic shelf borders, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said.

The nuclear-powered icebreaker Rossiya left the port of Murmansk on Tuesday to accompany the research vessel Academik Fyodorov on a second mission to determine the boundaries of Russia’s continental shelf in the Arctic.

“I hope that next year we will file to the UN commission a normal, scientifically grounded proposal,” Ivanov said.

Russia is still in a dispute with Canada over the Lomonosov Ridge, with both countries trying to persuade a UN commission that it is an extension of its own continental shelf. The sides have agreed that scientific evidence should resolve the dispute.

The main goal of the two-month-long expedition is to measure the thickness of the bottom silt along the Lomonosov Ridge as part of the evidence that supports Russia’s territorial claim.

The settlement of the dispute in Russia’s favor will give the country the right to develop vast energy resources on the Arctic shelf.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin reiterated last week that Russia will not backtrack on its territorial claims on the underwater Lomonosov and Mendeleev ridges in the Arctic region and will protect its geopolitical interests “firmly and consistently.”

Russia sent the first expedition on a similar mission last year, when the Academik Fyodorov was accompanied by the Yamal nuclear icebreaker.

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NATO Uses Azerbaijan For Afghan War Nexus, Caspian Energy Strategy

http://en.apa.az/news.php?id=150919

Azeri Press Agency
July 5, 2011

Special representative: I asked Azerbaijan to support NATO
“Azerbaijan and NATO can cooperate more closely”
Viktoria Dementyeva

Baku: NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the South Caucasus and Central Asia James Appathurai, who is visiting Azerbaijan, met with President Ilham Aliyev, APA reports. James Appathurai told journalists that he expressed his gratitude to President Ilham Aliyev for the contribution of the Azerbaijani peacekeepers to the NATO mission in Afghanistan.

“Azerbaijan is contributing to NATO in Afghanistan through a peacekeeping contingent and as a transit country. I asked Azerbaijan to continue supporting NATO in Afghanistan as a transit country,” he said.

NATO’s representative said bilateral cooperation was discussed during the meeting.

“We are already cooperating concerning several specific issues. But we can cooperate more closely,” he said.

James Appathurai said at the meeting with Azerbaijani President they touched on Nagorno Karabakh problem.

James Appathurai noted that he held meetings in several ministries of Azerbaijan. He said discussions were held concerning the start of the third stage of the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) signed between NATO and Azerbaijan.

“We are holding discussions concerning the next stage. Cooperation continues between Azerbaijan and NATO,” he said.

NATO’s representative said they intend to strengthen cooperation in Afghanistan, energy security and cyber security.

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Azerbaijani Cargo Plane Crashes In Afghanistan

http://en.rian.ru/world/20110706/165056469.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
July 6, 2011

Azeri cargo plane with 9 crew crashes in Afghanistan

Baku: Fragments of a crashed Azerbaijani cargo plane were found on Wednesday to the north of Kabul, the Azerbaijani Civil Aviation Administration said.

The Soviet-designed Ilyushin Il-76, which Afghan television said was carrying fuel intended for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), an international U.S.-led coalition fighting the Taliban, crashed late on Tuesday while preparing for landing at the airport of the northern Afghan town of Bagram.

The plane, operated by Azerbaijan’s Silk Way Airlines, which had 9 crew members on board, ripped into many pieces after crashing. Investigators believe the aircraft collided with an unspecified object, probably a mountain.

The plane took off from the Geidat Aliyev Airport in Baku at 9:26 p.m. local time (16:26 GMT) on Tuesday, the Azerbaijani aviation agency said. At around 21:10 GMT, it disappeared from radars, the report said, adding that its crew had not sent any warning signals.

The plane fragments were found some 50 kilometers to the north of Kabul, in the Parwan Province.

The crashed Il-76 plane was produced in 2005, with the latest inspections carried out in June. Planes of this kind are capable of carrying up to 40 tons of cargo.

————————————————————————–

http://en.apa.az/news.php?id=150977

Azeri Press Agency
July 6, 2011

Azerbaijani Embassy in Pakistan: There were 3 Azerbaijani citizens on board of the plane crashed in Afghanistan
Victoria Dementyeva

Baku: There were at least 3 Azerbaijani citizens on board the Azerbaijani plane that crashed in Afghanistan, the rest were citizens of Uzbekistan, the third secretary of the Azerbaijani Embassy in Pakistan Chingiz Garibli told APA-ECONOMICS.

