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Archive for February, 2012

Stop NATO news: February 29, 2012

February 29, 2012 Leave a comment

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Attacks On Syria, Iran Would Overwhelm Armenia With Refugees

War On Iran Could Destabilize Caucasus, Caspian Basin: CIS Official

NATO Delegation In Armenia For Discussions

Russian Expert: Azerbaijan’s Territory May Be Used To Strike Iran

Report: Move To Drive Russian Radar Station From Azerbaijan

“Nightmare For Invader”: Georgia Is NATO States’ Window To Caucasus

NATO Summit: Special Declaration On Georgia To Be Issued

Georgian Foreign Minister In Israel To Discuss “Regional Security Issues”

Saakashvili: NATO Afghan Operation Provides Training For Local Conflicts

Labor Party Calls On Opposition To Demand Georgia’s Afghan Withdrawal

EU Pushes Trans-Caspian Pipeline Versus Russia, Iran

Azerbaijan: Pivot Of Western Trans-Eurasian Energy Strategy

Former Soviet Space: EU Develops Trans-Eurasian Transport Corridors

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Attacks On Syria, Iran Would Overwhelm Armenia With Refugees

http://times.am/?l=en&p=5132

Times.am
February 24, 2012

Expert: “Armenia should support stability in Iran”

Armenia will not manage to overcome the flow of the refuges from Iran and Syria if a military struggle is started, Gagik Harutyunyan, head of the scientific-educational foundation Noravanq, announced concerning the issue during a press-conference today.

“Our economy is not ready to accept 50-60 thousand refugees from those countries”, Harutyunyan said during the meeting with journalists.

According to him, Armenians in Iran feel they are treated well and have official protection. Armenian cultural values are protected in Iran and this speaks about the Iranian good attitude towards Armenia.

In this context the politician underlined that Armenia should support stability and be against military actions.

At the same time the expert is sure that the key of the Iranian problem is in Syria. He considers that Iran will lose if the West manages to repeat the Libyan scenario also in Syria.

Harutyunyan underlined that Iran is also able to pursue a flexible policy despite insufficient resources. 

Speaking about Azerbaijani actions in case of a war in Iran, Harutyunyan noted that official Baku would first of all think how to save itself and would leave the Karabakh conflict alone.

The expert also underlined that Azerbaijani calls for Iran to mediate in the NK issue are just propaganda as everyone knows the strained relations between Tehran and Baku.

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War On Iran Could Destabilize Caucasus, Caspian Basin: CIS Official

http://news.am/eng/news/95396.html

News.AM
February 29, 2012

CIS official warns about likely consequences, for Caucasus, of war against Iran

MOSCOW: A war in Iran could cause serious instability in the Caucasus and prompt uncontrollable migration processes, CIS Anti-Terrorism Center Director Andrei Novikov told news reporters on Wednesday.

In his words, if an aggression is waged, the likely geopolitical shifts will be difficult to calculate. “Immigration inconveniences are possible,” Novikov stated.

The Anti-Terrorism Center Director also did not rule out that in the case of military operations, a refugee flow could start from Iran toward neighboring CIS countries. He also reminded that a large number of ethnic Azerbaijanis live in Iran.

“Everything possible is being done so that such instability is not created in the Caspian Basin and in the South Caucasus,” Andrei Novikov maintained, RIA Novosti News Agency of Russia informs.

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NATO Delegation In Armenia For Discussions

http://www.armradio.am/eng/news/?part=off&id=22171

Public Radio of Armenia
February 29, 2012

Minister Ohanyan meets NATO’s Deputy Secretary General

Armenian Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan received the delegation headed by Ambassador Hussein Dirioz, NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Defense Policy and Planning.

Minister Ohanyan and Ambassador Dirioz discussed the main directions of cooperation between NATO and the Armenian Ministry of Defense, which includes military education, defense planning and budgeting reforms, as well as the participation of Armenian peacekeepers in NATO missions.

The parties stressed the progress in the field of defense reforms and military cooperation and determined the priorities of future cooperation. Ambassador Dirioz expressed NATO’s willingness to provide necessary expert assistance to Armenia regarding future reforms.

The interlocutors exchanged views on the main issues on the agenda of the forthcoming NATO summit in Chicago with the participation of the heads of partner countries.

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Russian Expert: Azerbaijan’s Territory May Be Used To Strike Iran

http://www.panarmenian.net/eng/news/95896/

PanArmenian.net
February 27, 2012

Russian expert: Azerbaijan’s territory may be used for striking Iran

Azerbaijan’s Milli Mejlis held debates on amending the Constitution and renaming the country the Republic of Northern Azerbaijan, a Russian expert says.

“Supporters of this idea insist that today’s Azerbaijan is just a part of the Azerbaijani state that used to exist before and was divided by Russia and Iran in the 19th century; they claim two thirds of this state still remain within Iran’s territory, and this is historic injustice,” said Alexander Krylov, chairman of the Scientific Society of Caucasian studies experts, leading research scientist of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations according to Analitika.at.ua.

“Apparently, Tehran views such statement as a bellicose action and a direct challenge to Iran…”

According to the expert, in case of a military resolution of the Iranian issue U.S. and Israeli politicians are insisting on for many years, Azerbaijan’s territory may be used for striking Iran.

“In this case, the current propaganda against Iran is likely to be a part of preparation for this scenario. The U.S. may attempt to use Azerbaijan as a new version of the Afghan “Northern Alliance”; also, in case of large-scale changes in the borders and establishment of new countries in the regions (i.e. Kurdistan), Azerbaijan may receive vast territories,” the Russian expert stated.

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Report: Move To Drive Russian Radar Station From Azerbaijan

http://en.apa.az/news.php?id=166675

Azeri Press Agency
February 29, 2012

Azerbaijan demands $300-mln a year for Gabala Radar Station rent

-“If Azerbaijan persists, the Defense Ministry will have to leave the radar station. This figure is not justified with anything and is too high, we try to reduce the price”.

Baku: Problems occurred in the negotiations between Azerbaijan and Russia on the lease of Gabala radar station.

APA reports quoting Russian Kommersant newspaper that Baku intends to increase the annual rental from $7 million to $300 million.

Russian Defense Ministry sources told the newspaper that they are not satisfied with this figure and Moscow will try to reduce it. “If Azerbaijan persists, the Defense Ministry will have to leave the radar station. This figure is not justified with anything and is too high, we try to reduce the price”.

The 10-year agreement signed between Azerbaijan and Russia on the lease of the Gabala Radar Station expires this year. Moscow wants to prolong tenancy to 25 years and an agreement was reached on it in the negotiations in Baku. Kommersant says that Azerbaijan increased the rental at first from 7 mln to 15 mln, then to 150 mln and now to 300 mln. Consequently the negotiations are deadlocked.

The Russian defense source told the newspaper that Baku’s persistence is caused by its desire to take revenge on Moscow for its position in the negotiations on the legal status of the Caspian Sea.

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“Nightmare For Invader”: Georgia Is NATO States’ Window To Caucasus

http://www.civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=24497

Civil Georgia
February 29, 2012

Saakashvili: ‘Georgia Window to Europe for Caucasus’

Tbilisi: President Saakashvili said in his annual state of the nation address on February 28, that Georgia was “a locomotive to the future” and “window to Europe” for the Caucasus region.

“Georgia’s historic choice is the West, but the Caucasus is also our region. There is no long-term security for Georgia without security in the Caucasus. So we will continue active efforts for common Caucasian development and we will always be actively engaged with the Caucasian people,” Saakashvili said.

“Georgia firmly supports the principle of inviolability of borders, however we see the Caucasus undoubtedly as a single united region,” Saakashvili said.

“Our enemy is irritated by Georgia because for the first time in hundreds of years Georgia has created an example of modern statehood in the Caucasus, which amounts to a nightmare for the invader, because it could never imagine it happening; that’s why it is choking up with anger,” he said.

“Not only Georgia is a locomotive for the Caucasus into the future, but we are also a window to Europe for the Caucasus, because the modern, non-corrupt, fast-developing state has emerged in the Caucasus, the state which will have free trade with the U.S. and the EU and visa-free travel with the EU,” he said.

He also added that Georgia would be “the example of development” for the Caucasus, which will share all of its achievement with the rest of the region. “That’s something that Georgia’s enemy can’t swallow,” Saakashvili said.

After that he spoke of Tbilisi’s willingness to improve ties with Moscow, offering to unilaterally lift visa rules for the Russian citizens.

In 2010 Georgia introduced 45-day visa free travel rules for those Russian citizens who reside in Russia’s North Caucasus republics.

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NATO Summit: Special Declaration On Georgia To Be Issued

http://en.trend.az/regions/scaucasus/georgia/1998160.html

Trend News Agency
February 29, 2012

Georgia-NATO cooperation to be reflected in Alliance’s summit declaration
N. Kirtzkhalia

Tbilisi: At the NATO summit in Chicago, cooperation between Georgia and NATO will be reflected in a special declaration, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told Georgian Rustavi-2 Television.

Rasmussen was in Washington at an annual seminar where preparation procedures for the NATO summit were discussed.

He said that the summit declaration will reflect Georgia’s participation in the peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan. He noted the question of inviting new countries to the alliance is not on the agenda, but Georgia’s participation in Afghanistan’s peacekeeping operations and reforms will be assessed.

“Naturally, we will again present an open door policy at the summit. As for Georgia, it has achieved significant success. We appreciate the cooperation with Georgia and in particular its large contribution to the operation in Afghanistan. All this will be reflected in the summit declaration,” Rasmussen stated.

At a press conference, the NATO Secretary General praised the work of the coalition forces in Afghanistan, highlighting the victims among military peacekeepers. Following the death of Georgian military, the coalition had lost a few more soldiers. According to Rasmussen, in spite of this, the alliance has to fulfill its mission to the end.

Rasmussen also touched upon relations with Russia, saying that the alliance could not agree on the missile defense system in Europe, and because of this the NATO-Russia Council meeting would not take place in Chicago.

“I think if Russia fails to agree on a missile defense, the NATO-Russia Council meeting within the Chicago summit will not take place,” he said.

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Georgian Foreign Minister In Israel To Discuss “Regional Security Issues”

http://rustavi2.com/news/news_text.php?id_news=44771&pg=1&im=main&ct=0&wth=

Rustavi 2
February 28, 2012

Foreign Minister pays official visit to Israel

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia is paying an official visit to Israel. Grigol Vashadze has already been hosted by President of Israel Shimon Peres and discussed bilateral relations, and the political and the economic situation in two partner countries.

The sides also discussed regional security issues.

Within the visit, Georgian Minister will also hold meetings with the speaker of the Knesset and the foreign minister of Israel.

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Saakashvili: NATO Afghan Operation Provides Training For Local Conflicts

http://en.trend.az/news/politics/1997878.html

Trend News Agency
February 28, 2012

Georgian Parliament honor memory of victims of war in Afghanistan
N. Kirtzkhalia

Tbilisi: The annual address of the President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili in Parliament began with a minute of silence in honor of 15 Georgian military killed in Afghanistan. Saakashvili suggested that MPs, members of the government, the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia to commemorate the victims by standing.

“The names of the military will be inscribed in golden letters in the history of Georgia,” Saakashvili said.

Saakashvili noted that participation of the military in the operation of NATO in Afghanistan is strengthening Georgia and its armed forces.

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Labor Party Calls On Opposition To Demand Georgia’s Afghan Withdrawal

http://www.civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=24493

Civil Georgia
February 28, 2012

Labor Party Calls on Opposition to Demand Georgia’s Afghan Withdrawal

Tbilisi: The opposition Labor Party called on political parties in Georgia to sign a declaration that would demand withdrawal of 935-strong Georgian force from Afghanistan, which the authorities plan to further increase by sending an additional battalion this year.

“The parties, which will not sign this declaration and will be in favor of presence of Georgian troops in Afghanistan, will be worse than Saakashvili is and the blood of Georgian soldiers will be on their hands,” Giorgi Gugava, political secretary of the Labor Party, said on February 28.

The declaration says that President Saakashvili’s administration uses the large contribution to the ISAF for its own political purposes trying to secure the support of the West “to maintain his authoritarian rule” in Georgia, which is “discrediting Western values among the population.”

Georgia has lost fifteen of its soldiers in Afghanistan – all of them in the Helmand province in the south of the country.

The most recent fatalities were reported last week when three Georgian soldiers died as a result of an improvised explosive device attack on February 21.

President Saakashvili said on February 25 that those who were against of Georgia’s contribution to the NATO-led operations in Afghanistan “are footmen of Putin and of Russia.”

Asked whether he would downscale or increase Georgia’s ISAF contribution in case of coming into power, Bidzina Ivanishvili, leader of the Georgian Dream opposition coalition, responded in his recent interview published on February 27: “We should be proud of being partners of such states like the U.S. and other NATO members. This partnership requires our country to fulfill this mission in dignity.”

“The necessity of whether to decrease or increase our military contingent [in Afghanistan] will be considered, but we will not stop aspiring towards the Euro-Atlantic space. On the contrary, we will intensify and accelerate it,” Ivanishvili said.

One of the parties, which is likely to join the Labor Party’s declaration, is Free Georgia, led by former Conservative Party co-leader Kakha Kukava, which says that Georgia’s military presence in Afghanistan is “absolutely unjustified”.

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EU Pushes Trans-Caspian Pipeline Versus Russia, Iran

http://en.trend.az/capital/energy/1998109.html

Trend News Agency
February 29, 2012

Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and EU to support Southern Gas Corridor
E. Ismayilov

-A Trans-Caspian gas pipeline running to around 300 kilometres will be laid from the Turkmen coast of the Caspian Sea to Azerbaijani, where it will be linked to the Southern Gas Corridor.
-The Southern Gas Corridor’ is one of the priority energy projects for the EU. It is designed to diversify the routes and sources of supply and thereby increase the energy security of the EU. The Southern Gas Corridor project includes Nabucco, the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) and ITGI.

Baku: Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and the EU are preparing two documents that will allow them to take delivery of the Caspian and in particular Turkmen gas to Europe, Azerbaijani Industry and Energy Minister Natiq Aliyev said at a meeting with members of the Caspian-European Integration Business Club (CEIBC) on Wednesday.

He said Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and the European Union are preparing a political document to support the Southern Gas Corridor, as well as an inter-governmental agreement on the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline. This should take place before the end of the year.

In September, 2011 the EU Council gave a mandate for negotiations between the EU, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan to build the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline.

A Trans-Caspian gas pipeline running to around 300 kilometres will be laid from the Turkmen coast of the Caspian Sea to Azerbaijani, where it will be linked to the Southern Gas Corridor. Negotiations between Turkmenistan and the EU and other countries on the construction of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline have been on-going since the late 90s.

During negotiations with Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, the EU will discuss agreements outlining the legal obligations of the parties necessary for Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan for the construction and operation of the Trans-Caspian pipeline. Also on the agenda will be the legal framework to be applied to the issue of filling the gas pipeline from Turkmenistan including the recognition of commercial agreements.

The Southern Gas Corridor’ is one of the priority energy projects for the EU. It is designed to diversify the routes and sources of supply and thereby increase the energy security of the EU. The Southern Gas Corridor project includes Nabucco, the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) and ITGI.

The Trans Caspian project involves laying a pipeline (300 km) through the seabed from Turkmenistan to Azerbaijan.

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Azerbaijan: Pivot Of Western Trans-Eurasian Energy Strategy

http://en.trend.az/capital/energy/1997976.html

Trend News Agency
February 29, 2012

Azerbaijan’s role in ensuring Europe’s energy security difficult to overestimate
S. Aliyev, E. Tariverdiyeva

-Baguirov said energy security in fact, became an integral part of global security in the world and the development of many countries, particularly countries in the Eurasian region depends on its solution.
-The Nabucco gas pipeline project is designed to transport gas from the Caspian region and Middle East to European countries. The construction of Nabucco pipeline with maximum capacity of 31 billion cubic meters is planned to start in 2013 and its first supplies are scheduled for 2017.

Baku: The role of Azerbaijan and in particular, the Azerbaijani gas in ensuring energy security in Europe is difficult to overestimate, chairman of the Baku Nobel Heritage Fund Togrul Baguirov believes.

“This role has recently increased significantly; Azerbaijan has become a serious player in the European gas market. With its huge gas reserves, Azerbaijan, along with other countries in the Caspian region, is actively involved in ensuring Europe’s energy security,” president of the Moscow International Petroleum Club and the UN expert on energy issues Togrul Baguirov said in an interview with Trend.

In his view, the issues of energy security in recent years have become extremely relevant and are of great public interest.

Baguirov said energy security in fact, became an integral part of global security in the world and the development of many countries, particularly countries in the Eurasian region depends on its solution.

The system of energy security provides for finding a reasonable compromise between the energy producing countries, consuming countries and transit countries, the expert believes.

Baguirov noted this problem is in the focus of the world’s leading powers and is discussed at almost all high forums, including G8, G20, the UN and other organizations.

Today, Azerbaijan considers three proposals for the transportation of gas to Europe – Nabucco, TAP (Trans Adriatic Pipeline) and SEEP (South-East Europe Pipeline, proposed by BP).

In addition Azerbaijan and Turkey signed a memorandum of understanding to establish the consortium that will build the Trans Anadolu Pipeline (TANAP) for supply of gas from Shah Deniz gas field to Europe through Turkey. Gas produced during the second stage of Azerbaijani Shah Deniz gas condensate field development is to be the main source for the Southern Gas Corridor projects. Under the Shah Deniz – 2 project Azerbaijan plans to supply 10 billion cubic metres of gas to Europe.

Baguirov also said the TANAP in principle, is an alternative to Nabucco, a kind of compromise.

“TANAP is two times shorter than Nabucco. Its implementation will not require excessive investment, long-term agreements and approvals in the EU countries,” the expert said.

He believes reduction in gas consumption in Europe is a temporary phenomenon, the crisis sooner or later will be overcome.

“At the same time Nabucco will remain an exceptionally regional Inter-European gas pipeline,” he said.

Speaking of the European gas market, it should be borne in mind that Europe may witness in the near future the so-called shale revolution, similar to the American, Baguirov said.

The expert said some European countries have huge reserves of this unconventional gas.

“The last severe winter showed that, despite the temporary increase in the price of LNG in Europe, in general, its price advantage over the piped gas is obvious (at different times more than $100 per thousand cubic meters),” the expert noted.

Baguirov said therefore, the conclusion is one – gas-producing countries, particularly Azerbaijan, seeking its place in the European gas market – must hurry.

Shale gas is natural gas produced from shale and consisting mainly of methane. Shale gas deposits are developed in the U.S. and some European countries.

The Nabucco gas pipeline project is designed to transport gas from the Caspian region and Middle East to European countries. The construction of Nabucco pipeline with maximum capacity of 31 billion cubic meters is planned to start in 2013 and its first supplies are scheduled for 2017.

The project’s partners include Bulgarian Energy Holding, Romanian Transgaz, Turkish Botas, Austrian OMV, German RWE and Hungary’s FGSZ.

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Former Soviet Space: EU Develops Trans-Eurasian Transport Corridors

http://en.trend.az/capital/business/1998076.html

Trend News Agency
February 29, 2012

EU assists in attracting investments for transport projects along TRACECA corridor
A. Badalova

-TRACECA (Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia) is an international transport cooperation program between the EU and its Partner countries in Eastern Europe, South Caucasus and Central Asia. It has a permanent Secretariat in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Currently, TRACECA member states are Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, Moldova, Romania, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Ukraine and Iran.

Baku: The investment opportunities for projects in member states of the TRACECA programme were discussed during a conference hosted by the European Commission.

The TRACECA Investment Forum 2012 was held this week with the aim to attract investments into transport infrastructure between the EU and Central Asia, ENPI Info Center reported.

The high-level conference was attended by the representatives from the international donor community and TRACECA countries. The conference participants discussed potential funding opportunities for priority projects in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, Moldova, and Ukraine among others.

During the forum twelve projects were presented to potential donors and investors interested in logistic centres as well as road, rail, maritime and aviation transport.

European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Štefan Füle said that an efficient transport system is the backbone of effective regional integration.

“Our Eastern neighbours, who link the Black and the Caspian Seas to China and beyond, could benefit from stronger transport infrastructure and services, in order to help them reach their full potential in their economic and trade relations with the EU,” he said.

TRACECA (Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia) is an international transport cooperation program between the EU and its Partner countries in Eastern Europe, South Caucasus and Central Asia. It has a permanent Secretariat in Baku, Azerbaijan. The cooperation framework covers the areas of maritime transport, aviation, road and rail, transport security and transport infrastructure.

Currently, TRACECA member states are Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, Moldova, Romania, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Ukraine and Iran.

Up to now, the EU has supported this programme with technical assistance of almost €170 million for 80 projects.

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Categories: Uncategorized

West Intensifies Syria-Style Campaign Against Belarus

February 29, 2012 Leave a comment

Russian Information Agency Novosti
February 29, 2012

U.S. Warns Belarus of Deepening Isolation

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton announced on Tuesday that all EU members will recall their ambassadors to Minsk

WASHINGTON: The United States has expressed “deep regret” over the Belarusian authorities’ decision to expel two European Union diplomats in retaliation for new EU sanctions imposed on Belarusian officials over alleged human rights violations.

The Belarusian Foreign Ministry advised on Tuesday that the head of the EU delegation to Belarus, Ambassador Maira Mora, and Polish Ambassador Leszek Szerepka “leave for their capitals for consultations to inform their leadership of Belarus’ firm position that pressure and sanctions are unacceptable.” Minsk also recalled its ambassadors from Warsaw and Brussels.

“These actions, like the expulsion of the US ambassador to Belarus in 2008 and the closure of the OSCE office in Minsk in March 2011, are only deepening Belarus’ self-isolation,” U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement.

Following the Belarusian statement, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton announced on Tuesday that all EU members will recall their ambassadors to Minsk.

“In expression of solidarity and unity, it was agreed that the ambassadors of the EU member states in Minsk will all be withdrawn for consultations to their capitals,” Ashton said through her spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic. “All EU member states will also summon Belarusian ambassadors to their foreign ministries.”

The diplomatic scandal broke out after the EU announced that it had blacklisted another 21 Belarusian officials over their alleged involvement in the ongoing crackdown on the country’s opposition. More than 200 people were already on the blacklist, including President Alexander Lukashenko, two of his sons, and most of the country’s top leadership. They have been banned from entering the EU and their European assets have been frozen.

Toner said in his statement “the United States stands with our partners and joins them in calling on Belarus to end its repression of civil society and the democratic opposition.”

While announcing the decision to expel the diplomats, Belarusian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Savinykh warned that “other measures to defend our interests will also be taken” should Western powers continue putting pressure on Minsk.

He also threatened to ban entry to the country for those EU officials who contributed to the introduction of the new sanctions.

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Belarusian Telegraph Agency
February 28, 2012

EU keeps exerting outright pressure on Belarus

MINSK: The decision of the Council of the EU demonstrates that the European Union sticks to the policy of outright pressure on Belarus, Spokesman for the Foreign Ministry of Belarus Andrei Savinykh said on 28 February, commenting on new sanctions by the EU, BelTA has learnt.

“We have reiterated on numerous occasions at all levels that such a policy towards the Republic of Belarus is futile,” Andrei Savinykh said. He added that Belarus will retaliate by introducing a travel ban to those EU officials who contributed to the introduction of the restrictive measures against Belarus.

Andrei Savinykh added that Belarus’ Permanent Representative to the European Union and Belarus’ Ambassador to Poland were recalled to Minsk for consultations. “The head of the EU Office in the Republic of Belarus and the Polish Ambassador to Belarus were also offered to go to their countries for consultations to deliver Belarus’ position that condemns pressure and sanctions,” he said.

“If the policy of pressure on the Republic of Belarus persists, other measures will follow to protect our interests. We hope that the EU officials and member states will realize the lameness of power politics,” Andrei Savinykh said. He noted that Belarus’ proposals to the European Union to expand dialogue and cooperation based on equality and mutual respect are still on the table.

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Itar-Tass
February 28, 2012

Belarus summons its ambassadors to EU, Poland for consultations

MINSK: Belarus will respond to the decision of the EU Council to tighten sanctions.

“The decision of the EU Council shows that the European Union sticks to the policy of open pressure. We have repeatedly explained on various levels that such policy is unpromising. In turn, Belarus will bar EU officials, who have contributed to the restrictive measures,” Belarusian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Savinykh said.

The Belarusian permanent representative to the European Union and the Belarusian ambassador to Poland have been summoned to Minsk for consultations concerning the new EU sanctions on Belarus, he said.

The head of the EU delegation to Belarus and the Polish ambassador to Belarus “were offered to visit their home countries for consultations and for conveying to their administrations the firm position of Belarus on the impermissibility of pressure and sanctions,” Savinykh said. “If pressure on the Republic of Belarus continues, other measures will be taken to protect our interests,” he said.

The European Union Council has given an official approval to new sanctions on Belarus. It said that the sanctions applying to persons responsible for serious violations of human rights or the repression of civil society and democratic opposition were tightened against the backdrop of the continuing exacerbation of the situation in Belarus and 21 such persons were added to the list of those who were prohibited to enter the EU and whose assets would be frozen.

There are more than 200 names of high-ranking Belarusian officials, among them President Alexander Lukashenko, on the list at present. Assets of three companies related to the Lukashenko regime remain frozen, and sanctions on Belarusian arms exporters remain valid, the Council said.

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Belarusian Telegraph Agency
February 27, 2012

Russian MPs urge EU to drop ultimatums to Belarus

MOSCOW: The State Duma of Russia regrets the expansion of the EU sanctions against Belarus, chief of the parliamentary committee for the CIS affairs, deputy head of the Russian delegation to PACE Leonid Slutsky told reporters, BelTA has learnt.

“Russia reiterates that this is a destructive approach,” the Russian MP said.

Leonid Slutsky urged resumption of dialogue and end to ultimatums towards Belarus. “The best way to do it is to restore Belarus’ special guest status at the Council of Europe and its Parliamentary Assembly,” he said.

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Belarusian Telegraph Agency
February 27, 2012

Policy of intimidation unacceptable for Belarus, Russia

MINSK: Russia and Belarus openly state that a policy of intimidation is unacceptable, Vadim Gigin, Editor in Chief of the Belaruskaya Dumka magazine, told Belarus One TV channel in an interview as he commented on the joint statement made by the presidents of Belarus and Russia regarding possible EU and USA sanctions.

“It is a new stage in the development of geopolitical relations in the post-Soviet space. Russia and Belarus openly and unambiguously state that the policy of intimidation pursued by the USA and the EU is unacceptable in the modern world. It is outdated logic,” said Vadim Gigin.

“Unfortunately, in recent years our Western neighbors have been constantly trying to pressure our ways of future political and economic development. In my view it is completely unacceptable with regards to a sovereign and independent country. The way of ultimatums, sanctions and restrictions is the way to nowhere,” said Sergei Semashko, member of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus.

Chairman of the Belarusian Scientific and Industrial Association Alexander Shvets said: “From the economic point of view it is unacceptable in the modern world. There are no sufficient political or geopolitical reasons when it comes to Belarus. Therefore, we oppose such sanctions and such cooperation”.

Categories: Uncategorized

Storm Clouds Gather Over The Falklands/Malvinas

February 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Voice of Russia
February 28, 2012

Storm clouds gather over the Falklands
Sergei Sayenko

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Adding fuel to the fire will certainly be a visit by British MPs to the Falklands in March and the upcoming deployment of the Dauntless destroyer and a Trafalgar-class nuclear-powered submarine off the Falklands. One can only hope that British authorities will think twice before sending these warships to the Falklands, a saber-rattling move that would herald the beginning of the militarization of the South Atlantic…

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At least 20 operatives from British Special Forces are providing protection to Prince William on the Falkland Islands, where he is serving on a helicopter search-and-rescue crew, British media reported on Monday.

The Voice of Russia’s Sergei Sayenko has more.

The special operations unit is tasked with identifying and thwarting any potential threat posed to the Duke of Cambridge who arrived in the Falklands in early February on a routine deployment. The arrival came in the run-up to the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War which was fought between Britain and Argentina over the disputed islands.

Prince William’s deployment to the Falklands infuriated Argentina’s Foreign Ministry which strongly condemned the move and referred to the Duke as a ‘conquistador’. The Ministry’s comment was echoed by prominent Hollywood actor Sean Penn who was quoted as saying that “it was unthinkable that the United Kingdom can make a conscious decision to deploy a prince within the military to the Malvinas.” The statement was made during Penn’s visit to Argentina earlier this month.

“It’s necessary that these diplomatic talks happen between the United Kingdom and Argentina. I think that the world today is not going to tolerate any kind of ludicrous and archaic commitment to colonialist ideology and yet there are clearly nuances of negotiations that have to be beneficial and understood between both parties.”

Experts say that the biggest threat to Prince William could be posed by “a single person or a group of several people.”

Special Forces personnel had carried out an extensive reconnaissance operation on the Falklands prior to the Duke’s arrival there. They will be on standby to ensure Prince William’s safety, and they even have permission to ‘shoot to kill’ if necessary.

The question is who are they going to ‘shoot’ on the Falklands given that the Argentinian side is currently treading carefully on the matter, our political commentator says. Everyone knows full well that a potential attempt on Prince William’s life would almost certainly spark a war between the UK and Argentina which is why Buenos Aires would never make such an insane move, our commentator adds.

It seems that the Duke’s six-week mission to the Falklands seeks to remind Argentina once again that the South Atlantic archipelago remains an integral part of Britain.

Meanwhile, diplomatic friction between Britain and Argentina over the Falklands shows no sign of abating. On Monday, two British cruise ships were prevented from docking in the Argentine port of Ushuaia, apparently because they had earlier visited the Falklands. Britain demanded an explanation which our commentator says is unlikely to be offered because the incident had been deliberately instigated by Buenos Aires which wants to punish London for its reluctance to negotiate the status of the Falkland Islands.

With the time ticking for the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War, scheduled for April 2, 2012, the UN is surprisingly turning a blind eye to the British-Argentinian dispute which intensifies with every passing day.

Adding fuel to the fire will certainly be a visit by British MPs to the Falklands in March and the upcoming deployment of the Dauntless destroyer and a Trafalgar-class nuclear-powered submarine off the Falklands. One can only hope that British authorities will think twice before sending these warships to the Falklands, a saber-rattling move that would herald the beginning of the militarization of the South Atlantic, our commentator concludes.

Categories: Uncategorized

American Unipolar Moment Has Ended, Global Multipolarity Emerges

February 28, 2012 2 comments

Pakistan Observer
February 28, 2012

Emerging multipolar world
M Zarrar Haider

The last two decades witnessed the expression of unipolarity in terms of unilateralism with invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and the endemic Global War on Terror (GWOT). We are now in a new, fast-evolving multipolar world in which some developing countries are emerging as economic powers; others are moving towards becoming additional poles of growth; and some are struggling to attain their potential within this new system where North and South, East and West, are now points on a compass, not economic destinies. A new global order is rapidly emerging where the United States will no doubt remain a very important player.

Yet alongside the U.S. there will be several others. By 2025, six emerging economies – Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, South Korea, and Russia – will collectively account for about one-half of global growth. For now, the US dollar remains the most important international currency. In Global Development Horizons 2011, the World Bank presents what it believes to be the most probable global currency scenario in 2025, a multicurrency arrangement centred on the dollar, euro, and renminbi. This scenario is buttressed by the likelihood that the US, the eurozone, and China will constitute the three major growth poles at that time. It is belived that the world economy is on the verge of a transformative change – the transition to a multipolar world economic order.

China is only the largest part of a bigger story about the rise of new economic and political players. America’s traditional allies in Europe – Britain, France, Italy, even Germany – are slipping down the economic ranks. New powers on the rise are India, Brazil and Turkey. They each have their own foreign-policy preferences, which collectively constrain America’s ability to shape the world.

How India and Brazil sided with China at the global climate change talks or the votes by Turkey and Brazil against America at the United Nations on sanctions against Iran and the veto by Russia and China on the US resolution regarding regime change in Syria, all are signs and symptoms of the changing of a unipolar world into a multipolar and interdependent world.

Identifying Players in the New World Order

The world is changing. It is becoming increasingly multipolar with the emergence of China, India and Brazil and with the resurgence of Russia – forming the so-called BRIC.

The world is also becoming increasingly interdependent, not only economically as recently illustrated with the US financial crisis turning into a global economic crisis, but also regarding the threats and challenges our societies face, such as terrorism, climate change, and poverty and energy scarcity. This multipolarity in the age of interdependence, or interpolarity as Giovanni Grevi names it, will most likely shape the 21st century. The American unipolar moment has ended. Yet, it seems too early nonetheless to evoke true multipolarity.

Indeed, the US remains the dominant power, or the “lonely superpower,” and is likely to maintain its status for years and probably decades to come. America’s decline is not an illusion, but it must be understood in relative terms. US global influence is fading because it contrasts with the rise of the ‘rest’, i.e. the empowerment of other actors at the local, regional and global levels.

In late 2005 Goldman Sachs introduced the concept of the Next Eleven (N-11). The prurpose was to identify those countries that could potentially have a BRIC-like impact in rivalling the G7. Their main common ground and the reason for their selection was that they were the next set of large-population countries beyond the BRICs. The result was a very diverse grouping that includes Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Korea, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Turkey and Vietnam. The N-11 weight in the global economy and global trade has been slowly increasing, with a contribution to global growth of around 9% over the last few years.

Categories: Uncategorized

Syria’s Dubious Friends Plan To Plunge Nation Into Full-Scale Civil War

February 28, 2012 1 comment

China Daily
February 28, 2012

Syrian people’s true friend

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Despite its efforts to brand itself as the “protector” of the Arab people, the US’ conduct lacks any moral backing. History is sure to be the judge of the US’ interventions into the internal affairs of the Arab world and it will show they have brought disaster to the local people. The violence in Iraq is a persistent reminder.

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The situation in Syria is deteriorating and the likelihood of a full-scale civil war is increasing, as fighting between the Syrian government and opposition intensifies and the “Friends of Syria” have agreed to recognize the opposition Syrian National Council as a “legitimate representative”.

Particularly worrying is the willingness of some nations to provide arms to the Syrian opposition and the willingness of the United States to involve itself in the Syrian chaos rather than letting Syrians end the violence with a minimum loss of life.

Washington has tried to hold China and Russia accountable for the ongoing violence in the Middle East nation while portraying itself as the friend of democracy and freedom. Yet in reality the US involvement is only prolonging the bloodshed and making it harder to reach a peaceful solution.

At a news briefing after the “Friends of Syria” conference on Friday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton once again bad-mouthed China and Russia, accusing the two of “opposing the desires of the Syrian people” and of “denying the Syrian people the right to choose their own leader”.

With these words, Clinton ignored the biggest aspiration of the Syrian people: to put an end to the violence and restore their country’s stability.

What the majority of the Syrian people want is a peaceful return to their everyday lives. This is also what China seeks. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has made active efforts to broker talks among the various Syrian factions.

Despite its efforts to brand itself as the “protector” of the Arab people, the US’ conduct lacks any moral backing. History is sure to be the judge of the US’ interventions into the internal affairs of the Arab world and it will show they have brought disaster to the local people. The violence in Iraq is a persistent reminder.

China has a deep and long-established friendship with the Arab world and China respects the Arab people’s choice of their own development path. It is a friendship that has survived the tests of history and it will not be easily broken.

Categories: Uncategorized

SIPRI Report: International Arms Industry – Business As Usual

February 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Voice of Russia
February 28, 2012

Arms industry – business as usual
Sergei Guk

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Of the SIPRI top 100 arms-producing companies, 73 are based in the United States and Western Europe which account for more than 90 percent of total global military expenditures…

The SIPRI report plays down the problem of upgrading so-called conventional arms which some experts contend can be on a par with nuclear weapons in terms of destructive capacity.

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No economic crises, defaults and budget deficits are able to dampen the arms industry which continues to gather strength. Another illustration of this is a report released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) earlier this year.

The report highlights global military expenditure data for 2010. Of the SIPRI top 100 arms-producing companies, 73 are based in the United States and Western Europe which account for more than 90 percent of total global military expenditures that stood at 411 billion dollars in 2010, a 10-billion-dollar increase as compared to 2009. SIPRI experts attribute this moderate growth to the signing of long-term contracts which contributed significantly to the stabilization of the world arms market.

The Arab Spring left the Western arms traders sitting on the horns of a dilemma which was all about the possible arming of the new regimes – something that is still seen as a risky business. NATO’s and Germany’s arms deals with Saudi Arabia are also in danger given that Riyadh is little by little becoming a gendarme of the Arab world, something that can be proved by Riyadh’s recent participation in the suppression of a rebellion in Bahrain. When supplying arms to Arab countries, the West typically cites the necessity of supporting democracy or restoring the balance of power in the region in the face of the potential Iranian nuclear threat.

The SIPRI report plays down the problem of upgrading so-called conventional arms which some experts contend can be on a par with nuclear weapons in terms of destructive capacity. Retired Major General Pavel Zolotarev, deputy head of the Institute for US and Canadian Studies in Moscow, says, in contrast, that drawing parallels between conventional and nuclear arms is irrelevant. It is common knowledge that the use of nuclear weapons is fraught with the mass loss of human life and protracted radioactive contamination of area which is not the case with conventional arms, Zolotarev recalls.

“At the same time,” he says, “there already are some types of high-precision conventional arms which are capable of destroying targets that could only be eliminated with the help of nuclear weapons in previous years.

Some experts justify the arms race by arguing that military technologies allegedly contribute to developing science and creating more jobs – claims that certainly hold no water.

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO news: February 28, 2012

February 28, 2012 1 comment

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China And Russia Slam West Over Syria

Libya “Close To Disintegration: Prime Minister

Turkey: U.S. Military Running NATO Interceptor Missile Site

Israeli Arms Shipments To Azerbaijan: Against Iran Or Armenia?

NATO’s Special Operations Network “Steadily Growing”

Mediterranean: Canadian Warship Participates In NATO Anti-Submarine Warfare Drills

U.S. Guided Missile Destroyer Headed To Arabian Sea

NATO Wants Azerbaijan As Wedge Between Russia And Iran

NATO Bombed Serbia Because Of Lies: Former OSCE Official

400 Pakistani Troops Escape U.S. Missile Strike Aimed At Drone Wreck Site

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China And Russia Slam West Over Syria

http://www.globaltimes.cn/NEWS/tabid/99/ID/697719/China-Russia-slam-West-over-Syria.aspx

Global Times
February 28, 2012

China, Russia slam West over Syria
By Qiu Yongzheng in Damascus and Wang Zhaokun in Beijing

China and Russia yesterday rejected US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s criticism of their stand on Syria, as the European Union (EU) nations agreed to slap new sanctions on the Syrian government.

China “cannot accept it at all,” foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters at a regular daily news briefing.

At a conference on Syria last week in Tunisia, Clinton called the Chinese and Russian veto of a UN resolution on Syria “despicable.”

