Archive

Archive for April, 2012

China-Russia Partnership Protects Rights Of Developing Nations

Global Times
April 28, 2012

Sino-Russian ties protect rights of developing nations

The official visit to Russia by Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang has further strengthened the two countries’ partnership.

International relations seem to be at an intersection of choices, as the Western world still has ambiguous ties with the emerging economies. Both China and Russia have been pushed into a “non-Western” position.

The governments in both China and Russia play a vital role in guiding domestic recognition of the other nation within their own country. Non-governmental exchanges are not enough by themselves to support the strategic relationship. This relationship is vital for both sides as it is determined by the need for national interests, not out of simple utilitarianism.

The development of globalization expanded the Western political arena, and the process inspired non-Western countries’ political awareness but impaired their ability to independently select their own paths.

No country in recent years has succeeded by directly following in the footsteps of the West. Countries that do are caught in a dilemma since they have been deprived of the political legitimacy in exploring their own paths for development.

The biggest significance of the China-Russia partnership, in the foreseeable future, may be that it establishes an obstacle to the Western monopoly and protects the basic rights of the non-Western world, including the independence of national interests and the diversity of political systems.

There are pessimistic people in China and Russia who are not confident in the return of this strategic partnership, and who believe that only by Westernizing itself can a country integrate into the world. They are not confident in themselves.

Both China and Russia are world powers, and their emergence means a balanced global order. It is wrong for either China or Russia to perceive their relationship with the West as the source of their power.

China and Russia are capable of establishing a new strategic direction against the West and providing a promising future by securing their all-round partnership. This is in line with their national interests and will benefit their strategic position. Of course, China and Russia also have suspicions of each other, so it is everyone’s interests to build mutual trust.

Li’s first visit to Moscow offers a timely opportunity to consolidate bilateral relations for the future.

The visit demonstrates the confidence of both countries in securing relations in a year of global elections, and makes their partnership clearer and more attractive.

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO Invades Chicago: Where Is Responsibility To Protect?

April 29, 2012 3 comments

Global Research
April 29, 2012

NATO Invades Chicago: But Where is the “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) for Citizens in this War-Zone City?
By Ross Ruthenberg

The city of Chicago will be invaded by a NATO conference next month, costing US taxpayers up to $100 million for the provision of facilities and security for 50 delegations comprising some 100 dignitaries and thousands of advisors.

But instead of providing ring-of-steel security for the NATO bureaucrats in attendance, what the hard-pressed citizens of Chicago would appreciate more is a little application of the “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) doctrine that NATO powers are so keen on bestowing on other parts of the world wracked by violence.

Chicago’s notoriety as a violent city has gone into overdrive in recent years with an epidemic in fatal shootings. Last year, nearly 2,300 people were shot in the Windy City, resulting in 441 homicides, including men, women and children. In the first three months of this year, some 656 were shot, with 145 homicides. At that rate, the victims of gun crime will amount to over 2,600 shootings and 580 homicides by the end of this year alone.

With this level of violence, the people of Chicago do not feel safe in their own city, and the state and federal authorities are conspicuously inadequate in their duty to protect citizens.

In that way, it is not far-fetched for the people of Chicago, or some concerned foreign governments on their behalf, to invoke the principle of R2P, in emulation of how the NATO powers so readily intervene around the world purportedly to “protect human rights”. After all, the R2P advocates tell us that “sovereignty is not a right, it is a privilege” and if governments cannot protect their citizens then they forfeit their right to sovereignty, thereby giving the UN or NATO a mandate to protect vulnerable populations.

Likewise, the case can be made for NATO intervention in Chicago whereby heavily armed “peacekeepers” with strange accents lock down large areas of the city, impose no-fly zones and launch missiles from aerial drones on groups suspected of perpetrating violence against vulnerable citizens who are left unprotected by the presumptive authorities.

Let’s put Chicago’s annual casualties of gun crime into a Syrian context. On a Syrian versus Chicago population basis (20.5 million versus 2.8 million), the American figures would be equivalent to 18,815 civilian shootings and 4,160 homicides in Syria. This is of the same order as the unverified, and no doubt grossly exaggerated, UN figures commonly quoted for Syrian victims since conflict broke out in that country 13 months ago. If such dubious figures for Syria have sparked so much attention from Western governments, mainstream media and the UN Security Council, why is the plight of Chicago citizens being ignored? As the cheeky saying goes in this city: “What are we? Chopped liver?”

It is not hyperbole to say that large areas of Chicago resemble a war zone for its hapless population. Schoolchildren have to be escorted daily by armed guards for even a short trip to visit a library across town. People from ethic minorities are particularly at significant risk of suffering a violent death from just walking out on the streets. Surely, there is a legal case at the UN or some other international court that the US authorities are abdicating a responsibility to protect their own citizens. The UN or NATO is thereby mandated to intervene to protect Chicago citizens (assuming, of course, that the principle and practice of R2P is genuinely construed).