“It has already been specified that three crew members are citizens of Azerbaijan. Now there is information that our citizens can be 4. The rest of the crew are nationals of Uzbekistan. Information was provided to us from official sources in Afghanistan”, Garibli said.

To him, a commission including Azerbaijani experts will investigate the crash: “The plane crashed in mountainous terrain and a rescue team was unable to arrive at the scene yet. Therefore, details will be announced later when the team gets to the place of the crash”.

Commenting on the possibility that the plane was shot down by the movement of “Taliban”, Garibli noted that this probability is very low: “Typically, Taliban immediately takes responsibility for what happened”.

Note that, earlier, a representative of the movement “Taliban” Zabibulla Modzhahid told Afghan media that the Azerbaijani plane was shot down by Taliban.

On July 6, 2011, at about 00.10, while preparing to land in the Bagram airport, communication with IL-76 4K-AZ 55 belonging to Azerbaijan’s Silk Way aviation company suddenly broke off and its view disappeared on radars. According to statement made by Azerbaijan State Civil Aviation Administration, the aircraft collided with unknown object in the air.

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“Occupied Territories”: Polish General Takes Over EU Mission In Georgia

http://www.civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=23702

Civil Georgia
July 5, 2011

Polish Gen. to Lead EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia

Tbilisi: The EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM) will be led by Lieutenant General of the Polish army, Andrzej Tyszkiewicz, starting from July 18.

Tyszkiewicz was commander of the Polish forces in Iraq in 2003 and served as Poland’s ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2005-2010.

“I am very pleased that Member States have decided on the basis of my proposal to appoint Andrzej Tyszkiewicz, from Poland, as Head of Mission for the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM),” Catherine Ashton, EU foreign policy chief, said in a statement on July 5. “I am sure he will lead this mission to greater achievements for enhancing security and stability in Georgia as well as in the whole region…For that reason, Mr. Andrzej Tyszkiewicz will have my full support and that of the EU as a whole.”

Tyszkiewicz has replaced German diplomat Hansjörg Haber, who led EUMM from the very establishment of the mission in October, 2008 to monitor ceasefire following the August, 2008 war.

Haber was appointed as head of the EU Civilian Planning and Conduct Capability (CPCC) this March. EUMM is one of EU’s eight civilian missions under the Common Security and Defence Policy, which is supervised by Haber in his capacity of head of CPCC.

EUMM’s mandate expires on September 14, which Tbilisi expects to be further extended.

“Although the mission is not able to fully implement its mandate – the mission is not yet able to implement its monitoring duties in the occupied territories [Abkhazia and South Ossetia] – it is very important for us to have this mission,” Nino Kalandadze, the Georgian deputy foreign minister, said on July 5.

She also said that with OSCE and UN missions scrapped as a result of Russia’s veto following the August war, Tbilisi considered EUMM as “the only international security guarantee” on the ground.

“We are glad, that EU shares this opinion and has an approach to further extend the mission’s mandate,” Kalandadze said.

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Tbilisi: NATO Delegation Discusses Georgia’s Integration

http://rustavi2.com/news/news_text.php?id_news=42309&pg=1&im=main&ct=0&wth=

Rustavi 2
July 6, 2011

NATO delegation visits Tbilisi

An official NATO delegation arrived in Tbilisi this morning to attend the joint Georgia-NATO conference, which will be dedicated to the discussion of security issues and mechanisms of preventing the main threats of the 21st century.

Along with the participation in the aforementioned conference, the members of the delegation will hold meetings with Georgian authorities and discuss the process of Georgia`s integration into the alliance and the activities, which Georgian should carry out in this process.

NATO-Georgian joint conference will be held in Tbilisi on July 7-8. The members of the delegation say it is very significant that the event takes place in Georgia.

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Categories: Uncategorized

European Missile System: NATO Not Prepared To Compromise

July 5, 2011 2 comments

*****

Updates on Libya war/Stop NATO News: July 5, 2011

*****

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/07/05/52814183.html

Voice of Russia
July 5, 2011

NATO is not prepared to compromise
John Robles

Interview with Rick Rozoff, the manager of the Stop NATO website and mailing list and a contributing writer to Global Research.ca.


