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Stop NATO news: December 31, 2011

December 31, 2011 2 comments

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Central Asia, Afghanistan: U.S. Seeks New Drone Bases

U.S. Air Force Buys Fastest, Largest Hunter-Killer Drone

U.S. Civilians Now Helping Decide Who To Kill With Military Drones

Boeing Wins $3.5 Billion Bid For Long-Range Interceptor Missiles

Pakistan Seizes 250 Containers With U.S., NATO Military Equipment

Almost 3,000 NATO Fatalities: Deadly Cost Of Afghan War

Afghanistan: Eleventh Georgian Soldier Killed, More On The Way

Australia Quadruples Base Used For Afghan War Training

Pacific Command Nomination Signals Pentagon’s Shift To Asia-Pacific

Japan’s Worrisome Return To Militarism

India, Japan To Conduct Joint Naval Maneuvers In Indian Ocean

West Blocking Kosovo Organ Trafficking Probe: Russian UN Envoy

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Central Asia, Afghanistan: U.S. Seeks New Drone Bases

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/islamabad/30-Dec-2011/us-looking-for-new-drone-bases-after-pakistan-s-refusal

The Nation
December 30, 2011

US looking for new drone bases after Pakistan’s refusal
By Sikandar Shaheen

-Including the covert base in Khost, the US has seven operational military bases located in Kandahar, Herat, Parwan, Helmand and Nimroz provinces.
With the exception of the Khost base that is under the operational command of CIA, the US Army, Air Force and Navy jointly administer the remaining six bases.
-According to officials at a diplomatic mission, the US was actively considering establishing covert military bases in Central Asia for continuing drone-hits in Pakistan but the Central Asian Republics (CARs) refused to provide launching pads owing to Russia’s pressure.
-78 drone attacks in the ongoing year have killed 607 persons including militants and civilians in the Pakistan’s tribal region while 306 drone strikes claimed 3659 lives in this region since 2004.

ISLAMABAD – The CIA-sponsored drone campaign in Pakistan‘s Northwestern Tribal region is likely to remain stalled amid the reports that the US may not find a feasible alternative venue to target Pak-Afghan borderlands after having become entangled in a deadlock with Pakistan over the Mohmand attack row.

Till the middle of last month, the Central intelligence Agency (CIA) oversaw drone hits in Pakistan’s Waziristan region mostly from the Shamsi base in Balochistan province and partly from a US base in Khost province, Afghanistan.

After US AC-130H Spectre gunship choppers targeted a couple of military check posts in Mohmand Agency killing two dozen Pak soldiers on November 26th, Pakistan gave a 15-day deadline to the US to vacate the Shamsi base that followed its evacuation by December 11th. Since then, there has been a complete halt in drone hits.

Including the covert base in Khost, the US has seven operational military bases located in Kandahar, Herat, Parwan, Helmand and Nimroz provinces.
With the exception of the Khost base that is under the operational command of CIA, the US Army, Air Force and Navy jointly administer the remaining six bases.

Reportedly, the United States mulled over using the Shindand base in Helmand, the Bagram base in Parwan and the Camp Leatherneck base in Nimroz province as launching pads for drone hits in Pakistani borderlands but the idea ceased to work owing to the engagements of these bases in extensive aerial operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s refusal to allow the CIA to carry on with the covert drone programme in its tribal area in the post-November 26th scenario.

Talking to The Nation, Abdullah Khan, Director of the Conflict Monitoring Centre (CMC), an Islamabad-based think-tank that monitors conflict scenarios in South Asia, said the CIA had the option of using the Khost base for drones but things were to be different compared to the Shamsi base.

“Its not as convenient and easy as it used to be. There are too many operational constraints involved in launching drone strikes from Khost compared to Shamsi. Secondly, given that Pakistan has completely disrupted intelligence sharing on drones, it’s next to impossible for them (CIA) to continue with drones here’” he said.

Elaborating on the operational constraints for the drone programme at the Khost base, Khan said: “It’s not only about drones. There’s a whole lot of surveillance, spying and military movements that were being overseen from Shamsi. That’s not possible from Afghanistan due to the proximity factor. The Khost base had come under a deadly suicide attack last year.”

According to CMC figures, 78 drone attacks in the ongoing year have killed 607 persons including militants and civilians in the Pakistan’s tribal region while 306 drone strikes claimed 3659 lives in this region since 2004.

The last drone hit was reported in the Shawal area of North Waziristan that killed some six to nine persons. The Khost provincial government spokesman Mubarez Zadran expressed ignorance regarding the presence of a covert military base for drones in Khost. “This is something nobody would want to speak on.

“Yes, the US military bases are there and that’s no hidden affair but these bases are not being used for drone-hits in Pakistan. I think you better consult US military on this,” he suggested to this scribe.

Neither the US Embassy in Islamabad nor the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) officially comments on the CIA drone programme.

NATO officials in Afghanistan, when contacted on prior occasions, had denied having any involvement with drone hits in Pakistan. According to officials at a diplomatic mission, the US was actively considering to establish covert military bases in Central Asia for continuing drone-hits in Pakistan but the Central Asian Republics (CARs) refused to provide launching pads owing to Russia’s pressure.

Russia has serious disagreements with the US presence in Afghanistan.

In October this year, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to Pakistan along with top military officials had followed a secretive agreement on drones as part of renewed Pak-US military cooperation after a spree of hostility. Unearthed by The Nation on October 22nd, the agreement envisaged resumption of intelligence cooperation between Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the CIA for hunting down militants on both sides of the border.

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U.S. Air Force Buys Fastest, Largest Hunter-Killer Drone

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-stealth-drone-20111231,0,2148856.story

Los Angeles Times
December 31, 2011

Air Force buys an Avenger, its biggest and fastest armed drone
The new radar-evading aircraft, which cost the Air Force $15 million, has a maximum takeoff weight of 15,800 pounds and can fly at 460 mph. The drone, built near San Diego, is for testing purposes
W.J. Hennigan

-With a length of 44 feet and a maximum takeoff weight of 15,800 pounds, the Avenger can carry more weaponry than its predecessors…
The Avenger…has an internal bomb bay like other modern fighter and bomber jets. It was designed to carry 2,000-pound bombs, as well as missiles, cameras and sensor packages.

The Air Force has bought a new hunter-killer aircraft that is the fastest and largest armed drone in its fleet.

The Avenger, which cost the military $15 million, is the latest version of the Predator drones made by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., a San Diego-area company that also builds the robotic MQ-9 Reapers for the Air Force and CIA.

The new radar-evading aircraft, also known as the Predator C, is General Atomics’ third version of these drones…

The Avenger represents a major technological advance over the other Predator and Reaper drones that the Obama administration has increasingly relied on to hunt and destroy targets in Central Asia and the Middle East, defense industry analysts said. It may be several months — even years — away from active duty, but the Avenger represents the wave of the future, said Phil Finnegan, an aerospace expert with the Teal Group, a research firm.

“As the U.S. looks at threats beyond Iraq and Afghanistan — where it has complete air dominance — it needs aircraft that are going to be stealthier and faster so they won’t be shot down by enemy air defense,” Finnegan said.

With a length of 44 feet and a maximum takeoff weight of 15,800 pounds, the Avenger can carry more weaponry than its predecessors.

The Reaper, for example, is 36 feet long and has a maximum takeoff weight of 10,500 pounds. The largest bombs it carries weigh 500 pounds and hang from its wings.

The Avenger, on the other hand, has an internal bomb bay like other modern fighter and bomber jets. It was designed to carry 2,000-pound bombs, as well as missiles, cameras and sensor packages.

Both the Reaper and Avenger have 66-foot wingspans and can reach a maximum altitude of about 50,000 feet.

The Reaper can stay aloft for 30 hours at a time –- 10 hours longer than the Avenger. But with the power of a turbofan engine, the Avenger’s top speed is about 460 mph, much faster than the propeller-driven Reaper’s 276 mph.

The Avenger is considered one of the contenders to replace older Predators and Reapers. It’s also likely to be in the running for the Navy’s upcoming carrier-launched drone program.

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U.S. Civilians Now Helping Decide Who To Kill With Military Drones

http://www.businessinsider.com/us-civilians-are-now-helping-decide-who-to-kill-with-military-drones-2011-12

Business Insider
December 30, 2011

US Civilians Are Now Helping Decide Who To Kill With Military Drones
Robert Johnson   

-The Air Force owns 230 Reapers, Predators, and Global Hawks — flying 50 of them at any given time.
But it’s the 730 more drones being added to the fleet over the next 10 years that may explain why military personnel are now being asked to fly four drones at once.

President Obama’s enormous expansion of the U.S. drone program may be pushing too fast for military staffing to keep up.

David S. Cloud of The Los Angeles Times reports the military is now forced to rely on a string of civilian contractors placed at all levels along the “kill chain.” These are the people who analyze incoming drone video and decide when to fire Hellfire missiles.

The practice is not new.

According to Cloud, an American civilian played a “central” role in the Predator attack that accidentally killed 15 Afghans in 2010, information that “surprised” the investigating Army officer.

Manning the drone fleet is a mounting issue in the Air Force.

It takes more staff to fly a drone than an F-15, and with more drones than ever in the air, non-government employees are increasingly employed to analyze video, and keep the UAVs in the air.

The Air Force says it takes 168 people to fly a Predator for 24 hours, and 300 people to keep a Global Hawk aloft for the same time.

The Air Force owns 230 Reapers, Predators, and Global Hawks — flying 50 of them at any given time.

But it’s the 730 more drones being added to the fleet over the next 10 years that may explain why military personnel are now being asked to fly four drones at once.

Announced last week and received with a wealth of concerns, the four drone per pilot program raises further concerns about an already legally muddled program.

Despite public resistance, legal questions, and additional pilot stress, military officials in the U.S. and Britain are already claiming to see “great promise” with the four drone program.

Unless the military drastically increases its recruiting efforts, with the defense cuts a huge improbability, there is likely to be an increasing number of civilians, working for profitable corporations, helping make decisions on when to fire U.S. weapons.

While the Air Force tries to maintain certain standards within its ranks, attempting to root out those with questionable legal backgrounds, and poor “moral standing,” every corporation within the kill chain is guided by its own hiring practices.

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Boeing Wins $3.5 Billion Bid For Long-Range Interceptor Missiles

http://news.yahoo.com/boeing-wins-3-48-billion-u-missile-defense-222356972.html

Reuters
December 30, 2011

Boeing wins $3.48 billion U.S. missile defense contract

Boeing Co beat out Lockheed Martin to retain its position as the prime contractor for the U.S. long-range missile shield, the Pentagon said on Friday.

The U.S. Defense Department said it was awarding Boeing a $3.48 billion, seven-year contract to develop, test, engineer and manufacture missile defense systems.

A team led by Lockheed Martin Corp and Raytheon Co had vied with Boeing to expand and maintain the Ground-based Midcourse Defense, or GMD, hub of layered antimissile protection.

GMD uses radars and other sensors plus a 20,000-mile fiber optic communications network to cue interceptors in silos in Fort Greely, Alaska and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

(Reporting By Jim Wolf and Karey Wutkowski; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

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Pakistan Seizes 250 Containers With U.S., NATO Military Equipment

http://ibnlive.in.com/generalnewsfeed/news/pak-forces-claim-seizing-us-nato-military-equipment/944561.html

Press Trust of India
December 30, 2011

Pak forces claim seizing US, NATO military equipment

Karachi: Pakistani security forces today claimed that they had seized and confiscated sensitive military equipment in around 250 containers belonging to US and NATO forces.

Television channels reported that the military equipment was seized on security grounds by the paramilitary Pakistan Rangers. According to Ranger officials, the equipment will remain under their control until further orders are received from the government. “The military equipment was found in around 250 containers which have now been parked in a yard at Port Qasim,” a security official said.

The seizure comes at a time when the United States has announced it was planning to withdraw all its military hardware and arms out of Pakistan after the Pakistan government closed its Afghan border for supplies carried out through containers and oil tankers to US and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

The ‘Express News’ channel quoted security sources as saying that the ban on supplies to US and NATO forces in Afghanistan had prompted the US government to weight various options to move around the cargo stranded at various locations in Pakistan. According to these sources, US cargo, stranded in Pakistan, is worth millions of dollars and US authorities have serious concerns over the safety of the cargo as it includes hammer vehicles, dumpers, anti-aircraft guns, special carriers of anti-aircraft guns, vehicles specially built to jam communications, cranes and sophisticated weapons.

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Almost 3,000 NATO Fatalities: Deadly Cost Of Afghan War

http://www.smh.com.au/world/565-the-deadly-cost-of-afghanistan-involvement-20111231-1pg4n.html

Agence France-Presse
December 31, 2011

565: The deadly cost of Afghanistan involvement
Joe Sinclair

Foreign troops fighting in Afghanistan continue to pay a high toll, with more than 560 killed in 2011, the second highest number in the 10-year war against the Taliban-led insurgency.

Commanders from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) say violence is declining following the US military surge which saw an extra 33,000 troops on the ground.

But the UN says violence is up, while recent mass casualty strikes by the Taliban on civilians and coalition troops have fuelled analyst predictions that more bloodshed is likely as NATO hands control for security to Afghan forces.

The death toll of coalition service personnel in 2011 was 565.

According to the independent website icasualties.org, 32 Australian defence personnel have died in Afghanistan since 2002.

A total 417 from the US, 45 from Britain, and 11 from Australia died in 2011, according to an AFP tally based on figures from icasualties.org.

The number is down from a wartime high of 711 in 2010 after the start of the surge but up from 521 in 2009.

The fatality count, which includes 11 Australians, has been worsened by several devastating attacks, including the car bombing of an ISAF convoy in Kabul in October which killed 17, and the shooting down of a helicopter in Wardak, south of the capital, in August in which 30 US troops perished.

But it is Afghan civilians who have paid the highest price.

The deadliest attack saw at least 80 people killed in a shrine bombing in Kabul on the Shi’ite holy day of Ashura in early December.

Since the US-led invasion toppled the Taliban from power in 2001, a total of 2,846 foreign troops have died in the conflict.

The UN said the number of civilians killed in violence in Afghanistan rose by 15 per cent in the first six months of this year to 1,462. A full-year report is due out in mid-January.

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Afghanistan: Eleventh Georgian Soldier Killed, More On The Way

http://www.civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=24325

Civil Georgia
December 31, 2011

Eleventh Georgian Soldier Dies in Afghanistan

Tbilisi: Corporal Besik Niniashvili from the 31st light infantry battalion of the third brigade deployed in the Helmand province of Afghanistan was killed “as a result of a mine explosion”, the Georgian Ministry of Defense said on December 31.

The latest death brings to eleven the total number of Georgian soldiers killed in Afghanistan, since joining the NATO-led operation in November, 2009. Georgian troops in Afghanistan operate without caveats.

On December 20 the Parliament approved President Saakashvili’s request to send one additional infantry battalion to Afghanistan on top of 936 Georgian soldiers who already serve as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

As a result, after sending one more battalion – that is 749 soldiers – Georgia will become the largest non-NATO contributor to ISAF with total of 1,685 troops.

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Australia Quadruples Base Used For Afghan War Training

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-12-30/cultana-training-base-expansion-agreement/3753122?section=sa

Australian Broadcasting Corporation
December 30, 2011

Agreement reached over controversial military base
Nicola Gage

Traditional owners in South Australia’s north say they have reached an agreement with the Defence Department over a proposed army base expansion.

The department wants to expand the Cultana Training Area near Whyalla to make it one of the biggest military training bases in Australia.

The department will hold a final meeting in the new year before the Aboriginal Land Use Agreement is signed.

It still needs to acquire the necessary land from affected pastoralists before the expansion will go ahead.

Project history

The expansion was first announced by the Liberal Defence Minister, Robert Hill, in 2005.

The project will see the base nearly quadruple in size, requiring the compulsory acquisition of about 150,000 hectares of land.

The Cultana base is used to train soldiers for conditions in Afghanistan.

A soldier was killed there in 2009 during a live-firing training accident.

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Pacific Command Nomination Signals Pentagon’s Shift To Asia-Pacific

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/2011-12/30/content_14354600.htm

China Daily
December 30, 2011

Nomination signals Washington’s ‘focus on Asia-Pacific’
By Cui Haipei

-Liu Lin, a researcher with the Academy of Military Science of the People’s Liberation Army, said the nomination of the well-known figure to some extent reflected the US government’s growing attention to Asia-Pacific affairs – Locklear directly commanded the operation in Libya…
“Because there are several emerging countries in the Asia-Pacific region, such as China, India and Indonesia, the USPACOM’s strategic importance is rising rapidly for US troops,” Liu said.
Locklear, a graduate of the US Naval Academy, is currently commander of US Naval Forces Europe, commander of US Naval Forces Africa, and commander of Allied Joint Forces Command in Naples, Italy.

BEIJING: Chinese experts said that US President Barack Obama’s nomination of navy Admiral Samuel Locklear as commander of US Pacific Command (USPACOM) on Wednesday is a sign of the US government’s growing attention to Asia-Pacific affairs.

If confirmed by the Senate, Locklear will replace Admiral Robert Willard as head of the largest of the six US military Unified Combatant Commands.

USPACOM has about 325,000 service members, or about one-fifth of the US military strength, and covers an area stretching from the waters off the US west coast to the western border of India.

Liu Lin, a researcher with the Academy of Military Science of the People’s Liberation Army, said the nomination of the well-known figure to some extent reflected the US government’s growing attention to Asia-Pacific affairs – Locklear directly commanded the operation in Libya which made him popular.

“Because there are several emerging countries in the Asia-Pacific region, such as China, India and Indonesia, the USPACOM’s strategic importance is rising rapidly for US troops,” Liu said.

Locklear, a graduate of the US Naval Academy, is currently commander of US Naval Forces Europe, commander of US Naval Forces Africa, and commander of Allied Joint Forces Command in Naples, Italy.

Since the Obama administration took office in early 2009, it has realized the strategic importance of the region and adopted a back-to-Asia strategy in a bid to maintain the US leadership in both economic and security arenas in Asia, Liu said.

Liu said the admiral, as chief of Pacific Command, would likely continue the policies of his predecessors, and focus on China’s growing economic and military strength and the uncertainty on the Korean Peninsula, especially after Kim Jong-il’s death.

“Actually, soon after the Cold War, the US already decided to transfer its strategic focus to the Asia-Pacific region, but the anti-terrorism war then came to the top of the focus list,” said Liu, adding that Obama announced last month the deployment of up to 2,500 US Marines in Australia, another piece of its Asia-Pacific strategy adjustment.

The disadvantage of Locklear, compared with his predecessor Admiral Robert Willard, appointed in October 2009, is that Locklear has never dealt with any matters in the Asia-Pacific, Liu said.

“These senior military officers to some degree are also diplomats, so before he actually gets familiar with the region, it is too soon to speak of specific impacts of the nomination,” she added.

Xinhua contributed to this story.

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Japan’s Worrisome Return To Militarism

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/2011-12/31/content_14361807.htm

China Daily
December 31, 2011

Japan’s case of flawed priority
By Wang Hui

Tokyo’s decision to ease arms exports ban is fraught with danger, for it could start a new arms race in Asia and worsen Mideast security

-Japan has been strengthening its military might since the Cold War days and especially after the first Gulf War under various pretexts, including the need to defend against non-existent enemies and bolster its global presence. That it has been nurturing expansionist ambitions, covertly and overtly, is evident in its Self Defense Force, for it is as good as any sophisticated army, endowed with advanced weapons and equipment and capable of conducting missions overseas whenever necessary.

Japan’s decision to effectively lift the long-standing ban on export of arms is shortsighted, if not dangerous. Worse, it could backfire on domestic, regional and international fronts in the long run.

On Tuesday, Osamu Fujimura, chief secretary of Japan’s Cabinet, announced that Tokyo was easing its decades-old ban on arms exports to pave the way for joint development and production of advanced weapons with other countries.

It is widely perceived that huge defense costs prompted Tokyo to relax the rules, which it had been mulling for years. Such concerns may be seemingly relevant given the financial pinch Japan is feeling in reviving the national economy after the triple disaster of the earthquake, tsunami and the subsequent leak from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The triple disaster dealt a heavy blow to the Japanese economy, which had already been suffering from slow growth since the country’s asset-price bubble burst in the early 1990s.

But compared to the economic benefits that arms exports could bring, the social and political repercussions of lifting the ban would be much greater and might even lead Japan onto a dangerous path. For example, the decision has already sown the seeds of social division. While some right-wing media and groups have lauded it as epoch-making, others have denounced it as being detrimental to Japan’s image as a pacifist power and even violating its pacific constitution.

Indeed, a country that has followed a war-renouncing doctrine for decades could unleash its arms manufacturing capability when it departs from its pacifist path. Japan’s decision to ease the ban on arms exports cannot be interpreted as a move to uphold its pacifist constitution, for it is an open declaration to boost its military might. Fujimura’s statement on Tuesday makes that obvious.

Although Fujimura gave an assurance that Japan would adhere to its pacifist principles, his other statement revealed Japan’s real intentions. “We should acquire the most advanced defense technology to upgrade the capability of Japanese defense industry,” he said.

In fact, Japan has been strengthening its military might since the Cold War days and especially after the first Gulf War under various pretexts, including the need to defend against non-existent enemies and bolster its global presence. That it has been nurturing expansionist ambitions, covertly and overtly, is evident in its Self Defense Force, for it is as good as any sophisticated army, endowed with advanced weapons and equipment and capable of conducting missions overseas whenever necessary.

Japan has sent troops beyond its border since the first Gulf War, and participated in international peacekeeping and humanitarian missions. It has taken steps to fight piracy and joined the United States in the “war on terror”. It has set up a military base in Africa too, without bothering to clarify its intentions. So it’s no surprise that the US has welcomed Japan’s decision to relax the arms exports ban.

As a result of these developments, Japanese society is turning increasingly to the right, and right-wing politicians have made sizable gains in Japanese politics. No wonder, some Japanese are worried that their country would discard its pacifist constitution sooner or later.

The latest move to relax the ban on arms exports will fan military sentiments in Japanese society by giving the country access to cutting-edge military technology. Japan’s defense industry is the most advanced in Asia, capable of manufacturing destroyers with Aegis Combat System, advanced fighters, military satellites and submarines.

A country that is widely believed to have lost its identity in recent years will not help cultivate a normal national psyche by trying to expand its military clout. The gains Japan makes from arms sale will be more than offset by the damaging implication it will have.

The decision is not good for Japan’s Asian neighbors either, because they were already feeling alarmed by its persistent military expansion. There is no guarantee that a country that has never owned up to its past military aggressions would honor its pacifist image and not turn its military machine against another country.

Japan’s unrepentant attitude toward its militaristic past has been a constant hurdle for it to have normal and smooth relations with its Asian neighbors. Its ambition to strengthen its military only adds to the suspicion of its neighbors and intensifies the distrust between them.

On the global front, there is already speculation about India’s eagerness to buy arms from Japan. And India has been the leading arms procurer in the world over the past five years. Besides, some Japanese media outlets are worried that some of the weapons Japan makes could be sold to Israel, creating tension between Japan and the Arab world.

If any of these fears come true, the least it will do is to trigger a new arms race in Asia and make the security outlook in the Middle East bleaker.

The author is a senior writer with China Daily.

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India, Japan To Conduct Joint Naval Maneuvers In Indian Ocean

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20111229x1.html

Japan Times/Kyodo News
December 29, 2011

MSDF to join security exercises
Japan, India hike defense, economic ties

NEW DELHI: Japan and India have agreed to bolster cooperation on security and economic issues, according to a joint statement Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and his Indian counterpart signed Wednesday in New Delhi.

Noda and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that the Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Indian Navy will conduct joint exercises next year to beef up maritime security in the Indian Ocean, and protect a major sea lane Japan uses to import crude oil from the Middle East, according to the statement.

Noda’s trip to New Delhi is part of Japan’s efforts to strengthen ties with India ahead of the 60th anniversary next year of the establishment of diplomatic ties and amid China’s growing military and economic might in the region.

The two leaders also agreed that Tokyo will invest $4.5 billion over the next five years to promote the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor project, aimed at developing an industrial zone that spans six Indian states.

On the economic front, Noda and Singh agreed to boost trade and investment based on a free-trade agreement between the two nations that took effect in August.

They also agreed to try to resume talks on a bilateral pact on civil nuclear energy cooperation. The talks were suspended after the Fukushima disaster.

As for natural resources, Noda and Singh expressed hope that Japanese and Indian companies will form joint ventures to produce and trade rare earth metals.

The visit is the first by a Japanese prime minister to India since December 2009, when Yukio Hatoyama went. Singh visited Japan in October last year, and accepted Noda’s invitation to visit again in 2012.

Senior officials from Japan, the United States and India held their first trilateral meeting last week and are thought to have discussed maritime security.

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West Blocking Kosovo Organ Trafficking Probe: Russian UN Envoy

http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics-article.php?yyyy=2011&mm=12&dd=30&nav_id=78057

Tanjug News Agency
December 30, 2011

West refuses to probe organ trafficking – Russian envoy

-“I fear that after five or six years of confidential investigations they will announce that they were not able to discover anything, that witnesses are deceased or murdered in the meantime, and that everything is over,” Churkin explained.
He underlined that Russia did not want silence to wrap this monstrous crime, but that for some reason that were unknown to him, there was a certain resistance in his western colleagues regarding a full investigation into the crime contained in the report by Council of Europe Special Rapporteur Dick Marty.

MOSCOW: Russian Ambassador to UN Vitaly Churkin says he does not understand why the West refuses to carry out an investigation into human organ trafficking in Kosovo.

“We are very upset over this fact. We do not understand why our western colleagues in the UN refuse to implement measures which would confirm legitimacy of the EULEX investigation in Kosovo and find perpetrators of these crimes,” he told Russia Today.

The Russian envoy stressed that the Serbian delegation in the UN in cooperation with Russian diplomats had drafted a relatively simple resolution which envisaged appointment of a special representative of the UN secretary general in charge of control of the EULEX mission and protection of witnesses.

“I believe that EULEX mechanism is insufficient for implementation of an appropriate investigation, protection of witnesses and reporting to the UN Security Council. I fear that after five or six years of confidential investigations they will announce that they were not able to discover anything, that witnesses are deceased or murdered in the meantime, and that everything is over,” Churkin explained.

He underlined that Russia did not want silence to wrap this monstrous crime, but that for some reason that were unknown to him, there was a certain resistance in his western colleagues regarding a full investigation into the crime contained in the report by Council of Europe Special Rapporteur Dick Marty.

“Nevertheless I think that we will continue to work in this direction in 2012 as well, and that this resolution will be accepted so that the crime would not be forgotten,” Churkin concluded.

Members and leaders of the ethnic Albanian KLA are suspected to be the perpetrators of the atrocities, targetting kidnapped Serb and other civilians in Kosovo in 1999 and 2000.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Julia Ward Howe: Mother’s Day Proclamation 1870

December 31, 2011 Leave a 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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Julia Ward Howe
Mother’s Day Proclamation (1870)

Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts,
Whether our baptism be of water or of tears!

Say firmly:
“We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

From the bosom of the devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says: “Disarm! Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.”

Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace,
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God.

In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And at the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO news: December 30, 2011

December 30, 2011 3 comments

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U.S. Aircraft Carrier Crosses Strait Of Hormuz Toward Iran

154 Warplanes: U.S. Signs $29 Billion Deal With Saudis For F-15s

United Arab Emirates: First Overseas Deployment Of Advanced U.S. Interceptors

Russia: Main Goal Of U.S., NATO In Libya Was To Murder Gaddafi

Afghan Soldier Slays Two NATO Counterparts

NATO Loses Soldier In Southern Afghanistan

Georgia Expects Chicago Summit To Advance NATO Integration

Kosovo Serbs: The Right To A Homeland

Russian UN Envoy Warns Of International Destabilization In New Year

Egypt: Military Junta Versus U.S. “NGOs”

Raytheon Gets Contract For U.S. And NATO Interceptor Missiles

NATO Endorses New Stage Of Partnership Plan With Azerbaijan

Pentagon To Hold Military Consultations With Azerbaijan

U.S. Ambassador Applauds Caspian-Caucasus-Europe Pipeline

Japan-India Military Ties Cause Of Concern To China

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U.S. Aircraft Carrier Crosses Strait Of Hormuz Toward Iran

http://rt.com/news/usa-navy-iran-oil-903/

RT
December 29, 2011

US navy crosses Strait of Hormuz after Iranian oil threats

An Iranian warplane has spotted a US aircraft carrier during Tehran’s ongoing navy drill in the Persian Gulf, reports IRNA news agency. The US fleet’s maneuvers come after Iran threatened to block the oil flow through the Strait of Hormuz.

­Tehran’s surveillance jet has shot a video and pictures of the American carrier, which was later identified as John C. Stennis. The US Fifth Fleet keeps a military base in Bahrain, while the ship was spotted in the Gulf of Oman after crossing the Strait of Hormuz.

“An Iranian vessel and surveillance plane have tracked, filmed and photographed a US aircraft carrier as it was entering the Gulf of Oman from the Persian Gulf,” said Adm. Habibollah Sayyari, Iran’s navy chief, as cited by the official IRNA.

“The foreign fleet will be warned by Iranian forces if it enters the area of the drill,” added Sayyari.

The US navy confirmed on Thursday the aircraft carrier John C. Stennis had indeed headed for the Gulf of Oman, accompanied by guided-missile cruiser Mobile Bay and several other vessels. But that was “a pre-planned, routine transit” as the group was to provide air support to allied troops in Afghanistan, said Lt. Rebecca Rebarich, the spokesperson for the US Fifth Fleet.

Since Saturday, Iran has been conducting a 10-day navy drill in international waters near the Strait of Hormuz, the gateway for up to 40 per cent of world’s oil supply with the US and EU among major customers. Tehran has promised to block the strait if Washington sanctions Iran’s oil exports out of suspicions it is developing nuclear weapons.

While Tehran seems to be reaffirming its naval might in the region, Reuters reports all of its marine capabilities cannot be compared with the US Fifth Fleet located in the Persian Gulf, which lists over 20 ocean-range warships and 15,000 personnel.

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154 Warplanes: U.S. Signs $29 Billion Deal With Saudis For F-15s

http://en.rian.ru/mlitary_news/20111229/170552831.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
December 29, 2011

U.S. inks $29.4 bln F-15 deal with Saudi Arabia

Washington: The U.S. has concluded a $29.4 billion deal with Saudi Arabia to supply 84 new F-15 fighter jets and upgrade 70 other F-15s already in service with the Saudi air force, White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Joshua Earnest said.

Manufactured by Boeing, the F-15SA is “the most sophisticated and capable aircraft in the world,” he said.

“The United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have signed a government-to-government agreement under the Foreign Military Sales program to provide advanced F-15SA combat aircraft to the Royal Saudi Air Force,” the spokesman said.

“Valued at $29.4 billion, this agreement includes the modernization of 70 existing aircraft as well as munitions, spare parts, training, maintenance and logistics,” he added.

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United Arab Emirates: First Overseas Deployment Of Advanced U.S. Interceptors

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-12-29/uae-said-to-sign-lockheed-missile-deal-valued-to-3-49-billion.html

Bloomberg News
December 29, 2011

UAE Said to Sign Lockheed Missile Deal Valued to $3.49 Billion

The U.S. and the United Arab Emirates have signed a deal valued at as much as $3.49 billion for the first international sale of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s newest missile interceptor, according to government officials.

The initial installment of a so-called “undefinitized contract action” is valued at about $1.96 billion, according to a U.S. government official. The Pentagon may announce the contract action as soon as next week, said the official, who was not authorized to discuss the signing prior to its announcement.

The interceptors are a centerpiece…that the Obama administration plans to deploy in the Middle East against Iran…Batteries of land-based interceptors would be linked to the U.S. Navy’s detection systems on Aegis-class destroyers and cruisers.

Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, or Thaad, missile interceptors are produced in Troy, Alabama, and the fire control equipment and launchers are made in Camden, Arkansas. Lockheed Martin is based in Bethesda, Maryland.

Raytheon Co., of Waltham, Massachusetts, provides the radar, and Honeywell Inc., of Morris Township, New Jersey, makes the missile’s mission computer. Aerojet, part of GenCorp Inc., based in Rancho Cordova, California, makes the Thaad rocket motor. The U.S. subsidiary of the U.K.’s BAE Systems Plc produces the missile seeker.

Lockheed Martin spokeswoman Jennifer Whitlow said the company was continuing to work with the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency on the contract. She declined to discuss the timing of any announcement.

Proposed in 2008

The UAE would be the first Thaad international buyer. In September 2008, when it was first proposed for congressional approval, the Pentagon said the deal would be valued at up to $6.95 billion if all options were exercised.

In August 2010 the UAE scaled back the sale by about one-third. It “adjusted its requirement” to 96 interceptors from 144.

The UAE also reduced its purchase – from four to two – of Raytheon’s AN/TPY-2 mobile search and tracking radar. The new radar plan supports two missile batteries, rather than three, according to a Missile Defense Agency document.

Editors: Steven Komarow, Leslie Hoffecker

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Russia: Main Goal Of U.S., NATO In Libya Was To Murder Gaddafi

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article2758804.ece

The Hindu
December 30, 2011

U.S. behind deliberate murder of Qadhafi: Russia
Vladimir Radyuhin

Russia has accused the United States and NATO of large-scale violations of human rights during the military operation in Libya, including the deliberate murder of its leader Muammar Gaddafi and the killing of hundreds of civilians.

The NATO forces “made the overthrow and murder of the Colonel their main goal,” said the Russian Foreign Ministry in its first report on the state of human rights in the world.

Citing unnamed sources, the report said the order to liquidate Qadhafi was given to U.S., French and British commandos. The Russian Foreign Ministry details numerous instances of mass killings of hundreds of civilians and destruction of infrastructure in NATO bombing raids in Libya.

The U.S. is the main target of the Russian report, which also criticises the human rights record in Britain, Canada, Finland, the Baltic states and Georgia.

Russia took President Barack Obama to task for his failure to shut the “odious” prison at Guantanamo Bay and accused the White House of sheltering officials guilty of torture.

“The situation in the United States is a far cry from the ideals proclaimed by Washington,” said the Russian Foreign Ministry in a 90-page report posted on its website.

“Old systemic problems of American society are growing more serious, including racial discrimination, xenophobia, overcrowded prisons, unjustified capital punishment, including the execution of innocent people, imperfect electoral system and corruption, ” said the report.

RHETORIC

The report was released as Moscow hardened its rhetoric against the U.S. on such issues as missile defence and interference in Russian internal affairs. The new head of the Russian Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Alexei Pushkov, said the “reset” in Russian-U.S. relations had come to an end.

“The U.S. had desisted from discussing the domestic situation in Russia as part of the ‘reset’. Clinton violated this tacit agreement,” said Mr. Pushkov. “I think we have entered a phase when the U.S. will no longer show restraint towards Russia.”

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Afghan Soldier Slays Two NATO Counterparts

http://blogs.voanews.com/breaking-news/2011/12/29/man-in-afghan-army-uniform-kills-2-nato-troops/

Voice of America News
December 29, 2011

Man in Afghan Army Uniform Kills 2 NATO Troops

NATO says a man wearing an Afghan National Army uniform has killed two coalition service members in eastern Afghanistan.

NATO did not give further details of Thursday’s incident and only said that the individual turned his weapon against two NATO soldiers, killing them.

The victims’ nationalities were not identified.

Meanwhile in southern Afghanistan, a roadside bomb killed 10 Afghan police officers on Thursday.

Provincial officials say the police had just left a training center and were headed home when their vehicle hit a landmine in the Nad Ali district of Helmand province.

New police recruits were among those killed. One police officer was wounded in the attack.

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NATO Loses Soldier In Southern Afghanistan

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2011-12/30/c_131336069.htm

Xinhua News Agency
December 30, 2011

IED blast kills NATO soldier in Afghanistan

               
KABUL: A soldier with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) lost his life in an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blast in Afghanistan on Friday, bringing the number of casualties to 26 so far this month, the alliance said in a statement released here.

“An International Security Assistance Force service member died following an improvised explosive device attack in southern Afghanistan, today,” the statement confirmed.

However, it did not identify the nationality of the victim, saying it is ISAF policy to defer casualty identification procedures to the relevant national authorities.

Troops mostly from U.S., Britain and Australia have been stationed in southern provinces of Afghanistan.

More than 560 soldiers with majority of them Americans have been killed in Afghanistan since January this year.

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Georgia Expects Chicago Summit To Advance NATO Integration

http://en.trend.az/regions/scaucasus/georgia/1975295.html

Trend News Agency
December 29, 2011

Georgia expects clearer signals on NATO integration in 2012
N. Kirtskhalia

Tbilisi: 2011 has been an important year in Georgia’s integration into NATO and the EU, Georgian Deputy Prime Minister Giorgi Baramidze said on Thursday.

Baramidze said Georgia effectively uses such a tool as the NATO-Georgia Commission and has already held about 20 meetings within it.

“The NATO Secretary General’s visit to Georgia and mentioning Georgia among country-candidates for Alliance’s membership were important,” Baramidze said stressing that this happened for the first time. He also stressed that the decision of the NATO Bucharest summit that Georgia will be a NATO member remains in force.

“Our task in 2012 is maintaining a high rate of integration into the NATO and EU,” Baramidze stressed.

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Kosovo Serbs: The Right To A Homeland

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/12/29/63118604.html

Voice of Russia
December 29, 2011

Kosovo Serbs: the right to a Motherland
Alexander Vatutin

The outgoing year was a challenging one for Serbs living in densely populated areas of Kosovo and Metohija as they fought for their ethnic identity and the right to live in the land of their ancestors. The authorities in the Republic of Kosovo with the capital Pristina have been doing whatever they can to establish control over Kosovo and Metohija and continue the policy of “shadow” genocide irrespective of international agreements. The Voice of Russia’s Alexander Vatutin reports.

Pristina makes no secret of its intention of gaining complete sovereignty over the whole of Kosovo. Given that the West is turning a blind eye to that, it is using the situation to its maximum advantage and most of the efforts in the direction of this goal were taken this year. Kosovo’s Prime Minister Hashim Thaci said earlier that the Albanian authorities had no intention of granting Serb enclaves the right to self-determination.

Ethnic conflict expert Pavel Kandel has this to say.

“The Albanians will slowly press Kosovo Serbs out of the province. The birthrate among Albanians is fairly high. Given the current social tensions when half of young Albanians in the province are jobless, the easiest way to deal with the crisis is to put the blame on foreign neighbors.”

Pristina attempted to get the administrative border of Kosovo and Serbia under its control. Pristina’s authorities backed by the EU-led international police force used force against Kosovo Serbs who refuse to accept Pristina’s sovereignty over their territories. The clashes that started this summer reached a culmination point at the end of November when KFOR international forces deployed in the province under the UN mandate readily supported the Albanians.

On February 15th 2012 Kosovo Serbs will take part in a referendum in which they will be asked whether they were willing to recognize Kosovo-Albanian authorities in the north of Kosovo. The positive outcome of the vote could lead to further actions of disobedience and the declaration of independence of Kosovo and Metohija. Belgrade might be unprepared for such a turn.

Driven to despair, Kosovo Serbs turned to Russia for Russian citizenship. Russia has to reject their request because Russian legislation doesn’t stipulate this. However, Russian diplomacy has other means of influencing the events.

Balkan expert Pyotr Iskenderov comments.

“Russian diplomats could insist on restructuring the entire peacekeeping presence in the Balkans.”

Eager to enter the EU, Belgrade de facto left Kosovo Serbs to their own devices. All throughout the year, Serbia made it a point to convince Brussels that it wouldn’t meddle in the conflict between the Albanian majority and the Serb minority in Kosovo. However, in accordance with Resolution 1244 of the UN Security Council which was adopted in 1999 and is still in effect, Serbia has the right to deploy troops in the Serb-populated areas of Kosovo. Apparently, Belgrade finds the mere thought of this appalling.

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Russian UN Envoy Warns Of International Destabilization In New Year

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/12/29/63126152.html

Itar-Tass
December 29, 2011

Churkin warns of intn’l destabilization in 2012

The ever-increasing confrontation between the West and Iran could drastically destabilize the international situation in 2012, Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin said in an interview with the Russia Today news channel aired on Thursday.

Russia is doing its best to prevent such a scenario, Churkin said, adding that in 2012, Iran may say ‘No’ to its dialogue with the IAEA in order to allay concerns about the military nature of its nuclear program.

Churkin expressed hope that next year will see a resumption of the six-party talks on the Iranian nuclear program.

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Egypt: Military Junta Versus U.S. “NGOs”

http://rt.com/news/egypt-police-raid-ngo-953/

RT
December 29, 2011

US price tag on Egyptian revolution?

Police in Cairo have today raided 17 civil society organizations as the country’s military rulers seek to find out exactly who has been funding the Egyptian revolution.

­As several of the pro-democracy and human rights groups were at the forefront of the revolution that swept through the country last January, Egyptian authorities have become increasingly interested in the foreign funding many of these groups receive.

At least three of the human rights groups targeted in Thursday’s operation, the National Democratic Institute (NDI), Freedom House, and the International Republican Institute (IRI), are based in the US.

“Security forces who said they were from the public prosecutor are raiding our offices as we speak. They are grabbing all the papers and laptops as well,” said one person working at NDI, who gave her name as Rawda, told Reuters.

The Washington-based IRI, which has served as an election monitor in Egypt’s ongoing parliamentary elections, reacted harshly to the raids.
“IRI has been working with Egyptians since 2005; it is ironic that even during the Mubarak era IRI was not subjected to such aggressive action,” a statement by the group read, Al Arabiya reports.

However, as the continuing violent crackdown by security forces against the protests has left 17 dead and more than 700 injured this month alone, Egypt’s military is becoming increasingly fearful of foreign interference in the country’s internal affairs.

In October, Egypt’s justice minister commissioned two judges to investigate allegations of foreign funding. The minister said that any ‎organization found guilty of the practice would be charged with ‎‎“betraying Egypt by deliberately promoting political strife,”‎ Al Arabiya cites him as saying.

Their fears might not be entirely unfounded.

A few weeks after the regime of Hosni Mubarak was toppled, the United States Agency for International ‎Development (USAID) is said to have set aside some $65 million dollars for “democratic development” programs in Egypt.

In response, former-prime minister Essas Sharaf established a fact-finding committee in July to identify and then blacklist any non-governmental organizations which had actively solicited funds from USAID.

But while it remains to be seen if Thursday’s raids are connected to the committee’s findings, the Egyptian army might be attempting to determine just who they will be handing power over to when they finally step aside next year.

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Raytheon Gets Contract For U.S. And NATO Interceptor Missiles

http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Security-Industry/2011/12/29/Raytheon-announces-new-contracts/UPI-81191325176391/

United Press International
December 29, 2011

Raytheon announces new contracts

EL SEGUNDO, Calif.: Raytheon is closing out December with $320 million in orders for its AESA radar and $72 million in contracts for work on U.S. and NATO missile systems.

The identities of the parties who ordered the active electronic beam scanning radar system weren’t disclosed. Nor were details of the contracts, including delivery schedules.

The AESA system enables a radar beam to be directed close to the speed of light for air-to-air and air-to-ground information in near real time. Raytheon said it has delivered more than 300 of the aerial systems to a variety of customers in the United States and overseas.

The first of the total $72 million missile support awards came from the U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command and are for the Phalanx, SeaRAM and land-based Phalanx, as well as SeaSparrow surface missiles used by NATO.

Under the first contract, Raytheon will provide design engineering and technical support services for Phalanx systems, which provides missile defense for U.S. ships.

The second award calls for the provision of an undisclosed number of SeaSparrow MK57, MOD 12/13 systems, as well as missile launchers and spare parts.

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NATO Endorses New Stage Of Partnership Plan With Azerbaijan

http://en.trend.az/news/politics/1975767.html

Trend News Agency
December 30, 2011

Azerbaijan, NATO endorse Individual Partnership Action Plan’s third stage

Baku: The third stage of the Individual Partnership Action Plan covers cooperation in 2012-2013, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said.

The document consists of four sections: politics and security, defense and military issues, public information, civil emergency planning, science and environmental issues, administrative issues, security of information, resources and legal issues.

The first phase of Azerbaijan’s cooperation with NATO within the Individual Partnership Action Plan was signed in 2005. The two phases of the Plan have been successfully implemented. They were highly appreciated at various levels by NATO officials.

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Pentagon To Hold Military Consultations With Azerbaijan

http://en.apa.az/news.php?id=162799

Azeri Press Agency
December 30, 2011

Azerbaijan and US to hold bilateral military consultations
Rashad Suleymanov

Baku: Azerbaijan and US will hold military consultations, Azerbaijani Defense Ministry’s press service told APA.

The next plenary session of the bilateral military consultations will be held in Washington on January 12-13, 2012.

The issues that will be discussed at the meeting are not publicized.

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U.S. Ambassador Applauds Caspian-Caucasus-Europe Pipeline

http://en.trend.az/capital/energy/1975391.html

Trend News Agency
December 29, 2011

U.S. Ambassador: Southern gas Corridor to play significant role for Southern Caucasus and Europe
V. Zhavoronkova

Baku: The Southern gas corridor will play a significant role not only for the Southern Caucasus but the whole of Europe, the U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan Matthew Brayza said at the press conference on Thursday.

He stressed that 2011 was an incredibly productive year for the energy sector.

“The issue was to help Turkish and Azerbaijani companies to come together and come to an agreement to transport Azerbaijani gas through Turkey to Europe,” Bryza said.

Bryza added that he expects the increase in investment in this sector in upcoming month.

The Southern gas Corridor is an EU priority energy project aiming at diversifying energy supply routes and sources and increasing EU energy security. It includes the Nabucco gas pipeline, Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) and ITGI (Turkey-Greece-Italy pipeline) projects.

Gas which will be produced during the second stage of Azerbaijani Shah Deniz gas condensate field development is considered as the main source for these projects.

In late October, Azerbaijan and Turkey signed a package of gas contracts which includes cost issues of Azerbaijani gas for Turkey in the Shah Deniz-2 project, volume of gas supplies to Turkey from the field after 2017, as well as a transit agreement for Azerbaijani gas transportation through Turkey.

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Japan-India Military Ties Cause Of Concern To China

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics/nation/japan-india-ties-cause-of-concern-to-china-state-media/articleshow/11303561.cms

Press Trust of India
December 30, 2011

Japan-India ties cause of concern to China: State media

-“From now on, Japan can export weapons to its neighbours and allies such as India, the Philippines and Australia. At first, these may be for maritime security. But offensive weapons may eventually enter the picture, because that’s the only way to fuel its indigenous defence industry.
“When these countries engage in maritime disputes with China – that’s when the impact of this policy may come to affect us.”

BEIJING: Japan’s move to lift decades-old ban on arms exports as well as its efforts to strengthen ties with India and deepen defence cooperation with it are a cause of concern to China, the state-run media here said.

Japan’s decision, which would allow its companies to take part in arms development projects with countries other than the US, was followed by a USD 15 billion currency swap deal between Japan and India, ‘China Daily’ reported.

Japanese and Indian navies are also expected to hold their first joint drill next year.

The daily noted that Japan had just concluded its first-ever trilateral dialogue with the US and India in Washington.

Japan’s moves toward boosting its military might will send alarming signals across Asia, it quoted Shi Yinhong, a researcher at the China Institute of International Studies in Beijing, as saying.

An arms trade between Japan and India may further deepen tensions in the Asia-Pacific because China is a potential target of the two evolving strategic partnership, Zhao Gancheng, director of the South Asia research department at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, claimed.

“In terms of political safety, (Japan) wants to counter China by linking with countries such as the US, India and Australia. But on the other hand, it is aware of the fact that Sino-Japanese relations are a prerequisite for its quest to become a normal country. So personally, I think the policy is itself contradictory,” Zhao was quoted as saying.

Nonetheless, Liu Jiangyong, an expert on Japan studies at Tsinghua University, said Tokyo’s incentives are primarily economic.

Liu said the long-term impact of this latest policy change will be detrimental for China.

“From now on, Japan can export weapons to its neighbours and allies such as India, the Philippines and Australia. At first, these may be for maritime security. But offensive weapons may eventually enter the picture, because that’s the only way to fuel its indigenous defence industry,” he said.

“When these countries engage in maritime disputes with China – that’s when the impact of this policy may come to affect us,” Liu said.

Pan Zheng, a researcher at the National Defence University, called the Japanese move “a serious violation of the Peace Constitution”.

The move’s impact, he said, will be extremely significant as “Japan broadens its own military influence through boosting military cooperation with other countries in the name of arms trade”.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Stephen Crane: There was crimson clash of war

December 30, 2011 Leave a comment

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

American writers on peace and against war

Stephen Crane: War Is Kind

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Stephen Crane
There was crimson clash of war (1905)

There was crimson clash of war.
Lands turned black and bare;
Women wept;
Babes ran, wondering.
There came one who understood not these things.
He said, “Why is this?”
Whereupon a million strove to answer him.
There was such intricate clamour of tongues,
That still the reason was not.

Categories: Uncategorized

Interview: Where will America’s imperial hubris lead to in 2012?

December 29, 2011 1 comment

Voice of Russia
December 29, 2011

Where does America’s imperial hubris lead to?
John Robles


Photo: EPA

Interview with Rick Rozoff, the manager of the Stop NATO website and mailing list. Recorded on December 21, 2011.

Audio: Click on Download

Can you give us the latest on NATO and your predictions for 2012, as far as the ABM system in Europe and NATO global expansion in general? I know it’s a big question.

The past year, of course, has been a momentous one. I think it’s been a very troubling one in many regards. What we’ve seen this year in regard to NATO and what we’re likely to see an intensification of next year, 2012, is a follow-up on the Strategic Concept, as they call it, adopted at the Lisbon summit in November 2010, which is unveiling – and unleashing – NATO as an increasingly global political and military player. We saw this with the seven-month aerial campaign, air war, against Libya earlier this year where NATO flew an estimated 26,000 air missions against a small country with six million people, over 9,000 of which were combat sorties. We’re seeing that as a template. That’s pretty much how NATO officials and heads of state of major NATO countries have characterized it.

We are likely to see more of that, most prominently – it can’t be missed – in one manner or another in relation to Syria, but with any number of other potential military interventions. Your listeners are probably aware of the fact that the Collective Security Treaty Organization met in Russia two days ago,  on the 10th anniversary of the founding of the only security bloc within the Commonwealth of Independent States,  that is amongst former Soviet states. And one of the statements – rather straightforward and candid – was a warning about military intervention in the internal affairs of countries beset by domestic problems. That’s clearly an allusion to the Libyan action by the major NATO powers but also in reference to the current crisis in Syria.

On Wednesday a statement by the White House saying that the government of Bashar al-Assad “does not deserve to rule Syria” is an indication that far from being humbled by the recent symbolically important, I suppose, withdrawal of the final U.S. military forces from Iraq of late, that far from being humbled by the debacle in Iraq and the equally catastrophic experience in Afghanistan, the U.S. is still ordering heads of state to resign, as they did earlier this year in Ivory Coast and Libya and may tomorrow in Belarus, or Venezuela and any number of other countries. We still see the imperial hubris of the major Western countries, the U.S. in the first instance, in determining who is or is not fit to govern most every country in the world.

What was the connection with Gbagbo? You mentioned Ivory Coast.

Earlier this year,  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama and other major US officials ordered Laurent Gbagbo to step down. They didn’t recognize the results of the runoff election last December in Ivory Coast. The irony is – it’s so transparent as to be undeniable – in the U.S.  a comparable situation, a far worse situation, existed in 2000 where George W. Bush received half a million votes less than his opponent and through a decision made by the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land,  Bush,  the recipient of the fewer votes,  was designated the elected president of the United States.  Something comparable happened with the decision by the elections commission in Ivory Coast but the U.S.,  which has one set of rules for itself and another for the rest of the world, determined that the decision reached by the court in Ivory Coast was invalid whereas the one in 2000 in the United States was valid, because it was in the United States.

I thought that maybe there was a NATO connection that I hadn’t heard anything about there in Ivory Coast.

There wasn’t a NATO connection,  but French military forces were instrumental in assaulting government buildings in Abidjan, the commercial capital of the country, and ultimately, directly in the capture of Gbagbo. NATO countries, if not collectively under the banner of NATO, were certainly instrumental there. I’ve just cited that as part of the pattern over the past year Washington has ordered in so many words heads of state to step down, including Ali Abdullah Saleh, the president of Yemen, Assad in Syria, and Gbagbo in Ivory Coast and Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. There are at least four heads of state that they told to step down this year.

Can you tell our listeners a little bit about Kosovo and Serbia?

Yes I can. I have friends in Kosovo and I have friends from Kosovo, ethnic Serbs and others. The situation is that you have besieged enclaves of the few remaining non-Albanian ethnic minorities in Kosovo. I’ve seen estimates as high as 250,000 ethnic Serbs who have fled the country in terror. Several thousands have been killed, of course, since NATO came in in June of 1999.

I’ve seen comparable figures for Roma people, so-called Gypsies, including Ashkalis and Egyptians, as they are known in Kosovo. Other ethnic minority groups have suffered similarly. And to have, as I saw a few days ago a tape of the so-called “president” of Kosovo meeting with Hillary Clinton at the White House to sign an agreement on protecting the cultural heritage  of Kosovo, when several hundred Orthodox monasteries, churches, cemeteries and so forth have been desecrated and destroyed is a degree of unspeakable – it’s not ignorance, Clinton knows pretty well this story. Her husband, after all, is the person responsible for starting a 78-day bombing campaign against Yugoslavia which wrested Kosovo from Yugoslavia and Serbia. This is again the imperial arrogance I was speaking about earlier, that Washington arrogates to itself the exclusive prerogative, or at least in relation to its NATO allies and certain key non-NATO allies, to determine how national boundaries can and cannot be drawn, which political entities are to be recognized as legitimate countries, such as the NATO pseudo-state of Kosovo, but denying that same right to nations like Abkhazia or South Ossetia.

Categories: Uncategorized

U.S. and NATO are on the march worldwide

December 29, 2011 Leave a comment

End the Lie

U.S. and NATO are on the march worldwide

By Madison Ruppert

 
A ship-launched, intercept-aerial guided missile (RIM-7) is launched from a NATO Sea Sparrow (MK-57) launcher during a live-fire exercise aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65). Enterprise is conducting work-ups and flight operations in preparation for an upcoming deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Tiger Martinez/Released)
 
Click  
 
A ship-launched, intercept-aerial guided missile (RIM-7) is launched from a NATO Sea Sparrow (MK-57) launcher during a live-fire exercise aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65). Enterprise is conducting work-ups and flight operations in preparation for an upcoming deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Tiger Martinez/Released)
 
 
There is something big brewing across the globe and it does not look good. India, Japan and Australia are strengthening trilateral ties while the United States and NATO are looking to firm up alliances between them all along with Ukraine and Armenia.

This comes soon after the United States announced it is going to place 2,500 Marines in Australia, in addition to cutting-edge fighter jets and transport planes, and Australia announced it is going to purchase $950 million in military equipment.

This is a large and quite complex picture that requires a great deal of reading and research and I recommend that everyone check out my sources and come to their own conclusions.

I can only speculate as to the purpose of these geopolitical developments and I would love to hear what my readers think as well so please email me  if you care to share your analysis.

I will be going country by country and breaking down these latest developments in order to present to you the most complete information I can, but I am sure this is far more intricate than even I realize at this point.

India-Japan-United States

Japan is reportedly partially lifting its 40-year-long self-imposed ban on the arms trade which began in 1967.

The ban stated that they could not buy or sell arms in concert with nations that had Communist governments or nations at war.

Slowly Japan ceased all military cooperation with every nation, aside from the United States of course.

This is seen as a move to not only expand military cooperation but also to allow for Japan to get in on the controversial European Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM)  project.

Despite the ban on a great deal of arms transactions, in the 1980s Japanese corporations outfitted the United States with some 15 new technologies for the Strategic Defense Initiative  (SDI).

The SDI was proposed in 1983 by the president at the time,  Ronald Reagan, and was derisively called “Star Wars” by the program’s many detractors.

Now Japan, in a partnership with the Unites States, is in the process of creating a unit for a new, upgraded SM3  [Standard Missile-3] ship missile which is expected to become a key component in the European ABM system, according to the Voice of Russia.

The head of the Center for Japanese Studies, Valery Kistanov, said, “Above all Japan wants to strengthen its military alliance with the US.  Japan needs it amid current instability in the Asian Pacific region.

“It is concerned about the so-called Chinese military threat and the situation on the Korean peninsula after the death of Kim Jong-il. The government’s recent move is probably intended to show that Tokyo is loyal and committed to its alliance with the US,” Kistanov added.

There is also the notable factor of a growing close cooperation between Tokyo and Brussels – the location of the headquarters of NATO – which would greatly contribute to a greater presence in the Asia-Pacific region.

This is just another instance of NATO mission creep far beyond what the alliance was originally intended to do and, as you will see,  this is expanding to a disturbing degree just as we saw in the case of Libya.

Japan is also greatly strengthening ties with India, starting with a 2008 Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation which was modeled on a 2007 defense cooperation accord with Australia.

This treaty later spawned a similar accord between India and Australia in 2009, leading to circular ties which are now developing into trilateral relations.

Japan is also reinforcing economic ties with India with a free-trade accord known as the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) which became active a mere three months ago.

CEPA covers over 90 percent of trade and even spreads into the sectors of services, rules of origin, intellectual property rights, investment,  customs regulations and other related trade issues.

This agreement is intended to strengthen bilateral trade between the two nations in order to reduce trade with China, which still outweighs trade between Japan and India by a large margin.

According to the  Japan Times,  India is already becoming a preferred nation for Japanese foreign direct investment.

Japan and India have also come to an agreement on development of rare earths after China leveraged its monopoly on the production of rare earths to cut off exports to Japan in the fall of 2010.

Japanese-Indian relations go even deeper with an annual summit meeting between the two prime ministers along with several annual dialogue between their respective foreign ministers, defense ministers, and Japan’s minister of economy, trade and industry and India’s commerce and industry minister.

There are also separate meetings between ministers of energy and other economic talks, dialogue between the Indian foreign and defense secretaries and the Japanese vice minister equivalents, a maritime security dialogue, comprehensive security talks and even military-to-military dialogue which include regular visits between the chiefs of staff of both nations.

To even further cement these relations, Japan, India and the United States have begun trilateral strategic talks which began in Washington  just last week.

India and Japan already have their own missile defense cooperation agreements with Israel and the United States but they are also looking to develop defense systems in cooperation with each other as well.

Despite the economic turmoil at home, the so-called leaders of America continue to pour astounding amounts of money into the Israeli missile defense program.

While Japan only has naval interoperability with the United States Navy,  former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in a speech in New Delhi, India that the aim should be that “sooner rather than later,  Japan’s navy and the Indian navy are seamlessly interconnected.”

Japan is also planning on employing the F-35 next generation fighter jet, which was developed with nine nations including Britain and the United States.

The regulations against arms exports in place previously prevented Japan from joining the development team for the F-35, even though they were asked to join the project.

A remarkable article was published in Gulf News written by Jaswant Singh, who is the former Indian finance minister, foreign minister, and defense minister entitled, “New regional order in Asia is reaction to Chinese hegemony.”

I found this noteworthy due to the phrase “New regional order” which calls to mind the infamous “new world order” concept, which is quite an interesting choice of words indeed.

Speaking of the trilateral relations between India, Japan and the United States, United States Deputy Secretary of State William Burns said it could very well “reshape the international system.”

According to Singh, “Burns and much of the rest of America’s foreign-policy establishment  now think that India’s regional influence has become comprehensive,” although he is obviously coming from a highly biased perspective.

It is quite remarkable that Japan and India are now developing the same type of comprehensive military and economic ties that have so long been the hallmark of ties between the United States and Japan.

Singh erroneously claims that the newly formed trilateral alliance is also aimed at helping to mitigate the so-called “gaping hole” which will supposedly be left in the Asian security architecture after the West will remove troops from Afghanistan without establishing peace there.

Of course, this is outright absurd, seeing as there is no indication that the United States or NATO will actually be leaving Afghanistan.

This became clear in November when the spokeswoman for the loya jirga in Afghanistan stated that Washington wanted a complete media blackout over the conditions being set in the new strategic long-term deal between America and Afghanistan.

Many of the loya jirga participants complained that they were not being provided with information about the terms and conditions of the long-term deal and Afghan President Hamid Karzai said that so long as some minor conditions were met they would be prepared to allow U.S. troops to remain in Afghanistan for an unspecified length of time.

One person covering Kabul and provinces for The New York Times, Sharifullah Sahak, said at the time via Twitter that “members with different views [are] saying [the] government should sign the strategic pact for 10, 20, even for 50 years with the US.”

It is quite clear that Singh is parroting the blatantly false line promulgated by NATO and the United States despite all of the proof showing that they have no interest in leaving that theater.

Rick Rozoff of Stop NATO  (which puts out a free daily newsletter that is an absolute must read for anyone trying to keep up with the diabolical geopolitical machinations going on every day)  says the evolution and expansion of the so-called “Asian NATO” is nothing new.

In fact, he says that he has been writing for at least 10 years on this subject and yet these developments are generally ignored like far too many other important issues that impact us all.

Rozoff points to the fact that Europe was first brought “under the NATO boot” and the alliance having finished that has now moved on to the Middle East and Africa.

“Asia is the only ‘unsubjugated’ part of the world except for Latin America – which is being saved for ‘dessert,’” Rozoff said.

It is clear that Asia is the new focus and this only becomes clearer as we continue to look at recent developments that the West is setting the proverbial sights on the Asia-Pacific region.

It has also become quite obvious to even the casual observer that this is aimed at encircling the countries that will not follow the West’s orders, most notably China, Russia and of course Iran.

During the recent visit of India’s Defense Minister A.K. Antony to Tokyo, it was decided that there would be a joint naval and air force exercise in 2012 between Japan and India, which would be a first.

This is part of the agreement between Japan and India which is aimed at increasing cooperation on “maritime security issues, including anti-piracy measures, freedom of navigation,” in addition to “maintaining the security of the Sea Lanes of Communication to facilitate unhindered trade, bilaterally as well as multilaterally with regional neighbors,” which Singh points out obviously means China.

In early 2012 a “Japan-India Defense Policy Dialogue” will be held in Tokyo along with the many top-level meetings between government and military officials as previously mentioned.

Singh says that these ties will certainly upset China while claiming that China’s role in the South China Sea dispute “has been a wake-up call about the type of regional order that China would establish if it had the power.”

Then again, the “new regional order” being established by NATO isn’t quite as glorious and peaceful as Singh is making it out to be, and the United States has been pretty clearly goading China in the South China Sea dispute.

“India’s and China’s rival aspirations to be acknowledged as regional Great Powers, as well as their quest for energy security, are compelling both countries to seek greater maritime security,” Singh writes.

Of course in this case “maritime security” is a not-so-subtle way of saying naval dominance as determined by the clout of alliances and sheer firepower.

Singh acknowledges the Indian approach has been opting “to construct a regional security structure with no Chinese participation,” and isolation isn’t quite the phenomenal strategy Singh seems to be making it out to be.

Cutting a nation out of the equation while encircling it and engaging in saber-rattling is bound to be disruptive, especially when the nation feels threatened.

This is exactly what we’re seeing right now with the NATO ABM program in Europe which is not leaving Russia either happy or reassured,  as Rozoff has been extensively pointing out in his newsletters.

China is also not quite pleased with these developments, evidenced by China Daily saying that Japanese Premier Yoshihiko Noda’s visit to India was aimed at containing China.

They cite Lu Yaodong, the director of the department of Japanese diplomacy at the Institute of Japanese Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences who says that the summit between India and Japan is a continuance of the Japanese strategy known as the “Arc of Freedom and Prosperity.”

They also point to an expected dollar swap accord worth up to $10 billion along with possible increased nuclear cooperation between the two nations.

Su Hao, the director of the Asia-Pacific Research Center at the China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing reportedly said that Japan’s move to ease the arms trade restrictions “will complicate security in the Asia-Pacific region,” and thus “will have a negative effect on China,” according to the India Times.

There is also a concern that the Chinese People’s Daily Online reported on June 15, 2011 that the Liberation Army Daily said, “China resolutely opposes any country unrelated to the South China Sea issue meddling in disputes, and it opposes the internationalization of the South China Sea issue.”

This is a pretty clear statement to the United States which has been conducting naval exercises with nations involved in the dispute, arming others and encircling China with their increasing Japanese, Indian and Australian ties.

It is also worrisome that Australia has decided to sell natural uranium to India, which is a total reversal from the previous policy which had been in place since India first developed a nuclear weapons program.

The Australian Greens characterized this as “unethical, illogical and probably illegal,” pointing to the fact that India is not a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, although I think we all know just how much treaties are worth these days.

This comes as there is significant opposition to Indian nuclear power, including hunger strikes, and the Australian Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam said that “selling uranium to India will increase the proliferation of nuclear weapons in our region.”

Ludlam also cites the former head of the Indian National Security Advisory Board K. Subrahmanyam who said, “It is to India’s advantage to categorize as many power reactors as possible as civilian ones to be refueled by imported uranium and conserve our native uranium fuel for weapons grade plutonium production.”

It is quite clear that uranium sold to India will just replace other uranium which would go to civilian nuclear programs so more uranium can be devoted to weapons-grade plutonium production and thus nuclear weapons.

Ludlam also said that even the Indian civilian nuclear program was considered dangerous, pointing out, “This trade is illegal, dangerous and opposed by many Indian people including nuclear experts.”

This issue dovetails with the concern over America’s new and quite pronounced military presence in Australia, which in combination with the nuclear proliferation is sure to make China a bit concerned.

There is also the matter of Australia purchasing some $950 million in military equipment from the United States.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency informed the U.S. Congress earlier in December that Australia will be purchasing 10 C-27J military planes and other equipment like missile warning and radar systems.

Washington approved the sale which is being done under the guise of helping “improve the air mobility and capability of the Australian Defence Force to run humanitarian and disaster relief operations in Southeast Asia,” according to the International Business Times.

They point out that the United States will also be opening a training center in Australia on top of the 2,500 Marines and the cutting edge F-22 fighter jet capable of cyberwarfare and electronic warfare and other military hardware, all of which will supposedly “help U.S. allies and protect American interests in Asia.”

Other items included in the order are: more electronic warfare equipment, portable flight mission planning systems, 23 Rolls Royce  AE2100D2 engines, radios, support and test equipment, spares, aircraft ferry and tanker support, training equipment and personnel training, technical data and publications, maintenance trainers and an operational flight simulator.

Is this preparation for innocent humanitarian missions like they claim or could it possibly be building up supplies for a greater encirclement and possible future military action?

The Philippines

The Filipino Presidential Communications Operations Office announced on December 26 that the Gregorio del Pilar (PF-15) set out from Manila to the province of Palawan on December 23 for her first deployment as a warship of the Philippine Navy, after being handed over by the U.S. Coast Guard on May 13, 2011.

The Philippine Navy said that the vessel will act to strengthen the naval security in the Malampaya Oil Fields along with other areas west of the Palawan province.

The Malampaya field is roughly 80 km off the coast of Palawan Island, which Is not too far from the South China Sea as you can see in the following map where “A” is the South China Sea and “B” is Palawan Island.

Click to see full size
 

While there very well might be areas closer to the South China Sea in the Philippines, the newest patrol frigate can sustain a month-long mission without any need to re-provision and is 378 feet long with a beam of 42 feet.

The ship carries 18 officers and 144 enlisted personnel and thus represents yet another aspect of the expansion and encirclement in the region thanks to the United States.

Ukraine

According to the Kyiv Post  (Kyiv is an alternate spelling of Kiev), Ukraine hopes that the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago in May of 2012 will strengthen ties between NATO and Kiev.

It cites Oleh Voloshyn, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry’s information policy department director, who said, “We very much hope that next year’s NATO summit in Chicago will be an impetus to the deepening of cooperation between Ukraine and the alliance.”

Voloshyn also said that Ukraine and NATO have been engaging in intensified dialogue this year in a clear effort to bring the Eastern European nation into the alliance to further encircle Russia and China.

“Of course, we will continue to see NATO as our strategic partner in the sphere of security, reform of the armed forces, and in the sphere of tackling the consequences of emergency situations,” Voloshyn added.

The Kyiv Post adds that United States Ambassador to Ukraine John Tefft said that the Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych, would also be invited to attend the NATO summit in Chicago in May.

Bringing Ukraine into NATO could be a huge boon for those seeking to further encircle Russia and continue to expand hegemonic Western control as Ukraine is a relatively large nation which shares a border with Russia.

Armenia

According to Public Radio of Armenia, recently the interdepartmental commission which was coordinating the implementation of the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) between Armenia and NATO held its final meeting in 2011.

While Armenia does not border Russia, it is quite close and would provide yet another way to encircle Russia and strengthen NATO’s grip on the region.

Ashot Hovakimyan, the Armenian Deputy Foreign Minister, lauded the effectiveness of the interdepartmental commission’s activity over the past year in presenting the general assessment of its actions.

Armenia’s First Deputy Defense Minister David Tonoyan said that the main areas of cooperation with NATO in the field of defense would be the participation of Armenian so-called peacekeepers in NATO actions along with support from NATO and member states in implementing defense reforms.

During the final sitting, the results of the implementation of the objectives of the IPAP in 2011 were summarized along with the progress made towards expanding cooperation between Armenia and NATO.

If nothing else, this much is clear: NATO and the West are expanding far beyond their original stated intentions when NATO was created and now moving into new regions, expanding ties and military dominance, and overall doing whatever it takes to grow hegemonic control of the world.

The direction this is heading in is far from pleasant, and despite the constant reassurances that this is being done for humanitarian purposes or motivations that seem otherwise innocent, I think by now all of my readers realize this is very unlikely, to say the least.

If you have stories or tips on this issue please email me at Admin@EndtheLie.com  along with your analysis and opinion. I very well might use what you have to say in a future article!

More at EndtheLie.com – http://EndtheLie.com/2011/12/29/u-s-and-nato-are-on-the-march-worldwide/#ixzz1hwVZ3KdQ

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO news: December 29, 2011

December 29, 2011 1 comment

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U.S.-Russian Missile Shield Disagreement Intensifies

Russia Delivers New Missile Defense Systems To Belarus

U.S. Interceptor Missile Plans Threat To China’s Nuclear Forces

Purpose Of U.S. Return To Asia Strategy: Control Of “World Island”

India-Japan-U.S. Axis: Containment Of China Strategy

Pakistan: Army Rejects Pentagon Report On Deadly NATO Attack

NATO Increases Cyber Warfare Capabilities

Caucasus And Beyond: New NATO Agenda For All Partners

Russia: NATO Ignores Crimes By Libyan Allies

Russia, Egypt Discuss Investigation Of NATO Libyan Operations

North Africa, Middle East: From Arab Spring To NATO Autumn

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U.S.-Russian Missile Shield Disagreement Intensifies

http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/optimism-on-missile-defense-agreement-drops/450561.html

Moscow Times
December 28, 2011

Optimism on Missile Defense Agreement Drops
By Nikolaus von Twickel

-“The basic principle of defining security threats remains the same all along: If new arms are deployed in such a way that they reduce your defense capability, then that is bad. There is no point in further analyzing if these weapons are defensive or offensive.
“You must take into account that missile defense radars and satellites have reconnaissance capabilities. These and other factors are negatives for Russia in the deployment of a European missile shield.”

Moscow will develop and deploy new rockets to counter a U.S.-driven European missile shield as long as NATO frustrates Russia in talks to cooperate over missile defense, according to senior Defense Ministry officials.

The optimism after last year’s Russia-NATO summit in Lisbon has been falling inexorably because the Western alliance is not heeding Moscow’s reservations, Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov told The Moscow Times.

“They listen to us carefully and say they understand our concerns, but at the same time they continue to implement their plans for expanding their missile defense potential,” Antonov said in an e-mailed interview conducted last month.

Antonov pointed out that the United States has stated that it will build a radar station in Turkey, missile interceptor bases in Romania and Poland, and deploy Aegis missile defense ships from a naval base in Spain.

“We are not satisfied with these developments. Our partners are not prepared for the sort of cooperation offered by us — for a joint European missile defense,” he said. “They guarantee that the missile defense system will not be directed at Russia’s strategic nuclear forces, but only in words.”

Alliance officials have said they would like to reach a missile defense deal with Moscow by NATO’s summit in Chicago next May, but the Kremlin has expressed growing antipathy to the project.

President Dmitry Medvedev warned last month that it could upend the “reset” with Washington and lead to a new arms race. In a video address he threatened to drop out of the New START nuclear arms reduction pact and to direct the country’s own ballistic missiles against NATO’s shield.

The head of the Strategic Rocket Forces, Lieutenant General Sergei Karakayev, announced earlier this month that a planned new intercontinental ballistic missile generation would counter the Western missile shield.

The new silo-based, 100-ton missiles “will be better equipped to overcome the U.S. missile shield,” Karakayev told RIA-Novosti.

The yet unnamed liquid-fueled rockets should replace the country’s Soviet-era R36 missiles, codenamed “Satan” by NATO, the general said.

Karakayev said his forces were busy introducing and upgrading other weapons like the Yars, Topol and Bulava missiles, in accordance with Medvedev’s announcement that Moscow would take steps to strengthen national security in light of U.S. actions to deploy the missile shield.

NATO is adamant that Russia has nothing to fear from the missile shield because it is purely defensive.

But Deputy Defense Minister Antonov explained that this does not dispel Moscow’s doubts.

“The basic principle of defining security threats remains the same all along: If new arms are deployed in such a way that they reduce your defense capability, then that is bad. There is no point in further analyzing if these weapons are defensive or offensive,” he said.

“You must take into account that missile defense radars and satellites have reconnaissance capabilities. These and other factors are negatives for Russia in the deployment of a European missile shield,” he said.

Antonov pointed out that Washington had shown a similar stance when it argued strongly against Russian plans to sell “purely defensive” S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Iran.

Moscow canceled the deal in 2010, saying it would violate UN Security Council sanctions.

Asked about U.S. scientists’ doubts that NATO’s missile shield would ever work as envisaged by Western officials, Antonov said the system’s effectiveness will only be known after it has been put in place and Moscow was obliged to assume it can work.

“We have a duty to take the potential of U.S. anti-missile weapons into account, which, under certain conditions, could intercept our missiles,” he said.

But the deputy minister also stressed that the door for further missile defense cooperation talks remains open.

A career diplomat, Antonov joined the Defense Ministry last February after serving seven years as director of the Foreign Ministry’s security and disarmament department.

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Russia Delivers New Missile Defense Systems To Belarus

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2011-12/29/c_131332223.htm

Xinhua News Agency
December 29, 2011

Belarus receives modern air defense missiles from Russia

             
MINSK: The Belarusian Air Defense Forces have received the first battery of the Tor-M2 air defense missile systems from Russia, the Belarusian Defense Ministry said on Wednesday.

The ministry said in a statement that the 120th Air Defense Missile Brigade of the Western Operational Tactical Command has received the air defense missile system.

According to the ministry, relevant personnel had been trained in Russia to use the new weaponry.

The new weaponry will greatly improve the combat capability of the Belarusian Air Force and Air Defense troops, the ministry said in the statement.

Russia is the main partner of Belarus in matters relating to supplies of military products, with preferential delivery terms available.

A battery of Tor-M2 air defense missile systems comprising four combat vehicles is capable of intercepting simultaneously 16 targets flying from any directions at speeds under 700 meters per second within a 12-kilometer range at an altitude of up to 10 kilometers at any time and in any weather conditions.

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U.S. Interceptor Missile Plans Threat To China’s Nuclear Forces

http://rt.com/politics/russia-china-us-missile-defense-pacific-803/

RT
December 28, 2011

‘China more at risk from US AMD plans in Pacific’
Robert Bridge

-“A Pacific missile defense system is a matter of a not very distant future. Japan already possesses four and South Korea two destroyers equipped with Aegis systems. The Japanese are planning to increase this number to six.”
-“We cannot view this system only within the framework of negotiations between Russia, the US, and NATO. Because China is a crucial factor affecting the UN Security Council positions.”

Speaking on the presence of US missile defense systems in the Pacific region, Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Vladimir Dvorkin says this shield is more of a threat to the nuclear forces in China than it is to Russia’s.

Major Gen. Dvorkin, a senior fellow at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of World Economy and International Relations, revealed that Japan and South Korea are already equipped with the Aegis missile defense systems.

“A Pacific missile defense system is a matter of a not very distant future,” Dvorkin said at a conference in Moscow. “Japan already possesses four and South Korea two destroyers equipped with Aegis systems. The Japanese are planning to increase this number to six.”

Japan has already intercepted ballistic targets with support from the US, he added.

Given the location of these particular missile defense assets, they pose more of a threat to China’s nuclear forces than Russia’s.

“This is a working missile defense system. And surely it threatens China’s nuclear deterrence potential more than Russia’s,” Dvorkin said.

In light of such findings, the retired major general said China, a growing military power in its own right, must also be involved in the ongoing negotiations on US missile defense in Europe and Asia.

“We cannot view this system only within the framework of negotiations between Russia, the US, and NATO,” Dvorkin said. “Because China is a crucial factor affecting the UN Security Council positions,” he added.

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Purpose Of U.S. Return To Asia Strategy: Control Of “World Island”

http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90883/7689638.html

China Military Online
December 27, 2011

What is behind US ‘Return-to-Asia’ strategy?
Edited and translated by People’s Daily Online

-The American overall strategy toward China is giving the same priority to cooperation and prevention, but intensifying “security rebalancing” efforts on China, taking comprehensive measures to suppress China, and instigating its allies to pay, contribute and appear to restrain China.
-Some thinkers of the U.S. Navy are quite interested in the English geographer Halford Mackinder’s “Heartland” theory. Mackinder said “Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland; who rules the Heartland commands the World Island (Eurasia).”
Mackinder’s followers have applied this strategy to Asia, and believed that controlling South China Sea will make the U.S. air force and navy command East Asia, and consequently command the “World Island”.
-Currently, the situation in Europe is under American control, and the situation in the Middle East is beneficial to the United States. The world’s geographic center is transferring from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and the Asia-Pacific region has become the world’s political and economic center.

Recently, the PLA Daily interviewed Lin Zhiyuan, an expert on U.S. issues at the Department of World Military Research under the Academy of Military Sciences on the U.S. strategy to “return to Asia.”

Reporter: While talking about Asia recently, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “The United States is back,” making it clear that the United States has paid more attention to the Asian-Pacific region than ever, and it will shift its strategic focus to Asia in the future. What do you think of the move?

Lin Zhiyuan: It aims to fully restore U.S. influence in the Asia-Pacific region. The United States implements a global strategy, which has respective focuses on deployment.

Since the end of the Cold War, the United States started to shift its strategic focus to Asia. However, the American focus on Asia was always interrupted by some major events, such as Asia’s financial crisis and the war on terrorism. Especially over the past 10 years, the United States paid all attention to anti-terrorism and got entangled in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but made slow progress in Asia.

Today’s United States has taken “reviving the United States, leading the world” as its core objective. It changed the past practice of giving top priority to anti-terrorism, withdrew troops gradually from battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan, accelerated its pace of shifting strategic focus to Asia, and has taken a number of substantial measures.

Reporter: At the 12th round of China-U.S. defense consultation held recently, the U.S. Undersecretary of Defense Michael Flournoy said the Pentagon does not regard China as an “enemy.” The China-U.S. relation is distinctive and certainly not “hostile relation.” What’s your opinion?

Lin Zhiyuan: There have been various versions about China-U.S. relations, which is basically a “neither friend nor foe” relationship. It is a particular relationship between the world’s only superpower and a rising great power, and the most important geopolitical relationship.

The American overall strategy toward China is giving the same priority to cooperation and prevention, but intensifying “security rebalancing” efforts on China, taking comprehensive measures to suppress China, and instigating its allies to pay, contribute and appear to restrain China.

At the same time, the United States has strengthened penetration in China’s surrounding regions through humanitarian aid, military exchanges and arms sales. It has taken various actions in order to show its leadership and appeal to allies.

Reporter: The South China Sea issue has become increasingly sensitive and tense at present. Does America’s returning to the Asia-Pacific region mean it will pay more attention to or get involved in the South China Sea issue?

Lin Zhiyuan: Some thinkers of the U.S. Navy are quite interested in the English geographer Halford Mackinder’s “Heartland” theory. Mackinder said “Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland; who rules the Heartland commands the World Island (Eurasia).”

Mackinder’s followers have applied this strategy to Asia, and believed that controlling South China Sea will make the U.S. air force and navy command East Asia, and consequently command the “World Island”.

Reporter: In fact, the United States has never been away from Asia. What kind of impact will the so-called “return to Asia” strategy bring to the Asia-Pacific region?

Lin Zhiyuan: Currently, the situation in Europe is under American control, and the situation in the Middle East is beneficial to the United States. The world’s geographic center is transferring from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and the Asia-Pacific region has become the world’s political and economic center.

The United States is eager to find a new way to consolidate its dominant position in this region. As for the interior political situation, the American political struggle has entered a critical stage and the economy remains depressed. Under such circumstance, the Obama administration needs to be more aggressive in military [matters] and diplomacy in order to create favorable conditions to win the presidential election. Therefore, the American global strategy shows a layout of stabilizing in Europe, “shrinking” appropriately in the Middle East and “expanding” in the Asia-Pacific region.

The strategic adjustment of the United States will pose a great challenge to the geopolitical situation in the Asia-Pacific region and even the world order. The American intervention in some regions’ hot spots will result in a more complicated strategic environment for China’s peaceful rise.

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India-Japan-U.S. Axis: Containment Of China Strategy

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics/nation/japanese-premier-nodas-india-trip-part-of-japans-strategy-to-contain-china/articleshow/11278697.cms

Press Trust of India
December 28, 2011

Japanese Premier Noda’s India trip part of Japan’s strategy to contain China’

-“Japan and India have comprehensively boosted regional cooperation in recent years, not only in security but also in economic ties. And the cooperation has been moving from bilateral to multilateral, trying to include the United States, Australia and India in its ‘Arc of Freedom and Prosperity.'”
-The report also noted that Noda’s visit to India comes after the first round of trilateral talks in Washington last week among the US, India and Japan, and an India-Japan Defence Ministers’ meeting in Tokyo in November.
-“Japan must have gained the approval of the US before it announced it was lifting the ban. This suggests that the two countries are working in coordination to adjust their Asia-Pacific strategy. So, it (the relaxation of the ban) will have a negative effect on China.”

BEIJING: Japanese Premier Yoshihiko Noda’s ongoing India visit aimed at boosting bilateral strategic ties was part of Tokyo’s attempt to strengthen its alliances with Asia-Pacific nations to “contain” China, the official media here claimed today.

Boosting ties with India is part of Japan’s strategy of strengthening alliances with Asia-Pacific nations with an eye on China, state-run China Daily quoted security analysts as saying.

The India-Japan summit is a continuance of Japan’s “Arc of Freedom and Prosperity” strategy, which has been widely interpreted as an effort to contain China, Lu Yaodong, director of the department of Japanese diplomacy at the Institute of Japanese Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the daily.

Citing reports that Noda and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh are expected to sign a currency swap accord worth up to USD 10 billion besides discussing nuclear cooperation, the daily referred to Noda’s comments that he would discuss political, security, economic and human exchange and Japan’s readiness to help infrastructure projects in India with Singh.

“Japan and India have comprehensively boosted regional cooperation in recent years, not only in security but also in economic ties. And the cooperation has been moving from bilateral to multilateral, trying to include the United States, Australia and India in its ‘Arc of Freedom and Prosperity’,” Lu said.

The “Arc of Freedom and Prosperity” is a pillar of Japan’s diplomacy initiated in 2007 by former Foreign Affairs Minister Taro Aso. It has been interpreted as an effort to make allies to contain the rise of China in the Asia-Pacific region, he said.

The report also noted that Noda’s visit to India comes after the first round of trilateral talks in Washington last week among the US, India and Japan, and an India-Japan Defence Ministers’ meeting in Tokyo in November.

There has been a renaissance in Japan-India relations since the 1990s, following their non-alignment during the Cold War, Takenori Horimoto, a professor of contemporary South Asian politics at Shobi University said.

With New Delhi’s post-Cold War economic liberalisation policies, India has become a new market for Japan, Horimoto said.

“Meanwhile, the rise of China has meant that both Japan and India have increasingly eyed each other as potential strategic partners in the last five years,” he said.

Difficulties in the US domestic economy have made it rely more on its Asian alliances to boost its presence in the Asia-Pacific region, after the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq and its gradual withdrawal from Afghanistan, the newspaper quoted the analysts as saying.

Another report in the same newspaper said Japan’s decision to lift ban on arms exports would also pose a threat to China.

“The lifting of the ban paves the way for Japan’s air and marine forces to upgrade their hardware capability. So if we look at it over the long term, it will pose threats to China,” Yang Bojiang, a professor of Japanese studies at the University of International Relations in Beijing, said.

The change could possibly reshuffle the international arms trade, and Japan’s competitiveness in electrical equipment for military use may squeeze Russia’s market share, he said.

“For Japan, it now breaks into a politically restricted area. But for the Asia-Pacific region, uncertainties have increased,” Yang said.

Su Hao, director of the Asia-Pacific research centre at China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing, told the daily that Japan’s relaxation of the arms export ban will complicate security in the Asia-Pacific region.

“As a further step to become a normal country, the allowance of arms exports will provide Japan a new way to boost ties with countries in East and Southeast Asia, ” Su said.