Another factor for R2P being applicable to Chicago is the level of systematic violence emanating from armed gangs and criminal mercenaries. Many of the shootings in the city are believed to be the work of heavily armed gangs or private militia engaged in industrial-scale drug dealing. Furthermore, many of these private armies are funded and directed from foreign territories – Mexico and Colombia.

In the coming weeks, no doubt we will hear a lot from Western governments and the mainstream media exhorting the UN or NATO to intervene in Syria because of violence against citizens whom the Syrian government of Bashar Al Assad is not protecting in the face of armed gangs (even though these same armed gangs are being supported by these same Western governments and media).

Therefore, applying the same – albeit cynical – criteria, a case could be made for NATO peacekeepers being sent to liberate Chicago and overseeing some badly needed regime change here.

Ross Ruthenberg is a Chicago area political analyst rossersurf@comcast.net

Categories: Uncategorized

Now India: NATO Has James Bond Badge To Kill With Impunity

Pakistan Observer
April 28, 2012

NATO: “James Bond” 007 force
Geopolitical notes from India
M D Nalapat

===

[I]f NATO personnel were to be arrested for killing innocent civilians, tens of thousands would now be in jail for the murder of hundreds of thousands in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and elsewhere. To join NATO is to get an invisible 007 badge which confers the right to kill without any fear of punishment.

The only way to teach NATO that India is still an independent country would be to set a figure for compensation that is similar to what citizens of the alliance themselves claim when a loved one is killed.

Countries across the world that have lost lives as a consequence of NATO action need to come together and shame the UN into conducting an investigation into the matter, rather than ignoring it because the headquarters of that venerable institution is dominated by members of NATO, whose license to kill with impunity needs to be taken away before more tens of thousands of innocents perish in bombs, bullets and missiles.

====

Justice K John Mathew of the Lok Adalat (Peoples Court) of Kochi in Kerala has computed the value of a human life at Rs 1 crore. That is the money paid by Italian authorities to the next of kin of each of the two fishermen who had been shot dead months ago by Italian marines. Although the victims were in waters where there had been no pirate trouble, and in a small fishing boat rather than in a much larger pirate ship, and all but one of them had been visibly asleep on deck when the attack took place, the other having died when he awoke to the sound of shots and raised his head, the Italians have claimed that the shootings were justified as “the suspicion was that these were pirates about to attack” the Enrico Lexie, an Italian tanker.

Why pirates about to attack a huge ship would be fast asleep on deck, besides being visibly unarmed, has not been explained by the Italian navy, which was angry that two of its men were arrested just for shooting two innocents from India. After all, if NATO personnel were to be arrested for killing innocent civilians, tens of thousands would now be in jail for the murder of hundreds of thousands in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and elsewhere. To join NATO is to get an invisible 007 badge which confers the right to kill without any fear of punishment.

Admirers of Italy in India (and there is at least one prominent political family in India, one very close to the Bhuttos, that speaks only Italian when they are with each other) ensured that the lawyer for the central government sought to excuse the two Italian marines from being prosecuted by saying that the shooting took place “outside the territorial waters of India”, an untruth.

If such an argument be accepted, should any person wish to conduct an assassination, all that needs to be done is to lure the victim beyond Indian waters and kill him or her there. According to the government lawyer, Harish Rawal, this would mean that Indian courts would automatically have zero jurisdiction over the case.

The intense effort to free the two Italians may ensure that they be allowed to return to their country by next month, if the Kerala High Court accepts Rawal’s arguments. Such an outcome would mean that India would de facto have joined Afghanistan, Iraq and other locations where NATO personnel cannot be held to account by local courts, but must be sent back, usually to be freed even after committing rape and murder. Incidentally, the two Italians who killed the fishermen were first placed in luxurious guest house accomodation and later moved to a special cell in a Trivandrum jail, where they are allowed to dress and move about as they please, and get specially-prepared meals served to them. Part of the benefits of working in NATO.

Justice Mathew ought to have decreed that, at the least, the Italian government should pay Rs 5 crores for each of the dead fishermen. These days, even a middle-sized apartment in a big city costs Rs 1 crore to buy.

Bringing up a family on that capital would be very difficult. Hence the fact that, at the least, Justice Mathew ought to have awarded Rs 5 crores to each of the two “NATO widows”. That sum would still be much less than what was demanded of the Libyan government (and got) by European governments after the Lockerbie air disaster.