Standard Missile-3 launch

My first question regards Russia, and NATO, and the integrated ABM shield that Russia has been – for want of a better word – pushing for implementing a sectoral defence architecture, what Russia was looking for. What are the chances of this happening, in your opinion?

By all indications after the meeting of the NATO-Russia Council in Sochi, there are no prospects of this occurring in terms of – using your wording – an integrated ABM system. NATO, with the US constantly barking orders at it, as it seems, is definitely opposed to a sectoral approach that would permit the integration of Russian interceptor missile, radar and other, operations within NATO.

NATO insists on doing it alone, if you will. And, as always when it makes overtures to Russia, bringing Moscow in as a junior partner. We have to recall that at the Lisbon Summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization last November the US missile system, what is called the Phased Adaptive Approach initiated by the Obama administration two years ago, has been endorsed heartily, that is unanimously, by NATO.

So, what we are talking about is a continuation of the US interceptor missile system in Europe, throughout Europe, covering the entire continent, excluding perhaps Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.

Overtures have been made for the last decade to try to enlist Ukraine as part of the NATO project. And those efforts are still not dead, if they haven’t born fruit to date.

First of all, I think, at the root of this issue is what is the true intention of the so-called Aegis Ashore, or Phased Adaptive Approach – the Obama administration and former Secretary of Defence Robert Gates’ project – which is a four-phased programme to bring Standard Missile-3 interceptors, which to date have been ship-based, and to place them on land.

The reports are, as the third and the fourth phases arrive in the upcoming years, that as many as 20 Standard Missile-3 advanced types will be placed each in Poland and Romania – and that’s in addition to the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 theatre interceptor missiles that are already placed in Poland. And then, of course, the ship-based versions on Aegis class cruisers and destroyers will be deployed as Washington sees fit – in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea, and the Baltic Sea.

What we’re seeing is an almost impenetrable missile shield being erected along the entire western flank of Russia. Russia is not allowed to be an integral part of that system and with projected or anticipated more sophisticated versions of the Standard Missile-3 that are able to intercept both intermediate and perhaps even long-range missiles, in the words of several Russian officials, civilian and military, this potentially threatens Russia’s strategic interests.

So, you mean, is there any hope that they have been wrangling over this for a long time?

The fact is that Dmitry Medvedev became the first Russian or Soviet head of state ever to attend a NATO summit, as he did in Lisbon last November, while NATO was formally endorsing a continent-wide system that some people refer to as “Son of Star Wars”.

Perhaps somebody in the Kremlin at that time had hopes that NATO would listen to reason. But I think the evidence of the Sochi NATO-Russia Council meeting suggests that NATO is not budging, it is not prepared to compromise.

Some Russian experts say there was much progress made in Sochi. You see the opposite?

I’m just quoting Russian officials, including Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, both on the issue of Libya, the war against Libya, as well as the interceptor missile defence system, which is still fantastically described by the US and by NATO, by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, as being aimed at some 23 countries, I believe, some astronomical number of nations that are supposedly developing ballistic missiles.

But nations that are usually identified are, of course, Iran, Syria – interestingly enough, given the current situation in that country – and I cannot, for the life of me, understand in terms of trajectory or anything else why 20 advanced Standard Missile-3 interceptors are to be placed in Poland to intercept missiles from Iran. It’s as nonsensical as the George W. Bush version – putting ground-base midcourse missiles there.

Backing up a little bit: some experts say that NATO should have been disbanded when the Warsaw Pact was dissolved. NATO was designed, as a fact, to contain the USSR and continues to operate in such a manner. What do you think about that statement? As far as the ABM shield goes, I agree with you about trajectory and the location – I mean that there could be no other reason for it rather than to contain Russian missiles.

Patriot Advanced Capability missiles were placed in Poland, in the city of Morag, 60 kilometers from Russian territory. Against whom else have these missiles been deployed, with accompanying US military personnel who are manning them?