“More important, Japan must have gained the approval of the US before it announced it was lifting the ban. This suggests that the two countries are working in coordination to adjust their Asia-Pacific strategy. So, it (the relaxation of the ban) will have a negative effect on China,” he said.

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Pakistan: Army Rejects Pentagon Report On Deadly NATO Attack

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/national/29-Dec-2011/army-finds-fault-with-us-probe-head

The Nation
December 29, 2011

Army finds fault with US probe head
By Sikandar Shaheen

ISLAMABAD: Rejecting the detailed NATO probe on last month’s border attack, the Pakistan Army has questioned the validity of the findings supervised by a military man who held command of allied forces in Afghanistan.

The military has expressed serious reservations over US Air Force Brigadier General Stephen Clark’s leading the Mohmand attack probe while refusing to show any compliance for the launch of a fresh investigation.

The development reportedly followed an exchange of written communication between the Pentagon and Pakistan’s military headquarters (GHQ) amid reports that the latter has raised serious questions over the authenticity of the NATO report under the supervision of Brigadier General Clark.

According to informed officials, the Pakistan military holds Clark as one of the commanders responsible for the November 26 deadly attack on two Pakistani military pickets – Volcano and Boulder – that killed 24 soldiers.

As head of Air Force Special Operations Forces (AFSOF), Clark remained Colonel Commandant of the 27 Special Operations Forces (SOF) Wing that carries out ground and aerial operations in Afghanistan. The 16 Squadron Wing of the United States Air Force (USAF), that saw its gunship choppers bombarding the Pakistani pickets, was also headed by Brigadier General Clark in his official capacity as the chief pilot.

The Squadron 16, it is learnt, directly oversees the operational command of the sophisticated gunship choppers AC-130 H Spectre that were used in the Mohmand Agency attack. Apart from heading the combat mission in Afghanistan, Brigadier General Clark also remained the Commander of 4th SOF at the USAF.

Citing the afore-stated factors, Pakistan’s military, in the Wednesday’s correspondence with the Pentagon, is reported to have pointed out Stephen Clark’s unsuitability for leading a sensitive probe that, according to military circles, compromised his objective position owing to his direct professional linkages with allied combat forces in Afghanistan. “He is not neutral. Given that he himself commands the Special Operations Forces, we have grounds to believe that the November 26 episode did not happen without Clark’s consent. He is as much to be held responsible as General Allen is,” military officials said.

When contacted on Wednesday, the NATO Air Operations spokesperson in Afghanistan Christopher DeWitt told this scribe that Pentagon was in a better position to address any queries on Brigadier General Stephen Clark. Pentagon spokesperson George Little was not accessible at his official cell phone nor did he return the emails.

Earlier last Friday, the Pakistan Army had rejected the initial findings of the investigation on Mohmand Agency attack released by the Pentagon. A military statement had said that a detailed response (to the report) would be given as and when the formal report was received. This newspaper had reported Sunday that NATO was unlikely to share the detailed report with Pakistani military, sensing adverse reaction from the latter. This development followed the requests by the US Central Command (CENTCOM) Chief General David Mattis which had been turned down for a meeting with Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. Reportedly, General Mattis wanted to visit Pakistan to brief the country’s military top brass on November 26 attack.

Pakistani officials say that the military refused to cooperate on last month’s probe because the probe’s findings in the presence of General John Allen, the NATO Commander in Afghanistan, and Brigadier General Clark were “pretty obvious”. Military circles believe that an impartial inquiry was not possible without putting into probe General Allen, Clark and Afghan National Army’s Head General Sher Muhammad Karimi.

Our special correspondent from Washington adds: While dropping hints of disciplinary action against those responsible for last month’s NATO attack that killed 26 Pakistani soldiers, the US military said Tuesday that Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has been briefed on its investigation into the deadly incident.

A summary of the report was released Thursday by the officer who led the investigation, Brigadier General Stephen Clark.

It took the NATO-led force 90 minutes to halt air strikes after a Pakistani liaison officer first alerted US and coalition counterparts that Pakistani troops were coming under fire from American aircraft, the report said.

The probe also said the US military had failed to notify the Pakistanis in advance of the night raid near the border and that a coalition officer mistakenly gave the wrong location of the US troops to his Pakistani counterpart.

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NATO Increases Cyber Warfare Capabilities

http://www.neurope.eu/article/nato-increases-cyber-security

New Europe
December 28, 2011

NATO increases cyber security

According to a report by Advance magazine, Finmeccanica  and Northrop Grumman Corporation signed a Teaming Agreement in order to respond to the proposal for the NATO Computer Incident Response Capability (NCIRC) – Full Operating Capability (FOC).

This extensive managed service aims to provide information assurance to around 50 NATO sites and headquarters throughout 28 countries worldwide.

…The project is intended to meet the level of ambition of NATO Head of States as set out during the Lisbon Summit in November 2010.

Alberto de Benedictis, Chief Executive Finmeccanica UK and responsible for Finmeccanica Cyber Solutions, said: “This is a strong partnership which combines the capabilities, resources and expertise of both organisations spanning the UK, US and Italy and resulting in a superior proposal which best meets the requirements of this key NATO Programme.”

Mike Papay, vice president of Cyber Initiatives, Northrop Grumman Information Systems, said: “Northrop Grumman has a strong track record of providing the most advanced, integrated cyber security solutions across all domains for the US military, civilian government and private industry.

“Protecting networks from the growing cyber threat is a global challenge and we look forward to bringing to this industry partnership the resources, experience and expertise from across our company to ensure the best possible solution for the customer in this strategically important NATO programme.”

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Caucasus And Beyond: New NATO Agenda For All Partners

http://en.apa.az/news.php?id=162657

Azeri Press Agency
December 28, 2011

Romanian Ambassador: “NATO is concerned about the protracted conflicts in the South Caucasus”
Rashad Suleymanov

NATO’s new partnership menu will be available for all partners from 2012

Baku: NATO’s new partnership menu will be available to all partners in 2012, Romanian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Daniel Christian Chiobanu said, APA reports.

The ambassador said the new partnership menu included more than 1600 events. “The partner countries will have new two-year individual partnership plans in this framework”.

Chiobanu said NATO was concerned about the protracted conflicts in the South Caucasus. “As a neighbor of this region, Romania is interested in the settlement of these conflicts. It also supports the integration of the regional countries into the Euro-Atlantic space”.

The ambassador called Azerbaijan an important partner for the alliance and said Romania was ready to organize dialogue between NATO and Azerbaijan.

The Romanian embassy in Baku is the NATO coordinator for Azerbaijan.

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Russia: NATO Ignores Crimes By Libyan Allies

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/12/28/63072900.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
December 28, 2011

Russia: NATO ignored Libyan rebels crime

NATO has been ignoring crimes by the former Libyan rebels, says a report on injustice and violations around the globe published by Russia’s Foreign Ministry.

The document claims that the Coalition troops haven’t reacted to ethnic murders and allowing the rebels to kill Gaddafi despite calls for tolerance.

The first days of the Libyan campaign killed some 100 civilians, says the report.

Moscow wants an objective probe into the facts conducted by the Human Rights Court.

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Russia, Egypt Discuss Investigation Of NATO Libyan Operations

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2011-12/28/c_131332138.htm

Xinhua News Agency
December 28, 2011

Russia, Egypt discuss investigation of NATO operations in Libya

                   
MOSCOW: Egypt may join Russia in demanding an investigation of NATO operations in Libya, Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amrsaid said Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters after talks with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Amr said Moscow and Cairo have been discussing the idea proposed by Russia “with full seriousness.”

“We are considering this issue and consulting with Russian colleagues and will make a decision later,” Amr was quoted by RIA Novosti news agency as saying.

Lavrov reiterated that Moscow demanded an investigation of NATO actions after media reports said airstrikes killed dozens of civilians in Libya.

The two diplomats said Russia and Egypt would continue to pay close attention to the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, demanding that any changes be determined through dialogue “by peaceful means and without external interference.”

Russia’s U.N. ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, last week urged NATO to investigate civilian deaths in Libya, after the New York Times reported dozens of Libyan civilians were killed during NATO’s eight-month military operation.

The action was rejected by the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., who called Moscow’s demand an attempt to distract the international community from current events in Syria.

NATO also said there were no civilian casualties during the operation.

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North Africa, Middle East: From Arab Spring To NATO Autumn

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/12/28/63057848.html

Voice of Russia
December 28, 2011

From “Arab Spring” to “Arab Autumn”?
Konstantin Garibov

       
Experts have called the “Arab Spring” one of the main geopolitical events in 2011. Its first “snowdrop” burst into blossom during the “Jasmine Revolution” in Tunisia in December 2010. A wave of mass protests then occurred in Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Syria and a number of other North African and Middle Eastern countries, something that led to contradictory and unpredictable consequences.

Initiated by the youth, all the revolutions started under the slogans of toppling the rulers who had been at the helm for years. Analysts were quick to call Arabs a subject of big-time politics, with some experts referring to demonstrators’ disappointment with the outcomes of the revolutions. Stanislav Tarasov, a Moscow-based Oriental Studies expert, says that it would be more appropriate to speak of the “Arab Autumn”, not the “Arab Spring.”

“The Arab revolutions are starting to unseat secular regimes, Tarasov says, citing the ouster of Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia, Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. Right now, the Muslim Brotherhood is coming to power in Egypt which, along with the results of the Tunisian presidential elections, may prompt Islamists to seize power in a number of other countries where Tarasov says religious autocracy may well be established in the future. But the main trouble is that the international community has got a new regional hot spot where tensions are yet to be defused,” Tarasov concludes.

Yemen, Tunisia and Egypt were hit by The “Arab Spring” especially hard. Yemen found itself on the verge of a break up, while Tunisia and Egypt faced economic implications, including capital outflow, unemployment growth and a decline in tourism. The situation remains tense in Syria, where the government’s clampdown on the opposition forced many to flee to neighboring Turkey to find refuge. In Libya, tens of thousands of people fled to Tunisia and other Maghreb countries earlier this year. At first, they flocked to these countries to flee a civil war and NATO airstrikes, but afterwards, they fled to escape repressions carried out against Gaddafi loyalists, says Moscow-based expert Alexei Podtserob who is also the former Russian Ambassador to Libya.

“Libya’s facing a possible new civil war and the power transition further exacerbates the situation in the region, Podtserob says. More than 50,000 people have been killed in war-torn Libya since May which is approximately one percent of the country’s 6-million-strong population.”

According to Alexei Podtserob, the Libyan scenario of the “Arab Spring” has seriously ruined the UN’s political image.

“The West, he says, loosely interpreted the UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions on Libya, using them as a red herring to stage a direct NATO intervention against this North African country, something that seriously damaged the UN’s authority. This is one of the consequences of the “Arab Spring which I would rather call the “Arab Autumn,” he concludes.

From the very beginning, Russia condemned the West’s military interference in Libya’s domestic affairs. A permanent UNSC member, Russia is now using its authority in the Arab world to try to prevent a repeat of the Libyan scenario in Syria. Additionally, Russia is lending support to mediation efforts by the African Union, the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council to improve the situation in Libya, Yemen and Syria. Moscow is actively contributing to the process of rebuilding Libya and a speedy start of a fully-fledged dialogue in Syria.

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Categories: Uncategorized

William Vaughn Moody: Bullet’s scream went wide of its mark to its homeland’s heart

December 29, 2011 Leave a 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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William Vaughn Moody
Member of the Anti-Imperialist League
On a Soldier Fallen in the Philippines (1901)

     
Streets of the roaring town,
Hush for him, hush, be still!
He comes, who was stricken down
Doing the word of our will.
Hush! Let him have his state,
Give him his soldier’s crown.
The grists of trade can wait
Their grinding at the mill,
But he cannot wait for his honor, now the trumpet has been blown.
Wreathe pride now for his granite brow, lay love on his breast of stone.

Toll! Let the great bells toll
Till the clashing air is dim.
Did we wrong this parted soul?
We will make it up to him.
Toll! Let him never guess
What work we set him to.
Laurel, laurel, yes;
He did what we bade him do.
Praise, and never a whispered hint but the fight he fought was good;
Never a word that the blood on his sword was his country’s own heart’s-blood.

A flag for the soldier’s bier
Who dies that his land may live;
O, banners, banners here,
That he doubt not nor misgive!
That he heed not from the tomb
The evil days draw near
When the nation, robed in gloom,
With its faithless past shall strive.
Let him never dream that his bullet’s scream went wide of its island mark,
Home to the heart of his darling land where she stumbled and sinned in the dark. 

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO news: December 28, 2011

December 28, 2011 2 comments

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Japan: NATO’s Gateway Into Asia-Pacific Region

Interceptor Missiles, Stealth Warplanes: Boost To U.S.-Japan Alliance

India-Japan-Australia: U.S. Forges Asian NATO

“Reshape The International System”: India-Japan-U.S. Military Triad

Australia Buys $950 Million Worth Of Military Planes From U.S.

Philippines Deploys New U.S.-Provided Warship

NATO Loses Three Soldiers In Eastern Afghanistan

December: Sixteen NATO Soldiers Killed In Afghanistan By Christmas

Pakistan: Human Rights Commission Rejects NATO Report On Attack

Missile Radar: Turkey Arrests Anti-NATO Protesters

NATO Summit To Boost Integration Of Ukraine: Official

Armenia: NATO Continues Advanced Integration Program

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Japan: NATO’s Gateway Into Asia-Pacific Region

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/12/27/63015296.html

Voice of Russia
December 27, 2011

Japan, NATO to become closer
Igor Siletsky

       
On Tuesday, the Japanese government has decided to partially lift a self-imposed 40-year ban on arms exports, which prohibited Japanese arms makers from joint development and export of military technology. Until now the US has been the only country with which Japan cooperated on military technologies. Now, the Land of the Rising Sun has decided to expand its military cooperation which experts see as a bid to join the European ABM project.

The ban imposed in 1967 provided that Japan could not buy weapons from countries governed by Communist regimes and countries which were involved in military conflicts. Gradually Japan stopped military cooperation with all countries except the US.

But cooperation with Washington has never stopped. Back in the 1980s, Japanese companies supplied the US with 15 new technologies for their Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). At present Tokyo, in partnership with Washington, is developing a unit for an upgraded SM3 ship missile. This missile is expected to become one of the key components in the European anti-ballistic missile system. But the ban which prohibited Japan from selling arms to Europe put a question mark over the supplies of these units to Europe. That is why the Japanese government has decided to lift the ban, which will enable Tokyo to cooperate on the development of military technologies with European and other countries.

Are the motives behind Tokyo’s decision mainly political or mainly economic? Japanese defense companies have been lobbying the government to ease the ban as they are hoping to find their niche on the global market. So the economic motives have played their role, the head of the Center for Political studies Vladimir Yevseev says:

“The economic reasons for lifting the ban have made a serious impact. Now the country is going through an extremely difficult period, which was first of all caused by the tragedy at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. So, an opportunity to sell its military developments as part of the plan to create an anti-missile defense in Europe would benefit Tokyo economically.”

At the same time the political motives should be also taken into account. Japan is currently looking for new allies and is trying to strengthen ties with the old ones, the head of the Center for Japanese Studies Valery Kistanov says:

“Above all Japan wants to strengthen its military alliance with the US. Japan needs it amid the current instability in the Asian Pacific region. It is concerned about the so-called Chinese military threat and the situation on the Korean peninsula after the death of Kim Jong-il. The government’s recent move is probably intended to show that Tokyo is loyal and committed to its alliance with the US.”

In all this experts can also see another tendency – Japan’s rapprochement with NATO. A close cooperation between Tokyo and Brussels would contribute to NATO’s expansion into the Asian Pacific region.

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Interceptor Missiles, Stealth Warplanes: Boost To U.S.-Japan Alliance

http://www.menafn.com/qn_news_story.asp?storyid=%7Bf46c5b21-7686-424e-889b-51b5e4a44a36%7D

Yomiuri Shimbun
December 27, 2011

Boost to Japan-U.S. alliance 

The government’s decision to establish guidelines on the export of military equipment and technology to other nations reflects the firm resolve of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, according to analysts, and will deepen Japan’s alliance with the United States.

The new guidelines are intended to relax the three existing rules on weapons exports, and were needed because the restrictions were hindering cooperation on security issues with the United States and other countries, the analysts said.

The F-35 that Japan has decided to employ as its next-generation fighter jet was developed through the cooperation of nine countries, including the United States and Britain. Japan was asked to join the development project, but Tokyo was unable to do so because of the rules on weapons exports.

Easing the rules would make it possible for Japan’s defense industry to take part in similar international projects to develop and produce military equipment and technology.

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India-Japan-Australia: U.S. Forges Asian NATO

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/eo20111228bc.html

Japan Times
December 28, 2011

Build Japan-India naval ties
By Brahma Chellaney

-Today, the fastest growing bilateral relationship in Asia is between India and Japan. Since they unveiled a “strategic and global partnership” in 2006, their political and economic engagement has deepened remarkably.
Their growing congruence of strategic interests led to the 2008 Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation…
-The joint declaration was modeled on Japan’s 2007 defense-cooperation accord with Australia — the only country with which Tokyo has a security-cooperation declaration. Japan, of course, is tied to the United States militarily since 1951 by a treaty. The India-Japan security agreement, in turn, spawned a similar India-Australian accord in 2009.
-To top it off, Japan, India, and the U.S. have initiated a trilateral strategic dialogue, whose first meeting was in Washington last week. Getting the U.S. on board will bolster the convergences of all three partners and boost India-Japan cooperation.
-India and Japan have missile-defense cooperation with Israel and the U.S., respectively. There is no reason why they should not work together on missile defense and on other technologies for mutual security.

NEW DELHI: [T]he visit of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda to India offers an opportunity to the two natural allies to help promote Asian stability by adding concrete strategic content to their fast-growing relationship. Japan and India need to build close naval collaboration.

The balance of power in Asia will be determined by events principally in two regions: East Asia and the Indian Ocean. Japan and India thus have an important role to play…in the wider Indo-Pacific region.

Asia’s booming economies are bound by sea…Whereas 97 percent of India’s international trade by volume is conducted by sea, almost all of Japan’s international trade is ocean-borne. As energy-poor countries heavily dependent on oil imports from the Persian Gulf region, the two are seriously concerned…

In this light, Japan and India have already agreed to start holding joint naval exercises from the new year. This is just one sign that they now wish to graduate from emphasizing shared values to seeking to jointly protect shared interests. Today, the fastest growing bilateral relationship in Asia is between India and Japan. Since they unveiled a “strategic and global partnership” in 2006, their political and economic engagement has deepened remarkably.

Their growing congruence of strategic interests led to the 2008 Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation, a significant milestone in building Asian power stability…

The joint declaration was modeled on Japan’s 2007 defense-cooperation accord with Australia — the only country with which Tokyo has a security-cooperation declaration. Japan, of course, is tied to the United States militarily since 1951 by a treaty. The India-Japan security agreement, in turn, spawned a similar India-Australian accord in 2009.

…India is already beginning to emerge as a favored destination in Asia for Japanese foreign direct investment.

…Japan and India have agreed to the joint development of rare earths, which are vital for a wide range of green energy technologies and military applications.

Today, the level and frequency of India-Japan official engagement is extraordinary. Noda’s New Delhi visit is part of a bilateral commitment to hold an annual summit meeting of the prime ministers. More important, Japan and India now have a series of annual minister-to-minister dialogues: a strategic dialogue between their foreign ministers; a defense dialogue between their defense ministers; a policy dialogue between India’s commerce and industry minister and Japan’s minister of economy, trade and industry; and separate ministerial-level energy and economic dialogues.

Supporting these high-level discussions is another set of talks, including a two-plus-two dialogue led jointly by India’s foreign and defense secretaries and their Japanese vice minister counterparts, a maritime security dialogue, a comprehensive security dialogue, and military-to-military talks involving regular exchange visits of the chiefs of staff.

To top it off, Japan, India, and the U.S. have initiated a trilateral strategic dialogue, whose first meeting was in Washington last week. Getting the U.S. on board will bolster the convergences of all three partners and boost India-Japan cooperation.

As Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba said recently, “Japan and the U.S. are deepening a strategic relationship with India,” and the trilateral dialogue is “a specific example of collaboration” among the three leading Asia-Pacific democracies.

Bilaterally, Japan and India need to strengthen their still-fledgling strategic cooperation by embracing two ideas, both of which demand a subtle shift in Japanese thinking and policy. One is to build interoperability between their naval forces. These forces — along with other friendly navies — can…As former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe put it in a recent speech in New Delhi, the aim should be that “sooner rather than later, Japan’s navy and the Indian navy are seamlessly interconnected.” Presently, Japan has naval interoperability only with U.S. forces.

Another idea is for the two countries to jointly develop defense systems. India and Japan have missile-defense cooperation with Israel and the U.S., respectively. There is no reason why they should not work together on missile defense and on other technologies for mutual security. Their defense cooperation must be comprehensive and not be limited to strategic dialogue, maritime cooperation, and occasional naval exercises.

There is no ban on weapon exports in Japan’s U.S.-imposed Constitution, only a long-standing Cabinet decision, which in any event has been loosened. That decision, in fact, related to weapons, not technologies.

Japan and India should remember that the most-stable economic partnerships in the world, including the trans-Atlantic ones and the Japan-U.S. partnership, have been built on the bedrock of security collaboration. Economic ties that lack the support of strategic partnerships tend to be less stable, as is apparent from Japan’s and India’s economic relationships with China.

Through close strategic collaboration, Japan and India must lead the effort…in the Indo-Pacific region.

Brahma Chellaney is a professor at the independent Center for Policy Research in New Delhi.

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“Reshape The International System”: India-Japan-U.S. Military Triad

http://gulfnews.com/business/opinion/new-regional-order-in-asia-is-reaction-to-chinese-hegemony-1.957737

Gulf News/Project Syndicate
december 28, 2011

New regional order in Asia is reaction to Chinese hegemony
India, Japan and the US build a strategic relationship and other Asian countries band together to counter heavyweight Beijing
By Jaswant Singh*

-India and the US have also been strengthening their strategic relations with Japan, not only bilaterally, but also in a unique trilateral way, which US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns has suggested could “reshape the international system”.
-So far, India’s security relations with Japan and South Korea are somewhat understated. But that is changing. During Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony’s recent visit to Tokyo, it was agreed that Japan and India would hold their first-ever joint naval and air force exercise in 2012. This elevates bilateral defence cooperation to the role of primary national-security tool, most importantly for Japan, which has broadened its strategic horizon beyond its immediate surroundings and the country’s long-standing alliance with the US.
-A “Japan-India Defence Policy Dialogue” will be held in Tokyo in early 2012, and staff-level talks are to take place between Japan’s Ground Self-Defence Force and the Indian Army, along with staff exchanges between the Japanese Air Self-Defence Force and the Indian Air Force. Indeed, Japan and India are beginning to build the type of comprehensive military cooperation that has long characterised Japan’s ties with the US.

Asia’s economic dynamism is beginning to find a parallel in the region’s diplomacy, particularly where security is concerned. Indeed, we may now be “present at the creation”, as former US Secretary of State Dean Acheson called his memoir, which described the construction of the post-Second World War global security order.

This time, what is being created is a security order for Asia that reflects its new-found primacy in world affairs, though what that order will ultimately look like remains to be determined.

Security has moved to the top of the regional agenda not only in response to China’s rise, but also because America and the West will be leaving a gaping hole in Asia’s security architecture when they remove their troops from Afghanistan, without first having established peace there.

Perhaps of greater importance for long-term security, the US-Pakistan relationship continues to plumb new depths, while Iran’s relations with the West go from bad to worse…

Bit by bit, initiative by initiative, many of the region’s powers are struggling to forge a coherent cooperative framework to enhance their security. For example, Australia’s Labour government has agreed to sell natural uranium to India, reversing a policy that had been in place ever since India developed its nuclear-weapons capacity.

Almost simultaneously, US President Barack Obama announced the stationing of US Marines in northern Australia. No one has explicitly linked the two moves, but they are arguably related strategically, as Australia seeks to boost its ties with both the US and Asia’s other giant, India.

Unique trilateral relations

India and the US have also been strengthening their strategic relations with Japan, not only bilaterally, but also in a unique trilateral way, which US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns has suggested could “reshape the international system”.

Burns, and much of the rest of America’s foreign-policy establishment, now thinks that India’s regional influence has become comprehensive; its “Look East” strategy, announced earlier this year, is being translated into “Act East” policies.

So far, India’s security relations with Japan and South Korea are somewhat understated. But that is changing. During Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony’s recent visit to Tokyo, it was agreed that Japan and India would hold their first-ever joint naval and air force exercise in 2012. This elevates bilateral defence cooperation to the role of primary national-security tool, most importantly for Japan, which has broadened its strategic horizon beyond its immediate surroundings and the country’s long-standing alliance with the US.

Indeed, Japan and India have now agreed to cooperate on “maritime security issues, including anti-piracy measures, freedom of navigation” and on “maintaining the security of the Sea Lanes of Communication to facilitate unhindered trade, bilaterally as well as multilaterally with regional neighbours” — meaning, of course, China.

A “Japan-India Defence Policy Dialogue” will be held in Tokyo in early 2012, and staff-level talks are to take place between Japan’s Ground Self-Defence Force and the Indian Army, along with staff exchanges between the Japanese Air Self-Defence Force and the Indian Air Force. Indeed, Japan and India are beginning to build the type of comprehensive military cooperation that has long characterised Japan’s ties with the US.

This development will, undoubtedly, disturb China, which has been making ever more strident moves…

The core issue is maritime security — and not only in the South China Sea.
“The Indian Ocean,” said the US author Robert Kaplan, “is where the rivalry between the United States and China in the Pacific interlocks with the regional rivalry between China and India, and also with America’s fight against terrorism in the Middle East, which includes America’s attempt to contain Iran.”

India’s own sphere

India’s and China’s rival aspirations to be acknowledged as regional Great Powers, as well as their quest for energy security, are compelling both countries to seek greater maritime security.

India, however, has a clear advantage, as its recent Look East policies show that it can forge enhanced security ties not only with the US, but also with the region’s other key powers — even Indonesia.

Stephen P. Cohen, a renowned analyst of India, has argued that, since the country gained independence, its “officials have inculcated the precepts of George Washington’s Farewell Address of 1796: that India, like the United States, inhabits its own geographical sphere, in India’s case between the Himalayas and the Wide Indian Ocean, and thus [it] is in a position of both dominance and detachment. During the Cold War, this meant non-engagement; now it means that Indians see themselves with their own separate status as a rising power”.

The problem, of course, is that China views itself the same way. So, how are Asia’s two giants to live in neighbourly accord without encroaching on the other’s space? So far, the response has been to construct a regional security structure with no Chinese participation.

*Jaswant Singh, a former Indian finance minister, foreign minister, and defence minister, is the author of Jinnah: India – Partition – Independence.

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Australia Buys $950 Million Worth Of Military Planes From U.S.

http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/271191/20111222/australia-buys-950-million-worth-military-planes.htm

International Business Times
December 22, 2011

Australia Buys $950 Million Worth of Military Planes from U.S.
By Vittorio Hernandez

Australia will purchase from the United States 10 military planes and other equipment worth $950 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency informed the U.S. Congress on Wednesday on the sales of C-27J aircraft, missile warning systems and radar.

The new acquisition is expected to help improve the air mobility and capability of the Australian Defence Force to run humanitarian and disaster relief operations in Southeast Asia.

The announcement of Washington’s approval of the sale came a month after the Australia visit of U.S. President Barack Obama who unveiled plans to send up to 2,500 American Marines to Australia where a training centre will be opened to help U.S. allies and protect American interests in Asia.

Canberra also ordered from Washington 23 Rolls-Royce AE2100D2 engines, radios, electronic warfare equipment, portable flight mission planning systems, support and test equipment, spares, aircraft ferry and tanker support, personnel training and training equipment, publications and technical data, an operational flight simulator and maintenance trainers.

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Philippines Deploys New U.S.-Provided Warship

http://www.pia.gov.ph/?m=1&t=1&id=69698

Philippine Information Agency
December 26, 2011

BRP Gregorio del Pilar deploys to Palawan

ISABELA CITY, Basilan: Barko ng Republika ng Pilipinas (BRP) Gregorio del Pilar (PF-15) sailed from Manila for the province of Palawan on December 23, 2011 for her first deployment as a warship of the Philippine Navy.

The 6th Civil Relations Group of the AFP said in a press release the Weather High Endurance Cutter will augment the naval security in the Malampaya Oil Fields and in other service contract areas west of Palawan.

The military said PF-15 is the newest patrol frigate of the Philippine Navy. She has a length of 378 feet and beam of 42 feet. She can sustain a month-long mission without re-provisioning. The ship has a compliment of 18 officers and 144 enlisted personnel.

As part of Naval Forces West’s naval assets, PF-15’s primary role as a multi-mission vessel is the conduct of maritime security patrols and search and rescue missions.

PF-15 was transferred to the Philippine Navy by the U.S. Coast Guard on May 13, 2011. BRP Gregorio del Pilar was commissioned and christened into the naval service last December 14, 2011 at Pier 13 in South Harbor, Manila with His Excellency, President Benigno S. Aquino III gracing the occasion.

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NATO Loses Three Soldiers In Eastern Afghanistan

http://en.trend.az/regions/world/afghanistan/1974635.html

Trend News Agency
December 28, 2011

3 NATO service members killed in East Afghanistan

Three NATO service members were killed Tuesday in a blast in eastern Afghanistan, the military alliance confirmed on Wednesday morning, Xinhua reported.

“Three International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) service members died following an improvised explosive device (IED) attack in eastern Afghanistan yesterday,” the NATO-led ISAF said in a press release.

However, the brief release did not reveal the nationalities of the victims under ISAF policy, only saying “it is ISAF policy to defer casualty identification procedures to the relevant national authorities.”

Troops mostly from the United States have been stationed in eastern Afghanistan within the framework of ISAF to curb Taliban- linked insurgency there.

Afghan Taliban has launched massive IED attacks against ISAF and Afghan national security force in recent years.

A total of 558 NATO soldiers, most of them Americans, have been killed in Afghanistan since beginning this year.

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December: Sixteen NATO Soldiers Killed In Afghanistan By Christmas

http://www.thenews.pl/1/10/Artykul/81099,Five-Polish-soldiers-laid-to-rest-after-Taliban-attack-

Polish Radio
December 24, 2011

Five Polish soldiers laid to rest after Taliban attack

Funeral ceremonies are being held in Poland, Christmas Eve, for the five soldiers who died on Wednesday in Afghanistan after a Taliban land mine exploded under their military vehicle.

Senior Corporal Piotr Ciesielski, First Class Private Lukasz Krawiec, Private First Class Marcin Szczurowski, First Class Private Marek Tomala and Private Krystian Banach died when six-vehicle convoy, including Polish and American soldiers, was travelling along the main road between Kabul and Kandahar.

The attack was the deadliest against Polish forces since they began their mission as part of the international ISAF mission nine years ago.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the blast, saying “a Polish tank” was blown up and all its occupants killed.

Sixteen NATO troops have been killed this month alone in Afghanistan.

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Pakistan: Human Rights Commission Rejects NATO Report On Attack

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011%5C12%5C28%5Cstory_28-12-2011_pg7_27

Associated Press of Pakistan
December 28, 2011

IHRC rejects NATO probe into border attack

ISLAMABAD: The International Human Rights Commission (IHRC) has officially rejected the findings of a US-NATO investigation into the recent attack on a border outpost.

“There is nothing new in the report,” said World Chairman and Ambassador at Large IHRC Dr Muhammad Shahid Amin Khan, on Tuesday and added the commission was expecting that US and NATO will conceal the real facts.

“We had demanded fair investigations and that an official apology from the White House, Pentagon, State Department and NATO should be tendered to the Pakistan and Pakistan Army,” he said. “They must acknowledge the greater contribution of Pakistan in the war against terror and efforts for lasting peace in the region. Just admitting the mistake is not enough without punishing the culprits, that hampered the efforts for peace and counter-terrorism,” he said.

On behalf of the IHRC and international community, he said, he would like to present condolences to the Army, the brave soldiers and officials of the Pakistan Army, especially to the bereaved families of the martyred soldiers, who died during the NATO-US attack.

“I also send a strong message on behalf of the IHRC to the US ambassador to the United Nations Susan Elizabeth Rice and the NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and demand strict action against the violations of NATO forces”, Khan said.

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Missile Radar: Turkey Arrests Anti-NATO Protesters

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/217984.html

Press TV
December 27, 2011

Turkey arrests anti-NATO protesters

Turkish police have arrested 16 protesters during a demonstration against Ankara’s plan to host a NATO missile system in the country, Press TV reports.

According to informed sources in Turkey, police attacked the demonstration in the southwestern city of Antalya on Tuesday.

The demonstrators, who were mainly high school students, issued a statement calling for “a free Turkey,” the sources said.

Over the past weeks, Turkish activists in different cities across the country have held demonstrations to voice their opposition to the deployment of the system, located in the eastern province of Malatya, saying that they do not want Turkey to turn into “a base for the US and Israel.”

Last week, police cracked down on a demonstration held in the northwestern city of Edirne.

Ankara announced its agreement to deploy the US-made system in September and according to the Turkish media, the system will be operational next week.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has said that the missile system is not against any country, although commentators say that Turkey faces no missile threat from its neighbors, and did not need to accept the system.

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NATO Summit To Boost Integration Of Ukraine: Official

http://www.kyivpost.com/news/nation/detail/119712/

Interfax-Ukraine
December 27, 2011

Kyiv hopes NATO summit in May will help deepen Ukraine’s cooperation with alliance

Ukraine hopes that the NATO summit in Chicago in May 2012 will serve as an impetus to deepening cooperation between Kyiv and the alliance, the director of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry’s information policy department, Oleh Voloshyn, has said.

“We very much hope that next year’s NATO summit in Chicago will be an impetus to the deepening of cooperation between Ukraine and the alliance,” he said at a press briefing in Kyiv on Tuesday.

Speaking about Ukraine’s relations with NATO, he said that the sides intensified their dialog this year.

“Of course, we will continue to see NATO as our strategic partner in the sphere of security, reform of the armed forces, and in the sphere of tackling the consequences of emergency situations,” Voloshyn said.

Earlier, U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine John Tefft said in an interview with the Day newspaper that Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych would be invited to the NATO summit in Chicago.

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Armenia: NATO Continues Advanced Integration Program

http://www.armradio.am/eng/news/?part=off&id=21706

Public Radio of Armenia
December 28, 2011

   
        
Results of implementation of Armenia-NATO IPAP discussed at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The interdepartmental commission coordinating the implementation of the Armenia-NATO Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) held its final sitting in 2011.

Deputy Foreign Minister Ashot Hovakimyan presented the general assessment of the work done in the passing year and hailed the effectiveness of the activity of the interdepartmental commission.

First Deputy Defense Minister David Tonoyan presented the main directions of cooperation with the Alliance in the field of defense, particularly emphasizing the participation of Armenian peacekeepers in NATO actions and the support form NATO and its member states in the implementation of defense reforms.

The results of implementation of IPAP objectives in 2011 were summed up, the progress towards expansion of cooperation was emphasized during the sitting.

====

Categories: Uncategorized

American writers on peace and against war

December 28, 2011 1 comment

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

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George Ade: The dubious rights granted a people “liberated” through war

Conrad Aiken: Vast symphonic dance of death

Joel Barlow: War after war his hungry soul require, each land lie reeking with its people’s slain

Edward Bellamy: We have no wars now, and our governments no war powers

Stephen Vincent Benét: The dead march from the last to the next blind war

Ambrose Bierce: Warlike America

Ambrose Bierce: Chickamauga

Ambrose Bierce: Killed At Resaca

Ambrose Bierce: An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

Ambrose Bierce: War as parricide

Robert Bly: War, writers and government money

Randolph Bourne: Selections on war

Randolph Bourne: The War and the Intellectuals

Randolph Bourne: War and the State

Randolph Bourne: Willing war means willing all the evils that are organically bound up with it

Randolph Bourne: Conscience and Intelligence in War

Randolph Bourne: Twilight of Idols

Randolph Bourne: Below the Battle

Louis Bromfield: NATO, Permanent War Panic and America’s Messiah Complex

Van Wyck Brooks: The truth about war that Mark Twain could only divulge after death

William Cullen Bryant: Christmas 1875

William Cullen Bryant: Emblem of the peace that yet shall be, noise of war shall cease from sea to sea

Charles Chesnutt: Justice, Peace – the seed and the flower of civilisation

Humphrey Cobb: Hallucination of fantastic butchery; too much for one man to bear

Humphrey Cobb: Generals are reassured by the smell of the dead

Humphrey Cobb: War never settled anything except who was the strongest

James Fenimore Cooper: Oppression and injustice the natural consequences of military power uncurbed by restraints of civil authority

Malcolm Cowley: By day there are only the dead

Stephen Crane: There was crimson clash of war

Stephen Crane: War Is Kind

F. Marion Crawford: The world dreads the very name of war, lest it should become universal once it breaks out

John William De Forest: Uncivil war

John Dos Passos: Three Soldiers

John Dos Passos on Randolph Bourne: War is the health of the state

Theodore Dreiser: If he went he might be shot, and what would his noble emotion amount to then? He would rather make money, regulate current political, social and financial affairs

Theodore Dreiser and Smedley Butler: War is a Racket

W.E.B. Du Bois: Work for Peace

Paul Laurence Dunbar: Birds of peace and deadened hearts

Finley Peter Dunne: A great nation at war (in the vernacular)

William Faulkner: There is only the question: When will I be blown up?

William Faulkner: To militarists, all civilians, even their own, are alien intruders

Eugene Field and Thorne Smith: Bacchus disables Mars

F. Scott Fitzgerald: War comes to Princeton

Harold Frederic: War inflicts stifling political conformity

Henry Blake Fuller: Killed and wounded on the fields of hate

Margaret Fuller: America, with no prouder emblem than the Dove

Hamlin Garland: Cog in a vast machine for killing men

Ellen Glasgow: The Altar of the War God

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper: Do Not Cheer, Men Are Dying

Frank Harris: Soulless selfishness of war; Anglo-Saxon domineering combativeness greatest danger to Humanity

Frank Harris: Henri Barbusse and the war against war

Charles Yale Harrison: Selections on war

Charles Yale Harrison: Bombardment, maniacal congealed hatred

Charles Yale Harrison: This is called an artillery duel

Charles Yale Harrison: War is a hell that no god, however cruel, would fashion for his most deadly enemies

Charles Yale Harrison: War’s whispered reminder, you must come back to my howling madness

Charles Yale Harrison: We have learned who our enemies are

Nathaniel Hawthorne on war: Drinking out of skulls till the Millennium

Ernest Hemingway: Selections on war

Ernest Hemingway: All armies are the same

Ernest Hemingway: Beaten to start with, beaten when they took them from their farms and put them in the army

Ernest Hemingway: Combat the murder that is war

Ernest Hemingway: “Down with the officers. Viva la Pace!”

Ernest Hemingway: “If everybody would not attack the war would be over”

Ernest Hemingway: “It doesn’t finish. There is no finish to a war.”

Ernest Hemingway: Nothing sacred about war’s stockyards

Ernest Hemingway: Perhaps wars weren’t won any more. Maybe they went on forever.

Ernest Hemingway: There are people who would make war, there are other people who would not make war

Ernest Hemingway: Who wins wars?

O. Henry: The ethics of justifiable slaughter

Stefan Heym: Sure it’s a vicious circle, it’s war

Stefan Heym: The whole scene was immersed in the silence of absolute death

Stefan Heym: The world market…making new wars

Oliver Wendell Holmes: Hymn to Peace

Julia Ward Howe: Mother’s Day Proclamation 1870

William Dean Howells: Editha

William Dean Howells to Henry James: The most stupid and causeless war

William Dean Howells: Spanish Prisoners of War

William Dean Howells to Mark Twain: War for humanity turned into war for coal-stations

Langston Hughes: A mighty army serving human kind, not an army geared to kill

Washington Irving: The renown not purchased by deeds of violence and blood

Henry James: Beguiled into thinking war, worst horror that attends the life of nations, could not recur

William James: The Moral Equivalent of War

William James: The Philippine Tangle

Randall Jarrell: In bombers named for girls, we burned the cities we had learned about in school

Robinson Jeffers: Eagle Valor, Chicken Mind

Sidney Lanier: Death in Eden

Sidney Lanier: War by other means

Richard Le Gallienne: The Illusion of War

Sinclair Lewis: Selections on war

Sinclair Lewis: Don’t much care what kind of war they prepare for

Sinclair Lewis: For the first time in all history, a great nation must go on arming itself more and more…for peace!

Sinclair Lewis: General: State of peace far worse than war

Sinclair Lewis: Get us into war just to grease their insane vanity and show the world that we’re the huskiest nation going

Sinclair Lewis: It Can(‘t) Happen Here

Jack London: War

Amy Lowell: A pattern called a war. Christ! What are patterns for?

James Russell Lowell on Lamartine: Highest duty of man, to summon peace when vulture of war smells blood

Archibald MacLeish: The disastrous war, the silent slain

Edgar Lee Masters: “The honor of the flag must be upheld”

Edgar Lee Masters: The Philippine Conquest

Herman Melville: Trophies of Peace

H.L. Mencken: New wars will bring about an unparalleled butchery of men

William Vaughn Moody: Bullet’s scream went wide of its mark to its homeland’s heart

Marianne Moore: I must fight till I have conquered in myself what causes war

Christopher Morley: No enthusiasm for hymns of hate

Eugene O’Neill: The hell that follows war

Edgar Allan Poe: The Valley of Unrest

James Whitcomb Riley: Sang! sang on! sang hate – sang war -

Edwin Arlington Robinson: Though your very flesh and blood the Eagle eats and drinks, you’ll praise him for the best of birds

Edgar Saltus: Soldiers and no farmers; imperial sterility…and demise

Carl Sandburg: Ready to Kill

Carl Sandburg: What it costs to move two buttons one inch on the war map

George Santayana on war and militarism

Upton Sinclair: Selections on war

Upton Sinclair: How wars start, how they can be prevented

Upton Sinclair: The lost people are those who go to be shot, killed in big war (Dante through Vanzetti)

Upton Sinclair: New Lysistratas: Women must refuse to have babies until men stop killing

Upton Sinclair: Spending several times as much money to prepare for an even greater war to end war

Upton Sinclair: War’s one-sided boost to the economy

Upton Sinclair: What it costs a woman to keep the world at war

Upton Sinclair: World war as a business enterprise

Thorne Smith: Make statues of war’s wholesale butchers before they strike

Frank Stockton: The Great War Syndicate: “On to Canada!”

Henry David Thoreau: Taxes enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood

Mark Twain: Selections on war

Mark Twain: Grotesque self-deception of war

Mark Twain: The War Prayer

Mark Twain: To the Person Sitting in Darkness

Mark Twain: Epitome of war, the killing of strangers against whom you feel no personal animosity

Mark Twain: Only dead men dare tell the whole truth about war

Mark Twain: Man is the only animal that deals in that atrocity of atrocities, War

Mark Twain: An inglorious peace is better than a dishonorable war

Mark Twain on Western military threat to China: I am a Boxer

Thorstein Veblen: Habituation to war entails a body of predatory habits of thought

Nathanael West: Not their fault, they thought they had bombed a hospital

Nathanael West: One live recruit is better than a dozen dead veterans

Nathanael West: They haven’t the proper military slant

John Greenleaf Whittier: Disarmament

John Greenleaf Whittier: If this be Peace, pray what is War?

John Greenleaf Whittier: The Peace Convention at Brussels

John Greenleaf Whittier: Nobler than the sword’s shall be the sickle’s accolade

John Greenleaf Whittier: The stormy clangor of wild war music o’er the earth shall cease

Ella Wheeler Wilcox: A Plea To Peace

Thomas Wolfe: Santimony and cant of war

Categories: Uncategorized

Edgar Allan Poe: The Valley of Unrest

December 28, 2011 Leave a comment

====

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

American writers on peace and against war

====

Edgar Allan Poe
The Valley of Unrest (1845)

Once it smiled a silent dell
Where the people did not dwell;
They had gone unto the wars,
Trusting to the mild-eyed stars,
Nightly, from their azure towers,
To keep watch above the flowers,
In the midst of which all day
The red sun-light lazily lay.
Now each visitor shall confess
The sad valley’s restlessness.
Nothing there is motionless —
Nothing save the airs that brood
Over the magic solitude.
Ah, by no wind are stirred those trees
That palpitate like the chill seas
Around the misty Hebrides!
Ah, by no wind those clouds are driven
That rustle through the unquiet Heaven
Uneasily, from morn till even,
Over the violets there that lie
In myriad types of the human eye —
Over the lilies there that wave
And weep above a nameless grave!
They wave:—from out their fragrant tops
External dews come down in drops.
They weep: — from off their delicate stems
Perennial tears descend in gems.

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO news: December 27, 2011

December 27, 2011 Leave a comment

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U.S. Buildup In Central Asia To Counter Russia, China

Royal Canadian Air Force Mulls Major Arctic Base Expansion

Georgia Defense Delegation Returns From Consultations In U.S.

Raytheon Wins MDA Contract For Standard Missile Interceptors

Russia To Test New ICBM To Penetrate Missile Shield

Azerbaijan-Turkey Pipeline Supplants Russia In Southeast Europe

Georgia Permits, Azerbaijan Forbids NATO AWACS Flights

Georgian Regime Hails Last Year’s Heightened NATO Cooperation

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U.S. Buildup In Central Asia To Counter Russia, China

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/12/26/62900808.html

Voice of Russia
December 26, 2011

Central Asia to be hugged to death?
Natalya Kovalenko

Russia’s Central Asian neighbors Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan have become strategically important for the US as Washington seeks to diversify cargo routes to Afghanistan following a split with Islamabad.

The US Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee has published a report on the transit of cargoes via Central Asia to Afghanistan. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan [which] are described as being of exceptional political and strategic importance for the international operation in Afghanistan.

According to statistical data, 40% of cargo entered Afghanistan via Uzbekistan this year. The remaining 60% was delivered via Pakistan. However, Islamabad has blocked cargo traffic twice over the past few months. It did so last after a NATO air strike against Pakistani border guards in November. Even though the report says that the US-Pakistan relations might still normalize, the Senate has chosen not to depend on Islamabad and look for other options.

As long as this cooperation serves humanitarian needs, Moscow has no objections. Daniil Kislov, chief editor of the Fergana International Agency, comments:

“Russia was the first to grant its overland routes and airspace for the US and NATO to transport cargoes to Afghanistan and back when the withdrawal of troops begins. There are no grounds for conflict, not until the US or NATO announces the opening of new military facilities in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan or Kyrgyzstan.”

A step of this kind is fairly possible. In September this year US Congress resolved to abolish the 2005 restrictions on granting military aid to Uzbekistan and offered to supply Tashkent with weapons no longer needed in the Afghan campaign. A military base would logically come next, and then the region will be declared a US interest zone. What will follow becomes clear too if we recall the developments in the Middle East and North Africa, says Andrei Grozin of the Institute of CIS Countries.

“As a rule, this is followed by a variety of problems in this so-called ‘interest zone’ as the US has its own vision of what course the ‘interest zone’ countries should follow and won’t heed local opinions. The secular regimes of the five Central Asian countries are weak compared to countries of the Middle East. An outside intervention threatens to shake the unsteady situation in these countries and may lead to numerous conflicts, both internal and external.”

The Senate’s report recommends rendering economic assistance to the Central Asian countries as a measure to counteract the influence of Russia and China, two major players in the region. Russia, China and other countries of Asia and Pacific which have direct economic and political interests in Central Asia are unlikely to put up with this. Andrei Grozin has this to say:

“None of the states with interests in Central Asia will welcome a US presence in the region. All countries concerned will resist such a step. And they will resort to various methods in doing this.”

Given that Russia shares its past with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, it can’t turn a blind eye to what’s happening in close proximity to its borders.

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Royal Canadian Air Force Mulls Major Arctic Base Expansion

http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/12/26/royal-canadian-air-force-mulling-major-nunavut-base-expansion-documents-show/

Postmedia News/Ottawa Citizen
December 26, 2011

Royal Canadian Air Force mulling major Nunavut base expansion, documents show
By David Pugliese

The Royal Canadian Air Force has looked at a major expansion at Resolute Bay, Nunavut, as it considers transforming it into a key base for Arctic operations, according to documents obtained by the Ottawa Citizen.

The construction of a 3,000-metre paved runway, hangars, fuel installations and other infrastructure has been proposed for the future as part of an effort to support government and military operations in the North.

Resolute Bay in Nunavut would be able to provide a logistics site for search-and-rescue operations as well as a base for strategic refuelling aircraft, according to the briefing from the Arctic Management Office at 1 Canadian Air Division, the air force’s Winnipeg-based command and control division. The briefing was presented in June 2010 and recently released by the Defence Department under the Access to Information law.

The long paved runway would allow fighter aircraft to operate from the site, with the suggestion in the presentation that could include Norad (North American Aerospace Defence Command) jets.

Resolute Bay currently has a 1,981-metre gravel runway, according to information provided for pilots by the federal government.

Resolute Bay should be considered for expansion to become a main operating base because it is “the geostrategic center to the Arctic and [Northwest] Passage” and is an “existing regional supply hub with a permanent population/sea access,” according to the briefing.

It would be seen as a “key Arctic regional development and sovereignty centerpiece,” the records add.

The presentation followed a February 2010 Arctic planning directive issued by the Chief of the Air Staff Lt.-Gen. Andre Deschamps, who called on the air force to become “a more relevant, responsive, and effective Arctic capable aerospace power.”

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has emphasized that Canada will increase its military presence in the region, announcing a series of initiatives, ranging from the construction of Arctic and offshore patrol ships for the navy, an Arctic training centre for troops, and the expansion of the Canadian Rangers.

The Conservatives have also highlighted their decision to spend more than $14-billion on the F-35 stealth fighter as an initiative to protect the country’s Arctic airspace.

The RCAF briefing also examined establishing a forward operating base on central Ellesmere Island by expanding the current facilities at Eureka, Nunavut. That initiative proposed adding new facilities and turning the location into a regional asset for government departments. Also included in the “FOB Eureka” concept is the proposal that the existing airfield be expanded.

Creating a Forward Operating Base Eureka could allow the military to downsize or rebuild the existing Canadian Forces Station Alert, according to the presentation.

CFS Alert is on the northeastern tip of Ellesmere Island and is used for the interception of communications.

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Georgia Defense Delegation Returns From Consultations In U.S.

http://rustavi2.com/news/news_text.php?id_news=44199&pg=1&im=main&ct=0&wth=

Rustavi 2
December 26, 2011

Defence Ministry delegation returns from USA

A Georgian Defence delegation has arrived from Washington, US. In Washington defence officials from Georgia and the United States held Bilateral Defence Consultations (BDC).

The delegation from the United States was headed by Under Secretary of Defence for Policy Michele Flournoy. Mr Flournoy commended Georgia for its continuing contributions to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan (ISAF) and affirmed the United States` commitment to assisting Georgia in its defence transformation efforts.

The Georgian delegation was headed by the First Deputy Defence Minister Nodar Kharshiladze. The delegation members included Deputy Defence Minister Andro Barnovi, Deputies Chief of Joint Staff of GAF Col. Iveri Subeliani and LTC Lasha Beridze. The discussion focused on the deep and broadening defence relationship between the two countries, which includes building Georgia`s defence institutions, modernizing its professional military education and enhancing its expeditionary capabilities. The sides also referred to ongoing cooperation on doctrinal development and identified areas for more in-depth collaboration.

Bilateral defence consultations between Georgia and US are traditionally held every year and identify key strategic aspects of cooperation.

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Raytheon Wins MDA Contract For Standard Missile Interceptors

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/raytheon-awarded-122-million-for-standard-missile-3-2011-12-26

Raytheon Company
December 26, 2011

Raytheon Awarded $122 Million for Standard Missile-3
Contract will fund continued development and testing

TUCSON, Ariz. – Raytheon Company received a $122.5 million contract from the U.S. Missile Defense Agency for continued development of Standard Missile-3 Block IA and IB programs. Under this modification, Raytheon will provide SM-3 design and engineering, in service engineering support, production engineering, surveillance and flight test support, and transition to production.

The contract was announced Dec. 22 by the Department of Defense.

About SM-3

Raytheon’s SM-3s are designed to defend against short- to intermediate-range ballistic missile threats in the ascent and midcourse phases of flight.

SM-3 Block IA is Raytheon’s first variant in the SM-3 family; it is deployed today in support of the first phase of the administration’s Phased Adaptive Approach (PAA) for ballistic missile defense.

Raytheon has delivered more than 130 SM-3 Block IAs ahead of schedule and under cost.

The SM-3 Block IB is Raytheon’s second variant in the SM-3 family.

The SM-3 Block IB has an enhanced kinetic warhead seeker, throttleable divert and attitude control system, and advanced signal processing.

Raytheon’s SM-3 Block IB is the cornerstone of phase two of the administration’s PAA and is on track for a 2015 deployment at sea and ashore.

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Russia To Test New ICBM To Penetrate Missile Shield

http://www.interfax.com/newsinf.asp?pg=3&id=298549

Interfax
December 27, 2011

Russia to test launch strategic missile with new combat equipment

BAIKONUR, Kazakhtan: Russian specialists plan to test launch an RS-18 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) (UR-100N UTTKh, Stiletto by Western classification) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Tuesday, a Yuzhny Space Center spokesman told Interfax.

“The main task of the launch is to test intercontinental ballistic missiles’ new combat equipment capable of overpowering existing and future missile defense shields,” he said.

The test launch has been prepared by specialists from enterprises of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), including the Mechanical Engineering Research and Production Association, based in Reutov in the Moscow region, where the RS-18 missile was developed, he said.

This new combat equipment for ICBMs was successfully tested for the first time in 2010, a high-ranking representative of the Russian General Staff told Interfax-AVN.

“The most important thing today is to adapt it for existing missiles and missile systems. This issue is relevant to us today, bearing in mind U.S. plans to deploy a strategic missile defense shield in Europe,” he said.

It has been reported that RS-18 missiles, which need to be filled up with fuel just once, will be placed in highly protected silos. Such missiles are equipped with six individually guided arheads.

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Azerbaijan-Turkey Pipeline Supplants Russia In Southeast Europe

http://en.trend.az/capital/energy/1973814.html

Trend News Agency
December 26, 2011

Turkey, Azerbaijan sign Memorandum of Understanding to construct gas pipeline to Europe
A. Badalova, A. Tagihyeva

Baku: Turkey and Azerbaijan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Monday to establish a consortium which will construct a gas pipeline to transport gas from the Azerbaijani Shah Deniz field to Europe through Turkish territory.

During the signing ceremony Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said the pipeline cost will be set by SOCAR. He also stressed that it may be close to the figure of $5 billion, which was announced earlier.

The construction of the Trans Anadolu gas pipeline (TANAP) is required for the export of the most part of 50 billion cubic meters of gas that Azerbaijan intends to produce in 2025. Baku and Ankara intend to construct a new pipeline on Turkish territory.

The parties involved in the project intend to resolve all issues on the gas pipeline in 2012. They also plan to start construction immediately in order to complete it by late 2017. The second stage of development of the Azerbaijani Shah Deniz gas condensate field will be launched during that period.

Azerbaijan and Turkey are working to examine the possibility of constructing a new gas pipeline which will stretch from the eastern border of Turkey to the country’s western border, SOCAR President Rovnag Abdullaev said earlier.

State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR), Turkey’s state-owned pipeline operator Botas Boru Hatlari Ile Petrol Tasima AS and the oil company Turkiye Petrolleri A.O. will be founders of the consortium, with more international oil and gas companies to be further involved.

TANAP will become a basis for the Southern gas Corridor.

The consortium of the Azerbaijani Shah Deniz gas condensate field development considers different possible routes for gas export to Europe, which also include Southern gas Corridor projects.

The Southern gas Corridor is an EU priority energy project diversifying energy supply routes and sources and increasing EU energy security. It includes the Nabucco gas pipeline, Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) and ITGI (Turkey-Greece-Italy pipeline) projects.

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http://en.trend.az/capital/energy/1973747.html

Trend News Agency
December 26, 2011

Energy Ministry: New Azerbaijani-Turkish gas pipeline to supply gas to Bulgaria
A. Taghiyeva

Baku: After signing a memorandum on the construction of new pipeline Trans Anadolu (TANAP) negotiations regarding the project cost and terms of completion of the construction will be launched between the parties, the Turkish Energy Ministry told Trend on Monday.

The gas pipeline will be constructed based on an agreement signed in October 2011 between Turkey and Azerbaijan to supply Azerbaijani gas from “Shah Deniz 2″ to Europe, the ministry said.

This pipeline will supply gas from Azerbaijan to Bulgaria through Turkey.

Turkey and Azerbaijan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Monday to establish a consortium which will construct a gas pipeline.

The State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR), Turkey’s state-owned pipeline operator Botas Boru Hatlari Ile Petrol Tasima AS and oil company Turkiye Petrolleri A.O. will be founders of the consortium, with more international oil and gas companies to be further involved, the report says.

The Memorandum was signed by the two countries’ energy ministers, Natig Aliyev and Taner Yildiz.

The Azerbaijani-Turkish Trans Anadolu (TANAP) gas pipeline will pass from Turkey’s eastern border to the western border.

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Georgia Permits, Azerbaijan Forbids NATO AWACS Flights

http://en.apa.az/news.php?id=162591

Azeri Press Agency
December 27, 2011

Azerbaijan doesn’t allow NATO’s AWACS planes to use its airspace
Rashad Suleymanov

Baku: Azerbaijan doesn’t allow the NATO’s aircrafts of the Airborne Warning and Control System to fly over the country’s air space, the governmental sources told APA.

According to the report, NATO has recently addressed Azerbaijan and Georgia and asked for the use of their airspaces during the flight of AWACS planes to Afghanistan. Though Georgia officially allowed it, Azerbaijan didn’t allow the AWACS aircrafts to pass through the air space.

“Azerbaijan allowed cargo flights to Afghanistan through its air space. But it is impossible to grant such permission because the AWACS aircraft are military intelligence aircraft”, the source underlined.

A similar incident occurred one year ago. A German plane returning from Afghanistan to Europe wasn’t allowed to land in Baku.

AWACS planes, which are supplied with the latest technologies, and considered as “flying radars”, can detect friendly and enemy planes from up to 400 km away. US-based AWACS aircrafts can show the place, height, speed of about 2,000 planes and follow them.

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http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/12/27/62985100.html

Itar-Tass
December 27, 2011

Azerbaijan air space closed for AWACs

       
Azerbaijan will not allow NATO aircraft with the airborne early warning and control (AWAC) system to use its air space, the Azerbaijani APA information agency reports.

According to APA, earlier NATO sent an official appeal to Georgia and Azerbaijan to allow AWAC aircraft to fly over their territories from a European base to Afghanistan.

Georgia has given permission to do this. As for Azerbaijan, it has allowed the use of its air space for carrying cargoes to Afghanistan. However, since AWAC aircraft are capable of carrying out air reconnaissance, they are banned from Azerbaijani air space, the APA agency reports.

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Georgian Regime Hails Last Year’s Heightened NATO Cooperation

http://rustavi2.com/news/news_text.php?id_news=44206&pg=1&im=main&ct=0&wth=

Rustavi 2
December 27, 2011

President`s press speaker sums up year`s important facts

The president`s press speaker Manana Manjgaladze summed up the most significant facts of the year 2011 at the last traditional briefing of the year.

Manjgaladze emphasized the visit of the NATO Secretary General, French President and other European leaders, as well as the beginning of negotiations on visa free and free trade relations with the European Union.

`The visit of the NATO Secretary General to Georgia and the assessments he made while talking about new Georgia were particularly significant. In his speech, Secretary General hailed the progress which Georgia had in the process of democratic development and combating corruption. Th NATO-Georgia commission was also very important as well as the assessments voiced during this meeting that Georgia is so close with the NATO membership as never before,` Manjgaladze said.

The president`s press speaker also spoke about Georgia`s effective participation in the ISAF mission adding the cooperation within the program would continue.

`I think the resolution adopted by the European Parliament at the end of the year should be mentioned separately, as it is a very firm basement for the prospects of Georgia`s membership in the European Union,` Manjgladze said.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Edwin Arlington Robinson: Though your very flesh and blood the Eagle eats and drinks, you’ll praise him for the best of birds

December 27, 2011 Leave a 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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Edwin Arlington Robinson

“Today I have been thinking of Hitler and of what one fanatic neurotic may yet do to us and drag us into. It is all right to say it can’t happen here, but unfortunately it can.”

Letter, 1934

*****

Cassandra (1914)

I heard one who said: “Verily,
What word have I for children here?
Your Dollar is your only Word,
The wrath of it your only fear.

“You build it altars tall enough
To make you see but you are blind;
You cannot leave it long enough
To look before you or behind.

“When Reason beckons you to pause,
You laugh and say that you know best;
But what it is you know, you keep
As dark as ingots in a chest.

“You laugh and answer, ‘We are young;
Oh, leave us now, and let us grow:’
Not asking how much more of this
Will Time endure or Fate bestow.

“Because a few complacent years
Have made your peril of your pride,
Think you that you are to go on
Forever pampered and untried?

“What lost eclipse of history,
What bivouac of the marching stars,
Has given the sign for you to see
Milleniums and last great wars?

“What unrecorded overthrow
Of all the world has ever known,
Or ever been, has made itself
So plain to you, and you alone?

“Your Dollar, Dove, and Eagle make
A Trinity that even you
Rate higher than you rate yourselves;
It pays, it flatters, and it’s new.

“And though your very flesh and blood
Be what the Eagle eats and drinks,
You’ll praise him for the best of birds,
Not knowing what the eagle thinks.

“The power is yours, but not the sight;
You see not upon what you tread;
You have the ages for your guide,
But not the wisdom to be led.

“Think you to tread forever down
The merciless old verities?
And are you never to have eyes
To see the world for what it is?

“Are you to pay for what you have
With all you are?” – No other word
We caught, but with a laughing crowd
Moved on. None heeded, and few heard.

*****

The Valley of the Shadow (1921)

There were faces to remember in the Valley of the Shadow,
There were faces unregarded, there were faces to forget;
There were fires of grief and fear that are a few forgotten ashes,
There were sparks of recognition that are not forgotten yet.
For at first, with an amazed and overwhelming indignation
At a measureless malfeasance that obscurely willed it thus,
They were lost and unacquainted—till they found themselves in others,
Who had groped as they were groping where dim ways were perilous.

There were lives that were as dark as are the fears and intuitions
Of a child who knows himself and is alone with what he knows;
There were pensioners of dreams and there were debtors of illusions,
All to fail before the triumph of a weed that only grows.
There were thirsting heirs of golden sieves that held not wine or water,
And had no names in traffic or more value there than toys:
There were blighted sons of wonder in the Valley of the Shadow,
Where they suffered and still wondered why their wonder made no noise.

There were slaves who dragged the shackles of a precedent unbroken,
Demonstrating the fulfilment of unalterable schemes,
Which had been, before the cradle, Time’s inexorable tenants
Of what were now the dusty ruins of their father’s dreams.
There were these, and there were many who had stumbled up to manhood,
Where they saw too late the road they should have taken long ago:
There were thwarted clerks and fiddlers in the Valley of the Shadow,
The commemorative wreckage of what others did not know.

And there were daughters older than the mothers who had borne them,
Being older in their wisdom, which is older than the earth;
And they were going forward only farther into darkness,
Unrelieved as were the blasting obligations of their birth;
And among them, giving always what was not for their possession,
There were maidens, very quiet, with no quiet in their eyes;
There were daughters of the silence in the Valley of the Shadow,
Each an isolated item in the family sacrifice.

There were creepers among catacombs where dull regrets were torches,
Giving light enough to show them what was there upon the shelves—
Where there was more for them to see than pleasure would remember
Of something that had been alive and once had been themselves.
There were some who stirred the ruins with a solid imprecation,
While as many fled repentance for the promise of despair:
There were drinkers of wrong waters in the Valley of the Shadow,
And all the sparkling ways were dust that once had led them there.

There were some who knew the steps of Age incredibly beside them,
And his fingers upon shoulders that had never felt the wheel;
And their last of empty trophies was a gilded cup of nothing,
Which a contemplating vagabond would not have come to steal.
Long and often had they figured for a larger valuation,
But the size of their addition was the balance of a doubt:
There were gentlemen of leisure in the Valley of the Shadow,
Not allured by retrospection, disenchanted, and played out.

And among the dark endurances of unavowed reprisals
There were silent eyes of envy that saw little but saw well;
And over beauty’s aftermath of hazardous ambitions
There were tears for what had vanished as they vanished where they fell.
Not assured of what was theirs, and always hungry for the nameless,
There were some whose only passion was for Time who made them cold:
There were numerous fair women in the Valley of the Shadow,
Dreaming rather less of heaven than of hell when they were old.

Now and then, as if to scorn the common touch of common sorrow,
There were some who gave a few the distant pity of a smile;
And another cloaked a soul as with an ash of human embers,
Having covered thus a treasure that would last him for a while.
There were many by the presence of the many disaffected,
Whose exemption was included in the weight that others bore:
There were seekers after darkness in the Valley of the Shadow,
And they alone were there to find what they were looking for.

So they were, and so they are; and as they came are coming others,
And among them are the fearless and the meek and the unborn;
And a question that has held us heretofore without an answer
May abide without an answer until all have ceased to mourn.
For the children of the dark are more to name than are the wretched,
Or the broken, or the weary, or the baffled, or the shamed:
There are builders of new mansions in the Valley of the Shadow,
And among them are the dying and the blinded and the maimed.

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO news: December 24, 2011

December 24, 2011 2 comments

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U.S. Pivot To Asia Strategy Can Destabilize Entire Region

U.S. Intensifies Military Posture Against Russia In Arctic

After Libya: Britain Mulls Military Intervention In Somalia

Britain: After Libya, NATO States Plan For Next Air War

Horn Of Africa: France Signs New Military Pact With Djibouti

France Close To Providing Emirates With Military Satellite

Azores: Thousands Of U.S., NATO Aircraft Transit To Middle East, Central Asia, Africa

Abkhazia, South Ossetia Condemn U.S. Arming Of Georgia

NATO Missile Radar In Turkey To Start Operating Next Week

Bosnia: NATO Praises Kuwait For “Promoting Peace”

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U.S. Pivot To Asia Strategy Can Destabilize Entire Region

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/indepth/2011-12/23/c_131323762.htm

Xinhua News Agency
December 23, 2011

Yearender: Obama administration’s Asia pivot strategy sows more seeds of suspicion than cooperation             
By Zhi Linfei, Ran Wei

WASHINGTON: The Obama administration ruffled a few feathers in the Asia-Pacific region in November with its high-profile trumpeting of the Pivot to Asia strategy, widely regarded as an attempt to consolidate U.S. predominance in the region in face of a rising China.

The U.S. shift of strategic focus is characterized by a more confrontational stance with China. Despite the U.S. public denial of containing China, there has been widespread suspicion that Washington has a hidden agenda behind the strategy, i.e., to counterbalance China’s growing influence in the Asia-Pacific region.

“The United States is now signaling an intention to move back toward the pre-9/11 strategic focus on a rising China. That focus places a premium on explicitly balancing against and constraining Chinese power and influence across the region,” wrote Michael Swaine, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, in a recent article.

STRATEGIC SHIFT COMES WITH TOUGH RHETORIC, PROVOCATIVE MOVES

The Obama administration launched the strategic shift of pivoting to Asia with great fanfare in November when it was hosting the annual gathering of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).

In a speech at the East-West Center in Hawaii ahead of the APEC summit, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared “The 21st century will be America’s Pacific century,” vowing that her country will stay in the region as a resident diplomatic, military and economic power.

At the APEC summit, U.S. President Obama actively promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a U.S.-championed free trade agreement and a potential trans-Pacific security architecture.

The TPP, which pointedly excludes China, is widely seen as a thinly-disguised counterweight to free trade blocs in the region involving China and other Asian countries.

In rare tough rhetoric, Obama also pointed a finger at China for not playing by the rules in trade and economic relations, pledging to “continue to speak out and bring action” on issues such as currency and intellectual property rights.

Meanwhile, the United states has intensified its intervention in the territorial dispute over the South China Sea between China and several southeastern Asian countries, under the excuse of protecting freedom of navigation.

Immediately following the APEC meeting, Obama traveled for the first time to Indonesia to attend the East Asia summit, where he encouraged the participating countries to seek a multilateral solution to the South China Sea issue despite opposition from China, which advocates settling it through bilateral negotiations.

During his stay in Canberra, Obama signed a deal to station U.S. Marines in northwest Australia, with an eye on a potential contingency in the South China Sea.

While celebrating the 60th anniversary of the signing of the U.S.-Philippine mutual defense treaty, Hillary Clinton reaffirmed in Manila the U.S. commitment to the security of the Philippines, in a move regarded as a U.S. show of support to Manila in its dispute with China.

Furthermore, the U.S. government said it is considering plans to deploy advanced coastal combat ships in Singapore and perhaps the Philippines in the coming years to expand the U.S. military presence in the Asia-Pacific region.

OBAMA AIMS FOR DOMESTIC, INTERNATIONAL GAINS

U.S. experts believe that the U.S. strategic shift to Asia is driven not only by President Obama’s need to win the reelection in 2012, but also by the growing perception of an America in decline due to China’s fast rise.

Apparently, Obama counts on increased trade with the Asia-Pacific, the most dynamic economic region at the time of a global downturn, to create more jobs back at home to bring down the high unemployment rate that threatens to cost his own job.

This shift reflects “a recognition of the increasingly vital importance of that region for future American wealth, security and global influence,” Swaine wrote in the article posted on Dec. 7 on the website of the magazine The National Interest.

Douglas Paal, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said the economic factor of Obama’s Pivot to Asia policy” is the justification because of the current need to restart the American economy and to deal with the stress on the defense budget.”

Domestically, Obama also aims to refute the criticism from his Republican challengers who decry him for being too soft toward China, a convenient target for U.S. candidates in nearly every election year in the past decades.

“Obama has taken a pretty positive agenda with China in 2009, and he was seen as weak…Given the upcoming election, the Republican candidates are fighting against China. Obama did not want to put himself at a position of defending China against his opponents,” Paal told Xinhua in an interview.

Meanwhile, the U.S. strategic shift was also motivated by fears about China’s challenges to the U.S. status as the dominant power in the world, although China has made it clear that it has neither the strength nor intention to vie with the United States for dominance.

The decade-long anti-terrorism campaign, which diverted U.S. attention and resources to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, has fueled the perception of U.S. decline as the sole superpower, especially when it is suffering from a prolonged economic downturn and a worsening debt crisis.

U.S. MOVES HAVE POTENTIALLY DESTABILIZING EFFECTS

Obviously, the U.S. Asia pivot strategy doesn’t bode well for China-U.S. relations, already soured in 2011 by a series of provocative U.S. moves, including its announcement of a massive arms sale package to China’s Taiwan in September.

“We are going to have a distressful year” in 2012, Paal said.

U.S. experts are critical of the Obama administration’s new posture in the Asia-Pacific region, especially its position on the South China Sea dispute, saying it has potentially destabilizing implications by emboldening certain countries to confront China.

Swaine expressed worries that the Obama administration’s execution of this shift and China’s reaction “are combining to deepen mutual suspicion and potentially destabilize the entire area.”

The words and deeds by officials of the Obama administration are creating the impression in some Asian capitals that Washington is now supporting their disputes with Beijing over maritime territories, Swaine said.

Paal also criticized Hillary Clinton for her “inappropriate rhetoric” during her visit to Manila, where she referred to the South China Sea as the “West Philippine Sea,” a phrase used solely by the Filipinos.

It “appeared in China’s eyes to be taking the Philippines’ position in a dispute where Clinton previously said the U.S. would not take sides,” he said.

Analysts believe that as its economic and trade ties with China are becoming increasingly closer, United States [efforts] will only backfire if it still embraces the cold-war mentality and adopts policies to contain China.

The U.S. move to station troops in Australia also stirred up concerns in some capitals in the Asia-Pacific region, with Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa warning on Nov. 18 that such arrangements would lead to misunderstanding and provoke a “vicious circle of tension and mistrust.”

Noting widespread doubts within the international community about whether the United States can sustain its leadership and predominance in the Asia-Pacific, Swaine said “Washington must rethink its basic assumptions about its role in the region.”

The United States should “reexamine how best to address and when to accommodate China’s most critical security concerns, especially along its maritime borders,” Swaine wrote in his article.

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U.S. Intensifies Military Posture Against Russia In Arctic

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-colder-war-us-russia-and-others-are-vying-for-control-of-santas-back-yard/2011/12/20/gIQAWBc7DP_story.html

Washington Post
December 23, 2011

The colder war: U.S., Russia and others are vying for control of Santa’s back yard
By Heather A. Conley

…In April, President Obama signed a new command plan that gives NORAD and the U.S. Northern Command greater responsibility in protecting the North Pole and U.S. Arctic territory.

The Arctic region — covering more than 30 million square kilometers and stretching around the territorial borders of Canada, Denmark (via Greenland), Norway, Russia and the United States by way of the Alaskan coastline — is transforming before our eyes. And not just because the ice is melting. It’s increasingly the site of military posturing…

In 2009, Norway moved its operational command to its northern territories above the Arctic Circle. Russia has plans to establish a brigade that is specially equipped and prepared for military warfare in Arctic conditions. Denmark has made it a strategic priority to form an Arctic Command. Canada is set to revitalize its Arctic fleet, including spending $33 billion to build 28 vessels over the next 30 years. Even China has entered the Arctic race; it constructed the world’s largest non-nuclear icebreaker to conduct scientific research in the Arctic.

…The Arctic is governed by the U.N. convention on the Law of the Sea. That framework allows a coastal state to have exclusive economic control 200 miles off its coast — and possibly to extend authority 600 miles beyond, depending on certain scientific claims.

In the 21st-century Arctic, large corporations and countries are racing to reach and capture the abundance of offshore oil and gas as well as iron ore, nickel, cooper, palladium and rare-earth minerals. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that the Arctic contains 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil resources and 30 percent of its gas resources. And as the ice melts, cargo transport could increase from the 111,000 tons in 2010 to more than 1 million tons in 2012, according to some Russian estimates.

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After Libya: Britain Mulls Military Intervention In Somalia

http://somalilandpress.com/britains-raf-to-hit-insurgents-in-somalia-25457

The Independent
December 23, 2011

Britain’s RAF to hit insurgents in Somalia

-Both the US and French have been actively involved in Somali military operations – the Americans carrying out drone strikes from the southern Ethiopian port of Arba Mich, while the French are ferrying in equipment. A French helicopter-gunship crashed at the southern port of Kismayo…

LONDON: The British Government is considering providing direct military assistance to international troops fighting Islamist insurgents in Somalia.

Senior Foreign Office sources said discussions had taken place about providing help – including air reconnaissance or support – to African Union troops helping Somalia’s weak, American-backed, transitional government.

While the use of ground troops has been explicitly ruled out it is believed there could be some role for Britain following the successful Nato air operation in Libya. As well as air power, SAS and SBS units are stationed with the US-led Horn of Africa Task Force based in Djibouti.

The number of peacekeeping troops in the country has increased significantly in recent months and British officials are examining how to extend their own influence further. “Certainly in the wake of Libya there are ongoing discussions about what assistance we might be able to provide in Somalia,” said one source…

Both the US and French have been actively involved in Somali military operations – the Americans carrying out drone strikes from the southern Ethiopian port of Arba Mich, while the French are ferrying in equipment. A French helicopter-gunship crashed at the southern port of Kismayo, while, it is claimed, providing supporting fire for Kenyans flushing out al-Shabaab positions.

Yesterday the International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell appeared to hint at a greater British involvement…

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Britain: After Libya, NATO States Plan For Next Air War

http://www.usafe.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123284036

U.S. Air Forces in Europe
December 19, 2011

Aeronautica Militare Italia visits RAF Mildenhall, showcases new tanker
by Karen Abeyasekere
100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

-“As partners in NATO, we work closely with the Italians and many other countries on a continuous basis. The fact that we train and fly together so often was one of the key aspects of Operation Odyssey Dawn and Operation Unified Protector.”

RAF MILDENHALL, England: International relations were flying high Dec. 9, as the Italian Air Force arrived at RAF Mildenhall.

A crew from Aeronautica Militare Italia, 14th Wing, Pratica Di Mare (Rome), visited RAF Mildenhall on a training mission.

“We are trying to start an exchange program with the U.S. Air Force, so they invited us here so we could show them our aircraft,” said Italian Lt. Col. Mauro Del Giudice, 14th Wing chief of operations and aircraft commander of the Italian plane. “This is an invitation to build relations. We can continue to work together in the future; we both do air refueling, and in the future they [may] come to Rome to visit us.”

Several 351st ARS pilots met the Italian aircrew to observe and integrate training, said Maj. James Muniz, 351st ARS pilot.

“Because the KC-767 is a newer aircraft, the systems for navigation and communication work better together than the KC-135’s,” said Muniz, adding he thinks the exchange is a great way to build international relations.

“As partners in NATO, we work closely with the Italians and many other countries on a continuous basis,” Muniz said. “The fact that we train and fly together so often was one of the key aspects of Operation Odyssey Dawn and Operation Unified Protector. From a tanker perspective, the Libya operations were very much along the lines of how we fly and operate daily. Now, we have an opportunity to meet the same pilots we have only talked to in the air, on radios and via phone conversations.”

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Horn Of Africa: France Signs New Military Pact With Djibouti

http://somalilandpress.com/paris-signs-new-defense-agreement-with-djibouti-25445

Reuters
December 22, 2011

Paris signs new defense agreement with Djibouti

PARIS: Nicolas Sarkozy and the President of Djibouti Ismael Omar Guelleh signed in Paris on Wednesday a new treaty for cooperation in defense matters which replaces the agreement signed in Djibouti after independence in 1977 reported the presidency.

It establishes, according to the Elysee, “the framework of bilateral military cooperation” and said “the facilities granted to our operational forces stationed” in Djibouti, the largest French military base abroad which hosts nearly 3,000 soldiers.

This signature “demonstrates the commitment of both countries to close cooperation in security,” says the Presidency in a statement, noting that “France is firmly committed to the independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Djibouti, strategically located in the heart of a fragile area. ”

This text is the sixth defense agreement renegotiated by France with a country of its former “backyard” of Africa.

Sarkozy and Guelleh also spoke of “strengthening bilateral cooperation,” the situation in Somalia and the fight against piracy off the Horn of Africa.

The statement from the Elysee did not say whether the two leaders also discussed the Borrel case, that poisons relations between France and Djibouti for many years.

The survey of French justice has long favored the theory of suicide, before choosing, after new expertise, that of a murder in which some witnesses have questioned Mr Guelleh and his entourage.

According to the testimony of a French soldier stationed in Djibouti at the time of the facts revealed on Wednesday by France Culture, the French army had been informed of the assassination of Judge Borrel shortly after his death, through listening to the Djiboutian police .

Mr Guelleh, who is also the subject of a complaint filed in Paris for the murder of two family members of an opponent, made no statement to the press after his meeting with Mr Sarkozy.

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France Close To Providing Emirates With Military Satellite

http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Security-Industry/2011/12/23/Emirates-close-to-French-satellite-buy/UPI-12901324664311/?spt=hs&or=si

United Press International
December 23, 2011

Emirates ‘close to French satellite buy’

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates: French hopes of selling 60 Dassault Rafale fighters to the United Arab Emirates may be dimming but France is reported to be close to another major military contract: a surveillance satellite built by Astrium.

Intelligence Online reported Thursday that the deal would be finalized within the next few months, pushing forward the Emirates’ drive to boost its military capability to counter [Iran].

The surveillance satellite project was first mooted in 2008, shortly after the Gulf Cooperation Council, consisting of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain, scrapped its HudHud program.

On April 24, the emirates launched its fifth communications satellite into orbit. It is the first device to provide secure and independent telecommunications for its armed forces amid a drive by Arab states in the gulf to boost their military capabilities against Iran.

The Emirates spearhead efforts by the GCC states to acquire its own military surveillance satellite system to bolster the early warning system it has been seeking to develop for several years.

The GCC states have been talking about a joint early warning system for a decade…[T]he growing tension between the GCC states and Iran appears to be spurring them to work together to develop their common military capabilities…

The development of the emirates satellite has strategic implications for the Gulf Arab states…

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Azores: Thousands Of U.S., NATO Aircraft Transit To Middle East, Central Asia, Africa

http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123284528

Air Force Link
December 23, 2011

SECAF thanks Airmen during Lajes visit
by Staff Sgt. Angelique N. Smythe

-“Your work enables the movement of our warfighters, aircraft and global communications to combatant commanders supporting the joint coalition and NATO operations, such as Unified Protector, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. And your critical support to these operations while also promoting regional partnerships is an increasingly strategically important part of our posture going forward.”

LAJES FIELD, Azores, Portugal: Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley visited Lajes Field Airmen Dec. 18-19 to thank them for their service and countless sacrifices this holiday season.

The secretary toured several units of the 65th Air Base Wing and spoke with Airmen in all functions and dimensions of the mission here.

As the Secretary addressed the Airmen, he highlighted why Lajes Field, the crossroads of the mid-Atlantic, was such a strategically important installation.

“Since 2003, thousands of aircraft have transited through Lajes in direct support of global missions in the Middle East, in Central Asia, and in Africa as well,” he said. “Your work enables the movement of our warfighters, aircraft and global communications to combatant commanders supporting the joint coalition and NATO operations, such as Unified Protector, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. And your critical support to these operations while also promoting regional partnerships is an increasingly strategically important part of our posture going forward.”

The secretary touched on the current and future challenges of the Air Force.

(Courtesy of 65th Air Base Wing public affairs)

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Abkhazia, South Ossetia Condemn U.S. Arming Of Georgia

http://www.civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=24304

Civil Georgia
December 24, 2011

Sokhumi, Tskhinvali Slam U.S. Congress Calls for Arms Sale to Georgia

Tbilisi: The U.S. defense authorization bill, which contains a section on Georgia calling for “normalization” of military cooperation with Tbilisi, including the sale of defensive arms, amounts to encouraging Georgia to take “aggressive” actions, the foreign ministries of breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia said in separate statements.

“Taking into account the events of 2008, as well as continued provocations on the part of Georgia, the Abkhaz Foreign Ministry deems this bill a continuation of the policy of destabilization in the region,” the breakaway region’s foreign ministry said on December 23, according to the Abkhaz news agency Apsnipress.

It called on the U.S. “to clearly realize the consequences of further military equipment and modernization of the Georgian army from the point of view of peace and stability in the region.”

Tskhinvali has “called on the international community multiple times not to provoke the president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, to new ‘heroic’ actions. Imposing a broad international embargo on the supply of first and foremost offensive weaponry and military hardware to Georgia would have significantly reduced the threat of a recurrence of Georgian aggression,” the breakaway South Ossetia’s foreign ministry said on December 21.

Moscow has not publicly reacted to the bill, which also calls on the U.S. administration to encourage “NATO member and candidate countries to restore and enhance their sales of defensive articles and services to the Republic of Georgia as part of a broader NATO effort to deepen its defense relationship and cooperation.”

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NATO Missile Radar In Turkey To Start Operating Next Week

http://www.panarmenian.net/eng/news/87490/

PanArmenian.net
December 24, 2011

NATO radar in Turkey to start operating next week

NATO’s Malatya-based ballistic missile early warning radar system will begin functioning next week, a senior Turkish official said Dec 23…

“The early warning radar system will become operational next week, before the end of this year,” an official said.

The device in the eastern province of Malatya will start functioning only after NATO approves a bilateral deal between Turkey and the United States detailing the terms of deployment. A NATO committee will meet next week to finalize the process and press the button activating the radar, said the official, who did not want to be named as he was not authorized to talk to the media.

The agreement signed between Ankara and Washington calls for the deployment of a U.S. AN/TPY-2 (X-band) early warning radar system at a military installation at Kürecik in Malatya as part of NATO’s missile defense project.

According to the agreement, around 50 U.S. soldiers will be deployed at the installation, accompanied by a number of Turkish troops. Though the deal will expire in two years, the parties can extend the mandate.

In addition, a Turkish senior commander is to be posted at NATO’s headquarters in Germany, where the intelligence gathered through the radar system will be processed, Hurriyet Daily News reported.

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Bosnia: NATO Praises Kuwait For “Promoting Peace”

http://www.kuna.net.kw/NewsAgenciesPublicSite/ArticleDetails.aspx?id=2210856&Language=en

Kuwait News Agency
December 24, 2011

NATO praises Kuwait”s role in promoting peace

SARAJEVO: North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Commander in Bosnia and Herzegovina, U.S General Gary Huffman, expressed appreciation to Kuwait’s efforts for pushing peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

General Huffman met with Kuwaiti Ambassador to Bosnia-Herzegovina Mohammad Fadhel Khalaf at Kuwait’s embassy in Sarajevo and discussed Kuwait’s role in achieving global security and peace…

He uttered gratitude to Kuwait’s support for the NATO via civil and cultural activities through its embassy in Sarajevo.

General Huffman also commended Kuwait’s embassy in working together with NATO through the joint activities in aiding peace in the country.

For his part, Ambassador Khalaf affirmed Kuwait’s involvement and contribution for peace for the future generations.