“We suggest the Syrian people’s own choice should be respected and outsiders should not impose any so-called Syrian solution on Syria or the Syrian people,” Hong said.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin yesterday also accused the West of being “cynical” over the stance on Syria.

Putin said the West “lacks the patience to work out an adjusted and balanced” resolution that also requires opposition forces to cease fire and withdraw from flashpoints, such as the besieged central city of Homs.

China and Russia on Friday did not attend the “Friends of Syria” meeting, in which more than 60 foreign ministers gathered to seek an end to the 11 months of turmoil in the country.

Hong reiterated China did not attend the conference last week as the aim, effect and mechanism of the conference had not been further studied.

In Syria, the interior minister announced yesterday almost 90 percent of Syrians approved a new constitution, proposed by President Bashar al-Assad, in a referendum on Sunday. Turnout in the referendum was 57.4 percent, state television said.

However, despite the step, which Assad has said is a move toward reform that could bring political pluralism to Syria, the EU agreed to a further round of economic sanctions yesterday, targeting the Syrian central bank and some ministers, curbing gold trading and banning cargo flights.

The vote is likely to further complicate the situation in Syria, according to Yin Gang, a senior Middle East expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

“The legitimacy of the Assad government is set to be strengthened once the draft constitution is approved, but the move will not change the attitude of the forces at home and abroad that has been demanding Assad’s immediate stepping down,” he said.

Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani said yesterday Arab countries should take part in an international military effort to stop the bloodshed in Syria, urging nations to provide arms to Syria’s opposition.

“If the Assad government could follow up on the reforms it promised in the constitutional referendum, this would help ease the pressure he is facing at home. It might even lead to further division among the opposition groups in Syria,” Li Weijian, director of the Research Center of West Asian and African Studies at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, told the Global Times.

“Since the signal sent by the conference on Syria in Tunisia is that the West will not choose military intervention at the moment. They may choose to secretly arm the Syrian oppositions to pile up pressure on Assad,” Li added.

Agencies contributed to this story.

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Libya “Close To Disintegration: Prime Minister

http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_02_27/67016492/

Russian Information Agency Novosti
February 27, 2012

Libya ‘close to disintegration’ – PM

Speaking on the first anniversary of the anti-Gaddafi revolution in Misurata Monday, interim Libyan Prime Minister Mustafa Abdeljalil warned of complete national disintegration if the rival tribes and clans that had laid hands on Gaddafi’s arsenals continued to refuse to submit to the authority of the central government.

The illegal firearms in circulation in Libya number in the tens of thousands.

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Turkey: U.S. Military Running NATO Interceptor Missile Site

http://www.panarmenian.net/eng/news/96096/

PanArmenian.net
February 27, 2012

U.S. mans new radar defense site in Turkey

American forces are now manning a new radar defense site in Turkey that could help defend Europe from a potential Iranian ballistic missile attack, the U.S. Army’s commander in Europe said.

“We have the forces in place … at a radar site in southern Turkey,” Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling said in an interview at Montenegro’s main military airport in its capital, Today’s Zaman reported.

It is the first time a senior US commander has confirmed reports that the NATO defense shield radar – which has caused tensions between Turkey and its Muslim neighbor Iran – has been operational in the past few weeks. The radar is a key element in a planned ballistic missile defense system that also would put other land- and sea-based radars and anti-missile interceptors in several European locations over the next decade.

“I can only speak for the ground base air defense units,” Hertling said. “But I will tell you that we make constant coordination (with the US Navy and Air Force), and I think we are well on track to conduct missile defense.”

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Israeli Arms Shipments To Azerbaijan: Against Iran Or Armenia?

http://www.panarmenian.net/eng/news/96111/

PanArmenian.net
February 23, 2012

Israeli arms supply to Azerbaijan aimed against Iran or Armenia?

The Israel Aerospace Industries company plans to sell to Azerbaijan drones and air defense systems at USD 1,6 bln. The Israeli Defense Ministry deemed the issue a resolved one. Chairman of Islamic Committee of Russia Heydar Jemal rendered his version on Tel Aviv’s selling weaponry to Baku to GeorgiaTimes.

According to the contract, Azerbaijan will get anti-aircraft systems and missile defense systems, without naming the precise volume of arms provided to Baku.

“Selling weaponry to Azerbaijan is another attempt to exert psychological pressure on Iran. Selling drones and air defense systems to Azerbaijan must enhance the conflict level in ties between Baku and Tehran. Israeli weaponry may advance Azeri positions in relation to Armenia, whereas Armenians themselves get enough arms supplies from abroad. Israelis, similar to Americans, always define the conditions under which their armaments must be used. I deem the Tel Aviv-Baku arms deal to be Israel’s transmit to Iran. A Nagorno Karabakh conflict resumption is a mere matter of time. Relations between Armenians and Azerbaijanis for years have remained tense,” Jema said.

Iran has recently accused Azerbaijan of cooperation with Mossad.

Asked whether Israeli intelligence may be found in Azerbaijan, Heydar Jemal said, “Azerbaijan is in close ties with Israel, also in the military field. Baku-Tel Aviv military cooperation implies close relations in the field of military reconnaissance. Azerbaijan has taken the role of Turkey for Israel…”

Thus, tensions between Israel and Iran keep mounting…

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NATO’s Special Operations Network “Steadily Growing”

http://www.nato.int/cps/en/SID-C7E42A5B-BF55385C/natolive/news_84662.htm

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
February 27, 2012

NATO’s Special Forces Network

-Last year the NATO Special Operations School had almost 1000 graduates. And with a total of 2500 graduates so far, NATO’s Special Operations Network is steadily growing.

The skills and expertise of Special Forces are valuable assets to NATO operations. But whereas Special Forces are often seen as a national prerogative, the transatlantic Alliance also has a NATO Special Operations Headquarters (NSHQ) where Special Forces work together.

Located at SHAPE Headquarters in Mons, Belgium, the NSHQ was set up to coordinate NATO’s Special Operations and to optimise the employment of Special Forces. It has one of the most diverse multinational compositions within NATO. NATO Partnership for Peace (PfP) member Austria and the NATO ‘contact country’ of Sweden have also recently assigned personnel to the NSHQ.

“The main advantage of the NSHQ is to bring all SOF – Special Operations Forces – nations from NATO and from partners together to sit around the table and to promote and improve the national SOF capabilities and to assure interoperability. The capability to work together like in Afghanistan currently,” says Colonel Fritz Urbach.

Although the majority of what the NSHQ does is at the strategic and operational level, the NATO Special Operations Headquarters is also the place for training and education. At their training facility at nearby Chièvres Air Base, Special Forces from NATO and partner nations train together.

Connected Forces

By connecting the different forces, the NATO Special Operations Headquarters creates a network of Special Forces people who train together and who know and trust each other. Once they deploy on a multinational operation they can build on a trusted relationship. Building this Special Forces community is a key element, according to Colonel Fritz Urbach.

Last year the NATO Special Operations School had almost 1000 graduates. And with a total of 2500 graduates so far, NATO’s Special Operations Network is steadily growing.

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Mediterranean: Canadian Warship Participates In NATO Anti-Submarine Warfare Drills

http://www.aco.nato.int/hmcs-charlottetown-participates-in-natos-largest-asw-exercise.aspx

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations
February 27, 2012

HMCS CHARLOTTETOWN PARTICIPATES IN NATO’S LARGEST ASW EXERCISE

Nisida, Naples: The Operations Room is the nerve centre of a ship. It contains equipment for monitoring and controlling electronic warfare, fire control, sonar, radar – the full spectrum of detection and analytical sensors. Under the distinctive red-colored lighting, there is constant activity that continues 24/7 while the ship is sailing. It’s here, in the ops room of HMCS Charlottetown – over continuous crackle of the radio and flicker of radar screens – that sailors participate in NATO’s largest Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) exercise.

Eleven NATO nations are providing five submarines, 15 aircraft (including shore and ship based helicopters) and 12 surface ships (including two Auxiliary ships from Italy and one NATO Research Vessel) to take part in PROUD MANTA 12.

Charlottetown is participating in Exercise PROUD MANTA 2012 from February 14-23 in the Ionian Sea to the southeast of Sicily.

“Canada’s role throughout the exercise is to support NATO forces as an effective ASW platform,” said Lieutenant (Navy) Mark McShane, Under Water Warfare Officer on HMCS Charlottetown…

Along with Canada, other forces contributing include France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Canada’s air detachment aboard HMCS Charlottetown will also have an active role throughout the exercise. Canada’s ship-borne maritime helicopter – the CH-124 Sea King – was originally designed as an ASW helicopter. It, along with the helicopter air detachment, provides Charlottetown with an extended range to its ASW platform.

“During PROUD MANTA 2012 Charlottetown’s air detachment will be on a 30 minute standby to launch,” said Captain Chris Cole, pilot with Charlottetown’s air detachment. “When called upon, we will be asked to use the helo’s variety of sensors – such as sonar; Forward-looking Infra-Red; radar; sonobuoys; and its latest addition, an augmented surface plot – to search, localize, detect and track five submarines involved. The helo will work in conjunction with the ship’s sensors and operators to accomplish the various tasks the exercise may present.”

“This is a challenging exercise for both surface and subsurface contacts,” said Lt(N) McShane. “There are five very effective subs participating and all provide significant challenges to the fleet, as both individual units and more so during coordinated attacks. The sheer number of surface and air assets provides a very demanding environment.”

Overall the exercise is challenging, but it demonstrates NATO’s determination to maintain proficiency and improve interoperability in coordinated anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, coastal surveillance and other maritime operations using a multi-national force of ships, submarines and aircraft.

by Lieutenant, RCN Jessica MacDonald

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U.S. Guided Missile Destroyer Headed To Arabian Sea

http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=65556

U.S. Navy
February 26, 2012

USS McFaul Heads to the Arabian Sea
By Story by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Karen E. Cozza, COMNAVSURFLANT Public Affairs

NORFOLK: The guided-missile destroyer USS McFaul (DDG 74) departed Naval Station Norfolk today on a regularly scheduled deployment to the Arabian Sea to participate in counter-piracy operations.

McFaul, commissioned in 1998, is the 24th Arleigh Burke-Class Destroyer, and was named after Chief Petty Officer Donald L. McFaul. McFaul was a local SEAL Team 4 hero who was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross, the Nation’s second highest combat valor award, for his heroic actions in saving his teammates during combat operations in December 1989 as part of Operation Just Cause in Panama.

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NATO Wants Azerbaijan As Wedge Between Russia And Iran

http://www.messenger.com.ge/issues/2553_february_24_2012/2553_econ_three.html

The Messenger
February 24, 2012

Tensions with Iran push Azerbaijan towards NATO

-Azeri analysts believe that NATO will be welcoming of their country, as it could help further separate Tehran and Moscow…and it may provide access to Azeri energy resources.

On April 9, a high-ranking NATO delegation will visit Azerbaijan in order to begin negotiations on granting the country an Individual Partnership Action Plan.

The meeting will discuss Azeri politics, security, defense, scientific capability, and environment problems.

So far, Azerbaijan has been moving very cautiously towards NATO, out of consideration for its neighbour, Iran. However, the tense political situation in the region has prompted Baku to seek a new policy direction.

Azeri analysts believe that NATO will be welcoming of their country, as it could help further separate Tehran and Moscow, it could secure an otherwise “risky” country like Azerbaijan, and it may provide access to Azeri energy resources.

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NATO Bombed Serbia Because Of Lies: Former OSCE Official

B92
February 28, 2012

“NATO bombed Serbia because of lies”

BELGRADE: NATO launched its 1999 war against Serbia “because of German Defense Minister Rudolf Scharping’s lies”, claims a former member of an OSCE mission in Kosovo.

Belgrade-based Blic newspaper writes, quoting the Vestionline website, that ahead of the start of the war, Scharping falsely presented members of the ethnic Albanian KLA “rebels” as civilian victims.

The Serbian authorities considered the KLA to be a terrorist group.

Scharping was accused by former German police official Henning Hensch, an OSCE observer in Kosovo before the war, who spoke for Germany’s NDR television.

This OSCE observer was personally present during the investigation of the scene in Rugovo in Kosovo in January 1999, where Serbian police units fought against KLA members.

The German television program featuring an interview with Hensch also showed Scharping in a news conference in early 1999, where he presented photographs from Rugovo of KLA members killed in battle, claiming they depicted massacred civilians.

Furthermore, the German minister told reporters that the OSCE photos of the scene were made “secretly by a German officer”, and that he would have “gladly presented him (to reporters)”, but that the officer is question was “receiving medical treatment because of the traumatic experiences” that he underwent in Kosovo.

13 years later, NDR journalists asked the German Defense Ministry to confirm that “a German officer” was in the area at the time secretly taking photoraphs, to after several weeks receive a reply that this was not the case.

Scharping himself, said the television, could not be reached for comment.

NATO’s aerial war lasted for 78 days in the spring of 1999, and ended with the signing of the Kumanovo Agreement, and the adoption of Resolution 1244 at the UN Security Council.

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400 Pakistani Troops Escape U.S. Missile Strike Aimed At Drone Wreck Site

http://paktribune.com/news/Crashed-drone-wreckage-destroyed-in-missile-strike-247854.html

Pakistan Tribune
February 27, 2012

Crashed drone wreckage destroyed in missile strike

MIRAMSHAH: Around 400 Pakistani soldiers and dozens of political administration officials in North Waziristan’s Mir Ali subdivision narrowly escaped a drone attack on Saturday night when a missile fired by a spy plane hit the wreckage of the US drone that had crashed in the area on Saturday.

“We were looking for the wreckage of the drone in Machikhel village, Mir Ali, and were almost close to the debris of the destroyed aircraft when one of the drones flying over the area fired a missile and hit two missiles lying on the ground,” a senior official of the local administration said.

He said that besides 400 Pakistan Army soldiers, there were dozens of personnel of the Frontier Corps (FC), Khassadars and Levies as well as officials of the political administration, all of them looking for the missing wreckage of the drone on ground at the time. He said they narrowly escaped as the missile fired by the drone landed at a short distance from them. “It would have caused heavy losses to security forces and others engaged in the search operation. They were lucky to survive,” the official said.

Another security official said they had lit the area with big lights to let the people and militants know that security forces were searching for the missing wreckage when five drones started flying over the area. “They decided not to get close to the area where the wreckage was supposed to be lying due to the fear of missile attack,” the official said. He said some of the people even remarked that one should expect anything from the US and suggested not to go beyond a certain position as it could be risky, especially when the drones were flying over their heads.

An official of the political administration said local militants were believed to have fired and shot down the spy plane and even reached there to get hold of some of its wreckage before the government officials could arrive in the village.

The tribal sources said the militants were congratulating one another for downing the CIA-operated spy plane. The North Waziristan Taliban, led by Hafiz Gul Bahadur, last year made a claim that their fighters had shot down a US drone in the Dattakhel area and later rewarded the shooter with a car.

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Categories: Uncategorized

U.S. Elections: Candidates Are Bought As Wars Are Sold

February 27, 2012 Leave a comment

Global Times
February 27, 2012

US democracy up for grabs by moneybags under new laws
By Christopher Williams

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People got rich because of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Now, swords are being sharpened for Iran. How many players in the Middle East and elsewhere are interested in seeing this happen? All they need to do is pick up the phone or write a check, and it gets closer every day.

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The story begins in 1886, with an obscure court case in California, Santa Clara County vs. Southern Pacific Railroad. In that Supreme Court decision, a corporation was deemed to have the same legal protections under state law as any individual would have. It was originally intended to be used for enforcing a real-estate contract. But fast-forward to 2010. The Supreme Court decided in a new case, Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, that corporations had the right to make unlimited financial contributions for political purposes, just as a person does.

Corporations and individuals are still limited to $2,500 in direct contributions to a political campaign for federal office. But they may give unlimited funds to a Political Action Committee (PAC), as long as that PAC is not “officially” part of the campaign which they support.

In reality, it means that the PAC can spend whatever it wants as long as they maintain the fiction that they are acting independently. So now we have a Republican presidential primary in full swing, with vast amounts of corporate money being poured into the PACs which support the major candidates. Some of that money is publicly disclosed. But there are also non-profit 501(c) organizations that do not have to say where the money came from.

Why should you care? It means that candidates are no longer being elected, even in the limited sense that they were before. They are being hired, bought and paid for by their supporters whose interests do not in any way reflect the concerns of average citizens. They are supported by energy companies, drug companies, media companies, insurance companies, arms merchants, and bankers.

The candidate will be a de facto lobbyist for the industries that hired them. And they will enact policies supporting only those industries, regardless of the will of the majority. If you’re a citizen concerned about global warming, or gun control, or abortion, or social justice and human rights, well, tough. You can’t afford to play this game, which is estimated will cost $2 billion or more by the time of the general election in November.

The priorities of the corporate world, and the ultra-rich, will be to secure more power and control for themselves. But this does not extend only to US companies or US citizens. The many loopholes in the law now allow foreign citizens, companies, and even nations to directly inject money into campaigns that will support their vested interests.

Israel, for one, will use its considerable clout to insure that whoever is the next president will advocate for them and against countries like Syria and Iran, which will in turn have an impact on China’s foreign policy. Secret or undisclosed financial influence will extend to issues like copyright infringement and intellectual property and censorship, all subjects about which the US and China may have one clear public policy and another quite different clandestine one.

It is impossible to predict exactly how this Supreme Court decision will affect the current and future election cycles. It is a matter that is hotly contested and is being openly challenged by state legislatures and concerned citizens who clearly see the threat it poses to participatory politics. To reverse it would require a constitutional amendment, a legislative effort so difficult and convoluted that it’s virtually unthinkable, or a radical change in the makeup of the Supreme Court and a new case hearing.

But don’t think for a moment that this decision and its consequences are limited only to one country. That country happens to still be the wealthiest in the world, and to control the largest military on the planet. And that country has not hesitated to use its military to further its goals, even when actively opposed by large sections of the population.

People got rich because of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Now, swords are being sharpened for Iran. How many players in the Middle East and elsewhere are interested in seeing this happen? All they need to do is pick up the phone or write a check, and it gets closer every day.

The author is a Guangdong-based freelance writer and marketing consultant from the US. christopherw314@gmail. com

Categories: Uncategorized

Who Profits From Qatari-Western “Export of Revolutions”?

February 27, 2012 3 comments

Voice of Russia
February 27, 2012

Who Profits From Qatari-Western “Export of Revolutions”?
Dmitry Babich

The recent announcement by the Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani about Qatar’s readiness to arm the Syrian opposition puts the situation in the region in an entirely new context. Obviously, the Rubicon has been crossed and the monarchies of the Persian Gulf have opted for a “no limits” strategy in their drive to oust the remaining secular Arab regimes in the Middle East.

So, the Gulf monarchies have made their choice. The European Union does not lag too far behind – its foreign ministers at a meeting in Brussels declared the anti-government Syrian National Council a legitimate representative of the Syrian people. So, the European “democrats” are just one step behind the absolute monarchs of the Gulf – if only one side in the Syrian conflict is “legitimate,” why not send arms to this side?

This new situation raises new questions about the West’s role in this huge rearrangement of Middle Eastern politics. How long will the West (i.e. the EU and the USA) follow the monarchies in their risky undertakings? And do the interests of the Sunni insurgents, supported by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, indeed coincide with the West’s interests?

Yevgeny Primakov, Russia’s former foreign minister in 1996-1998 and later prime minister under Boris Yeltsin in the late 1990s, is puzzled by the West’s desire to satisfy every wish of the radical Sunni opposition movements.

“Doesn’t the example of Egypt teach the United States a lesson or two? There was an Arab Spring in Egypt, but finally the Islamists ended up on the top of that wave. Can anyone think seriously that Assad’s ouster will be followed by an establishment of some kind of a democratic regime? This is just laughable,” Primakov, an Arabist by education and his background, told the Rossiya channel of Russian television on Sunday.

Nikolay Surkov, a specialist on the Middle East, writing for the Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily, thinks that the Western countries decided to “saddle” the wave of the seemingly endless successes of the protest movements in the Arab countries – simply because it was the strongest trend.

“Initially, France, for example, had no intention of inspiring protests in its former protectorates, such as Tunisia, let alone Syria,” Surkov said. “In the initial stages of the protests against Tunisian president Ben Ali the French even pondered helping him with tear gas and other anti-riot equipment. But when the secular regimes began to be one by one swept away by the protests, the French, Britons and Americans decided to go with the flow, sometimes even supporting more moderate Islamist forces against more violent Salafi Islamists,” Surkov explains.

Another Arab country, Yemen, where the new president was recently elected with more than 99 percent of the eligible voters, offers a good example of the expenses that might follow if the monarchs’ and the West’s immediate aims are achieved. The election of the former vice-president, Abed Rabu Mansour Hadi, which followed over a year of violent clashes, can hardly be called an exercise in democracy or a security achievement.

On the contrary, experts agree that during the “revolution,” when Yemeni troops had to be pulled back to the capital to fight the violent uprisings, Al-Qaeda strengthened its presence in the country and became a real threat both to the people of Yemen and to Western interests there. Now, the United States has to spend additional amounts of money on fighting Al-Qaeda in Yemen. The New York Times, citing State Department figures, recently reported that the United States had allocated $53.8 million in security assistance for Yemen this year, up from $30.1 million last year. In fact, Al-Qaeda operatives welcomed the departure of the former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh, whom they viewed as their enemy, not as an “impediment to democracy.” The same seems to be true about Al-Qaeda’s operatives in Syria.

“It is interesting to note that the new Al-Qaeda chief, who became a replacement for Bin Laden, said his organization supported the opposition in Syria. So, Al-Qaeda is against Assad,” former prime minister Primakov said in his interview to Russian television.

So, who is profiting from the “revolutionary spirit” that suddenly engulfed both the oil monarchies of the Persian Gulf and Western capitals? Al Qaeda seems to be at least one such force – and not the smallest one.

Categories: Uncategorized

Russian Policy On Syria: Preventing All-Out War In Middle East

February 27, 2012 Leave a comment

China Daily
February 27, 2012

Russia’s stance toward Syria
By Boris Dolgov*

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If passed, the UN Security Council resolution would have given the leaders of NATO countries the excuse to begin military intervention in Syria. The consequences of such intervention, as was shown by NATO’s military intervention in Libya, would be the deaths of thousands of Syrian civilians, and the opportunity for radical Islamic groups to increase their influence in the country. This would likely lead to civil war or the disintegration of Syria into five or more small states divided on religious and national lines.

Regime change in Syria would also pave the way for eventual military intervention in Iran by NATO and Israel.

NATO and Israel could try to extend their military intervention in Lebanon in order to suppress Hezbollah, and Iran in order to destroy its nuclear program. This would lead to an all-out war in the Middle East.

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Russia vetoed the United Nations Security Council resolution which sought to blame President Bashar al-Assad for violence against civilians in Syria and urged him to step down because it did not correspond to the real situation in Syria, where the majority of the Syrian people, 60 percent, support his government.

I saw for myself demonstrations by tens of thousands of people who support President al-Assad when I visited Syria in August 2011 and in January 2012. Many of the international media, such as CNN, Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya, are waging an information war against Syria. They portray al-Assad’s regime as suppressing the people and shooting peaceful protestors. This is not true. The real cause of the violence in Syria are the terrorist activities of some anti-government groups, which are armed and financed from abroad. This has already resulted in the deaths of 3,000 civilians and 2,000 soldiers and policemen.

If passed, the UN Security Council resolution would have given the leaders of NATO countries the excuse to begin military intervention in Syria. The consequences of such intervention, as was shown by NATO’s military intervention in Libya, would be the deaths of thousands of Syrian civilians, and the opportunity for radical Islamic groups to increase their influence in the country. This would likely lead to civil war or the disintegration of Syria into five or more small states divided on religious and national lines. It would also result in the seizure of the Syrian arsenal by radical Islamic groups, who could then use them against the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States and against Russia.

The United States, the United Kingdom, France and Israel, as well as Turkey and the Arabic monarchies of the Persian Gulf, which now play a leading role in the League of Arab States, pursue a policy of pressuring the Syrian leadership to stand down and support the external Syrian National Council and armed opposition groups in Syria with the aim of overthrowing the al-Assad regime.

The Western countries and Israel consider Syria an ally of Iran and the supporter of radical Palestinian organizations, such as Hezbollah and Hamas. Regime change in Syria would also pave the way for eventual military intervention in Iran by NATO and Israel.

Turkey and the Arabic monarchies of the Persian Gulf have approximately the same policy toward Iran and Syria. The Sunni leadership of Turkey competes with the Shiite leadership of Iran for hegemony in the Middle East. Turkey’s leaders originally belonged to the Turkish Muslim Brotherhood and they sympathize with the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood which opposes al-Assad’s leadership, the majority of whom are Shiites of the Alawite sect. The Sunni Muslim leaders of the Arabic monarchies of the Persian Gulf fear the expansion of Shiite Iran’s influence in their countries. So they also support the anti-government Sunni armed groups in Syria.

If Syria followed the Libyan experience of foreign military intervention it could lead to the disintegration of Syria and destabilization of the Middle East. In particular, it would aggravate the conflict between the Sunnis and Shiites in Lebanon and it could increase the influence of Islamist armed groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and the branches of Al-Qaida. Then NATO and Israel could try to extend their military intervention in Lebanon in order to suppress Hezbollah, and Iran in order to destroy its nuclear program. This would lead to an all-out war in the Middle East.

The politics of Russia toward Syria is based on their long-time friendship and on the cooperation in the economical, political, military, cultural and humanitarian fields. Russia’s stance with regard to the Syrian crisis is to save the Syrian people from eventual foreign military intervention.

Russia supports al-Assad’s government because he is carrying out real political and social reforms, such as the adoption of laws on general elections and a multi-party system, on the media, and on municipal elections. The referendum on a new constitution took place on Sunday, Feb 26. Then parliamentary elections on the basis of the new Constitution will take place in May. Russia’s stance toward Syria is not soley one of conjuncture. It is based on the strategic national interests of Russia. Russia seeks to prevent foreign military intervention, which would result in civilian casualties and a humanitarian disaster.

*The author is a senior researcher of the Centre for the Arabic and Islamic Studies of the Institute of the Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Categories: Uncategorized

China On U.S. Syria Policy: Patronizing And Egotistical Super-Arrogance

February 27, 2012 1 comment

RT
February 27, 2012

China: US has no moral right to ‘protect’ Arabs

China says the US has no right to “protect” Arab peoples, questioning “the sincerity and efficacy of US policy.” The country’s top newspaper replied to Hillary Clinton after she called China’s and Russia’s veto of a UN Syrian resolution “despicable”.

The People’s Daily commentary says, “The United States’ motive in parading as a ‘protector’ of the Arab peoples is not difficult to imagine. The problem is what moral basis does it have for this patronizing and egotistical super-arrogance and self-confidence?”

The newspaper recalls the US-led invasion of Iraq. “Even now, violence continues unabated in Iraq, and ordinary people enjoy no security. This alone is enough for us to draw a huge question mark over the sincerity and efficacy of US policy.”

The commentary repeated China’s argument that its unwillingness to take sides in the conflict best reflects the interests of the Syrian people.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said that the US criticism of China’s stance on Syria is “totally unacceptable.”

“China has always determined its stance on the Syrian issue proceeding from the peace and stability of Syria and the Middle East and from protecting the long-term, fundamental interests of the Syrian and Arab peoples,” Hong Lei said on Monday as cited by Reuters.

Russia, which also voted against what it called a “Syria regime change resolution” in the UN, has also criticized the US stance on Syria. In his latest article on foreign policy, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has warned the West against the temptation to resort to a “simple, previously-used tactic: If the UN Security Council approves of a given action – fine; if not, we will establish a coalition of the states concerned and strike anyway.”

Russian and Chinese criticism over US policies comes after Hillary Clinton was quoted as saying there is no enthusiasm in Washington for war. However, while on a visit to Morocco she urged those who still support Syria’s President Assad, especially members of the Syrian military and business community, to turn against him.

“The longer you support the regime’s campaign of violence against your brothers and sisters, the more it will stain your honor,” Clinton said.

­The United States is beginning to realize the complexity of the situation in Syria and is showing signs of slightly backing off from their previous energetic push for regime change in the country, Jeremy Salt, a professor at Bilkent University, told RT.

“While we hear a lot of rhetoric from Hillary Clinton, she herself is showing signs of being more aware of complexities inside Syria,” Salt said. “She was talking about the complex factors, saying ‘Well we want to do something, but we do not know what to do,’ and she was talking about the fact that while there are problem areas in Syria, there are large areas in the country unaffected.”

“You can see there is certain change of the discourse here which indicates the Americans are not certain what step to take next,” the professor added.

Categories: Uncategorized

U.S. To Expand Greater Middle East Project To Caucasus In Bid To Weaken Russia And China: Expert

February 27, 2012 1 comment

NEWS.am
February 23, 2012

US targeted at destabilizing situation in South Caucasus – Polish expert

Destabilization of the South Caucasus is within U.S. plans and will be realized through the American Greater Middle East project, Polish expert Mateusz Piskorski told Armenian News-NEWS.am. According to him, it will be more real if the ruling regime in Syria falls.

“After the regime falls, a real war will be launched. Syria is the key partner of Iran in the region and Iran’s position will be weakened if Syria’s authorities fall. Furthermore, the events will be reflected into the South Caucasus,” the expert said.

According to him, behind all this is Washington’s desire to weaken Russia and then China. The Greater Middle East project will allow the U.S. to achieve geo-political advantages and increase its influence in Central Asia, rich in hydrocarbons.

Asked how the ‘victim’ states should resist Washington against the background of the escalating situation around Iran and the intensifying situation in Syria, the expert stressed that Iran is better to get the support of Russia and China and explain to Europe that Iran’s weakening counteracts Europe’s interests.

As for the South Caucasus, including Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan, those states should decrease the political and economic influence of the U.S., as well trying to settle their conflicts by themselves and not through mediators, the expert concluded.

Categories: Uncategorized

Caucasus Nations Hold War Games As Tensions Around Syria, Iran Rise

February 27, 2012 Leave a comment

ArmeniaNow
February 27, 2012

Trouble in the region: Armenia neighbors in war games as tensions rise around Syria, Iran
By Naira Hayrumyan

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Already there are some expert opinions mainly being voiced in Armenia and Russia that the United States has “agreed” with Azerbaijan to give it Karabakh in exchange for its support for the operations in Iran. There is also a view that Russia itself is willing to introduce its “peacekeepers” into Karabakh, and for that purpose it may use the pretext of the Iranian escalation.

Iranian Ambassador to Armenia Seyed Ali Saghaeyan, speaking at Yerevan State University on February 24, said: “All conflicts should be resolved through peaceful negotiations. Unfortunately, the policy of non-regional countries, and especially Western countries, which is based on the principle of ‘divide and rule,’ still continues.”

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In the South Caucasus immediately near the volatile Middle East and the Gulf region, countries are engaged in active muscle flexing. The most debated issue among local experts is whether a war in Iran would spread to the greater region as well. This discourse is taking place under conditions of continuing saber-rattling by Azerbaijan that does not conceal its aggressive designs against Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia.

Vladimir Zhirinovsky, an outspoken leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia who is now running for president in Russia, declared last week that World War III will start next summer. “As soon as they crush Syria, a strike will be delivered against Iran. Azerbaijan will take advantage of this and will again try to capture Karabakh. Armenia will oppose it, and Turkey will side with Azerbaijan. And this is how Russia may be drawn into a war in the summer of 2012,” said Zhirinovsky, a veteran Russian politician known for his eccentric behavior and controversial rhetoric.

Apparently, the countries of the region, although hoping that the issue can be settled through diplomatic channels, are still getting ready for the worse-case scenario. A real war of “war games” has started in the region.

The final stage of tactical military exercises of units of the Russian military bases in Armenia took place on the training ground of Alagyaz, in the north of Armenia, the press service of the Southern Military District of the Russian Armed Forces said on Sunday. The exercises were attended by more than 150 soldiers and involved about 20 armored vehicles. “For a week soldiers were training for actions during offensive and defensive operations, as well as for patrol in field and highland conditions,” the statement said.

Earlier, the third field army of Turkey, whose headquarters are located in the east of the country, in Erzurum, began large-scale maneuvers near the Republic of Armenia border in the province of Kars. The prime minister and president of Turkey were present to view the military drills.

Azerbaijani armed forces also began large-scale maneuvers along the perimeter of the border of Nagorno-Karabakh on February 22. The Armenian military, however, said those are “ordinary exercises” and the Armenian side had nothing to fear.

Iran is also holding military exercises. The Islamic Republic alternates its drills in the Persian Gulf with trainings along the Caspian Sea coast.

The United States also shares some involvement in regional trainings. On February 21-23, Armenia and Georgia held U.S.-sponsored joint exercises in Yerevan aimed at improving their ability to prevent the illegal transit of weapons of mass destruction through their territories.

Some escalation of the situation in the region is expected in the spring. This expectation is connected with both the parliamentary elections in Iran and the presidential election in Russia (both of which are due in early March). The arms race, meanwhile, is going on. Though U.S. intelligence said recently that according to its data Iran does not have nuclear weapons yet, and the U.S. asked Israel to refrain from unjustified action, this can hardly be considered an end to military escalation.

Already there are some expert opinions mainly being voiced in Armenia and Russia that the United States has “agreed” with Azerbaijan to give it Karabakh in exchange for its support for the operations in Iran. There is also a view that Russia itself is willing to introduce its “peacekeepers” into Karabakh, and for that purpose it may use the pretext of the Iranian escalation.

For its part, Iran reaffirms its balanced position on the Karabakh conflict. Iranian Ambassador to Armenia Seyed Ali Saghaeyan, speaking at Yerevan State University on February 24, said: “All conflicts should be resolved through peaceful negotiations. Unfortunately, the policy of non-regional countries, and especially Western countries, which is based on the principle of ‘divide and rule,’ still continues. But I must say that all wise leaders manage to protect their people from such threats,” said the ambassador. “Iran is a strong and powerful country and will not allow any changes to take place in the region, especially in its hot spots,” he added.

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO news: February 27, 2012

February 27, 2012 Leave a comment

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Turkey Says Military Intervention In Syria Discussed In Tunis

Civilians Flee As Turkish Artillery Pounds Northern Iraq

Russian Bombers Over Black Sea Amid Syria, Iran Crises

Drones, Anti-Aircraft, Missile Defense: $1.6 Billion Israeli-Azeri Deal

U.S. Soldier, Afghan Civilian Killed As Protests Grow

Germany Pulls Advisers Out Of Afghan Ministries

Afghan Officials Cancel U.S. Visit: Pentagon

Russia Concerned About U.S. Creating New Military Bases In Central Asia

Qatari Prime Minister: Arm Syrian Rebels, Intervene Militarily

Russia Dismisses “Friends Of Syria” Meeting In Tunisia

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Turkey Says Military Intervention In Syria Discussed In Tunis

http://en.trend.az/regions/met/turkey/1996904.html

Trend News Agency
February 27, 2012

Turkey: All options against Syria on the table

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Davutoglu also said the second Friends of Syria meeting will take place in Turkey, while a third is planned to take place in France. Turkey, along with Tunisia and France, chaired Friday’s meeting on Syria’s political and humanitarian crisis.

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Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, commenting on the international conference on Syria held in Tunis last week, has said the international community debated all possible courses of action for ending the ongoing violence in the neighboring country, including the possibility of a military intervention, Today’s Zaman reported.

Wrapping up talks after the first meeting of the Friends of Syria in Tunisia on Friday, Davutoglu said Turkey would take part in international initiatives against the Syrian regime. He added, “All possible scenarios, including military intervention, have been discussed by a number of countries as a solution [to ending the bloodshed] in Syria.”

“Even though Turkey does not want to see Syria in a situation similar to the Libyan civil war [following the NATO intervention in 2011], the upcoming period in Syria poses many risks for the region,” Davutoglu continued, adding that Turkey should be prepared for any possible decisions made by the international community.

“The international community should not hold back from taking initiatives to alleviate the humanitarian situation in Syria, even though the UN Security Council has been blocked from providing a solution due to Russia and China’s vetoes,” Davutoglu said. The Feb. 4 decision by Russia and China to veto a UN resolution calling on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step aside angered the international community.

Davutoglu highlighted that Turkey has started to strongly voice its opinions on diplomatic issues over the last decade after taking a back seat on regional and global issues in the past, including the Minsk process, an Azerbaijani-Armenian reconciliation process over Nagorno-Karabakh; the Dayton peace process, reconciling Serbs, Bosniaks and Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina; and talks on the future of Iraq in the post-Saddam Hussein period. “Turkey has started pulling its diplomatic weight in the international arena. Turkey will have a say in regional and global issues, including Somalia and Syria.”

During an international conference in London over the future of Somalia on Feb. 23, Turkish aid initiatives in the East African country were lauded. Turkey will host the second conference on the famine and terrorism-stricken country in June. Davutoglu also said the second Friends of Syria meeting will take place in Turkey, while a third is planned to take place in France. Turkey, along with Tunisia and France, chaired Friday’s meeting on Syria’s political and humanitarian crisis.

The Friends of Syria conference held in Tunisia on Feb. 24 gathered together countries supporting the Arab League’s position…The United States, EU governments, Arab League countries and Turkey were all represented by delegations at the conference.

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Civilians Flee As Turkish Artillery Pounds Northern Iraq

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-02/27/c_131434333.htm

Xinhua News Agency
February 27, 2012

Turkish artillery pounds Iraqi border areas

BAGHDAD: The Turkish artillery Monday pounded border areas inside Iraq forcing civilians to leave their villages in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region, an official Kurdish website reported.

“The Turkish artillery renewed its bombardment at 9:30 a.m. ( 0630 GMT) on villages in Sidkan border area (in Duhok province),” said the official website of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), a major Kurdish party headed by Iraq President Jalal Talabani.

Residents in the village of Litani in Sidkan said that the Turkish artillery heavily bombed areas around their village, prompting them to leave their homes to safer areas inside the Kurdish region, the Kurdish website said.

Turkish troops sporadically carry out incursions, air strikes and artillery shelling into bordering areas in Iraq’s northern Kurdish region in attempts to curb the outlawed Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) rebels believed to be holed up in mountainous areas in northern Iraq.

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Russian Bombers Over Black Sea Amid Syria, Iran Crises

http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=136922

Sofia News Agency
February 23, 2012

Russian Bombers over Black Sea Alert Bulgarian, Turkish Air Forces

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When asked why no Bulgarian fighter jets on duty were flew off over the Russian bombers, the Bulgarian Defense Ministry is quoted as saying that it is up to NATO’s southern command to decide whose fighter jets would be sent in the air in similar situations.
Observers have been quick to link the flying over of Russian strategic bombers over the Black Sea with the naval drills of the Russian Navy over the international tensions around the situation in Syria…and Iran…

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Five Russian strategic bombers have raised alert with the Bulgarian and Turkish Air Forces after flying close by over the Black Sea on Wednesday.

The five Russian Tu-22 bombers were detected right off Bulgaria’s coast, on the fringes of the Bulgarian air space, the Standart daily reported Thursday, saying that the information has been confirmed by sources from the Bulgarian Defense Ministry.