It is unfortunate that authorities in India seem comfortable with a situation where the price of a human life in India is placed at a level far below that of a life in any of the NATO member-states, barring perhaps Turkey, which the EU does not accept as European enough to join the grouping.

Justice Mathew is following in the path of then Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, R S Pathak, who decreed that the tens of thousands killed and disabled by the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster were collectively worth only around $400 million, when in fact a much more reasonable value would have been $4 billion, at the least. The only way to teach NATO that India is still an independent country would be to set a figure for compensation that is similar to what citizens of the alliance themselves claim when a loved one is killed.

India is a democracy where the top priority of the government is the protection of the reputation and assets of the ruling branch of the Nehru family, which interestingly has much more contact with the Italian side of the family than with the Indian. While relatives from Italy come at frequent intervals to enjoy the gracious hospitality of Sonia Gandhi at her government-provided fortress, such a privilege is almost never extended to the Indian relatives, most of whom meet her – if at all – only during special occasions such as weddings, that too in public locations.

Officials who know that if their identities are revealed they will face severe punishment claim that Sonia Gandhi’s Italian relatives have interceded “several times” in the matter of the arrested Italian marines, and that they themselves and their illustrious sister have been “regularly contacted” by Italian authorities to ensure an early release of the two NATO personnel.

We do not know if such claims are correct. However, what is clear is that the government of India has gone the extra ten thousand miles in accomodating the wishes of the Italian side. There have also been reports that the Vatican in Rome has interceded with prominent Indian politicians to secure an early release of the two marines. Again,such a report is difficult to accept. Why would the Vatican get involved in a muder case, just because the alleged perpetrators are Italian?

The world is a much less secure place because of the James Bond-style 007 privileges given to NATO personnel in action. A human being is a human being, and just because she or he is Afghan, Indian or Iraqi does not mean that a muder should be ignored by the international human rights brigade, the way such killings are at present.

In Libya,to tale just this example, several thousand civilian lives were lost in NATO military action, besides much more as a result of the ongoing rampage of those armed,funded and trained by NATO to kill their fellow citizens. There is no longer any security for life or property for Libya, and yet neither BBC nor CNN nor Al Jazeera refer to the country at all in their broadcasts, having moved on to the next target, Syria.

Here too, armed gangs have sprouted up so that it is no longer safe to go about in some parts of the country. Countries across the world that have lost lives as a consequence of NATO action need to come together and shame the UN into conducting an investigation into the matter, rather than ignoring it because the headquarters of that venerable institution is dominated by members of NATO, whose license to kill with impunity needs to be taken away before more tens of thousands of innocents perish in bombs, bullets and missiles.

As for the two Italian marines who killed innocent fishermen off the Kerala coast, the chances are that the power of NATO will ensure their escape from justice. They will not be the first NATO personnel to get away with murder. Interestingly, those such as Bradley Manning who sought to expose such crimes are now in prison rather than celebrated for their ethics and courage. But why blame NATO? When governments crawl before the alliance, who can blame them for continuing to regard themselves as above international law and morality?

— The writer is Vice-Chair, Manipal Advanced Research Group, UNESCO Peace Chair & Professor of Geopolitics, Manipal University, Haryana State, India.

Categories: Uncategorized

State Department Reveals 21st Century NATO’s Global Priorities

April 28, 2012 2 comments

Stop NATO
April 27, 2012

State Department Reveals 21st Century NATO’s Global Priorities
Rick Rozoff

The State Department’s top Eurasia hand addressed the House Committee on Foreign Affairs’s Subcommittee on Europe and Eurasia on April 26 to present Washington’s perspective on and expectations of next month’s summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

In a presentation titled “The Chicago Summit and U.S. Policy,” the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, Tina Kaidanow, laid out what the military alliance’s main powerhouse and financial backer demands of its 27 allies and in so doing indicated many of the top geopolitical objectives of her department and the U.S. government as a whole for the upcoming years.

Commenting on the fact that the May 20-21 gathering of over fifty heads of state from nations supplying troops for the longest war in her nation’s history, that in Afghanistan, will occur in Chicago, only the second NATO summit in the U.S. and “the first ever outside of Washington,” Kaidanow reiterated the main purpose of the world’s only military bloc:

“Our hosting of the Summit is a tangible symbol of the importance of NATO to the United States, as well as an opportunity to underscore to the American people the continued value of the Alliance to the security challenges we face today…NATO is vital to U.S. security. More than ever, the Alliance is the mechanism through which the U.S. confronts diverse and difficult threats to our security…Our experiences in the Cold War, in the Balkans, and now in Afghanistan prove that our core interests are better protected by working together than by seeking to respond to threats alone as individual nations.”