General Huffman, during his first visit to the embassy building, presented a commemorative plague in apppreciation for his role aiding security and peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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Categories: Uncategorized

William Cullen Bryant: Christmas 1875

December 24, 2011 Leave a comment

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

American writers on peace and against war

William Cullen Bryant: Emblem of the peace that yet shall be, noise of war shall cease from sea to sea

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William Cullen Bryant
Christmas 1875

(Supposed to be written by a Spaniard)

No trumpet-blast profaned
The hour in which the Prince of Peace was born;
No bloody streamlet stained
Earth’s silver rivers on that sacred morn;
But, o’er the peaceful plain,
The war-horse drew the peasant’s loaded wain.

The soldier had laid by
The sword and stripped the corselet from his breast,
And hung his helm on high -
The sparrow’s winter home and summer nest;
And, with the same strong hand
That flung the barbed spear, he tilled the land.

Oh, time for which we yearn;
Oh, sabbath of the nations long foretold!
Season of peace, return,
Like a late summer when the year grows old,
When the sweet sunny days
Steeped mead and mountain-side in golden haze.

For now two rival kings
Flaunt, o’er our bleeding land, their hostile flags,
And every sunrise brings
The hovering vulture from his mountain-crags
To where the battle-plain
Is strewn with dead, the youth and flower of Spain.

Christ is not come, while yet
O’er half the earth the threat of battle lowers,
And our own fields are wet,
Beneath the battle-cloud, with crimson showers -
The life-blood of the slain,
Poured out where thousands die that one may reign.

Soon, over half the earth,
In every temple crowds shall kneel again
To celebrate His birth
Who brought the message of good-will to men,
And bursts of joyous song
Shall shake the roof above the prostrate throng.

Christ is not come, while there
The men of blood whose crimes affront the skies
Kneel down in act of prayer,
Amid the joyous strains, and when they rise
Go forth, with sword and flame,
To waste the land in His most holy name.

Oh, when the day shall break
O’er realms unlearned in warfare’s cruel arts,
And all their millions wake
To peaceful tasks performed with loving hearts,
On such a blessed morn,
Well may the nations say that Christ is born.

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO news: December 23, 2011

December 23, 2011 5 comments

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U.S. Missile Deployment Deal With Romania Takes Effect

Video And Text: U.S. Targeting Russian Nuclear Capability: Analyst

U.S. Doubles Aid For Israeli Missile Shield

Top NATO Military Commander Lauds Missiles, Role In Three Continents

Warning To NATO, Turkey: Syria Fires New Russian Missiles

Middle East, North Africa Instability Zones: Russia

Pakistani Army Rejects NATO’s Self-Exonerating Report

Philippines Wants U.S. Fighter Jets, Ships Deployed Against China

Azerbaijan: Oil For War

South Caucasus: Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey-U.S. NATO Axis

UNSC Consults On Kosovo Murder For Organs Trade Draft

Hague: Ex-Kosovo PM, KLA Commander Fails To Get Holiday Release

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U.S. Missile Deployment Deal With Romania Takes Effect

http://www.focus-fen.net/index.php?id=n266999

Focus News Agency
December 23, 2011

Law comes into force in Romania, enabling deployment of elements of NATO missile defense

Bucharest: In Romania today, came into force a law which enables the country to be deployed elements of the NATO missile defense. That is what the country’s foreign policy department announced, quoted by ITAR-TASS.

“The agreement between Romania and the United States to deploy elements of the anti-missile shield entered into force on December 23, 2011,” the message reads.

In mid-September, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi signed an intergovernmental agreement to deploy elements of missile defense within the Deveselu Air Base in Romania.

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http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2011/12/179665.htm

U.S. Department of State
December 23, 2011

U.S.-Romania Ballistic Missile Defense Agreement
Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC

The following is the text of a joint announcement between the United States and Romania:

The United States and Romania are pleased to jointly announce that the Ballistic Missile Defense Agreement on deployment of the U.S. ballistic missile defense system in Romania has entered into force, effective December 23, 2011. The U.S. ballistic missile defense interceptor site will be located at Deveselu Air Base as a part of the European Phased Adaptive Approach to missile defense in the 2015 timeframe. This base represents a significant contribution by our two nations to NATO’s missile defense efforts.

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http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2011-12/23/c_122476100.htm

Xinhua News Agency
December 23, 2011

U.S. missile shield deal with Romania takes effect

             
BUCHAREST: The bilateral agreement on the deployment of the U.S. ballistic missile defense system in Romania has taken effect on Friday, announced the Romanian Foreign Ministry in a press release on Friday.

“Romania and the United States of America are pleased to announce together that the Agreement between Romania and the United States of America on setting up the U.S. ballistic missile defense system in Romania has taken effect on Dec. 23, 2011,” said the statement.

The U.S. system of defense missile interceptors will be placed at the Air Base at Deveselu in southern Romania, as a component of the Phased Adaptive Approach…

This base represents a significant contribution made by the two states to NATO efforts on missile defense, the release added.

Romania and the United States signed the ballistic missile defense agreement in Washington, D.C. on Sep. 12, allowing the U.S. to construct, maintain and operate a facility encompassing the land-based SM-3 ballistic missile defense system at the Deveselu Air Base.

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Video And Text: U.S. Targeting Russian Nuclear Capability: Analyst

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/217013.html

Press TV
December 21, 2011

‘US targeting Russian nuclear facilities’

Video

An interview with Dmitry Babich from the Russia Profile Magazine

A prominent political activist says that the deployment of a US-led NATO missile system in Europe “is actually aimed at Russia’s nuclear capability”, and not intended for Iran’s ballistic missiles.

Press TV has conducted an interview with Dmitry Babich from the Russia Profile Magazine to further discuss the issue.

The following is a transcript of the interview.

Press TV: Calls against the US missile system in Europe are growing with CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) members now throwing their weight behind these condemnations. How do you see this recent opposition against the missile system?

Babich: There is nothing new about the Russian interest in the American anti-missile defense in Europe.

Now, other countries such as Armenia and Kazakhstan also condemned it. Belarus also has been overall against it. So there is not much news about the new move by the CSTO.

What is really important is that the CSTO countries agreed that they would not deploy foreign bases on their territory without an agreement with all other members of the CSTO. This increases stability in the region because now, for example, before Kazakhstan will want to deploy an American base in its territory it will have to get an agreement from Russia for that.

Press TV: The US call it a counter-missile system, Russia and other Eastern European countries call it a threat to global security, what’s your opinion on the motives behind this missile system?

Babich: Well, when you talk to Western specialists about it, they almost never mention Iran; although, theoretically, this missile system is supposed to control Iran’s possible missiles, possibly ballistic missiles.

Whenever they talk about it, they always start talking about Russia, and how Russia needs to be contained, and how any concessions to Russian missile defense are bad for European security. So, it’s a secret that everyone knows, that the anti-missile defense is actually aimed at Russia’s nuclear capability…So, Russia is concerned about it because Russia’s nuclear capabilities is one of the few things that makes Russia interesting for the world community.

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U.S. Doubles Aid For Israeli Missile Shield

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/151018#.TvQKt9R8BUk

Arutz Sheva
December 3, 2011

U.S. Doubles Aid to Israel’s Defense Systems
House and Senate Appropriations Committees approve $237 million in aid in 2012 to Israel’s anti-missile systems.
By Elad Benari

The United States will double the special aid it gives Israel for the development and implementation of anti-missile systems, the Globes financial newspaper reported on Thursday.

According to the report, the House and Senate’s Committees on Appropriations approved the aid following a request by the U.S. Administration to approve aid totaling $106.1 million for the Arrow 3 anti-ballistic long-range air defense system, for the program to improve the basic capabilities of the Arrow systems, and for the David’s Sling mid-range anti-missile system.

Both Appropriations Committees went far beyond the request, the report noted, and raised the amount of aid from $129 million to $235.7 million in 2012, Globes noted. The report is based on information first published on the Inside Defense website.

The assistance to all three programs is based on an assumption that Israel would allocate identical amounts in its budget to all three programs, Globes noted. The report added that Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, and Aviv Ezra, Counselor for Congressional Affairs at the Embassy of Israel in Washington D.C., played an important role in talks with lawmakers in the months prior to the decision.

Steve Rothman, the U.S. Representative for New Jersey’s 9th congressional district and a member of the United States House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, said that the Israel’s anti-missile programs advance U.S. interests in the Middle East.

Earlier this week, the Commander of the Third Air Force of the U.S Military, Lt. Gen. Frank Gorenc, arrived in Israel to prepare for a joint training exercise between the Israel Air Force and the U.S. Army.

The ‘Austere Challenge’ (AC) exercise will take place next year and Lt. Gen. Gorenc’s visit will strengthen the ties and coordination between the forces, wrote the IAF website.

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Top NATO Military Commander Lauds Missiles, Role In Three Continents

http://www.eucom.mil/blog-post/22998/nato-in-2011-five-key-events

U.S. European Command/North Atlantic Treaty Organization
December 20, 2011

NATO in 2011 – Five Key Events
ADM Jim Stavridis

-Overall, we’e done quite a bit in NATO operations in 2011 – with 170,000 operators on three continents at our peak during Libyan operations. We’re also doing things in cyber, restructuring and stream-lining our command structures…

As I look back on 2011, I think we had a reasonably good year in the operational sense. Lots of good “end of the year” retrospectives are appearing in various magazines and on-line sites, and I thought I’d chip in with my own top five operational moments for the Alliance this past year – and a hope that it stays at least relatively quiet between now and the end of the year.

Libyan Operations. At the top of my list is the seven month operation we undertook…It was successfully completed in late October.

We conducted 26,000 aircraft sorties and intercepted over 3,000 ships in the course of conducting a no-fly zone and an arms embargo…[W]e conducted nearly 9,000 strike sorties and hit well over 6,000 targets…Overall we learned a great deal and will work on improving targeting, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, air refueling, and other aspects of our capabilities.

Afghanistan Transition and Operations. In November, the government of Afghanistan announced a second group of provinces and districts that began transition to Afghan Security Force-led operations…with the international coalition and NATO in a support, mentorship, and training role in this area.

Our plan to complete a full transition by the end of 2014 remains on track, although significant challenges remain, especially in relations with Pakistan. We suffered from a cross-border incident that included the tragic deaths of 24 Pakistani soldiers…

Tension in Kosovo…[W]e’ve seen rising border tension between Kosovo and Serbia. While far from the sort of Balkans tragedies of the 1990s…we clearly have more work to do in Kosovo.

Due to a series of violent incidents in northern Kosovo, our NATO Commander requested and has in hand an over-the-horizon security force…I’ll be headed there personally soon to evaluate and present options to NATO. Clearly, this is a politically charged situation…

Reductions in Piracy. After several years of rising attack levels, we may be seeing progress against attacks in the second half of 2011. Success rates for attacks have dropped considerably, and there are fewer attacks than during this period last year. Some of the reasons for this include patrolling by NATO, EU, and various national forces at sea; pressure ashore militarily and in the area of development; better practices at sea by civilian mariners (convoys and
citadels, for example); and the addition of armed security teams.

NATO remains committed to the counter-piracy mission, and our ships will continue to sail in the area off the coast of Africa for the foreseeable future.

Missile Defense Unfolding. The first steps in creating a new, alliance-based missile defense system in Europe are in progress. The United States, providing a sea-based AEGIS system initially, has sent ships to sea as a framework. NATO is putting in place the command-and-control system to ensure we do this right. The hope is to offer an initial capability in time for the May 2012 summit in Chicago. While a challenging timeline, I think we can and will make it. Stay
tuned!

Overall, we’ve done quite a bit in NATO operations in 2011 – with 170,000 operators on three continents at our peak during Libyan operations. We’re also doing things in cyber, restructuring and stream-lining our command structures (cutting 6 major HQ and 4,000 billets, for example), air policing, and many other things.

It’s been a busy year, but a good one overall.

Admiral James Stavridis
Commander
U.S. European Command

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Warning To NATO, Turkey: Syria Fires New Russian Missiles

http://www.worldnewstribune.com/2011/12/22/syria-fires-new-russian-missiles-in-exercise-as-warning-to-turkey-and-nato/

World Tribune
December 23, 2011

Syria fires new Russian missiles in exercise as ‘warning to Turkey and NATO’

NICOSIA: The regime of President Bashar Assad has displayed its new Russian-origin weapons during a military exercise.

Western diplomats said Assad’s military fired new missiles and other weapons acquired from Moscow in late 2011 during an exercise that took place on Dec. 20. They said the new weapons included the P-800 Yakhont cruise missile, which arrived in November.

“This was a warning to Turkey and NATO to keep out of Syria,” a diplomat said.

This marked the second major military exercise by Syria in less than a month. But the diplomats said the latest exercise was much larger than the first interservice maneuvers.

“The demonstration was aimed at testing the combat capability and readiness of the air force and air defense to confront any possible aggression that might target Syria’s land and air space,” the official Syrian news agency, Sana, said.

Sana said the exercise demonstrated a high level of interoperability in missile and other attacks. Sana, which did not identify the weapons, said the military’s special forces also conducted paratroop operations.

Yakhont has been part of the Bastion coastal defense system supplied by Moscow. Diplomats said Syria received at least two Bastion systems, or more than 60 supersonic land-attack missiles.

Syria has also received the Iskander-E long-range surface-to-surface rocket from Russia. It was not clear whether Syria fired the Iskander during the latest exercise.

“Marine and coastal missiles participated in the maneuver under conditions similar to a real battle, hitting the assumed hostile targets with accuracy that reflected the high level of combat training the marine personnel had and their efficiency in using modern maritime weapons,” Sana
said.

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Middle East, North Africa Instability Zones: Russia

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/12/23/62781305.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
December 23, 2011

Mid-East, N Africa instability zones – Lavrov

Russia fears the trouble in North Africa and the Middle East may create instability zones exporting illicit migrants, drugs, terrorism and illegal arms

Speaking to Reuters Friday, he called particular attention to the risks of attacks on Christians and clashes between Shia and Sunni Muslims.

The Minister also criticized the West’s double standards in its approach to Syria. He said ending violence there requires restraint on the part of both the authorities and the opposition.

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Pakistani Army Rejects NATO’s Self-Exonerating Report

http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=11215&Cat=13

The News
December 23, 2011

ISPR rejects Nato probe

RAWALPINDI: The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) on Thursday said it did not agree with the inquiry report by the US Army and Nato into the Mohmand Agency strike, which killed 28 Pakistani soldiers.

According to Geo News, the ISPR said the inquiry report, which came to the fore through the media, was deficient of facts. It said a proper reply about the same would be given after issuance of the detailed report.

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http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2011-12/23/c_131323297.htm

Xinhua News Agency
December 23, 2011

Pakistani army rejects NATO strike inquiry report

       
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistani army has rejected an investigation report into last month’s NATO strike on two of its border posts, which killed 24 Pakistani soldiers and injured 13 others, reported local Urdu TV channel Geo on Friday.

The report quoted an early Friday morning army statement as saying that the investigation report “is short on facts” and “has holes in it, which need to be filled in”.

“A detailed response will be given when the formal report is received,” said a brief statement from Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), a mouthpiece of Pakistani army.

NATO spokesman Colonel Gregory Julian said in Brussels, “The investigation has ascertained that a series of mistakes were made on both sides in failing to properly coordinate their locations and actions, both before the operation and during the resulting engagement.”

Local watchers said that rejection of the U.S. inquiry report in a quick and short statement shows that the findings have not fully addressed to Pakistan’s demands.

NATO and the United States did not tender an apology in the findings and repeated the previous stand of expressing regrets by the NATO and the United States when they released the report on Thursday.

Pakistani army and civilian leaders have already rejected regrets and called for action against those responsible for the attack, which caused a dent in ties between the United States and Pakistan.

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Philippines Wants U.S. Fighter Jets, Ships Deployed Against China

http://businessmirror.com.ph/home/nation/21018-phl-to-ask-us-to-deploy-fighter-jets-ships-for-spratlys

Business Mirror
December 21, 2011

PHL to ask US to deploy fighter jets, ships for Spratlys
Estrella Torres

-[T]he US is also planning to station Marines in Australia and Singapore amid increasing tensions in the disputed Spratly Islands.

The Philippines will ask for the assistance of the United States to deploy a squadron of fighter jets and two more military ships amid increasing tensions with China in the disputed islands in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said he will meet with US Secretary of States Hillary Clinton and high officials of Pentagon in his visit to Washington, D.C., early next year to discuss the need to increase the Philippines’s military presence in the area.

The request for US military assistance was first discussed during the visit of Clinton in the Philippines in November.

“We’re trying to get assistance from several countries [to strengthen military capability] and the US has expressed willingness to assist us as we work on a minimum, credible defense posture [in the disputed islands in West Philippine Sea],” said del Rosario in a press luncheon briefing on Wednesday at a hotel in Pasay City.

He said the Philippines will request two more Hamilton class cutters with the first one delivered mid this year and a squadron or 12 units of fighter jets to be deployed on the disputed islands that are believed to be rich in natural gas and marine resources.

Moves to strengthen the country’s military capability came amid Chinese deployment of more navy ships in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. “We need to stand up and defend our territorial claims on what we think is ours,” said del Rosario.

He also believes that the US foreign policy is to re-engage Asia to a greater extent as it believes that the region has taken the role as key driver of economic growth.

He said the US is also planning to station Marines in Australia and Singapore amid increasing tensions in the disputed Spratly Islands.

Four Asean members — Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia — are claimants to parts of Spratly Islands, along with Taipei. China is claiming the entire Spratlys.

Other Asean members include Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia, Singapore, Burma/Myanmar and Thailand.

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Azerbaijan: Oil For War

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011%5C12%5C23%5Cstory_23-12-2011_pg7_5

Daily Times (Pakistan)
December 23, 2011

     
Ilham Aliyev: Our aim is to convert black gold to human gold
By Dure Najaf Zaidi

[Excerpts]

In 1995 Azerbaijan signed a “Contract of Century” for exploration of hydrocarbon offshore reserves in the Caspian Sea. Aliyev, as vice president of State Oil Company was a key figure during the negotiations between the Azerbaijani Government and Western oil companies.

The natural resources are being transported through a diversified network. In mid-2006 the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan main export pipeline was inaugurated. Construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline was completed soon afterwards. These pipelines deliver Azerbaijan’s own oil and gas to world [European] markets as well as allowing the carrying of hydrocarbon resources of neighbouring [fellow Caspian Sea littoral] countries through Azerbaijan, bringing the country transit revenues.

The Baku-Tbilisi-Gars railway corridor, which intends to link Azerbaijan and Turkey via Georgia, is under construction and will facilitate transportation of goods and passengers from Central Asia and Azerbaijan onwards to Europe. This project will ultimately make the country a transport hub of the region. All these projects are not only giving substantial economic dividends to Azerbaijan but also increasing the political weight of the country.

Azerbaijan’s armed forces are the best equipped and largest in Transcaucasia, with its military budget exceeding now the entire budget of the country-aggressor [Armenia].

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South Caucasus: Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey-U.S. NATO Axis

http://en.trend.az/regions/scaucasus/georgia/1973224.html

Trend News Agency
December 23, 2011

Azerbaijan called as Georgia’s strategic partner in new national security concept
N. Kirtskhalia

Tbilisi: Azerbaijan is Georgia’s strategic partner, the Georgian National Security Concept says. The country’s parliament unanimously adopted it on Friday evening.

The Georgian Parliament has today discussed the new national security concept, which replaced that one adopted in July 2005. The opposition also supported the concept. It was also involved in its preparation.

“Georgia and Azerbaijan have traditionally good neighborly relations,” the concept said.

Turkey is identified as Georgia’s leading regional partner in the concept. “Turkey, as a NATO member, is an important military partner,” the document said. “Georgia attaches great importance to the cooperation with Turkey in the fields of security and defense.”

Deputy Secretary of the National Security Council Batu Kutelia told MPs that as opposed to the previous concept, the new document is the result of extensive discussions with political parties and civil society. He said that the comments received by the country from Western partners were taken into account during the work over the concept.

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http://en.apa.az/news.php?id=162409

Azeri Press Agency
December 23, 2011

Georgian National Security Concept declares Azerbaijan and Turkey as strategic partners
Rashad Suleymanov

Baku: The Georgian parliament discussed the new National Security Concept, which considers political-military changes in the region after the August 2008 events [war with South Ossetia and Russia], AAP reports quoting Georgian news agencies.

The concept mentions the South Ossetian and Abkhazian problems, as well as other challenges threatening Georgia. It identifies the Nagorno Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan as one of the main problems of the region. “A new armed conflict between these countries will threaten security in all three countries of the South Caucasus and increase Russian influence in the region”.

In the section “Main directions of national security policy of Georgia”, Azerbaijan was mentioned as Georgia’s strategic partner, but relations with Armenia were described as [characterized as] “close cooperation”…

Georgia also sees the United States as a strategic partner. “Georgia increased its defense potential at the expense of US assistance programs. Georgia is interested in deepening of cooperation in this field”.

Turkey was also declared a strategic partner of Georgia, which gives great importance to the development of relations in the fields of defense and security. “Turkey is an important military partner as a member of NATO and regional country. Georgia gives great significance to the security and defense cooperation with Turkey”.

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UNSC Consults On Kosovo Murder For Organs Trade Draft

http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics-article.php?yyyy=2011&mm=12&dd=23&nav_id=77945

Tanjug News Agency
December 23, 2011

UNSC debates organ trade draft

NEW YORK: Consultations are ongoing in the UNSC on Serbia’s resolution on human organ trafficking in Kosovo, the Serbian Mission to the UN told Tanjug on Friday.

Russia is presiding over the UN Security Council until the end of December and intensive consultations have taken place in recent days on the text of the resolution, which calls for the appointment of a special representative of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to oversee the investigation, but UNSC member countries have yet to reach a compromise.

No agreement has been reached and the UNSC is not expected to meet before the New Year, but consultations are ongoing, Tanjug has learned from the Serbian Mission to the UN. But the UNSC will suspend its activities for the year on Friday, barring emergencies.

Western countries in the UNSC believe only EULEX should be in charge of an investigation into the allegations made in Council of Europe Rapporteur Dick Marty’s report. Belgrade, on the other hand, is advocating an independent investigation under a UN mandate, as the crimes mentioned in the report are not contained to Kosovo alone.

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Hague: Ex-Kosovo PM, KLA Commander Fails To Get Holiday Release

http://www.b92.net/eng/news/crimes-article.php?yyyy=2011&mm=12&dd=23&nav_id=77954

Tanjug News Agency
December 23, 2011

Hague Tribunal rejects Haradinaj’s release request

-Based on individual criminal responsibility, Haradinaj is accused of crimes committed by Kosovo Albanian forces in the Jablanica camp in 1998 against opponents from the KLA and those believed to have been the opponents.
The prisoners were abused and starved and some of them were murdered.

THE HAGUE, PRIŠTINA: The Hague Tribunal has rejected Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) commander Ramush Haradinaj’s request for a temporary release during the winter break. 

According to the Hague Tribunal, his release could jeopardize the trial.

The defense has requested that Haradinaj be released from December 16 until January 8, 2012.

The KLA commander’s attorneys explained that all of the witnesses who were supposed to testify in the retrial had already done so and that there was no reason not to approve Haradinaj’s request.

…Haradinaj’s trial has been adjourned and it should continue on January 13, when a protected witness should testify.

The retrial of the KLA commander started on August 18, 2011 and this is the first time that a trial is being repeated in the Hague Tribunal.

Based on individual criminal responsibility, Haradinaj is accused of crimes committed by Kosovo Albanian forces in the Jablanica camp in 1998 against opponents from the KLA and those believed to have been the opponents.

The prisoners were abused and starved and some of them were murdered.

KLA members Idriz Balaj and Lah Brahimaj’s names are also on the indictment. They are accused of crimes against humanity and violation of law and customs of war in 1998 in Kosovo.

At the initial trial Haradinaj and Balaj were acquitted on all 37 counts of the indictment [after as many as ten prosecution witnesses were murdered] and Brahimaj was sentenced to six years in prison.

Prosecutor Paul Rogers said in the opening argument that Haradinaj and his associates Brahimaj and Balaj were responsible for the crimes, regardless of whether the victims were Serbs, Albanians, Egyptians or Roma, Muslim, Orthodox or Catholics.

The trial is being repeated on six counts of the indictment.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Alexander Pope: Peace o’er the world her olive wand extend

December 23, 2011 Leave a comment

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

Alexander Pope
Messiah
A Sacred Eclogue, in Imitation of Virgil’s Pollio
(1712)

*****

All crimes shall cease, and ancient frauds shall fail;
Returning Justice lift aloft her scale;
Peace o’er the world her olive wand extend,
And white-robed Innocence from Heaven descend.

No more shall nation against nation rise,
Nor ardent warriors meet with hateful eyes,
Nor fields with gleaming steel be covered o’er,
The brazen trumpets kindle rage no more;
But useless lances into scythes shall bend,
And the broad falchion in a ploughshare end.

*****

Ye nymphs of Solyma! begin the song:
To heavenly themes sublimer strains belong.
The mossy fountains and the sylvan shades,
The dreams of Pindus and th’ Aonian maids,
Delight no more – O thou my voice inspire
Who touched Isaiah’s hallowed lips with fire!
Rapt into future times, the bard begun:
A Virgin shall conceive, a Virgin bear a Son!
From Jesse’s root behold a branch arise,
Whose sacred flower with fragrance fills the skies:
Th’ ethereal spirit o’er its leaves shall move,
And on its top descends the mystic Dove.
Ye Heavens! from high the dewy nectar pour,
And in soft silence shed the kindly shower!
The sick and weak the healing plant shall aid,
From storm a shelter, and from heat a shade.
All crimes shall cease, and ancient frauds shall fail;
Returning Justice lift aloft her scale;
Peace o’er the world her olive wand extend,
And white-robed Innocence from Heaven descend.
Swift fly the years, and rise th’ expected morn!
Oh spring to light, auspicious Babe, be born!
See, Nature hastes her earliest wreaths to bring,
With all the incense of the breathing spring:
See lofty Lebanon his head advance,
See nodding forests on the mountains dance:
See spicy clouds from lowly Saron rise,
And Carmel’s flowery top perfumes the skies!
Hark! a glad voice the lonely desert cheers:
Prepare the way! a God, a God appears!
A God, a God! the vocal hills reply,
The rocks proclaim th’ approaching Deity.
Lo, Earth receives him from the bending skies!
Sink down, ye mountains! and ye valleys, rise!
With heads declined, ye cedars, homage pay!
Be smooth, ye rocks! ye rapid floods, give way!
The Saviour comes! by ancient bards foretold:
Hear him, ye deaf! and all ye blind, behold!
He from thick films shall purge the visual ray,
And on the sightless eyeball pour the day:
‘Tis he th’ obstructed paths of sound shall clear
And bid new music charm th’ unfolding ear:
The dumb shall sing, the lame his crutch forego,
And leap exulting like the bounding roe.
No sigh, no murmur, the wide world shall hear.
From every face he wipes off every tear.
In adamantine chains shall Death be bound.
And Hell’s grim tyrant feel th’ eternal wound.
As the good shepherd tends his fleecy care,
Seeks freshest pasture, and the purest air,
Explores the lost, the wandering sheep directs,
By day o’ersees them, and by night protects;
The tender lambs he raises in his arms,
Feeds from his hand, and in his bosom warms:
Thus shall mankind his guardian care engage,
The promised Father of the future age.
No more shall nation against nation rise,
Nor ardent warriors meet with hateful eyes,
Nor fields with gleaming steel be covered o’er,
The brazen trumpets kindle rage no more;
But useless lances into scythes shall bend,
And the broad falchion in a ploughshare end.
Then palaces shall rise; the joyful son
Shall finish what his short-lived sire begun;
Their vines a shadow to their race shall yield.
And the same hand that sowed, shall reap the field.
The swain in barren deserts with surprise
Sees lilies spring, and sudden verdure rise;
And starts, amidst the thirsty wilds, to hear
New falls of water murmuring in his ear.
On rifted rocks, the dragon’s late abodes,
The green reed trembles, and the bulrush nods.
Waste sandy valleys, once perplexed with thorn,
The spiry fir and shapely box adorn:
To leafless shrubs the flowery palms succeed,
And odorous myrtle to the noisome weed.
The lambs with wolves shall graze the verdant mead
And boys in flowery bands the tiger lead:
The steer and lion at one crib shall meet,
And harmless serpents lick the pilgrim’s feet.
The smiling infant in his hand shall take
The crested basilisk and speckled snake,
Pleased, the green lustre of the scales survey,
And with their forky tongue shall innocently play.
Rise, crowned with light, imperial Salem, rise!
Exalt thy towery head, and lift thy eyes!
See a long race thy spacious courts adorn:
See future sons and daughters yet unborn,
In crowding ranks on every side arise,
Demanding life, impatient for the skies!
See barbarous nations at thy gates attend,
Walk in thy light, and in thy temple bend!
See thy bright altars thronged with prostrate kings,
And heaped with products of Sabean springs!
For thee Idumè’s spicy forests blow,
And seeds of gold in Ophir’s mountains glow.
See Heaven his sparkling portals wide display,
And break upon thee in a flood of day!
No more the rising Sun shall gild the morn,
Nor evening Cynthia fill her silver horn;
But lost, dissolved in thy superior rays,
One tide of glory, one unclouded blaze
O’erflow thy courts: the Light himself shall shine
Revealed, and God’s eternal day be thine!
The seas shall waste, the skies in smoke decay,
Rocks fall to dust, and mountains melt away!
But fixed his word, his saving power remains;
Thy realm for ever lasts, thy own Messiah reigns!

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO news: December 22, 2011

December 22, 2011 3 comments

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Russia Blasts Ban Ki-moon’s Defense Of NATO’s Libya War

Iran: Another War For The U.S.?

Repulsing Attack: Syrian Navy, Air Force Hold Live-Fire Maneuvers

Contra Russia, China: Japan F-35 Deal To Shift Asia-Pacific Balance?

NATO Missile System Can Cause “Ice Age” In U.S.-Russia Relations

U.S.-NATO Missile Plans Can Kill START II

U.S. Rearming Of Georgia To Spark New Aggression: South Ossetia

After NATO Chief, Council Visit: More Georgian Troops To Afghanistan

Georgia Becomes Biggest Non-NATO Contributor To Afghan War

White House: Assad Government “Does Not Deserve To Rule Syria”

U.S. Amphibious Assault Ship, Marines Arrive In Singapore

Philippines Seeks Second-Hand F-16s From U.S.

Kenyan Air Strike Kills At Least 10 Somali Civilians

Finland: Opposition To NATO Membership Rises To 68 Percent

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Russia Blasts Ban Ki-moon’s Defense Of NATO’s Libya War

http://en.rian.ru/world/20111222/170430037.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
December 22, 2011

Moscow blasts Ban Ki-moon’s defense of Libya action

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West Plots To Supplant United Nations With Global NATO

http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2009/08/29/154/

====

MOSCOW: Moscow criticized UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for defending the NATO operation in Libya and ignoring data on civilian casualties collected by a number of UN member states, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Thursday.

Last week Ban came to the defense of NATO in response to charges the alliance had overstepped its mandate to impose a no-fly zone to protect civilians and instead openly sided with the rebels, enabling them to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.

“Security Council resolution 1973, I believe, was strictly enforced within the limit, within the mandate,” Ban told reporters in New York. “This military operation done by the NATO forces was strictly within (resolution) 1973.”

“UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s statements that the alliance’s actions in Libya were conducted in strict accordance with the UN Security Council resolution 1973, directly contradict the facts and are at odds with the estimates of many members of the Security Council and other UN members,” Lukashevich said.

Ban Ki-moon must “take into account the positions of all the UN members, especially when the issue concerns sensitive events on the global agenda.”
Ban’s attempt to present “the operation in Libya as a model for future crisis resolution is cynical to say the least,” Lukshevich added.

On Monday, Russia urged NATO to investigate civilian deaths in Libya from its bombing campaign, saying the alliance’s claim that there were no civilian casualties is untrue.

Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said he has asked NATO to give “a definitive report” to the UN Security Council summing up its activities in Libya. But he said “unfortunately” the alliance only provided “piecemeal, rather perfunctory reports…(that) were not very informative.”

—————————————————————————-

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/12/22/62707805.html

Itar-Tass
December 22, 2011

Libya not model for resolving crises – Russian Foreign MInistry

       
Moscow believes that attempts to portray the events in Libya as a model for resolving future crises can only be described as cynical, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Thursday.

“We have noticed numerous violations of the US Security Council resolutions which were committed or endorsed by NATO in Libya”, Lukashevich said, referring to NATO’s decision to supply arms to rebels, the presence of foreign soldiers on Libyan soil and the violation of a no-fly zone over this North African country.

He lamented the fact that all these facts did not get due coverage in the Western media.

Lukashevich also said that contrary to the statements made by UN chief Ban Ki-moon, the facts of civilian casualties and of the destruction of infrastructure in Libya were confirmed by many eyewitnesses.

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Iran: Another War For The U.S.?

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/12/22/62692550.html

Voice of Russia
December 22, 2011

Another war for US?
Boris Volkhonsky

-Almost 4.5 thousand U.S. soldiers lost their lives. The number of Iraqi civilians killed as a result of the U.S. invasion cannot be calculated – according to most cautious estimates it exceeds 100,000. Four million Iraqis have become refugees. The total cost of the war has reached $3 trillion.
Despite all these losses and expenditures, the only aim of the war that has been achieved is the removal and consequent hanging of Saddam Hussein.
Likewise in Afghanistan, the only purpose really achieved by the U.S. is the elimination of Osama bin Laden. One need not be a fortune-teller to say that after the U.S. withdrawal the country will be plunged into total chaos with the ultimate triumph of the forces the U.S. is fighting against now.

       
As has been reported by the Israeli “Haaretz” daily, the U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, said that a U.S. military operation against Iran would be “executable if necessary”.

He also reiterated the long-standing U.S. position, stating that the Obama administration is “examining a range of options” on the possibility of a nuclear Iran.

This statement came only one day after U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that Iran will have a nuclear weapon within one year, if not less.

General Dempsey also added that there are no guarantees that Israel would give the U.S. a warning should it decide to attack Iran. However, he claimed that America recognizes Israel’s concerns and is collaborating with it in order to “establish some confidence on the part of the Israelis.”

The two statements by the Pentagon chief and the topmost U.S. military commander come at a point when the Obama administration is trying to determine its future strategic line in the “Greater Middle East”.

The recent total withdrawal of the U.S. troops from Iraq has resulted in immediate clashes among top Iraqi authorities and is doomed to lead to sectarian and communal violence at least between Sunnis and Shiites with a possible involvement of Iraqi Kurds.

These developments have already prompted some Republicans including Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham to call on President Obama in order to return at least part of the U.S. troops to Iraq. One of the main fears of the U.S. establishment is that the vacuum left after the U.S. pullout is sure to be filled by Iran which would instigate its Shiite agents in Iraq. The option of nuclear Iran widening its influence in the “renovated” Iraq is probably the scariest option for both the U.S. and its ally Israel.

At the same time, the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, General John R. Allen, suggested on Tuesday that American troops should stay in that country after the announced deadline of their pullout, that is after 2014. While insisting that there is “no daylight” between him and President Obama about the policy for continued troop withdrawals from Afghanistan, General Allen nevertheless called for prolonging the stay of troops beyond 2014.

It should be remembered that putting an end to the two wars launched by the previous administration was by far the topmost foreign policy task set forward in Obama’s election campaign in 2008. Now that the troops have been withdrawn from Iraq, it may be one of the few things Obama can boast of in his 2012 campaign. In this context, staying true to his promise to end the Afghan war (at least in words must be one of the cornerstones of his foreign policy program at least until November next year.

The Iraqi campaign has caused enormous losses both among Americans and Iraqis. Almost 4.5 thousand U.S. soldiers lost their lives. The number of Iraqi civilians killed as a result of the U.S. invasion cannot be calculated – according to most cautious estimates it exceeds 100,000. Four million Iraqis have become refugees. The total cost of the war has reached $3 trillion.

Despite all these losses and expenditures, the only aim of the war that has been achieved is the removal and consequent hanging of Saddam Hussein.

Likewise in Afghanistan, the only purpose really achieved by the U.S. is the elimination of Osama bin Laden. One need not be a fortune-teller to say that after the U.S. withdrawal the country will be plunged into total chaos with the ultimate triumph of the forces the U.S. is fighting against now.

Still, having the two puzzles unresolved, the U.S. is ready to create a new problem for itself and for the region. It should be noted that Iran’s potential (including military and possibly nuclear) by far exceeds that of Iraq (to say nothing of Afghanistan). The consequences are virtually unpredictable.

This was pointed out about a week ago even by such a “hawk” of American foreign policy as former United States National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzeziński who warned that the consequences of a possible war with Iran would be disastrous for the U.S.

Some time ago Leon Panetta himself also spoke of “unintended consequences” of an action against Iran, and warned that such a strike could only serve in delaying Tehran’s nuclear efforts only by about three years “not really deterring Iran from what they want to do.”

Still, the issue is raised again and again. It hardly signals that the U.S. is really ready to wage a new war. But this is definitely targeted at supporting the militant spirit in the U.S. society at least until election day. That is, the militant lingo is mostly meant for local consumption.

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Repulsing Attack: Syrian Navy, Air Force Hold Live-Fire Maneuvers

http://www.sana.sy/eng/21/2011/12/21/389661.htm

Syrian Arab News Agency
December 21, 2011

Navy and Air Force Conduct Live Fire Maneuvers

DAMASCUS: According to the operational training plan for 2011, the Air Force and Air Defense on Tuesday conducted a live-fire demonstration with the participation of formations of Air Force fighters, fighter bombers, fire support helicopters and the Air Defense formations.

The demonstration was aimed at testing the combat capability and readiness of the Air Force and Air Defense to confront any possible aggression that might target Syria’s land and airspace.

The participant formations showed a high level of coordination and cooperation under conditions similar to a real battle. The personnel demonstrated a qualitative expertness and capability in handling advanced weapons in detecting, tracking and destroying hostile targets, firing real missiles.

The Air Force members displayed excellent maneuvering capability and skillfulness in using weaponry and striking and hitting targets with a high degree of accuracy.

The fire demonstration included a successful airdrop operation by the Special Forces, which showed a qualitative level of training and ability to carry out tasks under various conditions.

Deputy General Commander of the Army and the Armed Forces, Defense Minister Gen. Dawood Rajiha, applauded the performance of the members of the Air Force and Air Defense who participated in the demonstration, stressing the Armed Forces’ permanent readiness to defend the homeland by land, air and sea.

In parallel, the Navy conducted an operational tactical maneuver with live fire, as part of the combat training plan of the Navy for 2011.

Marine and coastal missiles participated in the maneuver under conditions similar to a real battle, hitting assumed hostile targets with an accuracy that reflected the high level of combat training the marine personnel had and their efficiency in using modern maritime weapons.

The maneuver demonstrated the naval forces’ ability to repulse any possible aggression under various conditions.

Chief of General Staff Gen. Fahd Jassem al-Freij hailed the performance of the naval forces personnel and the good preparedness that made the maneuver a success.

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Contra Russia, China: Japan F-35 Deal To Shift Asia-Pacific Balance?

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/indepth/2011-12/22/c_131321787.htm

Xinhua News Agency
December 22, 2011

Could F-35 act as game changer in Asia-Pacific region?
By Li Hongmei

-Unfortunately, the purchasing spree would not only give a boost to Lockheed Martin’s fighter business, but also give rise to a scenario with “swords drawn and bows bent” — perhaps, a region of turbulence and intranquility is just what the U.S. needs to retain its position as a “Pacific power,” ready all the time to reach out the meddling hand.

Japan announced Tuesday it has picked Lockheed Martin F-35 fighters to replace aging jets in its air force. The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo said the contract could bring 10,000 jobs to the United States which has been grappling with high unemployment and a slack market. It sounds like a win-win deal.

Japan, in particular, bet on the 42 stealth aircraft, valued by analysts at more than 7 billion dollars, to bring multiple benefits. For one thing, Japan believes that F-35 jet as its next mainstay fighter could match the capabilities of the stealth fighters being developed by China and Russia. Also, Tokyo tries to stress, through the deal, that its security alliance with the U.S. is anything but adrift.

Perhaps, yet another diplomatic advantage of the F-35 is that it sustains and reaffirms the U.S.-Japan relationship at a time when Japan seeks more leverage over the region and its ally has repeatedly pledged to come back to Asia.

“It reflects Japan’s recognition on a variety of levels that at a time of greater insecurity, it needs to be more deeply engaged with the United States on security issues,” said Brad Glosserman, executive director at Honolulu’s Pacific Forum CSIS.

Meanwhile, Japan’s selection of the F-35 comes as a shot in the arm for Lockheed Martin’s F-35 program and, it is expected that South Korea would follow suit when its simmering concern about the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea mounts after the death of its top leader Kim Jong-il. Seoul, analysts said, is likely to follow Japan’s lead in this regard.

The unpredictable prospect of Northeast Asia might prompt Pentagon and Lockheed Martin to offer the cutting edge stealth or information networking technologies to its allies, and especially Japan, which serves as a platform for military interoperability with both the U.S. and Australia in the Asia-Pacific region.

Lockheed Martin and the Pentagon have hailed Japan’s choice of the F-35, saying it would help establish a strategic, conventional deterrent in the Asia-Pacific region.

Since Yoshihiko Noda took office as Japan’s Prime Minister last September, Tokyo has obviously geared back to its traditional security stance, once again viewing U.S. to be the best security partner.

U.S.-Japan relations frayed after the Democratic Party of Japan took power in 2009 for the first time in half a century, vowing to recalibrate the alliance on a more equal basis and attempting, though in vain, to keep a pledge to move a U.S. military base off the Okinawa island.

In this case, the F-35 purchase seems to signal Japan’s desire at the moment to lean more tightly toward Washington to gain its sorely needed sense of security amid regional uncertainties. Therefore, building up its prowess in air force with the help of the U.S. could be taken as a decision that stands a chance.

But it is far from mature to say that Japan’s security environment would be changed as expected with the introduction of a fleet of F-35 stealth jets, nor would Japan get plenty of room to handle the changing situation and wrest more influence in its neighborhood by merely opting for the U.S. fighters.

While the Pentagon wished to take advantage of the reset rapprochement between allies to work as a stepping stone to gaining a predominating presence in the Asia-Pacific region, the jets deal, however, will not necessarily work to that effect.

“The F-35 Program Office looks forward to strengthening partnerships with Japan, and contributing to enhanced security throughout the Asia Pacific region,” as it said in a statement after Japan announced its decision.

Unfortunately, the purchasing spree would not only give a boost to Lockheed Martin’s fighter business, but also give rise to a scenario with “swords drawn and bows bent” — perhaps, a region of turbulence and intranquility is just what the U.S. needs to retain its position as a “Pacific power,” ready all the time to reach out the meddling hand.

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NATO Missile System Can Cause “Ice Age” In U.S.-Russia Relations

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2011-12/22/c_122463253.htm

Xinhua News Agency
December 22, 2011

Russia warns anti-missile issue may cause “ice-age” in relations with U.S.

MOSCOW: The U.S.-led anti-missile defense shield in Europe may seriously damage relations between Russia and the United States if the two sides can not reach agreements on the issue, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Wednesday.

“We hope problems in the anti-missile defense shield will not escalate and cause our relations move backward to the ice age. We hope to avoid this,” Ryabkov told the Voice of Russia radio in an interview.

Ryabkov said that Moscow did not rule out the possibility of withdrawing from the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) it signed with the U.S. in 2010, if no solution would be reached on the issue.

According to Ryabkov, these problems could be solved on the ground proposed by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in November, when the president asked again legally-binding guarantees from the U.S. and NATO that the missile defense shield is not targeting Russia.

Medvedev also warned in November that Russia might station missile defense systems, including the Iskander, in western and southern sections of the country if there were any additional U.S. missile deployments in Europe.

Moscow has long opposed the deployment of U.S.-led NATO missile defense facilities near its borders and intends to seek legally-binding guarantees from the U.S. and NATO.

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U.S.-NATO Missile Plans Can Kill START II

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/12/21/62642007.html

Voice of Russia
December 21, 2011

ABM differences may kill START deal – Russian diplomat

Russia’s response to America’s unilateralism in developing European-based missile defence systems has already included a new radar in Kaliningrad and may also include the deployment of Iskander medium-range ballistic missiles and even the renunciation of the latest Strategic Arms Reductions Treaty with the United States.

At the same time, Russia hopes that the ABM disagreements will not result in another Cold War spell or trigger yet another spiral of the costly arms race. 

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov spoke about this for the Voice of Russia on Wednesday.

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U.S. Rearming Of Georgia To Spark New Aggression: South Ossetia

http://rt.com/politics/ossetia-georgia-weapon-us-351/

RT
December 21, 2011

American re-arming of Georgia will spark new aggression – S. Ossetia

The South Ossetian Foreign Ministry has stated that a US Senate draft resolution on the resumption of arms supplies to Georgia can be seen as pushing Tbilisi to aggression against its former republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

The ministry voiced its regret over the fact that American senators drew no conclusions from “the tragic events of August 2008 and have once again settled down to a course of encouraging [Georgian President] Saakashvili to a new aggression to please their political ambitions,”cites Interfax.

Human Rights Watch described the South Ossetia conflict as a disaster for civilians and said the Georgian military had used “disproportionate force.”

For three years, the US has refrained from supplying weapons to Georgia.

That, according to Tskhinval, is indirect evidence that it was Georgia who started the war against South Ossetia and that it used Western weaponry during the invasion.

The Foreign Ministry also noted that with obvious backing from Washington, Tbilisi has refrained from signing a legally-binding document on the non-use of force with South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

“At the same time, imposing an international embargo on supplies of arms – primarily offensive weapons and military hardware – would significantly reduce the threat of a recurrence of Georgian aggression,” the Foreign Ministry’s comment reads.

Earlier this month, the US Senate approved a US $662 billion defense bill for 2012, which contains a separate section entitled “Defense cooperation with the Republic of Georgia.” The document envisages the resumption of arms supplies to the Caucasian state for the protection of its government and sovereign territories.

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After NATO Chief, Council Visit: More Georgian Troops To Afghanistan

http://rustavi2.com/news/news_text.php?id_news=44142&pg=1&im=main&ct=0&wth=

Rustavi 2
December 21, 2011

Georgia to send one more infantry battalion to Afghanistan

Georgia will send one more infantry battalion to Afghanistan under a decision taken by the parliament at a special session on Tuesday.

Georgian soldiers will join the International Security Assistance Force-ISAF mission, which is under the control of the United States` contingent in the country. The decision was taken by 103 votes of the lawmakers.

`The past few months have proved that this mission is very successful from all points of view, including [the] political. We saw this during the visit of the Euro-Atlantic Council session in Georgia and the visit of the NATO Secretary General in Tbilisi, as well as in various statements of the leaders of our friend countries. They all emphasize that Georgia`s commitment to this mission should be appreciated properly,` says Givi Targamadze, chairperson of the defense and security committee of the parliament.

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Georgia Becomes Biggest Non-NATO Contributor To Afghan War

http://www.messenger.com.ge/issues/2510_december_21_2011/2510_isaf.html

The Messenger
December 21, 2011

Georgia to Become Biggest Non-NATO Contributor to ISAF
By Ernest Petrosyan

The Georgian parliament is about to approve President Mikheil Saakashvili’s request on Tuesday to increase Georgian military involvement in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in Afghanistan by an additional battalion on top of the 936 Georgian soldiers who already serve as part of the NATO-led ISAF.

After sending an additional battalion [749 soldiers] Georgia will become the largest non-NATO contributor state to the ISAF mission with a total of 1,685 troops. Australia is currently the largest non-NATO contributor with 1,550 soldiers on the ground.

The Georgian contingent in Afghanistan has lost a total of ten soldiers as yet – all in Helmand province.

Georgia’s first contribution to this operation came in 2004 when 50 soldiers were briefly deployed in the country under German command as part of ensuring security during the presidential elections.

In November, 2009 Georgia increased its contingent by 173 soldiers in Kabul under French command and in the following year Georgia increased its presence in Afghanistan by sending an infantry battalion to Helmand province serving alongside US marines.

Georgia also sent 11 military instructors to Kandahar under French command earlier this year.

Praising Georgia for its essential contribution to the ISAF mission, NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said while visiting Tbilisi in November that the participation in the Afghan operation and NATO membership are not directly linked [sic].

“The Georgian contribution to our operation in Afghanistan also helps to improve interoperability between Georgian armed forces and NATO armed forces…,” Rasmussen said on November 9.

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White House: Assad Government “Does Not Deserve To Rule Syria”

http://en.trend.az/regions/met/arabicr/1972214.html

Deutsche Presse-Agentur
December 22, 2011

White House warns of more steps on Syria, calls Assad regime to resign

The White House Wednesday called again for Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad and his regime to step down, citing Damascus’ defiance of the Arab League peace initiative, dpa reported.

In a statement, the press secretary also warned that the international community would take “additional steps” to put pressure on the Assad regime if the Arab League peace initiative is not fully implemented.

“The words of the Assad regime have no credibility when they continue to be followed by outrageous and deplorable actions,” the White House press secretary said in a statement.

“They have already flagrantly violated their commitment to end violence and withdraw security forces from residential areas,” the White House said…

The White House conceded that Syrian security forces have also taken casualties, but said most of the violence has come from the Assad regime.

“Time and again, the Assad regime has demonstrated that it does not deserve to rule Syria,” the White House said.

Russia and China continue to block a strong sanctions resolution in the United Nations Security Council…

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U.S. Amphibious Assault Ship, Marines Arrive In Singapore

http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=64517

U.S. Navy
December 21, 2011

USS Makin Island Arrives in Singapore for Port Visit
From USS Makin Island (LHD 8) Public Affairs

SINGAPORE: The amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8), along with the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), arrived in Singapore Dec. 21 for a port visit.

This is the second time Makin Island has visited Singapore during the current deployment. The ship stopped briefly at Changi Naval Base Dec. 13 to offload Marines from the 11th MEU to take part in theater security cooperation exercises.

Makin Island and the 11th MEU departed San Diego Nov. 14 and are currently deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR), supporting the nation’s maritime strategy.

The 7th Fleet AOR includes more than 52 million square miles of the Pacific and Indian oceans, stretching from the international date line to the east coast of Africa, and from the Kuril Islands in the north to the Antarctic in the south.

More than half of the world’s population lives within the 7th Fleet AOR. In addition, more than 80 percent of that population lives within 500 miles of the oceans, which means this is an inherently maritime region.

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Philippines Seeks Second-Hand F-16s From U.S.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\12\22\story_22-12-2011_pg4_3

Reuters
December 21, 2011

Philippines seeks second-hand F-16s from United States

MANILA: The Philippines has asked the United States, its closest security partner, to give it at least a squadron of second-hand F-16 fighters to help upgrade its territorial defences, the foreign secretary said on Wednesday.

The Philippines has no air power to speak of, with its 40-year-old F-5A/Bs fighter jets retired from service several years ago. It has no bombers or surveillance aircraft and still flies Vietnam War-era UH-1H helicopters. “We are just trying to restore our capability as it was before,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario told reporters.

He said he hoped the fighters would be acquired through excess defence articles, a US military aid programme. “I think we are actually behind the curve we have been far more advanced many years ago in terms of military capability,” he said. Del Rosario said acquisition of the F-16 fighters would be among issues to be discussed in strategic talks in Washington in the first quarter of 2012, when Del Rosario and Defence Secretary Voltaire Gazmin meet their US counterparts.

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Kenyan Air Strike Kills At Least 10 Somali Civilians

http://en.apa.az/news.php?id=162273

Azeri Press Agency
December 22, 2011

Kenyan jets ’kill 10’ in south Somalia air raid

Baku: Kenyan fighter jets pounded rebel-held southern Somalia in a strike that Nairobi said on Wednesday had killed Al Qaeda linked fighters but witnesses claimed caused several civilian deaths, APA reports quoting AFP.

Military jets targeted several locations late Tuesday in Hosingow in the Lower Juba region, close to the Kenyan border, local elders said.

“There were at least three military planes that dropped bombs on Hosingow, and one hit a house killing civilians”, said Abdi Isak, a witness.

“There were 11 people, most of them civilians, killed in the raid.”

“One of the bombs struck near a street where people were running their businesses – they dropped bombs and went away without knowing who they have killed,” Ahmed Yusuf, another witness told AFP.

“More than ten have died and 13 others are injured, some of them seriously,” he added.

The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) Wednesday claimed responsibility for the raid, saying it believed it had killed a senior Shebab commander it did not name.

Kenyan military officials vowed last week to carry out further air strikes deeper into rebel-held territory, claiming to have already killed several Shebab fighters in earlier raids.

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Finland: Opposition To NATO Membership Rises To 68 Percent

http://www.helsinkitimes.fi/htimes/domestic-news/politics/17592-finnish-anti-nato-membership-sentiment-on-the-rise-hstns-poll-.html

Finnish News Agency
December 21, 2011

Finnish anti-Nato membership sentiment on the rise – HS/TNS poll       

Finnish opposition to full membership in Nato has risen to about 68 per cent, a high not seen since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, national daily Helsingin Sanomat quoted a poll as indicating on Wednesday.

The paper added that some 16 per cent of respondents wanted Finland to join the military alliance as a full-fledged member.

Commissioned by the paper, market research company Taylor Nelson Sofres interviewed about 1,000 people this month. The margin of error was stated as three percentage points.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Interview: Anti-Syria campaign in geopolitical context

December 22, 2011 Leave a comment

http://rt.com/news/syria-arab-league-intervention-275/

RT
December 20, 2011

Rick Rozoff of Stop NATO, a web-based information campaign against the alliance, points out a recent, dangerous pattern of events in North Africa.

“We have to recall that three countries in North Africa – Tunisia, Egypt and Libya – have experienced regime change so far this year, and that the process seems well under way in Yemen and Syria. So what we are looking at is a pattern. What may initially start as a peaceful protest could end up being quite violent as in the case of Libya, with NATO intervening on behalf of the opposition, and there is a very real prospect of the replication of that model being employed in Syria.”

Video:

http://rt.com/s/swf/player.swf?config=http://rt.com/s/swf/config.xml&provider=http&file=http://rt.com/files/news/syria-arab-league-intervention-275/if83a6a475ee204ac0563604357fe20bb_guest-rozoff-0600.flv&image=http://rt.com/s/img/001.jpg&abouttext=Russia%20Today&aboutlink=http://rt.com/&autostart=false

Categories: Uncategorized

Milton: Without ambition, war, or violence

December 22, 2011 Leave a comment

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

John Milton
From Paradise Regained

miltonportrait2

[Jesus speaking to Satan]

They err who count it glorious to subdue
By Conquest far and wide, to over-run
Large Countries, and in field great Battels win,
Great Cities by assault: what do these Worthies,
But rob and spoil, burn, slaughter, and enslave
Peaceable Nations, neighbouring, or remote,
Made Captive, yet deserving freedom more
Then those thir Conquerours, who leave behind
Nothing but ruin wheresoe’re they rove,
And all the flourishing works of peace destroy,
Then swell with pride, and must be titl’d Gods,
Great Benefactors of mankind, Deliverers,
Worship’t with Temple, Priest and Sacrifice;
One is the Son of Jove, of Mars the other,
Till Conquerour Death discover them scarce men,
Rowling in brutish vices, and deform’d,
Violent or shameful death thir due reward.
But if there be in glory aught of good,
It may be means far different be attain’d
Without ambition, war, or violence;
By deeds of peace, by wisdom eminent,
By patience, temperance.

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO news: December 21, 2011

December 21, 2011 2 comments

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CSTO Warns U.S., NATO Over European Missile System

Israel: U.S. Commander Finalizes Largest-Ever Interceptor Missile Drill

Video And Text: U.S. Targets Russian Base In Syria: Iran, Lebanon Next

NATO Interoperability: Turkey To Train Libyan Army

Afghanistan: Five Polish Troops Killed

NATO Doubles Georgian Troop Deployment To Afghanistan

Broader Middle East: China Blames West For Kazakh Unrest

NATO Pushes Permanent Mission In Baltic Sea

Hungary: U.S.-NATO Strategic Airlift Operation Logs 6,000 Flight Hours

AFRICOM-Trained Djibouti Troops Arrive In Somalia

Troops Out, U.S. Military Clout Remains In Iraq

Iranian MP Criticizes Turkey For Hosting NATO Missile Radar

GCC Marks $5 Billion For Aspirants, Fellow Monarchies Jordan, Morocco

Pentagon Intelligence Secretary Arrives In Azerbaijan

Massive Japan F-35 Deal Increases U.S. Leverage In Asia

Pentagon Applauds Japan F-35 Purchase, Canada Next

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CSTO Warns U.S., NATO Over European Missile System

http://rt.com/politics/csto-nato-russia-medvedev-kazakhstan-257/

RT
December 20, 2011

CSTO talks tough on NATO
Robert Bridge

The member states of the Collective Security Treaty Organization released a strong message warning that European missile defense and unilateral military action may work to destabilize international security and strategic stability around the world.

The harsh statement was released by President Dmitry Medvedev and his counterparts from Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in Moscow on Tuesday.

The leaders made specific mention of the missile defense system that the United States is currently constructing in Eastern Europe, just miles from the Russian border.

“The unilateral deployment of strategic missile defense systems by one state or a group of states without due account for the lawful interests of other countries and without extending legally-binding guarantees to the latter may damage international security and strategic stability in Europe and the world as a whole,” the statement by the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) read.

Moscow has repeatedly warned the US and NATO that the missile defense system, without Russia’s participation in the expansive project that promises to expand technologically and spatially by 2018, will be viewed as a direct security threat.

CSTO, a security alliance that was signed into force in May 1992, made a thinly veiled comment regarding NATO’s military operation in Libya when it mentioned the “increasing tendency for military intervention” in countries that are experiencing domestic crises.

“Since the [collective security] Agreement was signed, international relations have been increasingly characterized by a rise in tensions. Serious concern is being caused by the…tendency for military intervention in critical situations,” the CSTO said on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Collective Security Agreement and the tenth anniversary of the CSTO.

The leaders agreed that internal problems inside of sovereign states are giving particular countries a green light to break international law and exert military pressure.

“We are alarmed by the attempts to bypass the commonly recognized principles of international law by taking advantage of the temporary difficulties of certain countries and peoples,” the document said.

The security alliance then gave special attention to Afghanistan, where NATO has been engaged in a bruising battle against Taliban forces for the past decade.

Of particular concern is “the deteriorating situation in the Afghanistan, which borders with the Organization’s responsibility zone,” it said. “We believe that achieving peace and stability in Afghanistan is one of the main factors of ensuring regional and international security. We are calling for building Afghanistan as a peaceful, prosperous, independent and neutral state.”

Finally, the leaders of the CSTO agreed that the deployment of foreign bases in their territory is only possible with the consent of all CSTO partners.

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said “an accord has been reached to coordinate the deployment, in the territory of the CSTO states, of military infrastructure facilities belonging to non-CSTO states.”

“In order to deploy military bases of a third country in the territory of the CSTO member-states, it is necessary to obtain the official consent of all its members,” said Nazarbayev, who took over the rotating presidency of the Organization from Belarus.

President Medvedev said the decision on the deployment of military bases of third countries in the territory of the CSTO member states only with the consent of CSTO partners was an important measure for consolidating the Organization.

“Reaching these accords is very important for consolidating the position within the CSTO,” the Russian leader said.

I believe it is very important that all the parties have reached consensus, Medvedev added.

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Israel: U.S. Commander Finalizes Largest-Ever Interceptor Missile Drill

http://www.jpost.com/Defense/Article.aspx?id=250249

Jerusalem Post
December 20, 2011

US commander visits Israel to finalize missile drill
By Yaakov Katz

Israel, US to hold largest ever missile defense exercise this spring; thousands of US soldiers will be deployed in Israel

Israel is moving forward with plans to hold the largest-ever missile defense exercise in its history this spring…

Last week, Lt.-Gen. Frank Gorenc, commander of the US’s Third Air Force based in Germany, visited Israel to finalize plans for the upcoming drill, expected to see the deployment of several thousand American soldiers in Israel.

The drill, which is unprecedented in its size, will include the establishment of US command posts in Israel and IDF command posts at EUCOM headquarters in Germany – with the ultimate goal of establishing joint task forces in the event of a large-scale conflict in the Middle East.

The US will also bring its THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) and shipbased Aegis ballistic missile defense systems to Israel to simulate the interception of missile salvos against Israel.

The American systems will work in conjunction with Israel’s missile defense systems – the Arrow, Patriot and Iron Dome.

Gorenc came to Israel for talks with Brig.-Gen. Doron Gavish, commander of the Air Force’s Air Defense Division.

He toured one of the Iron Dome batteries in the South and the Israel Test Bed lab in Holon where the IAF holds its interception simulation exercises.

The IAF is planning to deploy a fourth battery of the Iron Dome counter-rocket system in the coming months and is mulling the possibility of stationing it in Haifa to protect oil refineries located there.

The Defense Ministry has allocated a budget to manufacture an additional three Iron Dome batteries by the end of 2012. IAF operational requirements call for the deployment of about a dozen batteries along Israel’s northern and southern borders.

The IAF is also moving forward with plans to deploy Rafael’s David’s Sling missile defense system, which is designed to defend against medium-range rockets and cruise missiles. Rafael recently completed a series of successful navigation and flight tests of the David’s Sling’s interceptor and plans to hold the first interception test by mid-2012.

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Video And Text: U.S. Targets Russian Base In Syria: Iran, Lebanon Next

http://rt.com/news/russian-syria-opposition-usa-319/

RT
December 21, 2011

Russian navy in Syria: Thorn in US side

Video

The US-based intelligence-gathering firm Stratfor says most of the claims by the Syrian opposition about the seriousness of the country’s crisis are untrue. The company insists protesters are exaggerating, to win support from powers like the US.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, a former Reagan administration official, told RT he believes Washington is doing more than simply backing the rebels diplomatically.

“The United States is bold in stirring up the opposition and in arming it. They used the cover of the Arab Spring and Arab protests as they did in Libya,” he said. “These are not spontaneous protests, and certainly in an authoritarian state like Syria you wouldn’t find people in opposition able to readily supply themselves with arms, with military weapons.”

Besides, Roberts continued, it makes no sense for ordinary Syrians to create an opportunity for the country to be destroyed like Libya, Iraq, or Afghanistan.

“What’s involved here is that the Russians have a naval base in Syria, and the Americans don’t want a Russian naval presence in the Mediterranean. And, just as in Libya, the problem was the Chinese oil investments. If Syria goes, Iran is in the target sites, and Lebanon,” he concluded.

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NATO Interoperability: Turkey To Train Libyan Army

http://en.trend.az/regions/met/turkey/1971948.html

Trend News Agency
December 21, 2011

Turkey to train Libya’s army

Libyan Defense Ministe Osama al-Juwali said Tuesday that Turkey has a very strong army and asked Turkey’s support for military training, the Anadolu Agency reported

Al-Juwali said that Libya wanted the assistance of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in training the Libyan army during the transition period…”We are working to establish a regular army in Libya.”

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Afghanistan: Five Polish Troops Killed

http://www.thenews.pl/1/10/Artykul/80908,Five-Polish-soldiers-die-in-Afghanistan-after-Taliban-attack

Polish Radio
December 21, 2011

Five Polish soldiers die in Afghanistan after Taliban attack

Five soldiers were killed in Afghanistan, Wednesday, in what is the worst single attack on the Polish armed forces in its nine-year mission in the country.

The deaths occurred when a M-ATV all-terrain vehicle drove over a mine in the Rawza district, part of the Ghazni province that Polish forces are responsible for.

The vehicle was “completely destroyed” in the explosion, say the AFP and PAP news agencies.

“The attack took place around 10.30 CET in the Ghazni province, on the main road designated as Highway 1,” says military spokesman Lt. Col. Mirosław Ochyra.

The troops were from the 20th Bartoszycka Mechanized Brigade, based in the north east of Poland.

AFP reports that the Taliban has already claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Polish death toll in Afghanistan is now 36, including 31 soldiers.

Some 532 NATO service members have been killed in Afghanistan this year alone.

At present, 2600 Polish military personnel are serving in Afghanistan, and 400 troops are on reserve in Poland…

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NATO Doubles Georgian Troop Deployment To Afghanistan

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/displayarticle.asp?xfile=data/international/2011/December/international_December807.xml§ion=international&col=

Agence France-Presse
December 20, 2011

Georgia to double troop deployment in Afghanistan

TBILISI: Parliament in Georgia voted Tuesday to almost double the ex-Soviet state’s troop deployment to Afghanistan and make it the largest non-NATO contributor…

Lawmakers approved Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili’s request to send another battalion of soldiers to serve with NATO-led forces in Afghanistan, thus exceeding Australia’s current deployment.

“Georgia will be sending an additional 920 troops,” the head of the parliamentary defence committee Givi Targamadze told AFP.

“As a future NATO member and a responsible member of the international community, Georgia wants to be an active contributor to international security,” he said.

The small Caucasus state, which is bidding for membership of the Western military alliance, currently has 935 soldiers in Afghanistan, according to NATO.

Tbilisi’s NATO aspirations have infuriated powerful neighbour Russia, which fought a brief war with Georgia in 2008.

Saakashvili justified the Afghanistan deployment by saying in September that it gave Georgian troops “invaluable combat experience” and won the country the “solidarity and support” of its Western allies.

Visiting Tbilisi last month, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told Georgia that its contribution was “the best proof of your commitment to our alliance”.

Rasmussen said Georgia had “progressed significantly” in its membership bid, but said that it needed to do more to develop democracy.
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http://en.rian.ru/mlitary_news/20111220/170392867.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
December 20, 2011

Georgian parliament votes to send more troops to Afghanistan

TBILISI: Georgia’s parliament voted on Tuesday in favor of President Mikheil Saakashvili’s plan to send more troops to Afghanistan as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

The initiative was backed by 103 votes out of 150 seats in the Georgian parliament.

Georgia, which actively seeks NATO membership, joined the international U.S.-led coalition fighting the Afghan insurgency in August of 2009.

More than 900 Georgian troops are currently deployed in Afghanistan, including some 750 in the Helmand Province and 175 in the capital, Kabul.

Ten Georgian soldiers have been killed since joining ISAF operations in Afghanistan.

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Broader Middle East: China Blames West For Kazakh Unrest

http://en.trend.az/regions/casia/kazakhstan/1971751.html

Trend News Agency
December 21, 2011

China believes that unrest in Kazakhstan supported by external forces
K. Konirova

-Mr. Zhang noted that some countries outside the region interfere in our affairs under various pretexts, so-called human rights, democracy and so forth from time to time.
“The only result of such care is chaos, the destruction of stability. See what’s happening in the Middle East and North Africa where armed people overthrew a legitimate government. And what did it give to the people, except victims, disorder, poverty and chaos? Nothing!” Mr Zhang said.

Astana: China condemns the riots and is ready to provide necessary assistance to maintain stability in Kazakhstan, the Kazakh edition of Liter published, referring to the Director of Eurasia, Foreign Minister Zhang Hanhuy says.

“We are monitoring the situation in Zhanaozen. We experience heartache when such things happen in our neighbouring country. I want to assure you that we strongly support the efforts of the President and the Government of Kazakhstan to maintain peace and stability in their country.

“We categorically oppose intervention in the internal affairs of Kazakhstan. China is ready to render any assistance – moral, material – if it is necessary,” the Chinese politician said.

Unrest occurred in the city Zhanaozen, which killed 14 people and injured dozens. As many as 46 buildings were burned down, the property of individuals and legal entities were destroyed and cars were burned in the town on December 16. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev declared a state of emergency the following day.

The Chinese politician noted that in order to avoid provocations around the oil topic, which are widely used in Kazakhstan now, Chinese companies engaged in the oil and gas sectors are tightly focused on dealing with socio-economic problems before they occur.

“We have no assets in Zhanaozen, the Chinese joint venture operates in Aktau, but there is a tough directive from the Chinese government on how to run our business strictly down to the slightest nuance and correspond to the law in Kazakhstan and maintain a close relationship with local authorities.

“Kazakh has very good organisation of labour and wages in the Chinese companies. There are many provocations on oil companies in Kazakhstan. There are a lot of rumours, for example that a Chinese company fired a lot of oil industry workers. It is not true and cannot be true,” the director of Eurasia, Foreign Ministry of China said.

Mr. Zhang noted that some countries outside the region interfere in our affairs under various pretexts, so-called human rights, democracy and so forth from time to time.

“The only result of such care is chaos, the destruction of stability. See what’s happening in the Middle East and North Africa where armed people overthrew a legitimate government. And what did it give to the people, except victims, disorder, poverty and chaos? Nothing!” Mr Zhang said.

The Foreign Ministry of China stressed the need to intensify joint opposition to modern challenges on security and stability in the region within existing unions.

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NATO Pushes Permanent Mission In Baltic Sea

http://www.defpro.com/news/details/30841/?SID=a4243647310d79e41f08733907bf849a

Ministry of Defence
Republic of Estonia
December 20, 2011

NATO Deputy Secretary General acknowledged Estonian national defence 

On Thursday evening, Minister of Defence Mart Laar met with NATO Deputy Secretary General Claudio Bisogniero, who was visiting Estonia, and acknowledged the contribution of the members of the Estonian Defence Forces in foreign missions and the decision of Estonia to increase the defence budget to 2% of gross domestic product.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has appointed Deputy Secretary General Bisogniero as the special envoy on smart defence issues…

According to Bisogniero, the current NATO air policing mission of the Baltic States is a great example of smart defence and he expressed hope that this mission will be made permanent in the near future.

Minister of Defence Laar noted that, in fact, the concept of smart defence is nothing new for Estonia. “During the past 15 years, in the development of our national defence, we have continuously found joint cooperation projects with other countries, as it has offered necessary solutions for less money, be it the Baltic Defence College, cooperation between the navies of the Baltic States or the contribution to the NATO Response Force with joint units”, said Laar.

“At the same time, I and Deputy Secretary General Bisogniero agreed that smart defence does not mean that one can start to invest less in national defence – all military capabilities still require proper investments,” added the Minister of Defence.

In addition, Deputy Secretary General Bisogniero acknowledged the significant contribution of the members of the Estonian Defence Forces in foreign missions and set Estonia as an example to other NATO member states for its determined decision to contribute 2% of the gross domestic product to national defence starting from 2012.

“When it comes to the budget increase, it is also important how this 2% will be used – the defence budget must, first and foremost, be directed at the enhancement of real combat power and smart solutions,” said Minister of Defence Laar.

Yesterday evening, the Deputy Secretary General also met with the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence Mikk Maran and gave a speech at the International Centre for Defence Studies.

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Hungary: U.S.-NATO Strategic Airlift Operation Logs 6,000 Flight Hours

http://www.eucom.mil/article/22997/haw-reaches-6-000-flight-hours

U.S. European Command
December 20, 2011

HAW reaches 6,000 flight hours

PAPA AIR BASE, Hungary: After 29 months of operation by the multinational Heavy Airlift Wing team, U.S. Air Force Major Brian Nicosia and his flightcrew passed the 6,000 flight-hours milestone of C-17 Globemaster IIIs assigned to Papa Air Base, Hungary.

The aircraft crew was on its way towards Ankara, Turkey, on a Polish mission on the afternoon of Dec. 9 when they reached the milestone. The latest one thousand flight hours were flown in a three-month time period.

The HAW at Papa AB provides strategic airlift capability through a cooperative effort of 12 nations: Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden and the United States.

Since the delivery of the first aircraft in July 2009, the HAW has now flown more than 6,000 flight-hours delivering more than 27,000 tons of cargo and more than 14,000 passengers in six continents. More information about the HAW is available at http://www.heavyairliftwing.org.

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AFRICOM-Trained Djibouti Troops Arrive In Somalia

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2011-12/21/c_122455218.htm

Xinhua News Agency
December 21, 2011

Djibouti peacekeeping contingent arrives in Somalia

MOGADISHU: Somalia’s northern neighbor Djibouti sent 200 soldiers as part of the African Union peacekeeping mission in the war-torn Horn of African nation, a top government official said on Tuesday.

The tiny horn of African country of Djibouti has previously pledged to send in a battalion of its troops to take part in the AU peacekeeping mission in Somalia known as AMISOM.

“The 200 troops from Djibouti landed in Mogadishu airport and they will take part in the peacekeeping mission of AMISOM,” Abdishakur Sheikh Hassan, Somali interior minister told reporters in Mogadishu.

The troops will join in at least 9,500 AU peacekeepers already in Mogadishu. The troops, from Uganda and Burundi, have been deployed since the start of the mission in 2007.

The spokesman of Al-Shabaab Ali Rageh this week threatened to target the Djiboutian troops if they arrived in Mogadishu, warning the Djibouti government and people that the group’s fighters will attack the Djiboutian soldiers.

The Kenyan government, whose troops are launching joint military offensive with Somali forces in the south of the country, said this month that they will be taking part in the African Union peacekeeping mission.

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Troops Out, U.S. Military Clout Remains In Iraq

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/indepth/2011-12/20/c_131316984.htm

Xinhua News Agency
December 20, 2011

Troops out, U.S. military clout still lingers in Iraq
By Li Hongmei

-Geopolitically, Iraq is caught between the U.S., which retains major military facilities in nearby Qatar and Bahrain, and Iran…Iraq, as a critical piece on the Middle East strategic chess board, will never be readily abandoned by the U.S. “To retreat is to advance”, which is not only a military tactic, but a far-reaching strategy as well.

Headlights on and horns blaring, around 25 American military trucks and tractor trailers carrying Bradley fighting vehicles trundled across the southern Iraq desert from their last base early Sunday morning. Flak jackets and helmets stacked in neat piles, the last convoy of 500 U.S. troops waved goodbye to the almost nine years’ battle front, ready for the final departure for Kuwait and then home.

The bloodletting war has since its “dramatic” opening in March 2003 lasted eight years and nine months, thus far costing over one million Iraqi and 4,500 American lives and left the Middle Eastern country open with wild speculations as to whether it would become a democratic and civil state as the West wished or just fall into shambles economically and politically, or would be grappling with extremism, sectarianism and terrorism.

For U.S. President Barack Obama, the military pullout is the fulfilment of an election promise to bring an end to a shameful legacy left over by his predecessor, the most unpopular war since Vietnam and one that has tainted America’s standing worldwide.

Seventy-five percent of U.S. citizens do not believe the military mission which has cost 1 trillion dollars is worth that “blood and treasure” and are happy to see their forces home.

For Iraqis, the U.S. exit brings some sense of sovereignty. But many fret over the likelihood that their country may slide once again into the kind of sectarian violence that killed many thousands of people at its peak in 2006-2007.

Also, security remains a particular concern, as attacks on local government offices and security installations continue and Iraqis are still being killed by regular bombings and shootings. Besides, extremism and terrorism could make a comeback after the American pullout.

On the domestic front, with the departure of American troops, Iraq’s delicate power-sharing deal for Sunni and Kurdish factions would get much more fragile. Its stagnant economy needs investment in all sectors, from hospitals to infrastructure.

Furthermore, the majority of Iraqi people are struggling to get jobs and access to power in a country whose national grid provides only a few hours of electricity a day despite its vast oil potential. Seven million out of 30 million Iraqis live below the poverty line. And 1.3 million Iraqis are displaced within the country.

Albeit at such a grievous cost, Iraq, however, remains dependent on Washington, as it has no frontier force, navy or airforce. Neither police nor army, now 800,000 strong, can ensure security or provide protection from external attack or meddling.

Meanwhile, there are Iraqi people who are, on the one hand, celebrating the U.S. pull-out, and on the other, believe the U.S. exit is not a withdrawal, but an act on a stage, in that the U.S. military presence and clout would never recede with the withdrawal of its troops.

At the height of the war, more than 170,000 U.S. troops were in Iraq at more than 500 bases. With the U.S. exit from Iraq, there will be around 150 U.S. troops remaining in the country attached to a training and cooperation mission at the huge U.S. embassy on the banks of the Tigris river.

Geopolitically, Iraq is caught between the U.S., which retains major military facilities in nearby Qatar and Bahrain, and Iran, which tries to gain political and economic advantages and seeks to draw the post-war Iraq into its sphere of influence.

The U.S. would by no means leave Iraq for good, although it has pulled back its troops. But, Iraq, as a critical piece on the Middle East strategic chess board, will never be readily abandoned by the U.S. “To retreat is to advance”, which is not only a military tactic, but a far-reaching strategy as well.

At this rate, the U.S. military pullout from Iraq cannot be interpreted as a real vacuum of the U.S. military presence and any shrink in U.S. regional influence.

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Iranian MP Criticizes Turkey For Hosting NATO Missile Radar

http://en.trend.az/regions/iran/1971708.html

Trend News Agency
December 21, 2011

Iranian MP criticizes Turkey for decision to host NATO radar system

Iranian MP Alaeddin Boroujerdi has criticized Turkey for its decision to host an early warning radar as part of NATO’s missile defense system, which is ostensibly meant to counter an alleged ballistic missile threat from Iran, Mehr News reported.

Boroujerdi, who is the chairman of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, made the remarks in a meeting with Turkish Ambassador to Iran Umit Yardim on Tuesday.

Tehran and Ankara should not allow their enemies to cause strains in their friendly relations, Boroujerdi said.

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GCC Marks $5 Billion For Aspirants, Fellow Monarchies Jordan, Morocco

http://en.trend.az/regions/met/arabicr/1971690.html

Trend News Agency
December 20, 2011

Gulf states approve $5 billion aid to Morocco, Jordan

-The Gulf monarchies are seeking closer ties with Arab kingdoms outside the Gulf as part of efforts to contain pro-democracy unrest that is buffeting autocratic ruling elites throughout the Arab world, analysts say. Jordan and Morocco are the only two Arab states outside the Gulf with monarchies.

Energy-exporting Gulf Arab states decided at a summit on Tuesday to set up a $5 billion fund to help development projects in aspiring Gulf Cooperation (GCC) members Morocco and Jordan, a final communique said, Al Ahram reported.

“The higher council agreed to set up a Gulf development fund, which starts with offering support for development projects in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the Kingdom of Morocco, to the value of $2.5 billion each,” the final communique said.

Gulf Arab countries said in September they plan to fund a five-year development aid programme for Morocco and Jordan, and the amount will be set in December.

The Gulf monarchies are seeking closer ties with Arab kingdoms outside the Gulf as part of efforts to contain pro-democracy unrest that is buffeting autocratic ruling elites throughout the Arab world, analysts say. Jordan and Morocco are the only two Arab states outside the Gulf with monarchies.

The United Arab Emirates said last month there was no consensus yet among Gulf Arab states on admitting Jordan and Morocco to the GCC.

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Pentagon Intelligence Secretary Arrives In Azerbaijan

http://en.apa.az/news.php?id=162136

Azeri Press Agency
December 20, 2011

US Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers arrives in Azerbaijan
Viktoria Dementyeva

Baku: US Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers has arrived in Azerbaijan.

US embassy in Azerbaijan told APA that Michael Vickers will hold meetings at the Defense Ministry, meet with senior officials of Azerbaijan. Security issues will be discussed during the meetings.

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Massive Japan F-35 Deal Increases U.S. Leverage In Asia

http://www.forbes.com/fdc/welcome_mjx.shtml

Forbes
December 20, 2011

Japan Fighter Buy Bolsters U.S. Leverage In Asia
Loren Thompson

-Japan’s decision to buy 42 F-35s — and eventually some multiple of that number — increased the likelihood that South Korea will follow suit, enabling the U.S. to maintain a coalition of friendly forces in the region that operate compatible combat systems. Compatibility, known in Pentagon parlance as “interoperability,” enables multi-nation task forces to plan and execute missions more effectively.

…Japan’s government today gave a boost to the Pentagon’s biggest weapons program by selecting the F-35 fighter as its first line of defense in future conflicts. The stealthy, single-engine fighter is being developed in multiple variants to meet the needs of three U.S. military services and nine overseas allies, but this is the first time it has beaten foreign and domestic competitors in a head-to-head competition.

The F-35, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter, was conceived by the Clinton Administration shortly after the Cold War ended as an affordable, exportable tactical aircraft that could help implement the administration’s policies of coalition warfare and burden-sharing…

Japan’s decision to buy 42 F-35s — and eventually some multiple of that number — increased the likelihood that South Korea will follow suit, enabling the U.S. to maintain a coalition of friendly forces in the region that operate compatible combat systems. Compatibility, known in Pentagon parlance as “interoperability,” enables multi-nation task forces to plan and execute missions more effectively. Japanese leaders undoubtedly took that fact into consideration…

…Russia and China both have longstanding disputes with Tokyo over the disposition of nearby islands and maritime resources, which periodically lead to tense exchanges…

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta recently used his first major policy address to underscore America’s security commitment to friends and allies in the Western Pacific…[W]ith both Australia and Japan now firmly onboard the F-35 program, it will be easier for U.S. policymakers to construct an arc of like-minded nations across the Western Pacific that can restrain a rising China’s military pretensions by fielding the most advanced military equipment.

The F-35 is described in U.S. military circles as a “fifth-generation” fighter because it integrates advanced stealth (“low observable”) technology with sophisticated sensors, agile processors, digital datalinks and precision-guided weapons to create a combat system of unprecedented capability…Japanese leaders were willing to pay more for the F-35, because they knew it would be uniquely survivable and lethal…

Japan’s selection of the F-35 therefore is a crucial endorsement of the F-35, and a strong indication that America will continue dominating the tactical aircraft market through mid-century.

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Pentagon Applauds Japan F-35 Purchase, Canada Next

http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=66555

U.S. Department of Defense
December 20, 2011

Pentagon Welcomes Japan’s F-35 Stealth Fighter Purchase
By Karen Parrish

WASHINGTON: A defense spokesman today welcomed the Japanese defense minister’s announcement that his nation has selected the F-35 joint strike fighter for its air force.

Navy Capt. John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters Japan’s purchase of 42 of the stealth aircraft will be “a critical component of strengthening our partnership in the alliance…”

Japan’s decision to buy the F-35s was an extremely important one for the island nation’s security, and the joint strike fighter possesses solid capability, Defense Minister Yasuo Ichikawa told reporters in Tokyo.

“The security environment surrounding future fighter jets is transforming,” Ichikawa said. “The F-35 has capabilities that can firmly respond to the changes.”

Speaking in Canada Nov. 18, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said the joint strike fighter is essential to meeting increasing global security challenges.

“We need to have this [aircraft],” the secretary said. “It’s true for us. It’s true for our partners – not only Canadians, but others – who are going to work with us and participate with us in the development of the F-35.”

Canadian Defense Minister Peter G. MacKay, who spoke alongside Panetta on Nov. 18, said that while all nations must manage budget pressures, Canada is firmly committed to the F-35.

The aircraft’s capability, he added, is “eye-watering.”

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Categories: Uncategorized

John Greenleaf Whittier: If this be Peace, pray what is War?

December 21, 2011 4 comments

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

American writers on peace and against war

John Greenleaf Whittier: The Peace Convention at Brussels

John Greenleaf Whittier: Nobler than the sword’s shall be the sickle’s accolade

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John Greenleaf Whittier
The Peace Of Europe (1852)

“Great peace in Europe! Order reigns
From Tiber’s hills to Danube’s plains!”
So say her kings and priests; so say
The lying prophets of our day.

Go lay to earth a listening ear;
The tramp of measured marches hear;
The rolling of the cannon’s wheel,
The shotted musket’s murderous peal,
The night alarm, the sentry’s call,
The quick-eared spy in hut and hall!
From Polar sea and tropic fen
The dying-groans of exiled men!
The bolted cell, the galley’s chains,
The scaffold smoking with its stains!
Order, the hush of brooding slaves
Peace, in the dungeon-vaults and graves!

O Fisher! of the world-wide net,
With meshes in all waters set,
Whose fabled keys of heaven and hell
Bolt hard the patriot’s prison-cell,
And open wide the banquet-hall,
Where kings and priests hold carnival!
Weak vassal tricked in royal guise,
Boy Kaiser with thy lip of lies;
Base gambler for Napoleon’s crown,
Barnacle on his dead renown!
Thou, Bourbon Neapolitan,
Crowned scandal, loathed of God and man
And thou, fell Spider of the North!
Stretching thy giant feelers forth,
Within whose web the freedom dies
Of nations eaten up like flies!
Speak, Prince and Kaiser, Priest and Czar
If this be Peace, pray what is War?

White Angel of the Lord! unmeet
That soil accursed for thy pure feet.
Never in Slavery’s desert flows
The fountain of thy charmed repose;
No tyrant’s hand thy chaplet weaves
Of lilies and of olive-leaves;
Not with the wicked shalt thou dwell,
Thus saith the Eternal Oracle;
Thy home is with the pure and free!
Stern herald of thy better day,
Before thee, to prepare thy way,
The Baptist Shade of Liberty,
Gray, scarred and hairy-robed, must press
With bleeding feet the wilderness!
Oh that its voice might pierce the ear
Of princes, trembling while they hear
A cry as of the Hebrew seer
Repent! God’s kingdom draweth near!