The Bulgarian military has explained, however, that the Russian bombers never entered Bulgaria’s air space, even though they reached within 40 km of the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, apparently bound south, towards Africa.

At the same time, however, the Russian bombers are reported to have caused alarmed the Turkish Air Force, with unofficial information saying that the Turkish military immediate flew two F-16 fighters to escort the Russian bombers.

When asked why no Bulgarian fighter jets on duty were flew off over the Russian bombers, the Bulgarian Defense Ministry is quoted as saying that it is up to NATO’s southern command to decide whose fighter jets would be sent in the air in similar situations.

Observers have been quick to link the flying over of Russian strategic bombers over the Black Sea with the naval drills of the Russian Navy over the international tensions around the situation in Syria…and Iran, whose nuclear program advance is fueling fears it might be subject to air strikes by Israel and/or the USA.

A group of Russian naval ships arrived in early January in the Syrian port of Tartus, where two Iranian warships also came last week.

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Drones, Anti-Aircraft, Missile Defense: $1.6 Billion Israeli-Azeri Deal

http://www.todayszaman.com/news-272524-israel-inks-16-billion-arms-deal-with-azerbaijan.html

Today’s Zaman/Associated Press
February 26, 2012

Israel inks $1.6 billion arms deal with Azerbaijan

JERUSALEM: Israeli defense officials on Sunday confirmed $1.6 billion in deals to sell drones as well as anti-aircraft and missile defense systems to Azerbaijan, bringing sophisticated Israeli technology to the doorstep of archenemy Iran.

The sales by state-run Israel Aerospace Industries come at a delicate time. Israel has been laboring hard to form diplomatic alliances in a region that seems to be growing increasingly hostile to the Jewish state.

…Israeli leaders have hinted broadly that they would be prepared to attack Iranian nuclear facilities…

Iran denies Israeli and Western claims it seeks to develop atomic weapons, and says its disputed nuclear program is designed to produce energy and medical isotopes.

In Jerusalem, Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said Iran’s nuclear program will take center stage in his upcoming talks with U.S. and Canadian leaders. Netanyahu is to meet with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Ottawa on Friday and with President Barack Obama in Washington on Monday.

It was not clear whether the arms deal with Azerbaijan was connected to any potential Israeli plans to strike Iran. The Israeli defense officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not at liberty to discuss defense deals.

Danny Yatom, a former head of Israel’s Mossad spy agency, said…Israel would continue to sell arms to its friends. “If it will help us in challenging Iran, it is for the better,” he said.

Israel’s ties with Azerbaijan, a Muslim country that became independent with the disintegration of the Soviet Union, have grown…

For Israeli intelligence, there is also a possible added benefit from Azerbaijan: Its significant cross-border contacts and trade with Iran’s large ethnic Azeri community.

For that same reason, as Iran’s nuclear showdown with the West deepens, the Islamic Republic sees the Azeri frontier as a weak point, even though both countries are mostly Shiite Muslim.

Earlier this month, Iran’s foreign ministry accused Azerbaijan of allowing the Israeli spy agency Mossad to operate on its territory and providing a corridor for “terrorists” to kill members of Iranian nuclear scientists.

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U.S. Soldier, Afghan Civilian Killed As Protests Grow

http://en.trend.az/regions/world/afghanistan/1996871.html

Deutsche Presse-Agentur
February 26, 2012

US soldier, Afghan killed in fresh Koran protests as Karzai calls for calm

One US soldier and an Afghan protester were killed in the latest violence on the sixth day of Koran burning protests criss-crossing Afghanistan, despite another plea for calm by President Hamid Karzai, dpa reported.

Meanwhile, one US soldier and one Afghan protester were killed Sunday in a hand grenade attack in northern Afghanistan during a protest against Koran burning, officials said.

“Twenty thousand people took to the streets in Imam Saheb District in the northern province of Kunduz to protest against the burning of the Koran,” Sayed Sarwar Hussaini, the provincial deputy police chief said.

“The protesters tried to storm a military base of the international forces in the district. Some of the protesters were armed and threw hand grenades inside the base, resulting in the death of one US soldier and one Afghan protester,” Hussaini said, adding six US soldiers were also injured.

Fifteen Afghan policemen, including the district police chief, were injured, he said.

The NATO-led coalition confirmed that an explosion had occurred in an ISAF installation in northern Afghanistan, but said there were no fatalities.

More than 32 people, including five US soldiers, have already been killed in violent protests sparked by the Koran-burning incident earlier in the week, which US officials have called a mistake.

On Saturday, two US military advisers were shot dead inside the Afghan Interior Ministry building in Kabul.

Following the killing, NATO-led international forces recalled their personnel working at various Afghan ministries.

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Germany Pulls Advisers Out Of Afghan Ministries

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-02/27/c_122756064.htm

Xinhua News Agency
February 27, 2012

Germany pulls advisors out of Afghan ministries

               
BERLIN: The German government said Sunday that it has ordered some 50 German and international experts working in Afghan ministries and authorities to withdraw from Kabul, in response to recent anti-U.S. unrest over the burning of Korans at a U.S. military base.

The decision of withdrawal was made by the Risk Management Office and was a “reasonable precautionary measure,” German Economic Cooperation and Development Minister Dirk Niebel said in a statement.

Niebel said once the situation calmed down, these experts and staff, who worked with Afghan authorities and made advice on the country’s reconstruction and development, would come back to work.

On Saturday, two American members of NATO forces were shot dead in the Afghan Interior Ministry in Kabul. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the shootings, which were among a series of violence and demonstrations following the burning of Korans by some U.S. soldiers at a military base near Kabul on Feb. 20.

Thousands of outraged Afghan protesters took to the streets last week in Kabul and other major cities and at least 27 people have been killed in the demonstrations…

Germany has withdrawn around 50 German soldiers earlier than planned from a northern Afghanistan base in Taluqan city on Thursday, after about 300 people had been demonstrating outside the base. The German forces had been due to leave Afghanistan by the end of March.

Germany has some 4,600 troops stationed in Afghanistan, the third largest contingent of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force behind the United States and Britain.

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Afghan Officials Cancel U.S. Visit: Pentagon

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-02/27/c_131432710.htm

Xinhua News Agency/Agence France-Presse
February 27, 2012

Afghan ministers cancel US visit: Pentagon

               
WASHINGTON: Afghanistan’s defense and interior ministers have canceled a visit to Washington next week to concentrate on addressing security concerns back home, the Pentagon said Sunday.

US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta “understands why that’s a priority and why they are unable to travel to Washington in the coming days,” Pentagon spokesman George Little said in a statement sent to AFP.

The pair had been scheduled to meet with the secretary on Thursday, but were staying in Afghanistan in the wake of violence sparked by a recent Koran burning incident at a US base.

“Senior Afghan officials, including the defense and interior ministers, are consulting this week with others in the Afghan government and Afghan religious leaders on how to protect ISAF personnel and quell violence in the country,” Little said.

NATO pulled all its advisors out of government ministries after the shooting deaths Saturday, blamed on a rogue Afghan intelligence official and claimed by the Taliban as a response to the Koran burning.

The toll since the incident at Bagram airbase north of Kabul, which inflamed anti-Western sentiment already smoldering in Afghanistan over abuses by US-led foreign troops, rose Sunday to more than 30.

Nearly 90,000 US troops remain deployed in Afghanistan, propping up the government of Western-backed President Hamid Karzai…

Top Afghan officials and American commanders have suggested the United States will likely retain a military presence in Afghanistan after 2014, when Afghan army and police are due to take over security for the whole country.

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Russia Concerned About U.S. Creating New Military Bases In Central Asia

http://www.interfax.com/newsinf.asp?pg=5&id=312370

Interfax
February 27, 2012

Russia is concerned about U.S. activities to create military bases in Central Asia

MOSCOW: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is concerned about the U.S. plans to create military bases in Central Asia “without a clear mandate.”

In his article entitled, “Russia and the Changing World,” published in Moskovskiye Novosti, Putin said that “the international military contingent under the aegis of NATO in Afghanistan has not fulfilled its tasks and the terrorist and drug threats coming from the country are not decreasing.”

Putin pointed out that “having announced its departure from the country in 2014, the Americans are creating military bases there and in the neighboring countries without a clear mandate, goals, and time frameworks.”

“Clearly, we don’t like that,” Putin said.

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Qatari Prime Minister: Arm Syrian Rebels, Intervene Militarily

http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_02_27/67009368/

Reuters
February 27, 2012

Qatar PM calls for arming Syrian rebels

       
The international community should provide arms to Syria’s opposition and Arab countries should take the lead in providing a safe haven for rebels inside Syria, Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani said on Monday.

“I think we should do whatever is necessary to help them, including giving them weapons to defend themselves,” the prime minister said during a visit to Norway.

While the West has dismissed talk of a Libya-style NATO role to support the opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Gulf Arab states have pushed for a more forceful stance. Saudi Arabia said on Friday it would back the idea of arming rebels.

The Qatari prime minister said that Arab countries should take part in an international military effort to stop the bloodshed in Syria after 11 months of insurrection against Assad in which thousands have been killed.

“Since we failed in the Security Council to do something, I think we have to try to do something to send enough military help to stop the killing,” he said.

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Russia Dismisses “Friends Of Syria” Meeting In Tunisia

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-02/27/c_131434479.htm

Xinhua News Agency
February 27, 2012

Russia dismisses Friends of Syria meeting

MOSCOW: The Friends of Syria meeting held at the weekend in Tunisia had failed to facilitate a settlement of the Syrian crisis, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday.

The meeting was “unilateral” and did not help create conditions for a national dialogue in Syria, Lavrov told a press conference after talks with visiting Myanmar counterpart Wunna Maung Lwin.

Lavrov said Russia “did not understand the status of the document” distributed by the delegates from the Friends of Syria group.

He said Moscow would continue to work for a ceasefire as soon as possible to prevent civilian deaths.

He also welcomed Sunday’s referendum on a new constitution in Syria, hailing it “a movement toward democracy.”

Any new amendments to the Syrian constitution were not a prerogative of external forces, he said.

Delegates from 60 countries and organizations, including the United States, European and Arab nations, and the Syrian opposition, were invited to the Friends of Syria conference, hosted by Tunisia. However, the conference shut its door to the Syrian government.

Russia and China did not attend the meeting.

Damascus rejected and condemned all decisions and comments by the meeting.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Syria: West Wants Government Overthrown, Democracy Or Not

February 27, 2012 1 comment

Global Times
February 27, 2012

West wants Assad out, democracy or not

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What the West wants from Syria is not democracy but the overthrow of the regime so as to eliminate Iran’s influence over Syria.

China should stand by Russia and support the vote.

In the past, China has developed while abiding by a world order dominated by the West. But in the past few years, the world order has shown the tendency to limit China’s development. It’s unavoidable that China now sees the need to confront it. The Syrian issue can be seen as an unintentional confrontation point.

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Syrians voted yesterday on a draft constitution that calls for multi-party rule and parliamentary elections, and puts in place a presidential limit of two seven-year terms. The result of the vote will be announced today. The opposition, with the West’s support, has resisted the vote.

The West is wrong to reject any reform undertaken by Syria and demand President Bashar al-Assad step down in order to end the crisis. This will bring about a civil war and lead to more deaths. What the West wants from Syria is not democracy but the overthrow of the regime so as to eliminate Iran’s influence over Syria.

China should stand by Russia and support the vote.

In a globalized world, it’s difficult for a regime to be unaffected by outside influences.

The West’s political pressure on Assad’s regime seems invincible, but it’s unknown what will happen in the long run. The “Friends of Syria” meeting was nowhere near as effective as last year’s “Friends of Libya.” The Assad regime is not as isolated as that of Muammar Gaddafi. So far, there has been no obvious trend of officials jumping ship, and the opposition is far from united.

China and Russia should support and urge Assad’s regime to reform in accordance with the Syrian people’s will. At the same time, they should help resist outside interference. Only Syria’s people can determine its future. If the reform wins the support of the majority, the regime is likely to live on.

Syria has become a place where countries in the Middle East as well as the world’s great powers demonstrate their political ambitions and place the bets. China, which has become involved in this issue, can pull out at any time, but will have to pay the price.

In the past, China has developed while abiding by a world order dominated by the West. But in the past few years, the world order has shown the tendency to limit China’s development. It’s unavoidable that China now sees the need to confront it. The Syrian issue can be seen as an unintentional confrontation point.

China favors a path that hurts the Syrian people least, not necessarily a path that benefits the West most. If the West accepts what China does, an element for the new world order will be formed. It will be a different case if China quits.

Whatever China does in the Syrian issue, the West will take note.

China’s veto this time is just like water that has been poured. Many of the world’s strategic changes originate with China. Now it’s time for China to face them seriously.

Categories: Uncategorized

Putin On Libyan Scenario For Syria: We Will Set Up Coalition Of Concerned States, We Will Strike

February 27, 2012 3 comments

Interfax
February 27, 2012

U.S., other countries should not bypass UN SC by using military scenario in Syria

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“The very logic of such behavior is counterproductive and quite dangerous. It will not lead to anything good. In any case, it will not help resolve the situation in the country experiencing a conflict. Worse, it will cause further imbalance in the entire international security system and undermine the UN’s authority and central role. I will recall that the veto right is not a whim but an integral part of the world order, which, as a matter of fact, was enshrined in the UN Charter at the insistence of the U.S.”

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MOSCOW: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin hopes that the ‘Libyan scenario’ will not be implemented in Syria and that Western countries led by the United States will not circumvent the United Nations Security Council by launching a military operation in this country.

“I am very hopeful that the U.S. and other countries will take account of the sad experience and will not attempt to employ a military scenario in Syria without a UN SC sanction,” Putin wrote in his article, “Russia and a changing world” published in the Moskovskiye Novosti newspaper on Monday.

“Taught by bitter experience, we are against such UN SC resolutions which would be interpreted as a signal for military intervention in internal Syrian processes. It is this principled approach that Russia and China were guided by in preventing in early February the passage of a resolution that would be read unequivocally, but in practice would encourage violence by one of the parties to the internal conflict,” Putin said.

“Due to this, given the extremely acute, nearly hysterical reaction to the Russian-Chinese veto, I would like to warn our Western colleagues against the temptation to resort to the unsophisticated scheme used earlier: if there is an UN Security Council approval of any particular action, it is good; if there is no such approval, we shall set up a coalition of concerned states. And we shall strike,” the Russian prime minister said.

“The very logic of such behavior is counterproductive and quite dangerous,” he said. “It will not lead to anything good. In any case, it will not help resolve the situation in the country experiencing a conflict. Worse, it will cause further imbalance in the entire international security system and undermine the UN’s authority and central role. I will recall that the veto right is not a whim but an integral part of the world order, which, as a matter of fact, was enshrined in the UN Charter at the insistence of the U.S. The point of this right is that decisions opposed by at least one Permanent Member of the UN Security Council cannot be valid and efficient,” Putin said.

“Any attempts to try to implement the ‘Lybian scenario’ in Syria must be prevented,” he said

“Actually, I cannot understand where this belligerent itch is coming from, why there is not enough patience in working out a verified and balanced collective approach, given that in the case of the aforesaid draft of the Syrian resolution it was already beginning to show outlines. The only thing that had to be done was to demand the same thing from the opposition that was demanded from the government, in particular, to withdraw forces and squads from cities. The refusal to do so is cynical. If we want to provide safety for civilians – and for Russia this is a priority – it is necessary to convince all parties to the armed standoff,” the Russian prime minister said.

Categories: Uncategorized

Empire Studio’s Syrian Sequel: Intervention, Reloaded

February 27, 2012 1 comment

Antiwar.com
February 24, 2012

 

Intervention, Reloaded
By Nebojsa Malic

Empire Studio’s Syrian Sequel

 

Syria is just like Kosovo, argued one interventionist two weeks ago, on the pages of the War Street Journal. According to Fouad Ajami, both involve a brutal dictator oppressing innocent civilians, and the Empire ought to act the same way, bypassing the U.N., and — to borrow a phrase from the late Richard Holbrooke — bombing for peace.

Sadly, Ajami’s “logic” is shared by much of the interventionist camp. It appears that film and television aren’t the only industries that have run out of ideas, relying instead on remakes and “reboots.” Though at the time it was a near-disaster averted only through last-minute subterfuge, it is easy to see how Bill Clinton’s evil little war might be mistaken for a splendid success following the megaflops that were Iraq and Afghanistan. Furthermore, Obama’s administration being a revival of Clinton’s, it’s no surprise that last year in Libya they green-lit a sequel.

Trouble is, this is 2012, not 1999 — and intervention cinema is being shunned by both the critics and the box office.

The Land of Blood and Failure

A perfect example is Angelina Jolie’s directorial debut, In the Land of Blood and Honey, which opened in the U.S. in December and finally premiered in Bosnia and Croatia last week. The preachy and derivative film is a “dreary slog,” as one critic described it: “Subtlety and understatement become collateral damage as Jolie drives her points home as forcefully as possible and the film devolves into a grubby melodrama that fails to edify or entertain.”

Most critics agree, even as they give politically correct praise to Jolie’s assumptions about the Bosnian War. For example, a highly favorable review in The Atlantic loves Jolie’s politics but chides her for lack of subtlety. The sledgehammer approach certainly didn’t work on American moviegoers, who would rather watch a 3D tribute to a German choreographer.

Alas, that has not stopped Jolie in fancying herself a screenwriter, director, and even international diplomat (in the Holbrooke vein, at least). Following a worshipful reception in Sarajevo, she gave an interview to Al-Jazeera Balkans (video), in which she not only demonstrated an appalling ignorance of Bosnia’s history, but also used her war porn to advocate an intervention in Syria.

“Syria has gotten to the point where some form of intervention is absolutely necessary,” pontificates Jolie, proceeding to reminisce about the beauty of Damascus and proclaim that this is no time to ask who and why, but to “do something” to “stop the civilians being slaughtered.”

Well, she is a member of the CFR…

Whatever Jolie’s failings as a diplomat, screenwriter, and director, though, her acting chops are still in fine form. She’s a perfect example of hysteria politics, straight out of Central Casting.

Facts vs. Narrative

Jolie may actually believe her film is faithful to the reality of the Bosnian War, but it bears more resemblance to the apocalyptic reporting by the glory-hound Western media, which for years tripled the death tolls of the conflict, counted tens of thousands of soldiers as “civilians,” and ignored the jihad angle entirely — to name just three of its many sins.

Yet those are the very sins we see repeated today when it comes to reporting about Syria. How many of the civilians being supposedly massacred are actually armed and masked rebels? How many have actually died, and how much of the death toll is just plain propaganda? How come the bleeding hearts don’t care when the “unarmed civilians” actually murder clerics preaching peace? And what about terrorists in rebel ranks? Let’s not forget that much of the Syrian “news” last year was provided by an American blogger posing as a Syrian lesbian. As usual, when facts get in the way of the interventionist narrative, they are either trampled or tossed aside.

Especially galling is the interventionist prattle about civilians and the supposed care for their well being. Who do they think is going to get killed by the “liberating” bombs? Perhaps they believe in the miraculous transubstantiation of anyone killed by the Empire into an enemy combatant?

Whenever Imperial ordnance atomizes a wedding party, a refugee column going the wrong way, or just plain civilians minding their own business (the nerve!), the first response is to deny everything. Once that’s no longer possible, spokesmen say “terribly sorry” and the planes (or drones) keep bombing. It never occurs to the interventionists that this callous disregard of common decency may have something to do with the missing gratitude of the “liberated.”

How About Kosovo, then?

Not only have the myths about Bosnia and Kosovo contributed to needless bloodshed there, they have also been used to bolster arguments for murder elsewhere, from Iraq to Libya and now Syria. Invoking Kosovo to justify an attack on Syria was predictable. Yet what is going on in Kosovo is actually the best argument against the laptop bombardiers.

Four years ago, the ethnic Albanian provisional government set up under NATO occupation declared Kosovo an independent country. The “Republic of Kosovo” is a bit of a joke in many respects, but the few Serbs who have managed to survive in the province aren’t laughing. Over a thousand have been murdered since the beginning of the occupation in 1999, while some were carved up for body parts. In 2004, a three-day pogrom compared to Kristallnacht raged across the province, while most NATO “peacekeepers” stood by or hid in their bunkers.

Western talk of “human rights” and a multi-ethnic future is science fiction to the Serbs. Most of Kosovo is now completely Albanian, with the few remaining Serbs surviving in ghettos guarded by NATO troops and barbed wire. In the north of the province, several counties have successfully resisted Albanian occupation and have refused to recognize the “independent” government. Last summer, the regime in Pristina tried to conquer them; they said no.

In their peaceful standoff against the combined might of NATO, EU, the U.S., and even the quisling government in Belgrade, they’ve been gassed, shot at, and smeared in the press but have remained steadfast. Last week, they held a referendum — on the anniversary of Serbia’s 1804 rebellion against the Ottoman Empire — in which they overwhelmingly rejected the self-proclaimed independent Kosovo. Over 75% of registered voters showed up at the polls, a remarkable feat given that the entire area was blanketed by several feet of snow and ice, the worst winter in recent memory.

Yet what is the reaction of the Empire to civilians nonviolently protesting to protect their right to life, liberty, and property? Do the self-anointed champions of democracy and human rights applaud the Serbs of Kosovo? Are columnists lining up to support peaceful dissent against the government, whether in Belgrade or in Pristina? Think again.

Mainstream Western reports dismiss the Serbs as “nationalists” who “want close relations with Russia and are against joining the EU,” quote Belgrade quislings who declare the vote irrelevant or harmful, or obsess over the anniversary of “independent” Kosovo.

A Question of Power

So, alleged civilians allegedly being murdered are cause enough to reject the entirety of international law — except when it’s the Empire and its clients doing the murdering, because then it is magically OK. Democracy is the embodiment of virtue, but only the Empire gets to decide who is a democrat and what is democratic. Sovereignty and territorial integrity apply to Bosnia and “Kosovo,” but not to Serbia or Russia. And so on.

Interventionism isn’t about principles; it’s about power. Even champions of intervention admit that Syria isn’t being bombed yet because that would be too difficult. That doesn’t mean they won’t try. The “American Century” may be over, but the imperialists haven’t gotten the memo.

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO news: February 26, 2012

February 26, 2012 1 comment

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NATO Air Raid Kills, Injures Seven Afghan Civilians

Afghan War: Seven Americans Wounded In Attack On NATO Base

Afghan Intelligence Officer Killed U.S. Military Advisers: Reports

Afghanistan: NATO Orders Personnel Withdrawn From Ministries

Lithuania: NATO Commanders Inspect Afghan War Training Camp

White House: Denmark And U.S. Are Global NATO Partners

France Increases Military Ties With New Libyan Regime

Europe, Africa: U.S. Missile Shield Destroyers To Support NATO Operations

Singapore: U.S. Navy Forward Base For Pacific-To-Gulf Operations

Central Location: U.S. Office of Naval Research Global In Landlocked Czech Republic

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NATO Air Raid Kills, Injures Seven Afghan Civilians

http://www.khaama.com/afghan-civilians-killed-and-injured-in-nato-air-raid-740

Khaama Press
February 26, 2012

Afghan civilians killed and injured in NATO air raid
By Ghanizada

At least 7 Afghan civilians were killed and injured following a NATO air raid at Tagab district of eastern Kapisa province.

A provincial council representative for eastern Kapisa proince said that at least 3 Afghan civilians including 2 children were killed and 4 others were injured following an air raid by French troops.

Khwaja Ghulam Mohammad Zmarai, deputy provincial council for Kapisa province, said at least 3 civilians including 2 children and a man were killed and four others, who are residents of Joibar, were injured.

Mr. Zmarai further added that the incident took place after French troops received inaccurate information in regards to the presence of Taliban militants by local residents.

Provincial security officials confirming the reports said at least 2 children were killed during the air raid and no civilians were injured.

This comes as a number of Afghan civilians were killed following a NATO air raid in the Nejrab district of eastern Kapisa province which was strongly condemned by the Afghan government.

The Afghan House of Representatives following the incident had summoned the Afghan Interior Ministry to brief the Afghan MPs with the incident.

In the meantime civilians casualties are also considered to be one of the vital issues between the Afghan government and International Security Assistance Forces.

Afghan president Hamid Karzai condemned the civilian casualties and urged NATO officials to immediately halt air raids.

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Afghan War: Seven Americans Wounded In Attack On NATO Base

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/26/us-afghanistan-nato-blast-idUSTRE81P09T20120226

Reuters
February 26, 2012

Seven Americans wounded in attack on NATO base in Afghanistan

KUNDUZ: Seven U.S. military trainers were wounded on Sunday when protesters in Kunduz in northern Afghanistan threw a grenade at their base, provincial police chief Samihullah Qatra told reporters.

NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) confirmed there had been an explosion outside one of its bases in northern Afghanistan, but declined to comment on casualties.

(Reporting by Fraidoon Elhaam in Kunduz, Amie Ferris-Rotman in Kabul; Editing by Michael Georgy)

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Afghan Intelligence Officer Killed U.S. Military Advisers: Reports

http://en.trend.az/regions/world/afghanistan/1996855.html

Deutsche Presse-Agentur
February 26, 2012

Afghan intelligence officer killed US military advisers: reports

A 25-year-old Afghan intelligence officer has been identified as “the main suspect” in the killing of two US military advisers inside the Interior Ministry building in Kabul, media reports said Sunday, dpa reported.

Abdul Saboor joined the police forces two years ago and had one of the highest security clearances in the ministry. He is now believed to be on the run, local television Tolo quoted senior Afghan security officials as saying.

Security forces have already raided his house in the north-eastern province of Parwan, just north of Kabul, and have detained several of his relatives, according to the reports.

NATO-led international forces have recalled their personnel working at various Afghan ministries after the killing.

Saboor had served in several Afghan ministries and had worked at the interior ministry for some time, officials said.

The killing of the US advisers came on the fifth day of deadly protests over the accidental burning of the Koran by US soldiers at Bagram air base. Investigators have not yet formally linked the killing to the incident, but it follows Taliban calls for revenge.

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Afghanistan: NATO Orders Personnel Withdrawn From Ministries

http://www.theprovince.com/news/NATO+personnel+ordered+withdraw/6211305/story.html

The Province
February 26, 2012

NATO personnel ordered to withdraw

 
The commander of the U.S.-led international force in Afghanistan withdrew all NATO personnel Saturday from government ministries in and around Kabul after two U.S. soldiers were killed inside the Afghan Interior Ministry.

The killings of the two Americans inside the high-security Interior Ministry compound came on the fifth day of violent protests over the apparently inadvertent burning of Qur’ans and other religious materials at Bagram Air Base, the largest U.S. base in Afghanistan.

They also are the latest in a rising number of attacks on members of the U.S.-led international force by Afghan security force members, known in U.S. military parlance as “green on blue” incidents.

Gen. John R. Allen, commander of the U.S.led international force in Afghanistan, condemned the attack and announced the personnel recall.

U.S. military officials confirmed two coalition personnel had been killed but did not say whether they were American, and added that they were still gathering information.

However, a high-ranking Interior Ministry source, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the dead were Americans.

Allen’s order indicated that U.S. commanders are deeply concerned about the safety of American military personnel assigned as advisers to government ministries, including the defence and interior ministries, which sit at the heart of the Obama administration’s strategy of building up Afghan security forces as U.S.-led international combat forces withdraw by the end of 2014.

Two U.S. soldiers were shot dead last week in Nangarhar province by a man wearing an Afghan National Army uniform during protests over the Qur’an burnings.

Anti-American riots across the country the past week have left nearly 30 people dead and hundreds wounded.

On Saturday, four demonstrators were killed and more than 50 were wounded in protests outside the United Nations compound in Kunduz, said a health department spokesman.

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Lithuania: NATO Commanders Inspect Afghan War Training Camp

http://www.dvidshub.net/news/84302/natos-deputy-supreme-allied-commander-europe-visited-lithuanian-prt-camp#.T0pH0fF8BUk

ISAF Joint Command
February 22, 2012

NATO’s Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe visited Lithuanian PRT camp

-The PRT composition al-so includes military and civilian personnel from Georgia, Japan, the USA, Poland, Finland, Bulgaria and Ukraine.

GHOR, Afghanistan: On Feb. 22, 2012, NATO Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe Lt. Gen. Richard Shirreff with the West Regional Commander, Brig. Gen. Luciano Portolano, and a delegation from the International Security Assistance Force Regional Command West, which Lithuania PRT is subordinate to, visited the Ghor PRT camp.

During the visit, the PRT-14 commander, Col. Eligijus Senulis, presented PRT-14 shift and partners activities, the situation in the province, the threats and challenges. Guests were presented in Lithuanian, American and Japanese development projects and programs. Afghan National Army training team and Police operation mentoring liaison team – three commanders presented their activities.

At the end of the visit, the NATO DSACEUR met with the PRT-14 soldiers…

Currently, PRT-14, which is formed on the basis of the Lithuanian National Defence Volunteer Forces 5th territorial unit, Vytis Military district, is deployed in Afghanistan’s Ghor province.

The Lithuanian-led Ghor Provincial Reconstruction Team is a joint civilian-military mission, part of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force, which started functioning in Ghor province in summer 2005.

…The PRT composition also includes military and civilian personnel from Georgia, Japan, the USA, Poland, Finland, Bulgaria and Ukraine.

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White House: Denmark And U.S. Are Global NATO Partners

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/02/24/fact-sheet-united-states-and-denmark-nato-allies-and-global-partners

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
February 24, 2012

Fact Sheet: The United States and Denmark – NATO Allies and Global Partners

-The United States and Danish militaries enjoy a very high level of interoperability; many Danish officers, including all its pilots, have trained in the United States.
-The United States and Denmark cooperate actively in implementing the European Phased Adaptive Approach. The Kingdom of Denmark is home to U.S. early-warning radar at Thule Air Base in Greenland and hosted the 2011 multinational missile-defense conference, where NATO focused on strengthening cooperation to protect our populations and territory from ballistic missiles.

President Obama hosted Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt for a meeting in the Oval Office on February 24. Denmark has the distinction of being the only Nordic country that is a member of both NATO and the European Union (EU), making it an especially valuable partner of the United States in a wide variety of endeavors in Europe and around the world.  Denmark currently holds the rotating EU Presidency until the end of June.

Defense and Security Cooperation: As NATO allies, the United States and Denmark are committed to each other’s security and stand together in critical crisis areas worldwide.

Libya:  Denmark was among the first and most active participants in the…NATO military intervention to protect Libyan civilians. It deployed F-16s during the entire seven-month…mission.

Afghanistan: Denmark is a key contributor to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), currently providing 650 combat troops operating without national caveats in one of the most challenging areas of the country. Denmark will continue to play a strong role in Helmand Province providing military forces through 2014 and other training and development assets beyond that date. Since 2002, it has given approximately $530 million in bilateral development assistance to Afghanistan.

NATO Capabilities: Denmark is one of NATO’s most capable allies. The United States welcomes its interest in leading the Smart Defense initiative to purchase jointly and stockpile munitions, which will cut costs and improve efficiency.

Bilateral Defense Cooperation: The United States and Danish militaries enjoy a very high level of interoperability; many Danish officers, including all its pilots, have trained in the United States.

Missile Defense: The United States and Denmark cooperate actively in implementing the European Phased Adaptive Approach. The Kingdom of Denmark is home to U.S. early-warning radar at Thule Air Base in Greenland and hosted the 2011 multinational missile-defense conference, where NATO focused on strengthening cooperation to protect our populations and territory from ballistic missiles.

Counter-Piracy: Denmark is one of the world’s main seafaring nations (some 10 percent of global shipping moves in Danish-owned or –operated ships), and as such, is a leader in international efforts to counter piracy off the coast of Somalia, chairing an international working group on legal issues and twice commanding an international naval task force. Denmark has made significant contributions, including maritime patrol aircraft, to the NATO-led counter-piracy operation.

Security and Capacity-Building Cooperation Against Terrorism: Denmark is one of the United States’ strongest and most dynamic counterterrorism partners. Denmark is a member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), a major multilateral initiative to strengthen the international architecture to deal with 21st century terrorism. Denmark is particularly active in the Forum’s work in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa.

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France Increases Military Ties With New Libyan Regime

http://en.trend.az/regions/met/arabicr/1996760.html

Trend News Agency
February 26, 2012

Libya and France boost military cooperation

-In December, French army chief of staff Admiral Edouard Guillaud said France was ready to offer military training to Libya and was examining ways to boost its co-operation with the new government.

Libya and France have agreed to look into boosting maritime security and controlling the North African country’s borders, their defense ministers said on Saturday, Reuters reported.

On a visit to Tripoli, French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet met his Libyan counterpart Osama al-Juwali to discuss the issues and sign a letter of intent to boost cooperation.

Foreign states are worried about the Libyan interim government’s capacity to secure its Mediterranean coast, which could be used as a gateway into Europe for arms traffickers, al Qaeda insurgents and illegal migrants.

The Libyan conflict has also created new problems for the fragile region to its south.

Regional governments have warned that instability in Libya after the end of Muammar Gaddafi’s rule is allowing weapons taken from Gaddafi’s arsenal to fall into the hands of al Qaeda’s north African branch and other insurgent groups across the Sahara desert.

“Libya’s strategic position joining Africa with the Mediterranean makes it an exposed territory. We have decided to put in a place a working Franco-Libyan committee to look at all these points,” Longuet told a joint news conference.

“This will bring together military staff, engineers, technicians and diplomats who will work on these issues. Cooperation between Libya and France is a long-term project.”

Two French warships arrived at Tripoli’s port last month carrying navy crewmen to train the Libyan navy and help demine oil ports. The ministers said a number of Libyan divers would be trained by France.

Juwali thanked France for the leading role it took in backing last year’s rebellion against Muammar Gaddafi’s rule.

“The cooperation between France and Libya is developing day by day,” he said. “They have expressed their readiness to give us the necessary technical advice to secure our borders.”

In December, French army chief of staff Admiral Edouard Guillaud said France was ready to offer military training to Libya and was examining ways to boost its co-operation with the new government.

Longuet also met the chairman of Libya’s ruling National Transitional Council, Mustafa Abdel Jalil.

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Europe, Africa: U.S. Missile Shield Destroyers To Support NATO Operations

http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=65502

U.S. Navy
February 23, 2012

CNO to Naples Sailors: Europe and Africa Remain Vital
By Lt. Timothy Hawkins, Navy Region Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia Public Affairs

-NSA Naples is home to U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa; U.S. 6th Fleet; Navy Region EURAFSWA; Naval Facilities EURAFSWA; other tenant commands and U.S. personnel assigned to NATO.

NAPLES, Italy: Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert reaffirmed the Navy’s commitment in the European and African regions during an all-hands call at Naval Support Activity (NSA) Naples, Italy, Feb. 23.

Addressing more than 300 U.S. military and civilian personnel seated in the installation’s Capodichino theater, Greenert said the growing numbers of ships operating forward in the Mediterranean is an indication of the region’s continued significance.

“What you’re doing out here is incredibly important. The only place we’re moving any large surface combatants to, is Europe,” said Greenert.

Four Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers will be forward deployed to Rota, Spain; USS Ross (DDG 71) and USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) in fiscal year 2014 and USS Porter (DDG 78) and USS Carney (DDG 64) in fiscal year 2015.

The multi-mission ships will perform a myriad of tasks, including the full spectrum of maritime security operations, bilateral and multilateral training exercises, NATO operations and deployments, and NATO missile defense.

“We are committed to NATO and its operations,” said Greenert. “This area will be as important as it always has been in our future maritime strategy.”

NSA Naples is home to U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa; U.S. 6th Fleet; Navy Region EURAFSWA; Naval Facilities EURAFSWA; other tenant commands and U.S. personnel assigned to NATO.

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Singapore: U.S. Navy Forward Base For Pacific-To-Gulf Operations

http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=65491

U.S. Navy
February 22, 2012

Vice Chief Wraps Up Visit to Singapore
By Lt. Cmdr. Chris Servello, Vice Chief of Naval Operations Public Affairs

-“It was clear to me in this visit that the Singaporean facilities and infrastructure are well suited to accommodate our ships for training, exchanges, and exercises. Our ongoing access to these facilities helps us promote regional stability and supports operations from the Western Pacific to the ***Arabian*** Gulf.”
-Ferguson is traveling throughout the U.S. Pacific Fleet to meet with regional partners and U.S. personnel to discuss U.S. Navy Pacific engagement. He will also visit Guam next.

SEMBAWANG, Singapore: The vice chief of naval operations (VCNO) concluded a two-day visit to Singapore Feb. 23.

Adm. Mark Ferguson met with Chief of the Singapore Navy, Rear Admiral Chee Pang, toured facilities at Changi and Sembawang naval bases, and spoke to U.S. Sailors at an all hands call.

“I am visiting regional partners on behalf of the Secretary of the Navy and Chief of Naval Operations to discuss our Pacific engagement,” said Ferguson. “As we look at the future of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and our presence in the region, this was an important stop.”

In meetings with the Singapore Navy, VCNO focused on the recent U.S. force posture review, the status of the two respective navies and future plans to operate LCS out of Singapore.

“This visit further solidified the strong relationship we enjoy with the Singapore Navy,” said Ferguson. “We are committed to deploying LCS to Singapore. My time here gave me a better understanding of the support facilities available and the factors we still must work through before we move ahead.”

While visiting Changi Naval Base, Ferguson met with Fleet Commander Rear Admiral Lai Chun Han, toured the information fusion center, fleet headquarters and the Singapore Navy Frigate RSS Stalwart.

“It was clear to me in this visit that the Singaporean facilities and infrastructure are well suited to accommodate our ships for training, exchanges, and exercises,” said Ferguson. “Our ongoing access to these facilities helps us promote regional stability and supports operations from the Western Pacific to the Arabian Gulf.”

COMLOG WESTPAC, Commander, Task Force 73 (CTF 73), and Navy Region Center Singapore are the U.S. 7th Fleet’s providers of combat-ready logistics, maintaining and operating government-owned and contracted vessels to keep combatant ships and units throughout the region armed, fueled, fed and supported. Additionally, they are 7th Fleet’s Theater Security Cooperation agent for Southeast Asia, providing persistent engagement with allies and partners.

Ferguson is traveling throughout the U.S. Pacific Fleet to meet with regional partners and U.S. personnel to discuss U.S. Navy Pacific engagement. He will also visit Guam next.

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Central Location: U.S. Office of Naval Research Global In Landlocked Czech Republic

http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=65513

U.S. Navy
February 23, 2012

ONR Global and Prague: A Winning Combination
By Dave Smalley, Office of Naval Research

ARLINGTON, Va. – Hailed as a vital bridge between cutting-edge scientific research and international diplomacy, the Prague branch of Office of Naval Research (ONR) Global marks its two-year anniversary Feb. 26.

“Bringing different [international] entities together toward a strategic goal is one of the major benefits of having ONR presence in Central and Eastern Europe,” said Cmdr. Mark Williams, ONR Global regional director, NATO and Europe.