What the House members listening to her, if not the casual reader, would understand by the above comments is that NATO is the chief vehicle employed by the State Department, White House and Pentagon to advance American political, economic and military interests in Eurasia and increasingly the rest of the world. As such, it’s well worth the U.S.’s effort to provide the preponderance of its funding and military assets and further engineer its evolution into an expanding, ultimately global, military-political network.

Kaidanow included an elementary school primer-level synopsis of NATO’s history from its founding – “For…40 years…we..stood united in purpose against the specter of communism” – until the fall of the Berlin Wall, after which “NATO helped to rebuild Central and Eastern European countries while integrating them into the trans-Atlantic community of democratic states.”

The latter was accomplished by absorbing every former Soviet ally in the Warsaw Pact, and three past Soviet republics, into the alliance from 1999-2009, in the process conscripting troops from every one of them for deployment to war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan. No troops from the Warsaw Pact except the Soviet Union had been deployed outside Eastern Europe during the entire Cold War period.

Her presentation dutifully echoed that of her boss, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in the latter’s speech at the World Affairs Council 2012 NATO Conference on April 3. The U.S. is the only NATO member whose leading officials speak authoritatively in advance of the outcome, in fine detail, of the upcoming summit as the nation effectively determines the agenda, with a friendly nod in the direction of its fellow NATO Quint states – Britain, France, Germany and Italy – but nevertheless calling all the important shots. One wonders why, except for a vain propensity for pageantry and pomposity, summits are held at all given that the results have been decided upon long in advance.

Early in her talk Kaidanow invoked the new Strategic Concept adopted at the last NATO summit in 2010, particularly highlighting the bloc’s Article 5 mutual military assistance (war) clause, affirming that “First and foremost, NATO remains committed to the Article 5 principle of collective defense.”

That article is responsible for the stationing of 152,000 troops, at peak strength, from 50 nations in Afghanistan.

When Kaidanow spoke of “integrating them [twelve Eastern European nations incorporated into NATO from 1999-2009] into the trans-Atlantic community,” she was in fact if not openly confirming the practical results of NATO expansion: To provide the U.S. and its Western allies with air, infantry, naval, radar and drone surveillance, missile, strategic airlift, cyber warfare and other bases and facilities east of the former Berlin Wall and legionaries for neocolonial wars and military occupations in the Balkans, Asia and Africa.

She has been no disinterested observer in that process. In her current position and in a post that preceded it, Kaidanow has cultivated and consolidated the power of what are without dispute Washington’s two most favored – and pampered – satraps, Georgia’s Mikheil Saakashvili and Kosovo’s Hashim Thaci, than whom there are no less savory and more malicious heads of state in the world. If the sociopathic ghoul in Kosovo and the megalomaniacal self-styled reincarnation of the medieval King Davit IV in Georgia are indicative of the U.S.’s political alliances, and if an empire can be judged by the foreign stooges it employs, then Washington has plummeted to a new imperial nadir.

Like most of the current American foreign policy elite, Kaidanow cut her teeth in the Balkans in the 1990s, her first State Department assignments being in the U.S. embassies in Serbia (1995-1997) Bosnia (1997-1998) and Macedonia (1998-1999), in the last instance focusing on neighboring Kosovo.

She attended the infamous Rambouillet conference in February of 1999 where the American delegation headed by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright threw down the gauntlet to Yugoslavia with the infamous Appendix B ultimatum and set the stage for the 78-day war that began on March 24. Rambouillet was also the debut of American asset Thaci, then an underworld kingpin and head of the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army, who was even then being groomed as the head of state be became in 2008 ahead of Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence in February of that year. Four years later a majority of the world’s nations still don’t recognize his organized crime-ridden fiefdom as a nation.

Kaidanow was the Chief of Mission and Charge d’Affaires at the U.S. Office in Kosovo from July 2006 to July 2008, until the George W. Bush administration appointed her the first American ambassador on July 19 of the latter year.

In 2009, as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs (her position as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, a promotion, was obtained last July), she visited Georgia a year after the Saakashvili regime invaded South Ossetia, thereby provoking a five-day war with Russia, and met with Defense Minister Bachana (Bacho) Akhalaia to discuss modernizing the nation’s armed forces (described as “reforms”), the impending deployment of U.S. Marine Corps-trained Georgian troops to Afghanistan to serve under NATO command and the U.S.-Georgia Charter on Strategic Partnership signed four months after the war of the preceding year. She returned two months afterward for the same purpose.