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO news: December 20, 2011

December 20, 2011 3 comments

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NATO: 20 Years Of Absorbing Warsaw Pact, Building Global Network

Military Chief: U.S. To Train “For All Potential Forms Of Warfare”

U.S. Arms Georgia

Pentagon Chief: U.S. Can Launch “Preemptive” Strike On Iran

U.S., India, Japan To Hold First Trilateral Meeting: China Targeted

Japan: Lockheed Wins Order For 42 F-35 Stealth Fighters

Pakistan To UNSC: NATO Attack Flagrant Violation Of UN Charter

NATO Defiant On Afghan Night Raids

NATO Duty: 2,500 Polish Troops Spend Christmas In Afghanistan

Big Shoulders In Chicago And Kabul

Syria, Iran: Saudi King Calls For Formation Of “Gulf Union”

Iraq: America’s Shameful Victory

Obama Criticizes, Demeans Venezuela, Cuba, Iran

Boosting Bilateral Military Ties: U.S. Amphibious Group In Cambodia

Kazakhstan: Russia Tests Interceptor Missile

CSTO Tightens Rules On NATO States’ Military Bases In Member States

Russian Strategic Bombers Ready To Fly To Latin America

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NATO: 20 Years Of Absorbing Warsaw Pact, Building Global Network

http://www.nato.int/cps/en/SID-86A45E98-E84BEB41/natolive/news_82271.htm

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
December 20, 2011

20 years of engaging partners

-The beginning of the 21st century brought a new set of complex and unpredictable security challenges. In response, NATO took steps to broaden and deepen cooperation with its existing partners, as well as extending its network of partnerships by launching the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative with countries of the Gulf region in 2004 and by developing cooperation with other partners from across the globe.
-Twenty years since the first forum with partners was set up, NATO’s policy of partnership and cooperative security has stood the test of time. Today, partners are deployed alongside Allies in operations from the Balkans to Afghanistan and are working with NATO to address the global threat of terrorism and other emerging security challenges.

NATO created the North Atlantic Cooperation Council as a forum for dialogue with its former Warsaw Pact adversaries on 20 December 1991. This marked the start of the Allies’ policy of cooperative security, now considered one of NATO’s three essential core tasks. Over the past two decades, NATO’s partnerships have continued to evolve, adapting to new security challenges in an unpredictable, fast-changing and increasingly interconnected world.

The sea-change in the security environment brought about by the end of the Cold War opened new opportunities for cooperation. The creation of the NACC was a manifestation of the “hand of friendship” extended at the July 1990 summit meeting in London, where Allied leaders declared their determination to work with all the countries of Europe “to create enduring peace on this continent”.

Such was the pace of change in Europe at the time that the inaugural meeting of the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (NACC) itself witnessed an historic event: as the final communiqué was being agreed, the Soviet ambassador announced that the Soviet Union had dissolved during the meeting and that he now only represented the Russian Federation.

Adapting to the post-Cold War environment

…Military-to-military contacts and cooperation…got off the ground.
However, the post-Cold war period brought its own security challenges. The outbreak of regional conflicts in the former Yugoslavia and parts of the former Soviet Union dissipated early hopes of a peace dividend. The unpredictable security environment called for a cooperative approach to security and to developing the capabilities required for multinational peacekeeping operations…

Many countries – Allies and partners alike – also needed to reshape their military forces and defence structures to make them more affordable and better suited to the security challenges of the post-Cold War environment.
The Allies saw a potential role for NATO to work with partners, both in terms of developing capabilities and supporting reform and transformation.

However, while the NACC was a useful forum for multilateral political dialogue, it lacked the possibility for partners to develop individual relations with NATO…The Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme was launched in 1994 to fill this gap…to develop practical bilateral cooperation with NATO.

Extending the partnership network

The invitation to join the Partnership for Peace was not just offered to NACC partners but also to the traditionally neutral western European countries. This led to the NACC being replaced in 1997 the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) – a more inclusive security forum, better suited for the increasingly sophisticated relationships being developed with PfP partners.

In parallel with launching the Partnership for Peace, the Alliance further extended its network of partnerships by inviting countries on the southern Mediterranean rim to join the Mediterranean Dialogue.

The operational value of these partnerships was soon demonstrated by the active support of many partners…for the…NATO-led peacekeeping forces that were in Bosnia and Herzegovina in December 1995 and Kosovo in June 1999.

The beginning of the 21st century brought a new set of complex and unpredictable security challenges. In response, NATO took steps to broaden and deepen cooperation with its existing partners, as well as extending its network of partnerships by launching the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative with countries of the Gulf region in 2004 and by developing cooperation with other partners from across the globe.

Towards more effective and flexible partnerships

Twenty years since the first forum with partners was set up, NATO’s policy of partnership and cooperative security has stood the test of time. Today, partners are deployed alongside Allies in operations from the Balkans to Afghanistan and are working with NATO to address the global threat of terrorism and other emerging security challenges.

Euro-Atlantic security is best assured through a wide network of partner relationships with countries and organizations around the globe. For this reason, cooperative security is identified as one of NATO’s three essential core tasks in NATO’s new Strategic Concept, adopted at the Lisbon Summit in November 2010.

With the adoption of a new partnerships policy in Berlin in April 2011, dialogue and cooperation with partners is being made more inclusive, flexible, meaningful and strategically oriented. “The newly approved ‘Berlin partnership package’ will allow us to work on more issues, with more partners, in more ways,” says NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

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Military Chief: U.S. To Train “For All Potential Forms Of Warfare”

http://www.stripes.com/news/dempsey-future-to-focus-on-training-for-all-potential-forms-of-warfare-1.163966

Stars and Stripes
December 19, 2011

Dempsey: Future to focus on training ‘for all potential forms of warfare’
By Jennifer H. Svan

-As a global power, “we cannot afford to pick a point on the spectrum of conflict and say ‘that’s what we’re going to be best at,’ ” he said. “We have to be capable of providing options to our leaders to deal with problems across the entire spectrum.”
-The U.S. military…will look at how to integrate new capabilities into training, such as cyber expertise and special forces, the number of which have quadrupled over the last decade or so, according to Dempsey.

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany: A day after the last U.S. troops left Iraq, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said the U.S. military must redirect its focus of the last 10 years from preparing for continuous deployments to training, with an eye toward the growing strategic importance of the Pacific region.

“We have to restore readiness for all potential forms of warfare,” Army Gen. Martin Dempsey told a crowd of more than 400 U.S. military members and civilians at a town hall meeting Monday in Ramstein’s officers’ club.

“If you’re a major or a staff sergeant or younger, you have known nothing in your professional lives except deployments,” Dempsey said. “As we now face the evolution of becoming an armed force that is still deploying…but also now has to go back to understanding how to train and prepare for other kinds of conflicts and other environments, we will transition from being an Army that lives to deploy to an Army that is still deploying but that is also living to train…”

“Train to do what?” asked Air Force Col. Douglas Hammer, 86th Civil Engineer Group commander. “Do you see any major shifts in our country’s military strategy?”

In the last 10 to 15 years, Dempsey said, there’s been “a pretty prominent shift of strategic risk towards the Pacific,” as defined by changing demographics and the region’s rising economic and military power.

That doesn’t mean the U.S. military is “going to pick everybody out of Europe and put them in Japan” or South Korea, he said, but “you will see some shifts.”

Dempsey didn’t say what those shifts might be, but stressed that “as we shift, we’re going to have to think through, how do we maintain the foundation of our traditional strategic relationships,” with the country’s current partners and allies.

As a global power, “we cannot afford to pick a point on the spectrum of conflict and say ‘that’s what we’re going to be best at,’ ” he said. “We have to be capable of providing options to our leaders to deal with problems across the entire spectrum.”

One area future training may focus on is the ability of the U.S. military to operate in areas without fixed bases, unlike the so-called “forward operating bases” in Iraq and Afghanistan, complete with working fiber optics and satellite dishes, for example.

“We’ve got to rekindle our skills to be mobile, to maneuver and to have the ability … to establish architectures that don’t always exist,” Dempsey said.

The U.S. military also will look at how to integrate new capabilities into training, such as cyber expertise and special forces, the number of which have quadrupled over the last decade or so, according to Dempsey.

Dempsey stopped at Ramstein as part of his first United Service Organizations holiday tour since President Barack Obama earlier this year chose the Iraq war veteran to be his top military adviser. Dempsey last week joined Defense Secretary Leon Panetta at a ceremony in Iraq marking the end of the U.S. military mission there.

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U.S. Arms Georgia

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/12/20/62557120.html

Voice of Russia
December 20, 2011

The U.S. arms Georgia
Boris Volkhonsky

The U.S. Senate has approved a bill on military spending in 2012 which, among other things, provides for “normalization” of military relations with Georgia, including the sale of weapons. As has been noted by western observers, the timing of the bill is provocative, coming as U.S.-Russia relations are going through a rough spell and the Kremlin accused Georgia of harboring anti-Russian terrorists on its soil. The U.S. bill (which is yet to be signed by President Obama) calls on other NATO countries “to restore and enhance their sales of defensive articles and services to the Republic of Georgia as part of a broader NATO effort to deepen its defense relationship and cooperation with the Republic of Georgia.”

Almost simultaneously, the U.S. and NATO have noted “significant progress” in Georgia’s NATO accession process, and NATO officially designated Georgia as an “aspirant” country for the first time. This seems to be a good reward for harboring terrorists on its soil.

Defense cooperation between the U.S. and Georgia was somewhat stalled three years ago, after Georgia’s open aggression against South Ossetia and Russia’s involvement in the military activity in the Caucasus in order to repel the aggression. Still, this does not mean that the cooperation was totally blocked. Georgia has always played a crucial role in the U.S. strategic plans in close vicinity to Russia serving as a counterbalance for Russia’s influence in the region. In this context, it is hardly surprising that, among former Soviet republics, Georgia was the first one where the scenario of a “color revolution” was implemented in 2003.

The U.S. has found a very thankful disciple in the new Georgian leadership installed in power as a result of the 2003 “Rose Revolution”. President Saakashvili has used every opportunity to demonstrate that he is ready to be fed from his bosses’ hands and to sacrifice the lives of his own people in order to please them.

It is hardly surprising that one of the reasons for reopening military sales to Georgia was the fact that, being willing to get NATO aspirant’s status, Georgia is among those countries which most actively participate in the U.S. war in Afghanistan. While developed countries one by one withdraw from the Afghan gamble, Saakashvili regime eagerly shows its readiness to serve its Washington patrons.

Also, not surprisingly, one of the staunchest supporters of resuming military ties with Georgia in the U.S. Senate is Senator John McCain, who back in 2008, at the time of Georgia’s aggression against South Ossetia, while himself being a candidate for Presidency, said, “We are all Georgians now.”

What is really causing certain worries in the new move by the U.S. Senate is the part of the bill which presupposes support of Georgia “in providing for the defense of its government, people, and sovereign territory.” South Ossetia’s and Abkhazia’s independence has not yet been recognized by the West, and those states are treated as “parts of sovereign Georgian territory”. Therefore, the bill actually implies that military aid will continue to flow to Georgia even if its leadership gets involved in another risky venture in relations with its neighbors.

But most obviously, Georgia is not the sole addressee of the bill. Its main target is Russia. At this time when the “reset” policy is stalled and the U.S. – Russia relationship is becoming an important topic in the election race, it may be a lucrative option for all contenders to show their “hawkish” stance.

But one thing should be kept in mind. Definitely, the relationship between two sovereign states like the U.S. and Georgia, including in the military field, is purely a bilateral matter. So, Russia has no intension to prevent the two countries from building their relations the way they prefer. But, on the other hand, Russia has a legal right to express its rightful concerns.

And maybe for the U.S. it is a time when they should consider all options. Yes, Georgia is an ally in the Afghan war. But are the several hundred of Georgia’s servicemen stationed there worth spoiling relations with Russia, which is not directly involved in the Afghan gamble, but provides the important “northern” supply route to NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan? Especially now, when the U.S.–Pakistani relationship has reached its historical low, and the “southern” route is totally blocked?

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Pentagon Chief: U.S. Can Launch “Preemptive” Strike On Iran

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/12/20/62549372.html

Interfax/Itar-Tass
December 20, 2011

US mulls preemptive strike on Iran

The US could use a preemptive strike against Iranian nuclear facilities if intelligence reports show that the country is on track to developing a nuclear weapon.

In an interview with CBS, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that Iran would need less than a year to develop a nuclear weapon, but only if “they have a uranium enrichment plant hidden somewhere”.

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U.S., India, Japan To Hold First Trilateral Meeting: China Targeted

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/Americas/India-Japan-US-to-meet-in-Washington-on-Asia-pacific/Article1-784598.aspx

Hindustan Times
December 19, 2011

India, Japan, US to meet in Washington on Asia-Pacific
Yashwant Raj

Washington: India, the US and Japan are holding their first trilateral meeting later in the day in Washington in what is being widely seen as a move to coordinate push back against a common competitor — China.

All three countries are seeking to enlarge their respective roles in the Asia-Pacific region, with the US pushing most aggressively. They are members of the East Asia Summit.

The trilateral meeting is being held at the level of officials only — joint secretaries Jawed Ashraf and Gautam Bambwale from India will be meeting counterparts from the US and Japan.

While the three countries will have a lot of talk about trade, economy and nuclear weapons, experts expect China to be the big issue on the table.

At a Track II discussion on the talks in August – hosted by a think-tank Center for Strategic International Studies – participants agreed China was a shared concern.

“The United States, Japan and India share concerns at the rapid pace of China’s military modernization and operations, the lack of transparency in this military build-up, its assertive posture and questions about China’s intentions with respect to territorial disputes, cyberspace, and outer space,” the CSIS said in a statement on the talks, which were off-record.

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Japan: Lockheed Wins Order For 42 F-35 Stealth Fighters

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-12-19/lockheed-martin-wins-japan-order-for-42-f-35-fighter-planes.html

Bloomberg News
December 19, 2011

Lockheed Martin Wins Japan Order for 42 F-35 Fighter Planes
By Chris Cooper and Sachiko Sakamaki

-Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed has about 700 F-35 orders from the program’s eight overseas partner nations, which also include Italy, Holland, Turkey, Norway, Denmark and Canada. Israel and Singapore also have a lower-level involvement in the plane.
-India is also due to make a decision soon on a contract for 126 fighters. It has shortlisted Eurofighter’s Typhoon and Dassault Aviation SA’s Rafale, after eliminating planes including Lockheed’s F-16 and Boeing’s F-18 Super Hornet.

Lockheed Martin Corp. won a contract from Japan to supply F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, the aircraft’s first win in a competitive tender.

The U.S. contractor will build 42 of the planes for Japan, Defense Minister Yasuo Ichikawa told reporters in Tokyo today. He declined to comment on the cost of the contract. The F-35 was shortlisted against Boeing Co.’s F-18 Super Hornet and Eurofighter GmbH’s Typhoon.

Japan’s F-35s will replace Boeing F-4s, which were last assembled in the country in 1981. Japan had a total of 362 fighter jets as of March 31, according to the defense ministry’s website.

…The U.S. is the plane’s largest customer with more than 2,440 orders in a $382 billion plan that forms the Pentagon’s biggest weapons program.

“It is a big boost for the program politically,” said James Hardy, a London-based analyst at IHS Jane’s DS Forecast. “Many partner nations have committed to buying the F-35, but to have it win an external competition will certainly help take the pressure off.”

Stealth Technology

Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed has about 700 F-35 orders from the program’s eight overseas partner nations, which also include Italy, Holland, Turkey, Norway, Denmark and Canada. Israel and Singapore also have a lower-level involvement in the plane.

The aircraft, which can be used for both spying and combat, costs about $133 million each in today’s dollars, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office. That’s about double the price of the F-18 Super Hornet and the Eurofighter Typhoon.

The F-35 likely won in the Japan contest because of its stealth technology and the nation’s traditional reliance on U.S. military hardware, said Hardy at Jane’s. Eurofighter is a venture between BAE Systems Plc, Finmeccanica SpA and European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co.

India is also due to make a decision soon on a contract for 126 fighters. It has shortlisted Eurofighter’s Typhoon and Dassault Aviation SA’s Rafale, after eliminating planes including Lockheed’s F-16 and Boeing’s F-18 Super Hornet.

-With assistance from Terje Langeland in Tokyo. Editors: Vipin Nair, Terje Langeland

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Pakistan To UNSC: NATO Attack Flagrant Violation Of UN Charter

http://ftpapp.app.com.pk/en_/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=171269&Itemid=2

Associated Press of Pakistan
December 20, 2011

NATO’s attack ‘flagrant violation’ of UN Charter – Pakistan tells UNSC

UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan has told the UN Security Council that last month’s NATO cross-border airstrikes that killed over two dozen Pakistani soldiers was a “transgression of Pakistan’s territorial integrity and a flagrant violation of the UN Charter.” 

“The attack on Pakistan border post on 26 November 2011, which resulted in martyrdom of 25 soldiers, was a grave incident,” Raza Bashir Tarar, acting Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN, told the 15-nation council on Monday. As a result of that attack, Tarar said Pakistan had been constrained to absent itself from the Bonn Conference.

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NATO Defiant On Afghan Night Raids

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\12\20\story_20-12-2011_pg7_27

Daily Times
Agencies
December 20, 2011

NATO defiant on Afghan night raids

* Number of civilians killed in violence rose by 15 percent in the first six months of this year to 1,462

KABUL: NATO said on Monday that US-led forces in Afghanistan will continue night raids, despite renewed objections from Afghan President Hamid Karzai after a pregnant woman was killed during an operation.

Afghan special forces will increasingly take the lead in such operations, spokesman for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Brigadier General Carsten Jacobson said, without giving a precise timetable.

Night-time raids are one of the most contentious issues in Afghanistan. Karzai has led public criticism, saying they endanger lives and harass local communities, and called on international forces to stop entering Afghan homes.

Karzai’s office said in a statement that during a National Security Council (NSC) meeting late Sunday, the president emphasised the need to prevent civilian casualties, saying the casualties and the night raids on homes “have created serious problems.”

Last month, Karzai convened a traditional national assembly known as a Loya Jirga that stopped short of demanding a complete end to night raids.

His latest objection came after the pregnant wife of the provincial anti-drugs chief, Hafeezullah, was killed while he was detained during an operation early Saturday in eastern Paktia province.

“Night operations remain the safest form of operations conducted to take insurgent leaders off the battlefield,” Jacobson said.

“Around 1:00am the NATO-led ISAF forces killed my wife, who was seven months pregnant,” Hafeezullah, who goes by only one name, told AFP.

“They injured two of my sisters, aged 45 and 55, and also injured my two daughters aged 10 and 14. We asked them why they were doing such an operation at my home and they told us they were searching for an insurgent commander.”

…US Special Operations Command’ leader in Afghanistan Admiral William McRaven said last week that about 2,800 raids were carried out against insurgent targets over the past year.

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NATO Duty: 2,500 Polish Troops Spend Christmas In Afghanistan

http://www.thenews.pl/1/9/Artykul/80507,President-wishes-armed-forces-Merry-Christmas-

Polish Radio
December 14, 2011

President wishes armed forces Merry Christmas

President Bronislaw Komorowski met with representatives of Poland’s armed forces…ahead of the approaching Christmas holidays.

President Komorowski shared the traditional Christmas ‘host’ or wafer in Warsaw today with soldiers and told them that they were especially appreciated at this time of year in serving the nation at home and abroad.

Komorowski, accompanied by Defence Minister Tomasz Siemoniak stressed that Polish soldeirs, in Afghanistan and elsewhere are “ready to solve the toughest problems in the world,” and that Poland’s armed forces are the nation’s “showcase” abroad.

Poland currently has 2,500 troops stationed in Afghanistan.

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Big Shoulders In Chicago And Kabul

http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/12/19/big-shoulders-in-chicago-and-kabul/

CounterPunch
December 19, 2011

The Leaders Who Push the Buttons Won’t See the Costs
Big Shoulders in Chicago and Kabul
by Kathy Kelly

Kabul: NATO/G8 meetings are scheduled to take place from May 19-21 next year in Chicago. Plans are ramping up everywhere. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and NATO Secretary General Anders Rasmussen exulted over bringing NATO and the G8 to Chicago, and Clinton promised to call Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel and convey Rasmussen’s glowing opinion that Chicago, built upon diversity and determination, shares values that underpin NATO.

Activists on the ground, envisioning a different kind of Chicago, and bracing themselves for the crushing, militarized police response that in recent years has consistently met protesters at these events, can only hope that this is not the case.

NATO leaders continue to prepare for conflict further and further from the North Atlantic shores.

Chicagoan Rick Rozoff, who organizes the Stop NATO newslist, notes that in December 2011, Romania’s Senate ratified an agreement with the U.S. to station 24 Standard Missile-3 interceptors in Romania, located immediately across the Black Sea from Russia. A comparable deployment is planned for Poland, supplementing the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles already present there. A missile defense radar facility will be placed in Turkey. And there is talk of converting dozens if not scores of warships to Lockheed Martin’s Aegis Combat System, equipping each ship with radar and missiles systems to project American power in what NATO has called the “European Phased Adaptive Approach.”. NATO is forging ahead on all fronts, although civilian leaders in Europe, in light of the region’s growing economic crisis, could much better afford a retirement party for NATO than the programs to be ratified at the weapon-fest planned for Chicago.

Hillary Clinton, President Obama, former war-hawk congressman Emanuel and other undisputed militarists in government seem to see Chicago as a city obsessed with power, a city determined above all to be tough and strong.

Carl Sandburg famously depicted Chicago as the city of big shoulders, and it often seems too easy for political leaders and generals to confuse the strength involved in shouldering shared burdens with the very different kind of “toughness” that drives a fist or a nightstick. Sandberg perhaps made this distinction clear in a very different poem:

BUTTONS

I have been watching the war map slammed up for
advertising in front of the newspaper office.
Buttons – red and yellow buttons – blue and black buttons –
are shoved back and forth across the map. A laughing young man, sunny with freckles,
Climbs a ladder, yells a joke to somebody in the crowd,
And then fixes a yellow button one inch west
And follows the yellow button with a black button one
inch west.

(Ten thousand men and boys twist on their bodies in
a red soak along a river edge,
Gasping of wounds, calling for water, some rattling
death in their throats.)

Who would guess what it cost to move two buttons one
inch on the war map here in front of the newspaper
office where the freckle-faced young man is laughing
to us?

–Carl Sandburg

The NATO leaders who will be pushing the expensive buttons being purchased now, deploying weapons all over the world, won’t see the cost. They won’t see what it cost families in the Zhare district of Afghanistan’s Kandahar province on November 23 when a NATO plane mistook six of their children, who will forever now be aged from four to twelve years old, for insurgents. Abdul Samad, an uncle of four of the children, said his relatives were working in fields near their village when the aircraft attacked without warning.

I’m writing now from Kabul, Afghanistan. Ken Hannaford-Ricardi and Farah Mokhtareizadeh are here with me and we’ve just been joined by our friend Maya Evans from Voices in the Wilderness UK. We feel grateful to continue building relationships with the dedicated young activists of Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers, who are moving toward forming delegations themselves by traveling to other provinces in Afghanistan to meet with youth groups bearing up under the heavy burdens of military occupation.

They want to bring peace out of imperial chaos. Recently, they studied film footage about Truth and Reconciliation commissions in South Africa and segments of “A Force More Powerful,” documentary film footage about nonviolent efforts in Gandhi’s India and in U.S. cities where the civil rights movement struggled to end segregation. These youth exemplify real determination and diversity, of the sort Chicago is praised for, with an earnest desire to deepen both qualities in the service of peace. Every day they bear the burdens that will come a little closer to Chicago in May when the weight of an increasingly militarized domestic government comes down on anyone attempting to protest global fiscal austerity and the global military regime it pays for.

Yesterday, they welcomed a new friend who lives in a neighboring province and speaks a different language to join them and help them learn his language. Asked about NATO/ISAF night raids and other attacks that have occurred in his area, he said that families that have been attacked feel intense anger, but even more so people say they want peace. “However, international forces have made people feel less secure,” he added, “It’s unfortunate that internationals hear stories about Afghans being wild people and think that more civilized outsiders are trying to build the country. People here are suffering because of destruction caused by outsiders.”

My three companions and I (three of us are from the U.S. and one from the UK), feel deeply moved as we witness these young people building up their big shoulders to bear heavy burdens. We felt similar appreciation and gratitude when witnessing the efforts of the Occupy movement which, in just three months. has reaffirmed international capacity for shouldering shared burdens, living simply and choosing inventive community over rigid systems of dominance.

Hillary Clinton doesn’t seem to understand these things, but she told General Rasmussen that she hopes many people will come to Chicago for the NATO and G8 summits, and so do I. I’m looking forward to people from Occupy Everywhere coming to Chicago.

Many friends in Chicago are getting ready to meet the concerted state apparatus, so determined to run smoothly in its blind mechanical course, with simple human power. It’s going to involve tremendous work, but this is what life means everywhere now. The City of Big Shoulders earned its name before the period of modern U.S. Empire, the decades of artificial prosperity secured from above and fueled from abroad, which this upcoming summit will attempt to manage in its decline. I think that underneath the hype, underneath the intoxicating flow of wealth seized from abroad, the plastic, mechanized, isolated comforts of the boom, Chicago well understands the real meaning of strength and determination. We’ll need to remember a force more powerful than violence in the time that’s coming, a strength that doesn’t turn us against our neighbors and isn’t handed down by the powerful, a courage that I see in the faces of the youth here in Kabul, confidently advertising it as its own reward.

Kathy Kelly (Kathy@vcnv.org) co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence (www.vcnv.org). She is the author of Other Lands Have Dreams and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, forthcoming from AK Press. She is in Kabul with a delegation of Voices activists till January 5th. They are guests of the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers (journeytosmile.com)

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Syria, Iran: Saudi King Calls For Formation Of “Gulf Union”

http://en.apa.az/news.php?id=162083

Azeri Press Agency
December 19, 2011

Saudi king calls for formation of Gulf union

-The GCC – comprised of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates – was formed in 1981 as a security alliance to counter post-revolution Iran.

Baku: Saudi King Abdullah called for the formation of a Gulf union in response to growing threats, as rulers of the wealthy Arab GCC met on Monday against a backdrop of regional turmoil and fears over Iran, APA reports quoting AFP.

“I ask today that we move from a phase of cooperation to a phase of union within a single entity,” said the Saudi king, addressing his counterparts at the opening of the annual Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Riyadh.

He did not elaborate on what form such a union might take, or any proposed steps to create it.

“You must realise that our security and stability are threatened and we need to live up to our responsibilities,” said King Abdullah.

“Our summit opens in the shadow of challenges that require vigilance and a united stance,” he added.

The GCC summit comes as the embattled regime of Syria…agreed to an Arab League proposal to send observers to the country.

In a clear reference to Syria, the Saudi king urged the Gulf bloc to help their “Arab brothers so that the blood stops flowing and to guard against the risks of foreign intervention.”

In addition to Syria, the Gulf leaders will discuss the situation in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, where popular uprisings have already unseated entrenched dictators this year.

GCC member Bahrain was also hit by a month of protests that it crushed in March, while demonstrators in neighbouring Yemen forced long-time President Ali Abdullah Saleh to sign a power transfer deal.

In Kuwait, the cabinet resigned last month over allegations of corruption and a new government was sworn in on Wednesday with only minor changes to the previous government.

They are also expected to discuss their fears of the growing influence of arch-foe Iran after the US pullout from Iraq.

Their relations with the Shiite-dominated Islamic republic have soured following the unrest in Bahrain and Syria…

The GCC – comprised of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates – was formed in 1981 as a security alliance to counter post-revolution Iran.

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Iraq: America’s Shameful Victory

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/indepth/2011-12/19/c_131314579.htm

China Daily
December 19, 2011

Shameful Iraq pullout

           
BEIJING: More than eight years and seven months after then US president George W. Bush posed for photographs aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln with the banner “Mission Accomplished” in the background, America’s war in Iraq is finally, officially, coming to an end. US president Barack Obama has heralded it “a moment of success”, which it probably is, for the United States and for him.

It has replaced a disobedient former head of state and his regime with a system of its own design, and President Obama has received a boost to his re-election hopes by fulfilling a core campaign promise at a politically opportune moment. There has already been an immediate rebound in his approval ratings.

While conceding, “Iraq is not a perfect place,” the US president told returning troops last Thursday at Fort Bragg in North Carolina that “we’re leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq”.

A sentiment echoed by the top US commander in Iraq, Lloyd Austin, who said the Iraqi people now have an unprecedented opportunity to live in a relatively peaceful environment.

So the country’s bloodiest, and costliest, military offensive since Vietnam, is being carefully portrayed as a victory.

It is true Saddam Hussein was a dictator and the stability under the heavy-handed strongman smelt of blood; but make no mistake, Iraq was a sovereign, self-reliant, and independent country.

On the other hand, the peaceful environment general Austin talked about remains as illusive and distant as it has since the US invasion of Iraq on March 20, 2003.

US military sources said that there were 500 to 750 attacks a month this year, including bombings, rocket attacks and assassinations. That is not a peaceful environment.

To many Iraqis the US invasion has resulted in anything but peace.

“The Americans did not leave modern schools or big factories behind them,” Mariam Khazim, a Shiite resident of Sadr City, told the Associated Press. “Instead, they left thousands of widows and orphans. The Americans did not leave a free people and country behind them. In fact, they left a ruined country and a divided nation.”

“This December will be a time to reflect on all that we have been through in this war,” said Obama. And there is indeed plenty to reflect on. But, besides the human and financial cost to the US, it is also time to reflect on what the Iraqis have been through all these years.

Besides the 100,000, mostly civilian, Iraqi deaths, the occupation has taken a severe toll on the country. Americans are not the sole victims of the “unseen wounds of war”.

And does anyone remember this was a war ostensibly waged to eliminate Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction”, that proved to be non-existent.

It is not only shameful, it is dangerous if the discourse about the war continues skirting around the legitimacy issue.

The tide of war will not recede if a country can impose a war on another and shatter it without having to worry about the consequences.

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Obama Criticizes, Demeans Venezuela, Cuba, Iran

http://en.trend.az/regions/iran/1971152.html

Deutsche Presse-Agentur
December 20, 2011

Obama slams Venezuela, Iran, Cuba

US President Barack Obama slammed the government of Venezuela and its allies Iran and Cuba in a written interview that the Venezuelan daily El Universal published Monday, dpa reported.

“It’s unfortunate that the Venezuelan government is often more interested in revisiting the ideological battles of the past than looking forward to the future that we could build for our citizens,” Obama said.

He criticized the government of left-wing populist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez – an outspoken critic of the United States, whom he often refers to as “the empire” – for its foreign policies. In particular, Chavez has cultivated a close relationship with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

“The United States does not pretend to dictate (Venezuela’s) foreign affairs. I would argue, however, that the Venezuelan government’s ties to Iran and Cuba have not served the interests of Venezuela or the Venezuelan people,” he said.

Obama replied in writing to a questionnaire that was sent to him by El Universal. In it, he also stressed that “the United States is going to continue supporting the basic rights of the Cuban people.”

“Cuba’s future must be freely determined by the Cuban people. Sadly, that has not been the case for decades, and it is not the case today,” Obama wrote.

“And, as I said, we’re concerned about the government’s actions which have restricted the universal rights of the Venezuelan people, threatened basic democratic values, and failed to contribute to the security in the region,” he added.

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Boosting Bilateral Military Ties: U.S. Amphibious Group In Cambodia

http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=64468

U.S. Navy
December 18, 2011

USS Pearl Harbor Hosts Reception to Close Theater Security Cooperation Exercises
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Dominique Pineiro, Amphibious Squadron 5 Public Affairs

SIHANOUKVILLE, Cambodia: Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) Sailors and Marines attended a reception with senior military and civilian officials from the U.S., Cambodia and other nations aboard amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52), Dec. 17.

The event celebrated the cooperation between the two countries through community service events and various theater security cooperation exercises, which started Dec. 12.

“No mission is more worthwhile or more satisfying then the one that works to build defense relationships,” said Cmdr. Homer Denius, USS Pearl Harbor commanding officer. “Over the past five days we have enjoyed a professional military two-way exchange…”

During the reception, Denius welcomed the commander of the Royal Cambodian Navy, Vice Adm. Tea Vinh, as an honored guest.

Vinh addressed Sailors and Marines, and spoke about the importance of strengthening military ties.

“I strongly believe that the visit from USS New Orleans and USS Pearl Harbor has brought magnificent advantages for both the Cambodian military and the U.S.,” said Vinh.

Pearl Harbor, New Orleans and amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8), along with the embarked 11th MEU, make up the Makin Island ARG.

The ARG deployed from San Diego Nov. 14, and is currently supporting the nation’s maritime strategy in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR).

The 7th Fleet AOR includes more than 52 million square miles of the Pacific and Indian oceans, stretching from the international date line to the east coast of Africa, and from the Kuril Islands in the north to the Antarctic in the south.

More than half of the world’s population lives within the 7th Fleet AOR. In addition, more than 80 percent of that population lives within 500 miles of the oceans, which means this is an inherently maritime region.

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Kazakhstan: Russia Tests Interceptor Missile

http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c32/302177.html

Itar-Tass
December 20, 2011

Russia successfully test-fires interceptor missile

MOSCOW: Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces (RVSN) at the Sary-Shagan range, together with military-space defense (VKO) troops and industry representatives successfully test-fired a short-range interceptor missile at 12:01, Moscow time, on Tuesday, the press service of the Defense Ministry told Itar-Tass.

“The purpose of the launch is to confirm the tactical and technical performance characteristics of interceptor missiles of the missile defense system, which are in service with Russia’s military-space defense,” the Defense Ministry said.

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http://www.interfax.com/newsinf.asp?pg=2&id=296765

Interfax
December 20, 2011

Russia makes successful antimissile test – Defense Ministry

MOSCOW: Units of the Strategic Rocket Force and Air and Space Defense Force on Tuesday successfully tested a short-range antimissile of the Russian missile defense system, Defense Ministry spokesman told Interfax-AVN.

“The purpose of the launch made at 12:01 p.m. Moscow time at Sary-Shagan firing range (Kazakhstan) was to confirm the performance characteristics of the antimissiles belonging to the arsenal of the Air and Space Defense Force,” the spokesman said.

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http://en.rian.ru/mlitary_news/20111220/170388329.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
December 20, 2011

Russia tests domestic interceptor missile

Moscow: Russia carried out a successful test of a short-range interceptor missile on Tuesday as a part of its effort to develop a domestic missile defense shield, the Defense Ministry said.

The missile was launched from the Sary-Shagan (Kazakhstan) shooting range, the Ministry’s spokesperson said.

The goal of the test was to confirm the technical characteristics of the missile used by the Defense Ministry’s Space Command.

Russia’s Defense Ministry uploaded a video of the missile’s launch on its web site.

The test comes a month after the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said that if Moscow’s participation in the European missile defense project fails, Russia would deploy Iskander tactical missiles in the Kaliningrad Region and halt its disarmament and arms control efforts, including participation in the new strategic arms reduction treaty with the United States.

Russia-NATO missile defense talks are close to deadlock as Moscow is seeking written, legally binding guarantees that the U.S.-backed European missile defense program will not be directed against it. Washington, however, refuses to provide the guarantees, saying the shield is directed against threats from Iran and North Korea.

Russia and NATO agreed to cooperate on European missile defense system at the Lisbon Summit in November 2010. Medvedev proposed a joint system with full-scale interoperability to ensure that the alliance’s system will not be directed against Moscow. The military bloc, however, favors two independent systems which exchange information.

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CSTO Tightens Rules On NATO States’ Military Bases In Member States

http://en.rian.ru/world/20111220/170389283.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
December 20, 2011

CSTO to tighten rules on foreign bases in member states

MOSCOW: Countries outside the Collective Security Treaty Organization will only be able to establish bases on the territory of a member state with the consent of all members, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said on Tuesday after a CSTO meeting.

The CSTO is a regional security organization whose seven member states are Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
The only foreign base in the CSTO currently is the U.S. airbase at Manas in Kyrgyzstan.

“Now, in order to accommodate extra-regional military structures on the territory of the CSTO, it will be necessary to obtain official approval of all [CSTO] members,” Nazarbayev said.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev added that “all parties reached a mutual agreement” on the decision.

The U.S. airbase at Manas was set up near the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek in 2001 in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in America to support military operations in Afghanistan. The facility remains key to supply operations for the ongoing military campaign there.

In February 2009 the Kyrgyz Parliament voted to close the base after the two governments failed to agree on the rent the U.S. pays. Kyrgyzstan’s president-elect Almazbek Atambayev has repeatedly said he plans to close down the U.S. base.

“I don’t think the base at Manas guarantees the security of our country. I would not want to see another country carry out a retaliatory strike against the base. A civil airport is a civilian site and should remain so,” he said in November 2011. Kyrgyzstan will uphold all existing agreements, he said, but when the current Manas base agreement expires in 2014, the American facility there should go.

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Russian Strategic Bombers Ready To Fly To Latin America

http://www.interfax.com/newsinf.asp?pg=5&id=296690

Interfax-Military
December 20, 2011

Russian strategic bombers ready to again fly to Latin America if necessary – commander

MOSCOW: The crews operating strategic bombers of Russia’s Long-Range Aviation are able to conduct flights to Venezuela and other parts of the world, should the country’s leadership set such a task, Long-Range Aviation Commander Maj. Gen. Anatoly Zhikharev told journalists on Tuesday.

“If such a task is given, Long-Range Aviation crews will be able to fulfill it,” he said after being asked about possible plans to repeat strategic bombers’ flights similar to the one performed to Venezuela in September 2008.

In September 2008, Russia’s Long-Range Aviation was ordered to re-deploy two Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bombers, Zhikharev said.

“We both flew over this territory and conducted flights inside Venezuela, in the Caribbean district, in the direction of Brazil,” the commander said.

The flight back home continued for 19 hours, including one stopover in Engels, in Russia’s Saratov region, and one refueling operation, he said.

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Categories: Uncategorized

William James: The Philippine Tangle

December 20, 2011 Leave a comment

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

American writers on peace and against war

William James: The Moral Equivalent of War

William Dean Howells: Spanish Prisoners of War

Edgar Lee Masters: The Philippine Conquest

Leo Tolstoy: Two Wars and Carthago Delenda Est

Mark Twain: To the Person Sitting in Darkness

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William James
Member of the Anti-Imperialist League
The Philippine Tangle (1899)

*****

Why, then, do we go on? First, the war fever; and then the pride which always refuses to back down when under fire. But these are passions that interfere with the reasonable settlement of any affair; and in this affair we have to deal with a factor altogether peculiar with our belief, namely, in a national destiny which must be “big” at any cost, and which for some inscrutable reason it has become infamous for us to disbelieve in or refuse. We are to be missionaries of civilization, and to bear the white man’s burden, painful as it often is. We must sow our ideals, plant our order, impose our God. The individual lives are nothing. Our duty and our destiny call, and civilization must go on.

The issue is perfectly plain at last. We are cold-bloodedly, wantonly and abominably destroying the soul of a people who never did us an atom of harm in their lives. It is bald, brutal piracy, impossible to dish up any longer in the cold pot-grease of President McKinley’s cant…

The impotence of the private individual, with imperialism under full headway as it is, is deplorable indeed. But every American has a voice or a pen, and may use it. So, impelled by my own sense of duty, I write these present words. One by one we shall creep from cover, and the opposition will organize itself.

*****

An observer who should judge solely by the sort of evidence which the newspapers present might easily suppose that the American people felt little concern about the performances of our Government in the Philippine Islands, and were practically indifferent to their moral aspects. The cannon of our gunboats at Manila and the ratification of the treaty have sent even the most vehement anti-imperialist journals temporarily to cover, and the bugbear of copperheadism has reduced the freest tongues for a while to silence. The excitement of battle, this time as always, has produced its cowing and disorganizing effect upon the opposition.

But since then, Executive and all, we have been swept away by the overmastering flood. And now what it has swept us into is an adventure that in sober seriousness and definite English speech must be described as literally piratical. Our treatment of the Aguinaldo movement at Manila and at Iloilo is piracy positive and absolute, and the American people appear as pirates pure and simple, as day by day the real facts of the situation are coming to the light.

What was only vaguely apprehended is now clear with a definiteness that is startling indeed. Here was a people towards whom we felt no ill-will, against whom we had not even a slanderous rumor to bring; a people for whose tenacious struggle against their Spanish oppressors we have for years past spoken (so far as we spoke of them at all) with nothing but admiration and sympathy. Here was a leader who, as the Spanish lies about him, on which we were fed so long, drop off, and as the truth gets more and more known, appears as an exceptionally fine specimen of the patriot and national hero; not only daring, but honest; not only a fighter, but a governor and organizer of extraordinary power. Here were the precious beginnings of an indigenous national life, with which, if we had any responsibilities to these islands at all, it was our first duty to have squared ourselves. Aguinaldo’s movement was, and evidently deserved to be, an ideal popular movement, which as far as it had had time to exist was showing itself “fit” to survive and likely to become a healthy piece of national self-development. It was all we had to build on, at any rate, so far – if we had any desire not to succeed to the Spaniards’ inheritance of native execration.

And what did our Administration do? So far as the facts have leaked out, it issued instructions to the commanders on the ground simply to freeze Aguinaldo out, as a dangerous rival with whom all compromising entanglement was sedulously to be avoided by the great Yankee business concern. We were not to “recognize” him, we were to deny him all account of our intentions; and in general to refuse any account of our intentions to anybody, except to declare in abstract terms their “benevolence,” until the inhabitants, without a pledge of any sort from US, should turn over their country into our hands. Our President’s bouffe-proclamation was the only thing vouchsafed: “We are here for your own good; therefore unconditionally surrender to our tender mercies, or we’ll blow you into kingdom come.”

It is horrible, simply horrible. Surely there cannot be many born and bred Americans who, when they look at the bare fact of what we are doing, the fact taken all by itself, do not feel this, and do not blush with burning shame at the unspeakable meanness and ignominy of the trick?

Why, then, do we go on? First, the war fever; and then the pride which always refuses to back down when under fire. But these are passions that interfere with the reasonable settlement of any affair; and in this affair we have to deal with a factor altogether peculiar with our belief, namely, in a national destiny which must be “big” at any cost, and which for some inscrutable reason it has become infamous for us to disbelieve in or refuse. We are to be missionaries of civilization, and to bear the white man’s burden, painful as it often is. We must sow our ideals, plant our order, impose our God. The individual lives are nothing. Our duty and our destiny call, and civilization must go on.

Could there be a more damning indictment of that whole bloated idol termed “modern civilization” than this amounts to? Civilization is, then, the big, hollow, resounding, corrupting, sophisticating, confusing torrent of mere brutal momentum and irrationality that brings forth fruits like this! It is safe to say that one Christian missionary, whether primitive, Protestant or Catholic, of the original missionary type, one Buddhist or Mohammedan of a genuine saintly sort, one ethical reformer or philanthropist, or one disciple of Tolstoi would do more real good in these islands than our whole army and navy can possibly effect with our whole civilization at their back. He could build up realities, in however small a degree; we can only destroy the inner realities; and indeed destroy in a year more of them than a generation can make good.

It is by their moral fruits exclusively that these benighted brown people, “half-devil and half-child” as they are, are condemned to judge a civilization. Ours is already execrated by them forever for its hideous fruits.

Shall it not in so far forth be execrated by ourselves? Shall the unsophisticated verdict upon its hideousness which the plain moral sense pronounces avail nothing to stem the torrent of mere empty “bigness” in our destiny, before which it is said we must all knock under, swallowing our higher sentiments with a gulp? The issue is perfectly plain at last. We are cold-bloodedly, wantonly and abominably destroying the soul of a people who never did us an atom of harm in their lives. It is bald, brutal piracy, impossible to dish up any longer in the cold pot-grease of President McKinley’s cant at the recent Boston banquet – surely as shamefully evasive a speech, considering the right of the public to know definite facts, as can often have fallen even from a professional politician’s lips. The worst of our imperialists is that they do not themselves know where sincerity ends and insincerity begins. Their state of consciousness is so new, so mixed of primitively human passions and, in political circles, of calculations that are anything but primitively human; so at variance, moreover, with their former mental habits – and so empty of definite data and contents; that they face various ways at once, and their portraits should be taken with a squint. One reads the President’s speech with a strange feeling – as if the very words were squinting on the page.

The impotence of the private individual, with imperialism under full headway as it is, is deplorable indeed. But every American has a voice or a pen, and may use it. So, impelled by my own sense of duty, I write these present words. One by one we shall creep from cover, and the opposition will organize itself. If the Filipinos hold out long enough, there is a good chance (the canting game being already pretty well played out, and the piracy having to show itself henceforward naked) of the older American beliefs and sentiments coming to their rights again, and of the Administration being terrified into a conciliatory policy towards the native government.

The programme for the opposition should, it seems to me, be radical. The infamy and iniquity of a war of conquest must stop. A “protectorate,” of course, if they will have it, though after this they would probably rather welcome any European Power; and as regards the inner state of the island, freedom, “fit” or “unfit;” that is, home rule without humbugging phrases, and whatever anarchy may go with it until the Filipinos learn from each other, not from us, how to govern themselves. Mr. Adams’s programme – which anyone may have by writing to Mr. Erving Winslow, Anti-Imperialist League, Washington, D.C. – seems to contain the only hopeful key to the situation. Until the opposition newspapers seriously begin, and the mass meetings are held, let every American who still wishes his country to possess its ancient soul – soul a thousand times more dear than ever, now that it seems in danger of perdition – do what little he can in the way of open speech and writing, and above all let him give his representatives and senators in Washington a positive piece of his mind.

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO news: December 19, 2011

December 19, 2011 2 comments

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Black Sea: New Flash Point For U.S./NATO Versus Russia Conflicts

Romania: U.S. Marines Plan Six-Month Mission In Eastern Europe

Romania: Pentagon Military Outpost On The Black Sea

Romania Again Offers Troops For Global NATO, EU Missions

U.S. Senate Bill Adds Arms For Georgia

American Ambassador Hails Senate Decision To Re-Arm Georgia

Afghan Provincial Council Closes To Protest Deadly NATO Raid

NATO To Continue Deadly Night Raids In Afghanistan

Vaclav Havel: “Bombs Combat Evil”

After Libya War, NATO Focuses On Cyberwar

Japan To Acquire Joint Strike Fighters Against China

Australia Trains Marines For Bigger Global Missions

Kosovo: Germany’s Merkel Meets Thaci, Visits Troops

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Black Sea: New Flash Point For U.S./NATO Versus Russia Conflicts

http://www.todayszaman.com/news-265986-new-centers-of-crisis-in-black-sea-americas-security-that-extends-to-caucasus-by-emrah-usta*.html

Today’s Zaman
December 18, 2011

New centers of crisis in Black Sea: America’s security that extends to Caucasus
by Emrah Usta*

[Edited]

-The creation of the GUAM Organization for Democracy and Economic Development (GUAM = Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova) is the outcome of such initiatives by the White House. This organization, established in 1997, seeks to consolidate the presence of NATO in the Black Sea and to restrict the sphere of influence of Russia…Within the framework of the recent policies of the US and NATO in the Black Sea, the demand for the expansion of NATO’s Operation Active Endeavor (OAE) from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea region attracted a reaction from and opposition by Russia and Turkey…The region is also important because of the eagerness of NATO in the Caucasus and its closeness to the centers of crisis in Ossetia, Chechnya, Dagestan and the Balkans.

The United States has been able to penetrate into economic, cultural and political spheres as well as hold military operations in some places.

We have witnessed such examples of military action in recent times in Southeast Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

The Black Sea basin, unlike other areas of conflict, allows less frequent interventions from external forces because of its relative isolation. The remarks and ambitions expressed by the US and the EU over the basin out of political considerations raise suspicions in Turkey and Russia.

The Black Sea basin is attracting the growing attention of global actors because of international trade, its service and probable contribution to energy lines and transportation routes through the Caucasus region, the significance for Russian geopolitics as well as military and commercial ports. The use of Black Sea ports by Russia for energy transportation to Western countries and its service for the transportation of the natural gas reserves of Asian and Caucasus states to European markets are some other factors to cite that make the basin extremely important.

The Black Sea is the most reasonable and shortest route for countries in the Caucasus region to extend the trans-gas network between Azerbaijan and Georgia to Western markets. Current energy hubs in the region, transportation lines and future technological investments will make the region even more important.

The independence of the countries in the region after the collapse of the Soviet Union has created an area of interaction between the eastern and western shores of the Black Sea and contributed to regional trade. The ports at Sevastopol, Crimea, Konstanz [Constanta], Varna, Poti, Batumi, Sohum [Sukhumi] and Trabzon are part of the energy-trans area and included in the current area of interaction that also covers naval fleets.

The most recent crisis in this area broke out in 2008 when Russia held a military operation in South Ossetia, a region of Georgia, opening the role of the Black Sea to discussion. A probable conflict between Russia and the US over the Black Sea is possible considering that Russia has to draft a new doctrine vis-à-vis the newly independent states.

Missile shield radar stationed in Kürecik

Even though the shift of the missile shield project from Central Europe to Romania by the United States is attributed to nearby countries, the missile shield radar stationed in Kürecik, Turkey, a Black Sea littoral state, points to the importance of the region.

To this end, joint initiatives are also stationed in countries where civil society has not been properly rooted such as Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova, and NATO has asked to hold military exercises. The creation of the GUAM Organization for Democracy and Economic Development (GUAM = Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova) is the outcome of such initiatives by the White House. This organization, established in 1997, seeks to consolidate the presence of NATO in the Black Sea and to restrict the sphere of influence of Russia. The hope is that this organization takes the Caucasus closer to Euro-Atlantic institutions. Within the framework of the recent policies of the US and NATO in the Black Sea, the demand for the expansion of NATO’s Operation Active Endeavor (OAE) from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea region attracted a reaction from and opposition by Russia and Turkey.

On the other hand, the Black Sea Cooperation Task Group created in 2001 and the Black Sea initiative launched in 2004 support this move by NATO. It should also be noted that the US was vetoed in 2005 by Russia when it wanted to join the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) as an observer state.

During the same years, the media reported that Turkey did not approve of an American demand for a base in Trabzon. It is apparent that American initiatives and efforts to be involved in the Black Sea will remain limited because the Montreux Convention as well as the new military doctrine of Russia do not allow the US to create an outpost in the region. However, in response to the harsh measures and sanctions due to the violation of sovereignty in these two countries in this probable conflict zone, the US and NATO will remain low profile.

The region is also important because of the eagerness of NATO in the Caucasus and its closeness to the centers of crisis in Ossetia, Chechnya, Dagestan and the Balkans. On the other hand, it is apparent that the EU has since 2007 been particularly ambitious about becoming more influential in this region. This attitude of the EU, which has been extending support in the fields of economy, transport and energy cooperation in the region, proves the presence of the adoption of policies inconsistent with the Eastern Partnership Strategy with Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Breaking point in Black Sea security: War in Ossetia

While it was seen as revenge for Kosovo by Russia, the message that the Ossetia case carried for the West was also evident for the energy line. The operation halted the Georgian leg of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline.

New energy lines have expanded the geopolitics of the region, also enabling the different actors to move from the Caucasus to the Black Sea. In this way, the West-East direction centers in the Black Sea were viewed as an outpost in which Russia would interfere whenever it deems necessary and pro-Russian regimes were supported. Future important geostrategic locations in the Black Sea region include Sevastopol, Crimea, Konstanz and Trabzon.

Russia is aware that Konstanz has become an important center for NATO moves and activities as well as commercial activities…The identity and past experience of Crimea should also be taken into consideration as major factors.

For Trabzon, another strategic city in the new era, American policies rather than Russian policies may become more relevant. An American base in this city, similar to the one in Adana in Turkey, will change the balance of power in the region, and it may also serve as insurance for Caucasian and gas line security. Even though those scenarios seem possible, it is unlikely that such an option is viable given the sensitive nature of the people in the region.

The region, which is important in terms of energy lines, gas security and strategic location, will become one of the new centers of crisis where the Caucasus and Eastern Europe meet. The region, which remains closed to interaction due to its “closed-basin” structure, may trigger the start of a new era for US policies in Turkish-Russian relations.

*Emrah Usta is a US Foreign Policy analyst and a fellow at the Center for Strategic Research at İstanbul Süleyman Şah University (SAHSAM) in Turkey.

====

Romania: U.S. Marines Plan Six-Month Mission In Eastern Europe

http://www.stripes.com/news/marine-corps/marines-gear-up-for-east-european-mission-1.163560

Stars and Stripes
December 15, 2011

Marines gear up for east European mission
John Vandiver

-The rotational task force, first launched in 2010, will work with numerous nations, including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Latvia, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine. The task force also served as a model for a new Africa-focused SPMAGTAF, which was launched in October and operates out of Sigonella, Sicily.

STUTTGART, Germany: Marines leading a six-month mission in eastern Europe were in Stuttgart this week to meet with allies ahead of a deployment that the Corps is touting as a model for maintaining partnerships at a time of diminishing resources.

In March, 360 U.S.-based Marines will deploy to Romania as part of the Marines’ Black Sea Rotational Force, which will work with militaries from 19 nations across the Black Sea, Balkans and Caucasus.

On Wednesday, Marine Forces Europe wrapped up a three-day conference of U.S. and European military officials to finalize planning for the deployment.

For the March mission, MARFOREUR formed a Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force of Marines and sailors. Most of them are drawn from the 4th Reconnaissance Battalion, 4th Marine Division out of San Antonio.

The rotational task force, first launched in 2010, will work with numerous nations, including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Latvia, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine. The task force also served as a model for a new Africa-focused SPMAGTAF, which was launched in October and operates out of Sigonella, Sicily.

The Black Sea force operates from a base in Romania, but the troops spend much of their time fanned out across the region. The work will be heavily focused on counterinsurgency and peacekeeping tactics, said Maj. Brent McClellan, the task force’s operations officer.

—————————————————————————-

http://www.marines.mil/unit/marforeur/Pages/MFEConferencePlansBlackSeaOps.aspx#.Tu5-19R8BUk

U.S. Marine Corps
December 15, 2011

Marine Forces Europe Conference Plans Black Sea Ops
By Gunnery Sergeant Will Price, Marine Forces Europe

-Currently, there are 19 nations involved in BSRF-12, with 71 training events planned throughout the Black Sea, Balkan and Caucasus regions…
-The first evolution in BSRF-12 is “Exercise Agile Spirit,” a two-week combined forces counter-insurgency and peacekeeping operations training exercise with members of the Georgian Army. Other major BSRF exercises include amphibious operations, BALTOPS 12 in Lithuania and Noble Shirley 12 in the Levant.

Panzer-Kaserne, Germany: Marine Forces Europe hosted the final planning conference for Black Sea Rotational Force 12 at their headquarters building aboard United States Army Garrison Stuttgart’s Panzer Kaserne, Dec. 12-14.

Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery, European Command Deputy Director of Plans, led off discussions on the second day of the conference.

“It is a great opportunity to maintain inter-operability and sustain our ability to deploy together,” said Montgomery to a room of more than 50 members from the U.S. services, as well as representatives of the Armenian, Azerbaijan, Bulgarian, Georgian, Latvian, Macedonian, Romanian, Serbian and Ukrainian militaries.

The purpose of BSRF-12 is to promote regional stability, build partnerships with host nations, and enhance the military training capacity of European armed forces during their six-month rotation in Eastern Europe.

“BSRF is the cornerstone for our engagement in the Black Sea Region…,” said Brig. Gen. Charles Chiarotti, MFE Deputy Commanding General…

To work with regional partners, MFE and Chiarotti have forged a Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force comprised primarily of nearly 360 Marines and sailors with 4th Reconnaissance Battalion, 4th Marine Division, out of San Antonio, Tex.

Currently, there are 19 nations involved in BSRF-12, with 71 training events planned throughout the Black Sea, Balkan and Caucasus regions…

While BSRF-12 does not officially kick-off until March 2012, all members of the conference share Coates’ exuberance to begin training.

“This is the most important training for Bulgaria,” said Bulgarian Col. Lavor Mateev, Chief of Joint Facilities & Training Department, Ministry of Defense. “The Marines provide us the only opportunity to combine our navy, air force, army, and special forces to work together. Every year we increase the events and the personnel…”

This will be the third annual rotation since the program’s inception in 2010.

The first evolution in BSRF-12 is “Exercise Agile Spirit,” a two-week combined forces counter-insurgency and peacekeeping operations training exercise with members of the Georgian Army. Other major BSRF exercises include amphibious operations, BALTOPS 12 in Lithuania and Noble Shirley 12 in the Levant.

====

Romania: Pentagon Military Outpost On The Black Sea

http://www.actmedia.eu/2011/12/15/top+story/romania,+us+sign+agreement+amending+secret+defence+intelligence+protection+measures+/37274

Romanian News Agency
December 15, 2011

Romania, US sign Agreement amending secret defence intelligence protection measures

Romanian National Defence Minister Gabriel Oprea and U.S. Ambassador to Romania Mark Gitenstein, at the ministry headquarters on Wednesday signed an Agreement between the Government of Romania and the Government of the United States of America to amend the Agreement between the Governments of Romania and the U.S. on measures to protect the defence intelligence rated a state secret signed in Washington on June 21, 1995.

Minister Oprea, in an address to the event, reviewed the development of the bilateral defence relations and he highlighted the cooperation between Romania and the U.S. within the Strategic Partnership, in an array of projects currently at various phases of implementation.

‘The American military’s presence in the facilities offered by Romania, our common participation in the missions in the operation theatre in Afghanistan as well as placing elements of the missile shield on the territory of Romania represent undeniable elements of the dynamic character of the relations between our two armies and our two states. The signing of this Agreement one more time proves our determination to respect all the obligations incumbent on us in offering the required guarantees for ensuring the security of the intelligence communicated by the Defence Ministry to the U.S. Department of Defence, in the enforcement of the provisions of the Strategic Partnership with the United States, given the constant mainly defence intelligence swap between our two countries. I am convinced the military relations between Romania and the United States will continue their upward trend’, Oprea stressed.

The minister reiterated gratitude for the concrete and very important support rendered by the U.S. allies to significantly enhancing the degree of the protection of the Romanian troops acting in Afghanistan.

U.S. Ambassador Gitenstein said the signing of the document represents one more step towards a deeper strategic cooperation between the U.S. and Romania. In his address, he underscored that the common foundation in the field of the secret intelligence operation is absolutely necessary to ensure the exchange of high technology, military especially, as the Governments of Romania and the U.S. are in advanced talks on strategic acquisitions.

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Romania Again Offers Troops For Global NATO, EU Missions

http://www.actmedia.eu/2011/12/16/top+story/supreme+defence+council+approves+forces+plan+for+missions+outside+country+/37294

Romanian News Agency
December 16, 2011

Supreme Defence Council approves forces plan for missions outside country

The Romanian Supreme Defence Council (CSAT) approved the forces plan for missions outside Romania in 2012, President Traian Basescu announced.

‘Today, the plan of forces for missions abroad was approved, forces of the National Defence Ministry (MApN and of the Ministry of Administration and Interior. The missions will be fulfilled by 2,348 defence ministry troops simultaneously acting in the operation theatres. Therefore, there is a cut by 177 military compared to the year soon to end. However, we maintain our participation in Afghanistan with 1,940 troops, along with 64 troops in Kosovo who are part of a NATO mission, KFOR, and 71 troops in Bosnia-Herzegovina,’ the Head of State told a press conference held after the CSAT siting.

He said that MApN will deploy a T 22 frigate with helicopter and crew, meant for special operations in the Indian Ocean in the ‘Atlanta’ EU operation. ‘The area is the Gulf of Aden in the Indian Ocean in order to protect commercial vessels from piracy,’ Basescu added.

As regards the reserves for 2012, Basescu said that units amounting to a total of 1,210 troops will be ready for interventions inside the country, forces that can be available for NATO anytime.

‘As regards the operative forces, you know too well that when one has 2.348 troops in operation theatres, one must have actually four times this figure, with one resting, another in preparations, another in the operation theatres and another ready to replace at any given time the entire group, no matter their status,’ Basescu said.

As regards the MAI forces for missions abroad, the Head of State says that they are 36 people more than in 2011. Thus, a total number of policemen and gendarmes will be deployed.

He added that we will also have troops deployed as observers in areas such as Africa.

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U.S. Senate Bill Adds Arms For Georgia

http://rustavi2.com/news/news_text.php?id_news=44107&pg=1&im=main&ct=0&wth=

Rustavi 2
December 17, 2011

US Senate`s bill calls for closer military ties with Georgia

The US Senate passed a $662 billion defense bill, which calls for closer military ties with Georgia, including the sale of weapons that supporters say would help the country, which fought a brief war with Russia in 2008, defend itself.

As reported, the addition to the to the bill was proposed by Senator John McCain.

The $662 billion defense bill was sent to the president`s office and Barack Obama is expected to sign it.

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American Ambassador Hails Senate Decision To Re-Arm Georgia

http://rustavi2.com/news/news_text.php?id_news=44115&pg=1&im=main&ct=0&wth=

Rustavi 2
December 19, 2011

US ambassador hails Congress statement on Georgia

US Ambassador to Georgia John Bass has commented on the documented adopted by the US Senate on Sunday. Senate passed a $662 billion defense bill, which calls for closer military ties with Georgia, including the sale of weapons that supporters say would help the country, which fought a brief war with Russia in 2008, defend itself.

Bass said he did not know the details of the document, however, he welcomed the enhancement of relations between Georgia and the United States in the defense sector.

As reported, the adding the remark to the bill was proposed by was Senator John McCain.

The $662 billion defense bill was sent to the president`s office and Barack Obama is expected to sign it.

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Afghan Provincial Council Closes To Protest Deadly NATO Raid

http://www.pajhwok.com/en/2011/12/18/paktia-council-office-closed-protest-nato-raid

Pajhwok Afghan News
December 18, 2011

Paktia council office closed to protest NATO raid
By Daud Tapan

GARDEZ: Provincial council members on Sunday closed their office in protest against an overnight raid on the house of a senior counternarcotics official by NATO-led troops in southeastern Paktia province.

The predawn raid by NATO and Afghan forces on the house of Paktia Counternarcotics Department head, Hafizullah Ahmadzai, left a woman dead and four others females injured. Ahmadzai was arrested along with his two sons in Gardez city.

“We will not reopen the office unless the perpetrators of the raid are handed over to the Afghan government,” the council head, Shaista Jan Ahadi, told at a news conference. He said the real culprits were those giving wrong tip offs to foreign soldiers.

“Although our previous such demands have not met, but this time we are seriously calling for our demands to be met,” he said. He questioned foreign troops, if the counternarcotics official had any links with the Taliban, then why he was freed back home?

The Governor’s House also condemned the raid, saying foreign soldiers carried out the operation without coordination with local authorities.

The governor’s spokesman, Rohullah Samoon, told Pajhwok Afghan News the raid was a cruel action. “Raiding the house of a government department head is not tolerable by any means,” he said.

A tribal elder from Ahmadaba district, Muqbil Fazli, said the government had been unable to bring perpetrators of such attacks to justice in the past. He warned of protests if the soldiers involved in the raid were not punished.

Another tribal elder, Abdullah Gardezi, on the other hand, asked parliamentarians not to attend the Wolesi Jirga sessions as a mark of protest against the raid. “All MPs hailing from Paktia should not attend the house in protest and if they cannot do this, they are no more our representatives,” he said.

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NATO To Continue Deadly Night Raids In Afghanistan

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/12/19/62495334.html

Itar-Tass
December 19, 2011

NATO to continue night raids in Afghanistan

       
NATO troops in Afghanistan will increase the number of nighttime raids despite protests by the locals, the alliance’s Command stated on Monday.

The officials say that these raids are efficient in fighting against the Taliban.

However, Afghan President Hamid Karzai is against the raids as they often kill civilians and don’t reduce the number of insurgents.

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Vaclav Havel: “Bombs Combat Evil”

http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Archived+story+Bombs+combat+evil+Czech+president+Vaclav+Havel+says/5879053/story.html

Ottawa Citizen
December 18, 2011

Archived story: Bombs ‘combat evil,’ Czech president Vaclav Havel says
Human rights more important than state rights
By Juliet O’Neill

This article was originally published in The Ottawa Citizen, April 17, 1999.

PRAGUE: Czech President Vaclav Havel says the NATO bombing campaign is totally justified in the face of evil and that the rights of people must take precedence over the sovereignty of the state of Yugoslavia.

In an exclusive interview with the Citizen, the president of one of NATO’s three new member countries said he will address the Canadian Parliament on the theme of human rights versus state rights during his visit to Ottawa in late April.

His unambiguous support for NATO is controversial in the Czech Republic, where the government has been deeply divided over the bombings and the country’s ambassador to NATO was threatened with recall for being candid about the internal conflict at NATO headquarters in Brussels.

…Mr. Havel said he not only supports the NATO action but was labelled “a warmonger” for calling long ago for military force against Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

“My opinion is that evil must be combatted and that force can be used in combatting evil if it becomes truly necessary,” he said. In his view, force is the only way to get Mr. Milosevic to engage in genuine political negotiations. Diplomatic efforts had been exhausted, genocidal attacks intensified and NATO had no choice.

The NATO air strikes, which began only days after the alliance memberships of the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland were formalized, created such havoc in the government here that Mr. Havel worried aloud that the 19-member military alliance might hesitate about enlarging any farther to include other Central and East European countries formerly in the Soviet sphere.

The interview was held at Mr. Havel’s huge office, adorned with personally chosen contemporary art, at the Prague Castle.

…Mr. Havel understood the interview questions in English but answered through an interpreter…

Mr. Havel’s personal stature suffered a blow a few years ago when he married glamourous actress Dagmar Veskrnova, the woman who nursed him through his brush with cancer and took on the role of first lady with gusto. The marriage came a little less than a year after the death of his first wife, Olga.

Ms. Veskrnova is to accompany Mr. Havel on his 12-day North American trip, which begins next week at NATO’s 50th-anniversary events in Washington and ends with a three-day swing to Canada, April 28-30, where he will receive an honorary degree at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg before flying to Ottawa to address a joint session of the House of Commons and the Senate.

In the interview, Mr. Havel said the character of the NATO events in Washington next week will be changed as a result of the war.

“I doubt if the celebratory elements will be stressed,” he said, noting the gathering, planned before the bombing campaign, was intended to adopt a new strategy for the 21st century.

He was unperturbed about NATO violating the principle of state sovereignty by intervening in an internal conflict or about the absence of United Nations Security Council authorization for the attacks.

For one thing, he said, NATO was following its own model from when it bombed Serb targets during the conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina…

For another, he said, NATO’s action conforms to the spirit of previous UN Security Council resolutions.

“Of course it would be better if there were a direct mandate from the Security Council,” he said.

“But there are certain situations where the concern for the fate of human beings simply leads democratic states to taking actions, even without such a legal background, because in some cases the rights of man have to take precedence over the sovereignty of the state.”

“…The establishment of the Kosovo Liberation Army — which is not made up of saints either – was a reaction to the oppression on the part of Milosevic’s regime and especially the fact that Kosovo was deprived of its autonomy 10 years ago.”

Mr. Havel said he does not know how the situation will be resolved but he knows how it should be settled. “The key is obtaining Yugoslavia’s consent for the presence of peacekeeping forces on that territory,” he said.

“This kind of ceasefire could pave the way for political negotiations on the future state of Kosovo, which obviously will be complex and it’s difficult to predict a result,” he said. “But without the presence of peacekeeping forces on the territory, I do not think the conflict can be stopped.”

He hopes it ends as soon as possible. “It now largely depends on President Milosevic.”

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After Libya War, NATO Focuses On Cyberwar

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203733304577102171947782202.html

Wall Street Journal
December 18, 2011

Firms Bid on NATO Cyberwar
‘Technically Ambitious’ Upgrade in Security Likely to Lead to More-Lucrative Work
By Daniel Michaels

BRUSSELS: NATO, fresh from its battlefield success in Libya, is focusing on the next front: cyberwar.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization on Monday will collect bids from some of the world’s top defense companies, including Lockheed Martin Co. and Northrop Grumman Corp., to update and expand the alliance’s cybersecurity abilities.

The €32 million ($42 million) contract, although valued at less than the price of one fighter jet, holds great significance because it cements the alliance’s role in protecting cutting-edge infrastructure, say NATO officials.

“It’s a small amount of money but it’s technically ambitious,” said Suleyman Anil, head of NATO’s Cyber Defense…

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Japan To Acquire Joint Strike Fighters Against China

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/12/13/us-lockheedjapan-idUSTRE7BC0H420111213

Reuters
December 13, 2011

Japan “likely to pick F-35 fighter” this week
By Tim Kelly and Kiyoshi Takenaka

TOKYO: Japan will likely pick Lockheed Martin’s F-35 jet as its next frontline fighter, media reported on Tuesday, which may help end six decades of isolation for the country’s defense contractors and bolster its military against growing Chinese might.

The government will choose between two U.S. models – the F-35 and the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet – and Europe’s four-nation Eurofighter Typhoon, at a meeting of the national security council on Friday, the Nikkei business daily said.

Analysts say the purchase is potentially worth $8 billion.

The hope for Lockheed is that assembling the F-35 in Japan will spur the pacifist [sic] nation to lift a ban on military equipment exports, allowing contractors such as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to compete as suppliers for the fighter.

“If the government chooses to go forward and relax the (export ban) we believe there is a very strong case for participating in the F-35 program,” said Dave Scott director of international business development for the F-35.

Fielding the F-35 would put Japan a step ahead of China.

But any easing of a weapons export ban may prompt criticism from Beijing and be seen as step away from Japan’s pacifist constitution.

India is expected to choose between the Eurofighter and Dassault Aviation Rafale, on a potential $11 billion order for 126 fighter jets in coming weeks.

Those two aircraft are also bidding for an order in the United Arab Emirates. The U.S. said on Monday it would sell 18 more Lockheed Martin F-16 fighters to Iraq.

(Additional reporting by Balaji Sridharan Tim Hepher, Jim Wolf, Andrea Shalal-Esa; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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Australia Trains Marines For Bigger Global Missions

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/marine-role-for-returned-soldiers/story-fn59niix-1226225249048

The Australian
December 19, 2011

Marine role for returned soldiers
By Mark Dodd

A radical overhaul of the military’s fighting brigades into three combined battle groups will ensure the army is the best prepared in 10 years to deploy on overseas operations, says the commander of the first regiment to undergo amphibious conversion training.

The doctrinal changes mean officers of the Townsville-based 2nd Battalion Royal Australian Regiment (2RAR), currently deployed in Afghanistan, will most likely be posted to British or US marine units to learn new amphibious warfare skills, Lieutenant Colonel Chris Smith told The Australian.

Army chief Lieutenant General David Morrison last week announced Plan Beersheba, the name for the phased restructure of the army’s 1st, 3rd and 7th brigades to form new multi-role manoeuvre brigades.

Under the new configuration, the three brigades will all be configured with an equal mix of capabilities including armour, engineering, infantry, logistics and communications assets similar to a US Marine Expeditionary Unit.

The changes reflected lessons learnt from recent large-scale military deployments to East Timor, Iraq and the Solomon Islands Colonel Smith [said] “When it comes to deploying on an operation they (brigades) should be far better prepared than what we have probably been in the last 10 years,” he said in his first media briefing on the new changes. “It’s important to say that this change is a function of what we’ve learnt in the last 10 years from producing battle groups to deploy on these types of operations.”

The army has already been closely examining US Marine Corps doctrine and that of Britain’s Royal Marine Commandos as part of its new learning curve.

The Chief of Army designated 2RAR to spearhead the push to acquire a new amphibious force.

“The intention at the moment is not that 2RAR will become the permanent marine battalion of the army; it’s a capability that will be shared by the entire army,” said Colonel Smith.

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Kosovo: Germany’s Merkel Meets Thaci, Visits Troops

http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics-article.php?yyyy=2011&mm=12&dd=19&nav_id=77875

B92/Beta News Agency
December 19, 2011

German chancellor arrives in Kosovo

BERLIN, PRIŠTINA: German Chancellor Angela Merkel has arrived in Priština and has already met with Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci.

The main goal of her visit is to pay a visit to German troops stationed in Kosovo, German government’s spokesman said earlier.

According to German media, Merkel will also meet with KFOR Commander Erhard Drews during her one-day visit to Kosovo.

The German chancellor was welcomed by Thaci and most of his deputies and ministers at Priština airport. She and Thaci will hold a press conference after the meeting.

The German media say that Merkel told Serbia loud and clear that the reason Germany did not support Serbia’s EU candidate status was wounding of two German troops in northern Kosovo.

Serbian government representatives, however, do not believe that her visit could strengthen Priština’s position.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Mark Twain: To the Person Sitting in Darkness

December 19, 2011 Leave a comment

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

American writers on peace and against war

Mark Twain: Selections on war

***

William Dean Howells: Spanish Prisoners of War

William James: The Philippine Tangle

Edgar Lee Masters: The Philippine Conquest

Leo Tolstoy: Two Wars and Carthago Delenda Est

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Mark Twain
Member of the Anti-Imperialist League
To the Person Sitting in Darkness (1901)

*****

“It is yet another Civilized Power, with its banner of the Prince of Peace in one hand and its loot-basket and its butcher-knife in the other. Is there no salvation for us but to adopt Civilization and lift ourselves down to its level?”

The Person Sitting in Darkness is almost sure to say: “There is something curious about this – curious and unaccountable. There must be two Americas: one that sets the captive free, and one that takes a once-captive’s new freedom away from him, and picks a quarrel with him with nothing to found it on; then kills him to get his land.”

What we wanted, in the interest of Progress and Civilization, was the Archipelago, unencumbered by patriots struggling for independence; and the War was what we needed.

And as for a flag for the Philippine Province, it is easily managed. We can have a special one – our States do it: we can have just our usual flag, with the white stripes painted black and the stars replaced by the skull and cross-bones.

*****

Extending the Blessings of Civilization to our Brother who Sits in Darkness has been a good trade and has paid well, on the whole; and there is money in it yet, if carefully worked – but not enough, in my judgement, to make any considerable risk advisable. The People that Sit in Darkness are getting to be too scarce ­– too scarce and too shy. And such darkness as is now left is really of but an indifferent quality, and not dark enough for the game. The most of those People that Sit in Darkness have been furnished with more light than was good for them or profitable for us. We have been injudicious.

The Blessings-of-Civilization Trust, wisely and cautiously administered, is a Daisy. There is more money in it, more territory, more sovereignty, and other kinds of emolument, than there is in any other game that is played. But Christendom has been playing it badly of late years, and must certainly suffer by it, in my opinion. She has been so eager to get every stake that appeared on the green cloth, that the People who Sit in Darkness have noticed it – they have noticed it, and have begun to show alarm. They have become suspicious of the Blessings of Civilization. More – they have begun to examine them. This is not well. The Blessings of Civilization are all right, and a good commercial property; there could not be a better, in a dim light. In the right kind of a light, and at a proper distance, with the goods a little out of focus, they furnish this desirable exhibit to the Gentlemen who Sit in Darkness:

LOVE,
LAW AND ORDER,
JUSTICE,
LIBERTY,
GENTLENESS,
EQUALITY,
CHRISTIANITY,
HONORABLE DEALING,
PROTECTION TO THE WEAK,
MERCY,
TEMPERANCE,
EDUCATION,

– and so on.

There. Is it good? Sir, it is pie. It will bring into camp any idiot that sits in darkness anywhere. But not if we adulterate it. It is proper to be emphatic upon that point. This brand is strictly for Export – apparently. Apparently. Privately and confidentially, it is nothing of the kind. Privately and confidentially, it is merely an outside cover, gay and pretty and attractive, displaying the special patterns of our Civilization which we reserve for Home Consumption, while inside the bale is the Actual Thing that the Customer Sitting in Darkness buys with his blood and tears and land and liberty. That Actual Thing is, indeed, Civilization, but it is only for Export. Is there a difference between the two brands? In some of the details, yes.

We all know that the Business is being ruined. The reason is not far to seek. It is because our Mr. McKinley, and Mr. Chamberlain, and the Kaiser, and the Czar and the French have been exporting the Actual Thing with the outside cover left off. This is bad for the Game. It shows that these new players of it are not sufficiently acquainted with it.

It is a distress to look on and note the mismoves, they are so strange and so awkward. Mr. Chamberlain manufactures a war out of materials so inadequate and so fanciful that they make the boxes grieve and the gallery laugh, and he tries hard to persuade himself that it isn’t purely a private raid for cash, but has a sort of dim, vague respectability about it somewhere, if he could only find the spot; and that, by and by, he can scour the flag clean again after he has finished dragging it through the mud, and make it shine and flash in the vault of heaven once more as it had shone and flashed there a thousand years in the world’s respect until he laid his unfaithful hand upon it. It is bad play – bad. For it exposes the Actual Thing to Them that Sit in Darkness, and they say: “What! Christian against Christian? And only for money? Is this a case of magnanimity, forbearance, love, gentleness, mercy, protection of the weak – this strange and over-showy onslaught of an elephant upon a nest of field-mice, on the pretext that the mice had squeaked an insolence at him – conduct which ‘no self-respecting government could allow to pass unavenged?’ as Mr. Chamberlain said. Was that a good pretext in a small case, when it had not been a good pretext in a large one? ­– for only recently Russia had affronted the elephant three times and survived alive and unsmitten. Is this Civilization and Progress? Is it something better than we already possess? These harryings and burnings and desert-makings in the Transvaal ­– is this an improvement on our darkness? Is it, perhaps, possible that there are two kinds of Civilization – one for home consumption and one for the heathen market?”

Then They that Sit in Darkness are troubled, and shake their heads; and they read this extract from a letter of a British private, recounting his exploits in one of Methuen’s victories, some days before the affair of Magersfontein, and they are troubled again:

“We tore up the hill and into the intrenchments, and the Boers saw we had them; so they dropped their guns and went down on their knees and put up their hands clasped, and begged for mercy. And we gave it them – with the long spoon.”

The long spoon is the bayonet. See Lloyd’s Weekly, London, of those days. The same number – and the same column – contains some quite unconscious satire in the form of shocked and bitter upbraidings of the Boers for their brutalities and inhumanities!

Next, to our heavy damage, the Kaiser went to playing the game without first mastering it. He lost a couple of missionaries in a riot in Shantung, and in his account he made an overcharge for them. China had to pay a hundred thousand dollars apiece for them, in money; twelve miles of territory, containing several millions of inhabitants and worth twenty million dollars; and to build a monument, and also a Christian church; whereas the people of China could have been depended upon to remember the missionaries without the help of these expensive memorials. This was all bad play. Bad, because it would not, and could not, and will not now or ever, deceive the Person Sitting in Darkness. He knows that it was an overcharge. He knows that a missionary is like any other man: he is worth merely what you can supply his place for, and no more. He is useful, but so is a doctor, so is a sheriff, so is an editor; but a just Emperor does not charge war-prices for such. A diligent, intelligent, but obscure missionary, and a diligent, intelligent country editor are worth much, and we know it; but they are not worth the earth. We esteem such an editor, and we are sorry to see him go; but, when he goes, we should consider twelve miles of territory, and a church, and a fortune, over-compensation for his loss. I mean, if he was a Chinese editor, and we had to settle for him. It is no proper figure for an editor or a missionary; one can get shop-worn kings for less. It was bad play on the Kaiser’s part. It got this property, true; but it produced the Chinese revolt, the indignant uprising of China’s traduced patriots, the Boxers. The results have been expensive to Germany, and to the other Disseminators of Progress and the Blessings of Civilization.

The Kaiser’s claim was paid, yet it was bad play, for it could not fail to have an evil effect upon Persons Sitting in Darkness in China. They would muse upon the event, and be likely to say: “Civilization is gracious and beautiful, for such is its reputation; but can we afford it? There are rich Chinamen, perhaps they could afford it; but this tax is not laid upon them, it is laid upon the peasants of Shantung; it is they that must pay this mighty sum, and their wages are but four cents a day. Is this a better civilization than ours, and holier and higher and nobler? Is not this rapacity? Is not this extortion? Would Germany charge America two hundred thousand dollars for two missionaries, and shake the mailed fist in her face, and send warships, and send soldiers, and say: ‘Seize twelve miles of territory, worth twenty millions of dollars, as additional pay for the missionaries; and make those peasants build a monument to the missionaries, and a costly Christian church to remember them by?’ And later would Germany say to her soldiers: ‘March through America and slay, giving no quarter; make the German face there, as has been our Hun-face here, a terror for a thousand years; march through the Great Republic and slay, slay, slay, carving a road for our offended religion through its heart and bowels?’ Would Germany do like this to America, to England, to France, to Russia? Or only to China the helpless ­– imitating the elephant’s assault upon the field-mice? Had we better invest in this Civilization ­– this Civilization which called Napoleon a buccaneer for carrying off Venice’s bronze horses, but which steals our ancient astronomical instruments from our walls, and goes looting like common bandits ­– that is, all the alien soldiers except America’s; and (Americans again excepted) storms frightened villages and cables the result to glad journals at home every day: ‘Chinese losses, 450 killed; ours, one officer and two men wounded. Shall proceed against neighboring village to-morrow, where a massacre is reported.’ Can we afford Civilization?”

And, next, Russia must go and play the game injudiciously. She affronts England once or twice – with the Person Sitting in Darkness observing and noting; by moral assistance of France and Germany, she robs Japan of her hard-earned spoil, all swimming in Chinese blood ­– Port Arthur – with the Person again observing and noting; then she seizes Manchuria, raids its villages, and chokes its great river with the swollen corpses of countless massacred peasants – that astonished Person still observing and noting. And perhaps he is saying to himself: “It is yet another Civilized Power, with its banner of the Prince of Peace in one hand and its loot-basket and its butcher-knife in the other. Is there no salvation for us but to adopt Civilization and lift ourselves down to its level?”

And by and by comes America, and our Master of the Game plays it badly – plays it as Mr. Chamberlain was playing it in South Africa. It was a mistake to do that; also, it was one which was quite unlooked for in a Master who was playing it so well in Cuba. In Cuba, he was playing the usual and regular American game, and it was winning, for there is no way to beat it. The Master, contemplating Cuba, said: “Here is an oppressed and friendless little nation which is willing to fight to be free; we go partners, and put up the strength of seventy million sympathizers and the resources of the United States: play!” Nothing but Europe combined could call that hand: and Europe cannot combine on anything. There, in Cuba, he was following our great traditions in a way which made us very proud of him, and proud of the deep dissatisfaction which his play was provoking in Continental Europe. Moved by a high inspiration, he threw out those stirring words which proclaimed that forcible annexation would be “criminal aggression;” and in that utterance fired another “shot heard round the world.” The memory of that fine saying will be outlived by the remembrance of no act of his but one – that he forgot it within the twelvemonth, and its honorable gospel along with it.

For, presently, came the Philippine temptation. It was strong; it was too strong, and he made that bad mistake: he played the European game, the Chamberlain game. It was a pity; it was a great pity, that error; that one grievous error, that irrevocable error. For it was the very place and time to play the American game again. And at no cost. Rich winnings to be gathered in, too; rich and permanent; indestructible; a fortune transmissible forever to the children of the flag. Not land, not money, not dominion – no, something worth many times more than that dross: our share, the spectacle of a nation of long harassed and persecuted slaves set free through our influence; our posterity’s share, the golden memory of that fair deed. The game was in our hands. If it had been played according to the American rules, Dewey would have sailed away from Manila as soon as he had destroyed the Spanish fleet – after putting up a sign on shore guaranteeing foreign property and life against damage by the Filipinos, and warning the Powers that interference with the emancipated patriots would be regarded as an act unfriendly to the United States. The Powers cannot combine, in even a bad cause, and the sign would not have been molested.

Dewey could have gone about his affairs elsewhere, and left the competent Filipino army to starve out the little Spanish garrison and send it home, and the Filipino citizens to set up the form of government they might prefer, and deal with the friars and their doubtful acquisitions according to Filipino ideas of fairness and justice – ideas which have since been tested and found to be of as high an order as any that prevail in Europe or America.

But we played the Chamberlain game, and lost the chance to add another Cuba and another honorable deed to our good record.

The more we examine the mistake, the more clearly we perceive that it is going to be bad for the Business. The Person Sitting in Darkness is almost sure to say: “There is something curious about this – curious and unaccountable. There must be two Americas: one that sets the captive free, and one that takes a once-captive’s new freedom away from him, and picks a quarrel with him with nothing to found it on; then kills him to get his land.”

The truth is, the Person Sitting in Darkness is saying things like that; and for the sake of the Business we must persuade him to look at the Philippine matter in another and healthier way. We must arrange his opinions for him. I believe it can be done; for Mr. Chamberlain has arranged England’s opinion of the South African matter, and done it most cleverly and successfully. He presented the facts – some of the facts – and showed those confiding people what the facts meant. He did it statistically, which is a good way. He used the formula: “Twice 2 are 14, and 2 from 9 leaves 35.” Figures are effective; figures will convince the elect.