ONR Global’s mission is to meet current and future needs of the Navy and Marine Corps. Five regional engagement offices around the world seek out promising science and technology (S&T) advances, and promote S&T collaboration at an open source and unclassified level between ONR and international scientists.

The other sites are in London, Tokyo, Singapore and Santiago, with its international liaison office located in Arlington, Va.

“We wanted to increase our engagement with industry and academia in the region,” said Michael Morgan, director of ONR Global’s engagement office in Prague. “We chose Prague because of our rich history of research with the Czechs, and its central location.”

With just 24 months in existence, the office has already accomplished pioneering work in technologies from cyber defense to new models of air traffic control.

In one recent effort, dubbed AgentC, the Prague office of ONR Global supported work at Czech Technical University on software that models sea piracy and provides alternative routing for commercial vessels in waters off the Horn of Africa.

Williams singled out Prague office programs such as innovative cyber defense initiatives, and a string of collaborative scientific events that have brought together leading European scientists, U.S. and Czech government officials and representatives from private industry.

An upcoming engagement series on innovation, set to kick off in March in the Czech Republic, is exactly the kind of project ONR’s strong global presence can create, he noted.

According to Morgan, a key accomplishment so far for the Prague office includes a successful ONR/European Union (EU) workshop, the culmination of a year of planning and organizing. “It opens the door for us to leverage EU research and development funding, which is forecast to be more than $100 billion over the next seven years,” he said.

ONR provides the science and technology necessary to maintain the Navy and Marine Corps’ technological advantage. Through its affiliates, ONR is a leader in science and technology with engagement in 50 states, 70 countries, 1,035 institutions of higher learning and 914 industry partners. ONR employs approximately 1,400 people, comprising uniformed, civilian and contract personnel, with additional employees at the Naval Research Lab in Washington, D.C.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO news: February 25, 2012

February 25, 2012 Leave a comment

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Syria: Clinton Calls China, Russia “Despicable,” Demands Regime Change

Two NATO Soldiers Killed In Afghan Capital

U.S. Increases Military Presence In Strait Of Hormuz

Kyrgyz President: U.S. Air Base Should Not Be Used Against Iran

U.S. Leads Airborne Exercise In Mali

Saakashvili: Georgia Finds Safety In European Family, NATO

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Syria: Clinton Calls China, Russia “Despicable,” Demands Regime Change

http://en.apa.az/news.php?id=166420

Azeri Press Agency
February 25, 2012

Clinton rips Russia, China for U.N. veto on Syria

Baku: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton blasted Russia and China as “despicable” for opposing U.N. action aimed at stopping the bloodshed in Syria, and more than 60 nations began planning a civilian peacekeeping mission to deploy after the Damascus regime halts its crackdown on the opposition, APA reports quoting Associated Press.

In his most forceful words to date on the Syrian crisis, President Barack Obama said the U.S. and its allies would use “every tool available” to end the bloodshed by the government of President Bashar Assad.

“It is time to stop the killing of Syrian citizens by their own government,” Obama said in Washington, adding that it “absolutely imperative for the international community to rally and send a clear message to President Assad that it is time for a transition. It is time for that regime to move on.”

…Clinton went on to predict a military coup inside Syria of the kind that ended the old regimes in Egypt and Tunisia.

“We saw this happen in other settings last year, I think it is going to happen in Syria,” she told reporters at the end of the meeting…

Assad allies Russia and China, which blocked U.N. action on Syria and are eager to head off any repeat of the kind of foreign intervention that happened in Libya, gave no sign they would agree to peacekeepers. Moscow and Beijing have vetoed U.N. Security Council resolutions…

Their vetoes prompted a particularly strong reaction from Clinton.

“It’s quite distressing to see two permanent members of the Security Council using their veto while people are being murdered — women, children, brave young men — houses are being destroyed,” she said. “It is just despicable and I ask whose side are they on? They are clearly not on the side of the Syrian people.”

The Friends of Syria group also vowed to step up ties with the Syrian National Council, an opposition umbrella group. They took a tentative step toward recognition by declaring the council to be “a legitimate representative” of the Syrian people, a possible precursor to calling it “the legitimate representative.”

On the sanctions front, France said the European Union would on Monday freeze assets of Syria’s national bank held in EU jurisdictions while Clinton vowed that already tough U.S. penalties would be strengthened.

Highlighting the divisions, though, Saudi Arabia called publicly for weapons and ammunition to be sent to the opposition, including the Free Syrian Army, a Turkey-based outfit made up largely of Assad regime defectors.

“I think it’s an excellent idea,” Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal told reporters before meeting Clinton on the margins of the conference…

The Obama administration initially opposed arming the opposition but has recently opened the door to the possibility by saying that while a political solution is preferable, other measures may be needed if the onslaught doesn’t end.

The Syrian National Council, for its part, said it would be grateful for help in any area.

Qatari Foreign Minister Hamad Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani, who has been a driving force to unite Arab opinion against the Syrian regime, directly called on Assad to step down. And, together with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, he called for the creation of humanitarian corridors to get aid to embattled citizens.


Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki, the host of Friday’s conference who only recently assumed power after his country became the first in the Arab Spring to topple its longtime leader last year, called for an Arab peacekeeping force to ensure stability during an eventual transition.

The Friends group [gave] a green light to U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon to start drawing up plans for such a joint Arab League-U.N. peacekeeping operation that would be comprised of civilian police officers. Ban is expected to begin recruiting possible contributors to the mission and preparing its mandate.

Such an operation would not be a military intervention but would still require authorization from the U.N. Security Council, where it will likely face opposition from veto-wielding members China and Russia, neither of which attended the Tunis conference, and Iran…

As the conference began, about 200 pro-Assad demonstrators tried to storm the hotel. The protest forced Clinton to be diverted briefly to her hotel.
The protesters, waving Syrian and Tunisian flags, tussled with police and carried signs criticizing Clinton and President Barack Obama. They were driven out of the parking lot by police after about 15 minutes.

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Two NATO Soldiers Killed In Afghan Capital

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-02/25/c_131431544.htm

Xinhua News Agency
February 25, 2012

NATO confirms 2 service members dead in Kabul

           
KABUL: The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) confirmed that two of its service members were killed in Kabul on Saturday.

“Initial reports indicate an individual turned his weapon against International Security Assistance Force service members in Kabul City today, killing two service members,” the short statement added.

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

Meantime, the Afghan Interior Ministry in a statement confirmed the incident by saying, “Two international colleagues of the Interior Ministry were killed in the premise of the ministry today afternoon. Investigation has been initiated into the case.”

Meanwhile, a source with the Interior Ministry said on the condition of anonymity that an Afghan police opened fire and killed two American advisors.

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U.S. Increases Military Presence In Strait Of Hormuz

http://en.rian.ru/world/20120225/171523370.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
February 25, 2012

U.S. Beefs Up Defenses in Strait of Hormuz – Paper

Moscow: The U.S. plans to strengthen its defenses in the Persian Gulf to repel any attempt by Iran to block the Strait of Hormuz, the Wall Street Journal said on Saturday.

The Pentagon has notified Congress of plans to deploy new mine-detection and clearing equipment in the waterway, through which a fifth of the world’s oil is transported.

The U.S. military are also looking to modify weapons systems on ships and shore-launched cruise missiles, the journal said citing unnamed defense officials.

Surveillance in and around the strait will also be increased.
Iran has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz in response to mounting international pressure over its disputed uranium enrichment program.

Western powers suspect Iran is seeking to create a nuclear bomb and have tightened sanctions. Tehran insists its nuclear intentions are purely peaceful.

Iran staged military exercises earlier this week in the south which it said was to train protection of its nuclear facilities.

There has been increasing speculation in recent weeks that Israel may carry out a military strike on Iran’s nuclear sites. The United States has also refused to rule out force.

Mohammad Hejazi, deputy head of Iran’s armed forces, said on Tuesday Iran would take pre-emptive action if it needed to protect its national interests.

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Kyrgyz President: U.S. Air Base Should Not Be Used Against Iran

http://en.trend.az/regions/casia/kyrgyzstan/1996610.html

Trend News Agency
February 25, 2012

Kyrgyz President: Manas base should not be used against Iran
E. Kosolapova

Baku: The U.S. air base located in the Kyrgyz Manas airport should not be used against Iran, Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev said.

“The base in Kyrgyzstan should not be used against Iran. That is why we are talking about the necessity to withdraw foreign troops from the civil airport after 2014 and close the base,” Atambaev said in an interview with Voice of Russia radio station.

Earlier, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said that the Ministry fears that the Manas air base can be used in the potential conflict with Iran.

The air base at Manas, which was later renamed as the Transit Centre, was opened in late 2001 after the U.S launched its operation in Afghanistan. At present, it accommodates about 1,200 U.S soldiers. According to Pentagon statistics, the base handles up to 15,000 coalition servicemen and 500 tons of cargoes a month. The agreement on deployment of the U.S. air base in Kyrgyzstan is valid until 2014.

Atambayev said that the decision on the withdrawal of foreign troops and military bases from the civilian airport is provoked by considerations of the Kyrgyz capital and civilian population.

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U.S. Leads Airborne Exercise In Mali

http://www.africom.mil/getArticle.asp?art=7638&lang=0

U.S. Africa Command
February 23, 2012

Service Members from Mali Take Part in Aerial Resupply and Recovery Exercise
By Sergeant Mark A. Henderson
128th MPAD, UTARNG   

MOPTI, Mali: U. S. service members joined troops from six partner nations with the purpose of sharing their knowledge of aerial resupply and recovery of as part of exercise Atlas Accord in Mali, February 2012.

Members of the 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) conducted pathfinder training to locate suitable drop zones, cleared the area to ensure the safety of local residents, marked the drop zones for the aircraft and recovered supplies.

“The training was really interesting,” said Malian Army Sergeant Oumar Traore, as airborne infantryman.

“The 19th SFG taught us to set-up the operational readiness platform, to send out reconnaissance patrols, and establish security at the drop zone. We’ve learned how to conduct these operations under any circumstances. This exercise also helps us work with troops from other nations,” he said.

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Saakashvili: Georgia Finds Safety In European Family, NATO

http://en.trend.az/regions/scaucasus/georgia/1996721.html

Trend News Agency
February 25, 2012

Georgia has never been closer to the long-term security – Mikheil Saakashvili
N. Kirtskhalia

-Saakashvili criticized those political forces that…throw out the idea of ​​neutrality.

Tbilisi: Georgia has never been closer to ensuring its safety for many generations as now, said Saturday at a meeting with the officers, soldiers and cadets at the military base in Gori, Georgian President Mikhеil Saakashvili in connection with day of occupation of Georgia by the Red Army in February 1925, celebrated in the country.

“We will be free and our country will find safety only in the European family, NATO, to which we have already reached more than ever before,” he said.

Saakashvili stressed that it became clear after the visits of the French President and the NATO North Atlantic Council to Georgia, the summits in the Congress of the People’s Party, as well as his meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama.

“He said that Georgia is an example of democracy and freedom in the region and there is some reason someone did not like it,” he said.

The President stressed that EU and NATO are a guarantee of the security of Georgia. “And this our goal is very close and there is no other purpose, there is no other way to ensure the safety of Georgia,” he said.

Saakashvili criticized those political forces that are today if not speaking and do not call themselves pro-Russian as it is unpopular, throw out the idea of ​​neutrality.

“Nothing of the sort, even if only one person will say, oblige us to anything the U.S., EU, while Russia is constantly demanded of us is joining the CIS, the signing of agreements during armed conflicts and in the end we loss 20% our territory, our citizens,” he said.

At the same time, the president said, the hand of friendship and assistance to Georgia held out Europe and the United States.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Pentagon Demands $100 Million More For War With Iran

February 25, 2012 Leave a comment

RT
February 25, 2012

Pumping arms: Pentagon’s bigger stick to beat Iran

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The planned upgrade comes on top of the nearly $82 million program to improve the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, the largest bunker-buster bomb deployed by the Pentagon. The weapon may be used against Iranian fortified sites, but some experts believed the bomb would not be good enough to destroy those.

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The Pentagon wants $100 million extra to be prepared for a war with Iran. The money, requested from the Congress, is to beef up US military presence in the Persian Gulf and rapidly upgrade weapons to more effectively combat Iranian armed forces.

US Central Command, which oversees American forces in the Gulf region, wants them prepared to defeat the Iranian fleet and shore artillery. They also want additional drone capabilities and mine swiping equipment to clear the Strait of Hormuz, should Iran act to set mines there as it threatened to, reports The Wall Street Journal.

As part of the push, US spec-op team stationed in the United Arab Emirates has also been ordered to be prepared to take part in military action in the region, the newspapers says citing defense sources. The unit is currently training elite forces of the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and other US allies in the region.

The Pentagon submitted the request for extra funding on February 7, saying it is needed to “bridge near-term capability gaps” in the Persian Gulf. The request is yet to be made public officially until lawmakers review it.

It comes on top of changes made last summer that provided Central Command with about $200 million for additional upgrades, some of which could be used in areas outside the Gulf region. The earlier request asked money for a torpedo defense system, airborne anti-mine weapons and new cyber weapons. It was approved by the Congress.

The Iranian Navy deploys relatively small fast-moving heavily armed vessels. US naval forces have been made to fight against larger targets and may lag in efficiency against the Iranian, American military planners believe. To close the gap, US warships would need to be equipped with rapid-fire machine guns, anti-tank weapons and smaller caliber guns.

The planned upgrade comes on top of the nearly $82 million program to improve the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, the largest bunker-buster bomb deployed by the Pentagon. The weapon may be used against Iranian fortified sites, but some experts believed the bomb would not be good enough to destroy those.

Tension has been building rapidly over the months over Iranian controversial nuclear program. The US and its allies accuse Tehran of secretly developing a nuclear weapon under the guise of civilian research, an allegation the Islamic Republic denies. There is no conclusive proof of the allegation, and even US intelligence doubts Iranian nuclear ambitions. Nevertheless, the US and the EU issued sanctions against Iranian oil exports in a bid to put leverage on the country.

There is speculation that Israel may launch an attack on Iranian military facilities in a pre-emptive strike. Tehran threatened to respond with military force against such an attack. It also said in case of a conflict it would block the Strait of Hormuz, through which some 20 per cent of all world’s traded crude passes.

Categories: Uncategorized

“Friends Of Syria” Contradiction In Terms: Leading Russian MP

February 25, 2012 Leave a comment

Voice of Russia
February 25, 2012

In search of Syria’s true friends
Polina Chernitsa

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“One should take into consideration that every country, Russia included, is subject to serious pressure. We are dealing with a powerful political union between leading NATO member-states and the wealthiest and non-democratic members of the League of Arab States. If you look through the reports on today’s conference in Tunisia, you will realize that all the documents had been drafted prior to the conference.”

“The internal Syrian opposition believes that the Western-backed SNC has practically no support inside the country. Why then is an expatriate organization, virtually unsupported in Syria, considered to be an official representative of the Syrian nation? The SNC is actually promoting military interference in Syria’s affairs which is opposed by two other opposition groups which are based in Damascus. These groups say that they do not want an intervention or a replay of the Libyan scenario.”

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The ‘Friends of Syria’ is a contradiction in terms. In reality, these countries are Syria’s enemies which are not trying to reach a peaceful settlement but want to provoke a civil war, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for International Affairs Alexey Pushkov has declared.

An international conference of the Friends of Syria, which includes countries and organizations that advocate a unilateral ceasefire in Syria, is being held in Tunisia on Friday. The opposition Syrian National Council has already demanded that the participants supply weapons to the militants of the so-called Syrian People’s Army.

The agenda of the first session of the self-proclaimed ‘Friends of Syria’ was kept secret until the beginning of the consultations. However, because of various leaks it became clear that the LAS initiative to officially recognize the Syrian National Council as the legitimate government would be approved. This method of solving the crisis would be unacceptable, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for International Affairs Alexey Pushkov believes. The MP stressed that those who propose initiatives of this kind can hardly be called ‘friends of Syria’.

“I put the word ‘friends’ in inverted commas because this name is a contradiction in terms. They are friends of Syria’s armed opposition, so in the context of Syria’s future, I would call this conference ‘a conference of Syria’s enemies’. One should take into consideration that every country, Russia included, is subject to serious pressure. We are dealing with a powerful political union between leading NATO member-states and the wealthiest and non-democratic members of the League of Arab States. If you look through the reports on today’s conference in Tunisia, you will realize that all the documents had been drafted prior to the conference. These documents will be put up for approval of all the participants, even those which had nothing to do with their drafting, for example, Algeria which has a rather skeptical attitude to military action as a way to solve the Syrian problem.”

Alexey Pushkov stressed that the Syrian opposition is fragmented and the Syrian National Council itself cannot be considered even to be capable of representing the opposition, let alone the entire Syrian nation.

“The internal Syrian opposition believes that the Western-backed SNC has practically no support inside the country. Why then is an expatriate organization, virtually unsupported in Syria, considered to be an official representative of the Syrian nation? The SNC is actually promoting military interference in Syria’s affairs which is opposed by two other opposition groups which are based in Damascus. These groups say that they do not want an intervention or a replay of the Libyan scenario. Some political forces are demanding a ceasefire and al-Assad’s resignation, but not all of them. The Liberation Front, for example, believes that multi-party talks on Syria’s future will not be complete without al-Assad.”

Alexey Pushkov declared that “al-Assad’s regime is not ‘isolated’ and all the talk about his departure is completely groundless.” The situation is being grossly exaggerated as a number of interested parties are trying to launch the conflict into a new orbit and incite a civil war.

The SNC’s latest actions, i.e. its demands of weapons supplies for the militants of an opposition army, prove that these forces are not aiming at reaching a peaceful solution. Nevertheless, the opposition and its foreign supporters declare that their main goal is a ‘democratic Syria’. However, at present, the majority of Syria’s population believes that an overthrow of the regime would only result in religious strife and a civil war.

The Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee visited Syria earlier this week. He met with the country’s leadership and spokesmen representing various political forces. Alexey Pushkov said that a Russian parliamentary organization could visit Syria in the near future. He brought back with him an invitation for the Speaker of the Russian State Duma from the Syrian leadership.

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO, GCC-Led Arab League “Friends” Of Syria?

February 25, 2012 Leave a comment

Voice of Russia
February 25, 2014

West, AL ‘friends’ with Syria?
Igor Siletsky

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US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said shortly before the ‘Friends of Syria’ forum that if they failed to pressure Assad into leaving office, the US would consider other options and a military intrusion couldn’t be ruled out either.

According to Lebanon’s former Information Minister Michel Samah, the main purpose of the so-called ‘friends of Syria’ is to split Syria and drown it in civil war. But backed by Russia and China, Syria might prevent the US and France from establishing their rule in the region.

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Hundreds of supporters of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad rallied outside the hotel complex in Tunisia where the “Friends of Syria” Conference opened on Friday. Pro-Assad activists attempted to break into the hotel premises in order to protest against the support of the Syrian opposition by the West.

French representatives said at the conference that they recognized the legitimacy of the opposition National Transitional Council in Syria.

Tunisia’s President Moncef Marzouki suggested giving President Assad and his family immunity from prosecution and urged Russia to grant him political asylum. Moscow and Beijing boycotted the conference. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, just as they did regarding Libya, the so-called “friends of Syria” are forging an international coalition in support of one of the parties to the Syrian conflict.

The Voice of Russia’s Igor Siletsky reports.

Part of the “domestic” Syrian opposition chose to boycott the Tunisia conference as well. The so-called National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change did not like it that the organizers of the forum favored the Syrian National Transitional Council, which was founded in exile. Russia and China declined to attend the forum on the grounds that passing decisions on a country’s future in the absence of its legitimate authorities is inadmissible.

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov has this to say.

“To discuss the crisis in Syria without Syrian government representatives is wrong. The key players – the Syrian authorities – should take part in the discussions.”

The ‘Friends of Syria’ Group was set up by France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy after Russia and China vetoed the UN Security Council’s resolution on Syria. A total of 70 countries, including the US, Britain, and members of the Arab League, backed the initiative. According to the organizers of the Tunisia conference, the Group was founded to step up economic and political pressure on President Bashar al-Assad. A military intervention on the Libyan scenario is not on the agenda because it will be hard to mount, first of all, because of the absence of a UN mandate, and secondly, because the Syrian army outnumbers the Libyan one which makes it difficult to predict the consequences of the invasion for Syria’s neighbors.

However, members of the Syrian National Transitional Council insist on foreign intervention. The Council’s representatives demand that the participants in the ‘Friends of Syria’ Conference provide militants of the Free Syrian Army with weapons. Meanwhile, reports by Al Arabiya say that the opposition army is being supplied with small arms and military equipment from abroad. Armed groups of defectors from government forces are supplied with communication and night vision equipment. These supplies are coming from Syrians who live abroad. And the armed groups in question are currently trying to get hold of portable air defense and anti-tank systems.

The ‘Friends of Syria’ Group is pursuing purposes other than those they have announced on the official level. Even though they might not follow the Libyan scenario in detail, the West and the Arab League are clearly following the beaten track, Irina Zvyagelskaya of the Institute of Oriental Studies, says.

“Syria’s opposition forces are fielding tough demands despite being scattered. They all require the departure of Assad as a precondition and won’t agree to talks. They are convinced that they will see their tough agenda through and will seize power without any compromises, only through ultimatums. Syria might plunge into still worse chaos than now which will require foreign interference. And President Assad isn’t carrying out reforms, even though he keeps talking about them.”

However, the Syrian president is determined to pursue the reforms even though his plans are being thwarted by attacks and armed exchanges on the part of the opposition. Syria is holding a nationwide referendum on the country’s new constitution on Sunday. Experts warn, however, that nothing will stop Assad’s opponents now. US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said shortly before the ‘Friends of Syria’ forum that if they failed to pressure Assad into leaving office, the US would consider other options and a military intrusion couldn’t be ruled out either.

According to Lebanon’s former Information Minister Michel Samah, the main purpose of the so-called ‘friends of Syria’ is to split Syria and drown it in civil war. But backed by Russia and China, Syria might prevent the US and France from establishing their rule in the region. The so-called ‘friends of Syria’ have pointed to Moscow and Beijing as countries which are to blame for the Syrian crisis and which ought to review their positions.

This week, the UN has appointed Kofi Annan special envoy to Syria. Mr. Annan has urged all parties to the conflict to cooperate in putting an end to violence and securing a peaceful solution to the crisis. Russia hopes that participation of Kofi Annan will bring about an effective solution to the conflict. [A grave error - RR] Moscow is also prepared to cooperate with the UN, the EU and the Arab League on averting a political and humanitarian disaster in the Middle East region.

Categories: Uncategorized

The Syrian Crisis And World Politics

February 24, 2012 Leave a comment

Strategic Culture Foundation
February 24, 2012

The Syrian Crisis and World Politics
Boris Dolgov
Edited by RR

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The Syrian National Council rejects any talks with the Syrian leadership. It counts on NATO support and the repetition of the “Libyan scenario”. In January 2012 the Syrian National Council established a coordination bureau to interact with the so-called Free Syrian Army…

Militant training camps are situated in Lebanon and Turkey. NATO and some Arab states special services are responsible for training and for arms supplies. The funding comes from the Persian Gulf monarchies.

Russia’s and China’s tough stance insisting that the Syrian armed opposition’s responsibility for violence and imposing a veto on the draft saved Syria from experiencing the fate of Libya, when tens of thousands of civilians were killed and the civilian infrastructure destroyed as a result of NATO bombings and the internal armed conflict.

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The Syrian situation has been further exacerbated and the activities of world powers and regional leaders – Turkey, Iran, Israel, the Arab League – have been intensified during the first months of 2012.

The government offered a plan for the democratization of the country’s social-political life that has started to be brought into life in Syria. At the same time armed anti-government militant groups escalated their activities, terrorizing the population. New laws on general elections, the media, self-government and political parties were adopted. Six new parties were registered by the end of February 2012. Syria has a multiparty system, there had been seven parties represented in the parliament until recently, but the constitution states the leading party power is vested in the Arab Socialist Baath Party. It’s worth noting the Baath social-economic achievements. Syria boasts quite an acceptable living standard for a major part of the population, and medical care and education are free of charge.

Municipal authorities were elected according to a new law enacted in December 2011. A new draft constitution is a hot issue for discussion now. The referendum to approve it is slated for February 26 2012. The Baath leading role clause will be cancelled if the majority says so. The new constitution promulgating a multiparty system will be the basis for parliamentary elections in May 2012. Patriotic (as they call themselves) opposition parties ready for national dialogue will take part. They encompass liberal-democrats, leftists and those who defend the interests of the Kurdish community.

Syrian authorities said the democratization process is open to all political forces, including the opposition abroad represented by the Istanbul-based Syrian National Council. But the Istanbul-based opposition says Bashar Assad‘s departure from power is a preliminary condition for any talks. The Council, headed by Burhan Ghalioun, a Syrian-French Sorbonne professor, has no program for the future.

The only slogan to unite the opposition is the overthrow of Bashar Assad. It brings together various groups with different goals, including Muslim Brothers, Sunni Muslims, Kurdish separatists, and liberal-democratic dissidents. As a rule they live in Europe or the USA. For instance, Radwan Ziadeh, head of the US-funded Damascus Center for Human Rights. The opposition Barad TV channel broadcasts from London. The Syrian Human Rights Monitoring Center headed by Syrian dissident and human rights advocate Rami Abdul Rahman is situated there too. The organization has no office and no employees. One can only guess where they get information from on dozens of peaceful demonstrators losing their lives as a result of Syrian army activities.

The Islamists are the most influential part of the “Istanbul” opposition that has teeth. The Syrian National Council rejects any talks with the Syrian leadership. It counts on NATO support and the repetition of the “Libyan scenario”. In January 2012 the Syrian National Council established a coordination bureau to interact with the so-called Free Syrian Army, an armed anti-government group representing Syrian army deserters fighting the regime, as its leaders day. In reality the major part of the Free Syrian Army, as other terrorists groups, are mercenaries – Syrian or coming from other Arab and Muslim states.

There are other armed Islamic groups besides the Free Syrian Army. Fath al-Islam (Conquest of Islam) and Junut al-Islam (Soldiers of Allah Supporters), Talia al Mukatila (Fighting Vanguard), the military wing of Muslim Brothers, as well as criminal gangs with a total strength of 2–4 thousand. Libyan Islamic militant groups headed by Abdelhakim Belhadj have also crossed the Syrian border to commit terrorist acts. Belhadj was a Libyan insurgent leader. He was assigned to be Tripoli commandant after the Gaddafi’s regime fall (at the beginning of the 2000s he was “the national emir” of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group fighting the Gaddafi regime in Libya). James Clark, a US intelligence official, Leon Panetta, Secretary of Defense and the Israeli military said Al-Qaeda makes up part of the Syrian armed opposition ranks.

Militant training camps are situated in Lebanon and Turkey. NATO and some Arab states special services are responsible for training and for arms supplies. The funding comes from the Persian Gulf monarchies.

The main goal of the states supporting the Syrian “Istanbul opposition” at the beginning of 2012 was mainly a UN decision that would open the way to repeating the “Libyan scenario”. That is, to overthrow the Syrian leadership as a result of foreign military intervention under the pretext of “peaceful civilians’ protection”.

The matter is an attempt to topple Bashar Assad, who enjoys the support of the majority of Syrians, with the help of anti-government armed groups and foreign-based opposition that leads nowhere. For instance, that’s why Qatar suggested in January that an “Arab peacekeeping contingent” be sent to Syria. Then in February the League of Arab Nations, first upon the initiative of Morocco then of Saudi Arabia, tried to get a US-, Great Britain- and France-supported resolution condemning the Syrian leaders for “continuing violence” through the UN Security Council.

Russia’s and China’s tough stance insisting that the Syrian armed opposition’s responsibility for violence and imposing a veto on the draft saved Syria from experiencing the fate of Libya, when tens of thousands of civilians were killed and the civilian infrastructure destroyed as a result of NATO bombings and the internal armed conflict. In February France tabled a resolution condemning the Syrian leadership to the session of the UN General Assembly. A majority of 137 voted for, 12 against and 17 abstained.

On February 24 a “Friends of Syria” meeting is to take pace in Tunisia. The Syrian leadership received no invitation and, as Washington said, Russia’s participation is “not needed”. Russia refused to take part. The USA, Great Britain, France, Turkey, the Arab League and the “Istanbul opposition” are among the participants. They are concentrating forces for military action. US reconnaissance aircraft already fly over Syrian airspace, some sources say, ande British special operations forces are already operating in the territory of Syria.

Not once the USA and Israel condemned Syria for support of “international terrorism”, anti-Israeli Palestinian groups and “Hezbollah” movement. They count on regime change in Syria and dismemberment of the country into a few small quasi states. Rivalry between Sunni Turkey and Shiite Iran for leadership in the region is also taking place. Syria is a long time Iran’s ally, the alliance relationship going back to the Iran-Iraq war, and includes religious ties (the Syrian leadership is mainly Alawite, a form of Shiite branch of Islam), it’s weakening meets the Turkey’s interests. The ruling party and leadership of Turkey, represented by moderate Muslim Islamists (the prime-minister and president come from the ranks of the Muslim Brothers Association), have sympathy for Syrian Muslim Brothers stance against the government. By and large the Persian Gulf monarchies take the same stance. They oppose Iran that is seen by them as a potential threat.
They enjoy great influence on the Arab League. Their interests coincide with the interest of leading NATO members. Still such Arab League members as Algiers, Iraq, Sudan, a significant part of social-political structure of Jordan and Lebanon (the National Patriotic Movement of General Aun) support the Syrian leadership, though they do not always make their stand known with appropriate resoluteness. The situation boosts the role of Russia and China that become key links in the process of overcoming the Syrian crisis.

Russia’s stance is solid and irreversible. It insists no foreign armed intervention in Syria is acceptable. The stance was confirmed during Russia’s and China’s veto in the UN Security Council and Russia’s Foreign Minister S. Lavrov and head of Foreign Intelligence Service M. Fradkov’s visit to Syria on February 21. Russia and Syria historically enjoy long time friendship and cooperation relationship.

The fall of Syrian regime would be a big step into the direction of further destabilization in the Middle East, like it is taking place in Lebanon, where a stand-off between supporters and opponents of the Syrian regime is taking place. Bashar Assad’s downfall would strengthen the position of radical Islamists. Such Al Qaeda leaders as al-Zawahiri declared their support for the Syrian radical opposition in February 2012. Syria has a significant weapons arsenal that can get into the Islamists hands like it took place in Libya. The history knows many examples when the West used the “jihad warriors” to achieve its strategic goals. The US September 11 2001 experience doesn’t hold them back.

First of all it’s Russia’s tough stance on Syria that saves this country from foreign intervention and NATO bombings now. By defending Syria and containing escalation of aggression against Iran, Russia stands for its own security by defending its distant borders.

Categories: Uncategorized

Russian Secret Services: U.S., NATO, GCC Arm Syrian Rebels Through Iraq, Lebanon And Turkey

February 24, 2012 Leave a comment

Itar-Tass
February 24, 2012

Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey supply arms to the troops of Syrian opposition

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“[T]he scenario that has already been developed and administered by the United States and their NATO allies, mainly by France, Britain and Turkey, as well as the monarchical regimes from the Gulf Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, in particular Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, is being implemented in Syria.”

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MOSCOW: Armed groups of Syria’s opposition from the rebel force known as the Free Syrian Army get more and more weapons from abroad, a source in Russia’s secret services told Itar-Tass on Friday.

“Huge batches of small arms and munitions for the Free Syrian Army’s troops are supplied from Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey, but unofficially, not through these countries’ governments,” the source said. “The supply list includes submachine guns, machine guns, sniper rifles and antitank grenade launchers.”

Russian military expert Lieutenant General Leonid Sazhin told Itar-Tass that “the scenario that has already been developed and administered by the United States and their NATO allies, mainly by France, Britain and Turkey, as well as the monarchical regimes from the Gulf Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, in particular Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, is being implemented in Syria.”

“This scenario was developed taking into account recent events in Libya, Egypt and other countries of the region with only one reservation – the lack of a UN Security Council resolution needed for the West. In fact, we see an unannounced military interference of some NATO member-states and countries of the region into Syria’s domestic affairs, who side with one of the conflicting parties – the armed opposition,” he said.

Sazhin noted that in addition to the Syrian National Council, Syrian refugees and army deserters in Turkey create a military structure – the Supreme Revolutionary Council – led by Syrian army general Mustafa Ahmed al-Sheikh, who deserted to neighbouring Turkey.

“The main task of the Supreme Revolutionary Council is to coordinate actions of the armed opposition on Syrian territory and to recruit to its ranks new members both in Syria and beyond its borders to oust Bashar al-Assad exclusively through the use of force,” he said.

“As concerns weapons supplied to the troops of the Free Syrian Army, most of them were in service with the armed forces of former members of the Warsaw Pact. After the countries joined NATO and re-equipped their troops with NATO arms, weapons were collected and piled up at storage facilities and depots, from where they are now taken and flown to Syria,” he said.

The expert did not rule out that some of the weapons can be fake Soviet weapon systems.

Categories: Uncategorized

Arming Syrian Opposition May Lead To Bloody Civil War

February 24, 2012 Leave a comment

Xinhua News Agency
February 24, 2012

Arming Syrian opposition may lead to bloody civil war
By Yu Zhixiao

BEIJING: The two-day Friends of Syria Conference, aimed at rallying support for the Syrian opposition, starts in Tunis on Friday, and outsiders will be watching closely whether it will grant essential backing such as arms to rebels in unrest-stricken Syria.

At this point, it should be reiterated that rashly arming the Syrian opposition or forcing a so-called regime change is a risky and heavily costly option, which may drag the Middle East country into a full-blown bloody civil war.

The meeting, attended by senior diplomats from the Arab League, Europe and the United States, certainly will ratchet up pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has vowed to fight anti-government forces to the bitter end.

Western powers have vehemently demanded al-Assad’s departure, but stopped short of announcing a military intervention at this stage. However, they insist all options are still on the table.

The participants of the conference are expected to seek concrete measures, such as calling for access for humanitarian aid to Syria’s violence-hit regions and an arms embargo to add more pressure on Damascus.

But Syrian rebels have all along asked Western countries to arm them, and it is still uncertain whether Friday’s conference will satisfy their appetite.

It should be pointed out that the reckless supply of weapons to the rebels is sure to bring a more violent reaction from Syrian government troops and plunge the country into a full and devastating civil war, which is not at all in the interests of Syrian civilians.

Before all hopes vanish, the international community should give dialogue a chance.

Parties concerned shouldn’t turn a blind eye to the fact that President al-Assad is substantively responding to demands for domestic reforms.

A referendum on a draft constitution on Sunday will allow Syrian citizens to opt for new freedoms, end the monopoly on power of al-Assad’s Baath Party and set a timetable for multiparty elections.

Under the new constitution, President al-Assad will end his second seven-year term in 2014 at the latest and, with it, his family’s 40-odd years of control over the country.

Negotiations between pro- and anti-government camps are a recognition of the strength of antagonistic factors in Syria, which obviously can’t wipe out the other side easily, and will serve as a pragmatic and feasible way to strike a peace deal and curb more bloodshed.

At any time, military methods should be the last option.

Categories: Uncategorized

Balochistan: CIA Carving Out New Role

February 24, 2012 3 comments

The News
February 24, 2012

CIA carving out new role
Farrukh Saleem

ISLAMABAD: The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), led by David Petraeus the former Commander, US Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A), has a strategic, multidimensional interest in Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest province. In March 2011, The Peninsula, Qatar’s leading English language daily, revealed that the “CIA is indulging in heavy recruitment of local people as agents (each being paid $500 a month) in Balochistan to locate members of the Quetta Shura, a term used by the Americans for Mullah Omar-led Taliban commanders.”

Over the long term, the CIA has an interest in keeping the strategically important Port of Gwadar out of China’s influence. Over the short to medium term, the CIA also has an interest in supporting Jundallah, also known as People’s Resistance Movement of Iran (PRMI), a violent organization that claims to be “fighting for the rights of Sunni Muslims in Iran.”

David Petraeus is now bent upon carving out an additional role for the CIA-one that of becoming a mediator between the Baloch Ajoee Lashkar, the Baloch Liberation Front, the Baloch Awami Azadi Mahaiz, the Baloch Republican Army (BRA) and the Balochistan Liberation United Front all on one side and the Pakistan Army on the other. If the CIA is successful in capturing the mediator’s role in the Balochistan conflict, the CIA will gain additional leverage over the ISI and thus an upper hand in the Afghan endgame.

As things stand right now Baloch belligerents are not even willing to sit across the table and negotiate a ceasefire. What the CIA has going in its favor is the massive and growing-trust deficit between Baloch militants and the generals of the Pakistan Army. The eventual settlement would have to be negotiated on the negotiating table but the CIA is hopping that they will have a role to play as a mediator-cum-guarantor.

Disintegration of a state is a rare phenomenon. Disintegration of Pakistan is neither in the interest of international powers nor are they really capable of affecting a split at this stage. Bangladesh isn’t a parallel because Balochistan is a contiguous province and Balochistan on its own will not be an economically feasible entity. Time, however, is of essence. India is playing spoiler and things are getting from bad to worse.

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO news: February 24, 2012

February 24, 2012 Leave a comment

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Afghan Killed As Protesters Attempt To Overrun NATO Base

Germans Abandon Base Amid Afghan Protests

NATO Agreement: Canada Plans German Air Force Hub Despite Protests

Tbilisi: U.S., Georgia Defense Chiefs Push Deepening Cooperation

U.S., Japan Discuss Sales Of 42 Joint Strike Fighters

Pakistan: 10,000 Tribesman In Anti-U.S. Drone Attacks Protest

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Afghan Killed As Protesters Attempt To Overrun NATO Base

http://en.trend.az/regions/world/afghanistan/1996380.html

Trend News Agency
February 24, 2012

One Afghan killed as protesters attempt to overrun NATO base

One Afghan was killed on Friday as protesters tried to overrun a Hungarian base in northern Afghanistan, officials said.

“More than 1,000 people are protesting right now in front of a Hungarian PRT base in provincial capital Pul-e-Khumri city,” said Zamanuddin Husaini, the deputy police chief of Baghlan province, DPA reported.

“The police fired into the air to disperse the crowd. Eleven people, including four police and four soldiers, were injured in the clashes,” he said.

“They were able to get past the barbwire and remove the blast walls.”

PRTs, Provincial Reconstruction Teams, are NATO-led joint military and civilian initiatives working in the areas of development and reconstruction.

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Germans Abandon Base Amid Afghan Protests

http://www.thelocal.de/national/20120224-40957.html

Deutsche Presse-Agentur
February 24, 2012

Germans ditch Afghan base after Koran burning

After 300 protesters massed outside the German Taloqan base in northern Afghanistan, the commander withdrew the 50 troops to the larger Kunduz base camp 70 kilometres away, abandoning the camp around a month ahead of schedule.

A Bundeswehr spokesman said the troops had taken all military vehicles with them, but it remained unclear whether the soldiers would return at a later date to complete the clear-out. The relatively small camp is said to be difficult to secure, since it is in the middle of the town of Taloqan, capital of the Takhar province, with a population of 200,000.