In her April 26 appearance before the House committee, she hailed NATO as an alliance of “like-minded states who share our fundamental values of democracy, human rights, and rule of law.” NATO’s first war, against Yugoslavia thirteen years ago, and its partnerships with nations in former Soviet space have produced the likes of Hashim Thaci and Mikheil Saakashvili. Democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

Speaking of goals to be discussed and promoted at the Chicago summit, she said:

“In addition to being a collective security alliance, NATO is also a cooperative security organization. Unlike an ad hoc coalition, NATO can respond rapidly and achieve its military goals by sharing burdens. In particular, NATO benefits from integrated structures and uses common funding to develop common capabilities.”

That is, NATO is a mechanism for the permanent military integration of European states for the purpose of the U.S. securing auxiliary troops for wars outside the Euro-Atlantic zone.

Concerning the first of three main items of discussion at the summit, the war in Afghanistan, Kaidanow asserted:

“[T]he Summit will make clear that NATO will not abandon Afghanistan after the ISAF mission concludes. In Chicago, the Alliance will reaffirm its enduring commitment beyond 2014 and define a new phase of cooperation with Afghanistan.”

As to the true and residual purpose of the Afghan campaign, she added, “we must continue our efforts to develop NATO’s role as a global hub for security partnerships,” which Afghanistan has been used as the crucible for.

The latter relates to the third point, building worldwide military partnerships, regarding which one is reminded of Aesopian cautionary tales about being offered cooperation by wolves and lions. Upon hearing such propositions, a sensible creature starts inching backward into the sheep pen or out of the lair.

The other priority at next month’s summit is what both Kaidanow and Clinton before her referred to as critical defense capability requirements, with the former saying, “NATO’s ability to deploy an effective fighting force in the field makes the Alliance unique” and that, pressuring allies to cough up the funds to ensure it, “its capacity to deter and respond to security challenges will only be as successful as its forces are able, effective, interoperable, and modern.”

To reinforce and flesh out the above, she added:

“The United States is modernizing its presence in Europe at the same time that our NATO Allies, and NATO as an institution, are engaged in similar steps. This is a clear opportunity for our European Allies to take on greater responsibility. The U.S. continues to encourage Allies to meet the two percent benchmark for defense spending and to contribute politically, financially, and operationally to the strength and security of the Alliance.”

She, like her superior at Foggy Bottom, accentuated several key projects in Europe, the most important of which is the U.S.-created European Phased Adaptive Approach interceptor missile system.

Kaidanow acknowledged commitments already obtained to that end in Poland, Romania, Turkey and Spain and said, “We would welcome additional Allied contributions.”

Another summit item is the further integration and expansion of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities. Lest anyone be confused about the purpose of those and mistake them as in any way defensive in character, the following comments from Kaidanow will disabuse them of the notion:

“Allies contributed more combat power in Libya than in previous operations (almost 90 percent of all air-to-ground strike missions in Libya were conducted by European pilots, as compared to 10 percent in the Kosovo air campaign in 1999). However, Libya demonstrated considerable shortfalls in European ISR capabilities as the U.S. provided one quarter of the ISR sorties, nearly half of the ISR aircraft, and the vast majority of analytical capability. This past February, NATO defense ministers agreed to fund the Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) program. The five drones that comprise this system will provide NATO with crucial information, including identifying potential threats, monitoring developing situations such as humanitarian crises, and distinguishing possible targets for air strikes.”

She also spoke of the now over eight-year patrol of the Baltic Sea sky by NATO warplanes which this year has been extended to 2018, which is to say in perpetuity, revealing an interesting link along the way: “This helps assure the security of allies in a way that is cost effective, allowing them to invest resources into other important NATO operations such as Afghanistan.”

Kaidanow also assured her congressional interlocutors – again in advance; see above comments – that next month’s NATO summit will endorse the Deterrence and Defense Posture Review (DDPR).

Doing so “will reaffirm NATO’s determination to maintain modern, flexible, credible capabilities that are tailored to meet 21st century security challenges. The DDPR will identify the appropriate mix of nuclear, conventional, and missile defense capabilities that NATO needs to meet these challenges…”

She then touted the role of NATO’s global partnership arrangements, “working with a growing number of partners around the world,” as they “allow the Alliance to extend its reach, act with greater legitimacy, share burdens, and benefit from the capabilities of others.”

Regarding which regions among others the expanding military partnerships will be focused on, Kaidanow stated: “In light of the dramatic events of the Arab Spring and NATO’s success in Libya, we envision a particular focus on further engagement with partners in the wider Middle East and North Africa region.”

She also promoted a new category of nations being cultivated for full NATO accession called aspirant countries – currently Bosnia, Georgia, Macedonia and Montenegro – which are “all working closely with Allies to meet NATO criteria so they may enter the Alliance.”