Now, my plan is a still bolder one than Mr. Chamberlain’s, though apparently a copy of it. Let us be franker than Mr. Chamberlain; let us audaciously present the whole of the facts, shirking none, then explain them according to Mr. Chamberlain’s formula. This daring truthfulness will astonish and dazzle the Person Sitting in Darkness, and he will take the Explanation down before his mental vision has had time to get back into focus. Let us say to him:

“Our case is simple. On the 1st of May, Dewey destroyed the Spanish fleet. This left the Archipelago in the hands of its proper and rightful owners, the Filipino nation. Their army numbered 30,000 men, and they were competent to whip out or starve out the little Spanish garrison; then the people could set up a government of their own devising. Our traditions required that Dewey should now set up his warning sign, and go away. But the Master of the Game happened to think of another plan – the European plan. He acted upon it. This was, to send out an army – ostensibly to help the native patriots put the finishing touch upon their long and plucky struggle for independence, but really to take their land away from them and keep it. That is, in the interest of Progress and Civilization. The plan developed, stage by stage, and quite satisfactorily. We entered into a military alliance with the trusting Filipinos, and they hemmed in Manila on the land side, and by their valuable help the place, with its garrison of 8,000 or 10,000 Spaniards, was captured – a thing which we could not have accomplished unaided at that time. We got their help by – by ingenuity. We knew they were fighting for their independence, and that they had been at it for two years. We knew they supposed that we also were fighting in their worthy cause – just as we had helped the Cubans fight for Cuban independence – and we allowed them to go on thinking so. Until Manila was ours and we could get along without them. Then we showed our hand. Of course, they were surprised – that was natural; surprised and disappointed; disappointed and grieved. To them it looked un-American; uncharacteristic; foreign to our established traditions. And this was natural, too; for we were only playing the American Game in public – in private it was the European. It was neatly done, very neatly, and it bewildered them. They could not understand it; for we had been so friendly – so affectionate, even – with those simple-minded patriots! We, our own selves, had brought back out of exile their leader, their hero, their hope, their Washington – Aguinaldo; brought him in a warship, in high honor, under the sacred shelter and hospitality of the flag; brought him back and restored him to his people, and got their moving and eloquent gratitude for it. Yes, we had been so friendly to them, and had heartened them up in so many ways! We had lent them guns and ammunition; advised with them; exchanged pleasant courtesies with them; placed our sick and wounded in their kindly care; entrusted our Spanish prisoners to their humane and honest hands; fought shoulder to shoulder with them against “the common enemy” (our own phrase); praised their courage, praised their gallantry, praised their mercifulness, praised their fine and honorable conduct; borrowed their trenches, borrowed strong positions which they had previously captured from the Spaniard; petted them, lied to them – officially proclaiming that our land and naval forces came to give them their freedom and displace the bad Spanish Government – fooled them, used them until we needed them no longer; then derided the sucked orange and threw it away. We kept the positions which we had beguiled them of; by and by, we moved a force forward and overlapped patriot ground – a clever thought, for we needed trouble, and this would produce it. A Filipino soldier, crossing the ground, where no one had a right to forbid him, was shot by our sentry. The badgered patriots resented this with arms, without waiting to know whether Aguinaldo, who was absent, would approve or not. Aguinaldo did not approve; but that availed nothing. What we wanted, in the interest of Progress and Civilization, was the Archipelago, unencumbered by patriots struggling for independence; and the War was what we needed. We clinched our opportunity. It is Mr. Chamberlain’s case over again – at least in its motive and intention; and we played the game as adroitly as he played it himself.”

At this point in our frank statement of fact to the Person Sitting in Darkness, we should throw in a little trade-taffy about the Blessings of Civilization – for a change, and for the refreshment of his spirit – then go on with our tale:

“We and the patriots having captured Manila, Spain’s ownership of the Archipelago and her sovereignty over it were at an end – obliterated – annihilated – not a rag or shred of either remaining behind. It was then that we conceived the divinely humorous idea of buying both of these spectres from Spain! [It is quite safe to confess this to the Person Sitting in Darkness, since neither he nor any other sane person will believe it.] In buying those ghosts for twenty millions, we also contracted to take care of the friars and their accumulations. I think we also agreed to propagate leprosy and smallpox, but as to this there is doubt. But it is not important; persons afflicted with the friars do not mind the other diseases.

“With our Treaty ratified, Manila subdued, and our Ghosts secured, we had no further use for Aguinaldo and the owners of the Archipelago. We forced a war, and we have been hunting America’s guest and ally through the woods and swamps ever since.”

At this point in the tale, it will be well to boast a little of our war-work and our heroisms in the field, so as to make our performance look as fine as England’s in South Africa; but I believe it will not be best to emphasize this too much. We must be cautious. Of course, we must read the war-telegrams to the Person, in order to keep up our frankness; but we can throw an air of humorousness over them, and that will modify their grim eloquence a little, and their rather indiscreet exhibitions of gory exultation. Before reading to him the following display heads of the dispatches of November 18, 1900, it will be well to practice on them in private first, so as to get the right tang of lightness and gaiety into them:

“ADMINISTRATION WEARY OF PROTRACTED HOSTILITIES!”
“REAL WAR AHEAD FOR FILIPINO REBELS!”
“WILL SHOW NO MERCY!”
“KITCHENER’S PLAN ADOPTED!”

Kitchener knows how to handle disagreeable people who are fighting for their homes and their liberties, and we must let on that we are merely imitating Kitchener, and have no national interest in the matter, further than to get ourselves admired by the Great Family of Nations, in which august company our Master of the Game has bought a place for us in the back row.

Of course, we must not venture to ignore our General MacArthur’s reports – oh, why do they keep on printing those embarrassing things? – we must drop them trippingly from the tongue and take the chances:

“During the last ten months our losses have been 268 killed and 750 wounded; Filipino loss, three thousand two hundred and twenty-seven killed, and 694 wounded.”

We must stand ready to grab the Person Sitting in Darkness, for he will swoon away at this confession, saying: “Good God, those ‘niggers’ spare their wounded, and the Americans massacre theirs!”

We must bring him to, and coax him and coddle him, and assure him that the ways of Providence are best, and that it would not become us to find fault with them; and then, to show him that we are only imitators, not originators, we must read the following passage from the letter of an American soldier-lad in the Philippines to his mother, published in Public Opinion, of Decorah, Iowa, describing the finish of a victorious battle:

“WE NEVER LEFT ONE ALIVE. IF ONE WAS WOUNDED, WE WOULD RUN OUR BAYONETS THROUGH HIM.”

Having now laid all the historical facts before the Person Sitting in Darkness, we should bring him to again, and explain them to him. We should say to him:

“They look doubtful, but in reality they are not. There have been lies; yes, but they were told in a good cause. We have been treacherous; but that was only in order that real good might come out of apparent evil. True, we have crushed a deceived and confiding people; we have turned against the weak and the friendless who trusted us; we have stamped out a just and intelligent and well-ordered republic; we have stabbed an ally in the back and slapped the face of a guest; we have bought a Shadow from an enemy that hadn’t it to sell; we have robbed a trusting friend of his land and his liberty; we have invited our clean young men to shoulder a discredited musket and do bandit’s work under a flag which bandits have been accustomed to fear, not to follow; we have debauched America’s honor and blackened her face before the world; but each detail was for the best. We know this. The Head of every State and Sovereignty in Christendom and ninety per cent. of every legislative body in Christendom, including our Congress and our fifty State Legislatures, are members not only of the church, but also of the Blessings-of-Civilization Trust. This world-girdling accumulation of trained morals, high principles, and justice, cannot do an unright thing, an unfair thing, an ungenerous thing, an unclean thing. It knows what it is about. Give yourself no uneasiness; it is all right.”

Now then, that will convince the Person. You will see. It will restore the Business. Also, it will elect the Master of the Game to the vacant place in the Trinity of our national gods; and there on their high thrones the Three will sit, age after age, in the people’s sight, each bearing the Emblem of his service: Washington, the Sword of the Liberator; Lincoln, the Slave’s Broken Chains; the Master, the Chains Repaired.

It will give the Business a splendid new start. You will see.

Everything is prosperous, now; everything is just as we should wish it. We have got the Archipelago, and we shall never give it up. Also, we have every reason to hope that we shall have an opportunity before very long to slip out of our Congressional contract with Cuba and give her something better in the place of it. It is a rich country, and many of us are already beginning to see that the contract was a sentimental mistake. But now – right now – is the best time to do some profitable rehabilitating work – work that will set us up and make us comfortable, and discourage gossip. We cannot conceal from ourselves that, privately, we are a little troubled about our uniform. It is one of our prides; it is acquainted with honor; it is familiar with great deeds and noble; we love it, we revere it; and so this errand it is on makes us uneasy. And our flag – another pride of ours, our chiefest! We have worshipped it so; and when we have seen it in far lands – glimpsing it unexpectedly in that strange sky, waving its welcome and benediction to us – we have caught our breath, and uncovered our heads, and couldn’t speak, for a moment, for the thought of what it was to us and the great ideals it stood for. Indeed, we must do something about these things; we must not have the flag out there, and the uniform. They are not needed there; we can manage in some other way. England manages, as regards the uniform, and so can we. We have to send soldiers – we can’t get out of that – but we can disguise them. It is the way England does in South Africa. Even Mr. Chamberlain himself takes pride in England’s honorable uniform, and makes the army down there wear an ugly and odious and appropriate disguise, of yellow stuff such as quarantine flags are made of, and which are hoisted to warn the healthy away from unclean disease and repulsive death. This cloth is called khaki. We could adopt it. It is light, comfortable, grotesque, and deceives the enemy, for he cannot conceive of a soldier being concealed in it.

And as for a flag for the Philippine Province, it is easily managed. We can have a special one – our States do it: we can have just our usual flag, with the white stripes painted black and the stars replaced by the skull and cross-bones. And we do not need that Civil Commission out there. Having no powers, it has to invent them, and that kind of work cannot be effectively done by just anybody; an expert is required. Mr. Croker can be spared. We do not want the United States represented there, but only the Game.

By help of these suggested amendments, Progress and Civilization in that country can have a boom, and it will take in the Persons who are Sitting in Darkness, and we can resume Business at the old stand.

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO news: December 18, 2011

December 18, 2011 4 comments

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U.S.-NATO Missiles In Europe: Potential Threat To World Peace

NATO System: U.S. Could Target Russia With THAAD Interceptor Missiles

Raytheon Awarded $685.7 Million: New Interceptors For Taiwan

New Defense Authorization Act Approves Arms For Georgia

Post-Libya Wars: NATO/EUCOM Commander Inspects Warplane Crews In Germany

Three Mistakes Will Defeat U.S. “Return To Asia” Strategy

Shores Of Tripoli: Panetta First U.S. Defense Secretary To Visit Libya

Pakistan: Blockade Of NATO Supply Route Enters 23rd Day

Baltic Air Patrols Example Of NATO “Smart Defense”

No “Eurasian Spring” In Russia

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U.S.-NATO Missiles In Europe: Potential Threat To World Peace

http://thecitizen.co.tz/editorial-analysis/-/18027-us-and-nato-should-avoid-confrontation-with-russia

Citizen Daily (Tanzania)
December 17, 2011

US and Nato should avoid confrontation with Russia  
Lugenzi Kabale

-To understand the side-effects which might result from this missile crisis, America should remember the Cuban missile crisis in 1962.
What the US is trying to do in the name of Nato is a true replica of the Cuban missile crisis which almost caused the first global nuclear war.
-Russia’s top generals consider the missile shield in Europe project to be a direct threat to its nuclear forces, with US use of ‘rogue states’ as a target for the planned missiles just a cover-up.
-This is a serious threat not only to the US-Nato alliance but to global peace. America and its hawkish European partners should think twice before going ahead with the missile project. They have to take into consideration that Russia is not a push-over as the Pentagon and Brussels may like to believe.
Even more important Russia is not a soft target like Muammar Gadaffi’s Libya, Afghanistan or Iraq where America and its hawkish European partners were certain of victory prior to embarking upon invasion.

The way the United States of America through the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) treats Russia when the former implements its strategic military projects in Europe generates more questions than answers.

This is proved by the planned project to place new missile defence systems and radars in Europe. The project has caused unrest following the involving of new Nato members in Eastern Europe.

US-Russia cooperation since the collapse of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1991 has been tricky for both states, with Russia facing an uphill task of trying to halt the US’s strong drive to woo former Warsaw Pact states to join Nato. [All former Warsaw Pact nations outside the former Soviet Union are now full NATO members - RR]

Earlier when Poland, Romania and other former USSR allies under the Warsaw Pact applied for Nato membership, Moscow came up fighting against the move, Russia lost the fight…

A moment to fight Nato presented itself this year following US and its Nato allies unveiling a multi-billion-dollar plan to place land- and sea-based radars and interceptors in different European locations over the next decade.

Among identified locations to host the missiles are Poland and Romania, two states formerly members of the defunct Warsaw Pact.

While Moscow is furious and spiting fire, Washington claims the new missile sites where new shield missile system are to be placed are not aimed at Russian targets, but are rather aim at protecting US allies against ‘rogue states’.

The unfolding Nato-Russia spat as a result of Nato’s missile project leads one to question, are the US and Nato underestimating Russia’s military strength to the point of daring to provoke the former super power?

Or is US-Nato homework on Russian military strength done competitively to justify a provocation which if it leads to a military confrontation will see the US and by extension Nato emerge victorious, hence tilting the military balance in Europe to Nato’s favour?

If that is the calculation by Nato military experts in Brussels and the Pentagon, then they should go back to the drawing board. This is because they are provoking Russia at their own peril. One can’t imagine who among Nato members pushed for the missile shield project so arbitrarily with no reasoning as to the need of bringing Moscow on board.

To understand the side-effects which might result from this missile crisis, America should remember the Cuban missile crisis in 1962.

What the US is trying to do in the name of Nato is a true replica of the Cuban missile crisis which almost caused the first global nuclear war.

To prove what is in store following the US’s thirst to create an imperialist hegemony in Europe, outgoing Russian president Dmitry Medvedev responded to the US-Nato project by warning the US and its European allies that Russia will rightfully target the new proposed missile defense sites.

According to Medvedev, Russia will deploy short-range Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad, a Baltic Sea exclave along the Russia-Poland border. The Russian leader displayed the reaction while wearing a stern face. He said tension would only be defused if the US takes into account Russian proposals to jointly man the sites with Nato. This will help Russia be sure the sites will not target its territory.

Unfortunately the US and Nato flatly rebuffed Moscow by rejecting the proposal.

With such a US-Nato position, automatically the ‘understanding’ between the two parties will be achieved in the battle trenches. 

To show what the menu is for the West, Russia has stated that it will position Iskander missiles and other weapons in Russia’s west and south targeting the planned U.S  missiles in Europe.

Russia’s top generals consider the missile shield in Europe project to be a direct threat to its nuclear forces, with US use of ‘rogue states’ as a target for the planned missiles just a cover-up. To bolster the Russian ‘warning’ on the US-Nato threat, Medvedev went public saying that prospective Russian strategic nuclear missiles will be fitted with systems that would allow them to penetrate missile defenses.

This is a serious threat not only to the US-Nato alliance but to global peace. America and its hawkish European partners should think twice before going ahead with the missile project. They have to take into consideration that Russia is not a push-over as the Pentagon and Brussels may like to believe.

Even more important Russia is not a soft target like Muammar Gadaffi’s Libya, Afghanistan or Iraq where America and its hawkish European partners were certain of victory prior to embarking upon invasion.

The writer is a correspondent with The Citizen based in Dar es Salaam.

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NATO System: U.S. Could Target Russia With THAAD Interceptor Missiles

http://www.businessinsider.com/this-thaad-missile-system-is-just-one-reason-why-the-russians-hate-the-european-defense-shield-2011-12

Business Insider
December 17, 2011

This THAAD Missile System Is Just One Reason Why The Russians Hate The European Defense Shield
Robert Johnson     

A first of its kind program, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) System completed the first test of its full capabilities with flying colors.

Armed Forces International News reports the THAAD system is designed to knock out multiple incoming ballistic missiles using a kinetic energy strike — using no explosives — just the energy of the collision to bring the warheads down.

In its most recent test the first THAAD took out an air-launched ballistic missile, while the second sought out and destroyed a sea-launched ballistic missile such as one that would be launched from a submarine.

Developed by Lockheed Martin, and in development since the 1980s, the strike was carried out at Kauai’s Pacific Missile Range Facility and uses imaging seekers to find its targets designed by British defense contractor BAE.

The first deployment of THAADS included 24 interceptors, with the next deployment expected to be double that.

With the Armed Forces post pointing out that the system will be used to protect U.S. allies against ballistic missiles, it isn’t a stretch to see it may likely be used as part of the European Missile Defense Shield causing Russia so much anxiety.

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Raytheon Awarded $685.7 Million: New Interceptors For Taiwan

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/raytheon-awarded-6857-million-for-new-patriot-systems-for-taiwan-2011-12-16

Raytheon Company
December 16, 2011

Raytheon Awarded $685.7 Million for New Patriot Systems for Taiwan

TEWKSBURY, Mass. – Raytheon Company has received a $685.7 million Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract for additional new fire units of the combat-proven Patriot Air and Missile Defense System for Taiwan.

“Our partnership with Taiwan dates back more than 45 years, and we are committed to providing Taiwan with the best air and missile defense system capability available,” said Sanjay Kapoor, vice president for Integrated Air and Missile Defense at Raytheon’s Integrated Defense Systems business (IDS).

Patriot is the world’s most capable air and missile defense system, protecting against a full range of advanced threats, including aircraft, tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles. It is the system of choice for 12 nations around the globe.

Raytheon is the prime contractor for both domestic and international Patriot Air and Missile Defense Systems and system integrator for Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles.

Main points:

This award is in addition to the one received in 2009 for new systems for Taiwan and the 2008 contracts to upgrade Taiwan’s existing systems.

Raytheon recently delivered the first Configuration-3 radar system to Taiwan, completing the upgrade 10 months ahead of the original program plan the customer requested.

The U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., issued this contract for new Patriot fire units that will feature new advanced technology, improved man-machine interface and reduced life-cycle costs.

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New Defense Authorization Act Approves Arms For Georgia

http://www.civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=24280

Civil Georgia
December 17, 2011

Georgia in U.S. Military Authorization Bill

Tbilisi: The U.S. defense authorization bill contains a section which calls for “normalization” of military cooperation with Georgia, including the sale of defensive arms.

The U.S. National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, a voluminous document authorizing appropriations for military activities of the Department of Defense, has a section with the title “Defense cooperation with the Republic of Georgia”. The Senate approved the USD 662 billion defence bill on December 15, a day after the bill was passed by the House of Representatives and it is now expected to be signed by President Obama.

“Defense Cooperation with Republic of Georgia”

The portion of the legislation dealing with Georgia calls on the U.S. president to submit to the congressional committees for defense and foreign affairs within three months after the bill is enacted a “plan for normalization” with a purpose to support Georgia “in providing for the defense of its government, people, and sovereign territory, consistent with the continuing commitment of the Government of the Republic of Georgia to its nonuse-of-force pledge.”

It calls for the sale of U.S. “defense articles and services” and also for encouraging “NATO member and candidate countries to restore and enhance their sales of defensive articles and services to the Republic of Georgia as part of a broader NATO effort to deepen its defense relationship and cooperation” with Georgia.

The plan should include “a needs-based assessment” prepared by the U.S. Department of Defense about Georgia’s defense requirements, as well a list of “each of the requests” made by Georgia for purchase of defense arms during the last two years. The plan should be submitted in unclassified form, although IT may contain a classified annex, according to the document.

U.S. Republican Sen. John McCain, who has previously called on the U.S. administration number of times “to resume” arms sale to Georgia, highlighted this section of the bill dealing with Georgia in his remarks on December 15.

“U.S. defense cooperation with the Republic of Georgia has been stalled ever since Russia invaded that country three years ago,” he said. “While there has been some slow and minor progress to enable Georgia’s armed forces to deploy to Afghanistan – which they have done in greater numbers than most of our NATO allies – precious little has been done to strengthen Georgia’s ability to defend its government, people, and territory.”

According to U.S. officials, currently defense cooperation with Georgia focuses on two areas – helping the country in its defense reforms and training and equipping Georgian soldiers for the deployment in Afghanistan.

Georgian officials, including President Saakashvili, have spoken a number of times previously about Tbilisi’s willingness to purchase air defense and anti-tank weapons. President Saakashvili said earlier this year that it should become “the next stage of cooperation” with the U.S. in the defense field.

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Post-Libya Wars: NATO/EUCOM Commander Inspects Warplane Crews In Germany

http://www.usafe.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123283683

U.S. Air Forces in Europe
December 15, 2011

Airmen showcase fighter-wing mission to SACEUR, EUCOM commander
by Staff Sgt. Daryl Knee
52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

-“One thing I really admire about how we do business here is we deliver combat capability, we support partnership building with all of our European allies…”
-Stavridis thanked them all for their hard work in the effort to secure enduring stability in Europe and Eurasia.

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany: The commander of U.S. European Command and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe visited with Airmen here Dec. 14 as part of a familiarization tour.

U.S. Navy Adm. Jim Stavridis saw the unique capabilities the 52nd Fighter Wing provides to the European theater of operations and learned about some of the wing’s accomplishments this year.

During the visit, pilots and maintainers of the F-16 Fighting Falcon and A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft briefed the admiral about Spangdahlem’s weapon systems and how those systems allow Saber Airmen to provide combat power to the current fight.

The wing supported Operation Odyssey Dawn, NATO’s operations in Libya earlier this year. Stavridis said Spangdahlem’s F-16, A-10 and mobility operations all combined to form a part of the global air capability the United States is known for delivering.

“In terms of Libya, this is where the first flights were launched, we saw the suppression of enemy air defense and above all, these great Airmen forward deployed into Italy to continue that mission,” Stavridis said…

While EUCOM’s overall mission involves conducting military operations and partnering with international military and interagency departments to defend the United States forward, Stavridis said there is more he wants Airmen to think about during their day-to-day operations.

“One thing I really admire about how we do business here is we deliver combat capability, we support partnership building with all of our European allies and we also deliver a wonderful environment for our families,” he said. “So, we do combat, we prepare to partner in the international world, and we take care of our families.

“That’s our mission,” he continued.

More than 100,000 military and Department of Defense civilian employees work for the command, and Stavridis thanked them all for their hard work in the effort to secure enduring stability in Europe and Eurasia.

====

Three Mistakes Will Defeat U.S. “Return To Asia” Strategy

http://www.china.org.cn/opinion/2011-12/16/content_24171408.htm

China.org.cn
December 16, 2011

Three mistakes will defeat US ‘return to Asia’ strategy
By Luo Yuan*

-The U.S. was quick to deploy forces to Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. However, it left behind a lot of problems more troublesome than the conflicts themselves. Thus the U.S. is unlikely to get away from these regions very soon.

The United States has proclaimed its high-profile return to the Asia-Pacific region by expanding its strategic deployments with an apparent aim to suppress China. While peddling their vision for the region, US leaders make three critical mistakes.

1. China is not America’s enemy

When George W. Bush took over the US presidency in 2001, he regarded China as a potential major adversary. After September 11, 2011, America realized that Al-Qaeda terrorists, rather than China, were the most dangerous enemy of the United States. Sadly, America paid dearly for its miscalculation.

The emergence of China as a major power may offend the hegemonic consciousness of some Americans, but it will never threaten the lives of the American people. The growing Chinese economy may grab some profits, but at the same time it will provide more jobs, cheaper daily necessities and a profitable investment market for Americans. Also, China’s developing military clout, which is only tasked to defend China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity, will pose no threat to the United States.

Therefore, there is no need for the US to worry about China as long as it does not inflict harm upon the Chinese people. As Henry Kissinger said, “Treating China as an enemy increases the likelihood that it will become one.”

2. The Asia-Pacific region should not be a central part of US security strategy

The core interests of the United States lie in its national security. The U.S. can and should see the Asia-Pacific region as a hub for economic cooperation and development. However, with the threat of terrorism still looming, its security strategy should be focused on anti-terror efforts. The U.S. was quick to deploy forces to Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. However, it left behind a lot of problems more troublesome than the conflicts themselves. Thus the U.S. is unlikely to get away from these regions very soon.

Compared with the terrorists, the Asia-Pacific region poses a much smaller threat to the United States. No country here serves as a breeding ground of terrorism or directly threatens American security. The US’s interests in this region primarily concern the safety of sea lanes and American’s allies, neither of which, however, is more important than the national security of the country itself.

Taking the above into consideration, the U.S. should rethink the main objectives of its security strategy.

3. Containment policies won’t defeat China

America’s “return to Asia” strategy could potentially ignite conflict at the wrong time, with the wrong enemy for the wrong reasons.

In the post-Cold War era, mutually beneficial cooperation has prevailed over containment and suppression. However, the U.S. is still using Cold War techniques to fight an imaginary enemy.

The U.S. had adopted containment policies against China since the new republic was established in 1949, firstly by excluding it from membership of the United Nations and then the World Trade Organization. The U.S. still has an arms and high-tech embargo on China. However, these policies have been in vain, as China has grown into the world’s second largest economy and a military superpower.

It is time for the U.S., as well as the other Asian countries, to give up the containment policies and carry out mutually beneficial cooperation with China. Otherwise these countries may slip down on China’s list of potential partners once when China elbows its way to the top table.

U.S. risks repeat of the 9/11 tragedy

In the 20th century, America gave up a certain amount of control over the Asia-Pacific region due to its withdrawal following the Vietnam War. Now the U.S. faces similar pressure caused by the biggest economic crisis since World War II, permanently high unemployment and the threat of terrorism at home and abroad. Under the circumstances, the U.S. should shift its attention from the South China Sea and the Asia-Pacific region and focus on protecting its own people from terrorism.

Since China doesn’t harm America’s interests, the US has no reason to suppress China. As the U.S. shifts its military attention to the Asia-Pacific region, it risks its own national security. This negligence could one day result in another 9/11 tragedy.

In short, it is not America’s enemies, but rather America’s decisions, that will lead to its decline.

*The author is a major-general in Chinese People’s Liberation Army and executive vice president of the Chinese Strategic Culture Association.

This article was first published on people.com.cn and translated by Li Xiao.

====

Shores Of Tripoli: Panetta First U.S. Defense Secretary To Visit Libya

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/18/world/africa/leon-panetta-defense-secretary-libya-visit.html

New York Times
December 17, 2011

Panetta Is First U.S. Defense Secretary to Visit Libya
By Thom Shanker and Liam Stack

TRIPOLI, Libya: Presidents from Thomas Jefferson to Barack Obama have waged war on these shores. Given such volatile relations, it is little wonder that no American defense secretary had ever set foot here.

But on Saturday, Leon E. Panetta became the first defense secretary to visit Tripoli…

Mr. Panetta said he was “looking forward to building a close partnership with the Libyan government,” and he pledged that the United States “stands ready to offer security assistance cooperation once the government identifies its needs.”

In a somber tribute to past American conflicts in Libya and nearby seas, Mr. Panetta visited the cemetery that is home to remains of some of the 13 American sailors killed offshore on Sept. 4, 1804. Their mission was to sail the Intrepid into a pirate fleet anchored in Tripoli harbor, then detonate explosives packed on board to destroy as many of the buccaneer vessels as possible.

The charges aboard the Intrepid detonated prematurely; all 13 American sailors were killed before they reached their targets.

When their bodies washed ashore the next day, the American sailors were buried in a grave outside Tripoli. In the 1940s, the local government dug up the area and moved an unknown quantity of the remains to be interred in five tombs on a hill above a busy thoroughfare that traces Tripoli’s harbor.

“It is a sign of the great friendship between the American and Libyan people that, in spite of the differences that have marked our governments’ relations over the years, the Libyan people have maintained this cemetery with the respect and honor that it deserves,” Mr. Panetta said in an official statement.

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Pakistan: Blockade Of NATO Supply Route Enters 23rd Day

http://www.thenews.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=28856&title=NATO-route-blockade-enters-23rd-day

The News
December 18, 2011

NATO supply route blockade enters 23rd day

CHAMAN: Pakistan’s blockade of the vital NATO/US supply line into Afghanistan entered its 23rd day on Sunday.

The supply line was suspended after the NATO troops raided checkposts inside Pakistan, killing 24 soldiers.

Hundreds of containers are awaiting at Chaman terminal.

Meanwhile, drivers of the NATO containers, standing at Pak borders, are facing many problems. Severe cold is adding miseries to the drivers already facing problems.

According to FC officials, Afghan police have also stopped hundreds of empty containers, returning from Afghanistan, in Spin Boldak.

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Baltic Air Patrols Example Of NATO “Smart Defense”

http://www.defpro.com/news/details/30719/?SID=a4fed46bd80a47839356749d61e64bc0

Defence Professionals
December 15, 2011

Estonian Defence Minister: Baltic air policing is a good example of smart defence

On 12. and 13. December, Minister of Defence Mart Laar met with Minister of Defence of Denmark Nick Hækkerup who is visiting Estonia. The ministers agreed that the Baltic air policing mission is a good example of smart defence.

At the meeting, the ministers also discussed issues related to the on-going defence reforms in Denmark, the defence environment of the Baltic Sea, cyber defence, the Multinational Corps North-East and the Danish presidency of the European Union.

Minister of Defence Laar thanked Denmark for its recurrent contributions to the Baltic air policing mission. “Both I and Minister of Defence Hækkerup found that the Baltic air policing mission is a good example of so-called smart defence, where countries jointly use more complex and more expensive military capabilities. I also hope that we will soon find a long-term solution within NATO to safeguard the airspace of the Baltic States,” said Minister of Defence Laar.

At present, and until the end of the year, the airspace of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania is safeguarded by F-16 fighter aircraft of the Danish Air Force.

At the meeting, the ministers also discussed issues related to NATO’s Chicago summit taking place in the spring. “I agree with my Danish colleague that the European countries themselves must contribute to the protection of our security and we cannot rely on the military force of the United States of America alone,” said Laar.

This week, Minister of Defence of Denmark Hækkerup, who was appointed to office in October, is visiting the Baltic States. Last night, Hækkerup also laid a wreath at the foot of the Monument to the War of Independence.

====

No “Eurasian Spring” In Russia

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203518404577094780010444466.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Wall Street Journal
December 14, 2011

The Russian Spring Has Begun
By Andrei Piontkovsky

At URL above

—————————————————————————-

http://tehrantimes.com/opinion/93583-no-european-spring-in-the-cards-for-russia

Tehran Times
December 16, 2011

No European Spring in the cards for Russia   
Hassan Beheshtipour

The recent parliamentary election in Russia provided a good opportunity for the Western media to connect the Russian situation to what is happening in the Middle East and North Africa under the name of the Arab Spring.

Moscow’s disputes with the West, especially with Washington, over a number of issues, such as the establishment of a NATO defense shield, Georgia’s potential accession to NATO, and Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization, provided excellent pretexts for Western media outlets to create controversy during Russia’s parliamentary election.

But Russian voters have become accustomed to the Western approach toward their political system and barely pay attention to such criticism. However, the flaws in the Russian electoral system are accepted by both the politicians and the voters.

The current system is dominated by Russia’s four major parties, which won the majority of votes in the recent election.

Even the Yabloko party, headed by the pro-Western liberal politician Grigory Yavlinsky, failed to attain the five percent of the vote required to obtain seats in parliament. Other major political figures, including Garry Kasparov, also were not able to win seats in parliament.

This will create many problems for the Russian political system in the future.

Russia’s most popular figure, Vladimir Putin, also experienced a sharp decline in the votes cast for his party, United Russia. Thus, the future government should focus more on the process of reform. Otherwise, it will have to face major popular demonstrations.

The situation in Syria is another point of disagreement between the Western powers and Russia. And the imposition of pressure on Moscow over the flaws in the recent parliamentary election is in fact a direct reflection of this dispute.

However, the future government of Russia will not be affected by any incidents like what is happening in the Arab world. Putin is still regarded as a very popular politician, especially among the lower classes of society. Moreover, the West is very unpopular in the country and most Russian citizens are opposed to the Western way of governance and politics. Therefore, it is unlikely that Russia will be affected by what the Western media call the European Spring.

Hassan Beheshtipour is an expert on Russia, the Caucasus, and Central Asia based in Tehran.

====

Categories: Uncategorized

Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz: The word pax, pax, pax

December 18, 2011 1 comment

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

Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz (1894-1980)
From The Brotherhood of Man
Translated by Adam Gillon and Ludwik Krzyzanowski

When tempests rage upon the ocean, and many-storied
waves clap
against each other,
emitting sounds like many thousands clapping hands,
and toss ships and fishing boats against the rocks,
and cast men upon the waters of the sea, their heads
bobbing
like wooden logs from shipwrecks -
then suddenly the clouds are rent asunder, like grey
curtains upon
the stage, and a solitary ray falls,
like a gigantic arrow, or a chord that joins the sky
with sea, and
the sea is calmed, and the vessels creep to their ports,
lowering their
tattered sails.
As a mother standing over her son’s grave drops her
arms.
And the ray upon the turgid but already clearer wave
draws the word: pax, pax, pax…
Thus we too await for heavens to draw open and to
give a sign
to all of us, to clasp our hands,
and to exclaim as that ray of sun:
pax

Think of those whose mouths were filled with plaster,
and of those felled by bullets before they could cry out,
and of those who eyes were filled with blood and could
not cast a glance upon the sky,
as you look upon it now,
nor on the victorious banner,
because they died in degradation -
and think about the brotherhood of Man!

And if you cannot fight for man
and if you too take to swords and rifles
and kill your brothers -
mankind shall not attain salvation.

Think, think of this now.
Think of happiness and freedom.
For only the struggle for good can win goodness
and only the degradation of evil can elevate goodness
and only the brotherhood of man can raise upon the
mast
the Olympic flag, great as the world.

Take each other’s hand and sing:
pax, pax, pax -
to signify the brotherhood of Man.

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO news: December 17, 2011

December 17, 2011 2 comments

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Pentagon Commends Turkey For NATO Radar Site

Turkey: U.S. NATO Ally On Missiles, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Kurds

Pentagon Appoints Turkey To Police Iraq, Confront Iran

Turkey’s Top Military Council Prepares For War

Iraq: Fallujah Celebrates U.S. Troop Exit, Honors The Slain

New Military Client State: Pentagon Chief In Libya

Middle East On Brink Of Disaster: Russian Experts

NATO-Led Night Raid Kills, Wounds Afghan Civilians

U.S. Rallies NATO Support For Georgia’s Accession

Georgia Hosts Meeting Of NATO Centers In Former Soviet States

Georgia Increases Troop Strength For NATO’s Afghan War

Pakistan: Squeezed NATO Supply Line Runs Dry

Belgium: NATO Conducts 29-Nation Cyber Warfare Exercise

Chicago: Protesters Cry Foul Over NATO, G8 Restrictions

Afghanistan: NATO’s Iron Man Versus Frankenstein’s Militarized Monster

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Pentagon Commends Turkey For NATO Radar Site

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/12/17/62381013.html

Itar-Tass
December 16, 2011

US thanks Turkey

U.S. to thank Turkey for agreeing to place U.S. defense radar elements on its territory, said the Pentagon chief Leon Panneta during his visit to Ankara.

In meetings with President Abdullah Gul and Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz he called Turkey a key U.S. ally in the Middle East.

In September Ankara authorized the deployment of missile defenses 700 kilometers from the border with Iran.

The radar will be commissioned before the end of the year. Data from it will go into command centers in the United States and U.S. warships in the Mediterranean.

====

Turkey: U.S. NATO Ally On Missiles, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Kurds

http://en.trend.az/regions/world/usa/1970190.html

Trend News Agency
December 16, 2011

US Defense Secretary blasts Iran for threatening Turkey

-US-deployed Predator drones at İncirlik Air Base in southern Turkey are being used as part of Turkey’s fight against the…Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Two of the four Predators drones deployed on Nov. 14 at İncirlik Air Base made their first test flights in Adana. The lift-off operation was carried out by the American staff of the Ground Control Unit at the base. The Predators were controlled during the whole flight by a center based in the US state of Nevada. Images of the flight will be delivered to US military quarters in Ankara after initially being sent to the US.
Panetta said the US has obtained permission to fly these drones over Iraqi airspace.

US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has brushed off criticism leveled against Turkey by Iran because of the former’s decision to host part of NATO’s missile-shield system on its soil, saying “whether they like it or not, other countries are going to have to accept that [missile shield]“, Today’s Zaman reported

Speaking to a group of reporters in Ankara on Friday, Panetta said he commended the Turkish government’s decision to host part of the missile shield…

There has been a wave of criticisms leveled against Turkey by Iranian officials in recent months, and the Turkish government has been under fire by opposition parties for remaining silent.

Hussein Ibrahim, the vice president of the Iranian parliamentary national security and foreign policy panel, suggested that “it is Iran’s natural right to target the missile-defense shield system in Turkey in case of an attack, and we will definitely resort to that,” in an interview on Sunday with the Iranian daily Shargh.

Ibrahim’s words were similar to those of other Iranian officials before him, and hinted to Ankara that annoyance with the new NATO project is widespread among Iranian politicians, although the Iranian foreign ministry has refrained from backing the threats. Shortly before Ibrahim’s comments, General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards’ aerospace division, explicitly uttered a threat that the NATO radar system, which is planned for deployment in the eastern province of Malatya, would be “the first target” to be taken down should Iran ever be attacked, and the country would move on to their next targets only after that.

Panetta also urged Turkey to mend fences with Israel at a time when a lot of changes are happening in the region. “It is important for both countries to do what they can. They had strong ties in the past,” he said, encouraging both countries to work together in confronting challenges in the region.

Panetta also argued that there is close cooperation between the US and Turkey on the latter’s decade-long fight with the…Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and expressed the US’s solidarity in its fight against the PKK…”We provide some technology and assistance in the fight against the PKK. We try to improve in that capacity and continue to explore other steps,” underscored Panetta.

US-deployed Predator drones at İncirlik Air Base in southern Turkey are being used as part of Turkey’s fight against the…Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Two of the four Predators drones deployed on Nov. 14 at İncirlik Air Base made their first test flights in Adana. The lift-off operation was carried out by the American staff of the Ground Control Unit at the base. The Predators were controlled during the whole flight by a center based in the US state of Nevada. Images of the flight will be delivered to US military quarters in Ankara after initially being sent to the US.

Panetta said the US has obtained permission to fly these drones over Iraqi airspace.

Before coming to Turkey, Panetta saw the end of the US war in Iraq on Thursday with an official ceremony in Baghdad nearly nine years after the invasion…The war left nearly 4,500 US soldiers dead and over 100,000 civilians killed either by US forces or the bloody sectarian fight between majority Shi’ite and minority Sunni Arabs. The price tag for the war is estimated to be over $800 billion. The US military mission will be replaced by a State Department mission next year with as many as 16,000 staff and contracted personnel in Iraq to be deployed under a different scheme.

…”The price was worth it,” he said…Iraq’s neighbors, including Turkey, will keep a close watch on how Baghdad will confront its problems without the buffer of a US military presence. In trying to allay concerns over the US withdrawal, Panetta confirmed that the US will stay committed to Iraq. “We will have long-term relationship with Iraq and continue to work with Iraq,” he said.

As for Syria, the US Defense Secretary commended the Turkish position, saying Turkey has exercised leadership in trying to get [Bashar] al-Assad to do the right thing…

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Pentagon Appoints Turkey To Police Iraq, Confront Iran

http://www.voanews.com/english/news/middle-east/Turkey-Playing-Increasing-Role-in-Iraq-135749873.html

Voice of America News
December 16, 2011

Turkey Playing Increasing Role in Iraq
Dorian Jones

-“I suppose many more drones, flying over Iraq in order to continue to monitoring things. And I guess they want Incirlik to be open, more open, to American use as well…”
-The semi-autonomous Iraqi Kurdish region, which borders Turkey, is, according to observers, strategically important to Washington.
Last month, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Selcuk Unal said Washington has proposed to take over the influential role of training Iraqi military personal, now that U.S. troops are pulling out.
“We have been contributing in training military elements in Iraq within the framework of NATO.”
-The expected growing cooperation between Ankara and Washington on Iraq, they say, will only strengthen bilateral relations, which will only add to Tehran’s angst.

Istanbul: The U.S. secretary of defense is visiting NATO ally Turkey. He arrived in the Turkish capital, Ankara, after attending a withdrawal ceremony Thursday in Bagdad of American troops all of whom are due to leave by the end of the month. With the U.S. withdrawal, Turkey is now being seen by Washington as playing a potential key role in Iraq.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is spending two days in Turkey meeting the country’s political leadership, with Iraq expected to be a key topic on the agenda.

The NATO allies are already increasingly cooperating in the region.

Last month, the U.S. transferred drones from Iraq to the Turkish airbase of Incirlik close to the Iraqi border.

International relations expert Soli Ozel of Kadir Has University says with U.S. forces pulling out of Iraq at the end of the month, that cooperation will only deepen.

“I suppose many more drones, flying over Iraq in order to continue to monitoring things,” said Ozel. “And I guess they want Incirlik to be open, more open, to American use as well. Politically, they would want Turkey to make sure that things never get of hand between Kurds and Arabs. And in [a] way maintaining the autonomy or viability of the Kurdistan regional government territory.”

The semi-autonomous Iraqi Kurdish region, which borders Turkey, is, according to observers, strategically important to Washington.

Last month, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Selcuk Unal said Washington has proposed to take over the influential role of training Iraqi military personal, now that U.S. troops are pulling out.

“We have been contributing in training military elements in Iraq within the framework of NATO,” said Unal. “This issue has come up to the agenda, and of course, we will be considering it.

Such a move is seen as strengthening Turkey’s influence in greater Iraq and countering what observers say is expected growing Iranian influence with the withdrawal of U.S. forces.

Diplomatic columnist Semih Idiz for the Turkish daily Milliyet says Ankara shares Washington’s concerns about growing Iranian influence in Iraq.

“The increase of the Iranian through Shia elements in Iraq, that is what Turkey will be worried about,” added Idiz. “And with Turkey there is a political competition going on for influence between Iran and Turkey.”

Ankara has in the past few years been seeking to extend its political influence in Iraq. It reportedly backed a coalition of Sunni and secular groups led by Ayad Allawi in Iraq’s general election last year, against the incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who is seen as being close to Tehran.

But international relations expert Soli Ozel says while Ankara may be willing to challenge Iranian influence, there is already growing irritation in Baghdad towards Ankara.

“It will want to play a role, but just last week, Maliki was rather curt about Turkey and what Turkey was trying to do,” noted Ozel. “So relations may not be that great. And that is not a surprise since Turkey did not want Maliki to be prime minister.”

Any attempt by Ankara to challenge Iranian influence in Iraq will likely strain relations with Tehran. Those relations are already under pressure over Ankara’s support for the opposition against Tehran’s key ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Murat Bilhan, former senior Turkish diplomat and professor of international relations at Kultur University, says Iraq is part of a wider trend driving apart the once close allies.

“They have diverged, that is a fact,” said Bilhan. “It’s a rival anyway – rival in central Asia, the Persian Gulf, Syria and the whole region.”

That prospect, observers say, will be undoubtedly welcomed by Washington. The expected growing cooperation between Ankara and Washington on Iraq, they say, will only strengthen bilateral relations, which will only add to Tehran’s angst.

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Turkey’s Top Military Council Prepares For War

http://en.trend.az/regions/met/turkey/1969739.html

Trend News Agency
December 16, 2011

Top Turkish military council reviews preparedness for war

The Top Turkish military council has said it reviewed Turkish military’s preparedness for war following a key meeting, Today’s Zaman reported.

A statement released by the General Staff on its web-site on Thursday said the Supreme Military Council (YAS) discussed activities of the Turkish military in domestic and border security, adding that it reviewed the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) preparedness for war.

The statement didn’t elaborate threats Turkey faces and said it assessed the Turkish army’s needs and necessary steps to address these requirements to this end.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in an interview two weeks ago that Turkey does not want to consider a military option for intervention in neighboring Syria as Damascus cracks down on popular protest, but it is ready for any scenario.

Davutoglu also said the international community may decide a buffer zone is needed in Syria…

“If the oppression continues, Turkey is ready for any scenario. We hope that a military intervention will never be necessary. The Syrian regime has to find a way of making peace with its own people,” Davutoglu then said.

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Iraq: Fallujah Celebrates U.S. Troop Exit, Honors The Slain

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2011-12/17/c_131311531.htm

Xinhua News Agency
December 17, 2011

Central Iraq’s “City of Resistance” celebrates U.S. troop exit

           
FALLUJAH, Iraq: A series of celebrations for the U.S. troop withdrawal were held peacefully in central Iraq’s Fallujah city on Friday.

Fallujah, dubbed the “City of Resistance” as a former bastion of the anti-U.S. insurgency, launched a photo exhibition Friday at the city’s Youth Center Hall, featuring photos of mass destruction and civilian casualties which were caused by the U.S. counter-insurgency campaign in 2004.

Local residents also paid tribute to the tombs of the martyrs of Fallujah, who were killed in the 2004 conflict.

Fallujah once was one of the major redoubts of the Iraqi resistance immediately after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. For weeks in April and November in 2004, Fallujah was under siege by U.S. troops. U.S. aircraft and artillery brutally bombarded the city, some 69 km west of Baghdad, killing and wounding thousands of Iraqi people.

Besides, a festival of poetry was held in the city’s center of culture and science, hailing the anti-U.S efforts and the ending of the U.S. occupation.

On Wednesday, thousands of people gathered in the city to celebrate the U.S. troop pullout. The demonstrations turned fierce, as U.S. national flags were seen set on fire.

The U.S. military handed over its last base in Iraq to the Iraqi authorities on Friday, a day after the U.S. force marked the end of its mission in the country, as the remaining 4,000 U.S. soldiers are moving out on daily basis.

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New Military Client State: Pentagon Chief In Libya

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2011-12/17/c_131312506.htm

Xinhua News Agency
December 17, 2011

U.S. defense chief arrives in Libya for brief visit

             
TRIPOLI: U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta arrived in the Libyan capital of Tripoli on Saturday for a brief visit of the North African country…

During the visit, Panetta is expected to meet with Libyan interim Prime Minister Abdel Rahim el-Keeb as well as the country’s defense officials on the security needs of the new leaders of the country…

Panetta is among a number of senior Western government officials to visit post-war Libya lately including French Foreign Affairs Minister Alain Juppe and Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs Janos Martonyi.

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Middle East On Brink Of Disaster: Russian Experts

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/12/17/62404044.html

Voice of Russia
December 17, 2011

Middle East on the verge of disaster
Sergei Anisimov, Vladimir Fedoruk

-“The West is stoking tensions over Iran and Syria in the Eastern Mediterranean. These moves are designed to distract public attention from the debt crisis in the US and Europe. The bringing down of a US drone by Iran shook the American political establishment. Under international law, the drone belongs to Iran.”

       
Sanctions, a drone, the Strait of Hormuz have all come to symbolize the worsening situation concerning Iran. Thanks to US media, reports have been circulating that the Middle East is in a state of war. Russian analysts are warning against creating trouble and pushing the world towards a new catastrophe.

The Voice of Russia’s Vladimir Fedoruk and Sergei Anisimov report.

The West holds Tehran responsible for a new wave of tension. Iran is blamed for shooting down an American drone, but nothing is said about the fact that the drone was conducting reconnaissance over the territory of a sovereign state. Iran is also accused of making preparations for a nuclear missile war and relocating its nuclear facilities to this end. But there is no mention of the fact that Tehran is doing so amid reports that Israel, backed by the US, is planning a surprise strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Experts say that Israel may strike any time fairly soon. This may lead to a full-scale war with unpredictable circumstances.

Andrei Volodin of the Oriental Research Center, comments.

“The West is stoking tensions over Iran and Syria in the Eastern Mediterranean. These moves are designed to distract public attention from the debt crisis in the US and Europe. The bringing down of a US drone by Iran shook the American political establishment. Under international law, the drone belongs to Iran.”

Whatever the case, the US forced Iran into a scowl and this will surely cool the hot-headed generals hoping to rein in Iran the way they failed to in Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan.

Andrei Volodin has this to say.

“The United States and Iran are facing a moment of truth. Many US servicemen are unwilling to go to war with Iran. They know what such a war will cost. Opinions are divided within the US foreign policy establishment as well. For this reason, there is no point in saying that war is about to break out between Iran and the US, the more so since it’s already going on.”

Western analysts are rushing things by signaling war in the Middle East. They are doing so in an effort to restrain Iran.

Vladimir Sotnikov of the Oriental Studies Institute, comments.

“Iran doesn’t respond to pressure. Pressured by the US and its western allies, it is taking all sorts of painful jabs at them in retaliation. One of such jabs was an operation to block the Strait of Hormuz, which Iran deems as a strategically important waterway. This, however, is a poor reason for starting a war. And the time is not the right one either. Barack Obama is unlikely to authorize a military campaign against Iran now that the US presidential race is gaining strength. Iran will be on the agenda of the next US administration.”

According to Stanislav Tarasov, there will be no military operations around Iran or in the Gulf in the near future. In all likelihood, he says, the political and diplomatic struggle will intensify, sanctions will be toughened and new statements about the blockade of the Strait of Hormuz will follow in response. Both parties involved are aware that war in the Middle East is fraught with a disaster for the US and the rest of the world.

====

NATO-Led Night Raid Kills, Wounds Afghan Civilians

http://www.pajhwok.com/en/2011/12/17/officials-house-raided-woman-killed-paktia

Pajhwok Afghan News
December 17, 2011

Official’s house raided, woman killed in Paktia
By Daud Tapan

GARDEZ: NATO and Afghan forces raided the house of a senior counternarcotics official, arresting him along with two sons and killing a female family member in the capital of southeastern Paktia province, relatives said on Saturday.

Another four women were injured during the overnight raid on the house of Paktia Counternarcotics Department head, Dr. Hafizullah Ahmadzai, who was arrested along with his two sons, a relative, Yusuf Ahmadzai, told Pajhwok Afghan News.

He said the joint forces opened fire at the family during the raid that came at around 2:30am last night.

Five female members of the family received bullet wounds and later one of the injured died of her wounds, the relative said, adding a second woman was still in a coma.

Ahmadzai said one of the detained sons was a student and the other had a medicine shop in Gardez city.


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http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2011-12/17/c_131312738.htm

Xinhua News Agency
December 17, 2011

1 civilian killed in night raid operation in E. Afghanistan

KABUL: At least one civilian was killed and three others injured when a joint unit of Afghan and NATO-led coalition forces carried out a night raid operation on a compound in country’s eastern Paktia province, an official said on Saturday.

“A joint unit of Afghan and NATO forces raided the house of Hafizullah, head of the counter-narcotics department in Pakita province, in the wee hours Saturday in the provincial capital of Gardez city. As a result a woman was killed and three others were injured,” deputy provincial governor Abdul Rahman Mangal told Xinhua.

He said Hafizullah and two of his sons were detained by troops.

The motive of the attack on the government official house had not been cleared at the moment but such kind of operations normally conduced by force to capture armed insurgents or people have links with the armed anti-government militants.

However, Mangal said an investigation was launched by the local government to find out why the combined forces killed the woman and detained Hafizullah along with his two sons.

A total of 1,462 Afghan civilians have been killed in the first half of 2011 which indicates, a 15 percent rise in civilian deaths compared with the same period in 2010, according to the United Nations mid-year report released in Kabul in July this year.

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U.S. Rallies NATO Support For Georgia’s Accession

http://en.trend.az/regions/scaucasus/georgia/1970039.html

Trend News Agency
December 16, 2011

U.S. works to form unified approach toward Georgia
N. Kirtskhalia

Tbilisi: The U.S. is working to form a unified approach of NATO’s members toward Georgia at the NATO Chicago summit, the US Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Eric Rubin said at a briefing in Tbilisi on Friday.

He emphasized that Washington supports Georgia’s intention to integrate with North Atlantic bodies and NATO.

Rubin said that while visiting Tbilisi in November that NATO ambassadors have become familiarized with Georgia’s progress achieved in various sectors.

“We believe that this progress will be appreciated at the NATO Chicago Summit,” he said. “The steps to be done in the future will be also discussed. These steps must be the result of consensus. The U.S. is working to form a unified approach toward Georgia.”

“Georgia is the largest contributor in Afghanistan per capita,” he said…He expressed condolences to relatives of 10 Georgian soldiers killed in Afghanistan.

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http://www.civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=24275

Civil Georgia
December 16, 2011

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Visits Tbilisi

Tbilisi : Incorporating electoral recommendations from Venice Commission to Georgia’s election code will be helpful, Eric Rubin, the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, said in Tbilisi on December 16.

Rubin, who is charge of oversee relations with countries in the Caucasus at the U.S. Department of State, is visiting Georgia to hold talks with senior officials, as well as opposition representatives.

The U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State reiterated Washington’s support for Georgia’s NATO aspirations. He said that NATO’s decision-making body, the North Atlantic Council (NAC), noted “significant progress in a significant number of areas in Georgia’s efforts to advance its candidacy for membership in NATO” when ambassadors from the NAC visited Georgia in November.

Rubin said that it would be very important for that progress to be recognized at the NATO Summit in Chicago in spring, 2012.

“And it will be very important for there to be a serious discussion about the next steps to move Georgia’s aspirations forward,” he said. “How we do that and in what format we do that, with what words we do that will have to be the subject of consensus within the Alliance and between now and then that’s something we will be working very actively on with our allies.”

Davit Bakradze, the Georgian parliamentary speaker, said after meeting with the U.S. diplomat on December 16, that 2012 would be “very active and dynamic” for U.S.-Georgian relations.

“We will probably see some new initiatives, which will be very useful for Georgia and which will further deepen the relationship between Georgia and the United States,” Bakradze said.

U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton is expected to visit Georgia next year. No exact date is yet set, according to the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.

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http://rustavi2.com/news/news_text.php?id_news=44102&pg=1&im=main&ct=0&wth=

Rustavi 2
December 16, 2011

Clinton intends to arrive in Georgia

Secretary of State Hilary Clinton intends to arrive in Georgia, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Eric Rubin, who is on his visit in Tbilisi said today.

At a press conference, Rubin said the date of the visit is uncertain yet, although representatives of the two sides are working to agree upon details of the forthcoming official meetings.

“The agenda will be very broad – it will be our partnership, it will be what we call omnibus talks, which literally means in English everything. And we have a lot to talk about so this is a meeting…that I think should be looking at all aspects of our relationships, making a number of cooperation [moves from] trade to our defence relationship, to Georgia`s own big events coming in the next couple of years including the elections to the NATO summit in Chicago next year. There is a lot to talk about and I know she really enjoyed her visit here last time”, Rubin said.

When talking about the US-Georgia Charter on Strategic Partnership, the deputy assistant secretary stressed the significant of the document.

“We see the charter as a broad map and we see it as well as a foundation stone for building our relationship and for moving forward in all the areas of our relationship. The charter was so important with that it took all of the various areas we were then working on together and making progress and actually put it in a format and a structure that gave us a way to work in a very organized way to make progress in all that differences…supporting each other in achieving those objectives in the community United States to supporting Georgia`s Euro Atlantic aspirations, its aspirations for NATO membership and its aspirations for broader and I`d say more active engagement with the alliance and with the U.S. bilaterally and that`s an obligation we will take very seriously”, he said.

Rubin added prominent representatives of the NATO member countries on the North Atlantic Council, during their recent visit in Georgia, said significant progress had been achieved on the country`s way to the alliance.

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Georgia Hosts Meeting Of NATO Centers In Former Soviet States

http://en.trend.az/news/politics/1970165.html

Trend News Agency
December 16, 2011

Main priority of Georgian foreign policy discussed in Tbilisi
N. Kirtskhalia

Tbilisi: Georgian Deputy Prime Minister Giorgi Baramidze has today opened a regional meeting of representatives of the information centers on NATO in Georgia, Ukraine, Russia, Moldova, Azerbaijan and Armenia and non-governmental organizations at the Holiday Inn hotel.

He spoke about the significance of the main priority of Georgian foreign policy – joining NATO. It is important for the safety of Georgia and the region. He paid special attention to the importance of mentioning Georgia in the final statement of the NATO ministerial meeting as an aspirant country, along with the Western Balkan countries. He also stressed an active and effective role of the NATO information center in terms of raising the population’s awareness about the alliance and assistance for the Euro-Atlantic integration.

The regional meeting will last until December 18.

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Georgia Increases Troop Strength For NATO’s Afghan War

http://en.trend.az/regions/scaucasus/georgia/1970055.html

Trend News Agency
December 16, 2011

Georgia increases military contingent in Afghanistan’s peacekeeping mission
N. Kirtskhalia

Tbilisi: Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili has today appealed to the Parliament to obtain consent to send one additional infantry battalion to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. This battalion will serve under U.S. command.

Earlier, the Georgian Parliament had already agreed on the participation of one infantry company and a group of trainers (in the French contingent), one infantry battalion (in the U.S. contingent), and two servicemen (in the Turkish contingent) in the ISAF mission.

The Parliament will approve the corresponding resolution to send the additional battalion at a special session next week.

At present, about 900 Georgian servicemen serve in Afghanistan. Their number will increase to 1,500 from 2012. Thus, Georgia will be the largest contributor among non-NATO members.

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Pakistan: Squeezed NATO Supply Line Runs Dry

http://tribune.com.pk/story/307420/squeezed-nato-supply-line-runs-dry/

Express Tribune
December 16, 2011

Squeezed NATO supply line runs dry
By Shahbaz Rana

ISLAMABAD: Stepping up pressure on an already-squeezed supply line, Pakistan on Thursday imposed a ban on export of petroleum products to Afghanistan and Central Asia, meant for Nato troops posted in the region.

The decision was taken in a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet (ECC), the country’s highest economic decision-making body, headed by Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh.

The import is being practiced only on paper, and all these petroleum products are being sold in Pakistan after going through the export process, said the ministry of petroleum and natural resources in a justification given to the ECC.

The government was also facing criticism for providing subsidised products to Afghanistan at a time when domestic consumers are subject to heavy taxation. The petroleum ministry officials said around 850,000 tons of jet fuel, consumed by Nato forces, is exported to Afghanistan per year.

Pakistan had also been exporting 150,000 tons of high-speed diesel and 100,000 tons of petrol at subsidised rates since 2002-03.

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Belgium: NATO Conducts 29-Nation Cyber Warfare Exercise

http://www.defpro.com/news/details/30767/?SID=cc2aa5e27ee6529f9c7861cd6564633f

Defence Professionals
December 16, 2011

Cyber Coalition 2011 exercise tests NATO procedures for cyber defence

NATO conducted from 13 to 15 December a cyber defence exercise in order to test technical and operational Alliance cyber defence capabilities. The exercise called Cyber Coalition 2011 was an opportunity to test Alliance working procedures for responding to large scale cyber attacks targeting information infra-structures of NATO and individual countries.

A total of 23 NATO and six partner nations nations were involved in the exercise.

“I am delighted to see so many participants joining us for NATO’s major annual cyber coalition exercise”, Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges, Ambassador Gabor Iklody said. “The number of players and observers is growing every year. This demonstrates the high importance that Allies and partners attach to achieving better protection against rapidly increasing cyber threats and also confirms NATO’s recognition as a key player in cyber defence”.

Around 100 specialists took part in the exercise from locations in the Alliance’s SHAPE Headquarters in Mons and the NATO Headquarters in Brussels. A similar number of national experts participated from national cyber defence facilities in their respective countries.

The exercise also offered an opportunity to check technical and operational responsibilities and to look into the needs for collaboration between NATO and partner nations. The European Union participated in the exercise with an observer role.

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Chicago: Protesters Cry Foul Over NATO, G8 Restrictions

http://www.wbez.org/story/protestors-cry-foul-over-proposed-g8-nato-restrictions-94957

WBEZ/Chicago Public Radio
December 15, 2011

Protestors cry foul over proposed G8, NATO restrictions
Michell Eloy

Protesters are criticizing Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to raise fines and tighten security measures during the upcoming G8 and NATO summits.

The mayor introduced an ordinance during Wednesday’s City Council meeting that, if passed, would temporarily raise fines for resisting police or aiding someone escaping arrest. During the summits, which could draw thousands of protesters, Emanuel wants to increase the minimum fine from $25 to $200 and double the maximum fine to $1,000. His proposed ordinance would also close parks, playgrounds and beaches overnight for longer periods of time.

“People are outraged,” said Mary Zerkel, who’s with the Quaker group American Friends Services Committee. “It’s, again, the tightening of free speech.”

Zerkel said the proposed restrictions could deter peaceful protesters.

“People are going to think twice about that kind of money to engage in non-violent civil disobedience,” said Zerkel.

University of Chicago Assistant Law Professor Aziz Huq said courts often grant cities more leeway in setting time, place and manor restrictions on protesters, so long as the restrictions are “content neutral.”

“On the other hand, if there’s reason to believe that what’s going on here is the suppression of a particular view point, then I think that’s a very different case,” said Huq.

The NATO and G8 summits are scheduled to be held a McCormick Place in mid May.

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Afghanistan: NATO’s Iron Man Versus Frankenstein’s Militarized Monster

http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=82653&Cat=9

News International
December 17, 2011

Nato’s Iron Man, reality’s Frankenstein
Wajahat S Khan

-For next year, Nato is well on its way to making a security force in Afghanistan that will consume most of that poor country’s resources and operate in areas where it will be seen either as an ethnic ‘outsider’, a foreign ‘invader’ or a local ‘traitor’. If you’re a Pakistani, whether in Karachi, Balochistan or Fata, this should all sound very familiar. Thus, much like a Hollywood superhero fantasy, Nato’s mad scientists are inadvertently putting together an (ethnically skewed and over consumptive) ‘Pakistan Army model’ to tackle the Taliban – and, yes, maybe even the Pakistan Army itself – in Afghanistan. The irony is superb.

Around 200 kilometres from Amsterdam, in South Limburg (famously called the ‘appendix of the Netherlands’), lies the sleepy town of Brunsum.

Once home to the Dutch charcoal mining industry, a gas find in the north of the country during the 1950s put Brunsum on the Netherlands’ not-doing-so-well list. The Eurocrats didn’t struggle too hard to figure what to do with this ailing community: soon enough, Nato was invited to build its Joint Forces Command Headquarters here. Since then, life changed for the locals, as it’s not everyday that one’s hometown becomes the epicentre of a global military command structure.

Thus, in 1967, when General Kayani was probably filling out his application forms to enter the Pakistan Military Academy as a gentlemen cadet, JFC Brunsum became the forward base for history’s mightiest military alliance, overseeing the European theatre as the Cold War reached its peak.

Nowadays, Brunsum is the thinking post for another war, in another continent. The locals are still sleepy, but this new campaign is keeping the uniforms of Brunsum wide awake, even sleepless.

From almost 6000 kilometres away, Nato controls the 10-year-old conflict in Afghanistan. The workday starts early for Marine General John Allen and his staff, who are three and half hours ahead in Kabul, averaging five video-conferences with Brunsum every day. On their part, the intelligence analysts here devise formulae that can help Allen and his Isaf commanders deal with the day-to-day, as well as the long haul, of the war.

These days, the analysts at Brunsum are more worried than usual: the deadline of 2014 looms, the ‘transition’ phase is in full effect, tensions with Pakistan are at an all-time high, and Nato has to urgently deliver on training and equipping the Afghan National Security Forces. This means that it has to ensure the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police are fighting-fit and corruption-free entities that are ready to secure their country, fast.

Think of it in another way, while trying on Nato’s shoes: You’re broke and not the man you used to be (an economic crisis and not enough local support for the war have dwindled Natos’ efforts); your partner caught you cheating and has filed for divorce (post-Salala Pakistan is hitting back with several punitive measures); and you have resorted to leaving the house while trying to ensure your two delinquent juveniles become responsible adults who can fend for themselves (the ANA and the ANP have to be shaped up ASAP so that they can fill the security vacuum Nato shall leave behind).

If life in Afghanistan were Hollywood, Nato would have low self-esteem, an empty bank account, and a bad drinking habit at this point of the movie.

Thus, much like a badgered Hollywood protagonist, an increasingly desperate Nato is looking for that magic pill that could end its problems, here and now. Keeping our blockbuster in perspective, Nato is now working in overdrive to plug all possible gaps: it can’t do much about the financial crunch, nor the weak support for the war effort, neither can it woo Pakistan back easily, so it’s spending extra time in the basement trying to hammer together solutions that will make its two affected teenagers – the Afghan army and police – functional and contributing members of society. In this plot, Nato’s legacy could be sealed as a good dad and a great creator.

The problem is that this Ironman approach Nato’s devising for Afghanistan, by providing it a new suit of armour via beefing up the ANA/ANP, is looking more and more like Frankenstein’s rendition of a militarised monster. The formula for saving Afghanistan – a country that has fought itself longer than it has fought foreign powers – by converting it into a multi-polar security state is morphed. Here’s how.

Nato’s metrics are almost unfathomable in their optimism, as this summary of JFC Brunsum’s stated year-end objective for 2012 indicates: Make a 352,000 man army and police force that is not necessarily representative of the ethnic reality and composition of Afghanistan (and is projected by Nato itself to consume around 30 to 40 percent of Afghanistan’s GDP), deploy them in an environment where they either don’t belong (ethnically) or will face pressures (socially/tribally), give them command authority as well as the weapons and training platforms to perform at the tactical, operational and eventually the strategic level (while the government in Kabul continues to struggle for legitimacy and establishing its writ country-wide)…and then leave!

Let’s repeat that again: For next year, Nato is well on its way to making a security force in Afghanistan that will consume most of that poor country’s resources and operate in areas where it will be seen either as an ethnic ‘outsider’, a foreign ‘invader’ or a local ‘traitor’. If you’re a Pakistani, whether in Karachi, Balochistan or Fata, this should all sound very familiar. Thus, much like a Hollywood superhero fantasy, Nato’s mad scientists are inadvertently putting together an (ethnically skewed and over consumptive) ‘Pakistan Army model’ to tackle the Taliban – and, yes, maybe even the Pakistan Army itself – in Afghanistan. The irony is superb.

But here’s the scary twist. Brunsum’s analysts estimate that Afghanistan’s cops suffer a 30 percent ‘attrition’ rate, which means around 45,000 will go AWOL – desert their positions – just this year. Meanwhile, the army has a representation crisis (according to Foreign Affairs and The Economist magazines, less than 10 percent of the ANA’s Officer Corps is Pashtun – the ethnic group that forms the backbone of the Taliban-led insurgency). Thus, Afghanistan’s cops are running off, while its soldiers are ethnically opposed to their enemy – and the 2014 pullout hasn’t even begun!

Drive through Kabul and you see the chaos of a new police state. Multiple uniforms – Special Forces, regular army, ‘Urdu’ militia (a shady lashkar which is the only Pashtun-dominated component of the ANSF), national police and local police all guard different turfs within a kilometre of downtown.

It’s not fantasy to wonder how benevolent these uniforms will treat themselves, their people and each other when the “kharji” (foreigners) leave, pulling the plug of dollars and authority after 2014. Thus, Nato’s monster – Afghanistan’s artificial military complex – that has been fed so far, just might feed on itself. Cannibalism versus kebabs? That’s the choice Afghans are facing, thanks to Nato’s experiment.

The writer is a Harvard Shorenstein Fellow and investigates for print/broadcast/social media. Email: wajahat_khan@hks. harvard.edu

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Categories: Uncategorized

Interview on Kyrgyzstan and global war threats

December 17, 2011 2 comments

http://www.corbettreport.com/interview-436-rick-rozoff

The Corbett Report
December 16, 2011

Audio

Rick Rozoff of Stop NATO International joins us to discuss the scandal of the Manas Air Base, a facility in Kyrgyzstan that has been strategically important for the US in staging and transportation to supply its decade-long occupation of Afghanistan. We discuss the history of US-Kyrgyz relations, years-long rumblings from the Kyrgyz political establishment to kick the US out of Manas, its possible use as a drug-smuggling facility, and more. We also talk about the moves toward WWIII occurring across the South Asian and Greater Middle East region and what, if anything, can be done to stop it.

Categories: Uncategorized

Wole Soyinka: Civilian and Soldier

December 17, 2011 Leave a comment

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

Wole Soyinka
Civilian and Soldier (1967)

My apparition rose from the fall of lead,
Declared, ‘I am a civilian.’ It only served
To aggravate your fright. For how could I
Have risen, a being of this world, in that hour
Of impartial death! And I thought also: nor is
Your quarrel of this world.

You stood still
For both eternities, and oh I heard the lesson
Of your training sessions, cautioning -
Scorch earth behind you, do not leave
A dubious neutral to the rear. Reiteration
Of my civilian quandary, burrowing earth
From the lead festival of your more eager friends
Worked the worse on your confusion, and when
You brought the gun to bear on me, and death
Twitched me gently in the eye, your plight
And all of you came clear to me.

I hope some day
Intent upon my trade of living, to be checked
In stride by your apparition in a trench,
Signalling, I am a soldier. No hesitation then
But I shall shoot you clean and fair
With meat and bread, a gourd of wine
A bunch of breasts from either arm, and that
Lone question – do you friend, even now, know
What it is all about?

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO news: December 16, 2011

December 16, 2011 3 comments

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Missile Shield To Destroy Strategic Balance: Russian Defense Minister

Defense Minister: Russia To Retaliate Against U.S.-NATO Missiles

U.S. Receives Final Approval To Deploy Missiles In Romania

Russia Opposes Anti-Russian Thrust Of U.S.-NATO ABM System

New Russian Strategic Missiles Can Penetrate U.S. Missile Shield

Commander: Russia Ready To Combat U.S. Spaced-Base Missiles

U.S.-NATO Missiles: Russian Baltic Radar Fully Operational In 2014

Iran Doesn’t Have Technology For Ballistic Missiles: Russian Commander

Syria, Iran, Russia Targeted: Pentagon Chief Strengthens Military Ties With Turkey

Georgia: Clinton Visit To Focus On NATO Integration

Global Turmoil Set To Worsen In Coming New Year

Iraq: Fallujah Residents Celebrate Last Of U.S. Occupiers

Pentagon Shifts From Broader Middle East To Confronting China

Australia-Japan-U.S. Military Axis Deepened, Expanded

Noose Around China: Australia, South Korea Boost Military Cooperation

Malacca Strait: U.S. Marines In Malaysia, Singapore Exercises

Russia To Build Two Military Posts On Kurils

Russia To Promote India As Full Member Of SCO

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Missile Shield To Destroy Strategic Balance: Russian Defense Minister

http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c32/298892.html

Itar-Tass
December 16, 2011

Missile shield to break strategic balance – Serdyukov

MOSCOW: The deployment of the U.S. missile shield in Europe will break the strategic balance of forces and Russia will begin to take responsive measures after the first missile defense elements appear in Poland, Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said in an interview with Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper published on Friday.

“We cannot allow violations of the existing strategic balance which will result from the unilateral deployment of the missile defense system in Poland,” he said.

“As for today we have information the United States is planning to deploy anti-missile (Standard-3) complexes in Poland. Thus, a threat to our strategic nuclear forces will definitely come from there,” Serdyukov said.

“As soon as any missile defense elements appear in Poland we shall take adequate response measures. One of them can be the deployment of Iskander missile complexes in the Kaliningrad region. We shall definitely deploy them if the Supreme Commander-in-Chief orders us,” the defense minister said.

He added the first response was the deployment in Kaliningrad of a missile attack warning radar. “Other measures declared by the president of the country will be implemented only as response steps adequate to the level of the emerging threat to Russia,” Serdyukov stressed.

He added Russia will also equip its missiles “with a corresponding complex” to break through the missile shield.

“The same with all other tasks. Military science and industrial enterprises have the necessary designs. Their introduction will not demand major costs and time,” the minister said.

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Defense Minister: Russia To Retaliate Against U.S.-NATO Missiles

http://en.trend.az/regions/world/russia/1969804.html

Trend News Agency
December 16, 2011

Minister: Russia to respond to U.S missile defense system in Europe
E. Tariverdiyeva

Baku: Once the U.S. missile defense system hits Poland, Russia will take adequate retaliatory measures, Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said in an interview with Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

“Russia will not allow violating the existing strategic balance,” Serdyukov said. “The tasks set before the armed forces by the president include countering threats to our strategic nuclear forces. The radar warning system for missile attack was commissioned in Kaliningrad.”

The U.S. does not intend to abandon its deployment of a missile defense system in Europe, the National Security Council said on Nov. 23.

President Medvedev announced the military actions that Russia will take in response. He decided to make the plans after talks with U.S. President Barack Obama failed at the APEC summit.

The radar station near Kaliningrad uses only 30 percent of its potential. Work on increasing its capacity is going around the clock. The full capacity will be met in 1.5 years.

It will then be able to detect all types of ballistic missiles at ranges of up to 6,000 km and simultaneously monitor up to 500 objects,” he said.

Serdyukov said the Defense Ministry’s plans include the deployment of anti-aircraft missile systems in Kaliningrad.

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U.S. Receives Final Approval To Deploy Missiles In Romania

http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c32/298849.html

Itar-Tass
December 16, 2011

Romania gives go-ahead to U.S. missile defense on its territory

BUCHAREST: Romania’s President Traian Basescu on Thursday gave the final approval to build a missile interceptor site in the country as part of the U.S. missile shield which Russia objects.

Basescu signed into law the agreement reached between the United States and Romania in September to deploy the interceptors at the Deveselu air base near the border with Bulgaria by 2015. Romania’s parliament approved the deal earlier this month.

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Russia Opposes Anti-Russian Thrust Of U.S.-NATO ABM System

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/12/16/62342683.html

Voice of Russia
December 16, 2011

Russia opposed to anti-Russian thrust of US ABM system

       
What Russia is opposed to is not the creation of a US ABM system per se, but the system’s anti-Russian thrust, the Commander of Russian Strategic Missile Troops Sergei Karakayev told reporters earlier today.

He pointed out that as long as there is a stable nuclear containment mechanism around, one that’s based on the threat of nuclear weapon use, one should better not try to undermine that mechanism, thereby provoking a nuclear arms race.

In November, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev made public the military-technological and diplomatic moves that Russia would make to counter a deployment of ABM system in Europe.

The first stage of military moves is already over now that Russia has put into operation a new missile attack early warning radar in the Kaliningrad region.

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New Russian Strategic Missiles Can Penetrate U.S. Missile Shield

http://www.interfax.com/newsinf.asp?pg=5&id=295863

Interfax-Military
December 16, 2011

New Russian strategic missiles invulnerable – RVSN commander

-“It seems to me that as long as a stable mechanism of nuclear deterrence based on a threat to use nuclear weapons exists in the world, it should not be undermined, provoking a strategic offensive arms race. Should it happen, any strategic stability would be out of the question. I do not think that such a situation will benefit anyone.”

MOSCOW: Nearly all of the silo-based and mobile missile systems belonging to the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces (RVSN) are equipped with warheads capable of overpowering missile defense shields, RVSN Commander Lt. Gen. Sergei Karakayev said.

“The capabilities of such combat means were demonstrated to U.S. technical control means during the trials of the Yars ground-based mobile missile system and the Bulava sea-based missile system. It also concerns hypersonic warheads capable of performing altitude and trajectory maneuvers,” he told journalists.

“The new missiles have characteristics that allow them to stay invulnerable at all sections of their flight,” Karakayev said.

“Today we have to vigorously respond to America’s missile defense build-up because the U.S. has chosen to ignore Russia’s concerns over it,” the commander said.

“New missile systems of RVSN will be equipped with highly effective maneuverable and guided warheads and more advanced means able to overpower missile defense shields. All this allows us to confidently forecast the Russian strategic nuclear forces’ ability to maintain the country’s security no matter what scenario the international situation follows,” Karakayev said.

“Russia is not opposed to the deployment of a U.S. missile defense shield, but it is against the creation of such a shield that would overtly be directed against it, potentially reducing the capabilities of the Russian strategic nuclear forces,” he said.

“It seems to me that as long as a stable mechanism of nuclear deterrence based on a threat to use nuclear weapons exists in the world, it should not be undermined, provoking a strategic offensive arms race. Should it happen, any strategic stability would be out of the question. I do not think that such a situation will benefit anyone,” the general said.

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http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2011-12/16/c_131311316.htm

Xinhua News Agency
December 16, 2011

Russia considers new ICBM to counter U.S. missile defense

             
MOSCOW: Russia might build a new intercontinental ballistic missile capable of breaking through the U.S.’ space-based missile defense system, the commander of Russian Strategic Missile Forces said Friday.

Lieutenant General Sergei Karakayev told reporters thaT Russia needs the ICBMs to contain possible threats of nuclear attack in the future.

“In case (the U.S.) deploys space-based anti-missile systems, the potential of the existing ICBMs could be insufficient to overpass that defense shield. So we need to deploy a new 100-ton ICBM,” he was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying.

The general noted that missiles of such weight could be only ground-based, and also be equipped with conventional warheads with unlimited striking range.

Russia currently deploys the ground-based Topol-M and Yars strategic multi-warhead guided missiles and submarine-based Bulava ICBM.

Moscow has long opposed the deployment of U.S.-led NATO missile defense facilities near its borders and intends to seek legally binding guarantees from the U.S. and NATO that the missile defense shield is not targeting Russia.

President Dmitry Medvedev warned in November that Russia might station missile defense systems, including the Iskander, in western and southern sections of the country if there were any additional U.S. missile deployments in Europe.

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http://www.interfax.com/newsinf.asp?pg=5&id=295853

Interfax-Military
December 16, 2011

Two more RVSN divisions to switch to Yars missile systems in 2012 – commander

VLASIKHA, Moscow region: The Novosibirsk- and Kozelsk-based divisions of the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces (RVSN) will start to switch to Yars advanced mobile missile systems next year, RVSN Commander Lt. Gen. Sergei Karakayev told journalists on Friday.

“The second regiment of the Teikovo rocket unit will finish its transfer to Yars mobile missile systems in 2012. The Novosibirsk and Kozelsk rocket units will start to switch to this complex as well,” he said.

The Kozelsk division will receive “silo-based Yars missile systems,” Karakayev said.

Two more rocket divisions are expected to switch to Yars systems in the future, the commander said.

The Russian Armed Forces’ first rocket regiment equipped with Yars systems was fully equipped in 2011, he said. This regiment is part of the Teikovo rocket division, based in the Ivanovo region.

“Another Yars regiment, made up of the regiment’s command center and one rocket battalion, entered a trial run in the same division on December 7. One more battalion of this regiment will enter service before the end of 2011,” the commander said.

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Commander: Russia Ready To Combat U.S. Spaced-Base Missiles

http://rt.com/news/missile-target-amd-europe-977/

RT
December 16, 2011

Russian missile chief: ‘We can nuke your AMD’

-“If the USA deploys space-based strike anti-ballistic missile forces, which is not excluded due to intensive research in that area it carries out, the potential of small solid propellant missiles would not be enough to overcome such a system. In this situation deployment of a liquid propellant ICBM with a launch weigh about 100 tonnes is preferable, since it would be noticeably better than a solid propellant missile of a similar size in terms of the payload-to-weight ratio.”

Russian strategic missiles may target American anti-ballistic missile shield facilities in Europe, the commander of the Russian missile troops has warned.

The missiles on duty have blank flight programs, but they can be promptly targeted at any destination, including the controversial European AMD sites, Lieutenant General Sergey Karakaev told journalists on Friday.

“There are no technical limitations on the use of strategic missiles. It would take very little time to select a new target and upload a new missile flight program,” he assured.

He added that “the combat use of missile troop forces is done on command of the Supreme Commander of the Russian Armed Forces, while planning objectives for possible strikes is the job of the General Staff.”

The general also announced the military’s plans to create a new heavy silo-based liquid propellant strategic missile. It will “have improved capabilities to overcome multiple echelons of an anti-missile system” through the use of advanced design of the vehicle and its warhead as well as better fuel.

Karakaev stressed that the need for the new missile comes due to development of ABM technology by the United States.

“If the USA deploys space-based strike anti-ballistic missile forces, which is not excluded due to intensive research in that area it carries out, the potential of small solid propellant missiles would not be enough to overcome such a system,” he said. “In this situation deployment of a liquid propellant ICBM with a launch weigh about 100 tonnes is preferable, since it would be noticeably better than a solid propellant missile of a similar size in terms of the payload-to-weight ratio.”

He added that such a missile can be used to deliver conventional precision warheads and will still have a virtually global reach, which gives more options for Russia in warfare.

In the short-term period, the existing Topol-M and Yars ICBMs are capable of overcoming any challenges the strategic missile troops may face, the commander assured. He said that by year’s end, a quarter of the missiles deployed by Russia will be of these advanced designs. The near-total rearmament of the military is currently being carried out and will be finished by 2012.

The American plans to deploy its anti-missile sites in Europe are a long-standing point of conflict between Moscow and Washington. Russia wants legal guarantees that the system will not undermine its nuclear deterrence, which the US is reluctant to provide such assurances.

Lately Moscow has taken a tougher stance on the issue, opting for a military response to the threat, which politics is failing to address. It plans to deploy Iskander tactical missiles in Kaliningrad exclave, which would allow destruction of the future ABM facilities, should this be needed. President Medvedev also ordered defense ministry to develop further measures to counter the American system.

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U.S.-NATO Missiles: Russian Baltic Radar Fully Operational In 2014

http://en.rian.ru/news/20111215/170284350.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
December 15, 2011

Russia’s Baltic radar to be fully operational by 2014

Moscow: Russia’s new anti-missile radar station in the Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad will become fully operational by the middle of 2014, Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov told the Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily.

“According to our estimates, it will take about one and a half years to put the facility into full operation,” Serdyukov said.

The facility was opened in late November to counter the perceived threat from a joint U.S.-NATO missile defense system in Europe. President Dmitry Medvedev attended the station’s inauguration ceremony during his visit to the city.

When the radar enters full operation, it will be able to monitor simultaneously 500 targets at a distance of up to 6,000 kilometers, Serdyukov said.

Russia’s Defense Ministry plans to deploy S-400 surface-to-air missiles to beef up the facility’s security, Serdyukov said.

The full text of the interview will be published in Rossiiskaya Gazeta on Friday.

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Iran Doesn’t Have Technology For Ballistic Missiles: Russian Commander

http://en.trend.az/regions/iran/1970106.html

Trend News Agency
December 16, 2011

Russia says Iran has no technology to build ballistic missiles

Iran has neither the technology nor the industrial potential to build ballistic missiles, Strategic Missile Forces chief Lt. Gen. Sergei Karakayev said on Friday, RIA Novosti reported.

There have been media reports about test launches of Iranian intercontinental ballistic missiles but the Strategic Missile Forces doubt these missiles will have the effective range to reach Europe, he added.

Karakayev said Russia will develop a new liquid-propellant intercontinental ballistic missile to overcome the U.S. prospective missile defense system.

The United States is building a missile defense system in Europe to protect against possible attack from ‘rogue states’ such as Iran.

A decision has been made to create a new silo-launched heavy missile that will have “enhanced capability to breach a hypothetical US missile defense system,” he said.

The new missile will replace the Voyevoda R-36M2 Satan ICBM.

Russia’s solid-propellant ICBMs may be unable to penetrate missile defenses, Karakayev noted.

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Syria, Iran, Russia Targeted: Pentagon Chief Strengthens Military Ties With Turkey

http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=66486

U.S. Department of Defense
December 15, 2011

Panetta to Reinforce Strong U.S.-Turkey Partnership
By Donna Miles

-In addition to being a strong NATO ally, Turkey is “extremely important to the ability to try to keep what is happening in the Middle East headed in the right direction,” [Panetta] said.
“They can have an influence on what happens in Egypt, what happens in Iraq, what happens in Iran, what happens in Syria,” the secretary said.
-“Turkey is coming on very strong in recent weeks in full alignment with our efforts and those of our key Arab and European partners,” a senior defense official traveling with Panetta told reporters.
The secretary also said he will commend Turkey’s decision to host the forward-based radar for the NATO missile defense system.

ANKARA, Turkey: Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta arrived here today to reinforce the United States’ strong relationship with a critical security partner within the region and NATO.

Panetta traveled here after ceremonies in Iraq marking the end of the U.S. Forces Iraq mission, with stops also in Afghanistan and Djibouti.

In Ankara, the secretary will meet with President Abdullah Gul and Turkish defense leaders to thank them for their country’s leadership during a period of transition and change within the region.

“Turkey represents a key ally in the Middle East,” Panetta told reporters traveling with him.

In addition to being a strong NATO ally, Turkey is “extremely important to the ability to try to keep what is happening in the Middle East headed in the right direction,” he said.

“They can have an influence on what happens in Egypt, what happens in Iraq, what happens in Iran, what happens in Syria,” the secretary said.

Panetta noted that Turkey has taken a strong position in condemning Syria’s violent crackdown on protestors and calling for President Bashar Assad to step down.

“Turkey is coming on very strong in recent weeks in full alignment with our efforts and those of our key Arab and European partners,” a senior defense official traveling with Panetta told reporters.

The secretary also said he will commend Turkey’s decision to host the forward-based radar for the NATO missile defense system.

Panetta also is expected to thank the Turks for their contributions to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

Also during the visit, the secretary is expected to express the United States’ solidarity in its fight against the PKK terrorists and ways to continue that support as U.S. forces complete their drawdown in Iraq, the official said.

Echoing a theme he raised earlier this month, the secretary is likely to encourage Turkey to strengthen and, where necessary, build relations with key neighbors, including Israel, Armenia and Cyprus, the official said.

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Georgia: Clinton Visit To Focus On NATO Integration

http://en.trend.az/regions/scaucasus/georgia/1969942.html

Trend News Agency
December 16, 2011

Clinton to discuss in Georgia preparations for NATO summit
N. Kirtskhalia

-“This Charter includes spheres which were the subject of our cooperation over the past years. The sides took commitments to interact with each other and the U.S., in its turn, has undertaken a commitment to assist Georgia’s integration into Euro-Atlantic organizations and NATO.”

Tbilisi: The exact date of the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to Georgia has not determined yet, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary on Europe and Eurasia Eric Rubin said at the briefing in Tbilisi on Friday.

“The process is underway to schedule the visit and it will be determined on the basis of the consent of both parties,” Rubin said. “The agenda of the visit is being developed. But now we can say that the Secretary of State will meet with Georgian officials, including the heads of economic, trade and defense bodies.”

Rubin underscored during the visit it is planned to discuss future parliamentary elections in Georgia, and preparations for the NATO summit in Chicago, which is scheduled to be held in May.