You now have the first permanent deployment of foreign troops in Poland since the breakup of the Warsaw Pact 20 years ago. NATO should never been formed, but that having been done in 1949 most surely it should have been a precondition, as a matter of fact, for the former Soviet government of President Gorbachev that, while discussing the breakup of the Warsaw Pact and so forth, a quid pro quo, reciprocity, should have been demanded, that NATO should have been disbanded.

The fact that instead, within one decade, from 1999 to 2009, it increased its membership by 75%, going from 16 countries to 28 countries, all 12 new countries in Eastern Europe, of course, from the Baltic to the Adriatic Seas. And every one of them either former members of the Warsaw Pact – Albania for a short while – or former republics of Yugoslavia is a clear indication NATO expansion eastward is not only to contain Russia. I would argue it’s meant to confront Russia.

Categories: Uncategorized

Updates on Libya war/Stop NATO News: July 5, 2011

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Russia, NATO Clash Over Libya Campaign

NATO Ground Operation In Libya Threat To Region: Russia

NATO’s Libyan Air War: 13,873 Missions, 5,229 Combat Sorties

Video And Text: U.S. Star Wars Outpost In Britain Angers Anti-War Activists

28th Australian Soldier Killed In Afghanistan

Afghan War: NATO Yearly Death Toll Rises To 280

“Mini-Surge” Of U.S. Special Forces To Hit Afghanistan

NATO Needed To “Democratize” Ukraine: Speaker

Battle For The Arctic

NATO Chief: Russia Should Spend On “Job Creation” Not Defense

NATO Representative In Azerbaijan To Speak On Middle East

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Russia, NATO Clash Over Libya Campaign

http://www.voanews.com/english/news/Russia-NATO-Clash-Over-Libya-Campaign-124988199.html

Voice of America News
July 4, 2011

Russia, NATO Clash Over Libya Campaign

Russia and NATO have failed to narrow their differences over the Western air campaign in Libya, after Moscow accused the alliance of interpreting a United Nations resolution on military intervention any way it wished.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen defended the alliance’s Libya mission Monday during a visit to the Russian city of Sochi, where he discussed Libya with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and visiting South African President Jacob Zuma. Mr. Zuma has led the African Union’s efforts to help negotiate a peaceful settlement in Libya.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said there is “no common understanding” about how the resolution is being implemented. He said Moscow wants the U.N. mandate to be fulfilled as worded, without expanding its interpretation.

As NATO has increased airstrikes to support rebel forces, Russia has said the alliance is overstepping its bounds. Moscow was particularly angered by revelations last week about a direct French arms drop to rebels fighting Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s forces. Russia did not vote on the U.N. Security Council resolution in March that gave NATO the authority to protect civilians in Libya with military means.

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NATO Ground Operation In Libya Threat To Region: Russia

http://www.interfax.com/newsinf.asp?pg=6&id=256794

Interfax
July 5, 2011

NATO’s ground operation in Libya to lead to unpredictable consequences in region – Russian deputy FM

MOSCOW: NATO’s ground operation in Libya will threaten the country’s territorial integrity and may lead to unpredictable consequences for the whole region, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said.

“Such interference [a ground operation] would be a serious blow to Libya’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and would lead to unpredictable consequences on the regional scale,” Bogdanov said in an interview with Interfax.

UN Security Council Resolution 1973 does not provide for a possibility of a ground operation in Libya, he pointed out.

“We have proceeded and continue proceeding from the fact that it is impossible to resolve the crisis by force and that it is absolutely impossible to engage external forces into the conflict on the ground. UN Security Council Resolution 1973 does not authorize such actions,” Bogdanov said.

Speaking about Russia’s position at votings on UN Security Council resolutions on Libya, he said: “we were absolutely aware of the fact that such steps may lead to considerable material losses to Russia.”

“However, we consciously went for it in order to prevent further bloodshed,” Bogdanov said.

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NATO’s Libyan Air War: 13,873 Missions, 5,229 Combat Sorties

http://www.aco.nato.int/resources/3/documents/Libya%20update%20July%2011/20110705oup-update.pdf

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations
July 5, 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 13,873 sorties, including 5,229 strike sorties, have been conducted.