State broadcaster ZDF reported that stones had been thrown at the camp, which was also attacked in May last year, when several people were shot dead. Taloqan is also the town where an Afghan police chief and two Bundeswehr soldiers were killed in an attack on the governor’s palace last year.

Unrest has escalated dramatically following the alleged burning of several copies of the Koran by US soldiers at their Bagram base earlier this week…

Several people have been killed during violent protests since then, and two soldiers from the NATO-led international mission ISAF were shot dead by an Afghan soldier on Thursday.

US President Barack Obama’s official apology to his Afghan counterpart Harmid Karzai has done little to quell the protests, which have been joined by thousands of Afghans across the country.

The Taliban has sworn revenge for the incident and called on Afghan soldiers to abandon their posts, promising to welcome all deserters as “heroes.”

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NATO Agreement: Canada Plans German Air Force Hub Despite Protests

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1135692–canadian-plans-for-a-military-air-force-hub-in-germany-go-ahead-despite-protests?bn=1

Toronto Star
Febraury 23, 2012

Canadian plans for a military air force hub in Germany go ahead despite protests
Richard J. Brennan

-In 2009, the Canadian Forces operated European Operational Support Hub at the United States Air Force base at Spangdahlem, Germany, in order to move supplies and military personnel to Afghanistan. The proposed location will serve as a more permanent location.
-According to a National Defence release, the support hub would provide Canadian Forces with a flexible and cost-efficient location to deploy and sustain international operations…

Canada is pushing ahead with plans for a military logistics base near Cologne, Germany, despite civilian protests, including those from the city’s mayor’s office.

A spokesperson for Defence Minister Peter MacKay’s office said Canada has every right under a NATO agreement to use the military side of the Cologne-Bonn Airport regardless of the protestations.

“Canada’s decision to make use of Germany’s airport is based on the long-standing NATO Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), which gives the militaries of NATO partner nations legal authority to use one another’s facilities,” he told the Star Thursday.

He said Canada has the full support of the German defence ministry to use the Cologne-Bonn Airport.

Both Cologne Lord Mayor Juergen Roters and Michael Garvens, the civilian chair of the airport board, have rejected Canada’s plans, saying the airport is already far too busy and a constant source of noise complaints.

The airport, a major transport hub in Europe, is divided between civilian and military operations.

A spokesman for Lord Mayor Roters said he is dead set against the Canadian plan, especially since he was never consulted.

“He won’t agree…because we have a serious problem with the neighbours of the airport with the problem of noise pollution,” Gregory Timmer told the Star Thursday.

“Everything coming to the airport, especially to the military part of the airport will create more noise, so the resistance of the neighbours will be stronger and stronger. That’s a problem for the airport in total.”

The Cologne-Bonn Airport allows unrestricted night flying, which only exacerbates the noise complaints, Timmer said.

MacKay last week announced the location of the new Canadian Forces’ European Operational Support Hub at the airport.

“It is a pleasure to build on the long-standing relationship that Canada has developed with Germany as Allies through NATO, and in operations such as in Afghanistan,” he said during German Defence Minister Thomas de Maiziere’s visit to Ottawa.

In 2009, the Canadian Forces operated European Operational Support Hub at the United States Air Force base at Spangdahlem, Germany, in order to move supplies and military personnel to Afghanistan. The proposed location will serve as a more permanent location.

A day after MacKay made his Feb. 14 announcement, Gavens issued a news release stating that “with respect to the additional noise exposure, especially during the night times, we reject these plans.”

Timmer said it was his understanding that a group of Canadians visited the military operation at the Cologne-Bonn Airport “but nobody talked to the city, to the mayor or to local government, and that’s a problem.”

According to a National Defence release, the support hub would provide Canadian Forces with a flexible and cost-efficient location to deploy and sustain international operations and provide the opportunity to respond to crises in a timely manner, whether it’s humanitarian relief, peace support, or combat operations.

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Tbilisi: U.S., Georgia Defense Chiefs Push Deepening Cooperation

http://www.civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=24480

Civil Georgia
February 23, 2012

Georgian, U.S. Defense Officials Discuss ‘Deepening Cooperation’

Tbilisi: Georgian Defense Minister Bacho Akhalaia met on February 23 in Tbilisi visiting U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, Celeste Wallander, and “discussed prospects of deepening bilateral cooperation,” the Georgian Ministry of Defense said.

It said that the officials discussed “how they can build on existing successful programs to help the Georgian military continue its reform and defense modernization efforts that supports Georgia’s self defense.”

Also on February 23 Georgian Defense Minister spoke on phone with U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, who expressed his condolences over death of three Georgian soldiers in the Helmand province of Afghanistan, according to the Georgian MoD.

Earlier on February 23, the visiting U.S. delegation, which also includes Rear Admiral Mark Montgomery, Deputy Director for Plans, Policy and Strategy at the U.S. European Command, also met with representatives of the Joint Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces, according to MoD.

During the first day of visit on February 22, the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense met with President Saakashvili and traveled to Gori in central Georgia where she visited National Defense Academy.

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http://www.civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=24481

Civil Georgia
February 23, 2012

U.S. DoD Official Speaks of Defense Ties with Georgia

Tbilisi: Georgia and the United States are enhancing defense relations by advancing them into “new areas”, but it does not mean ceasing working on “the fundamentals of defense institution building” – something that has been focus of the U.S. assistance to the Georgian military in recent few years, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, Celeste Wallander, said.

Speaking before students and officers at the Georgian National Defense Academy in Gori on February 22, Wallander said that in addition to preparing Georgian troops for Afghan deployment the U.S.-Georgia defense cooperation had focused over the past three years on “areas such as the development of defense doctrine, the organization of the appropriate structures and systems in the defense ministry and in the armed forces, and the establishment of an effective professional military education program.”

“While your work in these areas is not complete, our own assessments, as well as NATO’s, indicate that your reform efforts have begun to build a military that is not only more interoperable with the United States and NATO, but also one that is beginning to meet Western and Euro-Atlantic standards of conduct,” said Wallander, whose remarks were made available on the U.S. embassy website.

She also said that both the Georgian Ministry of Defense and the U.S. Department of Defense were “very pleased with the announcement our two presidents made to enhance our defense cooperation.”

“But advancing our relationship into new areas of cooperation does not mean we will cease to cooperate in and focus on the fundamentals of defense institution building that have brought you success thus far,” Wallander said without discussing details of “new areas” of cooperation.

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U.S., Japan Discuss Sales Of 42 Joint Strike Fighters

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/business/2012-02/24/c_131429580.htm

Xinhua News Agency
February 24, 2012

U.S., Japan discuss purchase of F-35 fighters

               
WASHINGTON: U.S. and Japanese officials have discussed Japan’s plan to upgrade its air force with the purchase of 42 F-35 fighter jets, U.S. State Department said on Thursday.

The topic was part of a wide-ranging discussion on political-military issues between the two allies when U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Andrew Shapiro met on Wednesday with Hideo Suzuki, director general of acquisition reform from Japan’s Ministry of Defense, at the State Department.

They also touched on efforts to strengthen bilateral cooperation in areas of defense technology research, joint planning, training and exercises.

“We are committed to working with our Japanese allies to help them develop the air power assets. Japan needs to meet 21st century challenges, contribute to its own self-defense and contribute to alliance missions in a manner that is both effective and efficient,” the State Department said.

Japan hopes to have the F-35 fighters, the fifth generation multi-role and stealth fighter jets made by U.S. manufacturer Lockheed Martin, delivered by fiscal year 2016 to replace its aging fleet F-4 Phantoms.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told his Japanese counterpart Naoki Tanaka late last month that the deployment of F-35 fighter jets would be partially postponed due to U.S. defense spending cuts, which raised concerns in Japan about a price rising of the jets.

Japan’s Defense Ministry said the total cost of the 42 F-35 fighters, including maintenance and operation expenditures, would exceed 1.6 trillion yen (20.8 billion U.S. dollars) over the next 20 years.

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Pakistan: 10,000 Tribesman In Anti-U.S. Drone Attacks Protest

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=20122\24\story_24-2-2012_pg7_3

Daily Times
February 24, 2012

Thousands of tribesmen protest US drone strikes

MIRANSHAH: Thousands of tribesmen on Thursday rallied against US drone attacks in Pakistan’s tribal belt, demanding compensation for damage and losses, witnesses said.

Markets remained closed during the rally in Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan Agency (NWA), the most frequently area targeted by drone strikes…

Up to 10,000 tribesmen gathered in the Miranshah bazaar shouting “Death to America” and “Stop drone attacks in Pakistan” at the rally organised by Pakistan’s largest religious party, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI), witnesses said.

“The United Nations (UN) should take notice of American drone strikes,” cleric Maulana Abul Rehman said while addressing the gathering. Maulana Saleem Gul, Maulana Muhammad Alam, Ahmad Saeed and several others addressed the protest rally in which they stressed the stoppage of drone strikes in the tribal region…The tribesmen demanded the government to relax the checkposts at the entry and exist points of the NWA. They condemned this week’s desecration of holy Quran at a US-run base in neighbouring Afghanistan. They warned that if US did not stop the drone attacks then countrywide protests would be launched.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Puppets, Lackeys And The Drums Of War

February 24, 2012 Leave a comment

Dissident Voice
February 23, 2012

Puppets and Lackeys
by Marti Hiken and Luke Hiken

On RT (Russia Today) television the other night, it was reported that a recent poll indicated that over 50 % of the American people considered Iran to be a threat to the U.S. and felt it would be appropriate to invade them. It would not have been a surprise if Fox News, CNN or MSNBC had made such a preposterous suggestion. Intelligent viewers would assume that this was just another propaganda piece and not worth taking seriously. RT, however, ends to have honest reporting, and is not a mere mouthpiece for North America’s ruling class.

One could ponder the absurdity of believing that literally 50% of the American people are so bereft of the ability to think critically that such a poll could have any efficacy at all. A more fruitful inquiry, though, would not focus on the supposed results of the poll, but rather on the more obvious question of “Who did the poll?” Of course, one might expect that the poll was simply another example of manipulative governmental spokespeople pretending to have their bellicose agenda endorsed by public opinion. What the “poll” really points to, however, is the degree to which the American people are mislead on a daily basis by puppet institutions, mouthpieces and groups that are part of the oligarchy’s assaults on nations and people everywhere.

Rather than admitting our imperial objectives throughout the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and Africa, the United States trots out supposedly neutral third parties to support and applaud our actions everywhere. Thus, it is NATO, and not the U.S. military that takes the lead in destroying Libya or Syria, or anywhere else we demand that it shows up. It is the Arab League that condemns Syria, and calls for the murder of Bashar al-Assad, not the Pentagon or our own government. It is Israel, and not assassins from the Navy Seals or some other clandestine Special Operations Forces from the U.S. that kills Iranian scientists…. The list is endless.

Is the ever-increasing violence perpetrated by our government on independent nations to be accomplished so facilely? Is it merely a matter of the oligarchy trotting out some supposedly neutral, non-puppet voice, to endorse whatever atrocity they propose at the moment?

Certainly these so-called international institutions and groups have some credibility and influence on a bewildered public. But, are we, as a nation, so naïve and shallow as to believe that NATO, the Arab League, or militarist fanatics from Israel are making decisions that are not directed and issued by the U.S. military-industrial complex? The onslaught brought about as a result of our aggression internationally is of monumental proportions. Missile systems strategically located on the borders of countries that refuse refuse to be vassals of the U.S., special operations assassins, drones, “contractors” who are little more than hired mercenaries are our stock and trade. The policies, practices and attitudes of those who have seized control of the U.S. go far beyond the Democrats or Republicans. The same repressive oligarchs that brought us NAFTA, the supposed “war on terrorism,” Homeland Security, and the mass incarceration of our own people feel so immune from retaliation that they need do nothing more than present us with puppets and lackeys to repeat their lies – a docile American public will do nothing to stop this madness.

We are supposedly withdrawing our troops from Iraq, after our stunning “victory” there, but nothing is said of the mercenaries, or “contractors” as our leaders would characterize them, who have replaced the troops at greater cost to the American people than our own military would incur. We are “leaving” Afghanistan, after wasting 10 years, countless lives, and billions of dollars of our taxpayer’s money, only to remain there with civilian soldiers, not directly beholden to the Pentagon. And now we are about to invade Iran, as if our involvement there is in support of Israeli aggression. Israel could not exist for 30 minutes without U.S. military support. What garbage and nonsense it is to suggest that we are not the ones making the ultimate decision regarding the invasion of Iran!

With Tea Party spokespeople, right-wing think tanks, like the Hoover Institute, with high-placed politicians and government employees such as Clarence Thomas’ wife, Virginia Thomas (who drew income from the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank where she worked from 1998 to 2003 and from Liberty Central, a conservative political education group she co-founded in January 2009 in part to energize Tea Party activists), or AIPAC, or the other front groups for Israel, Zionism and American corporate militarism, the oligarchs and thieves who have robbed the American people blind can sit back and laugh themselves all the way to the bank.

The U.S does have its own apologists and spokespeople; i.e., those who are responsible for keeping the belligerent determined face on America. Susan Rice looked like a fool screaming her defiance toward Iran, Russia and China at the U.N., passing resolution after resolution, each more transparent than the next while trying to look credible and aggressive. Clinton continues her unbelievable tirades trying to pretend that we are outsourcing “American democracy” throughout the world. Both are as ridiculous as Khrushchev, pounding his shoe on the table at the U.N. General Assembly on October 12, 1960.

As the President travels throughout the country, seeking money from the unidentified rich, and carrying out the only campaign promise he will ever keep, namely, to raise a billion dollars to ensure his own reelection, the American people watch docilely, as the last vestiges of democracy in this country are torn asunder; yet, we need not feel isolated or abandoned — the rich have an alphabet soup full of “independent” thinkers and countries standing by, on call, to assure us that world opinion is on our side. Whatever their title, you can be sure these forces are loyal to, and on the payroll of, the U.S. ruling class.

Luke Hiken is an attorney who has engaged in the practice of criminal, military, immigration, and appellate law. Marti Hiken is the director of Progressive Avenues. She is the former associate director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and former chair of the National Lawyers Guild Military Law Task Force. Read other articles by Marti Hiken and Luke Hiken, or visit Marti Hiken and Luke Hiken’s website.

Categories: Uncategorized

Reports: U.S., NATO Allies Preparing For Ground Assault In Syria

February 23, 2012 1 comment

RT
February 23, 2012

US preparing for military intervention in Syria?

The US and other NATO countries could soon launch a ground assault on Syria. The final decision will be made soon, following this week’s Tunis conference where allied countries will meet to discuss possible scenarios of military intervention.

Sources in Washington tell the Israeli news agency Debka that the Pentagon is currently drafting the approach they want America to take in the Syria ordeal, and once it is ready for the president, Obama could approve military action. Debka adds, however, that the decision will also depend on what US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton takes away from this week’s Tunis conference.

Representatives from 80 countries across the globe are expected to descend on Tunis on Friday under the name “Friends of Syria.” Should Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar and the UAR support a western intervention in Syria, Clinton could offer an endorsement to the Pentagon, who will in turn finish their draft for war plans and send them to the White House for approval.

According to Debka’s sources, UK, France, Italy and Turkey are also preparing to send their troops into Syria.

Earlier this month, President Obama seemed to side more with a solution that would save the US from directly dragging itself to war. “I think it is very important for us to try to resolve this without recourse to outside military intervention. I think that’s possible,” the president told NBC News.

Elsewhere in Washington, some representatives have already openly endorsed aiding the Syrian rebels. Speaking from Kabul, Afghanistan last week, Senator John McCain insisted that the US could offer support to the opponents of Assad without necessarily sending troops of their own over.

“People that are being massacred deserve to have the ability to defend themselves,” said McCain, who added, “I believe there are ways to get weapons to the opposition without direct United States involvement.”

As RT reported earlier, FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds said she believes that American forces in conjunction with NATO have already been training Syrian rebels since May 2011 in the Turkish city of Hakkari. Upwards of 10,000 Libyans are also believed to being trained to assist in nearby Jordan.

Senator Lindsey Graham provided more information recently on America’s interest in toppling the Syrian government. He also this month advocated for the aiding of rebels, saying that a US intervention to remove al-Assad would assist in hurting Iranian interests in the region.

“If the Syrian regime is replaced with another form of government that doesn’t tie its future to the Iranians, the world is a better place,” said Graham.

In America on Wednesday, the four remaining GOP frontrunners for the presidency also discussed the Syrian dilemma, largely avoiding any direct response while instead relating the incident to Iran, which they by-and-large perceive as a worse threat to America. From Arizona Wednesday, Texas congressman and Republican Party candidate Ron Paul opposed Syria intervention, citing that America could not financially afford to involve itself in this time.

On the topic of Iran, Paul opined, “If they are so determined to go to war, the only thing I plead with you for, if this is the case, is do it properly. Ask the people and ask the Congress for a declaration of war. This is war and people are going to die. And you have got to get a declaration of war.”

Categories: Uncategorized

Diplomacy Behind Pakistan-Iran-Afghan Cooperation

February 23, 2012 1 comment

Diplomacy Behind Pakistan-Iran-Afghan Cooperation
By Sajjad Shaukat

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US bases in Afghanistan and the Gulf will enhance its ability to gather intelligence on Iran. In December, 2011, Iranian authorities recovered a CIA surveillance drone that had been launched from Afghanistan. Currently a war-like situation exists between Iran and America over the Persian Gulf and the nuclear programme of Tehran. An American aircraft carrier on February 15, 2011 joinined another US battle group already positioned in the region. In response to this development, Iran’s Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi already stated on February 14 that the US buildup and its military presence has “turned the Gulf into a weapons depot.” Russia, on January 18, 2012 rejected the tough US-led Western strategy of sanctions over Iran and Syria. Both Russia and China have asked the US to resolve the question of Iran’s nuclear programme peacefully.

In particular, Balochistan’s mineral resources and geo-strategic location with the Gwadar seaport, connecting the rest of the world with Central and South Asia, have further attracted the gaze of the US and India because China has already invested billion of dollars to develop this seaport. However, it is due to multiple strategic designs that the US, which signed a nuclear deal with India in 2008, intends to control Balochistan, contain China and subdue Iran.

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Photograph: Agence France-Presse

Diplomacy is employed for both positive and negative purposes. In the positive sense, it is used to resolve an issue peacefully, and in the negative sense, it is applied by states to gain selfish ends without caring about peace. Secret diplomacy always thwarts the aims of peace diplomacy. Let us analyse the new determination of Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan to pursue regional cooperation in the wake of the emerging geo-political scene in the region.

In the third trilateral summit at Islamabad, on February 17 this year, Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Afghan President Hamid Karzai put their heads together to forge regional cooperation in multifaceted areas. They pledged to strengthen cooperation to eradicate terrorism and militancy from the region. The leaders of the three neighbouring countries declared that they would not allow any threat to emanate from their respective territories against each other.

Zardari vowed to fight external pressure on the Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline, saying that “external forces can not undermine bilateral relations.” Notably, recently Islamabad rejected demands under US duress to abandon this pipeline project. Pakistan also assured support to Tehran if the US launches a military attack on Iran. While hinting at the US, the Iranian president disclosed that the problem in the region did not local roots but it was imposed from external fronts.

In response to Afghanistan’s blame game against Islamabad regarding cross-border terrorism, Zardari clarified, “I deny this notion that any of our armed forces are directly or indirectly involved.” He revealed, without naming America, “Who was the owner and financer of the former chief of Tehreek-e-Talban Pakistan, Baitulllah Mahsood.”

Reports suggest that Afghan President Hamid Karzai asked for access to Taliban chief Mullah Omar during his visit to Islamabad. Islamabad denied that the Taliban leadership is based within its borders. On February 17, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar cautioned Kabul, indicating that her government was still uncertain on exactly what Afghanistan wanted and that it “has not been conveyed with clarity to us.”

As regards the Afghan peace process and regional cooperation, President Karzai called for action rather than mere words.

In fact, both Pakistan and Iran are quite sincere about regional cooperation among the three countries, including stability in Afghanistan, but Hamid Karzai has been forced to follow an ambivalent policy due to American secret diplomacy. Confused in his goals, President Karzai, in a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, remarked that besides the US, the Afghan government was indeed involved in dialogue with Taliban in Qatar. On the other hand, the Afghan Taliban clarified that they never talked to “the puppet regime of Karzai.”

However, America will sabotage regional cooperation among Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran. In this respect, after the withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan in 2014, the US has decided to establish six military bases in Afghanistan, having eyes on the energy resources of Central Asia, with multiple strategic designs against Pakistan, China, Iran and Russia.

Notably, on January 5, 2012, US President Obama unveiled a new defence strategy which calls for greater US military presence in Asia, after cutting troops from Europe — the strategy calls for the US military to “rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific region…even as US troops continue to fight in Afghanistan, the tide of war is receding.” During his trip to Australia on November 17, 2011, Obama, while sending an unmistakable message to Beijing, said, “The United States is a Pacific power, and we are here to stay,” In this context, America has also troops in and security relationships with some Gulf countries.

Nevertheless, the US new defence strategy is part of an Indo-US hidden agenda in Afghanistan. First of all the US seeks to protect the puppet regime of Karzai and Indian influence in Afghanistan under the umbrella of its military presence because it knows that otherwise Taliban militants will topple the Karzai regime, also forcing India to withdraw its network from Afghanistan. India, which has already invested billion of dollars in Afghanistan, signed a strategic partnership agreement with that country on on October 5, 2011 and wants to further fortify its grip there to gain strategic depth against Islamabad.

US bases in Afghanistan and the Gulf will enhance its ability to gather intelligence on Iran. In December, 2011, Iranian authorities recovered a CIA surveillance drone that had been launched from Afghanistan. Currently a war-like situation exists between Iran and America over the Persian Gulf and the nuclear programme of Tehran. An American aircraft carrier on February 15, 2011 joinined another US battle group already positioned in the region. In response to this development, Iran’s Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi already stated on February 14 that the US buildup and its military presence has “turned the Gulf into a weapons depot.” Russia, on January 18, 2012 rejected the tough US-led Western strategy of sanctions over Iran and Syria. Both Russia and China have asked the US to resolve the question of Iran’s nuclear programme peacefully.

As part of its secret diplomacy, America in particular has been supporting cross-border infiltration in Pakistan with the assistance of American CIA, the Indian intelligence agency RAW and Israeli secret service agency Mossad which have well-established their tentacles in Afghanistan to ‘destabilise’ and ‘denuclearise’ Pakistan. For this purpose highly-trained militants equipped with sophisticated weapons are being sent to Pakistan’s various locales, who are regularly conducting suicide attacks, targeted killings, and ethnic and sectarian violence in Pakistan.

America and India are particularly assisting the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and another separatist group, Jundollah (God’s soldiers). Jundollah has kidnapped and murdered a number of Chinese and Iranian nationals in Pakistan. This insurgent group has not only been committing acts of sabotage in Pakistan, but also in the Iranian province of Sistan-Baluchistan.

In particular, Balochistan’s mineral resources and geo-strategic location with the Gwadar seaport, connecting the rest of the world with Central and South Asia, have further attracted the gaze of the US and India because China has already invested billion of dollars to develop this seaport. However, it is due to multiple strategic designs that the US, which signed a nuclear deal with India in 2008, intends to control Balochistan, contain China and subdue Iran. Besides, America which has emerged as a potential military supplier to India, has lifted sanctions on New Delhi in regrads to importing nuclear technology. America also agreed to sell India the most expensive — the new F-35 – fighter jets and other latest equipment.

It is worth mentioning that on February 17, 2012 Dana Rohrabacher introduced a House Concurrent Resolution in the US House of Representatives calling upon Pakistan to “recognise the right to self-determination for Balochistan.” Recently he has also co-authored an article favouring an independent Balochistan. On the other side, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, the foreign office spokesman and other political leaders have strongly condemned the US Congressional resolution, calling it, “provocative, “against Pakistan’s sovereignty” and “intervention in the country’s internal affairs.”

The US double game with Pakistan could be judged from the fact that at present Islamabad is redefining its relationship with Washington after the US-led NATO air attack on Pakistan Army border posts in Mohmand Agency.

While America has also requested Islamabad to play a key role in the peace talks with Afghan militants, recognising the fact that without Pakistan’s help stability will not be achieved in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of foreign troops in 2014. On the other side, the US has again started drone attacks on Pakistan’s tribal areas, which have killed several people in the past few weeks.

After assessing the emerging ground realties and sinister designs of America, a shift has already occurred in the foreign policy of Pakistan. In this respect, Islamabad, which has already strengthened its relationship with China and signed a number of agreements with Beijing in various sectors including the defence, has also cultivated its relations with the Russian Federation. During the trip of Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar to Russia on February 9 of this year, the latter stated that the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) was an exceptionally important forum in the region to counter regional challenges. Moscow and Islamabad also agreed to enhance bilateral relations in diverse fields. In the subsequent summits, the leaders of the SCO, especially China and Russia, have displayed strength against US dominance in the region and NATO’s military presence in Afghanistan, near the region of Central Asia.

Nonetheless, although Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan seek to promote regional cooperation for the development of their nations, yet US secret diplomacy is likely to sabotage their positive approach.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO news: February 23, 2012

February 23, 2012 Leave a comment

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NATO Accession: Georgia Hosts Pentagon, European Command Officials

Georgian Opposition Party Demands Afghan War Troop Withdrawal

Russia, China Warn Against Foreign Intervention In Syria

OIC: Foreign Military Intervention In Syria Can Lead To Large-Scale War

Russia: Attack On Iran Would Be Catastrophic

Russian, Iranian Presidents Discuss Syria, Oppose Foreign Intervention

NATO’s Top Military Commander On Visit To Turkey

Afghan Soldier Slays Two NATO Troops

European Interceptor Missile System Tested In U.S.

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NATO Accession: Georgia Hosts Pentagon, European Command Officials

http://www.mod.gov.ge/index.php?page=77&lang=1&type=&Id=1300

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
February 23, 2012

Celeste Wallander hosted at the Defence Ministry

Minister of Defence of Georgia Bacho Akhalaia hosted Celeste A. Wallander, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for Russia/Ukraine/Eurasia, and EUCOM Deputy J-5, RDML Mark Montgomery.

During the meeting the sides discussed prospects of deepening bilateral cooperation between the United States and Georgia. The sides have discussed how they can build on existing successful programs to help the Georgian military continue its reforms and defence modernization efforts that supports Georgia’s self-defence. The US will also support Georgia’s aspirations towards NATO integration.

Prior to the meeting with the minister, the delegation from the United States met with Defence Ministry and Joint Staff representatives. 

Dr. Wallander is leaving Georgia tomorrow.

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http://www.mod.gov.ge/index.php?page=77&lang=1&type=&Id=1299

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
February 22, 2012

The United States Delegation visits Georgia

Celeste A. Wallander, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for Russia/Ukraine/Eurasia, is paying an official visit to Georgia. The American official met with Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili. The meeting was attended by Defence Minister Bacho Akhalaia. During the meeting the sides discussed issues of mutual relations of the US and Georgia and discussed prospects of deepening cooperation.

On behalf of the United States` government, Celeste Wallander and the US Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Georgia John R. Bass extended their condolences over the death of Georgian soldiers serving in the ISAF mission in Afghanistan. “The US delegation from the Department of Defence met today with President Saakashvili. We discussed many issues.

“But what of the most important issues we discussed was expressing US condolences for the loss of three Georgian soldiers in Afghanistan this week. We are deeply grateful to the citizens of Georgia for the contribution of your country to our common security mission in Afghanistan. We very deeply regret the loss of life. We will continue to cooperate with the Ministry of Defence and improving the training and security of Georgia’s contribution in ISAF. But meanwhile we remain deeply grateful and very much deeply regret the loss of life in Afghanistan,” said Dr. Wallander after the meeting.

Within a formal stay in Georgia, Dr. Wallander and EUCOM Deputy J-5, RDML Mark Montgomery visited National Defence Academy in Gori. They met with the Academy students and officers. Georgia’s NATO integration, defence reforms and importance of military education were the key topics of discussions.

After the meeting, the American officials came to see the military servicemen wounded while performing the ISAF security mission in Afghanistan. The soldiers are going through a rehabilitation course in the Gori Military Hospital.

Tomorrow, under the visit agenda the delegation from the US Department of Defence will hold meetings at the Ministry of Defence.

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Georgian Opposition Party Demands Afghan War Troop Withdrawal

http://rustavi2.com/news/news_text.php?id_news=44720&pg=1&im=main&ct=0&wth=

Rustavi 2
February 22, 2012

Labour Party demands withdrawal of Georgian units from Afghanistan

Labour Party of Georgia demands withdrawal of Georgian military units from Afghanistan. The opposition party plans to send a corresponding address to NATO headquarters. Party`s political secretary Giorgi Gugava calls on all opposition parties to join their demand.

`We are addressing all political parties to sign a declaration on a national agreement and a demand from the military political alliance NATO to withdraw Georgian armed forces from Afghanistan,` Gugava said.

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Russia, China Warn Against Foreign Intervention In Syria

http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_02_23/66748190/

Voice of Russia
February 23, 2012

Russia, China warn against foreign intervention in Syria

Russia and China believe that foreign intervention in Syria will lead to unpredictable consequences.

Russian and Chinese Foreign Ministers Sergei Lavrov and Yang Jiechi made this statement during a telephone conversation on Thursday.

The two leaders urged the Syrian parties to put an immediate end to violence and ‘launch’ a dialogue without any preconditions.

Sergei Lavrov and Yang Jiechi outlined steps in the direction of this goal, a Russian foreign ministry report says.

Russia and China have blocked two Security Council resolutions that pave the way to foreign interference in Syria’s domestic affairs.

Syria became a scene of bloody clashes nearly one year ago.

According to the UN, more than 5,000 people have been killed in Syria since then.

The Syrian authorities say that the country’s army and security forces have to deal not with political opposition but with terrorists who receive weapons and funds from abroad.

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OIC: Foreign Military Intervention In Syria Can Lead To Large-Scale War

http://en.trend.az/regions/met/arabicr/1995701.html

Trend News Agency
February 23, 2012

OIC: Military intervention in Syria could lead to large-scale war in the region
A.Taghiyeva

Baku: Secretary-General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu has protested against a possible foreign military intervention in Syria, the OIC told Trend on Thursday.

“We are against foreign military intervention in the processes on-going in Syria. It could contribute to start of large-scale war in the region,” Mr Ihsanoglu said.

Anti-government protests have been continuing in Syria for nearly a year. Daily reports about deaths of both civilians and law enforcement agencies are received regularly.

The Syrian government will hold a referendum on a new constitution in order to normalise the situation in the country and meet the regime opponents’ demands on Feb. 26.

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Russia: Attack On Iran Would Be Catastrophic

http://en.trend.az/regions/iran/1995549.html

Trend News Agency
February 23, 2012

Any attack on Iran will be catastrophic, Russia warns

Russia warned Israel on Wednesday that attacking Iran would be disastrous and played down the failure of an IAEA’s mission to Tehran, saying there is still a chance for new talks over Iran’s nuclear program, according to Iran Independent News Service.

“Of course any possible military scenario against Iran will be catastrophic for the region and for the whole system of international relations,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told a news conference, MNA reported.

“I hope Israel understands all these consequences … and they should also consider the consequences of such action for themselves,” Gatilov said.

“I hope a realistic approach will prevail, along with a sensible assessment.”

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Russian, Iranian Presidents Discuss Syria, Oppose Foreign Intervention

http://en.trend.az/regions/world/russia/1995530.html

Trend News Agency
February 22, 2012

Presidents of Russia and Iran discusses “dramatic situation” in Syria

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad discussed the “dramatic situation” around Syria and opposed foreign intervention in the affairs of the state during a telephone conversation on Wednesday, the Kremlin press service said on Wednesday.

Medvedev also discussed the situation in Syria with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and King of Saudi Arabia Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud on Wednesday, RIA Novosti reported.

During the meeting with Ahmadinejad, “discussion focused on the dramatic situation in Syria.

“The parties were in favor of the speedy overcoming of the crisis by the Syrians, by peaceful means, without outside interference,” a statement said.

Medvedev and Ahmadinejad underlined the need to end the violence and start a constructive political dialogue between the authorities and the opposition, without preconditions, the Kremlin press service said.

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NATO’s Top Military Commander On Visit To Turkey

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/nato-commander-stavridis-visits-turkey.aspx?pageID=238&nID=14426&NewsCatID=338

Hürriyet Daily News
February 22, 2012

NATO commander Stavridis visits Turkey

ANKARA: NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) Adm. James Stavridis visited the Chief of Turkish General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel yesterday on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Turkey’s joining the alliance, the Turkish General Staff said in a written statement.

Stavridis’s visit came ahead of a NATO summit in which issues such as the missile defense system and NATO mission in Afghanistan will be discussed.

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Afghan Soldier Slays Two NATO Troops

http://www.pajhwok.com/en/2012/02/23/man-ana-uniform-kills-2-isaf-soldiers

Pajhwok Afghan News
February 23, 2012

Man in ANA uniform kills 2 ISAF soldiers

KABUL: An individual wearing an Afghan National Army (ANA) uniform shot dead two International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) soldiers on Thursday, the alliance said.

The shooting took place in eastern Afghanistan, a brief statement from the ISAF media office in Kabul said. In line with its policy, the NATO-led force neither revealed the troops’ nationalities nor the exact location of the incident.

But the Nangarhar governor’s spokesman told reporters in Jalalabad the US soldiers were killed when a protest turned against the alleged desecration of the Quran by US troops turned violent in Khogyani district.

Earlier in the year, an ANA soldier gunned down four French servicemembers in the Tagab district of central Kapisa province.

The incident prompted President Nicholas Sarkozy to announce a suspension of the mission to Afghan security forces and an early withdrawal of French soldiers.

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European Interceptor Missile System Tested In U.S.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/third-meads-battle-manager-arrives-in-huntsville-for-integration-testing-2012-02-22

MEADS International
February 22, 2012

Third MEADS Battle Manager Arrives in Huntsville for Integration Testing

ORLANDO, Fla. and MUNICH and ROME: Lockheed Martin has begun integration testing on the third completed Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) battle manager at its facility in Huntsville, Ala.

Integration testing on the third battle manager will continue throughout 2012 in support of a ballistic missile intercept test planned at White Sands Missile Range in 2013. Two other battle managers are already supporting system testing at Pratica di Mare Air Force Base in Italy and Orlando, Fla.

The MEADS battle manager controls an advanced network-centric open architecture that allows any combination of sensors and launchers to be organized into a single air and missile defense battle element…

MEADS International President David Berganini said, “Following the successful first MEADS flight test in November, the team continues to evolve MEADS’ battle management software and the plug-and-fight network, demonstrating coverage and flexibility that other systems cannot provide, including a 360-degree defense that protects our warfighters against next-generation threats.”

Using its 360-degree defensive capability, the advanced MEADS radars and PAC-3 MSE Missile, MEADS defends up to eight times the coverage area with far fewer system assets and significantly reduces demand for deployed personnel and equipment, which reduces demand for airlift.

MEADS International, a multinational joint venture headquartered in Orlando, Fla., is the prime contractor for the MEADS system. Major subcontractors and joint venture partners are MBDA in Italy and Germany, and Lockheed Martin in the United States.

The MEADS program management agency, NAMEADSMA, is located in Huntsville, Ala.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Confronting The New Imperialism…Post Cold-War Africa

February 23, 2012 1 comment

Southern Times
January 30, 2012

Confronting the New Imperialism…Post Cold-War Africa
By Xavier Renou

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[T]he emergence of a unipolar world, dominated by the United States as the sole world super-power, meant that there was no countervailing force to challenge imperialist domination.

“It may be necessary to devise a form of neo-imperialism, in which Britain, the US and the other beneficent nations would recruit local leaders and give them guidance to move towards free markets, the rule of law and – ultimately – some viable local version of democracy, while removing them from office in the event of backsliding.”

“The new missionaries, (intellectuals and non-governmental organisations which ‘clog the airwaves and pollute the outside world’s coverage of African affairs with their endless one-sided accounts of tragedy and disaster’) are much like the old ones, an advance guard preparing the way for military and economic conquest.”

“What is needed then is a new kind of imperialism, one acceptable to a world of human rights and cosmopolitan values.”

We have now seen what happened in Côte d’Ivoire and Libya during this past year, in both instances to allow non-African countries, ostensibly mandated by the UN Security Council, and regardless of African opinion, to remove the sitting governments by force and thus effect regime change, in the interest of the Western powers.

If we scroll backwards to what Kissinger said, we can see that in essence the foreign policy posture of the US has not changed since the days of the Reagan administration. The US still asserts its manifest destiny to lead the world.

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A decade ago an academic then at one of the South African Universities, Xavier Renou, wrote:

“There is a permanent reluctance among academics to call a spade a spade and a predatory (or imperialist) policy as such.

“In the case of French foreign policy in Africa, very few academics have pointed at its dramatic consequences, and even fewer have been prepared to described them as resulting from deliberate criminal choices aimed at fostering a small minority’s interest, at any cost.”

These are strong words with which we may differ.

They pose the challenge that we should have the courage to confront the African reality frankly, and therefore dare – to call a spade a spade!

I am certain that it is a matter of common cause among us that there were two issues which impacted on Africa in the context of the Cold War.

One of these was that the Cold War coincided with the historic period of the liquidation of the system of colonialism in Africa.

The second was that as our continent achieved its liberation, it got enmeshed in the intense and then unrelenting global struggle between capitalism and socialism, led respectively by the United States and the Soviet Union.

Let me state the historical reality relating to this “architecture” (of the Cold War in Africa) in simple and perhaps simplistic terms.

Both the United States and the Soviet Union, the so-called “superpowers”, could not but, at least in principle, welcome the liquidation of the system of colonialism, and therefore our exercise across Africa of our right to self-determination.

Within the context of the Cold War, the problem arose because each of the “superpowers”, in their respective interests, intervened in Africa to help ensure that independent Africa acted in a manner which was consistent with their global objectives.

It is my firm view that in this regard the Soviet Union, and therefore the socialist perspective, occupied a strategically stronger position in terms of winning the allegiance of liberated Africa.

This was essentially because: in terms of Marxist-Leninist ideology, the assertion of the right of nations to self-determination, up to and including independence, was an essential part of the perspective of the global advance towards the victory of socialism; and, viewed in its context as anti-imperialist, the Soviet Union saw the anti-colonial movement as a strategic ally against its own opponent, imperialism and the imperialist powers.

The historical reality is that certainly many, and perhaps the majority of the African political forces that had been involved in difficult struggles to achieve liberation from colonial domination could not but be attracted to an anti-imperialist posture, which was sympathetic both to the ideas of socialism and partnership with the Soviet Union, the then leading socialist country.

The “ruling establishment” in the United States, regardless of party affiliation relating to the Republican and Democratic Parties, which shared a common anti-communist and anti-Soviet ideology, understood the implications of the liberation of Africa from colonialism in the context of what I have said.