In summer of 2010 Clinton within her tour of the South Caucasus visited Tbilisi to meet with the head of state.

According to Rubin, the United States continues to support Georgian democracy, its NATO aspirations and bilateral relations are based on the Charter of Strategic Partnership created between the countries.

“This Charter includes spheres which were the subject of our cooperation over the past years. The sides took commitments to interact with each other and the U.S., in its turn, has undertaken a commitment to assist Georgia’s integration into Euro-Atlantic organizations and NATO,” Rubin said.

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Global Turmoil Set To Worsen In Coming New Year

http://www.globaltimes.cn/NEWS/tabid/99/ID/688661/Global-turmoil-set-to-worsen-in-coming-New-Year.aspx

Global Times
December 15, 2011

Global turmoil set to worsen in coming New Year*

-Political candidates in some countries will try to win votes by sacrificing foreign relations, and the hard-line foreign policies that they advocate or carry out may result in greater political tensions between the major powers.
For example, the US and China may clash over security issues in East Asia… To win a second term, US President Barack Obama may well introduce hard-line economic policies aimed at China.
Russia and the US may clash again over democracy, strategic stability, or Middle Eastern issues. Russia and Europe could have disputes over energy supply…The Japanese government may continue to take a hard-line policy approach to territorial disputes, which could bring it once more into conflict with China, Russia and Korea.
-Facing weak economies and high unemployment, and overridden with debt, it is also not inconceivable that developed Western states could experience violent conflict.

The consequences of the global financial crisis have overflowed from finance and economics into the political and social spheres this year, which has manifested in turmoil in both the international community and domestic communities throughout the world. The problems will only worsen in 2012.

For one thing, the difficulties facing world economic recovery may be even greater. US economic recovery is lagging and Europe has fallen into a serious debt crisis.

As the states at the center of the crisis are not able to resolve their own problems, the resolution depends largely on the direction and magnitude of assistance efforts from neighboring countries and institutions. On this issue, European states find it difficult to come together because of electoral and social factors.

As the largest economy in the euro zone, Germany’s will and capacity to rescue the stricken states is critical to resolving the crisis. The German public, however, has little interest in expending massive amounts of money on bailing Greece out. Should Italy or other countries be further affected by the debt crisis, however, it is unclear whether or not Germany will continue to provide aid.

Next year will also be one of global leadership change. The US, Russia, France and South Korea will all hold presidential elections. In China, the Communist Party will hold its 18th National Congress and select a new central leadership.

In this year of elections, political elites in all countries will pay greater attention to their domestic affairs. There will consequently be fewer foreign state visits, which is disadvantageous to the timely alleviation of conflicts between powers.

Political candidates in some countries will try to win votes by sacrificing foreign relations, and the hard-line foreign policies that they advocate or carry out may result in greater political tensions between the major powers.

For example, the US and China may clash over security issues in East Asia, the value of the yuan, balanced trade, or the level of openness of financial markets. Candidates for the US presidency will certainly attack one another on issues related to Sino-US economic relations. To win a second term, US President Barack Obama may well introduce hard-line economic policies aimed at China.

Russia and the US may clash again over democracy, strategic stability, or Middle Eastern issues. Russia and Europe could have disputes over energy supply and Russia’s domestic reforms.

The Japanese government may continue to take a hard-line policy approach to territorial disputes, which could bring it once more into conflict with China, Russia and Korea.

There could also be a rise in tension between China and Japan over historical issues.

Meanwhile, there is danger that North and South Korea will attack one another politically as they each prepare to change leadership.

In some countries, there may also be violent uprisings and armed conflicts as a result of social turmoil. The more intense the domestic social turmoil, the more opportunities for foreign interference and a greater likelihood that turmoil will overspill state boundaries.

This is precisely what has happened in the Middle East and Northern Africa, where political turmoil provoked an international war in Libya, and several serious violent domestic uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and Syria, which have yet to end. Failure to handle these challenges could result in a long-term civil conflict.

Although it is less likely that other states will experience the violent conflict that has swept Libya and Syria, there is still the possibility that social contradictions could result in large-scale protests culminating in violence.

Facing weak economies and high unemployment, and overridden with debt, it is also not inconceivable that developed Western states could experience violent conflict.

*The article was an excerpt from the latest report, “Constructing an Orderly International System: Trends, Turmoil and Principles for Maintaining Order,” released by the Institute of Modern International Relations, Tsinghua University. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

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Iraq: Fallujah Residents Celebrate Last Of U.S. Occupiers

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\12\16\story_16-12-2011_pg4_8

Agence France-Presse
December 15, 2011

Iraq’s Fallujah glad to see back of US Army

-The second campaign was launched just two months before legislative elections, in January 2005. Some 2,000 civilians and 140 Americans died, in a battle considered one of the fiercest for the United States since the Vietnam war.
-“It will be a day of joy for Iraqis when the last Americans leave Iraq,” said Khalid Zidane Khalaf, 61. On Wednesday, hundreds of people in Fallujah marked the impending departure of American forces from Iraq by burning US flags and shouting slogans in support of the “resistance.”
-The actions of the US military convince Hamid Abid Ali, a history teacher in the city, that Washington is bent on revenge for the 2004 showdown and will “never allow Fallujah to live in peace.”
“The American leaders should be brought before international courts and punished for the crimes they committed in Iraq,” the 42-year-old thundered.

Battered, humiliated and temporarily cut off from the rest of Iraq, the people of Fallujah have paid a heavy price for two massive battles in 2004 between US forces and Sunni insurgents.

Now they can’t wait for the “occupiers” to leave.

Despite parts of the city having been rebuilt, Fallujah remains deeply scarred by US military offensives in April and November 2004, two of the bloodiest campaigns of the war that turned it into a household name.

“It is true that we suffered many losses, but we taught them a lesson they will never forget,” said a man who said he took part in the fighting but declined to give his name. “They will tell their grandchildren of the great fighters of Fallujah.”

The city of about half a million people 60 kilometres west of Baghdad was home to some of the earliest anti-US protests in the aftermath of the March 2003 invasion. Back in May 2003, Fallujah residents were content to just throw their shoes at US soldiers. But in March 2004, four American employees of the US private security firm Blackwater, since renamed Xe and now called Academi, were brutally killed in the city.

The April offensive aimed to quell the burgeoning Sunni insurgency but was a failure…

The second campaign was launched just two months before legislative elections, in January 2005. Some 2,000 civilians and 140 Americans died, in a battle considered one of the fiercest for the United States since the Vietnam war.

Seven years later, remnants of the devastation are still clearly visible. A multi-storey building, having collapsed in on itself, lies close to the bridge where the Blackwater employees were left hanging.

Behind it is a network of muddy lanes which form a dilapidated market, with the walls surrounding it bearing bullet holes. In that market, or souk, is a modest workshop belonging to Mohammed Weida, a tailor. “The Americans destroyed Fallujah — their presence was a curse” for the city, the 53-year-old said, standing beneath a large hole in the ceiling. “We used to live well, but because of them, our situation now is miserable.”

Nearby, a schoolteacher wandering through the market insisted Fallujah’s residents would “never forgive (the Americans) for the harm they caused.”

“It will be a day of joy for Iraqis when the last Americans leave Iraq,” said Khalid Zidane Khalaf, 61. On Wednesday, hundreds of people in Fallujah marked the impending departure of American forces from Iraq by burning US flags and shouting slogans in support of the “resistance.”

Dubbed the first annual “festival to celebrate the role of the resistance,” residents held up banners and placards inscribed with phrases like, “Now we are free” and “Fallujah is the flame of the resistance.”

Apart from the material damage to the city in the 2004 battles, the US military stands accused of harming the long-term health of local residents through the use of white phosphorous. They also complain of American forces having closed off Fallujah for several years, making it impossible for non-residents to visit, and ravaging its economy. The city has since been re-opened.

The actions of the US military convince Hamid Abid Ali, a history teacher in the city, that Washington is bent on revenge for the 2004 showdown and will “never allow Fallujah to live in peace.”

“The American leaders should be brought before international courts and punished for the crimes they committed in Iraq,” the 42-year-old thundered.

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Pentagon Shifts From Broader Middle East To Confronting China

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/china-warily-watches-us-withdrawal-from-iraq/2011/12/15/gIQAT480vO_story.html

Washington Post
December 15, 2011

China warily watches U.S. withdrawal from Iraq
By Keith B. Richburg

-“In the past three or four weeks, the United States has launched so many initiatives so quickly,” said Shi Yinhong, a professor and director at the Center for American Studies at Renmin University in Beijing. “The motivation is to deal with China. This is a really significant new phase in America’s policy toward China.”
-“America is now shifting its focus from the Middle East and South Asia to East Asia, from counterterrorism to dealing with emerging powers,” said Yuan Peng, director of the Institute of American Studies, part of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, which is affiliated with the Foreign Ministry…“It’s already become a reality that you’re here — you’re back,” he said. “The following question is, what’s that for? Is it for encircling or containing China?”

BEIJING: As the U.S. military on Thursday formally ended its intervention in Iraq and prepared to withdraw the last of its combat troops, China was watching warily and with deep concern about where those troops might go next.

The worry here is that an American military free of the nearly nine-year-long commitment to Iraq might now be freer to focus attention on the Asia-Pacific region, which China considers its back yard. In the past month, China has seen the Obama administration promise a pivot to Asia, with the establishment of a new U.S. military base in Darwin, on Australia’s northern coast, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s visit to Burma, also known as Myanmar, which China considers an ally.

“In the past three or four weeks, the United States has launched so many initiatives so quickly,” said Shi Yinhong, a professor and director at the Center for American Studies at Renmin University in Beijing. “The motivation is to deal with China. This is a really significant new phase in America’s policy toward China.”

For the past decade, China has been free to focus on its economic development without concern about any major confrontation with the United States, as the foreign policy under the George W. Bush and Obama administrations focused almost exclusively on Iraq and the larger war against terrorism.

Now, with the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and the planned 2014 drawdown of troops from Afghanistan, Chinese officials are bracing to see whether President Obama’s announced refocusing on Asia presages an era of tense relations between China and the United States.

“America is now shifting its focus from the Middle East and South Asia to East Asia, from counterterrorism to dealing with emerging powers,” said Yuan Peng, director of the Institute of American Studies, part of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, which is affiliated with the Foreign Ministry. “Maybe China will be the new focus. This is a very typical Chinese way of thinking.”

Yuan said the Iraq withdrawal “signals that counterterrorism as the only focus of your security strategy in the last 10 years has changed.” Now, he said, “the focus of strategic thinking, the center of gravity, is shifting from West to East.”

“It’s already become a reality that you’re here — you’re back,” he said. “The following question is, what’s that for? Is it for encircling or containing China?”

The Iraq war helped deepen lingering anti-Americanism here among some Chinese, who view the United States as a “hegemonist” power bent on using its military for global domination. Experts said the sentiment was different during the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, because that came after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks by al-Qaeda plotters based in Afghanistan — and people in China believed the United States had a right to respond.

Some here said the 2003 Iraq invasion, based on the false premise that [Iraq] possessed weapons of mass destruction, has made it more difficult for the United States to press its case against Iran developing a nuclear weapon.

But what was most unnerving may have been the prospect of seeing the United States send combat troops halfway around the world to overthrow a government…in the heart of the Middle East.

====

Australia-Japan-U.S. Military Axis Deepened, Expanded

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2011-12/15/c_131309191.htm

Xinhua News Agency
December 15, 2011

Japan, Australia set to boost military ties in Pacific region

-Both officials agreed that more joint maneuvers held between Japan’s Self-Defense Forces and Australia’s military contingents would be advantageous to both countries and that three-way training operations with the U.S. military should also be increased.

TOKYO: Japanese Defense Minister Yasuo Ichikawa and Australia’s Ambassador to Japan Bruce Miller on Thursday agreed that the two countries should work together to further enhance military cooperation.

During the meeting, Ichikawa said he viewed the security partnership between Australia and Japan as being almost on a par with that of Japan and its key military alliance with the United States, local media reported.

For his part, Miller said that the association between the two countries in the recent past had been of mutual benefit to both parties, but agreed that relations could be further deepened going forward, the reports said.

Both officials agreed that more joint maneuvers held between Japan’s Self-Defense Forces and Australia’s military contingents would be advantageous to both countries and that three-way training operations with the U.S. military should also be increased.

The two sides talked about general Asia-Pacific security issues and Miller informed Ishikawa of the specifics of a deal made between Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and U.S. President Barack Obama last month.

According to the agreement reached between the two countries, the U.S. will deploy 250 of its marines to northern regions in Australia as part of a broader roadmap that will eventually see some 2,500 U.S. personnel stationed there.

Japan’s defense minister said that he approved of the plan and that it represented a good move in terms of the region’s security, the reports said.

The pair agreed that a ministerial level summit on the matters discussed should be held forthwith.

Australia currently boasts the world’s 12th largest military.

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Noose Around China: Australia, South Korea Boost Military Cooperation

http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/267478/20111215/australia-s-korea-forge-deal-closer-military.htm

International Business Times
December 15, 2011

Australia and South Korea Forge Deal for Closer Military Cooperation
By Erik Pineda

-The military deal was revealed following the earlier pact announced by U.S. President Barack Obama during his state visit to Australia, which allows the United States to station some 2,500 U.S. Marines in Darwin, on the north coast.
America’s action is seen as a move to contain the perceived growing dominance of China in the Asia-Pacific…
-Japan announced this week the likely acquisition of new combat planes for its air force, which experts said serves as a counter-balance against China.

South Korea strengthened military ties with Australia as the two nations formally agreed on Wednesday conduct more joint exercises.

The agreement was sealed while South Korean Defence Minister Gen. Kim Kwan-jin made a stop in Canberra this week to meet his Australian counterpart, Defence Minister Stephen Smith.

In a joint statement, they declared: “We are natural security partners, and we will continue to look for new opportunities to deepen our defence cooperation.”

“Australia and the Republic of Korea are like-minded middle powers, and our bilateral relationship is underpinned by shared strategic interests,” the ministers said in a statement reported by the Associated Press.

Smith and his South Korean counterpart added that with the deal in place, joint exercises would be held more frequently with the aim of maintaining the balance of power in the region.

Further discussions between top Australian and South Korean officials should yield policies to address the two countries’ strategic concerns, both political and economic, the statement said.

Closer military cooperation is also embodied in the agreement, which officials said should pave the way for deepening collaboration in intelligence gathering and sharing as well as trade in military goods.

For her part, Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who met with the South Korean defence head in Sydney on Wednesday, has affirmed that Australia is labouring to improve its military cooperation with Seoul.

Gillard noted that she and President Lee Myung-bak pledged in April to conduct a yearly dialogue to strengthen the military ties of the two countries.

The military deal was revealed following the earlier pact announced by U.S. President Barack Obama during his state visit to Australia, which allows the United States to station some 2,500 U.S. Marines in Darwin, on the north coast.

America’s action is seen as a move to contain the perceived growing dominance of China in the Asia-Pacific while the planned joint exercise of Australia and South Korea is a way of serving notice to North Korea that regional powers are monitoring its movements.

Japan announced this week the likely acquisition of new combat planes for its air force, which experts said serves as a counter-balance against China.

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Malacca Strait: U.S. Marines In Malaysia, Singapore Exercises

http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=64413

U.S. Navy
December 15, 2011

USS Makin Island Supports 11th MEU Theater Security Cooperation Missions
From USS Makin Island (LHD 8) Public Affairs

-“The economic interests of the United States, our allies and partner nations depend on unimpeded trade across the world’s oceans. Open trade throughout the Asia-Pacific region is extremely important to the world’s economy.”
During the exercise, Marines from the 11th MEU worked alongside their Malaysian counterparts to learn jungle survival skills and improve helicopter-borne assault techniques.

USS MAKIN ISLAND, At Sea: The Navy’s newest amphibious assault ship, USS Makin Island (LHD 8), played a major role in supporting theater security cooperation missions in the Asia-Pacific region by serving as the at-sea launching platform for U.S. Marine Corps forces participating in Exercise Kilat Eagle, Dec. 14.

Kilat Eagle is a cooperative exercise taking place in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR) between the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and the Malaysian army. The exercise focuses on jungle training, air assault operations, a staff exchange and numerous platoon and company movements.

Sailors assigned to Makin Island’s flight deck worked long hours to launch 11th MEU aircraft and embarked Marines into Kuantan, Malaysia, in order to take part in the exercise.

“The Navy and Marine Corps team plays a critical role in helping to establish international maritime security cooperation with our partner nations,” said Capt. Jim Landers, USS Makin Island commanding officer. “Global maritime security is best achieved through international and regional maritime integration, awareness and response initiatives.

Landers said theater security cooperation exercises like Kilat Eagle enable mutual capabilities and capacity to carry out real-world operations.

“The economic interests of the United States, our allies and partner nations depend on unimpeded trade across the world’s oceans,” added Landers. “Open trade throughout the Asia-Pacific region is extremely important to the world’s economy.”

During the exercise, Marines from the 11th MEU worked alongside their Malaysian counterparts to learn jungle survival skills and improve helicopter-borne assault techniques.

“Kilat Eagle reinforces our relationship with the Malaysian forces and provides a unique training opportunity for all parties,” said Col. Michael Hudson, 11th MEU commanding officer. “We look forward to sharing all that this agile, forward-deployed Marine air-ground-logistics team has to offer.

“This is a golden opportunity. The venues and expertise offered by our gracious hosts will allow us to train with the Malaysians while keeping us sharp for our deployment as America’s premier fighting force in the littorals,” said Hudson.

Other 11th MEU personnel from Makin Island are participating in additional theater security cooperation exercises in nearby Singapore.

The 7th Fleet AOR includes more than 52 million square miles of the Pacific and Indian oceans, stretching from the international date line to the east coast of Africa, and from the Kuril Islands in the north to the Antarctic in the south.

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Russia To Build Two Military Posts On Kurils

http://en.rian.ru/mlitary_news/20111216/170305690.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
December 16, 2011

Russia to build two military posts in disputed Kuril Islands

MOSCOW: The Russian Federal Agency for Special Construction will build two military posts in the disputed Kuril Islands, the agency’s chief said on Friday.

“We are currently designing two military posts in the islands of Iturup and Kunashir, our task is to complete the project’s design in 2012 and begin construction in 2013,” Grigory Naginsky said.

Construction costs are estimated at 12 million rubles (about $377 million).
Naginsky also said an airfield for civilian and military aircraft in the disputed islands is currently being refurbished.

The row over the Kuril Islands, which are known as the Northern Territories in Japan, has prevented the two countries from signing a formal peace treaty following the end of World War II.

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Russia To Promote India As Full Member Of SCO

http://www.interfax.com/newsinf.asp?id=295957

Interfax
December 16, 2011

Russia vows to help India join Shanghai Cooperation Organization

MOSCOW: Russia has promised to help India join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

“Russia has announced that, just as the other member states of the SCO, it stands for measures to be taken to speed up the process of India’s accession to this organization as a full member,” Russia and India said in a joint statement after a bilateral summit in Moscow.

Russia believes that India’s membership in the SCO “will considerably strengthen the political weight of the organization and impart a new quality and dimension to cooperation in the SCO format.”

In the same statement, the two countries promised to “step up their interaction in the hydrocarbon sphere.”

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Categories: Uncategorized

Tennyson: Till the war-drum throbb’d no longer, and the battle-flags were furl’d 

December 16, 2011 Leave a comment

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

Alfred Tennyson
From Locksley Hall (1835)

For I dipt into the future, far as human eye could see, 
Saw the Vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be;         
 
Saw the heavens fill with commerce, argosies of magic sails, 
Pilots of the purple twilight, dropping down with costly bales; 
 
Heard the heavens fill with shouting, and there rain’d a ghastly dew 
From the nations’ airy navies grappling in the central blue; 
 
Far along the world-wide whisper of the south-wind rushing warm,     
With the standards of the peoples plunging thro’ the thunder-storm; 
 
Till the war-drum throbb’d no longer, and the battle-flags were furl’d 
In the Parliament of man, the Federation of the world. 
 
There the common sense of most shall hold a fretful realm in awe, 
And the kindly earth shall slumber, lapt in universal law.

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO news: December 15, 2011

December 15, 2011 2 comments

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Chicago Plans “Extraordinary Measures” Against Anti-NATO/G8 Protests

U.S. Congress Passes $662 Billion Military Authorization Bill

2012 Pentagon Budget Suits Military’s Interests

Massive War Budget: U.S. House Pushes Punitive Measures Against Iran, Pakistan

Congress Authorizes Pentagon To Wage Internet War

Pentagon Plans Space Telescopes To Spy Anywhere On Earth

Uganda: U.S. Special Forces Begin Counterinsurgency Mission

Africa Partnership Station: U.S. Warship Completes Six-Month Mission

NATO Soldier Killed In Insurgent Attack In Afghanistan

U.S. Wants Vassals, Not Allies: Putin

Putin Lashes Out At McCain Over Libya-Russia Parallel

After Bombing Libya, Qatar To Host Taliban Office; Afghan Envoy Recalled

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Chicago Plans “Extraordinary Measures” Against Anti-NATO/G8 Protests

http://www.suntimes.com/news/9440104-418/in-advance-of-natog-8-emanuel-to-increase-fines-for-resisting-arrest.html

Chicago Sun-Times
December 14, 2011

In advance of NATO/G-8, Emanuel to increase fines for resisting arrestBy Fran Spielman

-The mayor’s plan would…empower Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy to “deputize law enforcement personnel,” make cooperative agreements with a host of state, federal and local law enforcement agencies, and forge agreements with “public or private entities concerning placement, installation, maintenance or use of video, audio telecommunications, or other similar equipment.”Chicago’s Big Brother network of more than 10,000 public and private surveillance cameras is already the most extensive and integrated in the nation.

Protesters who descend on Chicago for the NATO and G-8 summits would face extraordinary security measures — including dramatically higher fines for resisting arrest, more surveillance cameras and parks and beaches closed until 6 a.m. — under a plan proposed Wednesday by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

The last time the G-8 and NATO met in the same city was in 1977 in London.

The ordinance introduced at Wednesday’s City Council meeting would dramatically increase fines for “resisting or obstructing” the performance of anyone “known to the person to be a peace officer” as well as the fine for assisting someone in escaping from police custody. Minimum fines for those violations would increase from $25 to $200, while maximum fines would jump from $500 to $1,000.

Parks, playgrounds and beaches would be closed between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. The current overnight closing only extends until 4 a.m.

The mayor’s plan would also empower Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy to “deputize law enforcement personnel,” make cooperative agreements with a host of state, federal and local law enforcement agencies, and forge agreements with “public or private entities concerning placement, installation, maintenance or use of video, audio telecommunications, or other similar equipment.”

Chicago’s Big Brother network of more than 10,000 public and private surveillance cameras is already the most extensive and integrated in the nation.

Asked why the fines for resisting arrest need to be so high, the mayor said, “Just to make sure we have all that we need…We’re setting the ground rules…We’re gonna have a fine that reflects something different for a one-time incident. It’s not that hard” to understand.

Officials with the ACLU declined to comment. But constitutional law experts said the city could be on shaky legal ground.

“If you’re going to have these just for this time, I think he’s treading very close to content-based discrimination, which is a no-no under the First Amendment,” said University of Chicago Law Prof. Craig Futterman.

Aziz Huq, a U. of C. professor of constitutional law, said the city will likely face arguments that it is targeting a particular kind of speech with these temporary high fines.

“The normal rule is that a local government has quote broad authority to place time, place and manner‚ restrictions on the use of public sidewalks or other forums,” Huq said. “That power, though, assumes that the government is not acting in a way that is differentiating or distinguishing between different kinds of speech based upon the content of the speech. You can’t, say, have two sets of time-place-manner rules, one set for people who are pro-choice, more leeway, [and] another for people who are pro-life, more strict and onerous.”

Shortly after taking office, Emanuel, a former congressman and White House chief of staff, used his formidable Washington clout to lure the NATO and G-8 summits to Chicago.

Contributing: Abdon M. Pallasch

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U.S. Congress Passes $662 Billion Military Authorization Bill

http://blogs.voanews.com/breaking-news/2011/12/14/house-lawmakers-pass-defense-bill/

Voice of America News
December 14, 2011

House Lawmakers Pass Defense Bill

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a $662-billion defense bill that contains a provision regarding the handling of certain terror suspects.

By a margin of 283 to 136, lawmakers Wednesday approved the measure after the White House dropped a veto threat over the provision. The bill is expected to pass the Senate and then go to President Barack Obama for his signature. Lawmakers had said revisions were made to the detainee provision in an effort to avoid the threatened veto.

The bill authorizes funding for the Defense Department and national security programs of the Energy Department. It also provides money for military personnel, weapons systems as well as operations in Iraq and Afghanistan for the fiscal year that began October 1.

The measure requires military detention, subject to a presidential waiver, for foreign al-Qaida terrorists who are captured when plotting to attack the United States. A change to the detainee provision exempts U.S. citizens, but it does not guarantee suspected terrorists, even U.S. citizens, a trial, and leaves open the possibility of indefinite detention.

The legislation would place a freeze on some aid to Pakistan until Islamabad gives assurances that it is helping fight the spread of homemade bombs, known as improvised explosive devises, or IEDs. The measure also expands sanctions in Iran.

Separately, the bill prohibits the transfer or release of Guantanamo detainees to or within the United States and prohibits the use of funds to house Guantanamo detainees in the U.S.

The White House had previously warned of a veto for any bill that challenges or constrains the president’s authority to collect intelligence, incapacitate terrorists and protect the nation. The Obama administration argues that the military, law enforcement officials and intelligence agents need flexibility to act on a case-by-case basis in dealing with terror suspects.

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2012 Pentagon Budget Suits Military’s Interests

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/12/15/62274788.html

Voice of Russia
December 15, 2011

2012 Pentagon budget meets military interests

       
The US Congress has approved the Pentagon’s budget for the 2012 financial year at $662 billion, which is at the level proposed by the Senate. In the beginning of the year the US administration asked the Congress to grant Pentagon $721 billion for 2012. Although this earlier variant was not approved the interests of the US armed forces will be met.

The White House will be satisfied with the approved amount, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin said. President Barack Obama is unlikely to veto it. According to Viktor Baranets, a military expert with the Komsomolskaya Pravda, the US military budget has been varying between $600 billion–$700 billion for many years. 

“Now it is important to answer the question of whether America is starting disarmament or not. Having such a gigantic military budget, which is almost $700 billion (plus or minus $500 million or even $50 billion more or less) does not mean any crucial changes for US defense policy. Recently a number of Congressmen have proposed to Obama to cut the military budget almost in half, which outraged Pentagon.

In the current situation it becomes difficult for the US president to choose. Obama plans to run for reelection and now he has to sit on two chairs – he should develop social programs without harming the interests of the armed forces, the expert notes. That’s why the new budget meets the Pentagon’s interest, Viktor Baranets says.

“American experts have thoroughly studied all the articles of the military budget and got rid of non-core ones which concern the development of some types of weapons.”

The 2012 military budget envisages further purchases of drones and helicopters. In particular, $10 billion is to be spent on the development of anti-missile systems. At the same time slower economic growth forces the US administration to cut military spending. In the coming financial year the Pentagon plans to save more than $10 billion by abandoning the development of some types of weapons.

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Massive War Budget: U.S. House Pushes Punitive Measures Against Iran, Pakistan

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2011-12/15/c_131308103.htm

Xinhua News Agency
December 15, 2011

U.S. House asks for punitive measures against Iran, Pakistan

WASHINGTON: The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday evening passed a massive defense bill, asking for sanctions on Iran’s central bank and freezing some aid to Pakistan.

The bill, approved with a 283-136 vote, was expected to pass the Senate later this week before landing on President Barack Obama’s desk for his signature into law.

It requests new sanctions on Iran, targeting foreign financial institutions that do business with the Islamic republic’s central bank. However, as a result of changes made to the original version of the bill, the president can waive the penalties by notifying the Congress that the move is in the interest of U.S. national security.

Government officials said that sanctions on the central bank, the main conduit for Iran’s oil revenues, could roil markets and push up prices.

The UN Security Council imposed four rounds of sanctions on Iran between 2006 and 2010 as the country refused to halt its nuclear enrichment program, which Western countries suspect could be used to develop fuel for nuclear bombs.

Last month, the United States, Britain and Canada expanded targeted sanctions on Iran, in response to a report released on Nov. 8 by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which outlined alleged clandestine activities toward making nuclear bombs by the country.

The House bill also freezes 700 million U.S. dollars in aid for Pakistan until the Congress gets a report from the defense secretary on how Islamabad is countering the threat of improvised explosive devices against U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

U.S.-Pakistani ties, strained since May when U.S. special forces killed Osama bin Laden, the then leader of the al-Qaida terror network, in a raid inside Pakistan without first notifying the country, have sunk to a new low since 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed and 13 others injured by attacks of NATO fighter jets and helicopters on Nov. 26.

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Congress Authorizes Pentagon To Wage Internet War

http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/2011/12/offensive_cyber.html

Secrecy News
December 14, 2011

Congress Authorizes Pentagon to Wage Internet War
By Ryan Singel   

The ancient art of war is coming to the internet.

The House and Senate agreed to give the U.S. military the power to conduct “offensive” strikes online — including clandestine attacks, via a little-noticed provision in the military’s 2012 funding bill.

The power, which was included in the House version but not the Senate version, was included in the final “reconciled” bill that is all but guaranteed to pass into law.

Congress affirms that the Department of Defense has the capability, and upon direction by the President may conduct offensive operations in cyberspace to defend our Nation, Allies and interests, subject to –

(1) the policy principles and legal regimes that the Department follows for kinetic capabilities, including the law of armed conflict; and

(2) the War Powers Resolution (50 U.S.C. 1541 et seq.).

While “offensive” action isn’t defined, that’s likely to include things like unleashing a worm like the Stuxnet worm that damaged Iran’s nuclear centrifuges, hacking into another country’s power grid to bring it down, disabling websites via denial-of-service attacks, or as the CIA has already done with some collateral damage, hacking into a forum where would-be terrorists meet in order to permanently disable it.

The conference report goes on to say:

The conferees recognize that because of the evolving nature of cyber warfare, there is a lack of historical precedent for what constitutes traditional military activities in relation to cyber operations and that it is necessary to affirm that such operations may be conducted pursuant to the same policy, principles, and legal regimes that pertain to kinetic capabilities.

The conferees also recognize that in certain instances, the most effective way to deal with threats and protect U.S. and coalition forces is to undertake offensive military cyber activities, including where the role of the United States Government is not apparent or to be acknowledged. The conferees stress that, as with any use of force, the War Powers Resolution may apply.

Despite mainstream news accounts, there’s been no documented hacking attacks on U.S. infrastructure designed to cripple it. A recent report from a post-9/11 intelligence fusion center that a water pump in Illinois had been destroyed by Russian hackers turned out to be baseless — and was simply a contractor logging in from his vacation at the behest of the water company.

Over the last few years, there’s been a drumbeat from D.C. and security contractors about the possibility of “cyberwar,” and the military has been pushing for, and largely receiving, increased funding for internet security research and more power to monitor and operate on the civilian internet.

However, spying isn’t an act of war — just ask the NSA and CIA, who spend billions of dollars a year spying on other countries by intercepting communications and persuading foreign citizens to give the U.S. valuable intelligence. It’s certainly an aggressive state action, and a diplomatic issue. But if spying was an act of war, every CIA agent hiding under diplomatic cover would count as cause for a country to attack the U.S.

After perfunctory votes in both the House and Senate, the spending measure — and the cyberwar green light — will go to the President for his signature.

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Pentagon Plans Space Telescopes To Spy Anywhere On Earth

http://www.innovationnewsdaily.com/military-satellite-images-video-anywhere-2424/

Innovation News Daily
December 14, 2011

Dream military space telescope could spy anywhere on Earth
DARPA concept would do away with the need to rely on secret planes, drones

If the U.S. military wants live video of a missile launcher vehicle halfway around the world, it must rely on spy planes or drones in danger of being shot down. Tomorrow, the Pentagon wants space telescopes hovering in geosynchronous orbit that could take real-time images or live video of any spot on Earth.

Contrary to Hollywood’s ideas, today’s spy satellites that orbit the Earth at fast speeds and relatively lower altitudes can only snap photos for the U.S. military and intelligence agencies. Taking live video of a single location would require satellites to hover by matching the Earth’s rotation in geosynchronous orbit about 22,000 miles (36,000 kilometers) high — but creating and launching a space telescope with the huge optics arrays capable of seeing ground details from such high orbit has proven difficult.

As a solution, DARPA — the Pentagon’s research arm — envisions a lightweight optics array made of flexible membrane that could deploy in space. Ball Aerospace has just completed an early proof-of-concept review as part of a DARPA contract worth almost $37 million.

“The use of membrane optics is an unprecedented approach to building large aperture telescopes,” said David Taylor, president and chief executive officer of Ball Aerospace in Boulder, Colo.

DARPA eventually wants a space telescope with a collection aperture (light-collecting power) of almost 66 feet (20 meters) in diameter. By comparison, NASA’s next-generation James Webb Space Telescope is designed to have an aperture of 21 feet (6.5 m).

Such a telescope should be able to spot missile launcher vehicles moving at speeds of up to 60 mph on the ground, according to the DARPA contract. That would also require the image resolution to see objects less than 10 feet (3 m) long within a single image pixel.

If all goes well, U.S. military commanders and intelligence agents may someday get live streaming video and up-to-date images of battlefields or trouble spots around the world. Such capability could complement the swarms of cheap drones providing battlefield surveillance today, and might even spare the U.S. embarrassment from losing spy drones over Iran or other countries.

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Uganda: U.S. Special Forces Begin Counterinsurgency Mission

http://www.africom.mil/getArticle.asp?art=7494&lang=0

U.S. Africa Command
U.S. Department of State
December 13, 2011

U.S. Military Advisers to Support African Fight Against LRA

STUTTGART, Germany: U.S. troops serving as advisers in the fight against the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) are beginning to deploy from Uganda to LRA-affected areas to support ongoing regional military efforts…

President Obama announced on October 14, 2011 that a small number of U.S. military personnel would be deployed to help advise the security forces of Uganda, the Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and South Sudan in their joint efforts against the LRA.

Since that time, the U.S. military has been coordinating with the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) to lay the groundwork for forward deployments to field locations, and “starting this month, teams of the advisers are beginning to deploy to LRA-affected areas,” Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson said in a speech on December 7.

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Africa Partnership Station: U.S. Warship Completes Six-Month Mission

http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=64383

U.S. Navy
December 14, 2011

USS Samuel B. Roberts Completes Six-Month Deployment
By Lt. j.g. K. Matthew Wall, USS Samuel B. Roberts Public Affairs

MAYPORT, Fla. – Families and friends welcomed home Sailors from USS Samuel B. Roberts during their scheduled return to Mayport Dec. 14.

The historic warship departed for Africa exactly six months earlier June 14 to the 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility in support of Africa Partnership Station (APS).

Roberts sailed more than 34,000 nautical miles operating in the Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, Horn of Africa and Indian Ocean. [It] also transited through the Straits of Gibraltar and Suez Canal twice during the deployment.

As an independent deployed ship, Roberts was accompanied by Jacksonville-based helicopter squadron, HSL-42 Detachment 1, “Yellow Belly Sliders.” As a vital asset, they provided increased radar range for the Roberts…

During deployment the ship conducted many joint military exercises with partnering African navies. As part of APS, Roberts embarked officers and Sailors from Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, South Africa and Seychelles to participate in a variety of training to include visit, board, search and seizure, ship navigation and damage control.

The overall goal of APS is to strengthen relations between the U.S. and partner countries in Africa…

The deployment adds to Roberts many accomplishments for 2011 to include a successful joint-Navy maritime training exercise, Joint Warrior, conducted in the United Kingdom between March and May and her record-setting board of inspection and survey in early March.

Samuel B. Roberts is assigned to Destroyer Squadron 14 and is homeported in Mayport, Fla.

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NATO Soldier Killed In Insurgent Attack In Afghanistan

http://english.cri.cn/6966/2011/12/15/2982s671700.htm

China Radio International
December 15, 2011

NATO Soldier Killed in Insurgent Attack in Afghanistan
   

A NATO soldier was killed in an insurgent attack in restive Afghanistan’s southern region on Wednesday, the military alliance said on Thursday morning.

“An International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) service member died following an insurgent attack in southern Afghanistan, yesterday,” the NATO-led ISAF said in a press release here.

However, the brief release did not reveal the nationality of the victim under ISAF policy, only saying “it is ISAF policy to defer casualty identification procedures to the relevant national authorities,”

Troops mainly from U.S., Britain and Australia have been stationed in the southern region within the framework of ISAF to fight Taliban militants there.

The Taliban-led insurgency has been rampant since the militant group announced it would launch a rebel offensive starting from May 1 against Afghan and some 130,000 NATO-led troops in Afghanistan.

A total of 548 foreign soldiers, most of them Americans, have been killed in Afghanistan so far this year.

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U.S. Wants Vassals, Not Allies: Putin

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/12/15/62283174.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
December 15, 2011

It seems U.S. needs vassals, not allies – Putin

       
Russia wants to build up further cooperation with the U.S., the country’s Prime Minister and presidential candidate Vladimir Putin said during his televised Q&A session on Thursday.

“Sometimes I think that the U.S. needs no allies but vassals. Nevertheless, we will keep on building our cooperation with the United States”. 

—————————————————————————-

http://www.interfax.com/newsinf.asp?id=295628

Interfax
December 15, 2011

Putin says U.S. ignores allies’ opinions

MOSCOW: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin claimed on Thursday that the United States ignores the opinions of its allies in its political decision making.

“You know, of course: they made their decision on Afghanistan, but did they consult their allies about what was to be done in Afghanistan? They damn well didn’t. They carried out a strike and tried to get everyone on board and said, if you’re not with us you’re against us. Is that the way allies behave? It isn’t at all,” Putin said during a teleconference.

He was commenting on an allegation that the United States seeks alliances while Russia does not and has no allies because of this.

“I don’t agree, Russia has many allies, and when I arrived in Guatemala to propose that Russia host the Olympics, I assure you that an overwhelming majority of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) members – people from all sorts of countries – were saying to me, either openly or into my ear, we will vote for you just because Russia holds an independent position in foreign politics,” he said.

Putin said those IOC members represented nations that were potential allies of Russia and were not limited to former Soviet republics.

“We would like to be allies with the United States as well. It’s just that what I can see these days and what I spoke about in Munich is not a policy of alliance seeking – it sometimes seems to me that America doesn’t need allies, it needs vassals,” he said.

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Putin Lashes Out At McCain Over Libya-Russia Parallel

http://rt.com/news/putin-mccain-gaddafi-nuts-879/

RT
December 15, 2011

Putin lashes out at McCain, says US drones, commandos killed Gaddafi

Vladimir Putin has lashed out at John McCain over his threats that the PM may face same fate as the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. The Russian premier speculated that the US senator has been traumatized by his POW experience.

Putin presented his version of how Gaddafi was killed, and it allocates a dubious place for NATO in the scenario.

“All the world saw him being killed, all bloodied. Is that democracy? And who did it? Drones, including American ones, delivered a strike on his motorcade. Then commandos, who were not supposed to be there, brought in so-called opposition and militants. And killed him without a trial,” Putin explained.

“Mr. McCain is known to have fought in Vietnam. I believe he has enough civilian blood on his hands. Is it that he can’t live without such horrible disgusting scenes as the butchering of Gaddafi?” the Russian prime minister speculated.

“Mr. McCain was taken prisoner in Vietnam and was put, not just in jail, but in a pit! He sat there for several years. Any person would go nuts from that!” he added.

Putin also said hawkish politicians like McCain are targeting, not him personally, but rather Russia, because it has the strength to protect its sovereignty and its international interests rather than submit to world domination pretenses. But there are more those who want to see Russia as a partner, not as an enemy.

“The West is not monolithic, and we have more friends than enemies,” Putin assured.

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After Bombing Libya, Qatar To Host Taliban Office; Afghan Envoy Recalled

http://en.trend.az/regions/world/afghanistan/1969493.html

Trend News Agency
December 15, 2011

Afghanistan recalls envoy from Qatar

-The office of the self-styled Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan would be the first internationally recognised representation for the Taliban since it was ousted from power by the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

Afghanistan has recalled its ambassador from Qatar for “consultations,” the Afghan foreign ministry announced, amid media reports over the opening of a Taliban office in the Gulf state, Aljazeera reported.

A senior Afghan official told Al Jazeera on Thursday that they were unhappy with Qatar for not consulting them.

“On the Qatar issue, we’ve been fully in the picture on the discussions around efforts to establish an address for the Taliban there — through the Germans and Americans,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

“We’re recalling our ambassador because we’re not happy the Qataris have not consulted us or engaged us on this issue assuming that was OK, which it isn’t.”

The official said however that Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan, supports the idea that the Taliban needs an address that helps facilitate the peace process.

In a statement on Wednesday, the foreign ministry thanked Qatar for help with reconstruction, but said the Afghan ambassador had been recalled to Kabul. It did not give any official reason for the recall.

“Considering the recent developments in Afghanistan and the region, including the relations between Afghanistan and Qatar, the Afghan government has decided to recall Khalid Ahmad Zakaria from Doha for some consultations,” the ministry said in the statement.

“Diplomatic relationship between the two countries will continue through the Embassy and Afghanistan’s charge d’affaires in Doha.”

The ministry did not respond to calls seeking comment on why the ambassador had been recalled.

However, The Hindu newspaper in India, citing unidentified Indian diplomatic sources, said that final arrangements had been put in place for a Taliban office in Qatar that would have “the privileges but not the formal protection of a diplomatic mission”.

Details were agreed by a senior Taliban representative close to the group’s leader, Mullah Omar, together with officials from Qatar and the US, the newspaper said.

Plans for peace talks

The US has discussed plans for the Taliban to open an address in Qatar by the end of the year in a move designed to allow the West to begin formal peace talks with the group, the AFP news agency reported.

The AFP quoted a high ranking Afghan government official, who spoke to the news agency anonymously, saying that the Afghan government was aware that Qatar had held talks with the US and Germany on allowing a Taliban office to open, and supported the move as a means of facilitating the peace process.

But he said: “The ambassador has been recalled as a protest over why they did not allow the Afghan government into these talks while there are official diplomatic relations between the two countries.”

The office of the self-styled Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan would be the first internationally recognised representation for the Taliban since it was ousted from power by the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

Western diplomats have said it is hoped the opening of a Taliban office would push forward the prospect of talks intended to reconcile the group with the Afghan government and bring an end to the decade-long war.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Émile Verhaeren: I hold war in execration; ashamed to be butchers of their fellows

December 15, 2011 1 comment

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

Émile Verhaeren
From The Dawn (1898)
Translated by Arthur Symons

emile_verhaeren_in_1910

Know, then, that it is in the name of the clearest, simplest, most unvarying law that I appeal to your honour as a man. In a few days this plain will be ruin, putrefaction, and blood. You have a mere word to say, and all our lives, to which we all have a right, will be saved. The help that men owe to men, you who bear arms, you first of all owe to us. This duty wipes out all others. There was a time when the very name of army and of watchword was unknown.

*****

This captain belongs to the race of men who realize the impossible. Think! he and I, to kill the war dead, here, before the discharged and powerless chiefs! To bring about the public reconciliation of the foreign soldiers and ours! To exhaust all the forces of one’s being, all the energies of one’s faith, for that supreme end! What a splendid dream!

*****

…The troops refuse to fight; they are tired out; they disband. Ideas of justice are in the air. There is vague talk of concord; the spark is set to the grate. I await the breath of wind that shall set the wood and straw alight.

*****

I hold war in execration. This between men of the same soil terrifies me more than any other. You, in Oppidomagne, have moved heaven and earth to bring it about. You have cultivated the misery of the people; you have refused it bread, justice, dignity; you have tyrannized it in its body and in its thought; you have helped yourselves with its ignorance, as with your disloyalty, your cleverness, your lying, your irony, and your contempt. You are unworthy and culpable.

*****

The army itself is in a ferment with our dreams. Every discontent, every grudge, every injustice, every oppression, every enslavement, takes an unknown voice to make itself heard! Our masters hate each other. They have no more strength. They obey a phantom. Among the enemy, the same confusion, the same weakness. Mutinies break out among the soldiers. There are revolts against the cruelty of chiefs, against the horrors and follies of the campaign. Storms of hatred arise. Sick of nameless dreads, distresses, and miseries, all long after the necessary union of man with man. They are ashamed to be butchers of their fellows. And now, if this conflagration of instincts could be extinguished; if our besiegers could be made to feel that they would find brotherly souls among us; if by a sudden understanding we might realize to-day a little of the great human dream, Oppidomagne would be forgiven for all its shame, its folly, its blasphemy; it would become the place in the world where one of the few sacred events had happened. It is with this thought that you must all follow me down, towards your children.

*****
 
I was his disciple, and his unknown friend. His books were my Bible. It is men like this who give birth to men like me, faithful, long obscure, but whom fortune permits, in one overwhelming hour, to realize the supreme dream of their master. If fatherlands are fair, sweet to the heart, dear to the memory, armed nations on the frontiers are tragic and deadly; and the whole world is yet bristling with nations. It is in their teeth that we throw them this example of our concord. They will understand some day the immortal thing accomplished here, in this illustrious Oppidomagne, whence the loftiest ideas of humanity have taken flight, one after another, through all the ages. For the first time since the beginning of power, since brains have reckoned time, two races, one renouncing its victory, the other its humbled pride, are made one in an embrace. The whole earth must needs have quivered, all the blood, all the sap of the earth must have flowed to the heart of things. Concord and good will have conquered hate. Human strife, in its form of bloodshed, has been gainsaid. A new beacon shines on the horizon of future storms. Its steady rays shall dazzle all eyes, haunt all brains, magnetize all desires. Needs must we, after all these trials and sorrows, come at last into port, to whose entrance it points the way, and where it gilds the tranquil masts and vessels.  

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO news: December 14, 2011

December 14, 2011 Leave a comment

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U.S. Interceptor Missile System Aimed Against Russia, China: Security Official

U.S., NATO Forces Surround Syria On Eve Of Invasion?

West Wages Information War To Justify Syria Invasion

Pentagon Chief In Djibouti; Libya, Iraq, Turkey Next Stops

German General: 15,000 NATO Troops In Afghanistan Past 2014

Pakistan Blockade: Pentagon Shifts Afghan War Transit Through South Caucasus, Central Asia

U.S. Loses Drones In Middle East, Off East Africa Coast

NATO State Diplomats In Firing Exercise At Georgian Military Center

U.S., Japan Develop Next-Generation Interceptor Missile

Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency Expands Operations In U.S.

Pakistan: Frontier Corps Ready To Repulse NATO Aggression

Pakistan: Death From The Skies, NATO In Search Of An Enemy

Partners Across the Globe & Iraq: NATO To ‘Stabilize Unpredictable World’

Humanitarian Crime: Russia Won’t Negotiate With West’s Kosovo Gangsters

Serbian Deputy Prime Minister: NATO Planning Military Conquest Of Northern Kosovo

Kosovo: West Blocks Russian Humanitarian Aid Convoy

West, Kosovo Try To Use Russian Convoy To Break Blockade

Tensions Rise Between West, Russia In Kosovo

Russian Ambassador Decries Political Blackmail In Kosovo

Kosovo Is Main Drug Transit Center In Europe: Russian Anti-Drug Chief

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U.S. Interceptor Missile System Aimed Against Russia, China: Security Official

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/12/13/62168947.html

Interfax
December 13, 2011

‘No doubt US missile shield targets Russia’ – Patrushev

“Moscow is in no doubt that the US anti-missile defense shield is aimed against Russia and China,” Secretary of the Russian National Security Council Nikolai Patrushev said in an interview with the Argumenty I Fakty newspaper.

“Moreover, their further plans involve sending aircraft carriers and ABMs close to the Russian borders. Despite the solid arguments put forward by Moscow, our US partners refuse to give us legally binding guarantees on their missile plans,” Patrushev said, adding, however, that the two countries still have time to negotiate the issue.

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U.S., NATO Forces Surround Syria On Eve Of Invasion?

http://rt.com/usa/news/us-nato-syria-edmonds-709/

RT
December 13, 2011

US troops surround Syria on the eve of invasion?

A former official from within the ranks of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is reporting that US and NATO forces have landed outside of Syria and are training militants to overthrow the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, formerly a translator with the FBI, wrote over the weekend that American soldiers are among the NATO troops that have mysteriously and suddenly, landed on the Jordanian-Syrian border.

According to her, several sources internationally have confirmed the news, although the US media has been instructed to temporarily censor itself from reporting the news.

Additionally, Edmonds says that American and NATO forces are training Turkish troops as well, to possibly launch a strike from the north of Syria.

Edmonds writes that an Iraqi journalist based out of London has confirmed that US forces that vacated the Ain al-Assad Air Base in Iraq last week did in fact leave the country as part of President Obama’s drawdown of troops, but rather than return home, the soldiers were transferred into Jordan during the late hours of Thursday evening. Another source, writes Edmonds, informs her that “soldiers who speak languages other than Arabic” have been moving through Jordan mere miles from the country’s border with Syria. Troops believed to be NATO/American-affiliated have been spotted between the King Hussein Air Base in al-Mafraq and the Jordanian village of Albaej and its vicinity.

Nizar Nayouf, a correspondent for Edmond’s Boiling Frog Post whistleblower site, says an employee of the London-based offices of Royal Jordanian Airlines has further confirmed that at least one US aircraft transporting military personnel has brought American troops into Jordan in recent days. Nayouf, the former editor-in-chief of Sawt al-Democratiyya (Democracy’s Vote), had previously been sentenced to a decade behind bars for critiquing the Syrian government. He later won several human rights awards and the 2000 UNISCO prize for press freedom.

Since the uprising of rebel forces opposing al-Assad’s regime over Syria nearly a year ago, American officials have been critical of the country’s government but insist that they have otherwise distanced themselves from becoming involved in the protests. Following the deaths of dozens of protesters in the spring of 2011, the United States imposed strict sanctions against the official government of Syria.

Navi Pillay, the United Nations’ high commissioner for human rights, revealed this week that the uprising in Syria has caused over 5,000 deaths since it began in early 2011. In the case of the crackdown against former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, NATO involvement began only one month into the uprising. Nine months later, the total death toll of the Libyan Civil War is estimated to be close to 30,000.

In her report, Edmonds says that NATO troops have been training soldiers just outside of Syria since as early as May, and that US media is prohibited from reporting on it until today. The Turkish paper Milliyet also reports that defected Syrian colonel Riad al-Assad is preparing troops to take over the Syrian government as well.

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West Wages Information War To Justify Syria Invasion

http://rt.com/politics/syria-usa-war-panarin-581/

RT
December 13, 2011

Western elite wage info-war to justify Syria invasion?

Escalating tensions surrounding Syria are preparation for aggression. Writer and political scientist Igor Panarin believes that part of the British-American and Israeli elite is waging an information war to justify a military invasion of Syria.

In the article below, Panarin explains his view.

The mass protests that broke out in a number of Arab countries in 2011 were orchestrated from London, which essentially became their coordination center. The BBC and Qatar’s supposedly-independent Al-Jazeera channel (which in reality is ideologically controlled by a part of the British-American elite) led the way in providing media support.

For instance, the BBC reports that an independent commission of UN human rights experts accused Syrian authorities of committing crimes against humanity as they dispersed anti-government protests. But French journalist Thierry Meyssan found out that the commission clearly fabricated the evidence they used in their investigation. For instance, according to the UN commission, Syrian security forces killed over 3,500 peaceful protesters.

But the figure is hardly credible, as it comes from a mysterious London-based human rights organization called Observatoire Syrien des Droits de l’Homme (OSDH) [Syrian Observatory of Human Rights – RT]. According to Meyssan, many of the 3,500 protesters supposedly killed by Syrian security forces are in fact alive and well. Their names, distributed by the OSDH, were in fact taken from the phonebook. Meyssan says an information war is being waged against Syria and that at least some of the footage distributed by Al-Jazeera is produced in special studios that reproduce the main squares of Syria’s major cities. The same trick was used with Libya, when the footage of street fighting in Tripoli on August 23, 2011, was actually shot in Qatari studios, which opened a new chapter in information warfare.

The Syrian government recently banned iPhones to stop the propagation of lies among protesters. Some of the protesters still use banned smartphones to disseminate false reports, announce protest rallies and distribute anti-government materials using the “Syria Alone” application. The application, launched on November 18, was developed by British and US experts specifically to help the opposition coordinate their protests. Information warfare specialists use Syria Alone to publish anti-government materials and criticize the work of law enforcers. The Syrian authorities believe that by banning the iPhone they can stop misinformation from spreading. In addition to the US and the EU, the anti-Syrian coalition now includes the Arab League, which recently expelled Damascus and then introduced tough sanctions against Syria.

A part of the British-American elite is playing the leading role in media campaign against Syria, which is no surprise after their success in Libya, where their media attacks preceded NATO’s direct military intervention. A similar strategy is now used against Syria.

For instance, the decision to suspend Syria’s membership in the Arab League leads to further international isolation, which is clearly what the West wants to achieve. The Arab League first took a similar decision regarding Libya in late February, and then it recognized the NATO-backed Transitional National Council as the only legitimate body representing the people of Libya, in August. In other words, what we see today is the same scenario being reproduced in Syria, with the Western multinational elite launching a media attack against that country.

The Syrian army and police are facing a strong opponent, including foreign mercenaries. According to some sources, there are around 10,000 of them, mainly from Arab countries and Pakistan and Pashtuns from Afghanistan.

Russia’s approach to the conflict in Syria radically differs from that of the United States and its allies. The Kremlin vetoed the UN Security Council resolution, which would have made it possible to repeat the Libyan scenario in Syria. Moscow is doing its best to avoid the escalation of the conflict, to prevent military intervention (among other things, by sending an aircraft carrier to the Mediterranean) and to establish a constructive peaceful dialogue.

Prof. Igor Panarin, Doctor of Political Sciences, for RT

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Pentagon Chief In Djibouti; Libya, Iraq, Turkey Next Stops

http://en.trend.az/regions/world/usa/1968785.html

Trend News Agency
December 14, 2011

Panetta will visit Libya and Iraq

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says he will visit Libya, becoming the first Pentagon chief to travel to the embattled country, which is emerging from an eight-month civil war, “Hurriyet” newspaper reported.

Speaking yesterday to U.S. troops, Panetta said he will also travel to Iraq in the coming days for a ceremony that will shut down the U.S. military mission there after nearly nine years at war, Associated Press reported.

Panetta’s plan to visit Libya comes amid ongoing violence there, including recent clashes between revolutionary fighters and national army troops near Tripoli’s airport…With military assistance from the U.S. and NATO, Libyans ousted and later killed longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi earlier this year. Panetta will also visit Turkey later this week for talks that are expected to focus on enhancing defense cooperation…

Meanwhile, the National Transitional Council declared Dec. 12 that Benghazi will be Libya’s economic capital, in a decision following the country’s first protests against the ruling body and its chief, Agence France-Presse reported. “Benghazi will be the economic capital of Libya,” NTC member Abdelrazzak al-Aradi told a news conference, confirming that the decision was taken after protests against the NTC and its chief Mustafa Abdel Jalil.

As the U.S. winds down operations in Iraq and begins its methodical withdrawal from Afghanistan, the U.S. military has increasingly focused on Africa, particularly the north…

Panetta said that U.S. operations against al-Qaeda are now concentrating on key groups in Yemen, Somalia and North Africa. Panetta said efforts against the al-Qaeda affiliates depend on American partnerships with countries like Djibouti. The military base in this tiny port nation in the Horn of Africa is the launch point for U.S. drones used for intelligence, surveillance and, at times, strikes against insurgents in terror hotspots. “It’s fair to say that the United States is intent on going after al-Qaeda wherever they locate, and making sure they have no place to hide,” said Panetta, who is making his first trip to Djibouti. A key U.S. ally in this region, Djibouti has the only U.S. base in sub-Saharan Africa. It hosts the military’s Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa.

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http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=66446

U.S. Department of Defense
December 13, 2011

Panetta Thanks Troops in Djibouti
By Donna Miles

CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti: Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta kicked off a trip to various countries, thanking members of Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa here for their role in maintaining stability and preventing conflict in the region.

The visit was Panetta’s first to Djibouti, to be followed later this week with a stop in Iraq, where he will participate in ceremonies marking the end of the U.S. military mission there. The secretary also will visit Turkey and become the first U.S. defense secretary to visit Libya.

Panetta met here with President Ismail Omar Guelleh at the Djiboutian White House to discuss what he told reporters has become “a very important partnership”…

Panetta’s talks focused on the ongoing struggle against al-Shabaab…and on Djibouti’s upcoming troop deployment to the African Union Mission to Somalia, a senior defense official traveling with him said.

The secretary kicked off his visit here meeting with about 500 troops assigned to Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa to thank them for their service.

Camp Lemonnier is the only enduring U.S. base in Sub-Saharan Africa, with nearly 3,500 members representing all services as well as the National Guard and reserves, Navy Capt. Owen Travis, the task force’s director of plans, told reporters.

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

Today, CJTF-HOA uses a “whole of government” approach to focus on challenges in a region strategic because of its geographic location, resources and struggles with instability, Travis said.

…Panetta promised to work to ensure the U.S. military remains the world’s best, even in the face of looming budget challenges.

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German General: 15,000 NATO Troops In Afghanistan Past 2014

http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/southasia/news/article_1680590.php/NATO-to-leave-15-000-troops-in-Afghanistan-after-withdrawal?fb_xd_fragment#?=&cb=f864117c371a96&relation=parent&transport=fragment&frame=f8ee7fd45de89e&error=unknown_user

Deutsche Presse-Agentur
December 13, 2011

NATO to leave 15000 troops in Afghanistan after withdrawal

Mons, Belgium: NATO intends to leave around 15,000 troops in Afghanistan after all combat troops have been withdrawn by the end of 2014, NATO’s chief of staff in Europe said Tuesday.

German General Manfred Lange said he was ‘extraordinarily confident’ that the withdrawal would take place as planned.

The military alliance was currently debating how many troops should be left behind, he told journalists at NATO’s military headquarters in the Belgian city of Mons.

‘I would say around 15,000, plus or minus, I can imagine,’ said Lange. The number depended on whether the Afghan army and police force was to continue being supported by the West, he said.

However it was important to leave some troops behind to provide training and technical support, as well as possible medical aid, he said. Soldiers were also needed to protect ‘what we’re leaving behind,’ he said.

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Pakistan Blockade: Pentagon Shifts Afghan War Transit Through South Caucasus, Central Asia

http://en.apa.az/news.php?id=161714

Azeri Press Agency
December 14, 2011

BBC: “The US takes diplomatic efforts for getting support from the South Caucasian countries in connection with increase of cargo traffic to Afghanistan”
Habil Suleymanzadeh
                      

Baku: “The US military is now preparing to shift more traffic along the roads, rail and air routes that run between the Baltic Sea and Afghanistan via the Caucasus and Central Asia”, says a video report of BBC World TV Company, APA reports.

The author noted that Pakistan’s decision to shut down NATO supply routes going through its territory means that for the coalition the only remaining overland route to Afghanistan is through Central Asia. BBC reports that Washington takes diplomatic efforts in order to achieve the support of post-soviet countries. The video report says that the regional countries can use it fro their political and economic purposes.

Commander of the U.S. Transportation Command William Fraser visited Baku and held negotiations with the Azerbaijani leadership.

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U.S. Loses Drones In Middle East, Off East Africa Coast

http://rt.com/usa/news/seychelles-drone-us-iran-711/

RT
December 13, 2011

Cyber war on US drones? Another spy craft goes down, now in Seyshelles

-Editor Gervais Henrie of the local Le Seychellois Hebdo told the Washington Post that the craft burst into flames upon crashing, describing the wreckage in a phone interview as charred and “totally destroyed.”
The MQ-9 Reaper has the capability of launching laser-guided bombs and air-to-ground missiles…

With America still scrambling to explain why and how they lost a drone aircraft over Iran last week, the Pentagon is trying to make sense of how another high-tech unmanned spy craft crashed Tuesday morning in Seychelles.

For the second time in two weeks, American authorities lost contact with a drone aircraft, this time resulting in a fiery crash on the Indian Ocean island of Seychelles. The United States has operated an Air Force base there since 2009 to dispatch drone aircraft for use in anti-piracy missions and to patrol the skies over Somalia and elsewhere.

Officials at the US Embassy in Mauritius confirmed the crash on Tuesday morning, revealing that a MQ-9, or “Reaper” drone, landed at Seychelles International Airport, citing mechanical issues.

A week earlier, the Department of Defense denied losing a drone, only for Iranian authorities to in turn publish video proof of an American craft that they have recovered. The Pentagon later admitted that they lost contact with the drone while allegedly flying it over Afghanistan, prompting President Obama to ask Tehran to return the spy plane. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has shot down Obama’s plea, however, telling Venezuelan state television this week, “The Americans have perhaps decided to give us this spy plane. We now have control of this plane.” Ahmadinejad added that Iranian authorities are able to make sense of the craft’s complex technical system, perhaps providing a crucial addition to Iran’s arsenal as tensions between Tehran and Washington intensify over a budding nuclear program.

The Department of Defense has remained relatively mum on the exact capabilities of the lost craft, although insiders insist that the drone in question can sniff out chemicals in the sky and intercept cell phone transmissions miles in the sky while remaining undetected.

The loss of the second drone within days raises questions about security within the US military and the unmanned craft themselves. It was reported earlier this year that drones dispatched from Creech Air Force Base in Nevada were plagued with a computer virus that made its way into the cockpits of the craft without American authorities able to quickly identify it. Even though US military officials claimed that the virus didn’t harm the security of US aircraft, it is suspicious that now two American drones have been downed in only such a short amount of time, raising questions whether it is possible retaliation from Iran for an alleged cyber attack the year prior. Stuxnet, a 2010 computer worm that targeted Iranian nuclear facilities, was suspected to be perpetrated by American intelligence agencies…

Editor Gervais Henrie of the local Le Seychellois Hebdo told the Washington Post that the craft burst into flames upon crashing, describing the wreckage in a phone interview as charred and “totally destroyed.”

The MQ-9 Reaper has the capability of launching laser-guided bombs and air-to-ground missiles…

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NATO State Diplomats In Firing Exercise At Georgian Military Center

http://www.mod.gov.ge/index.php?page=77&lang=1&type=&Id=1221

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
December 12, 2011

Foreign Diplomats visiting Krtsanisi Training Center

Today, diplomatic Corps representatives have visited the Krtsanisi National Training Center. First Deputy Defence Minister Nodar Kharshiladze hosted the diplomats.

In the firing range the gusts competed with one another in shooting, using different firearms. Georgian instructors familiarized the diplomats with the technical specifications of the presented weapons and relevant security measures.

The diplomats carried out shootings from different firearms: the Negev firing-machine, automatic rifles of the M-4 type and pistols of the “Glok-17” type. At the end, the Deputy Minister handed symbolic presents to the winners.

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U.S., Japan Develop Next-Generation Interceptor Missile

http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Security-Industry/2011/12/13/Raytheon-continues-Standard-Missile-3-work/UPI-59311323783107/

United Press International
December 13, 2011

Raytheon continues Standard Missile-3 work

TUCSON: Raytheon said it will continue engineering work on the Standard Missile-3 Block IIA, part of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency’s Ballistic Missile Defense System.

The SM-3 Block IIA, a joint development effort by the United States and Japan, has larger rocket motors than previous versions and an advanced kinetic warhead.

Under a contract modification, worth $241 million, Raytheon will continue engineering design and development work for the system.

“The co-development of the SM-3 Block IIA with our Japanese allies continues to be an industry-leading example of global partnership,” said Wes Kremer, vice president of Raytheon Missile Systems’ Air and Missile Defense Systems product line. “The SM-3 Block IIA is on track for a 2018 deployment.”

The SM-3 is for the Missile Defense Agency’s Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System to defend against short- to intermediate-range ballistic missiles in the midcourse phase of flight.

More than 130 SM-3s have been delivered to U.S. and Japanese navies, which are deploying them on Aegis cruisers and destroyers.

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Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency Expands Operations In U.S.

http://www.al.com/42/index.ssf/2011/12/mda_reports_action_packed_2011.html

Huntsville Times
December 13, 2011

MDA reports action packed 2011 with growing north Alabama presence
By Mike Kelley

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama: Due to the nature of many of its activities, most north Alabama residents are not aware of how much presence the Missile Defense Agency has in this area. But a map showing MDA’s presence in North Alabama brings home the fact of the agency’s growing local impact.

MDA commander LTG Patrick O’Reilly displayed such a map as he opened his MDA Update for 2011 before hundreds gathered at the Von Braun Center Tuesday.

“You can see MDA has a growing presence in the Tennessee Valley and adjacent areas,” he said, referring to the new MDA headquarters in Redstone Arsenal,
Lockheed Martin’s THAAD production facilities at Courtland, and THAAD storage facility at Anniston. The GMD Hardware in the Loop facility is nearby at Tullahoma, Tennessee.

2011 saw two major local facilities related events. MDA moved into its new RSA campus, the Von Braun III building on Martin Road, over the summer and had its ribbon cutting in October. It’s now home to more than 2,200 MDA personnel. Earlier, in June, O’Reilly took part in the groundbreaking ceremony for Raytheon’s new 70,000 square foot Standard Missile 3 and 6 production facility at the site of a former Morton Thiokol plant on the arsenal.

There were many other developments to talk about. Homeland defense capability was enhanced by the completion earlier this year of Missile Field III at Ft. Greely, Alaska. Missile Field II is slated for completion in 2012.

He said MDA is on track for testing and deploying the Phased Adaptive Approach to European missile defense, with several Phase I tests completed in 2011.

Calling 2011 “an intensive year for testing,” he said April witnessed the successful Pacific Ocean intercept of an Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) with a Standard Missile I, and the first BMDS test of the European Phased Adaptive Approach (PAA) architecture.

In September, a launch of the newer 1B version of Standard Missile 3 experienced failure in its propulsion system, and O”Reilly said the test would be repeated in April and June of 2012. However, a major milestone was reached in October when the THAAD Defense system simultaneously tracked and intercepted two short-range ballistic missiles in its first operational test at the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii.

He termed THAAD as a program of “highly deployable assets that can be moved and set up in just a few hours,” and said MDA ‘s goal is to have nine THAAD batteries by 2020.

2012 will be another intensive year for testing activity, he said. Nine GMD and other system tests are planned for the August –September period alone.
O’Reilly reported considerable activity in MDA’s Directed Energy, i.e. lasers, program, saying the agency is now getting ready for the third generation of higher power lasers operating at higher altitudes.

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Pakistan: Frontier Corps Ready To Repulse NATO Aggression

http://nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Politics/14-Dec-2011/FC-ready-to-crush-aggression-IG

The Nation
December 14, 2011

FC ready to crush aggression: IG
By Bari Baloch

QUETTA: Frontier Corps Inspector General Maj Gen Obaidullah Khan has said extraordinary measures have been taken to repulse any aggression at the borders along Afghanistan.

“After the Nato attack on the Pakistani post in Mohmand, the FC has reviewed security at border areas and its troops are ready to respond to any aggression,” he told journalists at the FC headquarters.

He said 262 Nato vehicles were stranded in different parts of Balochistan after supplies to allied forces were halted.

Following the attack on Nato vehicles in Quetta, it has been decided to send Nato vehicles back to Karachi, he said, adding that the attacks on Nato vehicles were tarnishing the image of the country.

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Pakistan: Death From The Skies, NATO In Search Of An Enemy

http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=82192&Cat=9

News International
December 14, 2011

Death from the sky
Roedad Khan*

-It is a matter of deep concern that Nato has extended its military operations to Pakistan. Nato is a military alliance in search of an enemy.
-Once we thought this one-of-a-kind American president could do great things. In his inaugural address he focused more on “soft power” and told the Muslim world that he wants “a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect”. All that seems to have changed. His message for Pakistan now is loud and clear: do as I tell you, or else. This is not the way the Americans treated us or talked to us when they were wooing us. This is what happens when you have been in the harem too long.

Saturday, November 26 will go down in our history as a black day. On that day, America’s “war on terror” reached Pakistan’s Salala Post, in Mohmand Agency, manned by jawans of the Pakistan army. While our soldiers were sleeping, US and Nato gunships targeted the post without any provocation. Innocent blood was spilled in pursuit of Obama’s ambitions and nightmares. Missiles rained down killing 24 soldiers, including two officers, and injuring many others.

The deadly Nato operation led by an American general lasted for three hours. Dead bodies lay all around the post. It was not a mistake, it was targeted. No apology from President Obama, the Secretary of State or the Pentagon. Not surprisingly, anger in Pakistan reached a fever pitch. People all over Pakistan boiled over in righteous indignation.

When the US strikes, an apology for a wrong committed is unnecessary because, of course, the United States is never at fault. America has never apologised to the Iraqi people for years of carnage carried out in the name of WMDs, weapons that were never found because they were never there. Obama dodges the need to apologise on the premise “that we are up against people who show no shame, no remorse, no hint of humanity”. “The unfortunate”, Mirabeau once said, “are always wrong”, even when they are the victims. Our moment of truth arrived on November 26. We are at the crossroads.

On the eve of Mr Jinnah’s departure, from New Delhi for Karachi, Henry F. Grady, the American ambassador to India, paid him a farewell call.

Expressing great admiration for the United States, Mr Jinnah reiterated his hope that America would assist Pakistan “in its many problems”. When Grady asked whether he desired to indicate any specific matter, Jinnah replied laconically, “not at this time”. It did not take him long to realise that Pakistan faced a much stronger and wily adversary, determined to strangle it in the crib; and that Pakistan stood alone in the ring. Faced with the prospects of such a desperate situation, the Quaid-e-Azam turned to the United States for assistance. This was the beginning of our romance with the United States. What went wrong?

The alienation between the people of Pakistan and the United States has never been more intense. Relations between Pakistan and the US have never been as stormy as they are today. Relations have been steadily deteriorating ever since a Navy Seal team killed Osama bin Laden near Abbottabad in May. Matters became still worse in September, when Admiral [Michael] Mullen, [then-] Chairman Joint Chief of Staff, accused Pakistan of supporting an attack on the American embassy in Kabul. On Saturday, November 26, the relationship hit a new low when a Nato air strike killed two dozen soldiers in Salala.

On July 12, 1961, when President Ayub visited Washington, he told a Joint Session of the Congress of the US: “The only people who will stand by you are the people of Pakistan provided you are also prepared to stand by them. So, I would like you to remember that whatever may be the dictates of your commitments, you will not take any steps that might aggravate our problems or in any fashion jeopardise our security. As long as you remember that our friendship will grow in strength”.

In his welcome address, President Kennedy said that Pakistan was ‘a friend of immediacy and constancy’, and observed that ‘Americans in private and in their public life appreciate the value of friendship and the constancy of friends’. Fine words and noble sentiments but they ring so hollow today. In the real world, as every student of international relations knows, there are no permanent friends, only permanent national interests.

The Washington Times’ portrayal of Pakistan as America’s ‘retriever dog’ deeply offended the people of Pakistan and sparked a wave of protest all over the country. The cartoon clearly shows what the Americans think of Pakistan and its people. They do not appreciate the value of friendship and the constancy of friendship. They use Pakistan whenever the need arises, throwing it away when no longer needed.

Who says we are friends? We have never been friends. There can be no friendship between the strong and the weak. There can be no friendship between unequals, neither in private life nor in public life. “The strong do what they can”, the Athenians told the intractable Melians, “and the weak must suffer what they must”.

The farewell address of George Washington will ever remain an important legacy for small nations like Pakistan. The father of the American Republic cautioned that “an attachment of a small or weak toward a great and powerful nation dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter”. “It is folly in one nation”, George Washington observed, “to look for disinterested favours from another…it must pay with a portion of its independence for whatever it may accept under that character”. No truer words have been spoken on the subject.

Today say “Pakistan” and what comes to mind: sham democracy, fraudulent referendum, rigged elections, a corrupt president, a rubber stamp parliament, a figurehead prime minister. Democracy in the West means a political system marked not only by free, fair and impartial elections, but also by rule of law, and an independent election commission. All these institutions are non-existent in Pakistan. So how can Pakistan resist American pressure and be secure in its independence when it is not free in its spirit; when it is not free in its institutions?

It is a matter of deep concern that Nato has extended its military operations to Pakistan. Nato is a military alliance in search of an enemy. It had been created, in Lord Ismay’s famous words, “to keep the Americans in, the Russians out, and the Germans down”. Confronted by a Western Europe still in ruins and a Soviet Union triumphantly consolidating its conquests, Europeans joined hands, in 1949, with Americans and Canadians to create a military alliance to stem the further encroachment of the Soviet tide. Soviet Union died long ago. What is Nato doing so close to our border? That is the question.

Once we thought this one-of-a-kind American president could do great things. In his inaugural address he focused more on “soft power” and told the Muslim world that he wants “a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect”. All that seems to have changed. His message for Pakistan now is loud and clear: do as I tell you, or else. This is not the way the Americans treated us or talked to us when they were wooing us. This is what happens when you have been in the harem too long.

“The single greatest threat to (Pakistan)”, Obama said recently, “comes from Al-Qaeda and their extremist allies”. This is not true. All our major problems stem from American occupation of Afghanistan and its frequent intrusions into our tribal territory. It has turned our tribal area into a protracted ulcer, a quagmire – a place where Pakistan is spending blood and treasure to protect American interests.

Once we could do no wrong in the American eyes. Now we are in the dock, alone in the ring, facing all kinds of charges. We have achieved the impossible. We have the dubious distinction of alienating both the superpowers. And to add insult to injury, America has found a new dance partner in India. Today Pakistan is out in the cold, marooned, rejected, discarded. One thing is clear: the belief that Pakistan has no alternative but to slavishly obey its master’s voice could turn out to be one of seminal strategic miscalculations of the 21st century.

*The writer is a former federal secretary.

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Partners Across the Globe & Iraq: NATO To ‘Stabilize Unpredictable World’

http://www.nato.int/cps/en/SID-3CA47904-488967C4/natolive/news_82203.htm

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
December 13, 2011

NATO – An Essential Source of Stability in an Unpredictable World

Brussels, 12-13 December: Participants of the NATO Defense College (NDC) Generals, Flag Officers and Ambassadors Course 2011, visited NATO Headquarters for two days of discussions. Representing 23 NATO Allies and Partner nations, their discussion sessions addressed enhancing mutual understanding of security concerns, and NATO’s interests and capabilities, from both political and military perspectives.

The yearly NDC Generals, Flag Officers and Ambassadors Course brings together high-ranking civilians and military from NATO and NATO partner countries (Partnership for Peace (PfP), Mediterranean Dialogue (MD), Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI), Partners Across the Globe & Iraq). The main theme of this year’s course is “NATO – An Essential Source of Stability in an Unpredictable World”.

Welcoming the participants, Lt.Gen Bornemann, Director General of the International Military Staff, emphasized the impact of the immense economic and budget challenges on NATO’s operations. NATO-led operations and missions require the timely development, delivery, and deployment of modern and often costly capabilities.

“Since an increase in defence budgets in the near or medium term is unrealistic for all of us, we need to focus on the real priorities, cooperate and coordinate better; and when we combine our efforts, and when we share our capabilities, then we can really learn to do more with less. Smart Defence is an answer to this point of issue!”

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Humanitarian Crime: Russia Won’t Negotiate With West’s Kosovo Gangsters

http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics-article.php?yyyy=2011&mm=12&dd=14&nav_id=77783

B92/Beta News Agency/Tanjug News Agency
December 14, 2011

Humanitarian aid still at administrative crossing

-Russian envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin reacted to describe the case as “humanitarian crime”, and add that Moscow cannot negotiate about it with the unrecognized state in Kosovo.
“We do not recognize those authorities as authorities of an independent state. We will continue negotiations exclusively with international representatives of NATO and the EU. The recognition of Kosovo is a matter for their conscience, as well as the recognition of gangsters of the former Kosovo army (KLA), who have now formed their own police units,” said the ambassador.

JARINJE: A Russian convoy of 24 trucks carrying humanitarian aid to Serbs in Kosovo still has not crossed the Jarinje administrative checkpoint.

EULEX wants the Russian convoy to go to the Priština-controlled Merdare checkpoint.

Russia’s Ambassador to Serbia Aleksandr Konuzin said that it was “EULEX’s blackmail he cannot accept”.

Two trucks crossed the administrative line on Tuesday but the other trucks were not allowed to go through and the reason why the convoy has not been allowed to cross is still unknown.

The Russian ambassador was told by EULEX that the trucks could not proceed without EULEX’s escort and that they could cross at the Merdare crossing. Konuzin refused to accept both conditions.

Ambassador Konzin today conferred via video link with Russian Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu, who said the humanitarian convoy was blocked without any official explanation.

“The problem of the passage of the Russian humanitarian aid convoy for Serbs in Kosovo has not been solved. We do not know when it will be solved, because we have not received any official response. We are acting strictly in line with UN resolution (1244) and are sending only humanitarian cargo, which can be checked,” Shoigu told Russia 24 TV outlet.

At the same time, Russian envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin reacted to describe the case as “humanitarian crime”, and add that Moscow cannot negotiate about it with the unrecognized state in Kosovo.

“We do not recognize those authorities as authorities of an independent state. We will continue negotiations exclusively with international representatives of NATO and the EU. The recognition of Kosovo is a matter for their conscience, as well as the recognition of gangsters of the former Kosovo army (KLA), who have now formed their own police units,” said the ambassador.

The blocking of the convoy of Russian trucks at the administrative line checkpoint of Jarinje will be one of the topics discussed at the EU-Russia summit, Rogozin announced.

A spokesperson for the EU mission in Kosovo, EULEX, said in Priština that the convoy “had two choices to enter Kosovo”, and listed them as either accepting EULEX police escort, “because that is usual practice”, or going to the Merdare checkpoint.

Irina Gudeljevic also noted that if the convoy accepted EULEX police escort, “that means that EULEX vehicles must be let trough the barricades”.

The citizens in the north of the province, however, are not allowing EULEX through their barricades, because the EU mission has been transporting Kosovo Albanian institutions’ customs and police workers to the checkpoints in the north.

Serbs are a majority population north of the Ibar River and they reject the authority of the government in Priština, and the ethnic Albanian unilateral declaration of independence made in early 2008.

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http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/12/14/62216503.html

Voice of Russia
December 14, 2011

Russian humanitarian convoy blocked on Kosovo border
Timur Blokhin, Igor Goikovic

A Russian convoy which is to deliver 285 tons of humanitarian aid to Kosovo Serbs remains blocked on the demarcation line between Serbia and the Kosovo province. On Tuesday afternoon, the representatives of the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, (EULEX) halted a convoy with Russian humanitarian aid for Kosovo Serbs.

The border guards let two trucks enter Kosovo but after that EULEX ordered them to halt the third truck for custom formalities. These formalities, in particular, implied that the Russian trucks should be convoyed by EULEX representatives to enter the territory of Kosovo.

In response Serbs blocked 11 cars with EULEX representatives who were on the way to Jarinje. According to Alexander Konuzin, Russia’s ambassador in Serbia, who is heading the convoy, Pristina laid it down as a condition either the trucks go to Kosovo’s Mitrovica convoyed by EULEX or they turn back and go to the administrative center of Merdare, where is Kosovo custom checkpoint is located.

Konuzin told EULEX representatives that he had not asked them to convoy the trucks with humanitarian aid. He also said that the Russian convoy would not go to Merdare because this checkpoint is controlled by Pristina authorities, which neither Serbia nor Russia recognize as a legitimate government.

It should be noted here that if the Russian convoy passes through customs in Merdare it can be taken as an indirect recognition of Kosovo’s independence by Russia.

Meanwhile, Peter Feith, the representative in Pristina of the US and the 22 EU countries that recognize Kosovo, said he did not understand why the Russian ambassador should go to the north of Kosovo if there is a Russian representative in Pristina. Feith recommended the Russian embassy to follow the rules and to agree on cargo delivery with Pristina authorities.

But he forgot to mention an important detail: the Russian office in Pristina is part of the Russian embassy in Belgrade and Alexander Konuzin is the ambassador on the entire territory of Serbia including Kosovo, which Moscow regards as an integral part of Serbia.

By the way, Peter Feith says he does not see any humanitarian crisis in Kosovo. At the same time, according to the Serbian Red Cross’ report, about 30,000 people in Kosovo, which is one fifth of the regional population really need such an aid, Vesna Milenovic, the secretary general of this organization, said in an interview with the Voice of Russia:

“We see no reasons not to let the humanitarian convoy enter Kosovo. We received humanitarian aid from Russia several times and it was always at the right time,” Milenovic continued. According to her, “the current aid was put together considering the current needs of the population. It contains flour, sugar, canned meat products and hygiene products, and all this is really needed. It is winter now and people’s humanitarian needs are growing. That is why they also need electric heaters as well as portable power generators, which will be installed in the organizations where they are especially needed.”

And here is a statement from Mileta Babovic, General Secretary of the Association of Serbia’s economic executives, which also collects humanitarian aid for Kosovo Serbs:

“This humanitarian aid is very important now – it is not clear how the situation in the region will develop. The talks between Belgrade and Pristina are likely to last long. Meanwhile our citizens in Kosovo still live in conditions of total instability when one day you have a land plot and a house and next day Albanians come and take it away from you.”

Russia’s Emergency Ministry and Russia’s envoy inn NATO Dmitry Rogozin have already called the actions of the EU representatives who halted Russia’s convoy on the border with to Kosovo as a “humanitarian crime”.

On Wednesday the Russian leadership plans to raise this issue at the EU-Russia summit in Brussels.

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Serbian Deputy Prime Minister: NATO Planning Military Conquest Of Northern Kosovo

http://www.b92.net/eng/news/crimes-article.php?yyyy=2011&mm=12&dd=13&nav_id=77774

Tanjug News Agency
December 13, 2011

“Plans being made to conquer north militarily”

-“Does anyone really think we don’t know what they’re up to there? Does a part of the international community really think we don’t know about the plans being made to militarily conquer northern Kosovo?” the minister asked…

BELGRADE: Interior Minister and Deputy PM Ivica Dačić says a local Serb businessman who was described as a criminal by KFOR “is not Kosovo’s biggest problem”.

The EU mission in Kosovo, EULEX, sent no proof of Zvonko Veselinović’s involvement in the unrest in the north, Dačić told reporters on Tuesday, speaking at the Belgrade Aeroklub venue.

“Do you really think that the problem in Kosovo is Zvonko Veselinović? I cannot believe that you’re considering the problem in such simplified terms. Being suspected of causing incidents is one thing, while what Serbs in Kosovo are demanding is another,” he responded to questions from journalists.

Dačić also revealed that the Interior Ministry (MUP) had “certain information” about other activities of persons named by KFOR commander Erhard Drews as organizers of violence, but that no investigation was launched.

Asked whether “the Serbian police would arrest Veselinović if it had an opportunity”, Dačić responded by saying this was “a hypothetical question”, and added that “even if this were to happen, any extradition to Priština would be out of the question”, since Serbia considers Kosovo a part of its territory.

The minister further stressed that Serbs had the right to put forward their political demands just as ethnic Albanians had done, and that he had been listening for two years “to the international community” saying that the center of crime was in northern Kosovo, but that this was “not true”.

“That’s a lie! The hotbed of crime is in Priština and in Albania. The Albanian mafia is the strongest in the world. Those are not my words, those are the words of Russian, German, and American services. Yet, here we are, discussing Zvonko Veselinović. I cannot believe we’ve reached this level,” Dačić said.

He also sent a message to NATO’s troops in the province, KFOR, that they “would do better to find a way to cooperate with Serbs in the north, and prevent unilateral actions in Kosovo”.

“Does anyone really think we don’t know what they’re up to there? Does a part of the international community really think we don’t know about the plans being made to militarily conquer northern Kosovo?” the minister asked, but would not provide any more details related to this assertion.

Northern Kosovo is inhabited by a Serb majority that does not recognize the Kosovo Albanian unilateral declaration of independence made in early 2008, or the authority of the Priština-based institutions.

In a bid to prevent Priština’s customs and police from taking over administrative line checkpoints between northern Kosovo and central Serbia, local Serbs last summer put up barricades, blocking several roads in that part of Kosovo.

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Kosovo: West Blocks Russian Humanitarian Aid Convoy

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/12/13/62152808.html

Itar-Tass
December 13, 2011

Russian humanitarian convoy banned from entering Kosovo

The European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, or EULEX Kosovo, prevented a convoy of Russian humanitarian supplies from entering northern Kosovo via the Jarinje checkpoint on the Serbian border.

The convoy consists of 25 trucks, carrying food, blankets, cutlery, and portable electric generators.

After the first two trucks went through the necessary customs formalities, the procedure was interrupted, without any explanation provided so far.

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http://rt.com/news/russia-aid-serbia-kosovo-733/

RT
December 13, 2011

Russian humanitarian convoy blocked at Kosovo border

Video

A Russian truck convoy carrying humanitarian aid for Kosovo’s Serbian population is now heading back to Russia after daylong negotiations between Russia and EULEX proved fruitless. ­

The Russian convoy consisting of 25 trucks with humanitarian aid including power-plants, blankets, food supplies, furniture and other necessities had been heading for Mitrovica, the largest city in Kosovo’s Serb-dominated north. Two trucks were able to enter Kosovo through the Jarinje border checkpoint but the rest were not allowed through by the EULEX police in charge of the post.