Sorties conducted 04 JULY: 145

Strike sorties conducted 04 JULY: 59

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Video And Text: U.S. Star Wars Outpost In Britain Angers Anti-War Activists

http://rt.com/news/us-base-hill-british/

RT
July 5, 2011

US anti-missile outpost in UK angers anti-war Britons

Video

The top secret US military base, Menwith Hill, is a little piece of America in the heart of the UK’s Yorkshire Dales. For years it has been a protest hotspot for Britons who are demanding their country’s independence from America.

“This base symbolizes what’s wrong with the special relationship between the UK and the US. Here we have a base that’s under US control, over which the British government and British people have no control. This base is not accountable to us, the British people. It’s engaged in activities, and supporting wars, which most British people object to,” human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said.

Menwith Hill is the largest intelligence gathering and surveillance base outside the US. There are 32 satellite dishes housed inside the huge golf-ball structures which can eavesdrop on telephone calls, faxes and emails from around the world. It has been operational since the 1960s, but now it is set to become part of the controversial missile defense shield designed to alert the US to the launch of ballistic missiles.

As in Poland and the Czech Republic, where the US also planned to site bases, locals are worried that having the facility here will put the area in danger, heightening the risk of an attack by anyone who wants to disable the shield. But unlike in Eastern Europe, the government here has put up no fight at all. In fact, it does not even know what goes on here.

“It might look innocuous from the outside, but it’s what goes on behind there. And you know, there is not a single British official in parliament or in the intelligence services who could give you a full picture of what’s happening in that base,” journalist and campaigner Yvonne Ridley said.

It is the culmination of former US president Ronald Reagan’s dream. As his statue is unveiled in London on Monday, Menwith Hill embodies what Reagan envisaged in the early-warning missile detection system that was dubbed the “Star Wars” program. It is secretive, based far away from US soil, and some say it is a step towards the US domination and militarization of space.

People demonstrate at Menwith Hill every July 4, campaigning for the closure of this base and the others like it around the country. They want to reclaim this land and bring it back under the control of the British government and its people.

It is not working, though. As Menwith Hill becomes part of the missile defense shield, it is building another golf-ball satellite structure, bringing the total to 33, despite local and national opposition. Growing, not reducing, the US’s influence in Europe.

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28th Australian Soldier Killed In Afghanistan

http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/breaking/9783403/australian-soldier-killed-in-afghanistan/

Australian Associated Press
July 5, 2011

Australian soldier killed in Afghanistan

An Australian soldier has died in Afghanistan, bringing to 28 the number of diggers killed in the conflict since 2001.

New Chief of the Defence Force, General David Hurley, said 35-year-old Sergeant Todd Langley died after an incident involving small arms fire on the battlefield.

He was serving with a special operations task group in southern Afghanistan when he was killed on Monday morning local time.

Gen. Hurley said Sgt Langley, a member of the Sydney-based 2nd Commando Regiment, died after sustaining a gun shot wound to the head during an engagement with insurgents.

Gen. Hurley said a second soldier was wounded and is in a serious condition at a medical facility in Kandahar. He remains in a serious but stable condition.

A total of 28 Australian soldiers have been killed so far in Afghanistan, including seven this year.

Australia has 1550 troops deployed in Afghanistan, including a 320-strong Special Operations Task Group comprising personnel from the Perth-based Special Air Service Regiment and the Sydney-based Commando and Incident Response regiments.

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Afghan War: NATO Yearly Death Toll Rises To 280

http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/afghanistan/2011-07-05-afghanistan-nato_n.htm

Associated Press
July 5, 2011

NATO: 4 service members killed in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan: NATO says four of its service members have been killed in two separate attacks in eastern Afghanistan.

The international coalition says three NATO troops died from an improvised roadside bomb and a fourth soldier was killed in a separate insurgent attack.

No other details about Tuesday’s deaths were released.

The deaths bring to 280 the number of international troops killed so far this year and nine this month.

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“Mini-Surge” Of U.S. Special Forces To Hit Afghanistan

http://www.stripes.com/news/middle-east/afghanistan/mini-surge-of-u-s-special-forces-to-hit-afghanistan-1.148268

Stars and Stripes
July 4, 2011

‘Mini-surge’ of U.S. Special Forces to hit Afghanistan

U.S. military leaders are working to replace some of the exiting American conventional forces from Afghanistan with a “mini-surge” of U.S. Special Forces, a measure to soothe commanders’ fears that the withdrawal of troops might put at risk military gains, according to the Times out of Australia.