Regarding the most controversial of those four candidate nations, Georgia, she insisted:

“U.S. security assistance and military engagement support the country’s defense reforms, train and equip Georgian troops for participation in ISAF operations, and advance its NATO interoperability. In January, President Obama and President Saakashvili agreed to enhance this cooperation to advance Georgian military modernization, defense reform, and self-defense capabilities…U.S. support for Georgia’s territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders remains steadfast, and our non-recognition of the separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia will not change.”

*****

The U.S. makes decisions for the military bloc it created and its 27 allies rubber-stamp them.

With the results already determined, the claim by NATO that it is an alliance of equals and that their summits are in any many deliberative is given the lie.

What has already been decided, as confirmed by Deputy Secretary Kaidanow on April 26, is that NATO will remain the world’s only nuclear alliance, one which will continue stationing U.S. strategic weapons on air bases in European countries under NATO’s nuclear sharing arrangement.

That NATO military forces, including the NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan, will remain in Afghanistan long past 2014.

That the U.S. will steadily expand its interceptor missile system from one end of Europe to the other under NATO auspices.

That the U.S. and NATO will continue to move military forces and equipment to Russia’s borders.

That the hallmark of NATO mutual obligations is the bloc’s Article 5, which commits all members to intervene, up to and including going to war, on behalf of any member state which requests intervention.

That NATO will be used to recruit national contingents from scores of nations for military actions like those in Afghanistan and Libya.

That NATO will continue to build a global military network even beyond its 80 or so current members and partners.

That the U.S.-led organization will even more aggressively promote itself as an international – as the only international – military intervention force.

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO news: April 27, 2012

====

Three NATO Soldiers Killed In Eastern Afghanistan

Afghan Government Troops Slay 18 NATO Counterparts This Year

U.S. Air Combat Drills Bring “Security” To Bulgaria

Bulgaria: Crash Puts Dent In Unprecedented U.S. Air Exercise

Georgia, Poland Sign New Security Cooperation Deal

U.S., NATO Discuss Cyber Warfare Operations In Georgia

Global NATO “Open To BRICS”: Italian Defense Chief

====

Three NATO Soldiers Killed In Eastern Afghanistan

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-04/27/c_123044244.htm

Xinhua News Agency
April 27, 2012

Three NATO soldiers killed in E. Afghanistan

           
KABUL: Three NATO soldiers were killed on Thursday in a blast in eastern Afghanistan, the military alliance confirmed on Thursday.

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

The brief statement did not provide more details and the nationalities of the victims, only saying “it is ISAF policy to defer casualty identification procedures to the relevant national authorities”.

Taliban insurgents, whose regime was toppled in a U.S.-led incursion in late 2001, have intensified their activities against Afghan forces and some 130,000 ISAF troops recently as spring and summer, known as “fighting season”, are drawing near in the insurgency-hit country.

A total of 127 NATO soldiers with majority of them Americans have been killed in Afghanistan so far this year.

====

Afghan Government Troops Slay 18 NATO Counterparts This Year

http://en.apa.az/news.php?id=170497

Azeri Press Agency
April 26, 2012

Afghan special forces soldier kills American ally

Baku: An Afghan special forces soldier killed an American when he opened fire on US troops in southern Afghanistan, military spokesmen said Thursday, the latest in a series of such attacks, APA reports quoting news.yahoo.com website.

The soldier’s death takes the toll of foreign troops killed by Afghans they were working with to 18 this year – including 10 Americans and five French trainers – in 11 separate attacks.

“An officer of the Afghan special forces opened fire on a group of American soldiers in Shah Wali Kot district of Kandahar province, killing one US soldier,” regional Afghan corps commander Abdul Hamid Hamid told AFP.

“The officer was himself killed when the Americans returned fire,” he said.

A spokesman for US forces in Afghanistan and a defence official in Washington confirmed the incident, without giving details.

====

U.S. Air Combat Drills Bring “Security” To Bulgaria

http://paper.standartnews.com/en/article.php?d=2012-04-27&article=39014

Standart News
April 26, 2012

Miracle Saves Two Villages from Hell Fire

Two pilots have survived by miracle in a plane crash and managed to divert their MIG 29 fighter from two villages before bailing out.

The jet fighter caught fire during a Bulgarian-US joint military training.

“If the aircraft fell over the houses there would have been hundreds of victims,” the residents of Graf Ignatievo and Golyam Chardak said…

====

Bulgaria: Crash Puts Dent In Unprecedented U.S. Air Exercise

http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=138846

Sofia News Agency
April 26, 2012

MiG 29 Crash Wrecks Largest Bulgarian, US Air Force Training

-Defense Minister Angelov noted that Bulgaria is now left with 15 MiG 29s that will continue to be used to patrol the Bulgarian air space and to participate in NATO tasks.
Last week the air forces of the USA and Bulgaria have started the most large-scale military aviation drills of their type entitled “Thracian Star 2012″.