EULEX said it wanted to escort the convoy on its way to Mitrovica, but Russia said the region was safe and there was no reason for EULEX to accompany its trucks. Kosovo Serbs did not want to let EULEX police through as they saw it as an opportunity for Kosovo customs officials to sneak into their region. EULEX also said Russia could use another checkpoint at Merdare. However, Russia refused this offer because the checkpoint is under Kosovo control, a country Russia does not recognize.

The Russian ambassador to Serbia, as well as Russian Emergency Ministry officials and diplomats arrived at the scene to negotiate with EULEX. The talks took place in a roadside café and in a nearby meadow. However, at the end the day, they were to no avail and the remaining 23 trucks are now heading back to Russia according to the latest reports for RT’s Igor Ogorodnev.

In November 20,000 Kosovo Serbs signed a petition asking for Russian citizenship. The Russian Foreign Ministry rejected their demand but said Russia would help the Serbian population of Northern Kosovo with humanitarian aid.

Northern Kosovo has seen a surge in violence this year after the government of Kosovo tried to enforce its trade embargo with Serbia. Some Kosovo Serbs launched an attack on customs checkpoints set up by the Kosovo administration, resulting in NATO and EULEX becoming involved. Since the summer the local Serbian population has set up barricades to prevent international peacekeepers from using the main roads in the region.

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West, Kosovo Try To Use Russian Convoy To Break Blockade

http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c32/296539.html

Itar-Tass
December 13, 2011

Kosovo Albanian authorities try to use Russian convoy for seizing control over checkpoint

JARINJE: A Russian convoy carrying humanitarian aid to Kosovo Serbs has been staying at the entry to Kosovo since 2:00 p.m. Moscow time on Tuesday.

EULEX officers refuse to let the trucks cross the Jarinje checkpoint on the administrative border of central Serbia and Kosovo. The first two trucks were cleared by the customs and the procedure stopped by the order of the mission administration without any explanations.

EULEX insists that the convoy must be accompanied for security reasons, Russian Ambassador to Serbia Alexander Konuzin said. In his words, the Russian side has repeatedly declined the accompanying of the convoy as there are no threats to the convoy in northern areas of Kosovo.

Meanwhile, Kosovo Serbs refuse to let EULEX vehicles into the areas they control. A source in Kosovska Mitrovica told Itar-Tass that eleven EULEX vehicles are staying at the entry to the city. Kosovo Albanian border guards, customs officers and journalists are members of the so-called accompanying group. “It seems the Albanian side has decided to use the occasion for taking control over the Jarinje checkpoint, whose approaches are blocked by Kosovo Serbs,” the source said.

The Russian ambassador called the Serbian foreign minister to discuss the problem. The Russian Foreign and Emergency Situations Ministries were informed about the situation.

Russian diplomats, representatives of the Emergency Situations Ministry and the media insist on the free movement of the Russian convoy to the territory of Kosovo.

The convoy crossed the Romanian border on Saturday and headed for Kosovo for transferring the humanitarian cargo to the Serbian organization of the Red Cross in Kosovska Mitrovica.

Twenty-five trucks departed from Noginsk on December 7 to bring power plants, blankets, food, dishes and folding furniture to Serbia. The total weight of the humanitarian cargo is 284 tonnes. The convoy was supposed to cross the territory of Russia, Ukraine, Romania and Serbia.

Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday that the ministry was sending another humanitarian convoy to Kosovo Serbs.

“A convoy carrying humanitarian cargo will depart from the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry’s 179th rescue center in Noginsk, Moscow region, to Serbia at 5:30 a.m. Moscow time on December 10,” he said.

The trucks will deliver diesel power plants, furnaces, folding furniture, household heaters, blankets, bed linen and food with the total weight of 160 tonnes, the minister said.

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Tensions Rise Between West, Russia In Kosovo

http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics-article.php?yyyy=2011&mm=12&dd=13&nav_id=77768

Beta News Agency/Tanjug News Agency
December 13, 2011

Ambassador: EULEX blocking humanitarian aid

-Russian Ambassador in Belgrade Aleksandr Konuzin traveled in the convoy. At the barricade, he exited his car to shake hands with the Serbs guarding the roadblock and took pictures with them.
But when a convoy of 11 vehicles belonging to the EU mission in the province, EULEX, headed for Jarinje from the southern, ethnic Albanian, part of Kosovska Mitrovica, Serbs turned them back twice from two locations.
-Kosovska Mitrovica Mayor Krstimir Pantić told reporters that the Serbs blocked EULEX because the mission was “transporting Kosovo border police and customs” to Jarinje, as well as Albanian-language media crews from Priština, whose goal was to report that “the road toward Jarinje is passable, and that a Russian humanitarian envoy was the first to cross a customs post that Serbs are boycotting”.
Pantić described this as “yet another unnecessary provocation” on the part of EULEX…

JARINJE: Russian Ambassador to Serbia Aleksandr Konuzin says that the EU mission in Kosovo, EULEX, is blocking a convoy of humanitarian aid.

The 27 trucks carrying the aid to Serbs in the north, sent by Russia, are blocked at the Jarinje administrative checkpoint since Tuesday morning.

The convoy of trucks sent by the Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations and meant to be delivered to Serbs in Kosovo arrived at the gates at Jarinje this morning, the ambassador told reporters at the spot, adding that the convoy had been told it would be allowed to cross the administrative line between central Serbia and the Kosovo province.

He said that the formalities concerning the procedures for trucks to enter the southern Serbian province had to be observed and were underway.

Two trucks have already been allowed to enter and are already in the province, and a third truck was currently undergoing the same procedure, said Konuzin.

“EULEX then issued an order to halt the formal procedure, blocking the convoy movement,” he said. “We received no information as to the reason for stopping the control procedure. Then we were given the ultimatum to either continue to move on accompanied by EULEX or to go to the Merdare checkpoint,” he said.

Konuzin said EULEX had then been said it was not required to escort the convoy and that the convoy would not go on to Merdare because the crossing was controlled by authorities from Priština that neither Russia nor the Serbian authorities considered legitimate.

For now, the movement of the convoy remains blocked, Konuzin said, adding that he was in contact with Serbian and Russian authorities trying to find a solution.

“The most important thing is for the Russian humanitarian aid to reach those for whom it is meant – Kosovo Serbs,” the Russian diplomat said.

Speaking in Kragujevac, central Serbia on Tuesday afternoon, Serbian President Boris Tadić “thanked Russia for sending the humanitarian aid”, and added that “no convoy carrying aid to Serbs in Kosovo should be stopped as they are today the most vulnerable ethnic group in Europe”.

Russian trucks through, EULEX turned back

Earlier in the day, Serbs in northern Kosovo removed a barricade this morning to let through a convoy of 25 trucks carrying Russian humanitarian aid enter northern Kosovo.

The barricade was located in front of the Jarinje administrative line checkpoint, in the area that’s part of central Serbia.

The vehicles then reached Jarinje, which is controlled by EULEX officials. Journalists also saw police officers of the Kosovo Albanian authorities from Priština there, but they did not check the trucks and cars.

Russian Ambassador in Belgrade Aleksandr Konuzin traveled in the convoy. At the barricade, he exited his car to shake hands with the Serbs guarding the roadblock and took pictures with them.

But when a convoy of 11 vehicles belonging to the EU mission in the province, EULEX, headed for Jarinje from the southern, ethnic Albanian, part of Kosovska Mitrovica, Serbs turned them back twice from two locations.

Initially, it was said that EULEX was sending vehicles to escort the Russian convoy, but when Konuzin said that such escort was not needed, Serbs stopped the EULEX vehicles in Zvečan.

That convoy went back via the ethnic Albanian village of Čabra and via Jagnjenica, but soon after they made another attempt to reach Jarinje. The locals then stopped them in the village of Žerovnica near the town of Zvečan.

Kosovska Mitrovica Mayor Krstimir Pantić told reporters that the Serbs blocked EULEX because the mission was “transporting Kosovo border police and customs” to Jarinje, as well as Albanian-language media crews from Priština, whose goal was to report that “the road toward Jarinje is passable, and that a Russian humanitarian envoy was the first to cross a customs post that Serbs are boycotting”.

Pantić described this as “yet another unnecessary provocation” on the part of EULEX:

“This new provocation by EULEX was meant to cause the Serbs to react inappropriately and be blamed for that. It was unnecessary for EULEX to head toward the north when nobody asked them to do that.”

Ambassador Konuzin was expected to address the citizens at another barricade, in Leposavić, and then in Kosovska Mitrovica, where the aid shipment is to be handed over to the Red Cross.

The shipment consists of food, tents, blankets, and other goods, and will be distributed to Serb families most in need of such assistance.

It was announced that the ceremony in northern Kosovska Mitrovica would be attended by officials of the Ministry for Kosovo, the Red Cross, and local self-administration.

The presence of the Kosovo police was noticeably reinforced along the main road from Kosovska Mitrovica to Jarinje, said Tanjug’s reporters in the province.

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Russian Ambassador Decries Political Blackmail In Kosovo

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/12/14/62174988.html

Itar-Tass
December 14, 2011

Political blackmail in Kosovo – Ambassador

A convoy of trucks carrying humanitarian aid from the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry has become an object of political blackmail. This was announced on Tuesday by the Russian Ambassador to Serbia Alexander Konuzin.

“The Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) has once again gone beyond its mandate and has taken the side of the Kosovo Albanian authorities,” said Konuzin.

According to him, after the first two trucks successfully passed the necessary customs formalities on the border between central Serbia and Kosovo, the procedure was abruptly stopped without explanation by orders from the mission’s leadership.

According to the Ambassador, the basis of the actions was “politically motivated.”

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Kosovo Is Main Drug Transit Center In Europe: Russian Anti-Drug Chief

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/12/13/62165641.html

Itar-Tass
December 13, 2011

Kosovo – main drug transit center in Europe – Russia’s anti-drug chief

Kosovo has turned into the main drug trafficking transit center in Europe, Russia`s anti-drug chief Viktor Ivanov said Tuesday.

He is now in Ljubljana where he is taking part in a ministerial conference of the Council of Europe Pompidou Group on combating drug abuse and illicit trafficking in Drugs.

Annually about 50 tons of heroin are transferred via Kosovo, he said.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson: All labor’s dread of war’s mad waste and murder

December 14, 2011 Leave a comment

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

Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson
For the Wounded (1871)
Translated by Arthur Hubbell Palmer

no-nb_blds_01191 001

A still procession goes
Amid the battle’s booming,
Its arm the red cross shows;
It prays in many forms of speech,
And, bending o’er the fallen,
Brings peace and home to each.

Not only is it found
Where bleed the wounds of battle,
But all the world around.
It is the love the whole world feels
In noble hearts and tender,
While gentle pity kneels; -

It is all labor’s dread
Of war’s mad waste and murder,
Praying that peace may spread;
It is all sufferers who heed
The sighing of a brother,
And know his sorrow’s need; -

It is each groan of pain
Heard from the sick and wounded,
‘T is Christian prayer humane;
It is their cry who lonely grope,
‘T is the oppressed man’s moaning,
The dying breath of hope; -

This rainbow-bridge of prayers
Up through the world’s wild tempest
In light of Christ’s faith bears:
That love and loving deeds
May conquer strife and passion;
For thus His promise reads.

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO news: December 13, 2011

December 13, 2011 2 comments

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Libya Descending Into Chaos And Civil War: Experts

Israeli, U.S. Attack On Iran To Have Catastrophic Consequences: Russian Official

NATO Headquarters: Israel Calls On Bloc To Act On Syria, Iran

Remembering His-Story – Iran Attack Next?

Turkey, U.S. Discuss Military Cooperation With Azerbaijan

Video And Text: “U.S. To Control Iraq Oil Always”

NATO, EU Increase Military Integration For Global Missions

Denmark Sends Surveillance Aircraft To Seychelles For NATO Indian Ocean Operations

U.S. Drone Crashes In Seychelles

Pakistan: Punjab Assembly Condemns NATO, Calls For Stronger Response

Balochistan Assembly Unanimously Condemns NATO Attacks

Pakistani Minister: NATO Forces Harboring Militants

$662 Billion NDAA: Afghan Troop Withdrawal Made “Conditions-Based”

Asia: Cold War To World War?

Washington: U.S. To Discuss Strategic Energy, Military Ties With Azerbaijan

Georgia NATO And EU Member “In Brief Period Of Time”

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Libya Descending Into Chaos And Civil War: Experts

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/12/12/62092662.html

Voice of Russia
December 12, 2011

Libya on the verge of chaos and civil war: experts
Alexander Vatutin

-“[I]f Libya falls apart, the US, France, the UK and other intruders will be
responsible.”

Warnings from many experts are coming true: Libya is being pulled into a civil war. Now anti-Gaddafists are carving up power and Libya’s capital of Tripoli is already seeing clashes as the rebels are fighting for the local airport.

Libya…is now on the verge of chaos. Late Saturday, so-called Libyan national guards attempted to seize control over the Tripoli airport and attacked their former allies from the city of Zintan. Their attempt failed but left some people killed and injured. The national guards pledged to try again and were only calmed down by tribal elders.

At the same time, militants attempted to murder Libya’s Chief Commander Khalifa Haftar.

Right after Libya’s National Transitional Council announced the country’s liberation on October 23, Gaddafi’s supporters carried out several attacks.

But the opposition hasn’t clashed with one another till recently. Experts say that they’re fighting for the helm. The rebels’ common enemy, Gaddafi, is dead and thus they have a new pretext to start showing who is stronger and who’ll get access to the country’s oil riches.

The current situation is the moment of truth for those who pledged to get rid of the legacy of Gaddafi’s 40-yeard old reign. However, he somehow managed to hold the multi-tribal country together and even simulate some kind of statehood.

The rebels brought no new ideology, they’re simply carving up the power pie, says expert in Oriental Studies Andrei Volodin:

“They’re divided into various factions that have no idea what unity and territorial integrity are. No foreign country would interfere into the conflict at this stage as the West is too weak. Moreover, this conflict was triggered by the West. Thus, if Libya falls apart, the US, France, the UK and other intruders will be responsible.”

Experts are also skeptical about the NTC powers as it’s quite heterogeneous, comprising both liberals and radical Islamists who pursue their own aims, says Oriental researcher Sergei Demidenko:

“Libya is loose as a state and it will continue to get deeper into economic and political chaos. No democratic elections or Constitution would help as Libya’s society is split and hardly unifiable. As for the tribes, they are entering a new level of hostility and sometimes break all their laws and codes.”

Now experts are mostly negative about Libya’s future and believe that it could break up into parts.

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Israeli, U.S. Attack On Iran To Have Catastrophic Consequences: Russian Official

http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c32/295559.html

Itar-Tass
December 12, 2011

Israeli or US attack in Iran to have catastrophic consequences 

BRUSSELS: An Israeli or U.S. attack on Iran will have catastrophic consequences, Russian Permanent Representative to the European Union Vladimir Chizhov warned.

“This would have catastrophic consequences not only for the region but globally,” he said on Monday, December 12.

“We have seen many attempts to solve political problems by force in recent years, but now the time has come to learn these lessons,” Chizhov said.

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NATO Headquarters: Israel Calls On Bloc To Act On Syria, Iran

http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=249205

Jerusalem Post
December 13, 2011

Knesset Delegation warns NATO of Arab Spring
By Lahav Harkov

The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee warned of the dangers of a nuclear Iran and Islamist governments rising following the “Arab Spring,” during a visit to NATO headquarters in Brussels on Sunday and Monday.

MKs Avi Dichter (Kadima), Yohanan Plesner (Kadima), Tzipi Hotovely (Likud), Arye Eldad (National Union), Moshe Matalon (Israel Beiteinu) and Orit Zuaretz (Kadima) met with NATO officials, as well as US, Italian, Portuguese and Canadian ambassadors to the defense organization.

Dichter said it would be a mistake to call the upheaval in the Middle East the “Arab Spring,” because it has led to radical elements being strengthened, and Hotovely said that it is more like an “Arab Winter.” “The Arab world and democracy are two things that have trouble connecting,” Dichter said.

Matalon agreed with Dichter, saying that democracy is a cultural matter that goes beyond the voting booth. He pointed out that Hitler was elected democratically.

Dichter added that he “has trouble understanding” why NATO has not intervened in the situation in Syria, after it battled Gaddafi’s forces in Libya.

Plesner, however, said that Iran is the real challenge, and that NATO cannot avoid action.

“We must not wait until the last minute, when it’ll already be too late,” he explained.

Dichter emphasized the importance of a pre-emptive attack on Iran, saying that NATO should learn from Israel’s experience in the Yom Kippur war, in which the IDF was surprised by Egyptian and Syrian forces.

“Iran is a global problem for the entire free world and not just Israel,” Hotovely said. “The world can’t expect Israel to solve its problem.”

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Remembering His-Story – Iran Attack Next?

http://www.opednews.com/articles/Remembering-His-Story–Ir-by-Bruce-K-Gagnon-111212-86.html

OpEd News
December 12, 2011

Remembering His-Story – Iran Attack Next?
By Bruce K. Gagnon

Stephen Hadley is pumping up the war talk with Iran – do you remember who this guy is? His name, and his-story, should not be forgotten.

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This map tells the whole story. Each star represents a U.S. military base.

In the middle, in blue, is Iran. Iran has no military bases outside its borders. Just north of Iran is Georgia that has essentially become a U.S./NATO base. Turkey belongs to NATO. Iran has been checkmated. North of Georgia is Russia. Can there be any wonder why Russia is so alarmed about an attack on Iran?

Imagine if we saw a map of the U.S. with Russian or Chinese military bases throughout Canada and Mexico along with their warships just off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. The American people would be going ballistic. But when we do it to others, no one even blinks an eye.

Following the recent spy drone fiasco over Iran the U.S. has been working hard to justify these flights. In an Associated Press story yesterday it was reported that the covert operations in play are “much bigger than people appreciate,” said Stephen Hadley, former national security adviser under George W. Bush. “But the U.S. needs to be using everything it can.” Hadley said that if Iran continues to defy U.N. resolutions and doesn’t curb its nuclear ambitions, the quiet conflict “will only get nastier.”

Hadley’s statement “But the U.S. needs to be using everything it can” has the sound of immanent danger, of desperation. But after looking at this map where does the danger really lie? Iran is actually no danger to anyone. The real danger is that the U.S./NATO/Israel have their itchy fingers on the war trigger and could attack at any time.

One last thing is Mr. Hadley himself. Unknown to the public at large, Stephen Hadley carried on a quiet career in the shadow of Brent Scowcroft and Condoleeza Rice. A business lawyer convicted of fraud, he became the counselor for the largest arms manufacturer in the world, Lockheed Martin. He advised the candidate George W. Bush, helped write the U.S.’s new aggressive nuclear doctrine, helped create the Department of Homeland Security, supervised new entries into NATO, and helped sell the invasion of Iraq. Ever faithful, he protected Bush the father from the Irangate scandal and Bush the son from the lies of the Iraq war. He found himself rewarded by becoming George W. Bush’s National Security Advisor.

At the beginning of the 1980s, Mr. Steven Hadley ran an insurance fraud of close to $1.1 million. He was discovered, found guilty by a court in Iowa, and forced to reimburse the money. To erase any trace to his crime, he changed his name to Stephen John Hadley.

When Ronald Reagan took the White House, Mr. Hadley stayed in the private sector. However, in 1986, the Irangate scandal broke. President Reagan appointed a commission of three wise men to “investigate”. It was composed of the Texan Senator John Tower, Edmund Muskie, and Brent Scowcroft who called Stephen J. Hadley to his side. In spite of the evidence, the commission concluded that President Reagan and Vice-President Bush were innocent. They found that the financing of the Contras in Nicaragua through the trafficking of drugs and illegal weapons sales to Iran was a secret initiative of over-zealous members of the National Security Council, put into place without the knowledge of their superiors. No big heads rolled.

As lawyer for Lockheed Martin, Hadley worked with the directors of the firm, including Lyne Cheney (wife of Dick). He became close with Bruce P. Jackson, the vice-president of the firm in charge of creating new markets. Together they initiated the U.S. Committee to Expand NATO into which they brought Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz. The Committee engineered the entry of the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland into NATO in 1999. Then that of Bulgaria, Estonia, Latonia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. Each time, the leaders of the new member states were solicited to bring their armies up to the scale (interoperability) with NATO, in other words, to purchase new military hardware from Lockheed Martin.

Global Network board member Karl Grossman reported 10 years ago that Hadley was also instrumental in helping Donald Rumsfeld write his report calling for U.S. control and domination of space. “Space is going to be important.

It has a great future in the military,” Hadley told the Air Force Association Convention in a 2001 speech. Introduced as an “adviser to Governor George W. Bush,” Hadley said that Bush’s “concern has been that the [Clinton] Administration…doesn’t reflect a real commitment to missile defense.” In 1998 Rumsfeld’s commission reversed a 1995 finding by the nation’s intelligence agencies that the country was not in imminent danger from ballistic missiles acquired by new powers, declaring that “rogue states” did pose such a threat. The answer? Missile defense.

It is obvious that Hadley has been at this game a very long time. His connections to Lockheed Martin, and even the Bush administration, have been long forgotten. So when he is quoted in a current news story few see the irony of him defending CIA spy drone flights over Iran. It is good that we take a moment though and remember the real “his-story” otherwise we are likely to repeat the terror and carnage of past U.S. snake oil invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

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Turkey, U.S. Discuss Military Cooperation With Azerbaijan

http://en.trend.az/news/politics/1968196.html

Trend News Agency
December 12, 2011

Azerbaijan discusses military cooperation with Turkey and the U.S.
K. Zarbaliyeva

Baku: Azerbaijan discussed military cooperation with Turkey and the U.S.

Azerbaijani Defense Minister Safar Abiyev received the head of the Turkish General Staff Plans and Principles Department Mehmet Emin Alpman, the Defense Ministry told Trend on Monday.

The sides exchanged views on the development of Azerbaijani-Turkish military cooperation at the highest level, as well as the military and political situation in the region.

On Monday, Abiyev also met with the head of U.S. Transportation Command, William Fraser.

They discussed the situation in the region and the current situation and prospects of development of military-political relations between Azerbaijan and the U.S.

They exchanged views on anti-terrorism operations and settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

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Video And Text: “U.S. To Control Iraq Oil Always”

http://rt.com/news/us-iraq-withdrawal-farce-673/

RT
December 13, 2011

‘US to control Iraq oil always’

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Video

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Despite the US’s declared withdrawal of its military personnel and contractors out of Iraq, Washington has prepared to control the country’s rich oil reserves in any case, shared Ranjit Singh Kalha, former India’s ambassador to Iraq in the 1990s.

Having spent $3 trillion in Iraq, a country with harsh weather conditions (+50 C most of the time) and absolutely nothing valuable but oil reserves, the Americans simply cannot give up the plentiful and very high quality oil they went there for.

“It takes $1.50 to take out this oil that’s just below the surface. Anybody who has access to this oil can be a game changer – as far as the politics of oil is concerned,” Ranjit Singh Kalha concluded.

The problem Americans encountered in Iraq is that once given “some symbols” of democracy, the Iraqi voted for a Shia-led government. The headache is that the Shia traditionally have close links with Iran, the core territory of this affiliation.

“That is the present dilemma. If you withdraw from Iraq completely, you leave this vast oil wealth of Iraq in the hands of Shia (Iran-oriented) government. And therefore it upsets the political balance in the Middle East,” Ranjit Singh Kalha explained.

He said that to counter such adverse developments the US will have almost 20,000-strong embassy in Baghdad (the largest US embassy in the world) and consulates in Basra, Kerkuk and in northern Kurd-inhabited territory, each consulate 1,000-strong.

“Americans cannot afford to be completely absent from Iraq,” the former ambassador argued, adding he does not see any lessening of American influence in Iraq.

Iraq is a multi-confessional country and to curb religious extremism all previous country’s rulers had to be very tough with the population, the diplomat stressed. In Saddam’s Iraq most of the military and law enforcement was Sunni and the rule of law was first of all a rule of military power preventing sectarian violence. Today’s Iraq is ruled by Shia government which does not have the necessary experience of ruling with an iron fist, so the country risks a full fledged civil war to start at any time given.

American troops will not go far from Iraq – they will be re-deployed to next door Kuwait.

“This is just a re-shuffle of the cards. Americans could always come back because the bases will be kept intact, while 20,000 personnel means that most of the staff will be there,” Ranjit Singh Kalha said.

The US has made sure Iraq does not have any Air Force whatsoever so Iraqi airspace will remain under American control, “which means you can bring force in whenever you want, however you want, and prevent anyone else from coming in.”

The Iran-Iraq border is very long and porous, the population on both sides is blood-interlinked, so the threat of Iran interfering into Iraqi internal affairs is always present.

As for Afghanistan, occupied by the allied forces, the same tactics might be used there and even if the troops depart, the military bases with thousands of servicemen will stay anyway.

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NATO, EU Increase Military Integration For Global Missions

http://www.act.nato.int/multimedia/archive/42-news-stories/828-natoeu-collaboration-on-development-of-military-capabilities-

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Transformation
December 12, 2011

NATO/EU collaboration on development of military capabilities
Written by ACT PAO

On Monday 5 December, general Stéphane Abrial, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT) was invited by the European Parliament Security and Defence Subcommittee along with the European Defence Agency (EDA) Chief Executive, Claude-France Arnould.

They both developed the two initiatives: “pooling and sharing” for European Union and Smart Defence for NATO.

They also exchanged views on how Allied Command Transformation and EDA are managing together to do important work, staff to staff, to be sure that, sticking to the agreed framework, the two initiatives are promoting complementary and avoid any duplications. They gave examples like the medical or Counter improvised explosive devices field or the training of helicopters pilots deployed in Afghanistan under the NATO umbrella.

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Denmark Sends Surveillance Aircraft To Seychelles For NATO Indian Ocean Operations

http://www.aco.nato.int/danish-mpa-begins-work-with-operation-ocean-shield.aspx

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations
December 12, 2011

DANISH MPA BEGINS WORK WITH OPERATION OCEAN SHIELD

Denmark has agreed to support NATO in the fight against piracy in the Indian ocean and Horn of Africa. For this purpose one of their RDAF Challenger aircraft has been deployed from Air Transport Wing Aalborg to the Seychelles.

The aircraft is equipped with a maritime surveillance radar and infra red/electro optical cameras. The advanced equipment onboard the aircraft can collect pictures and intelligence data, thereby assisting other NATO units in the area.

The Danish detachment, comprised of 18 people, arrived in the Seychelles on the 29th of November, and started operations on the 1st of December.

Operations will be continuing till the end of January. Operational control of the aircraft is carried out via NATO’s HQ in Northwood.

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U.S. Drone Crashes In Seychelles

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2011-12/13/c_131304555.htm

Xinhua News Agency
December 13, 2011

U.S. drone crashes in Seychelles

                   
VICTORIA: A U.S. drone aircraft crashed at the Seychelles airport on Tuesday when it was landing, but no injuries were reported, an airport official said.

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Pakistan: Punjab Assembly Condemns NATO, Calls For Stronger Response

http://nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Regional/Lahore/13-Dec-2011/Nato-airstrikes-grilled-in-joint-House-resolution

The Nation
December 13, 2011

Nato airstrikes grilled in joint House resolution

LAHORE: The Punjab Assembly on Monday passed a unanimous resolution expressing anger over the NATO attacks of November 26 on Pakistani check posts, and termed it an attack on the country’s sovereignty.

The resolution was jointly moved by PPP, PML-N, PML-Q, PML-F and MMA, while Punjab Minister for Law Rana Sana Ullah moved it in the House. It was passed unanimously after some discussion by Assembly members.

Through the resolution, the Assembly lodged its strong protest over naked aggression by NATO forces, expressing solidarity with the Pakistan Army for the loss of the precious lives of its soldiers and officers. The provincial Assembly also supported the federal government for its decision to suspend NATO supplies, the boycott of the Bonn Conference and the evacuation of Shamsi Airbase from the US.

Earlier, taking part in the discussion, the leader of the opposition, Raja Riaz, lauded the federal government’s actions following the NATO strike, as he termed these in accordance with the people’s aspirations. He said the PPP government would do all that which was necessary to safeguard country’s sovereignty.

PML-Q’s parliamentary Leader, Ch Zaheeruddin, opined that all supplies from Pakistan should remain suspended till the time its [NATO's] forces started respecting Pakistan’s sovereignty. He demanded that the Shahbaz Airbase should also be got cleared of the Americans. Zaheer said that it was a big achievement of the civilian government to suspend all sorts of cooperation with the NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Ali Haider Noor Niazi of the MMA called for the permanent blocking of NATO supplies and welcomed the Pakistan Army’s decision to shoot down American drones entering country’s air space in future. Representing the PML-N, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sana Ullah endorsed the views expressed by representatives of other parties and moved the resolution for its passage at the end of the discussion.

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Balochistan Assembly Unanimously Condemns NATO Attacks

http://nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Politics/13-Dec-2011/Balochistan-PA-condemns-Nato-raid

The Nation
December 13, 2011

Balochistan PA condemns Nato raid
By Bari Baloch

-[Ministers] strongly condemned the Nato helicopter attack and said all airports in the country should be vacated from US troops.
They said Nato and US forces were consolidating their control in Afghanistan and their eyes were focused on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and they were hatching conspiracies how to capture them.

QUETTA: The Balochistan Assembly Monday unanimously adopted a resolution condemning the Nato bombing in Mohmand agency that killed 24 soldiers, and stated it appreciated government steps to get the Shamsi airbase vacated from the US and stopping Nato supplies.

JUI-F’s Maulana Abdul Wasay moved the resolution. Speaking on the admissibility of the resolution, he said halting Nato supplies and vacating the Shamsi airbase were positive steps taken by the government; however, these steps should not be temporary. “We had already declared that the war we are fighting is not our war; rather it is a war of foreigners, but our point of view was not given any importance and the so-called war against terror was called a war of Pakistan,” he remarked.

He said thousands of innocent Pakistani people and army soldiers were killed in this war, but the rulers did not take any notice and kept a military drive against its own people. He said the attack on a Pakistani check post and the killing of 24 soldiers were regrettable but this incident at least united the nation, government and security institutions.

The JUI-F leader said the world must acknowledge the sacrifices of Pakistan in the war on terror and respect the sanctity of its borders and sovereignty. He said the raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound was a violation of the country’s sovereignty and the rulers should have taken serious notice of it.

Debating on the resolution, ANP provincial minister Engineer Zamarak Khan said his party had been opposing foreign interference in the country since independence and always raised its voice against attacks on the autonomy of the country.

Condemning the Nato bombings, he said it was not the first incident, rather Nato had been violating our borders at many places. “This act should not only be condemned; rather it should be resisted,” he remarked.

Other ministers including Jay Parkash, Jan Ali Changezai, Maulvi Abdul Samad, Zahoor Buledi, Abdul Rehman Mengal Mengal, Habib-ur-Rehman Muhammad Hasani, Dr. Ruqia Hashmi and Abdul Khaliq Bashar Dost strongly condemned the Nato helicopter attack and said all airports in the country should be vacated from US troops.

They said Nato and US forces were consolidating their control in Afghanistan and their eyes were focused on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and they were hatching conspiracies how to capture them.

They stressed the need for unity amongst all political and religious parties to frustrate nefarious designs against Pakistan and steering the country out from all challenges. When the chair put the resolution for vote, the house adopted it unanimously.

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Pakistani Minister: NATO Forces Harboring Militants

http://www.dawn.com/2011/12/13/hoti-says-nato-forces-harbouring-militants.html

DawnNews
December 12, 2011

Hoti says Nato forces harbouring militants
By Zahiruddin

CHITRAL: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti has accused American and Nato forces of harbouring the militants who were flushed out from Swat in the border areas of Afghanistan.

“The border areas of neighbouring Afghanistan are being used by the terrorists,” he said at the inaugural ceremony of Chitral campus of Khan Abdul Wali Khan University here on Monday.

Mr Hoti asked the Nato forces in Afghanistan to discourage elements who were carrying out attacks in the Pakistani territory as they did in Chitral the other day.

He said that the recent US attack on the Pakistani checkposts was uncalled for and unpardonable. Evidence showed that it was a deliberate attack, he added.

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$662 Billion NDAA: Afghan Troop Withdrawal Made “Conditions-Based”

http://www.pajhwok.com/en/2011/12/13/us-troop-withdrawal-made-conditions-based

Pajhwok Afghan News
December 13, 2011

US troop withdrawal made conditions-based
By Lalit K Jha

WASHINGTON (PAN): Reaching an agreement on the $662 billion Defense Authorization Bill for the year 2012, US lawmakers arrived at a consensus on making the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan conditioned-based rather than arbitrary.

The bill allocates $15.5 billion for contingency operations, including in Afghanistan, the House Armed Services Committee said, after a Conference Committee comprising of members from both the House of Representatives and the Senate agreed on the National Defense Authorization Act.

“The FY12 NDAA ensures that any withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan is conditions-based rather than arbitrary,” it said.

The bill freezes $700 million in aid to Pakistan pending Pentagon’s delivery of a strategy for improving the effectiveness of such assistance and assurances that Pakistan is countering improvised explosive devices networks that are targeting collation forces.

“This freeze includes the majority of the $1 billion in Pakistan Counterinsurgency Fund,” the House Armed Services Committee said. The bill, which sets policy and spending priorities for the Pentagon, is generally considered must-pass legislation.

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Asia: Cold War To World War?

http://www.zamboangatoday.ph/index.php/opinion/viewsopinions/7542-cold-war-to-world-war-.html

Zamboanga Today
December 13, 2011

Cold War to World War?

“If China’s core interests, such as its sovereignty, national security, and unity are intruded on, a military conflict will be unavoidable.” This was the statement by Maj. Gen. Luo Yuan, the Deputy Secretary General of the China Society of Military Science, after Pres. Obama’s announcement of the new military basing operations in Australia. (People’s Daily, Nov. 17)

This statement came about after the so-called summit that was supposed to create an atmosphere of cooperation and finding peaceful solutions to some issues especially the disputed area in the South China Sea. Just like what I wrote in my last article http://www.ericksanjuan.blogspot.com) the event was more confrontational rather than what it has projected to the world.

The planned permanent military basing by US in Australia was another irritant to US-China relations, to note:

A remark by Defense Ministry spokesman, Geng Yansheng, was China’s strongest reaction yet to the announcement by President Barack Obama in November of the US plan to strengthen military ties with Australia and to eventually station 2,500 Marines on Australia’s remote northern coast. To Quote- “We believe this is all a manifestation of a Cold War mentality,” Mr. Geng said at a monthly press briefing, according to text of his remarks posted on the Defense Ministry’s website. “We hope relevant parties do more things that are beneficial for the peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region, rather than the opposite.” (Source: The Wall Street Journal-Asia online 12/1/11)

The Cold War was the most important political and diplomatic issue of the later half of the 20th Century. The main Cold War enemies were the United States and the Soviet Union. The Cold War got it’s name because both sides were afraid of fighting each other directly.

In such a “hot war,” nuclear weapons might destroy everything. So, instead, they fought each other indirectly. They played havoc with conflicts in different parts of the world. They also used words as weapons. They threatened and denounced each other. Or, they tried to make each other look foolish. (Source: globalsecurity.org)

If this “cold war mentality” will continue, could it be that the real “shooting war” is not far behind?

The blame game worsened when last October, US lawmaker Michael Turner, who chairs the House Armed Services Committee focusing on strategic weapons and other security programs voiced concern about an extensive tunnel complex designed to house China’s nuclear missiles.(www.breitbart.com)

“The tunnels would allow China to launch a nuclear counter-attack if it was hit by a nuclear strike”, said Mark Schneider, senior analyst at the National Institute for Public Policy.

It was corroborated by Richard Fisher of the International Assessment and Strategy Center. He said that the tunnel complex could allow the Chinese army to conceal its weapons.

The plot thickens when CNN TV last December 1, featured some Georgetown University students in Washington DC who have blown the lid off one of China’s best kept military secrets that it’s nuclear arsenal could be up to 40 times bigger than thought.

According to London Telegraph, Philip Karber and Nick Yarosh of Georgetown University said that China could have as many as 3,000 nuclear warheads,far more than the current estimates of between 80 to 400.

ATS quoted China’s army general, Chi Haotian, the vice-chairman of China’s Central Military Commission when he said, “We have made a tremendous effort to construct ‘The Great Wall Project’, to build up, along our coastal and land frontiers as well as around large and medium-sized cities, a solid underground ‘great wall’ that can withstand a nuclear war.”

With the events unfolding gearing towards a global war, the rest of the world especially nations in Asia Pacific, should find a way to avert another world war. Unfortunately, our country’s leadership did not see this coming and lacked the expertise in the field of geopolitics when it gave its support to Uncle Sam at the East Asia Summit.

Actually, such action virtually dragged us into supporting a possible regional conflict that might trigger another world war. Again, we will be part of a war that we never wanted. We hope that this week’s US-Sino annual defense talks will produce positive results and adhere to peaceful resolutions on major defense and military issues.

Anyway, the Filipinos will never postpone Christmas festivities come what may. Happy Holidays to all!

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Washington: U.S. To Discuss Strategic Energy, Military Ties With Azerbaijan

http://en.trend.az/regions/scaucasus/azerbaijan/1968351.html

Trend News Agency
December 13, 2011

Washington to discuss U.S.-Azerbaijani relations
E. Tariverdiyeva

Baku: U.S.-Azerbaijani relations will be discussed at the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center in Washington on Dec. 22. The discussions will be held within the debate “US-Azerbaijan Relations and Outlook for the South Caucasus”, the Azerbaijani-American Council (AAC) said on Tuesday.

Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister Araz Azimov will attend the discussions.

The discussions will cover Azerbaijan’s strategic location between Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia, and Iran, as well as its current and growing role as a hydrocarbon exporter, particularly in light of the October 25 agreement between Azerbaijan and Turkey on gas, which makes it a key partner of the United States.

Cooperation on energy development and infrastructure dominated US-Azeri relations in the 1990s, and since 2001 Baku has given strong and practical support to Coalition efforts in Afghanistan both as a troop contributor and a key transit country. Yet efforts to deepen ties have run up against challenges, including with respect to the unresolved conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, the press release says.

This discussion with Ambassador Azimov is an excellent opportunity to access US-Azeri relations and the outlook of the Karabakh negotiations, and for the South Caucuses as a whole, the press release says.

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Georgia NATO And EU Member “In Brief Period Of Time”

http://rustavi2.com/news/news_text.php?id_news=44061&pg=1&im=main&ct=0&wth=

Rustavi 2
December 13, 2011

Georgia-Lithuania North Atlantic Commission assembles in Tbilisi

Tbilisi will host a session of the Georgia-Lithuania North Atlantic Commission. The official delegation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania chaired by the deputy minister arrived in Georgia`s capital today to attend the two-day meetings, where the top issues discussed will be the ways of Georgia`s integration into the NATO and the European Union.

The head of the Lithuanian delegation emphasized the significance of the commission’s work and hailed the role of Georgia-Lithuania relations in these processes.

`The goal of my visit is to discuss a wide range of issues, including bilateral relations and political and economic cooperation. Currently, we are also to discuss the ways in which Georgia may become a member of NATO and the European Union in a brief period of time. We`ll also touch the issue of the NATO Chicago summit. Simplified visa and free trade relations between Georgia and the EU will be also discussed,` Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Evaldas Ignatavichus has said.

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Categories: Uncategorized

George Bernard Shaw: The shallowness of the ideals of men ignorant of history is their destruction

December 13, 2011 Leave a comment

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

George Bernard Shaw: Selections on war

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George Bernard Shaw
The Quintessence of Ibsenism
From the Preface to the Third Edition (1922)

 

Since the last edition of this book was printed, war, pestilence and famine have wrecked civilization and killed a number of people of whom the first batch is calculated as not less than fifteen millions. Had the gospel of Ibsen been understood and heeded, these fifteen millions might have been alive now; for the war was a war of ideals. Liberal ideals, Feudal ideals, National ideals, Dynastic ideals, Republican ideals, Church ideals, State ideals, and class ideals, bourgeois and proletarian, all heaped up into a gigantic pile of spiritual high explosive, and then shovelled daily into every house with the morning milk by the newspapers, needed only a bomb thrown at Sarajevo by a handful of regicide idealists to blow the centre out of Europe. Men with empty phrases in their mouths and foolish fables in their heads have seen each other, not as fellow-creatures, but as dragons and devils, and have slaughtered each other accordingly. Now that our frenzies are forgotten, our commissariats disbanded, and the soldiers they fed demobilized to starve when they cannot get employment in mending what we broke, even the iron-mouthed Ibsen, were he still alive, would perhaps spare us, disillusioned wretches as we are, the well-deserved ‘I told you so.’ 

Not that there is any sign of the lesson being taken to heart. Our reactions from Militarist idealism into Pacifist idealism will not put an end to war: they are only a practical form of reculer pour mieux sauter (“recoil the better to jump forward”). We still cannot bring ourselves to criticize our ideals, because that would be a form of self-criticism. The vital force that drives men to throw away their lives and those of others in the pursuit of an imaginative impulse, reckless of its apparent effect on human welfare, is, like all natural forces, given to us in enormous excess to provide against an enormous waste. Therefore men, instead of economizing it by consecrating it to the service of their highest impulses, grasp at a phrase in a newspaper article, or in the speech of a politician on a vote-catching expedition, as an excuse for exercising it violently, just as a horse turned out to grass will gallop and kick merely to let off steam. The shallowness of the ideals of men ignorant of history is their destruction.

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO news: December 12, 2011

December 12, 2011 1 comment

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Pakistani Forces Take Control Of Air Base As U.S. Troops Evicted

NATO Commander: No Guarantee New Pakistan Attacks Won’t Occur

Pakistan To Shoot Down U.S. Drones: Government Official

Two NATO Soldiers Killed In Eastern Afghanistan

Afghan War: U.S. Commander Defends Night Raids

Iran Summons Afghan Envoy Over NATO Drone Violation

Libya Marked For NATO Mediterranean Dialogue Membership

Libya: Deadly Internecine Fighting Intensifies

South Africa: NATO Attack On Libya Scar That Will Take Many Years To Heal For Africa

Arab League’s Capitulation

New Caucasus War: Azerbaijan Arms Spending Ratio Highest In CIS

Azerbaijan: U.S. Discusses Military Relations

Pakistan: U.S. Challenged As NATO Surrounds Iran

After Libya War: Barefaced New Scramble For Africa, Middle East

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Pakistani Forces Take Control Of Air Base As U.S. Troops Evicted

http://en.rian.ru/world/20111211/169711938.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
December 11, 2011

Pakistan forces take control of Shamasi base as U.S. troops pull out

MOSCOW: Pakistan’s border guards took control of the Shamasi Airbase, previously used by U.S. troops for drone airstrikes in border regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan, the News Tribe newspaper said.

“51 U.S. troops have vacated the airbase and their luggage has been shifted to Afghanistan and FC [Frontier Corps] took the control of base,” the paper said.

Islamabad gave the U.S. 15 days to leave the base on November 26 in response to a deadly NATO air strike on a checkpoint in the Mohmand tribal area in northwest Pakistan. The attack left at least 24 soldiers dead and 14 injured.

Shortly after the attack, Pakistan’s authorities also closed one of NATO’s key supply routes to Afghanistan, the so-called northern supply route through the Khyber Pass and Torham border post.

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NATO Commander: No Guarantee New Pakistan Attacks Won’t Occur

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\12\12\story_12-12-2011_pg1_4

Daily Times
December 12, 2011

Repeat of Mohmand-type mishap: Nothing can’t be guaranteed in war against terror: ISAF

DUBAI: ISAF Commander in Afghanistan General John R Allen has said that a repeat of Mohmand-type mishap can’t be guaranteed.

Talking to Khaleej Times, he said: “You simply can’t guarantee anything in war. The conditions are difficult at the border, let the investigation play out…” The paper had asked if there were any guarantees of such a mishap not happening again.

The NATO attack has led to widespread rage in Pakistan. The government and military have responded with several measures, including recalling their liaison officers, implementing air defence systems on the border and disallowing US drone flights from the Shamsi airbase.

More importantly, NATO supply routes have been closed for the past two weeks…

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Pakistan To Shoot Down U.S. Drones: Government Official

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\12\12\story_12-12-2011_pg1_5

Independent News Pakistan
December 12, 2011

Pakistan decides to shoot down US drones?

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will shoot down any US drone that intrudes its airspace as per new directives, a senior Pakistani official said. According to the new Pakistani defence policy, “Any object entering into our airspace, including US drones, will be treated as hostile and be shot down,” a senior Pakistani military official told NBC News.

The policy change comes just weeks after a deadly NATO attack on Pakistani military checkpoints killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, prompting Pakistani officials to order all US personnel out of a remote airfield in Pakistan.

The government had told the United States to vacate the Shamsi airbase by December 11. The Frontier Corps took control of the Shamsi airbase on Saturday evening after most US military personnel left, sources said.

Chief of the Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani had issued multiple directives since the November 26 NATO attack, which included orders to shoot down US drones, senior military officials confirmed to NBC News.

It was unclear whether orders to fire upon incoming US drones were part of the initial orders. The Pakistani airbase had been used by US forces, including the CIA, to stage elements of a clandestine US counter-terrorism operation to attack militants linked to al Qaeda, the Taliban and Haqqani network, using unmanned drone aircraft armed with missiles. Since 2004, US drones have carried out more than 300 attacks inside Pakistan.

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Two NATO Soldiers Killed In Eastern Afghanistan

http://en.trend.az/regions/world/afghanistan/1967767.html

Deutsche Presse-Agentur
December 11, 2011

Two foreign soldiers killed in eastern Afghanistan

Two soldiers with the NATO-led international forces were killed Sunday in an improvised explosive device attack in eastern Afghanistan, the military coalition said, dpa reported.

The alliance did not specify the nationality of the deceased nor the exact location of the incident.

Mostly American soldiers are deployed in eastern part of the country that borders Pakistan and is now the focus of military efforts.

544 soldiers with NATO-led troops have been killed so far this year, according to an independent tally website iCasualties.org. The number is the second highest since the war started in 2001. Last year, 711 foreign soldiers were killed in Afghanistan.

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Afghan War: U.S. Commander Defends Night Raids

http://www.stripes.com/news/middle-east/u-s-commander-defends-night-raids-in-afghanistan-1.163235

Stars and Stripes
December 11, 2011

U.S. commander defends night raids in Afghanistan

In an interview with The Associated Press late Saturday the leader of U.S. Special Operations Command, Adm. William McRaven, defended the unpopular night raids on homes in Afghanistan.

The Associated Press reports that the fallout over the raids has angered the country’s president and held up a security agreement with the United States.

“At the end of the end of the day I think you would find that night raids are very valuable when you are trying to get someone who is trying to hide,” McRaven told The Associated Press.

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Iran Summons Afghan Envoy Over NATO Drone Violation

http://www.pajhwok.com/en/2011/12/11/iran-summons-afghan-envoy-over-airspace-violation

Pajhwok Afghan News
December 11, 2011

Iran summons Afghan envoy over airspace violation
By Javed Hamim Kakar

KABUL: Iran summoned the Afghan ambassador and protest to him against pilotless US drone flights over its territory, officials said on Sunday.

Iran’s national TV channel announced last week that its air force had shot down a US RQ-170-type drone that entered its airspace from Afghanistan.

Subsequently, the Iranian foreign ministry summoned Afghan Ambassador Obaidullah Abid to protest the recent violation of its airspace by the US spy aircraft.

The state-controlled IRNA news agency reported an explanation was sought from the envoy on the issue. Iran also asked Afghanistan to prevent a recurrence of such incidents.

After the drone was shot down, the International Security Assistance Force said one of its aircraft had been missing during a mission in the western part of Afghanistan.

The unmanned aircraft lost contact with US troops, a statement from the NATO-led force said, adding the incident was being investigated.

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Libya Marked For NATO Mediterranean Dialogue Membership

http://tripolipost.com/articledetail.asp?c=1&i=7468

Tripoli Post
December 11, 2011

NATO Praises Success in Libya, Says It would Provide Assistance when Tripoli Asks for It

NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels
By Khadija Ali

At the NATO foreign ministerial meeting in Brussels held December 7-8, the alliance’s Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen expressed NATO’s success in Libya…

NATO countries and their allies also congratulated one another on the success of the Operation Unified Protector (OUP) mission in Libya…

NATO also expressed its interest in widening dialogue in the region as several NATO officials and spokespersons expressed interest in Libya joining the Mediterranean Dialogue.

NATO officials including Rasmussen himself emphasized that Libya must take the first step if the country would like assistance in its transition to democracy. Rasmussen offered help to Libya in areas such as defence and security.

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Libya: Deadly Internecine Fighting Intensifies

http://en.trend.az/regions/met/arabicr/1967758.html

Trend News Agency
December 11, 2011

Libyan army commander comes under second attack

Sergeant Abdel-Razik El-Shibahy said Sunday that revolutionary fighters from the western mountain town of Zintan opened fire Saturday evening on General Khalifa Hifter’s convoy in Tripoli, after failing to assassinate him hours before, Al Ahram reported.

El-Shibahy said one guard was killed and four injured in the second attack. No one was killed in the first assassination attempt.

The Libyan military says that the conflict began when a unit from the national army tried on Saturday to take control of the capital’s airport from the Zintan fighters. Libya’s nascent army is struggling to impose its authority over the militias that overthrew Muammar Gaddafi.

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http://en.trend.az/regions/met/arabicr/1967733.html

Trend News Agency/Deutsche Presse-Agentur
December 11, 2011

Calm in Tripoli after fighting kills three people

Calm returned to Tripoli on Sunday after clashes between the interim government’s military and armed fighters near the airport left three people dead, media reported.

Fighters from the Zintan area were scheduled to hand over the airport and several government buildings to the ruling National Transitional Council, dpa reported.

However, fighting began when the government’s army demanded an immediate handover and rejected the fighters’ suggestion that they should document the process for media purposes, the local Quryna news website reported.

Regional broadcaster Al Arabiya reported on its website that three people were killed in the clashes, which took place while the country’s first national reconciliation conference was being held in the capital.

Disarming militant ex-fighters is one of the greatest challenges facing the interim government as it builds new security forces and tries to promote national reconciliation after months of bloody conflict.

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South Africa: NATO Attack On Libya Scar That Will Take Many Years To Heal For Africa

http://www.timeslive.co.za/local/2011/12/11/zuma-visits-benin-after-criticising-nato-actions-in-libya

The Times (South Africa)/South African Press Association
December 11, 2011

Zuma visits Benin after criticising NATO actions in Libya

South African President Jacob Zuma visited the West African nation of Benin on Sunday, a day after criticising Western countries’ bombing campaign in Libya.

Zuma met Benin President Thomas Boni Yayi and the two countries signed off on a cooperation deal aimed at boosting flights between them, according to Benin Foreign Minister Nassirou Arifari Bako.

In Nigeria on Saturday, Zuma harshly criticised the NATO bombing campaign that helped lead to Moamer Kadhafi’s downfall in Libya.

“The manner in which Libya was treated by some countries in the developed world remains a scar that will take many years to heal for Africa,” Zuma said during a lecture.

“Developed countries with their own national agendas hijacked a genuine democratic protest by the people of Libya to further their regime change agendas.”

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Arab League’s Capitulation

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=213696

Daily Star (Bangladesh)
December 12, 2011

Arab League’s capitulation!
Dr. M. Mahboob Hossain, Associate Professor, Microbiology Programme, BRAC University, Dhaka

Activities of the Arab League for the last few years hardly reflect the interests of the Arab people and the oppressed people of the whole world. It did not take any effective measure when millions of Iraqi civilians were killed by the US and its allies. It has not said a word against those who committed genocide in Iraq. Anyone can understand that the US and its allies attacked Libya and Iraq not to establish democracy and humans rights but to loot the oil resources of those countries.

The Arab League’s decision to suspend Syria’s membership, impose economic sanctions, and discuss transition-period arrangements with the opposition could pave the way to a military offensive by the Western powers in Syria, similar to what happened in Libya. If the US and its allies can give power to their puppet government in Syria with the help of Arab League, it will be easier for them to attack Iran.

If anybody carefully analyses the situation in Syria, he or she will understand that it is not Assad, rather the US and its allies are responsible for violence and death of civilians in Syria. Gaddafi hoped that if he did not kill the so-called rebels, NATO would help to settle the crisis through discussion, but ruthless NATO leaders did not give him any chance.

The sooner the Arabs understand that the Arab League leaders are not really helping them, the better.

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New Caucasus War: Azerbaijan Arms Spending Ratio Highest In CIS

http://armenianow.com/commentary/analysis/33855/azernaijan_increases_military_expences

ArmeniaNow
December 5, 2011

Buildup to No Good: Azerbaijan military spending ratio highest in CIS
By Aris Ghazinyan

-In the coming year Azerbaijan will allot 14.8 percent of its budget to military expenses, which exceeds Armenia’s “record-breaking” index of 2011 by two percent. This means that next year Azerbaijan’s military budget will be ten times that of Armenia’s.
-“[I]n 2008 the syndrome of self-confidence overwhelmed the Georgian president, too, who thought it was the time to declare war. It only took five days to restrain Saakashvili. And no matter how bitter the humiliation seemed to Georgia, it was also a good lesson first of all to Aliyev.”

Azerbaijan has spent $3.1 billion on its military needs in the outgoing year, and by this absolute index falls behind only Russia ($50.5 billion) among the former Soviet states.

But, while in Russia the percentage growth of military expenditures in 2011 made 3.02 percent of GDP, Azerbaijan has the highest indicator – 6.2 percent – in all the Commonwealth of Independent States.

In the Russia-lead list of top five post-Soviet countries, by the absolute index of military expenditures, the Ukraine ($1.1 billion) holds the third position, followed by Uzbekistan ($1.5 billion) and Kazakhstan ($1.2 billion).

Azerbaijan’s military budget for 2011 has exceeded Armenia’s total State Budget by $400 million. In doing so Azeri President Ilham Aliyev has kept the vow he made several years ago to not only equal Azerbaijan’s military expenses with the total budget of Armenia but to surpass it.

(In 2011 Armenia’s military budget made $387 million, which is eight times less than that of Azerbaijan.)

On November 1 the Armenian Parliament approved the increase of the republic’s defense budget up to almost $400 million, which is the highest index of annual expenses on the country’s military needs in all of its history.

Nonetheless, Armenia’s military budget will fall behind Azerbaijan even more in 2012, since Baku is planning to keep increasing its military expenses.

In the coming year Azerbaijan will allot 14.8 percent of its budget to military expenses, which exceeds Armenia’s “record-breaking” index of 2011 by two percent. This means that next year Azerbaijan’s military budget will be ten times that of Armenia’s.

Baku explains this need to increase its military expenses by the fact that the Karabakh issue is yet unresolved and tensions mount in the conflict zone.

Russian analyst Vladimir Mukhin writes in this connection: “Taking into account all these factors it becomes obvious that there exists a feasible possibility of a new war in the South Caucasus. The outcome is unknown, what is clear is that in the event of active hostilities much will depend on Russia.”

Civilitas Foundation analyst Tatul Hakobyan says: “Should Armenians be concerned over the yearly growth and impressive figures of Azerbaijan’s military expenses? Absolutely. They should be concerned. The main concern stems from Aliyev’s and Azeris’ increasing conviction, most probably illusory, that they can declare a new war and win it.”

The analyst believes that Aliyev and the Azeri military elite are convincing themselves that the time has come to declare war. “However, in 2008 the syndrome of self-confidence overwhelmed the Georgian president, too, who thought it was the time to declare war. It only took five days to restrain Saakashvili. And no matter how bitter the humiliation seemed to Georgia, it was also a good lesson first of all to Aliyev.”

“A new war would also be the moment when Artsakh’s recognition becomes a must for Armenia,” says Hakobyan.

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Azerbaijan: U.S. Discusses Military Relations

http://en.apa.az/news.php?id=161547

Azeri Press Agency
December 12, 2011

US-Azerbaijan military and political relations and development prospects discussed in Baku

Baku: Azerbaijani Defense Minister, Colonel-General Safar Abiyev, received US Transportation Commander William Fraser.

The press service of the Defense Ministry told APA that the situation in the region, current state of US-Azerbaijan military and political relations and development prospects were discussed at the meeting.

Anti-terror operations and the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno Karabakh conflict were the meeting’s main themes for discussion.

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Pakistan: U.S. Challenged As NATO Surrounds Iran

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/ML13Df03.html

Asia Times
December 12, 2011

US outed, and far from drawn down
By M K Bhadrakumar

The United States-Pakistan relationship has reached a turning point reminiscent of the run-up to October 1958, when Washington encouraged General Ayub Khan’s coup, apprehending the coming into power of an elected government in Pakistan that might have refused to collaborate as the US’s Cold War ally against the Soviet Union.

An innocuous-looking thing happened on Sunday – Pakistan regained possession of the Shamsi air base in Balochistan near the border with Iran after evicting the US military presence from there. The base itself had been leased to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) since 1992.

The event is at once symbolic and tactical, while at the same time highly strategic even as war clouds are on the horizon over Iran. Symbolic in the sense that it is an assertion of Pakistan’s sovereignty; tactical because the US war strategy, which heavily depended on the drone attacks on North Waziristan, will now have to be reworked. Is the drone era in the Afghan war coming to a brusque end?

However, in all of this, what needs some careful analysis is why the US’s eviction from Shamsi holds strategic implications.

A mild stimulus

Washington initially viewed Islamabad’s decision to expel the US personnel and drone systems from Shamsi with disbelief as a knee-jerk reaction by the Pakistani generals upset over the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) air strike on the border post at Salala in the Mohmand Agency on November 26, which killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. Thus, Washington pressed its ally the UAE into a mediatory role.

UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zeyed al-Nahyan met President Asif Ali Zardari to seek revocation of the Pakistani decision or at least an extension of the 15-day deadline, but returned empty-handed. On getting the bad news from the sheikh, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton phoned Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, which was followed by a call a day later by President Barack Obama to Zardari.

Both Clinton and Obama drew a blank and thereafter the Pentagon reluctantly began the evacuation from Shamsi.

Clearly, the US underestimated the downstream consequences of the November 26 attack on Pakistan. Pakistani director general of military operations, Major General Ashfaq Nadeem told the federal cabinet and the parliament’s defense committee last week in a detailed briefing in Islamabad that the NATO attack bore the hallmark of a well-planned “plot” by the US and NATO command in Afghanistan.

If the likely US intention was to “engage” the Pakistani military leadership with a mild stimulus of “shock and awe”, it proved counter-productive. The civil-military leadership in Pakistan still continues to talk in the same voice. Gilani’s “ex-post facto” endorsement of army chief General Ashfaq Kiani’s decision to deploy the defense systems on the Afghan border to “detect any aircraft or helicopter and to shoot it down”, at their meeting in Islamabad on Saturday is the latest evidence of this.

But the crux of the matter is that the Obama administration has once again ceded policy to the Pentagon. With the Central Intelligence Agency also headed by an army general, David Petraeus, the Pentagon is pushing through a long-term military presence in Afghanistan although a political solution is Obama’s stated goal. The US military aims to step up the fighting. The “drawdown” strategy outlined by Obama last year is being conveniently reinterpreted for this purpose.

The US’s most recent statements have shed the strategic ambiguity over the “drawdown” and it is now crystal clear that tens of thousands of American combat troops are after all going to remain in Afghanistan beyond 2014 for an indeterminate future in addition to the trainers and advisers devoted to “capacity-building” of the Afghan armed forces.

The New York Times noted that Pentagon had been “quietly pushing” for this policy shift for some time. In essence, even as the negotiations over the US-Afghan strategic pact paving the way for the establishment of American military bases in Afghanistan have come to the final stage, the US is discarding the strategic ambiguity about the scope and nature of its long-term military presence.

Demand-driven partnership

This shouldn’t have come as a surprise. But Pakistan is facing a difficult situation. Contrary to Pakistan’s line of thinking that the military path is futile, the US is sticking to the “fight-talk” approach, which is to go on fighting while exploring the scope for opening talks with a militarily degraded Taliban from a position of strength.

Two, the US is not willing to concede a central role for Pakistan in the peace talks and is non-committal about Pakistan’s wish to have a “friendly” government in Kabul, because it seeks to choreograph a settlement that first and foremost would meet the needs of its regional strategies.

Three, paradoxical as it may seem, the continued fighting actually suits the US in the coming period, because it not only provides the justification for the long-term deployment of combat troops in Afghanistan despite regional (and Afghan) opposition but also gives the raison d’etre for the Northern Distribution Network (read US-NATO military presence in Central Asia), which Russia is showing signs of linking to the resolution of the dispute over the US’s missile defense system and the dissipation of the US-Russia “reset”.

Over and above all this, Obama’s decision to keep a large force of combat troops in Afghanistan needs to be viewed against the backdrop of the growing tensions in the US-Iran relations. In the eventuality of any conflict with Iran in a near future, this sort of massive military presence on Iran’s eastern flank would be a great strategic asset for the US and NATO.

Make no mistake, the US intends to use the military bases in Afghanistan as a springboard to invade eastern Iran if conflict erupts, no matter what President Hamid Karzai may think or say. By the way, Shamsi is also key air base close to the Iran border. Unsurprisingly, NATO is considering a “joint center” in the Persian Gulf region with the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. Thus, the US hopes to “box in” Iran militarily from the Persian Gulf on one side and Afghanistan on the other.

Indeed, NATO is fast transforming as a “smart alliance” based on a security partnership between the 28 members and the rest of the world, thanks to the military intervention in Libya. Ivo Daalder, the US ambassador to NATO, put it explicitly in a recent briefing:

“The Libya operation was a logical outflow of the view that we need to have partnerships with countries around the world…The United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Jordan and Morocco not only supported the operation, but also participated in it … Lebanon was also a key in the operation, as it was president of the UN Security Council at that time and enacted the 1973 resolution…This is a demand-driven partnership. A demand by Arab countries.”

All in all, therefore, the “hidden agenda” of the Afghan war is out in the open. Pakistan finds itself between the devil and the deep blue sea. First of all, the Pakistani military distrusts the US’s intentions behind such large-scale intelligence penetration of its security apparatus in the recent years under the pretext of the “war on terror”, including the Inter-Services Intelligence and the military. In particular, the military leadership fears that the US harbors intentions of seizing Pakistan’s nuclear assets at an opportune moment.

Obama’s unprecedented decision to promote Petraeus as the Central Intelligence Agency head rang alarm bells in the Pakistani mind. Second, US interests and priorities in Afghanistan are increasingly in conflict with Pakistan’s. Third, Pakistan simply cannot afford to alienate China and Iran (or Russia for that matter). Finally, the US will sooner or later deploy its missile defense system in the region, which will threaten Pakistan’s strategic capability.

Shaking the albatross

The message of the US strike of November 26 was a test case intended to “soften up” the Pakistani military leadership and compel it to fall in line with the US’s strategy. Sheikh Nahyan tried to talk some good sense into the minds of the Pakistani generals. But the Shamsi episode underscores that the contradiction in US-Pakistan relations is far too acute to be reconciled easily or in a near term.

The point is, it is turning out to be contradiction of a fundamental character. The implications are serious. Pakistan is “obstructing” the US’s regional strategy. Put differently, Pakistan is a vital cog in the wheel of the US strategy.

Pakistan dissociated openly from the agenda of the recent Istanbul conference (November 2), which aimed at creating an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe-type regional security mechanism for Central and South Asia and launching the New Silk Road project aimed at rolling back Russian and Chinese influence in Central Asia. Pakistan also boycotted the Bonn conference (December 5) that was expected to legitimize the long-term US military presence in Afghanistan. To be sure, the two events floundered.

Washington is now left guessing whether Pakistan’s strategic defiance is for real. Its historical experience is that the Pakistani elites eventually buckle under American pressure. But the “strategic defiance” over Shamsi would come as a surprise. Meanwhile, by ceding Afghan policy to the Pentagon (and CIA), Obama has taken the precaution of minimizing the scope of this problem area causing controversy during his re-election bid next year. Petraeus is also well liked by the Republicans.

This is an “Ayub-Khan moment” in the US-Pakistan relationship. Once again, popular opinion in Pakistan threatens to intrude into the relationship. But then, there are key differences, too. Kiani is far from the jovial Sandhurst-trained general Ayub Khan was, who was fond of his drink and all good things in life and was used to obeying orders.

Besides, China is not only not the Soviet Union or an adversary of Pakistan, but is in reality its one and only “all-weather friend”. How can or why should Pakistan possibly collaborate with the US’s containment strategy toward China?

The most important difference between 1958 and 2011, however, is, firstly, that Kiani’s “nativist traditions” require him to act within the collegium of corps commanders who are acutely conscious of the mood within the armed forces, which is that Pakistan should shake off the albatross that was hung around its neck in late 2001.

Second, the Pakistani army is taking great and meticulous care that while traversing the shark-infested waters in the months ahead, it holds the hands of the country’s civilian leadership at every stage, every moment.

The challenge facing the US is to locate an Ayub Khan, but it is an improbable challenge.

Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar was a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service. His assignments included the Soviet Union, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Germany, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kuwait and Turkey.

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After Libya War: Barefaced New Scramble For Africa, Middle Easy

http://www.thefinancialexpress-bd.com/more.php?news_id=158811&date=2011-12-10

Financial Express (Bangladesh)
December 12, 2011

Barefaced scramble for Africa again
Nerun Yakub

Thinking sectors across the world watch with utter dismay the continuing scramble of the Euro-American consortium to reserve African resources for themselves, now that the spectacularly eccentric, authoritarian nationalist, Muammer Qaddafi of Libya, has been done in – in the most barefaced and barbaric manner – on October 20. As one observer noted last month, ‘NATO went to the war with the putative aim of upholding the Geneva Conventions – to prevent the massacre of civilians by a state…the war ended with the violation of those very conditions…’ (Vijay Anand, Frontline, 18 Nov 2011) It remains to be seen what the lessons from the next regime change operations of the Anglo-Saxon imperialists – ongoing in Syria – will be.

The North Atlantic and Gulf-Arab controlled media, including their illustrious leaders, greeted the gruesome and grisly desecration of the captured man with drunken glee. One need not be an unqualified admirer of the Libyan nation-builder to be revulsed at the dastardly machinations, media manipulations and gross violation of internationally recognised norms. The cell phone video of the obscene moment, that was immediately uploaded on the Internet, showed ‘…Qaddafi bloodied but alive – pushed around, thrown on to the bonnet of a car to be paraded…Qaddafi pleaded, ‘Don’t you know that what you are doing is wrong?…’

The baying rebels paid no heed and their ‘civilized’ Euro-American sponsors couldn’t care less. For to abide by Article 13 of the Geneva Conventions and stop the berserk anti-Qaddafi captors from doing what they did (they are said to have even sodomised him with the sharp end of their weapon) would have meant letting let him live to go through the ‘legal process of arrest, trial and judiciously decided punishment’ – as the office of the UN Special Rapporteur (on protecting human rights while countering terrorism), had advised, soon after the assassination of Osama bin Laden in May. That would have inconvenienced the aggressors. The next image was that of a bloodier Qaddafi, dead, with a bullet in the head, shot point blank.

Despite the fact that Qaddafi had become an ally of the West in the ‘War against Terror,’ hostilities inside Libya started being ochestrated, with covert elements from the US-NATO alliance operating on Libyan soil, many, many months before the actual rebellion erupted. And the backbone of the ‘pro-democracy’ elements was reportedly formed with al-Qaeda affiliates, the very same against whom the West’s ‘War on Terror’ game plan had been set up! And the pretext for the so-called humanitarian intervention itself was based entirely on a lie, courtesy Barack Obama. As early as February, the US President declared that if NATO had waited ‘one more day, Benghazi could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world.’ This was repeated over and over again on TV channels and in all the halls of power until Resolutions 1970 and 1973 were passed in the UN Security Council, invoking the dubious principle of the ‘responsibility to protect’.

According to media reports (not embedded in the NATO-US circuit), there was no credible evidence that a ‘massacre’ of a 100,000 was imminent in Benghazi. Nor were there any such massacres in the other rebellious areas under Qaddafi’s troops. Writes Aijaz Ahmed in Frontline, Nov 18, 2011, ‘On the contrary, there is incontrovertible evidence of massacres at the hands of NATO’s mercenaries. Neighbouring countries, such as Niger, Mali and Chad, have reported the eviction of some 300,000 black African residents from Libya as NATO’s local allies and clients rolled on towards Tripoli under the devastating shield of NATO’s own 40,000 plus bombings over large parts of Libya…there are also credible reports of lynchings and massacres of black Libyans themselves. The scale of these depredations is yet undetermined but it is already clear that upwards of 50,000 have died as a result of the war unleashed by NATO with the collusion of the Security Council, and half a million or more have been rendered homeless, mostly at the hands of NATO-armed ‘rebels’…’ (Libya recolonised)

The US-NATO combine is now set on employing the ‘Libyan model’ on other targets – that is, using deadly fire power from above, together with local proxy forces down below, with minimal cost to the NATO states themselves.

Bashar-al-Assad’s Syria is the immediate candidate. Here, as John Cherian of the same journal writes, ‘Washington is openly supporting the opposition, dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, in its ongoing efforts to topple the government. It has roped in its regional allies – Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Qatar – to keep funds and arms flowing to the Syrian opposition. The objective seems to be to stoke a civil war and then intervene with the tried-and-tested ploy of “humanitarian intervention” or the “right to protect (R2P) doctrine” concocted by the West.’

Armed adventures continue across Africa. There are more drone attacks in Somalia; special forces have been deployed in Uganda and the Kenyan armed forces have been given the green signal to go into Somalia. Analysts are sanguine that the US will soon get the new Libyan government to let them build a base within Libya to shift AFRICOM, the US Africa Command – at present in Germany’s Stuttgart – on to the African continent.

Anti-authoritarian activists need to pause and re-think. The repercussions of externally assisted ‘democracy and freedom’ can be lethal when the liberal human rights discourse gets co-opted and utilised to justify imperial interventionism in the affairs of sovereign states, robbing their resources and turning them into vassals.

Adrian Salbuchi, the Argentinian author, analyst and founder of the Argentine Second Republic Movement, makes plain the pattern that the US-NATO powers have been following in the past decades. ‘First they target a country by calling it a rogue state; then they support local terrorists and call them freedom fighters; then they bring death and destruction upon civilians and they call it UN sanctions. Then they spread lies and call it the International Community’s opinions, expressed in the Western media. Then they invade and control the country and call it liberation and finally they steal appetizing oil and call it foreign investment and reconstruction.’ (Russia Today, October 21, 2011)

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Categories: Uncategorized

William Collins: Ode to Peace

December 12, 2011 Leave a comment

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

William Collins
From Ode to Peace (1747)

O Thou, who bad’st thy Turtles bear
Swift from his Grasp thy golden Hair,
And sought’st thy native Skies:
When War, by Vultures drawn from far,
To Britain bent his Iron Car,
And bad his Storms arise!

Tir’d of his rude tyrannic Sway,
Our Youth shall fix some festive Day,
His sullen Shrines to burn:
But Thou who hear’st the turning Spheres,
What Sounds may charm thy partial Ears,
And gain thy blest Return!

O Peace, thy injur’d Robes up-bind,
O rise, and leave not one behind
Of all thy beamy Train:
The British Lion, Goddess sweet,
Lies stretch’d on Earth to kiss thy Feet,
And own thy holier Reign.

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO news: December 10, 2011

December 10, 2011 5 comments

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U.S. To Wage Future War In Space, Cyberspace, Air And Sea Simultaneously

Pakistan Upgrades Air Defenses On Afghan Border Against NATO

NATO-Pakistan Conflict Widens

Pakistan’s NATO Blockade Enters Third Week

NATO To Be Involved In Afghanistan For At Least 24 Years

French Soldiers Admit Killing Six Afghan Civilians, Wounding Three

Drone Incursion Proves U.S. Afghan Bases Threat To Region: Iran

Russia Warns Israel Not To Attack Iran

NATO South Caucasus, Central Asia Representative Applauds Azerbaijan’s Role

NATO’s Strategic Concept On Georgia’s New Status

Georgia’s NATO Integration: From Afghanistan To Chicago

Turkey Assists Georgian Armed Forces To Meet NATO Standards

New War Threat: Russian Foreign Minister Slams NATO For Identifying Georgia As “Aspirant” Country

U.S. Thanks NATO Ally Poland For Libyan War Assistance

Russia May Boycott Chicago NATO Summit Over Missile System

Canada Spends $850,000 To Celebrate Libya War

U.S. Army Africa Trains Malian Troops For Counterinsurgency War

Video And Text: U.S., French Marines Train For Fighting In Horn Of Africa

African Partnership Station: U.S. Trains African Marines In Cameroon

Lockheed Awarded $1.2 Billion In Aegis Missile Shield Contracts

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U.S. To Wage Future War In Space, Cyberspace, Air And Sea Simultaneously

http://www.globaltimes.cn/NEWS/tabid/99/ID/687727/New-US-strategy-brings-risk-of-new-arms-race.aspx

Global Times
December 8, 2011

New US strategy brings risk of new arms race

-After the 9/11 attacks, the US waged a 10-year war against terrorism, but now it considers China’s anti-access and area denial capabilities the main threat to its interests in the West Pacific. Its attention has shifted from non-traditional threats such as terrorism back to traditional threats from countries like Iran and China.
The possible battlefields may be shifted from Middle East and Southeast Asia to the West Pacific. In a future war, the US may fight against opponents simultaneously in the space, cyberspace, air and maritime theaters.

“AirSea Battle (ASB)” is a US strategic plan that envisions China as the main opponent. In a recent press conference, Spokesman of China’s Ministry of National Defense Geng Yansheng stated that the plan is nothing new and is the result of a cold war mentality. Why has the US developed such a plan? How should China respond? Global Times (GT) reporter Yu Jincui talked to Fan Gaoyue (Fan), a senior colonel in the People’s Liberation Army and research fellow at the PLA Academy of Military Science, on these issues.

GT: How do you interpret the ASB concept?

Fan: According to the 2010 US Quadrennial Defense Review, the ASB concept is intended to defeat adversaries across the range of military operations, including adversaries equipped with sophisticated anti-access and area denial capabilities. The concept will address how air and naval forces will integrate capabilities across all operational domains to counter growing challenges to the US.

Although there is no official statement that the plan mainly targets China, the intention is obvious. Confronted by a rising China, the US is panicky. It worries China may replace it as the biggest economy and challenge its global leadership.

GT: What are the prospects of the ASB plan, given US defense cuts?

Fan: Land forces and the US Marine Corps played a major role in US anti-terrorism wars, such as in Iraq and Afghanistan. Land forces also have the upper hand in resource allocation.

From 2007 to 2010 the number of soldiers in land forces were increased by 38,000 soldiers, compared to 3,000 in the air force and 11,000 in the navy. Due to budget cuts, the air force and navy need to emphasize their importance in future possible wars. That’s why they are promoting the ASB concept.

Generally speaking, the ASB concept could reduce expenditure, since it concentrates on equipment rather than soldiers. Equipment is less costly than human resources in the long run. Therefore, the concept is favored by the Pentagon.

GT: The US is enhancing its deployment in the Asia-Pacific region, including setting up a military base in Darwin, Australia and strengthening its alliances. Is this linked to the ASB plan?

Fan: Yes. The US is constantly expanding air and navy bases in Guam and increasing military presence there. It deployed the USS George Washington, an extremely advanced aircraft carrier, to the Yokosuka base in Japan to check Chinese air and navy forces.

The US also shifted the headquarters of its land forces’ first army from Washington State to Japan to enhance the command and management abilities of the US Pacific Command.

The US is increasing its combat capacities in the coastal regions of East Asia as well as building or renting new military bases in Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Vietnam and Australia to improve its rapid response ability.

Due to the economic crisis, the US has become unable to deal with opponents with strong anti-access and area denial capability by itself, nor is it willing to. So the US has managed to get its alliances involved. It highlights the “China threat” and China’s increased military strength by taking advantage of the Diaoyu Islands disputes and the South China Sea disputes to seduce its allies to join its ASB plan.

GT: What changes will the ASB bring?

Fan: The ASB concept symbolizes that the US now sees anti-access and area denial capabilities as its main threat rather than terrorism and extremism.

After the 9/11 attacks, the US waged a 10-year war against terrorism, but now it considers China’s anti-access and area denial capabilities the main threat to its interests in the West Pacific. Its attention has shifted from non-traditional threats such as terrorism back to traditional threats from countries like Iran and China.

The possible battlefields may be shifted from Middle East and Southeast Asia to the West Pacific. In a future war, the US may fight against opponents simultaneously in the space, cyberspace, air and maritime theaters. Ensuring free US movement in the West Pacific and containing China’s rise will become the top US goal.

GT: What challenges it will bring to China?

Fan: As a matter of fact, nowadays, the political implications of the concept are bigger than its military ones. The ASB concept hypes the “China threat,” satisfying the US domestic demand to contain China. The concept helps build US credibility in protecting its alliances by targeting China and it also satisfies the interests of US military groups.

However, it damages China’s interests. Promoting such a concept will have a negative influence on building strategic mutual trust between China and the US, and it will result in an escalation of tensions in the Asia-Pacific region.

More severely, it may risk a new round of an arms race. Besides the US, countries like Japan and Australia are all involved. They have to upgrade their military power to narrow the gap between them and the US.

In a future war, the US may fight against opponents simultaneously in the space, cyberspace, air and maritime theaters.

These countries are active participants while China and other countries in the region are passive ones. Under the threats of the US ASB plan, they have to make some preparations, such as increasing military funding, developing new joint operation theories and new type of weapons, and enhancing military strength to avoid being on the back foot if a war occurs.

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Pakistan Upgrades Air Defenses On Afghan Border Against NATO

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\12\10\story_10-12-2011_pg1_3

Agence France-Presse
December 9, 2011

Pakistan upgrades air defences on Afghan border

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan upgraded its air defence system on the Afghan border to make it capable of shooting down aircraft in a response to a NATO attack on a military outpost that resulted in the deaths of 24 Pakistani soldiers, a security official told AFP on Friday.

“Now we have a fully equipped air defence system on the Afghan border. It has the capability of tracing and detecting any aircraft,” the official told AFP by telephone.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media, said that the step had been taken to avert air incursions from Afghanistan and to respond to any future air strikes.

“The system has also been upgraded to immediately respond after detecting any aircraft or helicopter and to shoot it down,” he added.

Pakistan shut its border to NATO supply convoys on November 26, the same day as the deadliest single cross-border attack of the 10-year war in Afghanistan. The government also ordered the United States to leave the Shamsi air base in the southwest…

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NATO-Pakistan Conflict Widens

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/12/09/61913890.html

Voice of Russia
December 9, 2011

Pakistan-NATO spat widens
Konstantin Garibov

       
Pakistan will deploy anti-aircraft weapons on the border with Afghanistan to curb NATO air raids. Breaking the news on Friday, a Pakistani command spokesman, General Ashfaq Nadeem, said that Islamabad would no longer tolerate the heavy presence of CIA agents in Pakistan.

The move came in retaliation for the late November NATO air strike on a Pakistani army post. More than 20 Pakistani servicemen were killed in what the Pakistani command says was a preplanned attack. General Nadeem called the United States a pseudo-ally capable of carrying out more strikes.

The bloody raid prompted Pakistan to cut one of the two supply routes for NATO troops in Afghanistan, which may create serious problems for NATO. Another supply route lies through Russia, but it is only for non-military cargo. The alliance has not yet officially requested Moscow to expand NATO cargo transit through Russian territory. On Thursday, a rocket attack by militants targeting a NATO supply convoy in southwestern Pakistan destroyed more than 30 NATO fuel tankers and food trucks.

The sudden illness of Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, who left for Dubai this week to undergo treatment for heart problems, has sparked rumors about a military putsch. Mr. Zardari’s mysterious heart failure had been preceded by his emergency meeting with foreign ambassadors to Pakistan. But U.S. State Department spokesman Marc Toner denied any link between the worsening health of the Pakistani president and his possible resignation. Observers inside Pakistan do not rule out Mr. Zardari’s return, only perhaps not as president.

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Pakistan’s NATO Blockade Enters Third Week

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iwr3jt0HLW_nuQr3FAb7q80gPQDg?docId=CNG.22a54441e1ab3c6d9194ce4837118af7.631

Agence France-Presse
December 10, 2011

Pakistan’s NATO blockade enters third week
By S.H. Khan

-The 140,000 foreign troops in landlocked Afghanistan rely on fuel, food and equipment brought in from outside – nearly half of which routes through Pakistan, the quickest and the cheapest supply line.

PESHAWAR, Pakistan: Pakistan’s blockade of the vital US supply line into Afghanistan entered a third week Saturday, the longest closure of the 10-year war with no imminent sign of the border reopening.

Pakistan’s fragile alliance with the United States crashed to new lows two weeks ago on November 26 when NATO air strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in what the Pakistan military called a deliberate attack.

US President Barack Obama telephoned President Asif Ali Zardari to offer his condolences, but Washington has stopped short of apologising pending the results of a military investigation into what happened, due December 23.

Although Pakistani and US officials dispute the precise sequence of events, Pakistan closed its two crossings to US and NATO supplies and gave American personnel until Sunday to leave an air base reportedly used by CIA drones.

Officials in the northwest, where the main Torkham crossing into Afghanistan is situated, told AFP there were no plans to reopen.

“There is strong public resentment. People are angry about this incident and we cannot take a decision in haste,” one senior security official told AFP.

Two nights ago, gunmen destroyed at least 34 trucks in a gun and rocket attack on a NATO trucking terminal in the southwestern province of Baluchistan.

Around 44 oil tankers and goods trucks were parked at the temporary terminal, one of three set up in and around Quetta for stranded vehicles.

The 140,000 foreign troops in landlocked Afghanistan rely on fuel, food and equipment brought in from outside – nearly half of which routes through Pakistan, the quickest and the cheapest supply line.

On Thursday, around 800 people poured onto the streets in the Pakistani capital Islamabad, venting fury with the United States and NATO, demanding an end to the unpopular alliance in the war against the Taliban.

“NATO will have to apologise. They will have to provide solid security for the future,” the official added.

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NATO To Be Involved In Afghanistan For At Least 24 Years

http://www.pajhwok.com/en/2011/12/08/nato-assist-afghanistan-beyond-2014

Pajhwok Afghan News
December 8, 2011

NATO to assist Afghanistan beyond 2014
By Khwaja Basir Ahmad

-Afghan foreign ministry spokesman, Janan Musazai, told a press conference in Brussels NATO states had once again renewed their commitment toward Afghanistan and voiced support for its security forces until 2024.
A joint Afghan-NATO plan regarding strengthening security forces would be finalised ahead of the alliance’s next meeting in Chicago in May, he said.

BRUSSELS: NATO foreign ministers, at a two-day meeting that began in Belgium on Thursday, vowed to continue supporting Afghanistan beyond 2014, when all foreign are scheduled to leave the war-hit country.

The meeting in Brussels was attended by foreign ministers of member states together with non-NATO, troop-contributing nations. Afghan Foreign Minister Dr. Zalmai Rassoul was also in attendance. The meeting discussed issues concerning Afghanistan, Russia and Kosovo.

Afghan foreign ministry spokesman, Janan Musazai, told a press conference in Brussels NATO states had once again renewed their commitment toward Afghanistan and voiced support for its security forces until 2024.

A joint Afghan-NATO plan regarding strengthening security forces would be finalised ahead of the alliance’s next meeting in Chicago in May, he said.

The Chicago session would discuss long-term commitments of NATO countries to Afghan forces, Musazai explained.

He said long-term cooperation was aimed at training and equipping Afghan forces…He continued the message conveyed at the meeting was loud and clear: NATO’s commitment would continue after the planned withdrawal of international troops in 2014.

Foreign leaders pledged continued military, political, economic and regional cooperation at the talks, he insisted.

At last year’s NATO summit in Lisbon, Rasmussen had noted members’ pledge to remain engaged in Afghanistan beyond 2014 after ISAF’s withdrawal.

“At our next summit in Chicago, we will give substance to that pledge by agreeing a package of concrete assistance measures. We are committed to Afghanistan and its future,” he added.

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French Soldiers Admit Killing Six Afghan Civilians, Wounding Three

http://www.pajhwok.com/en/2011/12/07/french-soldiers-acknowledge-killing-civilians

Pajhwok Afghan War
December 7, 2011

French soldiers acknowledge killing civilians
By Bakhtar Safi

MAHMOOD RAQI: Officials in the central province of Kapisa on Wednesday said French soldiers had acknowledged killing and wounding civilians in a rocket strike earlier in the week.

Six civilians were killed and three others wounded on December 3, when a rocket fired by ISAF soldiers hit a civilian house in the Haibatkhel area of Tagab district.

Initially, Governor Mehrabuddin Sapi had ruled out the involvement of NATO-led soldiers in the incident. But a provincial council member, Najibullah Rahimi, had claimed the rocket was fired from a joint base of Afghan and foreign soldiers.

According to Abdul Hakim Akhundzada, the administrative head of the Tagab district, the French soldiers had admitted to the civilian casualties.

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Drone Incursion Proves U.S. Afghan Bases Threat To Region: Iran

http://en.trend.az/regions/iran/1967442.html

Trend News Agency
December 9, 2011

Drone incursion proves U.S. Afghan bases are threat to region

An Iranian Foreign Ministry official says the United States’ military bases in Afghanistan are a serious threat to security in the region, MNA reported.

Mohsen Pak-Aeen, who is the director of the Foreign Ministry department for Afghan affairs, commented on the U.S. spy drone that was recently downed by the Iranian Armed Forces.