This “ruling establishment” in the United States shared this understanding with the allied and major West European powers, which were also capitalist, and which the US had taken steps to attach to itself through such interventions as the Marshall Plan and various interventions to support the anti-Soviet and anti-communist formations in Western Europe.

Thus did the United States and West Europe, together, take fright at the possibility that Africa would take to a contrary path, which, in their view, would represent what they viewed as “the deadly disease” of “Soviet expansionism”.

It was therefore inevitable that the dominant Western capitalist powers would intervene decisively in Africa to realise the objective, in their view, to achieve the strategic objective to “keep Africa within their sphere of influence” and therefore, as much as possible, deny the Soviet Union any possibility to place Africa “within its own sphere of influence”.

Concretely, among other things, this resulted in such negative developments as the corruption of the African independence project through the establishment of the system of neo-colonialism, the overthrow of governments which resisted this, support for the white minority and colonial regimes in Southern Africa, seen as dependable anti-communist and anti-Soviet allies, the assassination of such leaders as Patrice Lumumba, Thomas Sankara and Eduardo Mondlane, sponsorship of such instrumentalities as UNITA in Angola and RENAMO in Mozambique, support for predatory and client regimes such as those of Mobutu in the then Zaire, and of Houphouët-Boigny in Côte d’Ivoire, and even such major catastrophes as represented by the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

Of course we can also cite other very negative developments which took place in Africa during the period of the Cold War, where these developments must be attributed to administrations which the Soviet Union supported as progressive representatives of what was characterised as the “non-capitalist path of development”.

In this regard we can mention specifically the Sekou Toure administration in Guinea Conakry, and the Ethiopian “Dergue”, led by Mengistu Haile-Mariam.

However, the balance of evidence makes the statement that much of the negative developments on our Continent during the period of the Cold War derived from the determined efforts of the West to defeat what they saw and described as “Soviet expansionism”.

These are the countries which Xavier Renou said the African academy is reluctant or afraid boldly and accurately to characterise as imperialist and predatory.

I have spent what some among us might conclude is unjustified extended attention to the past of the Cold War years.

However, I believe, firmly, that this past is very much part of the present.

Accordingly, in my view, it is not possible for us properly to understand our present reality without a proper assessment of what might seem, in terms of chronology, to be a dead past that we must discount.

The hard truth is that absolutely each of our days is weighed down by the heavy burden of the past.

I am certain that as we consider “post-Cold War” Africa, we will have to reflect on the continuing impulses which derive from the period of “Cold War” Africa.

On March 7, 1993, in the aftermath of the earlier disappearance of the Soviet Union, the influential US Newspaper, The New York Times, published an article written by Steven A Holmes, entitled: “The World: Africa, From The Cold War To Cold Shoulders”.

Among other things Holmes wrote:

“Having been carved up and colonised by European powers and turned into pawns, knights and rooks on a cold war chessboard by the superpowers, Africa now faces a devastating new problem: indifference.

“Writing in the current issue of Foreign Affairs Quarterly, Marguerite Michaels, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, noted that the

disintegration of the Soviet Union ‘set America free to pursue its own interests in Africa – and it found that it did not have any’.

“It is a harsh assessment. But with the end of the Cold War, Africa’s strategic importance to the West has declined.

“With shrinking per capita income hampering the market for Western goods, political instability and a poorly educated workforce making investment unattractive…

“Salim A Salim, Secretary-General of the Organisation of African Unity, said during a speech in Washington, ‘I am very happy the Cold War is over.

“‘What I am saying is that there is diminishing interest in the issues of real human concern’…

“Perhaps the most significant development is the willingness of Africans to admit their own past mistakes – to stop placing the blame for the continent’s underdevelopment entirely on the West and the legacy of colonialism, and instead condemn gross abuses by incompetent or venal leaders…

“In the past, the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other of other African countries, enshrined in the charter of the Organisation of African Unity, gave leaders for inaction even in the face of blatant abuses by rulers like Idi Amin of Uganda.

“We allowed the violations of human rights’, Mr Salim said.

“‘We allowed the dehumanisation of our people and used the Charter as a scapegoat’.”

These comments would have been read by many decision-makers in what was by then the sole world super-power, the United States, making for what was called a unipolar, post-Cold War world order.

They made the assertions that: the end of the Cold War had left Africa adrift in terms of the global geo-strategic agenda and considerations of the sole world super-power and presumably its Western allies;

liberated from the obligation to secure the allegiance of independent Africa in the context of its global anti-Soviet struggle, the US had found that Africa was otherwise not of any importance in terms of its global strategic interests; as a consequence of this, the “world community” would leave Africa to her fate, except in the context of its “humanitarian crises”, thus reducing it to subsisting in the global geometry as a recipient of charity; Africa understood this reality, and pleaded that this “indifference and neglect” meant that Africa, left to herself, could not, on her own, attend to what were her most basic human challenges; for Africa to regain her place as a worthy international partner of the dominant world capitalist system, she had to establish a track record as a continent of democracy and the related free capitalist market economies, consistent with the paradigm that has been prescribed by the so-called “Washington consensus”; Africa had the responsibility to solve, on her own, the problems she had inherited as a legacy of the policies generated during the Cold War; among others, in this context, she had the responsibility to pull herself by her bootstraps to make herself a relevant economic player in the context of the global economy;

Africa had to accept that the time for all special and favourable consideration by the former colonial and imperialist powers, resulting in her preferential treatment, had come to end, and therefore that all argument about any continuing impact of the legacy of imperialism and colonialism would be treated as self-serving argument to justify our own failures as Africans; and, accordingly, the West had no particular and special responsibility to assist Africa to address what the then OAU Secretary-General referred to as “issues of real human concern”.

The fundamental suggestion contained in The New York Times article, that because of the end of the Cold War, Africa had become decoupled from the global capitalist economy was wrong.

The correct statement which the author should have made was that because of the disappearance of the Soviet Union, and the attendant collapse of the world socialist system, Africa had lost the ability and possibility to bargain in a manner and context which would, to some degree, guarantee the space for her to exercise her right to self-determination.

This was because the emergence of a unipolar world, dominated by the United States as the sole world super-power, meant that there was no countervailing force to challenge imperialist domination.

In other comments, elsewhere, I have tried to draw attention to a school of thought most forcefully and expressed in the UK, which, in essence, has argued for the re-colonisation of Africa.

Whether stated or not, fundamentally, this proposition is based on the perceived imperative to sustain the “smooth” functioning of the contemporary “post-Cold War” process of globalisation.

It is based on the understanding that it is imperative that each component part within the international community of nations must play its expected role, especially to avoid all disjuncture within, and malfunction especially of the global economic system.

Because of this, the argument has been advanced that as Africans we have repeatedly failed to demonstrate that we are able to manage our affairs in a manner which would ensure that as an integral part of the integrated and universal system of globalisation, we play the role which would ensure the smooth functioning and integrity of this system.

Out of this arises the conclusion that others have an obligation, in the interest of the common, global good, to intervene to ensure that the “misbehavior” which is our wont, is contained and avoided, for the common good of all humanity, including ourselves.

In this regard, I have in the past drawn attention to statements made by various British commentators.

One of these was a June 2, 2003 article by Bruce Anderson, columnist of The (London) Independent, who wrote:

“Africa is a beautiful continent, full of potential and attractive people who deserve so much more than the way in which they are forced to live, and die.

“Yet it is not clear that the continent can generate its own salvation.

“It may be necessary to devise a form of neo-imperialism, in which Britain, the US and the other beneficent nations would recruit local leaders and give them guidance to move towards free markets, the rule of law and – ultimately – some viable local version of democracy, while removing them from office in the event of backsliding.”

Another British commentator, Richard Gott, wrote in the New Statesman magazine published on January 15, 2001:

“There is a growing belief, not least within the ranks of latter-day new Labour missionaries, that appears to favour the reconquest of Africa…

“Public opinion is often confused and disarmed when governments embark on neo-colonial interventions (in Africa).

“The new missionaries, (intellectuals and non-governmental organisations which ‘clog the airwaves and pollute the outside world’s coverage of African affairs with their endless one-sided accounts of tragedy and disaster’) are much like the old ones, an advance guard preparing the way for military and economic conquest.”

The British diplomat and theoretician, Robert Cooper, served as an adviser to then British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and now advises the EU Foreign Affairs chief, Baroness Catherine Ashton.

He reinforced the comments I have quoted with seemingly sophisticated intellectual arguments in a 2000 essay entitled, “The Post-Modern State and the World Order”.

In essence he argued that these so-called post-modern states, essentially the major Western countries, were the determinants of where all humanity should be, given, especially, the integrating impact of the process of globalisation.

In this context, and among other things, he wrote:

“How should we deal with the pre-modern chaos as manifested in various areas of the world? …

“What form should intervention take? The most logical way to deal with chaos, and the one most employed in the past is colonisation.

“But colonisation is unacceptable to post-modern states (and, as it happens, to some modern states too).

“It is precisely because of the death of imperialism that we are seeing the emergence of the pre-modern world…

“All the conditions for imperialism are there, but both the supply and demand for imperialism have dried up.

“And yet the weak still need the strong and the strong still need an orderly world.

“A world in which the efficient and well governed export stability and liberty, and which is open for investment and growth – all of this seems eminently desirable.

“What is needed then is a new kind of imperialism, one acceptable to a world of human rights and cosmopolitan values.

“We can already discern its outline: an imperialism which, like all imperialism, aims to bring order and organisation but which rests today on the voluntary principle.

“Postmodern imperialism takes two forms. First there is the voluntary imperialism of the global economy.

“This is usually operated by an international consortium through international financial institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank – it is characteristic of the new imperialism that it is multilateral…

“If states wish to benefit, they must open themselves up to the interference of international organisations and foreign states (just as, for different reasons, the post-modern world has also opened itself up.)”

We have now seen what happened in Côte d’Ivoire and Libya during this past year, in both instances to allow non-African countries, ostensibly mandated by the UN Security Council, and regardless of African opinion, to remove the sitting governments by force and thus effect regime change, in the interest of the Western powers.

Two decades ago, much of Africa would have characterised these interventionist Western countries as imperialist powers, fully understanding the meaning of this categorisation.

Yet when they intervened in both Côte d’Ivoire and Libya, they sought to justify their actions by claiming that they acted as they did to advance our interests as Africans, being more determined selflessly to protect these interests than we were, as Africans.

Presumably to achieve this noble objective, they even succeeded to sustain the self-serving and naked fiction that Libya was not an African country, but merely an Arab country, whose fate had to be decided on the basis of what the League of Arab States said, and never on the basis of what the African Union had decided!

These powers made their violent interventions on our continent arguing that they acted out of the goodness of their hearts, with the objective to bring us, the Africans, the gifts of democracy, good governance, peace and the very lives of millions of Africans who would otherwise have been butchered by the African governments concerned.

Thus did the miracle occur that those we had and have known as our colonial, neo-colonial and imperialist masters re-appear on our continent as the very best among the true friends of the peoples of Africa!

The clue to an understanding of this was provided by Henry Kissinger in his 1994 book, “Diplomacy”.

In this context he wrote that Reagan: “meant to reach his goal (of the defeat of the Soviet Union) by means of relentless confrontation…

“Reagan was the first post-war president to take the offensive (against the Soviet Union) both ideologically and geo-strategically…

“(He aimed) to stop dead in its tracks the Soviet quest for strategic superiority, and to turn it into a strategic liability.

“The ideological vehicle for this reversal of roles was the issue of human rights, which Reagan and his advisors invoked to try to undermine the Soviet system.

“To be sure, his immediate predecessor has also affirmed the importance of human rights…

“Reagan and his advisors went a step further by treating human rights as a tool for overthrowing communism and democratising the Soviet Union…

“In fact, Reagan took Wilsonianism to its ultimate conclusion.

“America would not wait passively for free institutions to evolve, nor would it confine itself to resisting direct threats to its security.

“Instead, it would actively promote democracy, rewarding those countries which fulfilled its ideals and punishing those which fell short – even if they presented no other visible threat to America…

“The Reagan Doctrine amounted to a strategy for helping the enemy of one’s enemy…

“The Reagan Administration dispensed aid not only to genuine democrats (as in Poland), but also to Islamic fundamentalists (in cahoots with the Iranians) in Afghanistan, to rightists in Central America, and to tribal warlords in Africa…

“They shared a common enemy, and in the world of national interest, that made them allies…

“The Reagan team thus turned the claims of the early Bolsheviks upside down: democratic values, not those of the Communist Manifesto, would be the wave of the future.”

Over an extended period of time, to date, US foreign policy has been informed by the two related propositions of US “exceptionalism” and its “manifest destiny” to lead in determining the content of the world order.

This was most recently reaffirmed by Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, in an interview published by Time magazine on October 27, 2011.

Among other things she said: “What I found when I became Secretary of State was a lot of doubts and a lot of concerns and fears from, friends, allies, around the world.

“And so part of what I have tried to do as Secretary of State is to reassert American leadership, but to recognise that in 21st century terms we have to lead differently than the way we historically have done…

“If you’ve got people who are moving away from you, if you’ve got people who are choosing a different path, then you have to use all the tools of your suasion to try to convince them that the path that you wish to follow is also the one that is in their interest as well.

“We’ve done a lot of that in the last two-and-a-half years…

“And it might seem a little bit unusual at first to understand that my goal is to assert our leadership in the most value-centered way…using…so-called smart power, to build more durable coalitions and networks…into which we are imbedded…

“We have to be looking for ways that America can expand our economic presence, exercise our influence, and work with China.

“Part of my goal has been to imbed the United States into the pre-existing regional architecture in Asia.

“And so when China began to show some muscle, and in part I think it was motivated by their assessment that, given our economic position, we couldn’t really be as involved as we once had been.

“(The) future, I think, demands us to be… We are limited in the geo-strategic context because other countries are rising.

“That’s a historical fact. It’s happened at different points in history.

“But I don’t view that as in any way a limit on our power. I view it as a challenge to how we can better exercise our power for the advancement of American security, interests, and values…

“And I think that since I am so completely imbued with that sense of American exceptionalism and the conviction that we are called upon to lead, then it’s up to us to figure out how we position ourselves to be as effective as possible at different times in the face of different threats and opportunities.”

If we scroll backwards to what Kissinger said, we can see that in essence the foreign policy posture of the US has not changed since the days of the Reagan administration.

The US still asserts its manifest destiny to lead the world.

It is convinced that its exceptionalism means that, as Clinton put it, “if you’ve got people who are choosing a different path, then you have to use all the tools of your suasion to try to convince them that the path that you wish to follow is also the one that is in their interest as well”.

It will use all means at its disposal to achieve its geo-strategic objectives.

I believe that what I have said relating to US foreign policy, which would also be echoed, mutatis mutandis, by its major Western allies, imposes an obligation on us to understand its objective origins, its imperatives, its implications for us, and the consequential actions we should take, moving beyond any puerile notion that all we need to do is to make some militant statement.

As all of us will recall, in 2007 the US Council on Foreign Relations published a book on Africa entitled “More Than Humanitarianism: A Strategic Approach Toward Africa”, which argued that the US should deal with Africa as a region of geo-strategic interest and importance, contrary to what was said in the 1993 New York Times article we cited earlier.

Among others, the 2007 Council on Foreign Relations publication stated that:

The US was increasingly depending to meet its energy needs on imports of crude oil from Africa;

“It is impossible to count on a continuing supply of oil from Africa without attention to the quality of governance…and long-term stability”;

There was increasing international competition for access to Africa’s oil and other natural resources, including by China;

China was becoming a “formidable competitor for both influence and lucrative contracts on the continent”;

“Africa’s importance is also growing in trade negotiations” specifically the WTO context; and,

“Africa is also rising in importance in the war on terror.”

It would therefore seem clear that what Africa must expect in the contemporary “post-Cold War world” is that:

The so-called “post-modern world” will intervene on our continent wherever and whenever it believes this is necessary to ensure the integrity of the process of globalisation, to the extent that this process serves the interests of that ‘post-modern world’;

Such intervention will, among other things, focus on issues that relate to what has come to be known as “good governance”, including on the matters of democracy and human rights, essentially because the “post-modern world” is interested in the stability which will ensure that African instability does not disrupt the functioning of the world economy, create a base for international terrorism, increase illegal migration of Africans into the countries of the “post-modern world”, and so on; and,

Individual countries within this “post-modern world” will also intervene in our continent to protect and advance their unique interests.

All this will be based on the determination that, once more, because of her weakness, since the days of slavery, Africa is there “for the taking”.

It is true, as Clinton said, that “other countries are rising”, referring to such countries as China, India and Brazil.

This, of course, does affect the ability of “the post-modern world” to achieve the hegemony it seeks.

However, I believe that this does not put in question the conclusions I mentioned about what Africa should expect.

In essence I am saying that the end of the Cold War created the danger that the ability of the peoples of Africa to determine their destiny would be severely compromised and undermined, and hence the calls for a “new imperialism” in the statements I cited earlier.

Côte d’Ivoire and Libya have already shown us what can happen in this regard.

Other negative developments, such as the betrayal by the “post-modern world” of the commitments it made in the NEPAD-related 2002 “G8 Africa Action Plan”, and the WTO Doha Development Round, and the determined EU insistence on the unequal “Economic Partnership Agreements”, all point to the resolve to continue to order the relations between Africa and the “post-modern world” in the interests of the latter.

I would like to believe that all of us are opposed to any “new imperialism”, whatever form it might take, and would therefore see the defence of the independence of all our peoples as a fundamental and strategic imperative.

The defence of that independence surely means that we should not delegate to others the similarly strategic task to which we must respond without equivocation, to entrench democracy in our countries, to protect human rights, and to ensure that our countries are governed properly, in the interests of the masses of our people.

It also means that we have to strengthen our continent’s cohesion, and therefore its capacity to act in unity, around a broad, progressive agenda, some of which is already contained in policies agreed through the AOU and the AU.

This must include strengthening the AU and ensuring that Africa’s voice, especially about its own affairs, is both heard and is treated with the necessary seriousness.

We must also strengthen the links between Africa and other countries in what used to be called the Third World, to enhance our own ability to impact on the process of the ordering of contemporary global affairs.

None of this will happen on its own.

It requires the mobilisation and activation of the forces on our continent committed to the all-round progressive transformation of Africa, which must engage in struggle to achieve the objectives I have mentioned.

In this context, we will have to make an attempt to answer the questions whether the forces I am talking about have the required strength effectively to respond to the challenges Africa faces, as well as what they have to do to overcome the obvious and destructive inertia and legacy we have inherited from the long years of “Cold War Africa”.

In his book, “Rethinking Africa’s Globalisation”, Paul Tiyambe Zeleza says:

“The language of crisis and marginality (concerning Africa), so deeply embedded in the Western imaginary…is attractive for its equal opportunity ideological possibilities: to those to the right…it evokes a death wish for a continent seen as beyond the pale of humanity, while, for the left, it kindles the sympathies of redemption for the downtrodden.”

I am certain that what the downtrodden in Africa demand is that we act together with them to end their condition as the wretched of the earth.

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Eye Of The Storm: Western Plans For Iraq-Style Tension On Pakistan-Iran Border?

February 23, 2012 Leave a comment

The News
February 23, 2012

The Balochistan issue

While I condemn every wrong done to the Baloch people by our mindless rulers, both civilian and military, I also want to warn all my estranged Baloch brothers and sisters against the fallouts of treading a course that the US might have chosen for them because it clearly bodes more misery for them in the long run. The Baloch must wait to see how the best hydrocarbons in the world from Libya are landing into the war complexes in the United States, UK and France. They must wait to see how the countries sharing geographical contiguity with Israel are now in the eye of the storm. They must realise that Balochistan can be turned into another satellite state for American adventurism with Iran, China and Russia.

The Baloch people cannot have a future with only those who have selfish strategic interests in mind. The Khan of Kalat should know that his authority and clout will be eventually be dumped once the Americans achieve their objectives through his person. I request Imran Khan to take stock of the situation in Balochistan and raise the issue at the national level without any fear of annoying our establishment or the Americans. It is time to set aside political expediencies if we really want to address the Balochistan issue.

Shehrayar
Islamabad

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The Nation
February 23, 2012

In the eye of the storm
S.R.H. Hasmi

Karachi: The Nation in its February 22 issue has reported that the United States is putting pressure on Pakistani authorities to allow it to establish intelligence bases in the country’s Balochistan province to gather intelligence on Iran, and this report has been confirmed by two officials from the security agencies and one from diplomatic circles. Furthermore, the resolution introduced in the US Congress to recognize the right of the Baloch people to self-determination is part of the pressure tactics to force Pakistan to give in.

We heard so much about the dictator Pervez Musharaf giving in to the US on one telephone call and that this would not have happened had a democratic government been in power then. However, the continuation of drone attacks despite unanimous parliamentary resolutions against these as well as unequivocal condemnation by top civilian and military leaders, the Abbottabad operation and the subsequent attack on the Salalah post that killed 24 soldiers do not quite reassure the public of the government’s strength.

Of course the Salalah attack drew strong responses from civilian and military leaders, like the stoppage of Nato supplies going through Pakistan, throwing out the Americans from the Shamsi airbase, and determining new terms of engagement with the US by the parliament.

However, we heard that Nato supplies through our airspace resumed while the parliament has still not finalised its recommendations, which is surprising to say the least.

We have not seen much in the way of good governance but hope that at least on a matter of such vital importance for Pakistan the government would take a firm stand and will not accede to requests or even threats from the Americans who are no friends of ours and are here to implement their agenda of redrawing the maps of Muslim states as well as depriving us of our nuclear weapons.

Allowing the Americans to operate near the Iranian border would be doubly harmful because in addition to their subversive activities in Balochistan, they would successfully draw a wedge between us and friendly Iran. The Americans and their accomplices successfully created tension between the Shia and Sunni communities which have been living together peacefully in Iraq for ages. It would be a shame if we allow them to do the same here and thus cooperate with them in our own undoing and that of our neighbours, in return for a few dollars in aid or otherwise.

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Marguerite Yourcenar: Fruits of war are food for new wars

February 23, 2012 Leave a comment

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

Marguerite Yourcenar
From Memoirs of Hadrian (1951)
Translated by Grace Frick

images

I was not so sanguine as to think that it would always lie within our power to avoid all wars, but I wished them to be no more than defensive: I dreamed of an army trained to maintain order on frontiers less extended, if necessary, but secure. Every new increase in the vast imperial organism seemed to me like an unsound growth, like a cancer or dropsical edema which would eventually cause our death

Barbarian gold raised from the bed of the Danube, the five hundred thousand ingots of King Decebalus, had sufficed to defray the cost of a public bounty and donations to the army, of which I had my part, as well as the wild luxury of the games and initial expenses of the immense military projects in Asia. These baneful riches falsified the true state of the finances. The fruits of war were food for new wars.

I could see possibilities of Hellenizing the barbarians and Atticizing Rome…But to give the Greeks time to continue and perfect their work some centuries of peace were needed, with those calm leisures and discreet liberties which peace allows.

All nations who have perished up to this time have done so for lack of generosity: Sparta would have survived longer had she given her Helots some interest in that survival; there is always a day when Atlas ceases to support the weight of the heavens, and his revolt shakes the earth.

For the army, peace is only too often a period of turbulent idleness between two periods of combat; the alternative to inaction or to disorder is first, preparation for a war already determined upon, and then the war itself.

The achievements of my administration were not to be denied; the gates of the temple of Janus, open in time of war, remained closed; my plans were bearing fruit; the prosperity of the provinces flowed back upon the capital.

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Dangerous To Stoke Civil War In Syria

February 22, 2012 Leave a comment

Xinhua News Agency
February 22, 2012

It is dangerous to stoke civil war in Syria
 
 

BEIJING: Some in the West are suggesting arming the Syrian opposition after the United Nations Security Council failed to approve a lopsided resolution aimed at toppling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad earlier this month.

Attempts to stoke civil war in Syria are dangerous as they could further expose the country’s ethnic and sectarian faultlines.

Further more, a bloody civil war in Syria will not only cost the Syrian people dearly, but also have unpredictable strategic implications on the whole region.

Many observers in Russia and China fear that some Western countries are playing on the Syrian crisis to maximize their interests in the Middle East, shoring up support for a pro-Western opposition force rather than freeing the Syrian people.

Their intention to cultivate allies in Damascus was driven mostly by Syria’s unique geographical importance, and its close ties with Iran, Hamas and Lebanon’s armed group Hezbollah.

Pushing for “regime change” instead of dialogue is an obvious first step for Western powers to back proxies in the country.

It is worth noting that the al-Assad government is ready to start reforms that would substantively improve people’s life and protect their rights.

A referendum on a draft constitution on Sunday will allow Syrian citizens to opt for new freedoms, end the monopoly on power of Assad’s Baath Party and set a timetable for multiparty elections.

Under the new constitution, President al-Assad will end his two seven-year terms in 2014 at the latest and his family’s 40-odd years of control over the country.

Al-Assad’s plan, though far from being perfect, should serve as a starting point for further negotiations between the government and the opposition.

But foreign intervention, in the form of financial support and military aid for anti-government protests, could halt reforms and force a desperate al-Assad government to fight to the end.

As Western governments are drumming up reasons for intervention, Western media have also stoked fears that a humanitarian crisis is brewing across the country if al-Assad is not removed from power immediately.

In simple and often powerful language, they presented the international audience a flat argument of the Syrian crisis, targeting al-Assad as the primary cause of bloodshed while ignoring the fact that some opposition forces have also resorted to violence.

In troubled Syria, where media access is heavily restricted, obtaining first-hand accounts of the situations and offering balanced reports is extremely difficult. But that should not become an excuse for Western media to uncritically parrot activists’ claims that cannot be verified independently.

The Syrian deadlock is characterized by an overwhelming external call for al-Assad’s removal and the silent majority of the Syrian people.

Whether the Syrians want prolonged unrest or immediate peace talks is unknown to most outsiders, and cannot be decided by outsiders, either. Only the Syrians can speak for themselves on how to resolve the conflict in their country.

Categories: Uncategorized

Interview: Stopping NATO in Chicago and the world

February 22, 2012 1 comment

Corbett Report Radio 074 

 

Stopping NATO with Rick Rozoff

 

AUDIO: | Download

Rick Rozoff is the head of Stop NATO International at RickRozoff.wordpress.com. Stop NATO is an essential information source on all the latest news regarding the moves to the expansion and consolidation of NATO’s military might around the world. Tonight we discuss the upcoming NATO/G8 Summit in Chicago, the structure of NATO itself, and some of the current and future geopolitical hotspots where NATO is making its presence felt.

 
 
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Apocalyptic Scenario: U.S. May Use Kyrgyz Air Base To Attack Iran

February 22, 2012 Leave a comment

The Hindu
February 22, 2012

U.S. may use Kyrgyz to attack Iran: Russia
Vladimir Radyuhin

Washington Intensifies Push Into Central Asia

U.S. And NATO Allies Escalate Military Buildup Against Iran

Russia has ramped up the rhetoric over Iran, suggesting that the United States could use its Manas airbase in Kyrgyzstan to attack Iran.

“It cannot be ruled out that this facility could be used in a potential conflict with Iran,” said a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry.

Russia’s partners in Central Asia, including the president of Kyrgyzstan, were alarmed over the “catastrophic consequences of a hypothetic military strike against Iran,” spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told reporters on Wednesday.

“They are also concerned that the argument for enforcing non-proliferation of nuclear weapons is being invoked to hide the desire to re-carve the geopolitical map of the large hydrocarbon-rich region which includes Central Asia,” said Mr. Lukashevich.

“We hope that such an apocalyptic scenario will not be realised,” he added.

Moscow also warned Israel not to attack Iran as this would have “catastrophic” consequences.

“Any possible military scenarios against Iran would be catastrophic for the region and probably for the global system of international relations,” Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said.

“I hope Israel understands all these consequences,” Mr. Gatilov told a news conference here on Wednesday.

Mr. Gatilov also played down reports that international nuclear inspectors were disappointed with their visit to Iran this week. He cautioned against jumping at the conclusion “that the dialogue has failed, that it has hit a dead end”.

“I think we still have opportunity to continue diplomatic efforts, to resume the six nation dialogue with Iran,” he said.

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO news: February 22, 2012

February 22, 2012 Leave a comment

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U.S. Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary In Georgia For Arms Talks

Saakashvili: U.S.-Trained Georgian Army To Get New Combat Vehicles

After Obama-Saakashvili Meeting, Pentagon Official To Visit Georgia

Russia’s Putin: U.S. Rearming Of Georgia “Huge Mistake”

Three Georgian Soldiers Killed In Afghanistan

Nine Afghan Schoolgirls Wounded By NATO Helicopter Attack

Over 100 Killed In Southern Libya Clashes

U.S. Troops Fire At Afghan Protesters

World Chess Head Fears Syria Will Be Third World War

Russia To Rebuild Military Airfields Near NATO Borders

Pakistan: Baloch Separatist Leader Welcomes U.S., NATO, Indian Intervention

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U.S. Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary In Georgia For Arms Talks

http://www.civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=24472

Civil Georgia
February 22, 2012

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Visits Tbilisi

Tbilisi: U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, Celeste A. Wallander, is visiting Tbilisi.

She met with President Saakashvili on February 22.

According to the Georgian officials the visit aims at discussing details of further deepening of defense cooperation between the two countries.

“The United States is very much interested in increasing Georgia’s self-defense capabilities,” Nino Kalandadze, Georgia’s deputy foreign minister, said on February 20.

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Saakashvili: U.S.-Trained Georgian Army To Get New Combat Vehicles

http://www.civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=24464

Civil Georgia
February 20, 2012

Saakashvili: Georgia Manufacturing ‘Combat Vehicle’

Tbilisi: President Saakashvili said on February 20 that this week the first-ever Georgian-made “combat vehicle” would be tested.

Saakashvili made the announcement while addressing Georgian troops in the Helmand province during his visit to Afghanistan on February 20.

He did not provide details about the “combat vehicle” other than its name – Lazika; the same name has been picked by Saakashvili to a planned new city about which he first announced in December.

“You know we have already produced armored vehicles Didgori, we also produce automatic rifles and other equipment – few countries in the world have it,” Saakashvili said.   

Two types of Didgori armored vehicles, manufactured in Georgia and developed by research center Delta of the Georgian Ministry of Defense, were first showcased during a military parade on May 26, 2011 – Didgori 1 with multi-barrel heavy machine gun, Minigun, capable of carrying nine personnel and Didgori 2 with 12.7 caliber machine gun.

A ruling party lawmaker, Givi Targamadze, who chairs parliamentary committee for defense and security, claimed earlier this month, that Georgia was working on production of unmanned aerial vehicle; no details are available.

President Saakashvili also said on February 20, that the authorities “have done much in recent years for equipping our armed forces” without “much noise and bragging”.

He also said that number of those willing to undergo reserve service increased four-fold after the August, 2008 war and by end of this spring Georgia would have “over 100,000 trained and equipped reserve troops.”

Saakashvili also said that he was proud when he visited earlier this month the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis and met there four Georgian servicemen undergoing courses for future Marine Corps officers – “a unit,” Saakashvili said, “which we will definitely need in our armed forces.”

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After Obama-Saakashvili Meeting, Pentagon Official To Visit Georgia

http://www.civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=24461

Civil Georgia
February 20, 2012

Georgian Official: U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense to Visit Tbilisi

Tbilisi: U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, Celeste A. Wallander, will visit Tbilisi on February 22-24, Georgia’s deputy foreign minister, Nino Kalandadze, said on Monday.

She said the visit by the U.S. delegation would be a follow up to “an agreement reached during a meeting between the Georgian and U.S. Presidents” in Washington on January 30 on “deepening cooperation in the field of defense.”

She also said that the upcoming visit was part of putting that agreement into phase of “technical implementation”.

“The United States is very much interested in increasing Georgia’s self-defense capabilities,” Kalandadze said.

During the visit, she said, the delegation would hold meetings “mainly in the Georgian Ministry of Defense in order to plan and identify concrete directions in which the defense cooperation will proceed.”

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Russia’s Putin: U.S. Rearming Of Georgia “Huge Mistake”

http://www.civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=24476

Civil Georgia
February 22, 2012

Putin: ‘Rearming Georgia by U.S. Huge Mistake’

Tbilisi: Russia’s PM Vladimir Putin said on February 22, that “rearming” Georgia by the United States was “a huge mistake” and Moscow was “constantly raising this issue” with Washington.

At a meeting with the Russian army commanders at a military base in Alabino near Moscow, Putin was asked by a commander of the Russian military base deployed in breakaway South Ossetia about “media reports that an agreement has been reached during the U.S.-Georgia summit in Washington about the large-scale supply of arms to Georgia.”

Medvedev on Georgia’s ‘Militarization’

“I was not there sitting under the table and I do not know what they have agreed on,” Putin responded. “Although I hope some of our guys were there to tell.”

He said that the U.S. started “rearming” Georgia “immediately” after the August 2008 war.

“I think it’s a huge mistake, because the current leadership of Georgia carries out clearly an aggressive policy and supply of arms to the armed forces of a country, which carries out aggressive policy always inevitably encourages it on aggressive actions.”

Putin said that the U.S. supplying arms to Georgia “is an open secret”.

“We know that, we see that and we react appropriately, but not publicly, on that,” the Russian Prime Minister said.

“We judge not based on words, but based on concrete actions, which are easily traced not only through foreign intelligence but through GRU [Russia's military intelligence service] too…The movement of vessels, the volume of cargo – all these are monitored quite easily with the help of satellite and other means of surveillance – I have been showed some of these [means] here today,” Putin said.

“We are constantly raising the issue with them [the U.S.]. I very much hope that the Georgian side will have enough common sense and lessons taught concerning the adventurous policy of the Georgian leadership will not be in vain and I hope these weapons will not be used for new aggressive actions,” Putin said.

At the same meeting Putin also said, that Russia was differentiating between “the Georgian leadership and the Georgian people.”

“I very much hope that this is genuinely brotherly people for us will ultimately realize, that Russia is not an enemy, but it is a friend and relations will be restored,” Putin said, adding that cutting of ties between the two countries was a result of a policy carried out by the Georgian leadership.

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Three Georgian Soldiers Killed In Afghanistan

http://www.civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=24470

Civil Georgia
February 22, 2012

Three Georgian Soldiers Killed in Afghanistan

Tbilisi Three Georgian soldiers from the 31st light infantry battalion serving in Afghanistan’s Helmand province were killed in combat, the Georgian Ministry of Defense said on February 22.

Corporals Valiko Beraia, Ruslan Meladze and Paata Kacharava “died while they were carrying out combat task,” the Georgian MoD said in a brief statement.

“Their combat vehicle exploded following an insurgent attack,” it said.
The recent incident puts total death toll of Georgian soldiers in Afghanistan to fifteen – all of them were serving in Helmand province and four of them died this year.

For Georgian troops the recent one is the largest casualty toll for any single incident since October, 2010 when a mine blast killed four Georgian servicemen.

The 31st infantry battalion of the 3rd infantry brigade is now in the Helmand province for its second, six-month deployment.

The battalion was the first Georgian military unit which was deployed in Helmand to serve alongside with the U.S. Marines, in April, 2010; during its first six-month deployment, the battalion lost five of its soldiers.
In his statement of condolence President Saakashvili, who visited Georgian troops in Helmand on February 20, said that death of Georgian soldiers was “a heavy blow” for him.

He also said the sacrifice of the Georgian servicemen “is appreciated” by the Georgian people and “will be even more appreciated by the future generations, because they will live in united, much stronger and more successful country” because of the sacrifice made by the Georgian soldiers in Afghanistan.

Georgia plans to send one additional infantry battalion to Afghanistan on top of 936 Georgian soldiers who already serve there. After the deployment of additional battalion Georgia will become the largest non-NATO contributor to the ISAF.

Georgia’s first contribution to the Afghan operation came in 2004 when 50 soldiers were briefly deployed in the country under the German command as part of ensuring security during the presidential elections.

In November, 2009 Georgia deployed 173 soldiers in Kabul under the French command and in the following year Georgia increased the presence in Afghanistan by sending an infantry battalion in the Helmand province serving along with the U.S. Marines.

Last year Georgia also sent 11 military instructors to Kandahar to train Afghan forces in artillery, according to the Georgian MoD.

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http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/22/us-afghanistan-georgia-deaths-idUSTRE81L14W20120222

Reuters
February 22, 2012

Three Georgian soldiers killed in Afghan south

TBILISI: Three Georgian soldiers were killed in the southern Afghan province of Helmand on Wednesday, its defense ministry said, taking the non-NATO country’s death toll to 15.

“Their combat vehicle exploded following an insurgent attack,” the ministry said in a statement of the incident in one of Afghanistan’s most violent provinces, which neighbors Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban.

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, who was in Helmand on Monday to meet his country’s troops, said after the deaths that Georgia stood by its commitment to the increasingly unpopular war, dragged into its 11th year.

“The sacrifice of Georgian servicemen is appreciated by the Georgian people… future generations will live in a united, much stronger and more successful country,” Saakashvili said in a statement.

The former Soviet country has over 900 troops supporting the NATO-led war in Afghanistan, including 750 in Helmand. Another deployment of 600-700 will be sent this year, making Georgia one of the largest non-NATO contributors in the war.

Georgian troops have been in Afghanistan since 2004, a commitment that underscores Tbilisi’s ambition to join NATO, despite fierce opposition from neighboring Russia, with which it fought a brief war in 2008, and waning enthusiasm among the coalition’s member states.

(Reporting by Margarita Antidze in Tbilisi, writing by Amie Ferris-Rotman in Kabul; Editing by Ron Popeski)

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Nine Afghan Schoolgirls Wounded By NATO Helicopter Attack

http://www.news24.com/World/News/9-Afghan-girls-injured-in-Nato-air-raid-20120222

Agence France-Presse
February 22, 2012

9 Afghan girls injured in Nato air raid

Jalalabad: Nine schoolgirls were injured in a Nato helicopter attack in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province, an Afghan official alleged on Wednesday.

Nato’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said it was looking into the allegation but had no immediate information.

“This morning a school was attacked by a Nato helicopter. Nine children, all girls, and the school’s janitor have been injured,” Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, the Nangarhar provincial government spokesperson said.

“Some of the girls were discharged after receiving treatment but about five of them are still in the hospital,” Abdulzai said, accusing the US-led ISAF force of carrying out the attack.

Last week, ISAF conceded that several children died during a bombing raid on February 8 in northeast Kapisa province.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai had condemned the air strikes and ordered an investigation after saying that eight children were killed.

The latest report comes amid intense anti-US riots in Kabul that were unleashed after the burning of copies of the Qur’an by foreign forces at the US-run Bagram military base north of the capital.

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Over 100 Killed In Southern Libya Clashes

http://en.apa.az/news.php?id=166157

Azeri Press Agency
February 21, 2012

More than 100 killed in south Libya clashes: tribes

Baku: Fierce clashes between two tribes in Libya’s remote southeastern desert have killed more than 100 people over the past 10 days, tribal sources said on Tuesday, APA reports quoting AFP.