The Bulgarian Air Force has terminated all of its flights as a result of Thursday’s crash in which a Bulgarian MiG 29 fighter jet went down during joint drills with the US Air Force, Defense Minister Anyu Angelov announced.

Thus, Thursday’s incident has ruined the Thracian Star 2012 military exercise, which was supposed to last until May 11, and to boost substantially the interoperability between Bulgarian and US forces.

In addition, the crash of the Bulgarian MiG 29, in which the two pilots survived by bailing out, while also managing to direct the fighter jet away from populated areas, has led Bulgarian authorities to cancel the VIP Visitors’ Day at the Thracian Star 2012 drills that was supposed to be held on Friday, April 26, 2012, Gen. Angelov explained.

Bulgarian military aviation will abstain from any flights until the causes of the incident with the MiG 29 are established, except for emergency flights. Meanwhile, the US Air Force will continue its schedule training in Southern Bulgaria as part of Thracian Star 2012, the Bulgarian Defense Minister said.

The Bulgarian MiG-29 aircraft plummeted into a river earlier on Thursday between the southern villages of Tsarimir and Golyam Chardak near Plovdiv.

Defense Minister Angelov noted that Bulgaria is now left with 15 MiG 29s that will continue to be used to patrol the Bulgarian air space and to participate in NATO tasks.

Last week the air forces of the USA and Bulgaria have started the most large-scale military aviation drills of their type entitled “Thracian Star 2012″.

The drills at the Graf Ignatievo Air Base near the southern Bulgarian city of Plovdiv are conducted jointly by the Bulgarian Air Force, the Romanian Air Force, and the 31st Force Support Squadron stationed at the Aviano Air Base, a NATO Air Base under US Air Force administration in northeastern Italy.

Because of the large number of US F-16 fighter jets participating in the drills – two squadrons of 16 planes each – Bulgarian media have been quick to note that the Aviano Air Base has moved to Graf Ignatievo.

The Graf Ignatievo Air Base has already been used jointly by Bulgaria and the USA for seven years. Bulgaria, Romania, and the USA have boosted their military cooperation in the recent years under the so called Task Force East (formerly known as Joint Task Force East). According to the Bulgarian newspaper 24 Chasa daily, the Romanian Air Force is also taking part in the Thracian Spring drills.

The Thracian Star 2012 drills taking place between April 17 and May 11, 2012, feature Bulgarian Air Force MiG-29, MiG-21, Su-25, and Spartan C-27J planes; US Air Force F-16s, and Romanian Air Force MiG-21s

The drills are managed by Bulgarian Brigade General Rumen Radev, deputy commander of the Bulgarian Air Force.

The major goals of the drills were to improve the tactical interoperability of the US Air Force in Europe and the Bulgarian and Romanian military aviation.

====

Georgia, Poland Sign New Security Cooperation Deal

http://en.rian.ru/world/20120427/173079383.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
April 27, 2012

Georgia, Poland Sign New Security Cooperation Deal

TBILISI: Georgia and Poland have renewed bilateral cooperation plan in the field of security, which takes into account new global and regional threats and challenges.

The previous cooperation agreement expired at the end of 2011.

The new document was signed on Thursday in Tbilisi by Secretary of Georgia’s National Security Council Giorgi Bokeria and Chief of Poland’s National Security Bureau Stanislaw Koziej.

The plan outlines Georgian-Polish bilateral cooperation in the field of security with the focus on the exchange of data and experience. Joint events and drills are included in the plan.

After the signing, Koziej praised Georgian involvement in the NATO and EU missions around the world and reiterated Poland’s support of Georgia’s aspirations to join the alliance.

Georgia has been negotiating NATO membership since 2006, when it signed the Intensified Dialogue on Membership Issues.

In April 2008 at the Bucharest NATO summit, Georgia and Ukraine were given a green light for NATO accession on condition that they carry out military and political reforms.

Georgia was named a NATO aspirant country in a document issued by the alliance last December in Brussels.

Russia, which won a brief war with Georgia over South Ossetia in August 2008, has strongly opposed Tbilisi’s NATO bid as Moscow fears the alliance’s expansion closer to the Russian borders and the strengthening of Georgia’s military potential.

====

U.S., NATO Discuss Cyber Warfare Operations In Georgia

http://en.trend.az/news/politics/2019319.html

Trend News Agency
April 26, 2012

US, Georgia discuss issues of cyber security in Tbilisi
N. Kirtzkhalia

Tbilisi: Deputy Secretary of the Security Council of Georgia Batu Kutelia met with U.S. Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Jane Holl Lute. At the beginning of the meeting Jane Holl Lute expressed deep regret at the death of a Georgian soldier Valerian Hudzhadze in Afghanistan, and particularly emphasized the substantial contribution of Georgian troops in peacekeeping mission of ISAF.