Military sources told The Times that 16 special operations personnel are considered to be worth the equivalent of 100 conventional troops.

In June, President Obama announced plans to withdraw 10,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year. The remainder of the surge troops, about 23,000, would be withdrawn in 2012, leaving about 70,000 troops in Afghanistan until 2014.

Defense analysts have said of late that the reduction of conventional troops likely will place a heavier burden on clandestine units, such as SEALs, and Army Rangers and Green Berets.

The Times reports there are more than 7,000 U.S. Special Forces in Afghanistan and about 3,000 in Iraq, with many of the latter expected to be moved to Afghanistan.

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NATO Needed To “Democratize” Ukraine: Speaker

http://www.interfax.com.ua/eng/main/73023/

Interfax-Ukraine
July 5, 2011

Speaker: Ukraine wants to cooperate with NATO

-Lytvyn said Ukraine was the only NATO partner participating in almost all major peacekeeping missions conducted by the alliance…”NATO is rethinking its place and role in the world order of the 21st century. At the same time, Ukraine has also given an important start to the important processes of optimizing the principles of our domestic and foreign policy,” Lytvyn said.

It is very important for Ukraine to develop its cooperation with NATO, Verkhovna Rada Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn has said.

“It’s currently extremely important for us to develop our cooperation with NATO, with strict observance of the cornerstone principles of the fundamental political values that serve as the foundation of the alliance and the European Union, in particular, the rule of law, freedom of speech and democratic principles of organizing our life,” he said while opening a meeting of the Ukraine-NATO Inter-Parliamentary Council in Kyiv on Tuesday.

Lytvyn stressed the need to introduce democracy in the broadest sense of the word in the economic life of Ukraine, so that all have the chance to realize their potential.

He said that Ukraine, as a large European state, had to be involved in large-scale cooperation with the Euro-Atlantic alliance, including the process of developing and creating a new system of European security.

“Now that relations between Ukraine and NATO have been freed from unnecessary politicization, we can and must focus on the consistent implementation of the agreements reached, and use all of the tools in relations between Ukraine and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization outlined by the Charter on a Distinctive Partnership,” he said.

Lytvyn said Ukraine would continue to remain a reliable partner for NATO and adhere to the principles of consistency and predictability in its foreign policy.

He said that cooperation with NATO was an important tool for the creation of Ukraine as a strong, democratic and economically developed state.

He recalled that Ukraine had successfully implemented its annual national programs of cooperation with NATO for the third consecutive year.

He said that Ukraine had long established itself as a reliable partner of NATO.

Lytvyn said Ukraine was the only NATO partner participating in almost all major peacekeeping missions conducted by the alliance.

The speaker pointed to the important role of the Verkhovna Rada in the development of cooperation between Ukraine and NATO.

“NATO is rethinking its place and role in the world order of the 21st century. At the same time, Ukraine has also given an important start to the important processes of optimizing the principles of our domestic and foreign policy,” Lytvyn said.

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Battle For The Arctic

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/07/05/52811938.html

Voice of Russia
July 5, 2011

Battle for Arctic

Konstantin Simonov, Head of the Centre for the Political Conjuncture in Russia:

We see the beginning of a serious Arctic race, a battle for the Arctic, and we see the militarization of this region, we see ambitions to be part of this process in the countries which are not today part of Arctic agreement.

According to the forecast of UK and American experts, of course, the Arctic can be a very interesting zone of production of oil and gas in the nearest future, because we see that all main areas of production of oil – if we are speaking about, for example, the Persian Gulf, about the Caspian Sea, also about the United States, about the Gulf of Mexico – in all these regions we see that the main fields are exhausted and it is very difficult to increase production. That is why, of course, the Arctic is our strategic zone, a zone of our strategic interest.

The main question now is who will be the main actors in this region, or who will take part in exploration of the Arctic zone. Today we have an Arctic agreement and we know eight countries which are part of this Arctic agreement.

It is possible to keep pace with Canada, with the United States in this direction, and not to forgo an opportunity for other countries to take part in this exploration.