At least 113 people from the Toubu tribe and another 20 from the Zwai tribe have been killed in the desert town of Kufra since the fighting between them erupted on February 12, the sources said.

“We are under siege since a week. Since the start of the clashes, 113 people (from our side) have been killed, including six children,” Toubu chief Issa Abdelmajid told AFP by telephone.

He said another 241 members of his tribe have been wounded in the raging battles with members of the Zwai tribe.

Abdelmajid, a former opponent of Moamer Kadhafi who fought [his] forces in last year’s conflict, was previously tasked by the ruling National Transitional Council with monitoring Libya’s southeastern border.

At least 20 people from the Zwai tribe have also been killed and another 40 wounded in the clashes, said Yunus Zwai, spokesman for the Kufra local council.

“People from Toubu tribe are being helped by foreign elements from Chad and Sudan. We have arrested several Chadian and Sudanese fighters,” he said.

Both groups were using light arms when the fighting erupted, but the violence intensified, with the two sides firing rocket-propelled grenades and anti-aircraft guns, local sources said.

“I appeal to the international community to intervene and stop these clashes which are aimed at exterminating my tribe,” said Abdelmajid.

“We tried calling the NTC but it has not responded,” he added.

Libya’s official LANA news agency quoted NTC spokesman Mohammed al-Harizi as saying that the situation in Kufra was “not calm.”

“There is an armed conflict between certain members of the society there in which several have been killed and wounded,” Harizi said on Monday without specifying the number of casualties.

Members of the Toubu tribe are dark-skinned and present in southeastern Libya as well as in Chad, Sudan and Niger.

Kufra, with a population of about 40,000 people, is located in a triangle sharing borders with Egypt, Chad and Sudan…

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U.S. Troops Fire At Afghan Protesters

http://www.pajhwok.com/en/2012/02/21/one-injured-us-troops-fire-protestors

Pajhwok Afghan News
February 21, 2012

One injured as US troops fire at protestors
By Farid Tanhaon

CHARIKAR: US troops have shot injured a man and detained five others during a protest against the alleged burning of the Quran at the Bagram Airbase in central Parwan province.

“Late on Monday, foreign soldiers burnt a few copies of the holy book along with garbage on the airfield,” an Afghan worker on the base, told Pajhwok Afghan News.

Afghans working on the base, condemning the act, entered a physical fight with the US troops, Sameer said. Five workers were detained, he added.

The workers later informed local officials and residents, who gathered in front of the base to protest the alleged desecration, Sameer said.

The crowd swelled to more than 1,000 people who burned tyres near the base and a checkpoint. US soldiers opened fire on them, injuring one protestor, police officer Abdul Hafiz Motawakil said.

After the firing incident, the protesters started hurling stones at the base and chanting slogans against the US troops, he added.

Tribal elders, representatives of demonstrators and local officials later held a meeting with the 303rd Pamir police zone commander, Gen. Baba Jan, to discuss the issue.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people staged another protest in the Pul-i-Charkh area on the eastern outskirts of Kabul city against the Quran’s desecration. The protests called for the immediate withdrawal of foreign troops from the country.

They also demanded an investigation into the burning incident and serious punishment for the perpetrators.

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World Chess Head Fears Syria Will Be Third World War

http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/chess-head-fears-syria-will-be-3rd-world-war/453424.html

Moscow Times
February 21, 2012

Chess Head Fears Syria Will Be 3rd World War
By Howard Amos

One of the last men to speak to Moammar Gadhafi before his death, president of the World Chess Federation Kirsan Ilyumzhinov warned Monday that a third world war could unfold in Syria.

Ilyumzhinov played a game of chess with the former Libyan leader last June as NATO bombs rained down on the civil war-ravaged country.

“What I saw in Libya is now repeating itself in Syria,” the former president of the Kalmykia republic told The Moscow Times. More than 5,000 people are estimated to have been killed in an 11-month uprising against the regime in Damascus.

If NATO began military action in Syria, “it would be the start of a third world war,” Ilyumzhinov said on the sidelines of an announcement about the upcoming World Chess Championship. “Next would be Iran and other countries with oil and gas — Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.”

Russia and China vetoed a motion on Syria at the United Nations Security Council on Feb. 3 that called for the resignation of President Bashar Assad, democratic reforms and a cessation of violence.

“The position of the Russian Federation was absolutely correct,” Ilyumzhinov said. “Assad has already gone the way of dialogue…That’s everything he must do, the other way is the spilling of blood and killing of people.”

Gadhafi reportedly phoned Ilyumzhinov as rebels overran Tripoli less than two months before his death.

NATO is mounting a personal attack on Assad just as it did on Gadhafi, the Buddhist and chess fanatic said. “At the very beginning, there was a decision taken to kill one person — just like now.”

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Russia To Rebuild Military Airfields Near NATO Borders

http://en.rian.ru/mlitary_news/20120222/171463064.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
February 22, 2012

Russia to Rebuild Military Airfields near NATO Borders

KALININGRAD: The Russian Defense Ministry will modernize two airfields in its Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad, Commander of the Baltic Fleet Vice Adm. Viktor Chirkov said on Wednesday.

“We are planning to increase the length of the runway to 3,500 meters at the airfield in Chkalovsk so that it would be able to receive any kind of aircraft, including Boeings and Airbuses,” Chirkov said.

The reconstruction will take about two years.

The Defense Ministry is also planning to rebuild an abandoned Soviet-era airfield for hydroplanes on the Baltic Spit.

The admiral said the Baltic Fleet will have at least four amphibious aircraft for reconnaissance and search-and-rescue missions by March 2013.

The importance of the Kaliningrad exclave, surrounded by NATO members Lithuania and Poland, to Russia’s national security has grown considerably in the past few years as Moscow searches for ways to counter the European missile shield.

Russia has recently activated a long-range radar in the region and is planning to deploy S-400 Triumf air defense systems and Iskander (SS-26 Stone) tactical missile systems there in the near future.

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Pakistan: Baloch Separatist Leader Welcomes U.S., NATO, Indian Intervention

http://tribune.com.pk/story/340137/will-support-foreign-intervention-whether-by-us-nato-or-india-barahmdagh/

Express Tribune
February 22, 2012

Will support US, Nato or Indian intervention: Brahamdagh Bugti

QUETTA: Supporting the US congressional bill on Balochistan, Baloch Republican Party’s self-exiled chief Brahamdagh Bugti has welcomed all foreign intervention in the province whether it is by the US, Nato or India.

“America must intervene in Balochistan and stop the ethnic cleansing of Baloch people,” said Brahamdagh, 30, as reporters listened with rapt attention to his telephonic address on Wednesday at the Quetta Press Club. “We know that foreign countries have their personal interest but we must think of our greater interest.”

A resolution was introduced on February 17 by Congressman Dana Rohrabacher and co-sponsored by two other congressmen in the US House of Representatives, calling upon Pakistan to recognise the Baloch people’s right to self determination. The bill has outraged Pakistan and leaders and lawmakers have called it against the country’s sovereignty and an unwelcome intervention by the US.

Balochistan, Pakistan’s least developed but largest province by area, has undergone a separatist insurgency since the country’s inception. The insurgency escalated into rampant violence after the 2006 murder of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, the grandfather of Brahamdagh Bugti.

“The American resolution and committee formed for Balochistan is not against the sovereignty of Pakistan. Every country has the right to interfere or intervene [in another’s affairs] if there are state-sponsored human rights violations,” he said.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Somalia Could Be Next NATO Target With Leaked Document

February 22, 2012 1 comment

World Future Online
February 20, 2012

Somalia Could Be Next NATO Target With Leaked Document

Below are extracts of a leaked draft of the ‘London Conference on Somalia’ due to be held in London on 23rd Febuary 2012. Such conferences are the start of troubles for the concerned nation and this leaked document indicates that Somalia may be the next target of ‘exporting’ democracy to Africa and the Muslim world.

The ‘draft’ indicates that: The London Conference on Somalia took place at Lancaster House on 23rd February 2012, and was attended by around fifty representatives from the international community and from Somalia itself.

The draft continues: Advances by other forces have liberated areas formerly held by Al Shabaab. And at sea, international action against piracy has secured the international trade route in the Gulf of Aden.

‘So we met in London to take stock, and to take decisions which will sustain the momentum of change. We wanted to show Somalia and the world that there is solidarity among the international community; that we are committed to supporting Somalia’s continued emergence from its former status as a failed state; and that we recognise the importance of new actors on Somalia, especially Turkey and Qatar, in helping Somalia’s future development.
Humanitarian [Language to be amended by DFID and other humanitarian actors]‘

And once again, it is Turkey and Qatar that are being ‘booked’ to play the role of the ‘spies’ that would lead the way for future NATO bombing and killing of innocents and Somali fighters?

Besides revealing that NATO and the ‘international community’ will depend on Muslim nations to deal with Somalia, the draft indicated that the Conference was preceded by a separate meeting on ‘humanitarian’ issues.

And then, the leaked document – the meeting is supposed to take place on 23rd February – start to tackle the real issue: The Political Process!

“We agreed that the transition must end, and that the political process must now connect with the people of Somalia. We considered how the international community could support Somalis to accelerate decision-making on their future political structures. In this context, we noted the conclusions of the African Union Summit that: …… We made clear that nobody would agree to the roll-over of the Transitional Federal Institutions in August. We were interested in process not individuals. We called on the Transitional Federal Institutions to make as much progress on the Roadmap as possible before August.”

And all these were agreed well before the meeting! Hence the fate of the Somali people now hangs on the good deeds of Turkey and Qatar. If the Qatari and Turkish regimes feel there is need for a ‘military’ intervention to push the ‘humanitarian’ agenda, then surely NATO will have all its weapons of mass destruction at its disposal!

Read the complete report here: http://arsparty.com/?p=395

Categories: Uncategorized

Skewed Resolution For Syrian Regime Change

February 22, 2012 Leave a comment

Frontline
February 25-March 9, 2012

Skewed resolution
John Cherian

Russia and China veto a resolution in the Security Council for a forced regime change in Syria

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Both Moscow and Beijing are well aware that the regime change envisaged by the West in Syria is part of a grand strategy to weaken the resistance to U.S. hegemony in the region. If Assad falls, the Lebanese resistance movement – the Hizbollah – will be the next in Washington’s cross hairs. After that it will be the turn of Iran. War clouds are already hovering over Iran, with the U.S. military significantly bolstering its presence in the Persian Gulf.

Qatar has now assumed the chairmanship of the Arab League though it was the turn of the Palestinian Authority (P.A.). The P.A. vacated the post in favour of Qatar. Qatar has since announced $400 million in aid to the cash-strapped P.A. The Emir of Qatar had issued an appeal for open military intervention in Syria saying that his country was willing to deploy troops there. Qatar, along with France and Britain, was among the first countries to send special forces clandestinely to Libya when the counter-revolution against Colonel Muammar Qaddafi began early last year.

The Libyan Islamist leader Abdulhakim Belhadj, who now occupies a top position in the government, met with leaders of the Syrian Free Army in Istanbul recently. According to reports, Libyans were among the first foreign fighters to reach Syria and fight alongside the Syrian rebels in hotspots such as Homs and Hama.

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The veto exercised by Russia and China on February 4 in the United Nations Security Council on a resolution calling for the resignation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has put paid to the prospects of an open foreign military intervention in Syria. With the encouragement of the Western powers, a host of nations led by Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have been supplying money, training and heavy weapons to rebels fighting against the Syrian state, who are confined to the city of Homs. As in the case of Libya, Western capitals are using the Arab League to institute a regime change in Damascus.

The Arab League’s resolution presented to the Security Council was ostensibly to bring a peaceful end to the violence that has gripped Syria since March last year. But it was, in fact, a blueprint for regime change as it demanded the resignation of Bashar al-Assad and the holding of multiparty elections. The resolution stated that the Security Council would review Syria’s implementation of the key clauses within 15 days of it being passed. It also said that in case of Syria’s non-compliance, “further measures” would be adopted in consultation with the Arab League.

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, while pronouncing from the rooftops that “Assad has to go”, kept on insisting that there were no plans “to pursue any kind of military intervention”. French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, who played a big role in unleashing the dogs of war on Libya, said that the talk of foreign intervention in Syria “is a myth”. British Foreign Secretary William Hague also said that the resolution did not envisage the use of military force, but he went on to add that other “measures will be considered” if there was no immediate end to the violence in Syria. Surprisingly, India sided with the resolution sponsored by the Arab League.

India’s stand

India and Syria have had a strong bilateral relationship for the past four decades. But recent instances have shown that when it comes to crunch situations, India sides with the West. It happened earlier in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on the resolutions censuring Iran. Again, India abstained from voting in the Security Council when a resolution on Libya was adopted.

Indian officials said that abstention was not an option this time. According to them, India had worked overtime to include clauses in the resolution that the will of the Syrian people would be the decisive factor and not outside military intervention. They said that the Arab League’s stand on Syria was an important factor that had led to India voting for the resolution.

South Asian diplomats in Damascus told this correspondent late last year that Assad was popular among ordinary Syrians and would get around 60 per cent of the votes if the opposition agreed to the holding of fair and free elections. Recent reports in the Western media have admitted that Assad continues to have the support of the minority groups and the secular members of the majority Sunni community.

‘Libya-like intervention’

According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the passing of a Security Council resolution on Syria would inevitably lead to another Libya-like military intervention. He pointed out that the call in the resolution “to withdraw all Syrian military and armed forces from cities and towns and return them to their original home barracks” was an ultimatum no sovereign government could accept. Moreover, in the case of Syria, the insurrection was being aided and abetted by the West. He said there was no justification for raining bombs on Syria just because the opposition there was refusing to engage in a meaningful dialogue with the government.

Li Baodong, China’s Ambassador to the U.N., told the Security Council that his country was opposed to “pushing for forced regime change in Syria as it violates the U.N. Charter and the basic norms guiding the practice of international relations”.

Washington and its allies had worked overtime to convince Russia and China to go along with the Arab League resolution. Behind the scenes, assurances were given that their interests in Syria would not be affected by the regime change. Syrian opposition leaders were dispatched to meet Russian diplomats to assure them that Russian interests would be preserved in a post-Assad era.

Syria has been a long-standing ally of Russia. Much of the weaponry for the Syrian security forces is provided by Russia. Recently, it sold 36 Yak fighter jets to Syria. Moscow has also deployed Russian warships in the Syrian port of Tartus, where it has basing rights. China also sells military equipment to Syria.

Both Moscow and Beijing are well aware that the regime change envisaged by the West in Syria is part of a grand strategy to weaken the resistance to U.S. hegemony in the region. If Assad falls, the Lebanese resistance movement – the Hizbollah – will be the next in Washington’s cross hairs. After that it will be the turn of Iran. War clouds are already hovering over Iran, with the U.S. military significantly bolstering its presence in the Persian Gulf.

West’s criticism

After the resolution failed at the Security Council, Western leaders were sharply critical of Russia and China. Hillary Clinton said that Russia and China bore “the responsibility for the horrors that are occurring on the ground in Syria”.

Significantly, the U.S. has wielded the most number of vetoes in the Security Council, most of them on behalf of its closest ally in the region, Israel. The massacres of Palestinians and Lebanese by Israeli forces through the years have gone uncensored and unpunished with the connivance of Washington. As for the U.S. itself, it has been responsible for the worst instances of human rights violations. The massacre of civilians in Fallujah, Iraq, is only a recent illustration.

In the past couple of months, the Syrian government has made several gestures to show the international community that it was serious about ending the bloody cycle of violence in the country. The Arab League was allowed to send in its monitoring mission despite misgivings about its motives. The head of the Arab League’s mission, Mohammad al-Dabi, a former intelligence chief of Sudan, while addressing a press conference in Cairo in the third week of January, even criticised the foreign media for exaggerating the violence in Syria, stressing that the situation inside the country had improved since the monitoring mission began its work in December. He also said that the Syrian government cooperated fully with the mission.

But Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which are backing the opposition Islamist-dominated Syrian National Council and the Free Syria Army, are fixated on a regime change in Damascus. The Arab League monitoring mission’s report said the government alone was not responsible for the continuing bloodshed. Unhappy with the report, Saudi Arabia, the main financier of the mission, withdrew its observers. The mission was forced to cease its work and withdraw from Syria. On February 12, the Arab League forced al-Dabi to resign as head of the monitoring mission.

After that the Arab League requested Damascus for the observer’s mission to be allowed in once again. This time the Syrian government refused permission as the Arab League in its meeting in Cairo on February 12 had also called for a joint peacekeeping force of the U.N. and Arab League states to Syria.

The Arab League monitoring commission’s report categorically stated that there was no organised, lethal attack by the Syrian government against peaceful protesters. Instead, the report stated that armed gangs were responsible for carrying out terror attacks against civilians, leading to thousands of deaths, including over a thousand Syrian troops. The report gave specific instances of bombing of civilian buses and trains and the sabotaging of gas pipelines. The five-member ministerial committee of the Arab League approved the report, with only Qatar voting against it.

Qatar has now assumed the chairmanship of the Arab League though it was the turn of the Palestinian Authority (P.A.). The P.A. vacated the post in favour of Qatar. Qatar has since announced $400 million in aid to the cash-strapped P.A. The Emir of Qatar had issued an appeal for open military intervention in Syria saying that his country was willing to deploy troops there. Qatar, along with France and Britain, was among the first countries to send special forces clandestinely to Libya when the counter-revolution against Colonel Muammar Qaddafi began early last year.

New Delhi, too, ignored the Arab League monitoring mission’s report and preferred to cast its lot with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which dominates decision-making in the Arab League, and the West on the issue of regime change in Syria.

It has been evident for some months that sections of the Syrian opposition are aligned with terror groups. The suicide bombings in Damascus followed by the attacks in the hitherto peaceful Aleppo, Syria’s second biggest city, are indications that the opposition is in cahoots with jehadist elements. Twenty-five people were killed in Aleppo and nearly 50 in the twin suicide bombings in Damascus in early January. In mid-February, a senior Syrian army officer, who was in charge of the military hospital in the capital, was killed by armed gunmen as he was leaving for work from his home.

Al Qaeda has claimed credit for the three big terror attacks in Damascus and Aleppo. In a video recording released in the second week of February, its chief, Ayman al-Zawahiri, called on Muslims in the region to join the uprising against “the pernicious, cancerous regime” in Syria. But the Western media still give credence to allegations that all terror attacks are the handiwork of the government.

A report from Tripoli quoted the Libyan Foreign Minister as saying that the interim government would not stop Libyans from joining the fight against the Syrian government. The interim government in Libya installed under the supervision of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) has already recognised the Syrian National Council and has formally handed over the Syrian Embassy in Tripoli to the rebel group.

The Libyan Islamist leader Abdulhakim Belhadj, who now occupies a top position in the government, met with leaders of the Syrian Free Army in Istanbul recently. According to reports, Libyans were among the first foreign fighters to reach Syria and fight alongside the Syrian rebels in hotspots such as Homs and Hama. There are also unconfirmed reports about Qatari and British Special Forces helping the Free Syrian Army. Washington has called for the establishment of a “humanitarian corridor” to assist the anti-government rebels in Syria.

The Syrian government on its part seems determined to flush out the rebels from their remaining strongholds. Bashar Jaffari, the Syrian envoy to the U.N., while presenting his country’s case to the world during the debate on the Security Council resolution, said that the government had no other alternative but “to respond to the calls of citizens to save them from the criminal terrorist groups and to restore public order throughout Syria”. He also pointed out that the Syrian government had conceded almost all of the major demands of the opposition soon after the violent protests started in March last year. The “state of emergency” has been lifted and the Syrian State Security Court has been abolished. A legislative decree, which allowed the staging of peaceful protests, was passed. Importantly, a national committee was formed to draft a new Constitution and hold general elections.

Categories: Uncategorized

New Alliances As Iranian Warships Leave Syria

February 22, 2012 3 comments

The Hindu
February 21, 2012

New Alliances as Iranian warships leave Syria
Atul Aneja

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Iran appeared to have carefully timed the visit of its warships, which have followed the docking earlier at Tartus of the giant Russian aircraft carrier, Admiral Kuznetsov. In Iran, influential law makers were quick off the blocks to suggest that developments in Syria were uniting Tehran and Moscow, with the open ended possibility of other major players occupying the tent.

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Iranian warships have crossed the Suez Canal on their return from the Syrian port of Tartus, demonstrating Tehran’s commitment to back embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad, whose regime has now been thrown a new lifeline by China and Russia.

Reuters news agency is reporting that the two ships — one destroyer and the other, a supply vessel — were heading, early Tuesday, towards the Red Sea via the Suez Canal. They were returning from Tartus, located 220 km from the Syrian capital, Damascus.

The docking of Iranian warships in Syria appears to have already provoked some anxiety in neighbouring Israel. On Sunday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said, “If the boats come near our territorial waters, we will monitor them very closely.”

Analysts say the docking has also opened up the possibility of the emergence of Iran, Russia and China as partners standing up to the West, which is working feverishly with its Arab allies to topple Mr. Assad.

It was not clear whether the ships off-loaded any cargo at Tartus that would bolster the Assad regime. Nevertheless, the warships dropping anchor at a port on the Mediterranean Sea, a stretch of water that for long being viewed as a “European lake”, was full of symbolism — of Iran’s refusal to kneel before the ongoing economic warfare waged by the West, which has also threatened Tehran with military force.

Signalling that it had aspirations of developing a blue-water capability, Iran’s Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi has declared that the Islamic Republic will continue to strengthen its naval clout and multiply its presence in the international waters, IRNA reported on Tuesday. He stressed that advancements in Iran’s naval capabilities were “unstoppable”.

Iran appeared to have carefully timed the visit of its warships, which have followed the docking earlier at Tartus of the giant Russian aircraft carrier, Admiral Kuznetsov. In Iran, influential law makers were quick off the blocks to suggest that developments in Syria were uniting Tehran and Moscow, with the open ended possibility of other major players occupying the tent.

“The presence of Iran and Russia’s flotillas along the Syrian coast has a clear message against the United States’ possible adventurism,” said Hossein Ebrahimi, a vice chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s national security and foreign policy commission, Fars News Agency reported on Monday. He added: “In case of any U.S. strategic mistake in Syria, there is a possibility that Iran, Russia and a number of other countries will give a crushing response to the U.S.” Mr. Ebrahimi’s remarks follow a dash to Damascus by Chinese Vice Foreign Minister, Zhai Jun, who elaborated on China’s decision to veto a western-backed Arab resolution on Syria.

In tune with the diplomatic clashes on Syria, the Chinese state media has now begun to splash detailed commentaries advocating greater strategic collaboration between Beijing and Moscow. A recent write-up in the Chinese Communist Party newspaper Global Times softened some ground for such a possibility in the wake of U.S. military bullishness.

“The two [China and Russia] do have countermeasures against the U.S., and they are capable of deterring U.S. allies. If they are really determined to join hands, the balance of power on many world issues will begin to shift,” said the commentary.

In the entire exercise of sending naval ships into the Mediterranean, Iran has been quietly supported by Egypt, whose new military rulers have allowed these vessels to transit through the Suez Canal. Iran’s semi-official Press TV is reporting that on Thursday, the Egyptian military authorities had issued permission for the Iranian warships to sail through the Suez Canal. This was the first occasion when Iranian warships have been allowed to sail into the Mediterranean Sea through the Canal. “Over the next few months, Egypt is likely to demonstrate greater balance in foreign and security policies, which will be a real departure from the era of the former President Hosni Mubarak,” said an Egyptian diplomatic source, who did not wish to be named.

Categories: Uncategorized

Video: NATO Versus The First Amendment

February 22, 2012 Leave a comment

Labor Beat

NATO vs The 1st Amendment

This video shows the early stages of the growing Chicago movement against the newly minted extraordinary police powers ordinance (dubbed the “sit down and shut up” laws). We go to one of the many actions around the city directed at Chicago aldermen who were about to vote on these new laws (designed by Democratic Party Mayor Emanuel to crush any dissent against the NATO/G8 summits he is hosting here in May).

Richard de Vries, Union Representative for IBT 705, tells a story about when he and Danny Solis were students at University of Illinois-Chicago campus back in the early 70s and they both participated in a student protest/occupation of the campus. If the ordinance under consideration (which now Alderman Solis finally approved of) were in effect then, “we wouldn’t even be on the street today.”

We also visit the press conference at City Hall given by an impressive coalition of neighborhood and labor organizations on the eve of City Council committee meetings and final vote. The draconian measures, only marginally tweaked, passed overwhelmingly by the all-Democratic Party Council.

The video is also a useful primer on what NATO is and some of its criminal record, from the bombings of civilians in Yugoslavia in the late 90s to NATO’s recent killings of civilians in Libya and Afghanistan. In January of this year the Arab Organisation for Human Rights together with the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights announced that there is evidence that NATO has committed war crimes.

“My estimate: it’s Military Murder Inc.,” states Rick Rozoff, manager of the Stop NATO web site, as he provides extensive background information.

Includes interviews and comments from numerous labor and community leaders. Length 25:37

Produced by Labor Beat. Labor Beat is a CAN TV Community Partner. Labor Beat is a non-profit 501(c)(3) member of IBEW 1220. Views are those of the producer Labor Beat. For info: mail@laborbeat.org, http://www.laborbeat.org. 312-226-3330. For other Labor Beat videos, visit YouTube and search “Labor Beat”.

On Chicago CAN TV Channel 19, Thursdays 9:30 pm; Fridays 4:30 pm. Labor Beat has regular cable slots in Chicago, Evanston, Rockford, Urbana, IL; Philadelphia, PA; Princeton, NJ; and Rochester, NY. For more detailed information, send us a request at mail@laborbeat.org.

“NATO vs The 1st Amendment” will be shown on tv in Chicago:
Chicago – CAN TV cable tv Channel 19:
Thurs., March 1, 9:30 pm
Fri., March 2, 4:30 pm
Thurs., March 8, 9:30 pm
Fri., Oct. March 9, 4:30 pm

Categories: Uncategorized

Report: Over 10,000 Libyans Trained In Jordan For Syrian Invasion

February 21, 2012 Leave a comment

RT
February 21, 2012

Made in Jordan: Thousands of gunmen preparing to enter Syria?

Over 10,000 Libyans are reportedly being trained in a closed-off zone in Jordan, before being snuck into Syria to fight for the opposition. These men are allegedly paid around US$1,000 a month, funded by Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

­Jordan-based AlBawaba news website says most of the gunmen who are being trained are actually part of the Libyan armed opposition, who have not had the chance to lay down arms following the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.

The allegations of funding from Riyadh and Doha were not attributed to anyone, but AlBawaba did draw attention to the fact that both Saudi Arabia and Qatar actively support the Syrian opposition.

At the same time, several Iranian news sources report that some 50 Turkish officers arrested in Syria last week have confirmed that they were trained by the Israeli Special Forces to carry out insurgent acts against the Syrian government and President Bashar al-Assad.

The arrested officers also, according to Iran’s Fars news agency, admitted to initiating contact with Qatar and Saudi Arabia, inadvertently lending support to the countries’ involvement in the ongoing conflict in Syria.

­Foreign conspiracy melting-pot

Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, post-war Libya, Turkey, Israel – this list of countries drawn into conspiracy media speculation would be incomplete without recent remarks from the Russian Foreign Ministry.

British MI6 agents have entered the Syrian ground, the Ministry said on Friday.

This is the first time such a declaration has come from a ministry. The media have been boiling with reports on foreign Special Forces training the Syrian opposition since November.

Thus, the Israeli DEBKAfile reported that British and Qatari commandos are instructing the Syrian opposition and supplying them with arms. The French weekly Le Canard Enchaine and Turkish daily Milliyet revealed the presence of French intelligence in the region, also instructing the Free Syrian Army in urban guerrilla techniques. These camps were located in Libya’s Tripoli, southern Turkey and northern Lebanon, read the reports.

The Syrian government has also to deal with jihadists flocking to the country from neighboring Iraq. According to the Iraqi Interior Ministry, the insurgents are smuggling weaponry across the border to support anti-Assad movement.

The foreign assistance has every chance of going beyond supply and training, analysts say. The Arab League has blocked the initiative that would be most productive to resolve the Syrian crisis peacefully. The League has suspended the observing mission even despite Assad’s approval to extend it. Many connect the League’s decision with the final report provided by the mission head, Sudanese General Mohammed al-Dabi. Al-Dabi dubbed the events in Syria as “violence on both sides” and “active insurgency” instead of “a popular anti-regime uprising.” This might have struck Qatar, which is currently chairing the League, as a bit too pro-Assad.

The UN, facing a fail with a Syrian resolution in the Security Council, passed the condemnation of Assad’s crackdown on the opposition through the General Assembly on February 16. The resolution has no executive power, but Washington is already calling for a contact group “Friends of a Democratic Syria.” Now the Syrians are left to wonder what is better: the 40-year-old dictatorship or imported freedom, a kind of which has left Libya in ruins.

Categories: Uncategorized

Arab League As An Anti-Arab Weapon

February 21, 2012 Leave a comment

Strategic Culture Foundation
February 21, 2012

Arab League As An Anti-Arab Weapon
Elena Pustovoitova
Edited by RR

Elementary arithmetic routinely holds keys to much more complex political algebra. At the moment, for example, it appears that fairly simple regards explain the bizarre conduct of the Arab League which, contrary to reasonable expectations, aligned itself with the West in destabilizing Syria and keeping Bashar Assad under pressure.

It became clear immediately when protests erupted in Syria in March, 2011 that Washington would welcome serious arguments in favor of Assad’s ouster. The unrest in the country came as a predictable – and by no means the last – phase in the sequence of revolts inspired by the US and other countries in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Bahrain with the aim of tailoring the maps of North Africa and the Middle East to the liking of global heavyweights. Later on, the slogan of regime change in the name of “democracy” similarly popped up in Algeria, Jordan, Morocco, and Oman.

It did not evade observers that mass protests in Syria began in the southern city of Daraa and mostly took place on Fridays, at Muslim post-prayer time. Due to that clearcut tendency, Syria’s brewing revolt was even dubbed “the Friday Revolution”. The unrest quickly spilled from Daraa to other Syrian cities, with the protesters’ agenda – the abolition of the state of emergency law and the uprooting of the decades-old regime – borrowed with minimal adjustments from Tahrir Square. Unlike Mubarak in Egypt, Syria’s Assad lifted the state of emergency right away, but the protesters evidently had much more far-reaching goals in mind.

Syria, it must be noted, was among the founders of the Arab League: on October 7, 1944, the protocol of intentions with a pledge to create the organization was penned in Alexandria by representatives of Syria, Oultrejordain [Transjordan], Iraq, Lebanon, and Egypt. The list of the Arab League’s stated objectives included political coordination and mutual assistance in maintaining sovereignty among its members. In line with the above, in 1948 the Syrian Army fought in the Arab-Israeli war which the Arab League declared on the Jewish state nurtured by Great Britain.

It is common knowledge that the relations between Arabs and Israel dominate the entire realm of Middle Eastern politics. They could still be perceived as a background theme in Europe or the US, but in fact Washington and the European capitals have made it the cornerstone of their strategy to skillfully capitalize on the region’s enduring conflict.

From its birth date and onward, Israel has played the role of the West’s – mostly, Washington’s – political instrument applied to fracture the Arab world. Pan-Arab unification in the Middle East proved to be a short-lived process: Syria and Egypt merged within the United Arab Republic on February 22, 1958, with Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser as president and a number of Syrians holding key posts, but the marriage fell apart three years later under pressure from US secret diplomacy. Israel’s occupation of the Golan Heights became a reality six years later. In 1973, Syria, in concert with other Arab countries, started the Ramadan (alternatively, Yom Kippur) War in which the situations at the Syrian and Egyptian segments of the front differed beyond comparison. Israel suffered a considerable death toll in the ferocious Quneitra fight occasionally referred to as Syria’s Stalingrad, but the Golan Heights remained under Israeli control even after 1974, when UN
peacekeepers were deployed to the region and a demilitarized zone was established.

Inspired by the UN’s inability to reverse the occupation, in 1981 Israel passed a piece of legislation proclaiming its sovereignty over the Golan Heights. The same year the US Security Council annulled the annexation in a special resolution, and the UN General Assembly reiterated the point in 2008, but to no avail. As of today, the Golan Heights are an economically prosperous region in Israel which is practically free of unemployment and outputs over 50% of Israel’s mineral water, around 25% of wines, and up to 50% of certain types of fruits and produce. A mild climate and historical landmarks attract a steady flow of tourists to the region which also supplies a third of Israel’s potable water. That should, in particular, explain Israel’s hatred for Iran, which has always backws Syria.

President Assad was re-elected in Syria for another seven-year term slightly under four years ago, garnering 97.62% of the vote in a referendum. The pertinent question is: why is Assad, who is evidently popular in Syria, a figure totally unacceptable to the Arabs at the helm of the Arab League? The Arab League lauded the West’s new onslaught on the Middle East and volunteered its blessing to unspecified “peacekeeping forces” that would be dispatched to Syria to dislodge Assad.

Who, under that scenario, would take his place? Either the Arab League is moving too fast while Western intelligence services are unprepared to offer a candidate or they leave it entirely to the Arab League to dispose of Assad. “I don’t see the way forward in Syria as being Western boots on the ground in any form, including in any peacekeeping form. I think they would need to come from other countries, rather than Western nations. Of course, if such a concept can be made viable, we will be supporting it in all the usual ways”, said British Foreign Secretary William Hague. Paris seems similarly unsure, considering that French foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero was quoted as expressing “strong support for the Syrian opposition” and approving the decision to appoint a “special envoy” from the Arab League for Syria, but stopped short of mentioning an intervention under the peacekeeping flag.

Indeed, the Arab League’s initiative to have third-party forces sent to Syria to induce the transfer of power in the country from the legitimate authorities to the opposition should read as inviting an intervention. This is, by the way, how things are seen from Damascus. A statement released by the Syrian government said the people of Syria hoped that the Arab League’s secretary general and Arab countries’ ministers would condemn the blasts in Damascus and Aleppo and call for stopping the instigations campaign and the financial support to terrorists in Syria. The statement also made it clear that the Arab League’s meddling in Syrian domestic affairs was indicative of an anti-Syrian conspiracy and would not make the Syrian government abandon its efforts to restore stability and security in the country.

Unlike the Arab League, Damascus has no chance to get heard in the West. Considering that Syria was among the founders of the League, it would be interesting to get an idea under whose name the group might be speaking under current circumstances.

This is the point at which simple arithmetic should come into play. The Arab League is a motley assortment of 22 countries. It counts on board Qatar, the world’s champion in terms of the per capita GDP, drawing over 50% of it and 70% of the national budget from its oil and gas exports. Qatar’s top oil and LNG clients are Japan, South Korea, and Singapore, and all of them are US political allies.

Kuwait, another Arab League country, holds 9% of global oil reserves, owes around 95% of its budget revenues to oil exports, and ranks 7th in the world in per capita GDP. Kuwait’s list of buyers is more or less the same as above: Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the US, and Singapore. In Algeria, oil and gas export accounts for 60% of budget revenues. The export is mainly absorbed by the US, Italy, Spain, France, the Netherlands, and Canada.

The core businesses of the United Arab Emirates are fuel re-export plus the sales of crude and natural gas. The country extracts 2.2 bpd of oil which mostly goes to Japan.

The key trade partners of Morocco are Spain, France, the US, Belgium, and Italy.

Overall, the biggest Arab League economies thrive on oil and, by virtue of energy export, depend entirely on the West and its oriental allies. It is an easy guess that the Arab interests do not top the priorities lists of those who sit on such energy riches. At the same time, in countries like Mauritania, where the per capita GDP measures 185th on the global scale, most of the foodstuffs come from France, the Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, and the US, and 40% of the population is struggling below the poverty level, or Somalia, which survives on piracy and semi-nomadic cattle-breeding, naturally have almost no say in the Arab League’s affairs. This survey gives a perfect picture of how easily Washington can direct the Arab League and use it as an anti-Arab weapon.

Categories: Uncategorized

China Opposed To Armed intervention To Force “Regime Change” In Syria

February 21, 2012 Leave a comment

Xinhua News Agency
February 21, 2012

FM spokesman says China’s stance on Syria remains consistent, clear

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China holds the view that the international community should fully respect Syria’s sovereignty, independence, unity, territorial integrity and the independent choice of the Syrian people, as well as the results of the political dialogue among various parties in Syria.

“We do not approve an armed intervention or forcing a so-called ‘regime change’ in Syria,” the spokesman reiterated.

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BEIJING: China said Tuesday that its stance on Syria remains “consistent and clear.”

“We’ve been closely following the developments of the situation, and we are deeply worried about the escalating crisis that has caused civilian casualties and affected peace and stability in the region,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said.

Hong made the remarks during a regular press briefing in response to a question about whether China has changed its stance on the Syria issue.

He urged all relevant parties to immediately launch inclusive political dialogue with no preconditions and jointly discuss a comprehensive political reform plan.

Hong said China holds the view that the international community should fully respect Syria’s sovereignty, independence, unity, territorial integrity and the independent choice of the Syrian people, as well as the results of the political dialogue among various parties in Syria.

“We do not approve an armed intervention or forcing a so-called ‘regime change’ in Syria,” the spokesman reiterated.

Hong said China supports Arab countries’ calls to immediately cease violence, protect Syrian civilians, offer humanitarian aid to Syria and oppose external military intervention, adding that China hopes the issue will be resolved through political dialogue within the framework of the Arab League (AL).

“China will work together with the international community and play a positive and constructive role in appropriately resolving the issues in Syria,” Hong said.

The spokesman also confirmed the receipt of an invitation for China to participate in a “Friends of Syria” meeting scheduled for next week in Tunis. He did not say whether China will attend.

“China welcomes all efforts that will be conducive to a peaceful resolution to the Syria issue,” Hong said, noting that the purpose and mechanism of the “Friends of Syria” meeting requires further examination.

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Xinhua News Agency
February 21, 2012

Russia not to take part in “Friends of Syria” meeting: FM

MOSCOW: Russia has declined an invitation to take part in a meeting of the “Friends of Syria” group scheduled for Friday, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

“The invitation to the meeting of the “Friends of Syria” group in Tunisia has been received. However, there are more questions than articulate answers,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexandr Lukashevich said.

He stressed Russia saw no possibility of participating in the gathering, because Moscow has not been informed about the meeting’s agenda and its participants.

“Most importantly, the real aim of the meeting is not clear. According to reports, the separate opposition groups have been invited to Tunisia but no representatives of the Syrian government. That means, the interests of the majority of the Syrian population which supports the authorities, will not be represented,” Lukashevich said.

Russia believes the meeting would unlikely facilitate the start of the inter-Syria dialogue on ways to overcome the crisis, the spokesman said.

Lukashevich said Moscow had an impression that the “Friends of Syria” meeting resembles “the Libya Contact Group,” which has the aim to support only one side of the internal conflict.

“According to reports, the final document of the meeting has already been drafted by a narrow group of countries while other participants would be asked just to rubber-stamp it,” Lukashevich said.