The incident proves Iran’s claim that the U.S. bases in Afghanistan are a serious threat to security in the region.

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Russia Warns Israel Not To Attack Iran

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/12/09/61935640.html

Itar-Tass
December 9, 2011

Russia warns Israel not to attack Iran

       
During his upcoming visit to Moscow, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman will hear warnings against an attack on Iran.

Appearing on Russian TV Friday, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said the problems concerning Iran’s nuclear energy programme must be sorted out by diplomatic means, and any attack on Iran would trigger a region-wide conflagration.

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NATO South Caucasus, Central Asia Representative Applauds Azerbaijan’s Role

http://en.apa.az/news.php?id=161364

Azeri Press Agency
December 9, 2011

James Appathurai: “NATO highly assesses Azerbaijan’s contribution to ISAF’s work”

Baku: On December 8, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov met with NATO’s Special Representative for the South Caucasus and Central Asia James Appathurai within a meeting of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) ministerial meeting which was held in Brussels, Belgium.

The press service of the Foreign Ministry told APA that they exchanged views on cooperation prospects between NATO and Azerbaijan.

Appathurai underlined that NATO highly assessed Azerbaijan’s contribution to ISAF’s work.

The Special Representative also highly assessed Mammadyarov’s speech at the ISAF ministerial meeting.

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NATO’s Strategic Concept On Georgia’s New Status

http://rustavi2.com/news/news_text.php?id_news=44044&pg=1&im=main&ct=0&wth=

Rustavi 2
December 9, 2011

NATO strategic concept on Georgia`s new status

The Strategic Concept adopted by NATO Heads of State and Government at the North Atlantic Council at the level of Foreign Ministers held at NATO Headquarters, Brussels, on 7 December 2011 making Georgia`s prospect to join the alliance more liable says: “We applaud the significant operational support provided to NATO by our aspirant partners the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Georgia.”

“We will continue to work with our partners, building on our Berlin partnership decisions of April 2011, to further enhance these partnerships with a view to the Chicago Summit and beyond”, it says.

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Georgia’s NATO Integration: From Afghanistan To Chicago

http://rustavi2.com/news/news_text.php?id_news=44037&pg=1&im=main&ct=0&wth=

Rustavi 2
December 9, 2011

Foreign Minister met with Italian counterpart in Brussels

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia met with his Italian counterpart within the NATO Ministerial in Brussels on Thursday. Grigol Vashadze and Giulio Terzi discussed bilateral cooperation issues, the situation in the region and recent political developments in Russia.

Georgia-EU relations were also one of the topical issues discussed by the ministers.

The sides discussed a wide range of bilateral cooperation issues, including intensification of trade-economic relations, Georgia-NATO cooperation and the ISAF mission.

“We agreed that current political relations should grow into intensive trade-economic relations. Of course we discussed Georgia-NATO cooperation and the work that should be done by Georgia and the partner countries for our worthy presence at the NATO Chicago summit,” Vashadze said.

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Turkey Assists Georgian Armed Forces To Meet NATO Standards

http://www.mod.gov.ge/index.php?page=77&lang=1&type=1&Id=1213

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
December 9, 2011

Turkey’s donation to the Georgian Defence Ministry

Today, the Ministry of Defence of Georgia has been donated by Turkish colleagues with military material-technical equipment. The official act of donation was implemented on the basis of an agreement on Georgian-Turkish military cooperation. The agreement provides for assistance in educational and logistical areas, aimed at further introduction of NATO standards in the Georgian armed forces.

The act of donation and opening ceremony of the Artillery Training Simulation Center were attended by the Turkish ambassador to Georgia Murat Burhan, Turkish Defence Attaché Adam Iuxel, First Deputy Defence Minister Nodar Kharshiladze, Acting Deputy Chief of Joint Staff of GAF Lasha Beridze and Logistic Support Commander Giorgi Kereselidze.

Along with the Ministry of Defence, the Turkish side has also donated technique and equipment to the Border Police of the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs. The official gift transferred to the Georgian side amounted to USD 1,692,747.

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New War Threat: Russian Foreign Minister Slams NATO For Identifying Georgia As “Aspirant” Country

http://www.civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=24246

Civil Georgia
December 8, 2011

Lavrov Slams NATO for Calling Georgia ‘Aspirant’

“It was shortly after the [April, 2008 NATO] Bucharest summit, during which [NATO] imperatively stated that Georgia will join NATO,” Lavrov said.
“I have not the slightest doubt, taking into account Saakashvili’s psyche, that it [the NATO Bucharest summit decision] played an important role in the insane and reckless decision which Saakashvili took…”

Tbilisi: Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, criticized NATO foreign ministers for naming Georgia in their joint communiqué among the “aspirant” countries.

The final statement of NATO foreign ministerial meeting, held in Brussels on December 7, reads: “We applaud the significant operational support provided to NATO by our aspirant partners the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Georgia.”

Speaking at a news conference in Brussels after the NATO-Russia Council on December 8, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that he had “openly warned” his counterparts from the Alliance that such statements might serve as an encouragement for President Saakashvili to undertake “an adventure similar to the one of August, 2008.”

“I noticed that yesterday’s communiqué, which was adopted by the NATO foreign ministers, contains a term ‘aspirant countries’ and among them was named Georgia too. I openly warned our colleagues not to again push, wittingly or unwittingly, the current regime in Georgia towards repeating an adventure similar to the one of August, 2008…It was shortly after the [April, 2008 NATO] Bucharest summit, during which [NATO] imperatively stated that Georgia will join NATO,” Lavrov said.

“I have not the slightest doubt, taking into account Saakashvili’s psyche, that it [the NATO Bucharest summit decision] played an important role in the insane and reckless decision which Saakashvili took. So I expressed hope that the NATO will take a responsible approach towards encouraging such events that took place in 2008 in the region, which is strategic not only for the South Caucasus states, but for the Russian Federation too – our close allies and neighbors are living there. I hope I’ve been heard [by NATO],” the Russian Foreign Minister added.

Giorgi Baramidze, the Georgian state minister for Euro-Atlantic integration issues, welcomed the wording of the communiqué, saying it was “the first time when Georgia was named in an official NATO document in a status of a NATO membership candidate country.”

Georgian Foreign Minister, Grigol Vashadze, said in a televised comments from Brussels on December 8, it was natural that the NATO foreign ministers’ statement “triggered Russia’s terrible irritation”, which, he said, was reflected in the remarks of his Russian counterpart.

Speaking on background with reporters in Brussels on December 7, an official from the U.S. Department of State said that NATO foreign ministers, among other issues, also discussed the importance of keeping the Alliance’s door open to four countries – Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Georgia, which are seeking to join NATO.

“We talked about the importance of keeping the door to NATO membership open to these countries and to use the Chicago summit to send a signal of what they would continue to need to do in order to become members,” the U.S. Department of State official said.

The statement also reaffirms NATO’s open door policy and “strong commitment to the Euro-Atlantic integration of our aspirant partners, in accordance with previous decisions taken at the Bucharest, Strasbourg-Kehl and Lisbon Summits.”

“Democratic values, regional cooperation, and good neighbourly relations are important for lasting peace and stability. We welcome progress aspirant countries have made and we encourage them to continue to implement the necessary decisions and reforms to advance their Euro-Atlantic aspirations,” the NATO foreign ministers said.

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U.S. Thanks NATO Ally Poland For Libyan War Assistance

http://www.thenews.pl/1/10/Artykul/80096,US-thanks-Poland-for-help-in-Libya

Polish Radio
December 9, 2011

US thanks Poland for help in Libya

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has thanked Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski Poland’s humanitarian assistance in Libya.

During a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels, Wednesday, Sikorski and Clinton discussed preparations for the NATO summit in Chicago in May 2012, a statement by the Foreign Ministry says.

The disputed elections in Russia were also discussed as well as issues connected with Ukraine, Belarus and Afghanistan.

On Thursday, during the second day of the summit, NATO foreign ministers will discuss missile defence cooperation with Russia, as well as operations in Afghanistan.

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Russia May Boycott Chicago NATO Summit Over Missile System

http://en.ria.ru/russia/20111209/169516630.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
December 9, 2011

Russia may skip 2012 NATO summit – Foreign Ministry

MOSCOW: Russia may skip the 2012 Russia-NATO Council summit in Chicago if U.S-Russian talks on the European missile defense shield fail, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Friday.

“If we agree on the missile defense issue, it would be much easier for us to make a positive decision about the summit. We do not know whether or not we will agree,” Ryabkov said in an interview with the state-owned Rossiya 24 television, adding that Russia and the United States would continue talks.

In any case, no decision will be made before presidential elections scheduled for March 4, 2012, he said.

The forthcoming summit in Chicago is the next strategic event on the NATO-Russian calendar following the 2010 Lisbon Summit, when both sides agreed to cooperate on the European missile defense shield. However, the negotiations have stalled since then over differences in approaches.

Moscow considers the NATO-backed missile defense program a direct threat to its strategic potential and demands written guarantees that the shield will not be targeted against it. The United States refuses to provide the guarantees, saying the shield is directed against threats from Iran and North Korea.

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Canada Spends $850,000 To Celebrate Libya War

http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/Canada/20111210/libya-mission-parliament-hill-price-tag-111210/Tories spent $850K celebrating Libya mission

CTV News
December 10, 2011

Canadians pay hefty price
The celebration on Parliament Hill recognizing the return of forces who served as part of the Libya campaign cost taxpayers in Canada $850,000

OTTAWA: It cost Canadian taxpayers $850,000 for a Parliament Hill celebration on the return of forces who served as part of the Libya campaign.

Jay Paxton, a spokesman for Defence Minister Peter MacKay, confirmed the figure late Friday.

The special recognition ceremony, complete with an air force fly past of fighter jets and a C-17 transport, was to honour troops from the NATO-led Operation Unified Protector.

It took place on Nov. 24 and included honours for the Canadian commander of the NATO mission, Lt.-Gen. Charles Bouchard.

Canada’s participation in the military mission, which aided in the overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi’s regime, officially ended on Oct. 28 after over six months of operations.

It included 1,500 sorties by combat and support aircraft.

Critics were quick to point out that the government had not lavished a similar ceremony on troops returning from the combat mission in Afghanistan, but MacKay pointed out that Canada’s participation in the training mission until 2014 meant that those celebrations would be delayed.

Yet, it was billed as a celebration for Canadian Forces members and their families.

“This recognition ceremony was a valuable opportunity to connect Canadians to our military heroes…,” said Paxton.

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U.S. Army Africa Trains Malian Troops For Counterinsurgency War

http://www.africom.mil/getArticle.asp?art=7482&lang=0

U.S. Africa Command
U.S. Army Africa
December 8, 2011

Malian Defense Soldiers Learn Logistics with U.S. Army Special Forces
By Staff Sergeant Allison D. Hill
WVARNG 153rd Public Affairs Detachment

-U.S. and Malian forces will use the knowledge gained from this training event to strengthen their effectiveness during Atlas Accord, a combined-joint-aerial-resupply exercise that will take place in Sevare Mali at the beginning of 2012…Headquartered in Vicenza, Italy, U.S. Army Africa is the Army Service Component Command for U.S. Africa Command…U.S. Army Africa enables full spectrum operations while conducting sustained security engagement with African land forces…

KINGWOOD, West Virginia: West Virginia Army National Guard Special Forces soldiers from Charlie Company, 219th Special Forces Group, along with the 300th Military Intelligence Battalion, the 294th Quartermaster Company and the 5th Quartermaster Battalion from Germany taught the Malian Defense Forces (MDF) of the 33rd Parachute Infantry Regiment how to effectively conduct drop zone selection, request aerial resupplies along with different methods of dropping supplies via air transport in order to maximize joint stability and security efforts.

Sergeant First Class Herschel Gillins, 21st Theater Support Command senior air operator, helped to familiarize the 219th Special Forces Group and the MDF soldiers with how to successfully conduct air drops in changing climate and altitudes. He says the Malian soldiers learned principles of patrol, tactical communications and aerial release ports.

“This training gives the Malians the ability to coordinate effectively and understand tactics the U.S. Army uses in order to provide a cohesive support system,” Gillins said.

Twenty-five U.S. and Malian soldiers participated in an exercise to conduct aerial resupply drops during a five-day pathfinder familiarization course in Kingwood, West Virginia which began Nov. 17.

Military-to-military engagement participants from both countries say they learned a lot and hope to take those lessons with them back to their home stations.

MDF Staff Sergeant Sidi Kola Gadiaga said his soldiers impressed him when learning about operations techniques and techniques of airborne drops, which is necessary for his country.

“This training mission is important to Mali because Mali is a big place. It is important that Mali soldiers are well trained and well equipped. We hope that the mission with the Americans will help with the materials that will be needed for airborne operations for the future,” Gadiaga said.

U.S. and Malian forces will use the knowledge gained from this training event to strengthen their effectiveness during Atlas Accord, a combined-joint-aerial-resupply exercise that will take place in Sevare Mali at the beginning of 2012. The bilateral exercise will mutually increase logistical and resupply capabilities for both militaries.

Headquartered in Vicenza, Italy, U.S. Army Africa is the Army Service Component Command for U.S. Africa Command…U.S. Army Africa enables full spectrum operations while conducting sustained security engagement with African land forces…

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Video And Text: U.S., French Marines Train For Fighting In Horn Of Africa

U.S. Africa Command

Command Videos
AFRICOM Now “Desert Survival Script” 

 
French and U.S. service members came together to learn how to fight and survive in the Djiboutian desert. The French led Desert Survival and Combat Course is 10 Days aimed to give the trainees several tactical and survival tools to engaging the enemy and withstand the desert.

Members from the French Marines 21st Infantry regiment and U.S. service members from Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa, 22nd Marine Expedition Unit, and Camp Lemonnier participated in the course. The training consisted of finding food and water, field tactics, first aid, weapons handling, setting up booby traps and land navigation. Classes were taught in French making communication a challenge to overcome. 

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African Partnership Station: U.S. Trains African Marines In Cameroon

http://allafrica.com/stories/201112081473.html

Cameroon Tribune
December 8, 2011

Soldiers Begin Maritime Security Training
Christopher Jator

The programme is piloted and funded by the US government

A course to reinforce the capacities of twenty military officers from Africa started in Douala yesterday with an official opening ceremony presided over by the General Sali Mohamadou. African Marine officers, who are from Cameroon, Senegal, Nigeria, Liberia, and Uganda, will up to December 16, 2011, appropriate effective operational skills and techniques in the use of maritime security materials. Participating soldiers were selected from the gendarmerie, customs and the Rapid Intervention Battalion. They are expected to harmonise various methods and strategies that will be helpful in maritime security. In his opening speech ceremony at the Naval Base in the economic capital, Douala, yesterday, the US Vice Consul in Douala remarked that America is committed to the global fight against maritime insecurity in Africa through its programme, the African Partnership Station (APS).

Colonel Bernard Abanda of the Division of Military Cooperation at the Ministry of Defence said the American-funded and APS-facilitated programme will afford Cameroon an important quota for the global fight against piracy along the borders…

General Sali Mohamadou expressed gratitude towards the American gesture, noting that for some years now it has multiplied assistance to Cameroon offering high-level training and exchanges which has helped Cameroonian military and other African military partners to acquire technical and tactical skills in order to enhance its operational capacities…

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Lockheed Awarded $1.2 Billion In Aegis Missile Shield Contracts

http://www.bizjournals.com/philadelphia/news/2011/12/09/new-lockheed-missile-defense-agency.html

Philadelphia Business Journal
December 9, 2011

New Lockheed Missile Defense Agency deal worth up to $184M
By Peter Key

The Missile Defense Agency has awarded Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors in Moorestown, N.J., a modification that could be worth more than $184 million to a billion-dollar contract it received in October 2010.

The modification calls for Lockheed to continue work on the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense Combat System and the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense Weapon System on cruisers and destroyers.

The Defense Department said in its contract announcements Thursday that the modification will allow the unit of Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed Martin Corp. to explore future weapon-system concepts.

Mission Systems and Sensors will receive $20 million of the modification to complete work on a line item in the contract by the end of the year. It will be eligible to receive the remainder of the modification in eight options — seven for $20 million and one for a little more than $24 million.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Federico García Lorca: War goes crying with a million gray rats

December 10, 2011 2 comments

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

Federico García Lorca
From Ode to Walt Whitman
Translated by Rick Rozoff

240x240_bio_lorca-12

Agony, agony, dream, ferment and dream.
This is the world, friend, agony, agony.
The dead decompose under the clock of the cities,
war goes crying with a million gray rats,
the rich give to their mistresses
small illuminated dying things,
and life is not noble, nor good, nor sacred.

*****

Agonía, agonía, sueño, fermento y sueño.
Éste es el mundo, amigo, agonía, agonía.
Los muertos se descomponen bajo el reloj de las ciudades,
la guerra pasa llorando con un millón de ratas grises,
los ricos dan a sus queridas
pequeños moribundos iluminados,
y la vida no es noble, ni buena, ni sagrada.

Categories: Uncategorized

James Thomson: Peace is the natural state of man; war his corruption, his disgrace

December 10, 2011 Leave a comment

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

James Thomson

james_thomson

From Coriolanus (1745)

I glory…
To own myself an advocate for peace.
Peace is the natural state of man;
War his corruption, his disgrace.

Why should we purchase with the blood of thousands,
What may be gained by mutual, just concession?
Why give up peace, the best of human blessings,
For the vain cruel pride of useless conquest?

*****

Peace (1740)

O Peace! the fairest child of heaven,
To whom the sylvan reign was given,
The vale, the fountain, and the grove,
With every softer scene of love:
Return, sweet Peace! and cheer the weeping swain!
Return, with Ease and Pleasure in thy train.

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO news: December 9, 2011

December 9, 2011 5 comments

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Britain Spent Million Pounds A Day On Seven-Month Libya War

NATO Deepens Military Ties With Gulf Cooperation Council

Pakistani Military: NATO Attack Deliberate, Part Of Plot

Russia: U.S.-NATO Missile System Covering Its Territory Inadmissible

Russian Foreign Minister, Envoy Slam NATO Missile Shield

Georgia Says NATO Now Deems It “Aspirant Nation”

Clinton Wants NATO To Take Over Afghan Duties

Pakistan: 30 NATO Oil Tankers Destroyed In Rocket Attack

Sri Lanka: Thousands Protest Deadly NATO Attack In Pakistan

U.S. Navy Leads Eurasia Partnership Operation In Malta

Kosovo Serbs Continue Petitioning For Russian Citizenship

Turkey Takes Command Of NATO Naval Operation In Gulf Of Aden

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Britain Spent Million Pounds A Day On Seven-Month Libya War

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-08/libya-operation-cost-u-k-333-million-defense-ministry-says.html

Bloomberg News
December 8, 2011

Libya Operation Cost U.K. $333 Million, Defense Ministry Says
By Thomas Penny

The U.K. contribution to the NATO operation in Libya cost 212 million pounds ($333 million), Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said.

The mission formally ended on Oct. 31, seven months after NATO took control of military operations…

Hammond announced the total in a speech in London today, saying it was made up of 145 million pounds of operating costs and 67 million pounds to replenish munitions.

Former Defence Secretary Liam Fox said on June 23 that the cost of the Libya operation would be met from the Treasury reserve rather than the Ministry of Defense budget.

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NATO Deepens Military Ties With Gulf Cooperation Council

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/kuwait/nato-keen-to-deepen-relations-with-gcc-members-1.947759

Gulf News
December 9, 2011

Nato keen to deepen relations with GCC members
Habib Toumi

-Arab countries who have conttributed to Nato operations in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Libya have been invited by Nato to attend and “witness very frank and open discussions and how policies are shaped or endorsed” [James Appathurai, Nato's Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy] said.
“Libya is a good illustration of what we can do together to promote international security and restore peace,” he said. “There was invaluable understanding and remarkable interoperality between Nato and Arab partner countries who participated in the…Nato-led operation in Libya…”

Brussels: A North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) senior official has reiterated the alliance’s keenness to reinforce its cooperation and relations with individual members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), through the Istanbul Cooperation Inititiave (ICI).

“We do want to deepen our engagement with our Gulf partners, through the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative,” James Appathurai, Nato’s Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy, said…

“The moment has come for us to work more closely with our partners in the Gulf and we are confident there will be opportunities to deepen our political and practical cooperation,” he said.

Plans include more regular dialogue and political consultations to promote a better mutual understanding with the region and engaging in shared strategic analyses, he said.

“We can see how we can enhance military-to-military cooperation, interoperality and public diplomacy so that we can better explain Nato and what it does and we at Nato can better understand the region,” he told Gulf News.

Appathurai said that ideas could be floated in the meetings between Nato and ICI countries to boost the culture awareness.

“We will have a series of meetings and several ideas will be discussed, in coming months with our ICI countries…,” said Appathurai who was Nato’s spokesperson from 2004 until 2010.

The ICI was launched at the Alliance’s Summit in the Turkish coastal city in June 2004 to contribute to long-term global and regional security by offering Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries practical bilateral security cooperation with Nato. The ICI with Gulf States is complementary and yet distinct from the Mediterranean Dialogue NATO launched in December 1994, with countries in North Africa and Eastern Mediterranean.

Kuwait joined the Istanbul Cooperation Inititiative (ICI) in December 2004, followed by Bahrain and Qatar in February 2005 and the UAE in June 2005.
Arab countries who have conttributed to Nato operations in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Libya have been invited by Nato to attend and “witness very frank and open discussions and how policies are shaped or endorsed,” he said.

“Libya is a good illustration of what we can do together to promote international security and restore peace,” he said. “There was invaluable understanding and remarkable interoperality between Nato and Arab partner countries who participated in the…Nato-led operation in Libya. It was plug and play and Arab pilots were flying wing to wing with our airmen from Nato countries…,” he said.

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Pakistani Military: NATO Attack Deliberate, Part Of Plot

http://www.dawn.com/2011/12/08/nato-strike-was-deliberate-part-of-%E2%80%98plot%E2%80%99-dgmo.html

DawnNews
December 8, 2011

Nato strike was deliberate, part of ‘plot’

ISLAMABAD: Director General Military Operations (DGMO) Major General Ashfaq Nadeem on Thursday said November 26 attack on Salala check post was a deliberate act and part of a ‘plot,’ DawnNews reported.

Briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Defence which met here under the chairmanship of Javed Ashraf Qazi, Nadeem said the attack was conducted by US Special Forces as Nato has no control over them in Afghanistan.

He said Nato officials deceived the Pakistani officer on duty at the coordination centre by giving him wrong information about the location of the operation.

The DGMO further said the attack was pre-planned and was aimed to strengthen the Taliban because the two check posts attacked were built to curb militants’ infiltration and had been serving the purpose effectively.

He said terrorists never come up on mountain peaks and always hide inside ditches and cracks.

The security forces have been redeployed after rebuilding the Valcano and Bolder check posts, said the Maj. Gen. Pakistani forces can not afford to leave the area vacant, he added.

Officials of Foreign office and ministry of defence were also present during the briefing.

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Russia: U.S.-NATO Missile System Covering Its Territory Inadmissible

http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c32/292980.html

Itar-Tass
December 8, 2011

RF considers inadmissible ABM covers part of its territory

BRUSSELS: It is inadmissible for Russia NATO’s missile defence to cover the part of its territory, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after a session of the Russia-NATO Council on Thursday.

At the same time, Lavrov said that a new radar, which would be deployed in Turkey within missile defence, would control the most part of the Russian territory.

“If this radar was necessary to monitor the south and an area to the south of the territory of NATO members, such radar exists – it functions and watches the area from where the threat comes from, according to American and NATO colleagues,” the minister noted.

He stressed, “When a radar is deployed in Turkey, it will double the existing radar and watch a considerable part of Russian territory.”

Turkey and the United States signed a memorandum on the deployment of a radar in Turkey within missile defence in September. The radar will be deployed in Kurecik, south-east of Turkey. Kurecik in Malatya province lies 435 miles west of the Iranian border.

In September, Pentagon spokesman Colonel Dave Lapan said the U.S. hoped to have the radar deployed there by the end of the year.

NATO members agreed to an anti-missile system over Europe…at a summit in Lisbon, Portugal last year…

Under the NATO plans, a limited system of US anti-missile interceptors and radars already planned for Europe – to include interceptors in Romania and Poland as well as the radar in Turkey – would be linked to an expanded European-owned missile defences. That would create a broad system that protected every NATO country against medium-range missile attack.

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Russian Foreign Minister, Envoy Slam NATO Missile Shield

http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/lavrov-and-rogozin-rap-nato-missile-shield/449543.html

Moscow Times
December 9, 2011

Lavrov and Rogozin Rap NATO Missile Shield
By Alexandra Odynova

BRUSSELS: Officials clashed at a NATO-Russia meeting over a missile defense shield in Europe on Thursday, with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterating a Kremlin threat to deploy missiles in Kaliningrad after NATO’s chief accused Russia of wasting money.

Lavrov said Russia’s position on the issue hadn’t changed and reminded NATO officials of President Dmitry Medvedev’s warning last month that Russia was ready to point missiles in Kaliningrad and other parts of the country at the U.S.-led shield unless Russian concerns were met.

Lavrov complained that NATO was not yet ready for cooperation that would answer concerns that the shield might pose a security threat to Russia and asked NATO member states not to underestimate Russia.

“We would like our intellectual abilities and our military expertise, which also exists, to be treated with respect when we are called for cooperation,” Lavrov said, speaking in Russian at a brief news conference after the two-day meeting in Brussels.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Wednesday that Russia’s missile deployment plan was “a waste of valuable money” against “an artificial enemy.”

Thursday’s meeting was preceded by “unprecedentedly harsh rhetoric from Russia,” a NATO diplomatic source told The Moscow Times on condition of anonymity, citing a lack of authorization to comment on the issue…

As an example illustrating Russia’s concerns, Lavrov mentioned that the defense missile plan includes a U.S.-Turkey agreement to set up a “powerful radar” on Turkish territory against the perceived threat of a missile attack from Iran. “A similar radar is already located there. The new radar will double up with the existing one and will also cover a great part of the Russia territory,” Lavrov told reporters.

Russia’s NATO envoy, Dmitry Rogozin, linked Kremlin support for NATO’s Afghanistan campaign to a resolution on missile defense. “Mr. Lavrov said that for us, cooperation is a complex of all the projects,” Rogozin told reporters, Reuters reported. “You can’t say to us: ‘No on the anti-missile shield, but yes for the other projects.’”

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Georgia Says NATO Now Deems It “Aspirant Nation”

http://en.rian.ru/russia/20111208/169495062.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
December 8, 2011

Georgia becomes NATO aspirant state – deputy PM

-“Georgia was for the first time mentioned among NATO aspirant nations… those countries who received a MAP (membership action plan) such as Macedonia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said Deputy Prime Minister Georgi Baramidze, who is also minister for European integration.

Georgia was named a NATO aspirant country for the first time on Thursday, the country’s deputy premier said.

Georgia, which has been proactively seeking NATO membership since a coup in 2003, was included on the list during a two-day meeting of NATO foreign ministers that opened on Wednesday in Brussels

“Georgia was for the first time mentioned among NATO aspirant nations… those countries who received a MAP (membership action plan) such as Macedonia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said Deputy Prime Minister Georgi Baramidze, who is also minister for European integration.

The minister said the new status means that “Georgia has the same membership instruments as these countries.”

“NATO welcomes reforms in aspirant countries and supports their continuation,” Baramidze said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who attended a NATO-Russian council meeting in Brussels earlier on Thursday, has warned that Russia’s 2008 war with Georgia could be repeated if the South Caucasus state joined NATO.

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Clinton Wants NATO To Take Over Afghan Duties

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204319004577086273187901762.html

Wall Street Journal
December 8, 2011

U.S. Looks To NATO For Afghan Funding
Yaroslav Trofimov

BRUSSELS: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday pressed coalition allies to make concrete commitments to funding Afghan security forces over the next decade.

Speaking after a meeting in Brussels of foreign ministers from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and other coalition members, Mrs. Clinton said she was hopeful that the allies will come to NATO’s summit in Chicago in May “prepared to pledge long-term funding” for the Afghan military and police.

“I encouraged our allies to better define NATO’s enduring partnership with Afghanistan,” Mrs. Clinton said…

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Thursday that nations outside the Atlantic alliance, and outside the NATO-led coalition in Afghanistan, should help foot the bill. In addition to troops from NATO countries, the coalition in Afghanistan includes sizable forces from countries such as Australia, Georgia, Sweden, South Korea and New Zealand.

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Pakistan: 30 NATO Oil Tankers Destroyed In Rocket Attack

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2011-12/09/c_122398677.htm

Xinhua News Agency
December 8, 2011

30 NATO oil tankers torched in rocket attack in SW Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: At least 30 NATO oil tankers and containers were torched following a rocket attack on a container terminal near Quetta of southwestern Pakistan on Thursday night, reported PTV, a government-run television in Pakistan.

According to the local media reports, some unknown people attacked a private container terminal with rockets at the Kharot Abad area, a place close to the west of Quetta, capital of Balochistan province in southwestern Pakistan.

More than 35 NATO oil tankers and containers were parked at the terminal when the attack occurred, said local media reports, adding that firing also followed the rocket attack.

No one was killed or injured in the attack, but many NATO oil tankers and containers caught fire following the attack, said the reports.

Six fire engines have been dispatched to the site after the attack was reported. However, fire fighters were unable to bring the huge fire under control, said the reports.

No group has claimed the responsibility for the attack yet.

Thursday night’s attack on NATO supply convoys is the most serious of its kind in the country since the Nov. 26 NATO cross-border strike at two army border checkpoints in Pakistan. Thousands of NATO supply convoys have been stranded in Pakistan following the Pakistani government’s decision to block the NATO supply lines via Pakistan in retaliation for the NATO air strike which killed 24 Pakistani troops and wounded 13 others.

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Sri Lanka: Thousands Protest Deadly NATO Attack In Pakistan

http://ftpapp.app.com.pk/en_/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=169471&Itemid=38

Associated Press of Pakistan
December 9, 2011

Thousands in Colombo protest against NATO attack on Pak soldiers

ISLAMABAD: The Sri Lanka Pakistan Friendship Association on Friday organized a peaceful demonstration in Town Hall, Colombo to protest against the recent NATO attack on Pakistan’s military check posts on the Afghanistan border.

Thousands of people took to the streets of Colombo on Friday after the Jumma prayers to condemn the blatant NATO/US-ISAF aggression and to denounce the unprovoked attacks of last week that resulted in the deaths of over two dozen Pakistani soldiers, says a press release received here from Sri Lankan Pakistan Friendship Association, Colombo.

The Governor Western Province Hon Alvi Maulana, several government ministers including Minister Mervin De Silva, Deputy Mayor of Colombo Municipality and several high profile personalities participated in the peaceful protest against the blatant violation of Pakistan’s air and ground space.

People from all communities of Sri Lanka hailing from various walks of life gathered in an exceptional display of solidarity towards Pakistan which had assisted Sri Lanka in its testing times throughout its history.

Speakers termed the blatant NATO attack as aggression and terrorism and appealed to the international community to stop such violations.

They were of the opinion that the US had begun an undeclared war on Pakistan and its drones had killed thousands of innocent citizens in tribal areas in the name of collateral damage.

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U.S. Navy Leads Eurasia Partnership Operation In Malta

http://www.eucom.mil/article/22965/eurasia-partnership-capstone-2011-continues-in-malta

U.S. European Command
December 8, 2011

Eurasia Partnership Capstone 2011 Continues in Malta

LUQA, Malta: More than 100 multinational naval and coast guard representatives participate in a series of workshops at the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) headquarters, Luqa Barracks, Malta, beginning Dec. 4, to kick off the week-long Eurasia Partnership Capstone (EPC) 2011.

EPC 2011 is co-hosted by the Commander, Armed Forces of Malta and Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, and Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, and is being held in Malta for the second time.

Participants for EPC 2011 include approximately 100 representatives from Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Malta, Romania, Ukraine and the United States, who will focus on strengthening maritime relationships between Eurasian nations.

The AFM are hosting the famous training workshops at its Maritime Safety and Security Training Center (MSSTC)…More than 300 students from 28 different countries have graduated at MSSTC since its establishment in 2003.

While continuing to advance the event’s traditional objectives, EPC 2011 poses a comprehensive, robust and challenging agenda that will provide participants with numerous opportunities to operate together, besides developing and deepening productive relationships between Eurasian nations, and sparking engagement to improve interoperability between partner Navies and Coast Guards.

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Kosovo Serbs Continue Petitioning For Russian Citizenship

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/12/02/61343911.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
December 8, 2011

Kosovo Serbs continue petitioning for Russian citizenship

Kosovo Serbs, who earlier addressed Moscow with a request to grant them Russian citizenship, may continue to file their petition. This was announced on Thursday to RIA Novosti news agency by a representative of the “Old Serbia” movement, publicist Rajko Dzhurdzhevich.

In early November, Kosovo Serbs handed over to the Russian embassy in Belgrade 21 thousand signatures of those seeking Russian citizenship, because they believed that Serbia was not giving them adequate support.

Earlier on Thursday at a briefing in Moscow Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said that that such a request “cannot be fulfilled in accordance with the Russian Citizenship Law.”

Dwelling on the deplorable situation in the province, Dzhurdzhevich pointed to the unequal position of Kosovo Serbs in their standoff with the international military forces, and likened Serbian enclaves to “concentration camps, since people there live behind barbed wire.”

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Turkey Takes Command Of NATO Naval Operation In Gulf Of Aden

http://www.aco.nato.int/turkey-assumes-command-of-natos-counter-piracy-task-force.aspx

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations
December 8, 2011

Turkey Assumes Command of NATO’s Counter Piracy Task Force

Wednesday, 7 December, Rear Admiral Sinan Azmi TosunN (Turkish Navy), assumed the command of Operation Ocean Shield, NATO’s counter piracy force, from Rear Admiral Gualtiero Mattesi (Italian Navy) who completed a 6-month deployment in the region.

Background Information:

NATO has contributed to the international counter piracy effort off the Horn of Africa since December 2008…

Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) is permanently assigned to NATO. It is a multi-national Naval Group that provides the NATO Alliance with the ability to respond quickly to crisis situations anywhere in the world. It is a capable, stand-alone task group and one of four Standing Maritime Elements that form a flexible core around which NATO can build a larger force to meet a wide range of missions…Its command rotates amongst the contributing nations and SNMG 2 is currently commanded by Rear Admiral (LH) Sinan Azmi TOSUN, Turkish Navy.

NATO Forces currently in Operation Ocean Shield:

TCG GIRESUN (Flag ship) – Turkey
HDMS ABSALON – Denmark
ITS GRECALE – Italy
RFA FORT VICTORIA – United Kingdom
USS DEWERT – United States of America
USS CARNEY – United States of America

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Categories: Uncategorized

Paul Laurence Dunbar: Birds of peace and deadened hearts

December 9, 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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Paul Laurence Dunbar

The Sparrow (1896)

A little bird, with plumage brown,
Beside my window flutters down,
A moment chirps its little strain,
Ten taps upon my window-pane,
And chirps again, and hops along,
To call my notice to its song;
But I work on, nor heed its lay,
Till, in neglect, it flies away.

So birds of peace and hope and love
Come fluttering earthward from above,
To settle on life’s window-sills,
And ease our load of earthly ills;
But we, in traffic’s rush and din
Too deep engaged to let them in,
With deadened heart and sense plod on,
Nor know our loss till they are gone.

*****

We Wear the Mask (1896)

We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes, -
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.

Why should the world be over-wise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.

We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask!

*****

The Lesson (1896)

My cot was down by a cypress grove,
And I sat by my window the whole night long,
And heard well up from the deep dark wood
A mocking-bird’s passionate song.

And I thought of myself so sad and lone,
And my life’s cold winter that knew no spring;
Of my mind so weary and sick and wild,
Of my heart too sad to sing.

But e’en as I listened the mock-bird’s song,
A thought stole into my saddened heart,
And I said, “I can cheer some other soul
By a carol’s simple art.”

For oft from the darkness of hearts and lives
Come songs that brim with joy and light,
As out of the gloom of the cypress grove
The mocking-bird sings at night.

So I sang a lay for a brother’s ear
In a strain to soothe his bleeding heart,
And he smiled at the sound of my voice and lyre,
Though mine was a feeble art.

But at his smile I smiled in turn,
And into my soul there came a ray:
In trying to soothe another’s woes
Mine own had passed away.

Categories: Uncategorized

Interview: Clinton Lectures Russia On Elections, NATO Chief On Missiles

December 8, 2011 10 comments

Voice of Russia
December 8, 2011

U.S not in a position to criticize Russian elections – expert
John Robles

Audio interview

Interview with Rick Rozoff, the manager of the Stop NATO website and mailing list and a contributing writer to Global Research.ca

Rozoff worked against the Chicago political machine for 25 years, 1976-2000, including as a ward-wide voter registration coordinator, founder and leader of an independent ward organization, congressional district coordinator for Mayor Harold Washington’s 1987 reelection bid, campaign manager in two state representative and an aldermanic election, and third party candidate for state office.

What’s the reaction there to the Russian elections? We’ve heard a lot of statements that I think are a way out of line from the U.S. State Department, in particular Hillary Clinton. What’s your opinion of these statements?

They are outrageous. They are unwarranted. Regardless of what the actual details are about the recently concluded Duma elections, parliamentary elections, in Russia, the statements, emanating as you mentioned from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and others, are arrogant to a degree. If the situation were reversed and Russian and other major political figures in other nations commented similarly on U.S. elections, which are not without their flaws as we can talk about, I hope, there would be as strong as possible protests from the State Department and the White House.

The statements by Clinton, for example, include the fact that she has serious concerns about the elections on Sunday, presuming to speak on behalf of the Russian people, stating that Russian voters deserve, and I quote her, “a full investigation of electoral fraud and manipulation.”

This is somebody who is from the Chicago suburb of Park Ridge. And like her commander-in-chief, Barack Obama, who is from Chicago and is a product of the Chicago political machine, she is hardly in a position to complain about electoral fraud and manipulation and ballot box stuffing. They are products of the political machine that all but invented the process.

I’ve spoken with fellow Chicagoans who had lived in the former Soviet Union and they talked about the fact that when elections were held election days were holidays so that people were off work and could not only vote but could participate in the political process, including in the polling place, which is not a luxury accorded to Americans, though we hold ourselves up, of course, as being the model for democratic processes, including elections…She made this statement about the recently concluded parliamentary elections in Russia, for the State Duma, and mentioned, again in her own words, “electoral fraud and manipulation.”

What are some of the other flaws in the US system? Can you tell us something about foreign observers? Why aren’t they allowed into the US?

The second question is particularly fascinating. As to the first, “Their name is legion”, to use the line from the Gospels. That is, there are so many flaws in the American electoral system, not the least of which is that next year several billion dollars are going to be spent by lobbyists and others to choose their candidates or buy their candidates into office, what is politely put an auction block. I’ll give you the best example I can think of. Today at work in Chicago most everyone was glued to television sets to learn which sentence was going to be passed on former governor Rod Blagojevich on 18 counts of corruption. He was sentenced to 14 years, as it turns out. We have to recall his major transgression was trying to sell the senate seat of at the time incoming U.S. president Barack Obama. During the course of the initial trial, Blagojevich mentioned that he had had several phone calls with Rahm Emanuel – he is now the mayor of Chicago; at the time he was Chief of Staff of the White House – about just that, about selling the Senate seat, selling the right to appoint the successor to the incoming president of the country that President Obama in December of 2009 referred to as “the world’s sole military superpower.”

But it’s tolerated in the United States simply because the United States is the United States, what’s referred to as “American exceptionalism,” so that we have an electoral system tainted by billions of dollars changing hands as though all offices go to the highest bidder. As to foreign observers, the U.S. will not tolerate any intrusion on its own sovereignty – but will interfere in the grossest fashion imaginable in other peoples’ internal political processes.

NATO?

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has recently presumed again to lecture Russia, just as Hillary Clinton does on how Russia should conduct its elections. Rasmussen is telling Russia, though he is in no formal position to do so, how to defend itself, saying for example that Russia should not follow up on the pledges and on some of the actual commitments made by President Medvedev to increase radar and other surveillance installations in Northwest Russia and to reposition tactical missiles in the Kaliningrad enclave, in Northwest Russia, and so forth.

But the statement by Rasmussen was particularly condescending and patronizing, at one point basically telling the Russian government it had better take care of its own people first, or words to that effect. Again, just reeking of arrogance and contempt. The sort of talk one expects from a NATO chieftain and Rasmussen, though less abrasive than some of his predecessors, feels empowered evidently to tell nations – major nations – like Russia what they ought to or ought not to do in terms of defending the borders of their own country. I should add that the current U.S. permanent representative to NATO, Ivo Daalder, made a statement two days ago where he said the US and NATO are forging ahead with the interceptor missile system in Europe – and I believe I’m quoting him word for word – “whether Russia likes it or not.”

If anything, we are hearing more and more ambitious plans. For example, the upper house of the Romanian parliament, their Senate, yesterday ratified the agreement with the U.S. to station 24 Standard Missile-3 interceptors in Romania, which as we know is immediately across the Black Sea from Russia. This is in conjunction with the comparable deployment of missiles in Poland in addition to the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles that are already present in Poland; the missile defense, so-called, radar facility that will be placed in Turkey. And there is discussion now about maybe in the dozens, perhaps in the scores, of NATO nations’ warships being converted to what’s called the Aegis Combat System so that they could be equipped with either radar or in most instances missiles, Standard Missiles-3s, for what’s called the European Phased Adaptive Approach, U.S.-NATO missile system. So they are forging ahead on all fronts, at the same time the secretary general of NATO is lecturing Russia on what it should or should not do in terms of self-defense. And the U.S. ambassador to NATO, who is a pretty influential person in his own right – he is a former senior fellow with the Brookings Institution, I’m talking about Daalder, of course – who could make such a curt and arrogant statement as the one I just cited, that the U.S. and NATO are going ahead with the missile shield “whether Russia likes it or not.”

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO news: December 8, 2011

December 8, 2011 Leave a comment

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Georgia’s NATO Entry Can Lead To War: Russian Foreign Minister

NATO Reinforces Military Ties With 13 Arab States Including Libya

Russia To Counter Western Missile Deployments Near Border: Military Chief

Russian Envoy Slams NATO Over Middle East, Interceptor Missiles

French Foreign Minister: NATO-Russia Missiles Talks “Near Deadlock”

West’s Most-Cherished Desire: Disintegration Of Russian Federation

NATO Border: Belarus To Receive New Russian Air Defense Systems

Top NATO Commander Wants Afghan Troop Withdrawal Stalled

U.S. Completing Evacuation Of Pakistani Air Base

Pakistan Reviews Ties With U.S. After Deadly NATO Strike

Analysis: West Is Not “Godfather” Of Global Democracy

AFRICOM Commander: U.S. To Help Build New Libyan Army

EASBRIG In Somalia: Kenyan Troops To Join Ugandan, Burundian Counterparts; Sierra Leone And Djibouti Forces Added To Ethiopia Soldiers

30,000-Troop Western-Trained African Standby Force Ready By 2015

U.S. Naval Power Dwarfs China’s In Latter’s Backyard

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Georgia’s NATO Entry Can Lead To War: Russian Foreign Minister

http://en.rian.ru/world/20111208/169485481.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
December 8, 2011

Russia says Georgia’s entry to NATO could lead to war

Moscow: Russia’s foreign minister has warned of a repetition of its 2008 war with Georgia if the South Caucasus state joins NATO.

Speaking at a news conference after the NATO-Russia Council in Brussels on Thursday, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he had warned NATO foreign ministers against “pushing the current Georgian regime towards a repetition of their August 2008 gamble.”

Georgia has been pursuing NATO membership but the five-day war in 2008 over Georgia’s breakaway territory of South Ossetia has made the alliance wary of taking it on.

Speaking during a visit to Georgia last month, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the country had “come a lot closer” to joining, but added that Tbilisi should pursue reforms.

“Further reforms will be Georgia’s ticket to membership and NATO is here to help,” Rasmussen told Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.

====

NATO Reinforces Military Ties With 13 Arab States Including Libya

http://gulfnews.com/news/region/libya/nato-keen-to-reinforce-cooperation-with-arab-states-1.947409

Gulf News
December 8, 2011

Nato keen to reinforce cooperation with Arab states
By Habib Toumi

-Nato officials said that they think Libya was likely to request to join the Mediterranean Dialogue.
“Once the Libyans make the request, Nato will look into it and will make a decision based on its merit,” a senior Nato official…

Brussels: The foreign ministers of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) have agreed to reinforce their contacts and cooperation with Arab countries in North Africa and the Middle East.

“Significant political developments have taken place this year in North Africa and the Middle East,” the 28-member alliance said. “Against this background and in accordance with our partnership policy, we have agreed to further deepen our political dialogue and practical cooperation with members of the Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative. We have agreed to further deepen our political dialogue and practical cooperation with members of the Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative,” Nato said in its final communique at the end of the meeting of the foreign ministers at its headquarters in the Belgian capital, Brussels.

The Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) was launched at the Alliance’s Summit in the Turkish city in June 2004 to contribute to long-term global and regional security by offering Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries practical bilateral security cooperation with Nato.

Kuwait joined the ICI in December 2004, followed by Bahrain and Qatar in February 2005 and the UAE in June 2005.

Arab countries in the Mediterranean Dialogue initiative launched in 1994 include Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan.

Nato officials said that they think Libya was likely to request to join the Mediterranean Dialogue.

“Once the Libyans make the request, Nato will look into it and will make a decision based on its merit,” a senior Nato official who did not wish to be identified said.

In its communiqué, Nato said that it would work on promoting, on a case-by-case basis, its dialogue and cooperation with countries in the region interested in working with the alliance.

“We stand ready to consider, on a case-by-case basis, new requests from countries in these regions, including Libya, for partnership and cooperation with Nato, taking into account that the Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative are natural frameworks for such requests.”

Nato’s activities would focus primarily on security and defence sector reform, while taking into account other international efforts, the communiqué said.

Nato took over on April 1 full command of the military intervention in Libya, launched by a US, France and UK-led multi-state coalition on March 17, to implement Security Council Resolution 1973.

The fighting stopped in late October following the death of former leader Muammar Gaddafi and Nato ended its operations on October 31, despite a request from the new Libyan authorities to extend it until December 31.

====

Russia To Counter Western Missile Deployments Near Border: Military Chief

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2011-12/07/c_122391542.htm

Xinhua News Agency
December 7, 2011

Russia taking steps to counter Western missile deployment: military chief

MOSCOW: Russian armed forces have started taking measures to counter a European anti-missile defense deployment led by the United States, Chief of the General Staff Nikolai Makarov said Wednesday.

Speaking to foreign military attaches, Makarov said the Western deployment already threatens Russia’s strategic nuclear forces and would trigger a new costly arms race.

“The idea of creating the anti-missile defense in Europe could sharply aggravate our relations,” Makarov said, adding that a deterioration of relations between Russia and NATO would not lead to stability in Europe.

He stressed that relations between Russia and NATO have reached a deadlock and would develop either to cooperation or to suspicion and distrust if the bottom line was crossed.

President Dmitry Medvedev warned in November that Russia might station missile defense systems in western and southern sections of the country if there were any additional U.S. missile deployments in Europe.

Moscow has long opposed the deployment of U.S.-led NATO missile defense facilities near its borders and intends to seek legally-binding guarantees from the United States and NATO that the missile defense shield is not targeting Russia.

====

Russian Envoy Slams NATO Over Middle East, Interceptor Missiles

http://top.rbc.ru/english/index.shtml?/news/english/2011/12/07/07160050_bod.shtml

RosBusinessConsulting
December 7, 2011

Envoy slams NATO over Middle East, missile defense

Russia’s envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin has criticized the North Atlantic Alliance for supporting Islamists in African and Middle Eastern states. The situation in these countries could switch from an “Arab spring” to a “Hot Arab summer,” he contended.

“Russia would like to figure out whether NATO clearly comprehends that such actions could pave the way for radical Islamist regimes in these regions,” Rogozin said, adding that the situation in North Africa and the Middle East could deteriorate after NATO’s military intervention, as was the case in Libya, where the Alliance “refashioned the U.N. Security Council’s resolution.”

Commenting on the deployment by the U.S. of a missile defense shield in Europe, Russia’s envoy said he was hopeful that the position voiced by President Dmitry Medvedev will get through to NATO members. On November 23, Medvedev threatened to withdraw from the Russian-U.S. strategic arms reduction treaty (START) unless the U.S. abandons its European missile defense project, and ordered that an anti-missile radar station be rolled out in Kaliningrad, Russia’s westernmost territory.

However, Medvedev’s recent initiatives would not lead to a new arms race between Russia and the U.S., Rogozin went on to say, although the pundits argued that the move ordered by the Russian president may have put an end to the “reset” in relations between the two countries.

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French Foreign Minister: NATO-Russia Missiles Talks “Near Deadlock”

http://en.trend.az/regions/world/europe/1966584.html

Deutsche Presse-Agentur
December 7, 2011

Juppe: “Near deadlock” on missile defence talks with Russia

Negotiations with Russia over a NATO missile defence shield for Europe have reached a “near deadlock,” French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Wednesday, DPA reported.

“I say deadlock, … but no door is shut,” he told reporters after a first day of meetings with his NATO counterparts in Brussels. “We have to convince Russia that this isn’t aimed at her … If we keep hammering in the nail, it will eventually go in.”

Juppe acknowledged that recent statements by the Russians may suggest a “cooling off in the relations between NATO and Russia,” but also was quick to warn against “overreacting.”

“We still have some way to go before (a May summit in) Chicago, so I hope that the deadlock will end,” he said.

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West’s Most-Cherished Desire: Disintegration Of Russian Federation

http://www.globaltimes.cn/NEWS/tabid/99/ID/687648/Old-bear-does-not-dance-to-Western-tunes.aspx

Global Times
December 8, 2011

Old bear does not dance to Western tunes

-Should a “revolution” take place, the primary target of shock will be Russia itself. The worst nightmare would be the disintegration of the Russian Federation. This is the result the West most desires to see most.
-Personal trust is the reason that facilitated the strategic relations between China and Russia. However, the foundation of these ties is built upon a mutual dream of national revival which outstripped the interests that connected the West and Russia. China wants a stable Russia. The West is on the opposite side.

Will a “Russian Spring” occur? Russian police have arrested hundreds of protestors recently. But the pro-liberal protestors claimed that they will not succumb to such moves and continue to hold protests every day. This scenario is similar to the initial phrase of the Arab Spring, where the revolutionary movement was triggered by small- scale protests. It is hard to predict the outcome of the current protest on Russia’s election scandal, but everything is possible.

Vladimir Putin’s rule will face increasing scrutiny and it will become much harder for him to withstand the challenges. However, this is not a victory for the West. Putin losing authority will not automatically gain the West influence in Russia.

The future of Russia will be shaped according to its own interests. This is the principle set by its democratic environment. Putin’s own authority came because he put the country back to track. He saved Russia from the confusion and chaos when the USSR disintegrated two decades ago.

The relation between election and a candidate’s authority is complicated. However the latest State Duma elections did not suggest that Russia’s understanding of its national interests has become obscure, as during the Yeltsin era.

Ballots lost by the United Russia are now in the pocket of the Communists and the Liberal Democrats, which does not reflect the expanding of the West’s ideology.

Russian interests are dominated by a combination of geopolitics, culture and ambition. The differences and even the hostility between the West and Russia will persist if these interests contradict each other, no matter who sits in the Kremlin.

Should a “revolution” take place, the primary target of shock will be Russia itself. The worst nightmare would be the disintegration of the Russian Federation. This is the result the West most desires to see most.

Russian society does not want to undergo this nightmare again. This concern has partly resulted from Putin’s lasting authority. The unity United Russia can bring to this country is limited, but unity under democracy is not that convincing either. The painful lessons of the past will make Russians more reluctant to give up their trust in strongman politics to its democratic peers.

Personal trust is the reason that facilitated the strategic relations between China and Russia. However, the foundation of these ties is built upon a mutual dream of national revival which outstripped the interests that connected the West and Russia. China wants a stable Russia. The West is on the opposite side.

Russia has undergone many tough challenges. The “revolutions” in the Middle-East is a cakewalk compared to the movements the former communist state experienced. The country has made several twists and turns in choosing its own path.

Russia is not similar to the countries swept by the Arab Spring. It is a unique state and will remain so.

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NATO Border: Belarus To Receive New Russian Air Defense Systems

http://news.belta.by/en/news/society?id=668991

Belarusian Telegraph Agency
December, 7, 2011

Belarus to get Russian Tor-M2 air defense systems soon

MINSK: The Belarusian army will soon get Russian air defense missile systems Tor-M2, Major-General Piotr Tikhonovsky, Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Belarus, First Deputy Defense Minister, told media on 7 December.

They are on the way already and will soon enter service in the air force and with air defense troops, he said.

Piotr Tikhonovsky added that they had finished the creation of a new Belarusian radar station, Rosa. The Chief of the General Staff said that this effective tool will soon enter service, too. Asked about the possibility of getting Russian Iskander complexes, Piotr Tikhonovsky said that time will tell. “The prospects for air force outfitting are rather serious,” he added.

This year over 108 samples have entered the service. Among other things Belarusian-Russian military and technical cooperation includes purchases of small arms, ammunition, components, spare parts, equipment for aviation technology and communication technology. Aviation equipment gets repaired and modernized as well as air defense equipment and radio warfare equipment. Shelf life and operational life of guided air defense missiles get extended.

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Top NATO Commander Wants Afghan Troop Withdrawal Stalled

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/afghanistan/8940749/Nato-commander-in-Afghanistan-pushes-for-year-pause-in-troop-drawdown.html

Daily Telegraph
December 7, 2011

Nato commander in Afghanistan pushes for year pause in troop drawdown
The senior Nato commander in Afghanistan is pushing for a year-long pause in the drawdown of American troops from the country, risking a confrontation with the White House
Gen Allen wants troop levels to plateau at 68,000 throughout 2013
By Ben Farmer

Kabul: Gen John Allen is opposing Barack Obama’s strategy of steadily pulling out troops over the next three years and argues a premature decline will jeopardise security gains made in the past year.

Mr Obama announced in June that United States troop levels would fall from their current 97,000 to around 68,000 by September 2012 and continue to leave Afghanistan afterwards at a “steady pace”.

Gen Allen instead wants troop levels to plateau at 68,000 throughout 2013, before withdrawal resumes in 2014, sources in Kabul said.

The American president has yet to respond to the general’s suggestion…

After Mr Obama’s June announcement to pull out the surge forces, Admiral Mike Mullen, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the decisions were “more aggressive and incur more risk than I was originally prepared to accept.”

A senior official in Kabul confirmed Nato top brass wanted to keep troop levels constant for at least a year, but predicted Mr Obama would seek to promise a further withdrawal before November’s US elections.

Lt Col Jimmie Cummings, spokesman for Nato forces in Kabul said: “General Allen communicates with his chain of command all the way up to the White House, but I cannot confirm the details of those conversations.

“No final decisions have been made on future numbers, so speculating or making an impression that we have is just irresponsible.

“Gen Allen’s planning is based off the current approved plan and if decisions are made that adjust levels, the plan will adapt accordingly.”

Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, former British ambassador to Kabul, denounced the 2014 deadline for withdrawal of combat troops as “tactics without strategy” if it was not accompanied by a push for a peace process.

He said: “It is very questionable – it’s worse than questionable, it’s disgraceful if it’s not accompanied by serious political strategy.”

—————————————————————————

http://www.stripes.com/news/report-allen-backs-pause-in-withdrawal-from-afghanistan-in-2013-1.162727

Stars and Stripes
December 7, 2011

Report: Allen backs pause in withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2013
Stars and Stripes
Brian Tierce/U.S. Army

STUTTGART, Germany: The top military commander in Afghanistan is privately recommending that once the planned U.S. troop reductions for 2012 are completed there should be a pause for 2013, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday citing anonymous sources.

The newspaper reported that Marine Gen. John Allen and other NATO officers are concerned that continued reductions in 2013 would make it harder to clear and hold insurgent havens.

Allen, who commands U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, has shared his thinking with visiting congressional officials and delegations, the paper said.

Allen’s position reflects the findings of an internal assessment by NATO’s International Security Assistance Force, which warned that reducing U.S. troop levels below 68,000 would complicate efforts to protect supply lines and bases ahead of the scheduled security handover in 2014, WSJ reported.

However, officials in Afghanistan told WSJ that discussions about drawdown plans beyond 2012 are just now beginning within the military and the administration.

“Gen. Allen continues to emphasize that decisions about troop presence post-September 2012 have not been made, and it is premature to speculate about those numbers,” Rear Adm. Hal Pittman, the senior ISAF spokesman, told the WSJ.

====

U.S. Completing Evacuation Of Pakistani Air Base

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\128\story_8-12-2011_pg1_6

Daily Times
December 8, 2011

US evacuating Shamsi air base

QUETTA: At least seven aircraft landed at the Shamsi air base on Wednesday to airlift personnel and equipment out of Pakistan.

According to sources in the Washuk district, American officials were likely to vacate the airbase on Thursday.

“Seven aircraft have landed here since morning,” a local confirmed, adding, “They also set several containers on fire today and we saw their thick flames rising.”

The United States is evacuating the Shamsi air base following orders from the military incensed by a deadly NATO raid on the border that left 24 soldiers dead, officials said. The deadline for the removal of all US personnel and equipment from the base in the remote southwestern province of Balochistan was set for December 11.

“They are evacuating the base, evacuation is in the process,” confirmed a senior Pakistani government official in Islamabad.

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Pakistan Reviews Ties With U.S. After Deadly NATO Strike

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2011-12/07/c_122391536.htm

Xinhua News Agency
December 7, 2011

News Analysis: Pakistan set to review U.S. ties after deadly NATO strike
By Muhammad Tahir

-The November 26 attack was the 8th NATO strike on Pakistani posts in the last three years, according to the Pakistan army. A total of 72 Pakistani soldiers have been killed in such NATO strikes, but the latest strike has prompted an unprecedented angry reaction from the Pakistani military and civilian leadership…

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani says parliament will meet soon to reassess its relations with the United States in the wake of the November 26 deadly attack by NATO fighter jets and helicopters on two border posts, killing 24 soldiers.

The attack had caused widespread anger across Pakistan and the country’s top civil and military leadership took unexpected and important decisions to review its future relationship with the U.S., close supply lines for NATO forces in Afghanistan, vacate a strategically important airbase in Balochistan province from the U. S. military and to boycott the December 5 Bonn Conference on Afghanistan’s future.

The decisions are considered as a major setback in worsening Pakistan-U.S relations, which had been under stress since February this year when an undercover CIA agent, Raymond Davis, shot dead two Pakistani nationals in the eastern city of Lahore. The documents and mobile phone data of Raymond Davis mobile had unearthed a secret U.S. spy network in Pakistan, which prompted a call from Pakistan to seek details about all American secret agents and their activities in the country. Pakistan then had also asked the U.S. to withdraw its spies and U.S. trainers.

The unilateral U.S. military raid to kill Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad in May proved to be another serious setback for the already strained relationship. Pakistan had described the U.S. raid as a violation of the country’s sovereignty.

The U.S. had been trying to put its relationship with Pakistan on track over the past few months but last month’s U.S.-led NATO strike on border posts on Pakistani soil near the Afghan border has caused a severe blow to the uneasy relations.

The November 26 attack was the 8th NATO strike on Pakistani posts in the last three years, according to the Pakistan army. A total of 72 Pakistani soldiers have been killed in such NATO strikes, but the latest strike has prompted an unprecedented angry reaction from the Pakistani military and civilian leadership, which they have never shown before.

Apart from closing the supply lines for nearly 150,000 NATO troops in Afghanistan, this time Pakistan has also asked the U.S. to vacate the Shamsi airbase in southwestern Balochistan province, which is near the border with Afghanistan and Iran. The U.S. military has reportedly been using the airbase for nearly 10 years to carry out military operations in Afghanistan and for drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal regions.

President Asif Zardari reportedly rejected a request from the Foreign Minister of the UAE, who flew to Islamabad just a few days after the NATO strike, to withdraw the vacation decision or postpone the 15-day ultimatum for the withdrawal from the air base.

Expecting no change in Pakistan’s decision, U.S. security personnel have now started to evacuate the Shamsi airbase and a couple of days ago an American plane arrived at the air base to bring back the U.S. personnel and equipment deployed there. The U.S. ambassador to Pakistan has confirmed the evacuation.

The Pakistani leadership seems deeply perturbed over the refusal so far by the U.S. and NATO to tender an apology over the deaths of the 24 soldiers. Pakistani leaders are now openly saying that future relations with the U.S. will be reviewed and new terms will be set for future cooperation with the U.S./NATO and ISAF. Pakistan has rejected the “regret” by the U.S. and NATO over the deaths of Pakistani soldiers as insufficient. Pakistan says the NATO strike was intentional as they violated a defined “Red Line”.

Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani warned the United States in a CNN interview last month that “business as usual (with the U.S.) will not be there” now. Gilani also said that the only scenario in which the two countries could continue their relations was if they worked on the principles of mutual respect, which he said that Pakistan was not getting from the Americans at the moment.

Pakistan had never been so tough on the U.S., but the NATO killing of Pakistani soldiers in “unprovoked” raids brought the government under tremendous pressure to review its relations with the U.S. as enough is enough. The stand Pakistani leaders have shown since the November 26 NATO strikes is very clear, one in which they now have a mind to review what the majority in Pakistan considers an unnatural alliance with the U.S.

Pakistan’s decision to close the NATO supply line, order the U.S. to vacate its airbase, boycott the Bonn Conference and reject the U.S. regret reflect the country’s seriousness to review its relationship with the United States. There has been a long-awaited call from political parties, former diplomats, retired army generals, members of civil society and the media to review the country’s foreign policy towards Washington.

President Barrack Obama called President Asif Zardari on Sunday and Secretary of State Hilary made calls to Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar to soothe angry Pakistani leaders, but the efforts have not worked. Despite phone calls by President Obama and Clinton, several influential U.S. lawmakers are sending negative messages and are calling for a review of U.S. relations with Pakistan.

Now Pakistan is set to start a review of its relations with the U. S. in the coming days and parliament will be summoned for this purpose. Important decisions after the NATO attack have set the tone for a review for a review of ties with the U.S. Foreign Ministry sources say that Pakistan has called ambassadors from several important capitals to seek their input for the new foreign policy and new relationship with the U.S.

It is the hope of the majority of the Pakistanis that the parliament will chalk out a relationship with the U.S. on the basis of mutual respect in real terms and that Pakistan will never bow before U.S. pressure.

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Analysis: West Is Not “Godfather” Of Global Democracy

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/indepth/2011-12/07/c_131293601.htm

Xinhua News Agency
December 7, 2011

West not “Godfather” of Democracy
By Li Hongmei

BEIJING: It seems a forgone conclusion that Russia’s ruling United Russia party, led by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, has won the State Duma elections.

However, the result, as well as the earlier announcement that Mr. Medvedev asked the ruling United Russia party to support Mr. Putin’s run in next year’s presidential election, while Mr. Putin backed Mr. Medvedev to head the next government, has since met with a caricature-like description by the Western media; and the Medvedev-Putin tandem is finger-pointed by the West as a “pseudo-democracy”, only in a break with its historical tradition of one-man or one-woman autocracy.

Perhaps, were democracy merely defined by the Western examiner and only measured by the yardstick of the American model, Russia could not be portrayed as a “pure” democracy. 

Frankly speaking, Russia has already paid a heavy price for its “transition to democracy”. To build up a brand new society, the Soviet Union broke up in the early 1990s, then the whole country went through so-called “shock therapy” in a wide range from the political skyline to the economic sphere; further, the new Russia underwent the Chechnya war, and Moscow has since been constantly hit by terrorist attacks, with many Russians struggling on the brink of starvation.

Unfortunately, the “goddess of democracy” dressed up in the Western-style never descends upon the Russian soil. Rather, the Russian people, having reeled from “confusion” and “shock”, have received some other unwanted fruits, say, scorn and even hostility from the Western world.

Is it that democracy is still an alien term to Russian people? Obviously not, they already have “standard” democratic elections featuring “one person, one vote,” the ‘standard” multi-party political system, and “standard” media privatization. At least in regards to the form only, Russia has done what it ought to do in its process of seeking democracy.

But, democracy with Russian characteristics can hardly convince the Western examiner, who is so accustomed to wielding the handy sticks of democracy and human rights to drive others onto a path of democratization defined only by Western standards.

Russia, however, remains always a unique great power in all directions. Its tanglesome past records and cultural memories, along with its obsessive state will and ideal, makes Russia most of time act of its own accord and, even if it would like to act on the Western practice, it could not be a precise docking.   

Thus, it will be naïve to believe that “democratic reform” will definitely win warm applause from the West.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hit out at Russia’s parliamentary election immediately afterwards, saying it was a rigged one, when speaking to the election-monitoring Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

“Russian voters deserve a full investigation of electoral fraud and manipulation,” Clinton said.

As expected, Moscow dismissed Clinton’s criticism. “With regret, we are forced to say that Washington holds onto long-outdated stereotypes and continues to hang labels, not even trying to understand what is really going on in our electoral system,” stated Russia’s Foreign Ministry.

Putin’s worldview is said to be “anti-Western.” He doesn’t believe Western countries are genuine democracies. That’s perhaps why the West, in particular American politicians, have no interest in seeing the “tough guy” at the apex of Russian power. The Obama administration put out a bland statement confirming that its “reset” with the Kremlin will go on. Privately, however, the White House will not be delighted at the prospect of dealing with “prickly” President Putin again.

The authentic interest of the West has long proved to consist not really in promoting democracy and freedom across the world, but in the fact that the West will hereby expand its interests globally. Russia’s election is just in line with its own interest, far from echoing the true need of Western countries. Ms. Clinton’s reaction seems understandable.

Regardless, a genuine democracy is not merely a campaign slogan, but a living force to vitalize human society. Russia’s democracy should be designed to benefit its people, not to please the West.   

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AFRICOM Commander: U.S. To Help Build New Libyan Army

http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/story/2011-12-07/united-states-libya-military-forces-gadhafi/51718436/1

USA Today
December 7, 2011

U.S. in talks to help rebuild Libyan military
By Jim Michaels

The United States is in discussions with Libya over ways to help rebuild the country’s military, which the U.S. military considers essential to unify the country and bring rival militias under national control.

“We’re looking for ways in which we can be helpful,” said Gen. Carter Ham, commander of U.S. Africa Command. “They have to find some way to form a national army.”

“We’d like, for example, to begin having Libyan officers come to U.S. staff colleges,” he said, adding that the United States could also sell Libya equipment and offer training.

The new Libyan government is interested in maritime security, because of its long coastline, Ham said. That is also an area of defense in which the U.S. military can assist, he said.

Contributing: Oren Dorell in McLean, Va.

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EASBRIG In Somalia: Kenyan Troops To Join Ugandan, Burundian Counterparts; Sierra Leone And Djibouti Forces Added To Ethiopia Soldiers

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-16077642

BBC News
December 7, 2011

Kenya troops to ‘join Somalia’s African Union force’

-Last month, Ethiopia denied that its troops had returned to Somalia – about two years after they withdrew after suffering heavy casualties…Djibouti and Sierra Leone have also promised to bolster the AU force by sending around 1,500 troops each.

Kenya’s parliament has approved the integration of government troops in Somalia into the African Union (AU)…

The decision comes after the AU last week asked Kenyan troops to join its 9,000-strong force in Somalia…

The AU has about 9,000 troops in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu.

Kenya already has troops in Somalia pursuing al-Shabab which it blames for a spate of recent abductions.

Al-Shabab denies the allegation that it is behind kidnappings in Kenya and says it views the presence of Kenyan troops in southern Somalia as an act of war.

Last month, Ethiopia denied that its troops had returned to Somalia – about two years after they withdrew after suffering heavy casualties.

Reports said the troops were in Somalia’s Gurel town in Galgudud region and in several other areas as well.

Kenyan troops have been active in parts of southern Somalia since October. Kenyan military spokesman, Maj Emmanuel Chirchir, said they intended to capture 10 towns under al-Shabab’s control – including the port city of Kismayo.

Djibouti and Sierra Leone have also promised to bolster the AU force by sending around 1,500 troops each.

AU commanders in Somalia say they need about 20,000 troops to hold on to territory captured from al-Shabab.

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30,000-Troop Western-Trained African Standby Force Ready By 2015

http://edition.myjoyonline.com/pages/news/201112/77812.php

Ghanaian Times
December 8, 2011

African standby force operational by 2015

An African Standby Force (ASF) with the mandate to promptly respond to conflicts in the sub-region will be operational by 2015.

The 30,000 African Standby Force (ASF) would be composed of the military, police and civilians.

Sivuyile Bam, Head of Peace Support Operations Division (PSOD) of the AU Commission, who told the Times on the sidelines of the ASF force 5th Annual Training Implementation Workshop in Accra Tuesday, said that each of the regional blocks would provide 6,000 personnel.

The two-day workshop being attended by senior military officers as well as officials of AU from about 40 African countries is the last of preparatory workshop towards the establishment of the ASF.

The Commandant of the Kofi Annan Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), Air Vice Marshall (AVM) Christian E. K Dovlo, in a statement read on his behalf said the workshop was in line with the centre’s vision of building the capacities of peace actors and institutions to promote peace in the sub-region.

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U.S. Naval Power Dwarfs China’s In Latter’s Backyard

http://www.rnw.nl/english/bulletin/us-navy-still-eclipses-chinas-expanded-fleet

Agence France-Presse
December 7, 2011

US navy still eclipses China’s expanded fleet

-Six of America’s 11 aircraft carriers have their base in the Pacific, including the USS George Washington, which is docked at the Yokosuka naval base in Japan. At any given point, there are around 50 US naval ships in the west Pacific.
America’s huge naval operations combined with its geopolitical alliances in the region have enabled it to contain China within what is known as a “brown water navy”.

China’s navy has hundreds of vessels at its disposal, among them nuclear submarines and an aircraft carrier, but it still does not come close to the huge naval firepower wielded by the United States.

Chinese President Hu Jintao called Tuesday for the country’s navy to “make extended preparations for military combat”…

The United States, which recently reasserted its role as a Pacific power and said it will post troops in Australia, responded by saying China had the right to develop its military capabilities, but should do so “transparently”.

This year [China] unveiled its first aircraft carrier, a 300-metre-long (990-foot) former Soviet naval vessel that had its first sea trial on August 10.

By contrast, India – another major military power in the region – has around 132 warships, including an aircraft carrier, and 16 submarines, one of which is a nuclear submarine undergoing sea trials.

[E]xperts say China’s naval capability pales in comparison with America’s huge and technically highly sophisticated maritime force.

The US Pacific fleet is the country’s largest, with 79 ships and submarines off America’s west coast, 29 in Hawaii, 19 in Japan and four in the Pacific territory of Guam.

Six of America’s 11 aircraft carriers have their base in the Pacific, including the USS George Washington, which is docked at the Yokosuka naval base in Japan. At any given point, there are around 50 US naval ships in the west Pacific.

America’s huge naval operations combined with its geopolitical alliances in the region have enabled it to contain China within what is known as a “brown water navy”.

Hemmed in by an arc of powerful rivals in South Korea, Japan and Taiwan, China suffers from severely limited access to the oceans that surround it.

“The Chinese are also acutely aware of US military capabilities, as demonstrated in combat actions every year since 1991, and the gap between their capabilities and those of the US and its allies,” said Dennis Blasko, a Chinese military expert with the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation think tank.

“The Chinese are conducting their modernisation process with no recent combat experience, no experience in fighting the kind of informationised war they are preparing to fight.”

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Categories: Uncategorized

W.H. Auden: A land laid waste, its towns in terror and all its young men slain

December 8, 2011 Leave a comment

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

W.H. Auden

220px-audenvanvechten1939

Embassy 

As evening fell the day’s oppression lifted: 
Far peaks came into focus; it had rained: 
Across wide lawns and cultured flowers drifted 
The conversation of the highly trained. 

Two gardeners watched them pass and priced their shoes: 
A chauffeur waited, reading in the drive, 
For them to finish their exchange of views; 
It seemed a picture of the private life. 

Far off, no matter what good they intended, 
The armies waited for a verbal error 
With all the instruments for causing pain:
 
And on the issue of their charm depended
A land laid waste, with all its young men slain,
Its women weeping, and its towns in terror.

*****

Fleet Visit

The sailors come ashore
Out of their hollow ships,
Mild-looking middle-class boys
Who read the comic strips;
One baseball game is more
To them than fifty Troys.

They look a bit lost, set down
In this unamerican place
Where natives pass with laws
And futures of their own;
They are not here because
But only just-in-case.

The whore and ne’er-do-well
Who pester them with junk
In their grubby ways at least
Are serving the Social Beast;
They neither make nor sell -
No wonder they get drunk.

But the ships on the dazzling blue
Of the harbor actually gain
From having nothing to do;
Without a human will
To tell them whom to kill
Their structures are humane

And, far from looking lost,
Look as if they were meant
To be pure abstract design
By some master of pattern and line,
Certainly worth every cent
Of the millions they must have cost.

*****

Epitaph On A Tyrant

Perfection, of a kind, was what he was after,
And the poetry he invented was easy to understand;
He knew human folly like the back of his hand,
And was greatly interested in armies and fleets;
When he laughed, respectable senators burst with laughter,
And when he cried the little children died in the streets.

*****

The Quarry (O What Is That Sound)

O what is that sound which so thrills the ear
Down in the valley drumming, drumming?
Only the scarlet soldiers, dear,
The soldiers coming.

O what is that light I see flashing so clear
Over the distance brightly, brightly?
Only the sun on their weapons, dear,
As they step lightly.

O what are they doing with all that gear,
What are they doing this morning, morning?
Only their usual manoeuvres, dear,
Or perhaps a warning.

O why have they left the road down there,
Why are they suddenly wheeling, wheeling?
Perhaps a change in their orders, dear,
Why are you kneeling?

O haven’t they stopped for the doctor’s care,
Haven’t they reined their horses, horses?
Why, they are none of them wounded, dear,
None of these forces.

O is it the parson they want, with white hair,
Is it the parson, is it, is it?
No, they are passing his gateway, dear,
Without a visit.

O it must be the farmer that lives so near.
It must be the farmer so cunning, so cunning?
They have passed the farmyard already, dear,
And now they are running.

O where are you going? Stay with me here!
Were the vows you swore deceiving, deceiving?
No, I promised to love you, dear,
But I must be leaving.

O it’s broken the lock and splintered the door,
O it’s the gate where they’re turning, turning;
Their boots are heavy on the floor
And their eyes are burning.

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO news: December 7, 2011

December 7, 2011 2 comments

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Romanian Senate Ratifies U.S. Interceptor Missile Deployment

U.S. To Deploy Drones On Two Bulgarian Air Bases

U.S. Orders: Bulgaria Sabotages Russian Oil Pipeline Project

NATO Missile System Spawning New Arms Race: Russian Military Chief

Kaliningrad: Russia To Deploy Missiles Against Interceptors, Hypersonic Weapons

With NATO Radar, Turkey Plans Long-Range, Interceptor Missiles Purchases

NATO To Open Centers In Kuwait, Other Gulf States

Israel Brandishes Drones Amid Reports Of Impending Attack On Iran

Hereditary Regimes: Jordan, Morocco In Line For GCC Membership

Tricontinental “Pan-Arab Pipeline” To Proceed Despite Syria Crisis

Middle Eastern, North African Conflicts Can Develop Into Full-Scale, Coalitional Warfare: Russian Military Chief

U.S. Should Apologize To Pakistan, NATO Pay Reparations: Kucinich

Pakistani Catholics Organize Protest Against Deadly NATO Attack

France Plans Long-Term Strategic Pact With Afghanistan

Eritrea: Two Remaining Independent African Nations Down, Three To Go (Ivory Coast and Libya; Eritrea, Zimbabwe and Sudan)

Russian Officials Blast Clinton Comments On Election

U.S.’s McCain Tells Russia Arab Spring Coming To “Neighborhood Near You”

Azerbaijan: Hub Of West’s Caspian-Black-Baltic Sea Energy Pipelines

State Department Pursues Strategic Cooperation With Azerbaijan

Russia Sends New Shipment Of Humanitarian Aid To Kosovo Serbs

U.S. Military Alliance: Australia Faces Hobson’s Choice

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Romanian Senate Ratifies U.S. Interceptor Missile Deployment

http://www.actmedia.eu/2011/12/07/top+story/romanian+parliament+ratifies+u.s.-romanian+antimissile+shield+agreement/37123

Romanian News Agency
December 7, 2011

Romanian Parliament Ratifies U.S.-Romanian Antimissile Shield Agreement

Romanian senators, in a unanimous vote on Tuesday, approved a draft law on the ratification of the Agreement between Romania and the United States on placing the U.S. missile defence system in Romania signed on this Sept. 12 in Washington. Ninety senators cast their vote for the bill.

In the beginning of the upper Senate house plenary debates, Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi stressed the Agreement is ‘the first legal instrument fully negotiated and closed by the U.S. as part of the new concept of the ballistic missile defence’.

‘The value of the Agreement also consists in that it is for the first time the Romanian-U.S. strategic partnership is written in a legally binding bilateral document…The Agreement text contains clear reference to the strategic partnership with the U.S., clear guarantees regarding the shield conformity to the international standards’, Baconschi said.

The minister underscored that the United States, in the Agreement Article No. 3, firmly pledges to defend Romania against a missile attack or against a threat.

All the costs rest with the U.S., Baconschi added. The Senate is the decision-making house on this matter. The draft law on the ratification of the Agreement between Romania and the United States on placing the U.S. ballistic missile defence system in Romania was adopted by the Deputies’ Chamber in a 261 to 4 vote and an abstention on Nov. 15.

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U.S. To Deploy Drones On Two Bulgarian Air Bases

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2011-12/07/c_131294010.htm

Xinhua News Agency
December 7, 2011

U.S. to deploy drones in Bulgaria

SOFIA: The Bulgarian government on Wednesday said it would allow the U.S. to deploy unmanned aerial systems on the country’s territory.

The permission, which is an annex to the bilateral Defense Cooperation Agreement signed in 2006, allows the U.S. to deploy drones on two U.S. air bases in Bulgaria’s Graf Ignatievo and Bezmer.

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U.S. Orders: Bulgaria Sabotages Russian Oil Pipeline Project

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2011-12/07/c_131293937.htm

Xinhua News Agency
December 7, 2011

Bulgaria terminates participation in Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline project: vice PM

SOFIA:  Bulgarian vice Prime Minister Simeon Djankov here on Wednesday said the government has decided to terminate the country’s participation in the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline project.

The 280-kilometer pipeline transporting Russian oil to Greek port Alexandroupolis via Bulgaria’s Burgas port was launched in 2007,planing to pump 35 million tons of crude oil a year at the beginning, with potential to rise to 50 million tons per year.

Bulgaria will present the proposal of terminating the trilateral agreement by mutual consent next Wednesday at a meeting of the joint project company, Djankov told reporters.

He added Bulgaria would unilaterally withdraw after 12 months because this project could not be realized under the conditions and financial parameters set out in this agreement if the Bulgarian proposal be rejected.

The project was frozen in 2009 when the ruling party GERB came to power in Bulgaria.

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NATO Missile System Spawning New Arms Race: Russian Military Chief

http://rt.com/politics/missile-europe-arms-race-233/

RT
December 7, 2011

NATO shield spawning arms race – Russia military chief

Russia’s Chief of General Staff says Moscow is being pushed into a new arms race, although it has repeatedly stressed that it does not want this.

In his speech at an annual meeting with foreign military representatives on Wednesday, General Nikolai Makarov noted that at last year’s NATO-Russia summit in Lisbon, President Dmitry Medvedev said Russia could take part in Europe’s own missile defense system, but this suggestion was rejected.

Moscow then offered another option – if NATO countries wanted to build their own defense system, they could simply ensure that Russia falls outside its effective radius, and the effective radius of similar Russian weapons would then remain within the country’s borders. The second plan was also rejected, Russia’s military chief said at the Moscow meeting.

“We are ready for other options, but no one is suggesting anything. We hear nothing but empty statements that the missile defense systems in Europe are of no danger to Russia’s strategic nuclear forces,” Makarov stressed.

The general noted that a number of analysts in the US and Europe have proved that the existing components of European missile defense are already affecting Russia’s nuclear potential. He also stressed that European countries must be more active in discussing the problem. “Missile defense creation in Europe can complicate our relations. The Russian President, Defense Minister and myself, as Chief of General Staff have held talks with our colleagues in most European countries. Many of them said that we should decide this issue with the US, but we are talking about Europe. Why are they separating Europe and Russia? Who needs that? We are ready to cooperate, to build missile defense together. Why are they not answering our requests? Someone must be benefitting from this,” Makarov said.

The chief of staff also noted that his country has had to act in response to the foreign moves on missile defense. “The actions defined by the President’s statements are already being realized,” Makarov said.

“But we do not need this, and we are saying it again. Instead of trust, we are getting suspicion and mistrust in return. Europe will not benefit from this,” he added.

The Russian general also said that the assurances that the defense shield is just a remote prospect for 2018 – 2020 do not stand up to criticism. “We see at what rate the missile defense is being introduced in Europe and we see that the directions are different – not against the Southern threat, as it had been declared. It puts us on alert. Naturally, we must take measures now and not in 2018 in order not to find ourselves in a losing situation,” General Makarov said.

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Kaliningrad: Russia To Deploy Missiles Against Interceptors, Hypersonic Weapons

http://www.interfax.com/newsinf.asp?pg=4&id=293244

Interfax-Military
December 7, 2011

Russia to deploy S-400 air defense missiles in Kaliningrad region

MOSCOW: Air defense systems armed with S-400 Triumph missiles will be deployed in the Kaliningrad region, Col. Andrei Bobrun, the head of the Western Military District’s press service, told Interfax-AVN on Wednesday.

“Exercises including field firing of air defense units being rearmed with the new S-400 systems are taking place on Kapustin Yar range in the Astrakhan region, after which this hardware will be commissioned for the Western Military District units. In the future, these systems will be put on combat duty in the Kaliningrad region and ensure reliable protection of Russia’s air boundaries in the west,” Bobrun said.

The S-400 Triumph missile system is designed to intercept jamming aircraft, airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft, reconnaissance aircraft, strategic and tactical aircraft, tactical and tactical-strategic ballistic missiles, medium-range ballistic missiles, hypersonic targets, and other modern and projected airborne attack weapons. The system boasts significantly broader tactical and technological capabilities compared to the S-300 in respect to its operational area, efficiency, and variety of its targets.

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With NATO Radar, Turkey Plans Long-Range, Interceptor Missiles Purchases

http://www.worldbulletin.net/?aType=haber&ArticleID=82684

Cihan News Agency
December 7, 2011

Top Turkish military to discuss long-range missile purchase

-[The newspaper] Akşam said Turkish policy makers tend towards Raytheon and Lockheed Martin’s Patriots, given that it will be compatible with the NATO system.
If the purchase goes ahead as planned, Turkey will acquire 13 missile batteries and 72 missiles, Akşam said.

Turkey’s top military council will discuss next week plans to acquire long-range missiles as Ankara seeks to improve national missile defense capacities, a news report said on Wednesday.

The Supreme Military Council (YAŞ), set to convene next week, will discuss the issue, with a final decision expected to be made by the Defense Industry Executive Committee (SSİK) by end of the month, the daily Akşam reported.

Turkey agreed to host an X-band radar system at a military base in the eastern town of Kürecik as part of a NATO-backed missile shield…

NATO mentions no country as a source of threat, in line with Turkey’s demands to that effect, but the missile system is widely known to be designed against Iran.

Russia, cautious over the NATO missile shield, has also threatened to deploy missiles to target the missile defense system in Europe if Washington fails to assuage Moscow’s concerns about its plans.

Turkey has long planned to develop its own national missile defense system and world’s major producers are competing to win the go-ahead from Ankara to produce the long-range missiles.

Under the NATO missile defense system, [it] is set to improve Turkey’s national missile defense capabilities although it does not invalidate the need for a national defense system.

Akşam said Turkish policy makers tend towards Raytheon and Lockheed Martin’s Patriots, given that it will be compatible with the NATO system.
If the purchase goes ahead as planned, Turkey will acquire 13 missile batteries and 72 missiles, Akşam said.

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NATO To Open Centers In Kuwait, Other Gulf States

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/kuwait/kuwait-nato-mull-plans-to-set-up-centre-in-kuwait-city-1.945068

Gulf News
December 6, 2011

Kuwait, Nato mull plans to set up centre in Kuwait City
By Habib Toumi

Brussels: Kuwait and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) are discussing plans to open a centre in Kuwait City, a Nato official has said.

The centre, the first of its kind in the Gulf, will help bolster relations and cooperation between the Gulf country and the international organization under the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI).

The initiative was launched at the Alliance’s Summit in the Turkish city in June 2004 to contribute to long-term global and regional security by offering Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries practical bilateral security cooperation with Nato.

Kuwait joined the ICI in December 2004, followed by Bahrain and Qatar in February 2005 and the UAE in June 2005.

The official, who wished not be named, told Gulf News that no date was set for the opening of the centre in Kuwait City, explaining that international agreements usually took time to materialise.

However, he said that the other ICI member states could also have their own centres.

“Should other GCC countries make the request to open a centre, it will be considered on its own merits,” he said.

North Atlantic Council

In 2006, Kuwait was the first ICI country to host the North Atlanti