According to the preliminary results of exploration, preliminary results of geophysical studies, Russia will be the main Arctic country, the main oil and gas reserves in Arctic zone will be in the Russian part of the Arctic. Of course, for Russia cooperation is the most reliable scenario.

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NATO Chief: Russia Should Spend On “Job Creation” Not Defense

http://en.rian.ru/world/20110705/165033651.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
July 5, 2011

Russia’s threats to create new offensive system ‘unnecessary’ – NATO chief

St. Petersburg: Russia should not seek new weapons to counter nonexistent threats from the West, and would be better off spending the money on social and economic development, NATO’s secretary general said on Tuesday.

“Unfortunately, I have seen public pronouncements that Russia might consider spending billions of rubles on a new offensive system to target the West,” Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said, dismissing Russian threats of new weapons to challenge NATO’s European missile defense plans.

“Let me put it bluntly: this type of statement is unnecessary. Because Russia is not threatened from the West,” he said at the Kuznetsov Naval Academy in St. Petersburg. “This type of investment is a waste of money. Because the money is better spent on economic development, on modernization, and on job creation.”

The statement came a day after a NATO-Russia Council meeting in Russia’s Black Sea resort city of Sochi, which focused on the creation of the European missile defense system and opportunities for cooperation between Russia and the alliance on the issue.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov admitted after the talks that NATO would not agree on Russia’s proposal for a so-called sectoral missile defense system in Europe. The alliance insists on establishing two independent systems that exchange information.

Russia and NATO agreed to cooperate on the European missile defense system at the Lisbon Summit in November 2010. Under a proposal put forward by President Dmitry Medvedev, Russia would be responsible for shooting down missiles aimed at NATO members but passing through Russia’s airspace or sector, with NATO members committing to protect Russia in a similar fashion.

NATO has also refused to provide legally binding guarantees that its missiles would not be directed against Russia, which Moscow says is the only way to prevent a new arms race.

Russia has also threatened to withdraw from the New START treaty on cutting U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals in response to NATO’s stance, as well as to create a new air and space defense system and enhance its offensive potential at western borders to avert a possible missile threat.

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NATO Representative In Azerbaijan To Speak On Middle East

http://en.apa.az/news.php?id=150876

Azeri Press Agency
July 5, 2011

NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative arrives in Azerbaijan
Victoria Dementieva

Baku: NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the South Caucasus and Central Asia James Appathurai arrived in Azerbaijan on July 5.

APA reports that it is the first visit of Appathurai to Azerbaijan as the special representative.

…During the visit he will hold negotiations with Azerbaijani officials. Besides, he will deliver a speech at the summer session of the NATO-Azerbaijan International School named “The Middle East Puzzle: Security and Democracy”.

The visit will finish on July 6.

Though Appathurai’s visit to Baku was scheduled to June 10, the visit was postponed.

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http://en.apa.az/news.php?id=150903

Azeri Press Agency
July 5, 2011

James Appathurai: “Azerbaijan plays a very important role in the region in the field of fight against terrorism”
Rashad Suleymanov

Baku: On July 4, First Deputy Speaker of the Azerbaijani Parliament, head of the Azerbaijani delegation to NATO, Parliamentary Assembly Ziyafat Asgarov met with the NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the Central Asia James Appathurai, APA reports.

Asgarov said that Azerbaijan was one of the closest allies of NATO and said that Baku was successfully cooperating with the Alliance in the spheres of politics, diplomacy, reforms, and antiterrorism protection within the Partnership for Peace and Individual Partnership Program: “Our peacekeepers serve in an exemplary [manner in] Afghanistan. Azerbaijan has always been near its alliance in the antiterrorism protection, as well as is closely participating in the restoration of peace and security in the Euro-Atlantic space”.

Appathurai highly assessed NATO-Azerbaijan relations, thanked Azerbaijan for assistance rendered in Afghanistan, and underlined that Azerbaijan was an important for NATO from a strategic point of view. The Special Representative said that there were good opportunities for the broadening and development of relations. Noting Azerbaijan’s very important role in the region in the field of antiterrorism protection, Appathurai said that he would work hard for the cooperation to be fruitful.

Touching on Nagorno Karabakh conflict, Appathurai said that UN supported Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity.

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Categories: Uncategorized