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Xinhua News Agency
February 21, 2012

West chooses economy as “suitable entrance” to deepen Syrian crisis: expert

DAMASCUS: The West has chosen the economy as a “suitable entrance” to deepen the Syrian crisis after the failure to enflame the situation through other ways, a Syrian economic expert, Adnan Abdul-Razzak, told Xinhua in a recent interview.

The Western countries have tried many scenarios in Syria to deepen the crisis, Abdul-Razzak said, and the last-ditch attempt was to throttle the country’s economy.

However, the expert predicted that their attempts would not work. “They tried to test Syria through many aspects. They tried the social gate and tried to foment sectarian rifts. But all their attempts were to no avail,” he said.

“They even tried the UN Security Council, but they also reached a deadlock…Now there is nothing left other than the economic door to knock on given its unparalleled significance,” he added.

Abdul-Razzak said he believed that the economic pressures aim to undermine Syria’s infrastructure and to control the course of events.

Due to the economic sanctions imposed by the United States, the European Union and some Arab countries against Syria, most of the economic agreements signed previously between Syria and a number of foreign countries have been brought to a standstill, which has deprived the country of lucrative economic revenues, Abdul-Razzak said.

The Western sanctions have targeted a number of important sectors in Syria, mainly the oil and banking sectors. The losses of Syrian oil sector are estimated at more than 11 million U.S. dollars per day.

Syria’s daily oil output is estimated at 380,000 barrels, part of which was exported to Europe to earn for the treasury around 11 million dollars.

Syrian Oil Minister Sufian Allaw recently told Xinhua that Syria’s oil sector has lost more than 2 billion U.S. dollars due to the economic sanctions and sabotaging acts against oil facilities.

Abdul-Razzak slammed the sanctions as “immoral,” saying that the biggest victims of the sanctions are the Syrian citizens, as the prices of basic foodstuff have skyrocketed while some other goods have become unavailable in the market.

This situation has created a suitable atmosphere for increased monopoly, an issue that has overburdened the citizens, he said.

The economic sanctions have also led to a 40-percent depreciation of Syrian pound and a 20-percent growth in the inflation.

Abdul-Razzak said he believed that there are other foreign and internal factors, including the government’s monetary policy, contributing to the depreciation of Syrian pound.

Tourism, a main source of foreign currency for Syria, was affected most by the Syrian crisis, Abdul-Razzak said, noting that the sector had barely revenue in 2011 although the government had made efforts to attract tourists.

However, Abdul-Razzak showed an upbeat mood about the future, saying that the Syrian economy is still vigorous and trustworthy and there are some alternative markets for the Syrian products.

The central bank of Syria has sufficient reserves of foreign currency and gold, which would appease concerns about a possible economic collapse in the country, Abdul-Razzak said.

“The Syrian economy would not collapse in the foreseeable future,” he said, calling on the Syrian government to take rigorous and rational measures to protect the economy.

Categories: Uncategorized

Is West Genuinely Trying To “Save” Syria?

February 21, 2012 Leave a comment

People’s Daily
February 21, 2012

Is West genuinely trying to ‘save’ Syria?
By Andre Vltchek*
Edited by RR

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By now it should be obvious that the West is not known for its altruistic considerations. It does close to nothing to rescue the worst suffering countries, simply because most of them are actually suffering as a result of Western economic and geopolitical interests.

If charity would be the main goal of the foreign policy of the West, the bloodbath in Congo/DRC would have ended many years ago – the slaughter that took between 6 and 10 million people and is performed by close allies of the US and Europe and their multinational companies.

Some 40 to 45 million people worldwide were killed after the WWII in colonial, post-colonial, neo-colonial and imperialist conflicts led or triggered by the West: in Indochina, Indonesia, Africa, Latin America, Middle East and Oceania. One could excuse those who do not necessarily trust those sudden outbursts of compassion towards the people of the Middle East and would rather give peace in Syria a chance.

Punishment is dreadful: officially speaking, ‘infidel’ countries are not punished, they are ‘saved’. And the countries that were recently ‘saved’ by the West – Afghanistan (savagely brutalized since the times of its secular pro-Soviet government), Iraq, Libya, and Honduras – are today all in the most appalling state, in catastrophic terms much worse than before the ‘humanitarian invasion’.

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At the end of the last week, Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Zhai Jun travelled to Syria to renew diplomatic dialogue with the Syrian leadership, after both Russia and China vetoed a UN resolution proposed by the West and its allies in the Arab world, which was de facto calling for President Bashar al-Assad to resign.

As the Chinese diplomats were travelling to Damascus, the Western mainstream press had been turning increasingly vitriolic and hawkish. Official discourse coming from Western governments did not sound any more conciliatory. The leadership of Syria was repeatedly condemned in the strongest language possible and there has been continuous snapping at the two powers that managed to block the proposed resolution.

One should probably ask: what role is the West really playing in the conflict? Is it trying to find solutions or is it igniting the crises?

And what would the people of Syria have to pay back to Washington, London, Paris and other ‘players’ if the Assad’s government should be deposed? Even though the majority never asked for any help and probably supports the present government, it would definitely be presented with the bill. “The West”, a Congolese presidential candidate recently told me, “doesn’t have friends. It only has interests.”

By now it should be obvious that the West is not known for its altruistic considerations. It does close to nothing to rescue the worst suffering countries, simply because most of them are actually suffering as a result of Western economic and geopolitical interests.

If charity would be the main goal of the foreign policy of the West, the bloodbath in Congo/DRC would have ended many years ago – the slaughter that took between 6 and 10 million people and is performed by close allies of the US and Europe and their multinational companies. And the plundering of the mineral-rich Papua would also have ended already several decades ago.

Some 40 to 45 million people worldwide were killed after the WWII in colonial, post-colonial, neo-colonial and imperialist conflicts led or triggered by the West: in Indochina, Indonesia, Africa, Latin America, Middle East and Oceania. One could excuse those who do not necessarily trust those sudden outbursts of compassion towards the people of the Middle East and would rather give peace in Syria a chance.

If, however, the ruler or leadership is antagonistic to Western dictatea and interests, all means are put to use to overthrow him. Modern history is full of examples: The Dominican Republic, Chile, Indonesia, Nicaragua, Congo, and Yugoslavia, to name just a few places.

Most recently it was Libya’s turn. A UN resolution was twisted by both the European Union and the US and the country was attacked illegally. In Libya, the West immediately detected substantial (but not so ample that it would represent the majority of Libyan people) opposition to Qaddafi. It cultivated it, got directly involved and then steered it to victory. When the violence escalated (partially through Western support to the rebellion) and the situation ‘went out of control’, invasion was justified on ‘humanitarian grounds’.

The interests of the West in Libya were always clear: Oil and the important role Tripoli played in the anti-imperialist struggle on the African continent. Many in Africa saw Qaddafi’s overthrow and death as a calamity, but very few dared to speak up from fear of Western reprisal.

That is not to say that Qaddafi was not a tyrant. However, Libya under his leadership reached the highest HDI (UNDP-calculated Human Development Index) in Africa. But instead of being too preoccupied with the profits of multi-national companies, Qaddafi was busy building a social network at home, which included public housing, roads, hospitals and schools. That appears to be his greatest ‘sin’. Building its own independent society and concentrating on pulling people out of poverty appears to be the most unforgiveable crime in the eyes of the Western regimes.

Punishment is dreadful: officially speaking, ‘infidel’ countries are not punished, they are ‘saved’. And the countries that were recently ‘saved’ by the West – Afghanistan (savagely brutalized since the times of its secular pro-Soviet government), Iraq, Libya, and Honduras – are today all in the most appalling state, in catastrophic terms much worse than before the ‘humanitarian invasion’. Their people are going through indescribable suffering; many are desperately trying to leave.

This brutal approach is usually justified by the dogma of American and European exceptionalism, by the theory that the West is somehow unique and the only one qualified to determine what is right and what is wrong for itself and for the rest of the world.

Any country that crosses the West and its designs is immediately attacked by the most vicious and powerful propaganda apparatus. No matter how rational are its arguments.

It was announced by Zhai Jun that Beijing is calling for a referendum on the draft of a new Syrian constitution, early parliamentary elections and the establishment of a national unity government. “We call on the government of Syria to seriously heed the people’s legitimate desire for reform and development and call on the various political fractions to express their political aspirations non-violently under the rule of law,” he said. He also made it clear that China wanted this crises solved within the framework of the Arab League.

That’s all very rational and democratic.

But the West sees such rational approach as unacceptable. Not because Russian or Chinese approaches are morally wrong – they are clearly not. But because, in sync with the exceptionalist doctrine, the people and the referendum on the future of their own country could not be ‘trusted’. Decisions on issues like ‘who runs the government’ in a strategically located country, could not be left to the people. It is only the West – the oldest and until now the only prevailing colonial power bloc – that can determine in what direction the world (and each particular country) should move.

While the Western press is manipulatively speaking only about Russia and China in connection to the resolution, it is essential to point out that there were other states that voted against it, including Iran, Zimbabwe and North Korea but, more importantly, most of the countries in Latin America that stand at the vanguard of the struggle against Western imperialism: Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador and Nicaragua. All these countries that suffered terribly from US interventionism now voted on the grounds of basic principal: the West has no moral mandate to decide the fate of the world.

And this ‘club’ of progressive nations appears to be much more legitimate than the ‘club of two’ – the US and Israel – that blocks almost all UN resolutions on Palestine while avoiding the fury of disciplined and self-censored mainstream media.

Based on its history, ancient and modern, Russia has no reasons to trust the West. And even if the latest commentaries in the Western mainstream media could actually be trusted and Russia is defensing its ally in Damascus for its own pragmatic reasons, it could still be understandable and justifiable given the fact that there are already missiles being pointed at Russia from all directions imaginable. In addition to that, if the present Syrian government collapses, the West would suddenly have almost total control of the area, definitely not a very attractive prospect for both Russia and the world.

Habibe Ozdal, Turkish expert on Russia working with the Center for Eurasian Studies (USAK), commented at Today’s Zaman on February 16th, 2011:

“After the Iraq War, Russia has opposed the one-sided initiatives of the West. Moreover, Russia today, despite all its weaknesses, is very different than the Russia of the early 2000s. Moscow, which now has something to say about the Middle East in general and Syria in particular, prefers to take up a position that is independent of, and at times even in opposition to, the West.”

Editors of the progressive National Channel in Istanbul are actually calling the Western game in the region an open aggression. A veteran documentary filmmaker, Serkan Koc, told me that he filmed in Syria and has clear evidence that the West was supporting violent and rough elements in the country, calling them ‘legitimate opposition’.

In Russia and among the opposition in the West there is no doubt that, unless stopped, the situation may lead to an endgame in the region: total consolidation of Western power. On the 18th February, RT (Russia Today) broadcasted analyses concluding that the destruction of Syria would open the door further for the invasion of Iran.

Recently, Alexander Cockburn published a powerful article “Hypocrisy and Syria” at the prestigious CounterPunch, arguing that the US itself has never tolerated separatist movements on its territory:

“No one could doubt that determined separatist activity or armed challenges to the government of the United States are always met with immediate, overwhelming and lethal ferocity. For further historical illustration I recommend an interview with any moderately informed American Indian or black.”

For a while it looked as though Obama’s government was being swept into yet another intervention, ranging itself shoulder-to-shoulder with the GCC coalition in stoking the fires in Syria. That momentum was certainly checked by the Russian and Chinese veto of the US-backed resolution presented to the UN Security Council.

Opposing the dictate of the West does not have to lead necessarily to a new Cold War (unless the West chooses to see it that way: ‘You do what we say, or else!’). It could actually lead to something really great – to something that the world has been missing for decades: it could lead to diversity and to a world where countries would again dare to go their own ways and express their stands loudly and proudly, without any risk of being bombed and shattered.

*Andre Vltchek (http://andrevltchek.weebly.com/) is a novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He lives and works in East Asia and East Africa.

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U.S. Trojan Horses In Venezuela

February 21, 2012 1 comment

Strategic Culture Foundation
February 20, 2012

US Trojan Horses in Venezuela
Nil Nikandrov

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NGOs mushroomed in Venezuela after Chavez’s 1998 electoral triumph, and at the moment their number estimatedly reaches several hundred.

Color revolution champions are trained in Venezuela based on movies featuring corresponding episodes from recent East European history. As in Cuba, the white color is chosen as the hallmark of the Venezuelan protesters.

The activity of NGOs in Venezuela continued completely unchecked over the first decade of Chavez’s rule, while the police and counter-espionage agency were constantly discovering that the confidants of the US and other Western countries in Venezuelan NGOs collected information of military importance across the country or surveyed its regions bordering Colombia, Brazil, and Guyana.

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Several days ago, representatives of 55 Venezuelan NGOs called on the international community to rise to the defense of democracy in the country at a media event in Miami, charging Hugo Chavez with threatening democracy, neglecting human rights, and igniting a civilian conflict in Venezuela.

The participants of the event pledged that a campaign built around the demand to put the Venezuelan leader on trial would continue in order to keep Chavez’s regime under permanent pressure, and its coordinator Carlos Fernandez announced that an appeal had been supplied to the Hague Tribunal to make Chavez face justice over nothing less than alleged crimes against humanity. At the moment, the key lines on the Venezuelan opposition’s grievances list are company nationalizations, the looming closure of the anti-Chavez Globovision TV channel, attempts to introduce Marxist instruction in Venezuelan schools, and crackdowns on the opponents of the current Venezuelan regime.

Fernandez, who had been on the radical fringe during the 2002 outbreak of anti-government protests in Venezuela, urged the international community to act immediately and warned that failure to do so would result in the entrenchment of a militarist, Castro-communist regime in Venezuela for years. He also confided to the audience that an investigator was dispatched by the Hague Tribunal to Columbia to examine files on the notebooks which belonged to slain FARC secretariat member and spokesman Raúl Reyes. Chavez would eventually face justice for his FARC connections, claimed Fernandez.

NGOs mushroomed in Venezuela after Chavez’s 1998 electoral triumph, and at the moment their number estimatedly reaches several hundred. Back in 1998, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) enjoyed unlimited freedom of maneuver in the country and made full use of it to expand the influence of the US intelligence community over Venezuelan society. The correspondence of the US embassy in Caracas, unveiled by WikiLeaks, left no doubts that the US Department of State, the CIA, the US Defense Intelligence Agency, and DEA [Drug Enforcement Agency] had been taking advantage of the situation to make inroads into Venezuela.

Washington had to learn as the 2002 anti-Chavez coup collapsed that the Venezuelan leader was a serious opponent who would not crack under pressure and at all times remained a clever strategist. Chavez managed to handle successfully recurrent conflicts with the Empire, while staunchly upholding his socialist project domestically and building ever stronger positions internationally.

Given Chavez’s record, which includes oil sector nationalization and the expulsion of the fifth column from the petroleum industry, the removal of conspiracy-prone officers from the army top command, and nationally oriented socioeconomic reforms, plans for his ouster in a violent putsch obviously stand no chance, and Washington therefore has to place its bet on a color revolution in Venezuela.

This type of revolt in the country does not seem altogether impossible as support for the opposition in Venezuela typically measures around 35% and the Venezuelan middle class, students, and intellectual circles for the most part do not favor Chavez. These are the communities currently comprising the audience of the Venezuelan NGOs and receiving from them percs in the forms of grants, travel support, and costly gadgets. Color revolution champions are trained in Venezuela based on movies featuring corresponding episodes from recent East European history. As in Cuba, the white color is chosen as the hallmark of the Venezuelan protesters. What Venezuela’s NGOs must pretend to be oblivious to are Chavez’s achievements in fighting poverty, strengthening the national economy, and boosting the amount of welfare for the population.

Naturally, Venezuela’s young are the NGOs’ main target audience. Student attack groups played the central role in the clashes between protesters and police in Venezuela in May, 2007 when the government revoked the license of the RCTV channel (the step was taken in connection with the fact that the RCTV broadcasting contract expired at the time).

Chavez described the unrest as an attempt to overthrow the Venezuelan government and called the residents of low-income urban quarters and villages to resist what he termed a fascist offensive. In response, Andrés Bello Catholic University student leader John Goicoechea said that Chavez’ drumming up support among the more radical part of his constituency who were supposed to confront the violence-prone students was an irresponsible policy. Shortly thereafter, Venezuela’s state-run 8th TV channel showed Goicoechea’s phone book with the US embassy phone number and that of the US diplomat who worked with students.

Goicoechea later stepped out of the spotlight, but there is surely still a place for him as a skilled color revolution activist in CIA plans and we will see him stage a comeback. The US program of training students from affluent Venezuelan families stays on-line, though tricks with white shorts, white paint on palms, etc. reflect a rather unimaginative attempt to replay past success stories.

NGOs like Provea, Cofavic, Centro de Derechos Humanos (in the Catholic University) Una Ventana a la Libertad, and Sinergia occupy the human rights advocacy niche. According to Chavez and his supporters, the groups, along with the opposition media, deliberately draw a distorted picture of what is happening in Venezuela, hammering just about every aspect of the country’s life, be it the situation within the army, the struggle against crime, detention conditions, workers’ employment terms, the environment, Indian problems, etc. Activists from the above NGOs were spotted a number of times during transactions with CIA operatives who supply to them instructions and funds. The NGOs submit to the CIA lists of candidates for admission to courses teaching “self-defense” under the conditions of “instability”, which evidently means a provoked crisis.

The legitimacy of Venezuela’s electoral procedure is being permanently challenged. US puppeteers who used to say that Chavez had employed the national electoral council for ballot-rigging were instrumental in forming the NGO known as Sumate. María Corina Machado, a defeated candidate in the 2002 presidential race, headed Sumate in 2002. Predictably, she called into question the outcomes of essentially all elections and referendums in Venezuela, for example, that of the 2004 referendum in which Chavez smashingly won 60% of the vote. The image of Sumate suffered a heavy blow when it transpired that money – occasionally, tens of millions of US dollars – was fed to the group on a regular basis by the NED. Chavez accused Sumate of conspiracy in the wake of the revelations. Machado personally met with US President G. Bush at the peak of her career, but her prestige was irreversibly eroded. In 2005, the Venezuelan office of the general prosecutor charged
Sumate with exerting pressure on the authorities and receiving funds from an organization controlled by the US Congress, but the case, after a series of re-openings, finally stalled in court.

The activity of NGOs in Venezuela continued completely unchecked over the first decade of Chavez’s rule, while the police and counter-espionage agency were constantly discovering that the confidants of the US and other Western countries in Venezuelan NGOs collected information of military importance across the country or surveyed its regions bordering Colombia, Brazil, and Guyana.

It should also be noted that foreign intelligence services are keenly interested in Venezuela’s Amazonia, and environment-protection NGO activists are spying in the parts of the country formerly frequented by US preachers from the New Tribes Mission. Some 30 secret aerodromes in the zone of their activity were used to illegally carry out Venezuelan gold, diamonds, precious metals, and, according to several accounts, uranium. The latter circumstance may be paradoxically related to the concerns voiced by Bush’s and Obama’s Administrations over Venezuela’s allegedly existing secret uranium mines with Iranian workers on staff.

An end was put to the untamed activity of NGOs – the US Trojan Horses in Venezuela – in December, 2010 when the parliament of the country passed a law on the protection of political sovereignty and national self-determination. The legislation was backed by the ruling United Socialist Party (PSUV) and predictably met with resistance mounted by the opposition which actually thrives on foreign donations. By law, groups are subject to sanctions for drawing money from abroad with the aim of destabilizing Venezuela or undermining the present authorities. If caught red-handed, NGO activists would have to pay in fines twice the amount received from other countries or even face the loss of political rights for 5-8 years. Moreover, fines and deportation now await foreign nationals involved in funding subversive NGO activities in Venezuela.

With the financial transparency regulations for NGOs now in place, there is hope that the level of corruption in Venezuela’s politics will visibly go down, but it should be realized that the channels via which NED, USAID and their like pour millions of dollars into the country have not been fully severed. As noted by Eva Golinger, a person extremely knowledgeable about CIA operations against Venezuela, the easiest way to smuggle currency into the country is to have it delivered by diplomatic mail.

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO news: February 21, 2012

February 21, 2012 1 comment

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CSTO Chief: U.S. Attack On Iran Will Cause Regional Crisis

Afghan War: Italian Death Toll Rises To 45

Afghanistan: NATO Loses 50 Soldiers So Far This Year

Saakashvili Visits Georgian Troops In Afghanistan

Opposition Party Demands End To U.S. Colonization Of Georgia

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CSTO Chief: U.S. Attack On Iran Will Cause Regional Crisis

http://rt.com/politics/us-attack-iran-csto-835/

RT
February 21, 2012

US attack on Iran will ‘shake everyone’ – CSTO chief

The head of the Eurasian military-political bloc CSTO says that a US military strike on Iran would cause a deep crisis in the surrounding region and far beyond.

The Secretary General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, Nikolay Bordyuzha said that the organization was strongly opposing a military strike on Iran and at the same time prepares for possible negative consequences.

“The position of the CSTO member countries concerning a possible attack of the USA on Iran is united and consists of the idea that no strikes should be made. If this happens, this will shake many and from all points of view,” Bordyuzha said.

The official added that the organization was making steps regarding the possible flow of refugees from the region, but so far these steps are not very active as CSTO leaders still hope that there will be no attack.

CSTO unites seven former Soviet republics, including Central Asian countries that border Iran. Bordyuzha has previously suggested that Iran could also join the bloc, but no steps have been made in this direction so far.

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Afghan War: Italian Death Toll Rises To 45

http://www.rttnews.com/1823726/3-italian-soldiers-killed-in-afghan-road-accident.aspx?type=gn&utm_source=google&utm_campaign=sitemap

RTT News
February 20, 2012

3 Italian Soldiers Killed In Afghan Road Accident

Three Italian soldiers, serving as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), were killed in a road accident in western Afghanistan on Monday.

The accident occurred as an armored jeep they were traveling in overturned while crossing a stream in the town of Shindand in Herat province, reports quoting the Italian Defense Ministry said.

The soldiers were racing to rescue another military unit which was blocked in bad weather when they met with the accident.

With this, the number of Italian troops killed in Afghanistan rose to 45, and foreign troop casualties this year to the same number.

With 3,952 soldiers, mainly deployed in the western part of the country, Italy has the fifth-largest troop contingent constituting ISAF in Afghanistan. It heads the western regional command headquartered in Herat.

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Afghanistan: NATO Loses 50 Soldiers So Far This Year

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-02/21/c_131423412.htm

Xinhua News Agency
February 21, 2012

NATO soldier dies in Afghanistan
       
     
KABUL: A soldier from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) died in restive southern Afghan region on Tuesday, the ISAF forces confirmed.

“An International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) service member died as a result of a non-battle related injury in southern Afghanistan today,” the ISAF said in a press release.

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

Troops mainly from the United States, Britain, Canada and Australia have been stationed in the southern region within the framework of ISAF to curb Taliban-linked insurgency there.

A total of 50 NATO soldiers, most of them Americans, have been killed in Afghanistan since the beginning of this year.

Currently more than 130,000 NATO-led ISAF with majority of them Americans have been serving in Afghanistan.

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Saakashvili Visits Georgian Troops In Afghanistan

http://www.interfax.com/newsinf.asp?pg=4&id=310976

Interfax
February 20, 2012

Saakashvili visits Georgian servicemen in Afghanistan

TBILISI: Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili met with Georgian servicemen from the NATO contingent in the Helmand province of Afghanistan on Monday, Georgian television said.

Defense Minister Bacho Akhalaia accompanied the president.

Saakashvili’s address to the servicemen and a ceremony to award some servicemen with orders and medals were broadcast on television.

Up to 1,000 Georgian servicemen are in Afghanistan at present. The number will increase by 700 soon.

Twelve servicemen died and several dozen have been wounded since Georgia became involved in the NATO operation in Afghanistan in 2009.

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Opposition Party Demands End To U.S. Colonization Of Georgia

http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_02_21/66574123/

Interfax
February 21, 2012

Opposition demands end to U.S. colonization of Georgia

       
The Labour Party in Georgia has accused the United States of interfering into the country’s internal affairs.

In a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama, the party asked him to stop colonizing Georgia. It says: “Georgians have long realized that the puppet ruler Saakashvili means more to you than the whole of Georgia, its culture and history”.

The United States has been using Georgia as a pawn in geopolitical games aimed at fueling confrontation with Russia, a policy that has split Georgian society, while giving Washington an opportunity to bargain with Moscow.

The Labour party demanded the recall of U.S. Ambassador to Tbilisi John Bass, who, it says, is refusing to contact anyone except the authorities and the U.S.-appointed opposition. The letter appeared in the Georgian media on Tuesday.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO: February 20, 2012

February 20, 2012 Leave a comment

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Russia Vows Response To U.S.-NATO Global Missile Shield

Growth Of Conflicts Near Russian Border Demand Army Development

Obama Names High-Grade Enforced New Ambassador To Georgia

Afghanistan-Iran-Pakistan Summit: No Foreign Intervention In Region

Libyan Regime Deploys Army Amid Clashes In Southeast

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Russia Vows Response To U.S.-NATO Global Missile Shield

http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_02_20/66444414/

Itar-Tass
February 19, 2012

Response to global missile defense – Putin

       
Russia’s Prime Minister and presidential candidate Vladimir Putin warns the U.S. of an effective and asymmetric response to deployment of a global missile defense system. “Russia’s military-technical response to the U.S. global missile defense system and its segment in Europe will be effective and asymmetric. And it will fully correspond to the U.S. steps in the field of missile defense,” said the head of government in an article published in” Rossiyskaya Gazeta.”

“We are prompted towards such actions by the U.S. and NATO policy on missile defense,” he explained. According to the prime minister, “a safeguard against upsetting the global balance of power may be either the creation of one’s own very costly and as yet ineffective missile defense system, or, more productively, the ability to breach any missile defense system and protect Russia’s retaliatory potential.”

“Our strategic nuclear forces and aerospace defense will be serving precisely this purpose. In this matter there cannot be “too much patriotism,” stressed Putin.

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Growth Of Conflicts Near Russian Border Demand Army Development

http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c32/347039.html

Itar-Tass
February 20, 2012

Growth of conflicts near Russian borders demands army development

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“Deliberate attempts are obvious to provoke…conflicts in the immediate proximity from the borders of Russia and our allies,” Putin noted. “We witness that the basic principles of international law were devaluated and disrupted, particularly in international security,” he pointed out.

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MOSCOW: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin believes that only economic and diplomatic ways are not enough to counteract to the growth of conflicts near Russian borders.

In his article devoted to the problems of national security and published in the Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily on Monday, the prime minister recalled about the growth of regional and local conflicts, the emergence of zones of instability and “an artificially fuelled, controlled chaos.”

“Deliberate attempts are obvious to provoke such conflicts in the immediate proximity from the borders of Russia and our allies,” Putin noted. “We witness that the basic principles of international law were devaluated and disrupted, particularly in international security,” he pointed out.

“In these conditions Russia cannot rely only on diplomatic and economic methods to lift disagreements and settle conflicts,” the premier remarked.

“Our country is facing the task of the development of military potential as part of deterrence strategy and at the level of defence sufficiency. The Armed Forces, security services and other power-wielding agencies should be ready for a quick and efficient response to new challenges,” he said.

“This is a compulsory condition for Russia to feel safe, and the arguments of the country will be taken by its partners in various international formats,” the premier indicated.

Putin noted that “jointly with our allies we also should build up the capabilities of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), including the Collective Rapid Response Forces.

“The CSTO is ready to fulfil its mission as a guarantor of stability in the Eurasian space,” the prime minister noted,

Thus, Putin concluded, “The issues of ensuring the dynamic development of the Armed Forces, the nuclear and space industry, the defence and industrial sector, military education, fundamental military science and applied research programs should remain the top priority of Russian state policy for years to come.”

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Obama Names High-Grade Enforcer New Ambassador To Georgia

http://www.civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=24459

Civil Georgia
February 19, 2012

Obama Names New U.S. Ambassador to Georgia

Tbilisi: President Obama nominated on February 17 former ambassador to Uzbekistan Richard Norland as next U.S. ambassador to Georgia to replace John Bass, who has been serving in Tbilisi since late 2009.

Norland, a 32-year foreign service veteran, briefly served in Georgia in early 1990s in a capacity of the U.S. representative and acting head of the OSCE Mission to Georgia, working on the South Ossetia and Abkhazia conflict issues.

Before serving as ambassador in Uzbekistan in 2007-2010, Norland, who is now an international affairs advisor and deputy commandant at the National War College, Washington, D.C., was deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassy in Kabul for two years.

According to the U.S. Department of State, Ambassador Norland has spent much of his career on U.S. relations with Russia and other former Soviet states. He was a political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow in late 1980s.

He was director for European affairs at the National Security Council for two years during the Clinton and Bush administrations and served as deputy chief of mission in Latvia in 2003-2005.

Ambassador Norland, who speaks Russian, French, Norwegian and Latvian, was a political counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Dublin in 1995-1998.

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Afghanistan-Iran-Pakistan Summit: No Foreign Intervention In Region

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/indepth/2012-02/19/c_131418584.htm

Xinhua News Agency
February 19, 2012

Afghanistan-Iran-Pakistan summit opposes outside intervention in regional affairs

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The U.S., Qatar and Taliban have kept the Afghan government away from the talks, which prompted anger in Kabul. President Karzai reiterated in Islamabad his government’s earlier stand that the U.S. can not hold talks with Taliban on behalf of Afghanistan and that Kabul wants the Taliban office to be opened either in Saudi Arabia or Turkey.

Many in Pakistan endorse the notion of the Iranian president and consider the presence of the U.S. and forces of its Western allies as the root cause of instability and hostilities in the region. He rightly pointed out that regional problems should be resolved in the region and without foreign intervention.

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Islamabad: The Pakistani, Afghan and Iranian presidents at their trilateral summit in Islamabad on Friday came up with a categorical stance that regional issues should be resolved in the region and without any foreign intervention.

The three presidents in a joint communique reiterated their full support for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned inclusive process of peace and reconciliation.

President Hamid Karzai, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and President Asif Ali Zardari in fact conveyed the message to U. S. officials, who have agreed on the opening of a Taliban office in Qatar and are holding “exploratory” talks with Taliban in the Gulf state.

The U.S., Qatar and Taliban have kept the Afghan government away from the talks, which prompted anger in Kabul. President Karzai reiterated in Islamabad his government’s earlier stand that the U.S. can not hold talks with Taliban on behalf of Afghanistan and that Kabul wants the Taliban office to be opened either in Saudi Arabia or Turkey.

Pakistan, which has lost 35,000 civilians and security men since it has joined the U.S.-led coalition in 2001, also feels that it had been cornered by the U.S. contacts with the Afghan Taliban. The U.S. has always blamed Pakistan for helping the Afghan Taliban in their fight against NATO forces but now the U.S. is in talks with them in recent months.

In order to show its resentment to the U.S.’s mysterious interaction with the Taliban, Islamabad refused to welcome the American special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan who wanted to talk to the Pakistanis on the U.S. talks with the Taliban.

The Iranian president joined his Afghan and Pakistani counterparts at a time when the U.S and its European allies slapped more sanctions on his country.

The three presidents gathered in the Pakistani capital when anger at the U.S. runs high in the region.

A Pakistani columnist, Salim Safi, who routinely writes on Afghanistan, said that the trilateral summit in Islamabad was in fact a “protest sit-in” against the Unites States.

“The presidents of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan reiterated their full support for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned inclusive process of peace and reconciliation. They assured the president of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan that they would extend full cooperation and stressed that any initiative in this regard must have authentic Afghan ownership,” said a joint statement issued at the end of the trilateral summit.

Observers believe that it was a clear message to the U.S. attempt to hold secret interactions with the Taliban and to ignore the Afghan and Pakistani governments, regional and key Islamic countries as well as other Aghan groups in the dialogue process.

It is widely believed that the U.S. solo-flight has brought the Afghan and Pakistani presidents to ease their tension and sit together at the trilateral summit after a four-month deadlock in their relationship over the tragic assassination of Afghan peace envoy Burhanuddin Rabbani.

When the Afghan government suspended all high-level contacts with Pakistan after Rabbani’s murder and cancelled the planned visit to Kabul by Pakistani Prime Minster Yusuf Raza Gilani in October, the Iranian president proposed the trilateral summit in November, but the Afghan president had refused to come to Islamabad in view of the tense atmosphere in Kabul. Afghan officials had blamed Pakistani security agencies for helping the plot to kill Rabbani.

But the summit has now taken place with a commitment to strengthening cooperation for eradicating extremism, terrorism and militancy and to address the root causes of these menaces.

The three presidents also pledged to enhance cooperation among the countries comprehensively for realizing the shared aspiration of their peoples for peace, security, stability and economic prosperity.

The Iranian president used the opportunity to make it clear that there is no problem among the three states, and in a veiled reference to the U.S. he said that outsiders have imposed problems on the region.

Many in Pakistan endorse the notion of the Iranian president and consider the presence of the U.S. and forces of its Western allies as the root cause of instability and hostilities in the region. He rightly pointed out that regional problems should be resolved in the region and without foreign intervention.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari had also been categorical in resisting the U.S. pressure on the multi-billion Iran gas pipeline, which is key to resolving the fast growing energy crisis in the country.

The trilateral summit also vowed not to allow any threat emanating from their respective territories against each other and all parties agreed to commence trilateral consultations on an agreement in this regard. They agreed to prioritize cooperation for socio-economic development and to enhance three-way trade by facilitation measures, including preferential tariff and free trade arrangements as well as barter trade.

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Libyan Regime Deploys Army Amid Clashes In Southeast

http://www.portalangop.co.ao/motix/en_us/noticias/africa/2012/1/7/Libya-sends-army-stop-clashes-southeast,4d5ff6a9-de46-4855-8a9e-0d750929868c.html

AngolaPress
February 19, 2012

Libya sends army to stop clashes in southeast

Libya: Libya has sent military forces to stem clashes between rival tribes over control of territory in the far southeast of Libya, the armed forces chief said on Saturday, as more people were reported killed in the violence.

Clashes broke out late last week in the remote city of Al Kufra and have continued since, highlighting the challenge of policing the sparsely populated desert. Dozens of people have been killed, the tribes have said.

Libya’s ruling National Transitional Council has struggled to assert its authority across the whole of Libya as rival regional militias and tribal groups jostle for power and resources following the fall of Muammar Gaddafi.

Gunmen from the Zwai tribe have been clashing with fighters from the Tibu ethnic group led by Isa Abdel Majid, who they accuse of attacking Al Kufra backed by mercenaries from Chad, according to a security official from the Zwai tribe.

The Tibu, however, said they were the ones to come under attack.

In a text message to Reuters, Adelbari Idriss, a security official from the Zwai tribe, said two people were killed and seven injured in clashes in the city on Saturday. Separately, he said the Zwai had stopped two cars carrying Chadian men.

In Al Kufra, tribal ties are far more powerful than they are on the country’s Mediterranean seaboard. A tribal rebellion in 2009 was suppressed only after Gaddafi sent in helicopter gunships. The remote region is also a hub for smugglers taking advantage of the lawless borders of sub-Saharan Africa.

The province surrounding Al Kufra is Libya’s largest and borders Sudan and Chad. The roads in the region are poor, and some reports said the airport was out of use due to the fighting, possibly holding up any aid.

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Categories: Uncategorized

NATO’s Double Game In Libya Under UN Cover Revealed

February 20, 2012 3 comments

Pakistan Observer
February 20, 2012

NATO double game in Libya under UN cover revealed
Suitcase size drones played decisive role
Akhtar Jamal

Islamabad: A Canadian newspaper has revealed an account of NATO’s double-game in Libya and disclosed how the NATO countries collaborated with each other to topple the Libyan regime and secretly supplied most sophisticated weapons and drones to Libyan rebels.

According to the newspaper, Ottawa Citizen, the NATO states misused the UN embargo of arms and sea-blockage and enforced one-sided sanction while allowing NATO-backed special forces and trainers to slip into Libya via sea.

The paper also disclosed that dozens of brief-case size drones were also sent to Libya to monitor and track Gadhafi forces and hunt them down.

It said that NATO partners in the Mediterranean Sea enforcing an embargo under authority of the United Nations Security Resolution 1973 allowed weapon supplies without any interception to anti- Gadhafi forces.

The publications recalled while in May of 2011 NATO had set up a ring of 20 warships to enforce a United Nations arms embargo for all sides, while the UN embargo was clearly aimed at preventing the delivery of weapons both to Gadhafi and those fighting him.

The paper added that hundreds of tonnes of ammunition and arms breezed through the blockade, “exposing what critics say was Canada and NATO’s real motive during the Libyan war of regime change under the guise of protecting civilians.”

It recalled that Qatar, one of the two Arab nations which took part in the NATO-led mission, supplied rebels French-made Milan anti-tank missiles, with deliveries made by sea. The country also gave them a variety of trucks and communications gear, while Qatari advisers slipped into Libya to provide training. It claimed that Egypt shipped assault rifles and ammunition, with U.S. support while Poland supplied anti-tank missiles and military vehicles.

The Leader-Post has reported that Canada provided surveillance drones to rebels so that they could better attack Libyan troops, day or night.

The report claimed that Canadians officials took an 18-hour boat ride from Malta to the NTC training facility in Misrata, sailing without problems through NATO’s blockade, to deliver drones, and showed the rebels how to fly the drone, using it to identify a Libyan military position.

It added that French aircraft, unchallenged by NATO fighters enforcing a no-fly zone, had dropped an estimated 40 tonnes of ammunition and weapons, including anti-tank missiles, to rebels fighting southwest of Tripoli.

The French, like the other nations pumping weapons into the hands of opposition forces, justified their actions in response that seemed straight from George Orwell’s novel 1984. There was indeed an arms embargo in place, they acknowledged, but there was also another UN resolution allowing for all necessary measures to protect civilians under threat of attack.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe claimed that the delivery was of “weapons of self-defence” and because of that they didn’t violate the UN resolution.

The newspaper said that NATO’s stated goal to protect Libyan civilians was seen by critics as a one-way street, with the focus being on protecting only those allied with the rebels. “It would later emerge that rebel forces hunted down black Libyans they believed supported Gadhafi, as well as African guest workers.”

The BBC interviewed one Turkish construction contractor who told the news service that he witnessed the massacre of 70 Chadians who had been working for his company. There were also reports that the rebels ethically cleansed the town of Tawergha, south of Benghazi, as well as other locations. Tawergha originally had more than 30,000 people, most the descendants of black slaves brought to Libya in the 18th and 19th centuries, but the town, which supported Gadhafi and provided soldiers for his cause, had been emptied.

“People from Tawergha who sought safety in refugee camps were chased down by rebel groups, taken away and disappeared, warned Amnesty International. Women from the town were raped.”

The paper also accounted in detail how NATO states systematically attacked Gadhafi and his family members while maintaining officially that they were not targeting the regime because the UN had not given that mandate.

The Ottawa Citizen also pieced together information that clearly suggested that the former Libyan leader was murdered in a war crime-style execution, yet Western leaders rejoiced over his death.

Categories: Uncategorized
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