The parties paid special attention to the challenges that exist in the area of cyber security, and discussed prospects for bilateral cooperation in this area at the meeting, NSC of Georgia told Trend on Thursday.

Kutelia informed the guest about the cyber threats reflected in the concepts of national security of Georgia, cyber-security strategy, project and those activities, implementation of which is planned by the Georgian authorities. The U.S. side expressed its readiness to share its experience in the field of cyber security.

The apparatus of the Security Council of Georgia has already begun a public discussion of cyber security draft strategy. The first discussion took place with representatives of the embassies of NATO member states and civil society.

====

Global NATO “Open To BRICS”: Italian Defense Chief

http://www.agi.it/english-version/world/elenco-notizie/201204261918-pol-ren1088-nato_to_open_to_brics_countries_di_paola

Agenzia Giornalistica Italia
April 26, 2012

Nato to open to Brics Countries, Di Paola

Rome: “The strategic partnership between Nato member countries must be opened to new partners, in particular to the BRICS countries”, as claimed by Italian Defence Minister Giampaolo Di Paola at the “Nato Smart Defence Agenda” meeting in Rome, organized by the Institute for International Affairs.

The Minister underlined that: “We must establish an important relation with Russia and other countries like Brazil, India, China and South Africa. To imagine a closure on the side of Nato – Di Paola added – would be a mistake. In fact the Alliance must have a global vision and must take responsibility for the problems concerning security on a global level.”

====

Categories: Uncategorized

Partners Across The Globe: NATO Consolidates Worldwide Military Force

April 26, 2012 3 comments

Partners Across The Globe: NATO Consolidates Worldwide Military Force
Rick Rozoff

The military leaders of 50 nations, more than a quarter of those in the world, opened a two-day conference at NATO Headquarters in Brussels on April 25 to discuss, as the Pentagon’s website described it, “the present and future of the effort in Afghanistan” and other topics.

Afghanistan being the main subject of discussion, the military chiefs of NATO’s 28 member states, collectively the Military Committee, presumably met with the chiefs of defense staff of the 22 non-NATO nations supplying the alliance with troops for the war in Afghanistan.

In January top military leaders of 67 countries, over a third of those in the world, met at NATO Headquarters to discuss operations in Afghanistan in what is the largest-ever meeting of chiefs of defense staff in history.

The recently concluded expanded meeting of the NATO Military Committee was the last before next month’s summit in Chicago and was largely focused on that impending event.

Participants in the conference included General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff; General John R. Allen (in teleconference), commander of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, in charge of the largest foreign military force ever to be stationed in that nation; NATO’s two top military commanders, Supreme Allied Commander Europe Admiral James Stavridis and Supreme Allied Commander Transformation General Stéphane Abrial; U.S. military chief Dempsey’s equivalents from 49 nations in Europe, North America, Central America, the Middle East, the Caucasus, Northeast Asia, South East Asia and the South Pacific supplying troops for NATO’s Afghan War. (Armenia, Austria, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bosnia, El Salvador, Finland, Georgia, Ireland, Jordan, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Montenegro, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, Tonga, Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates.)


Photograph: NATO’s Allied Command Transformation

In short, NATO’s 21st century global expeditionary force and its top commanders. An international military coalition never authorized by the United Nations or discussed at any conference or other fora except at NATO Headquarters and at the bloc’s summits.

On the second day of the Military Committee conference in Brussels, NATO’s Allied Command Operations reported on a training course underway at the Allied Joint Force Command Headquarters in Brunssum, the Netherlands where staff officers from NATO’s Partnership for Peace, Mediterranean Dialogue and Istanbul Cooperation Initiative military partnerships are being instructed to “work as augmentees in a Deployable Joint Force Headquarters (DJF HQ) environment.

NATO added, “DJF HQ serves as an example of a Joint HQ for non-NATO nations to contribute to the Alliance’s missions.”

“Many of the attending nations already share close ties with NATO and have taken part in NATO’s missions, including the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.”

Participating officers were from Azerbaijan, Belarus, Finland, Georgia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Qatar, Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates.

At the gathering of military chiefs on April 25 and 26, subjects addressed were NATO’s wars and occupations in three continents: In addition to the ten-and-a-half-year conflict in Afghanistan, NATO’s top brass discussed missions in Kosovo (Kosovo Force), off the Horn of Africa (Operation Ocean Shield), in Libya (Operation Unified Protector), the Mediterranean Sea (Operation Active Endeavor) and no doubt others. Most everywhere, indeed, but on or near the Atlantic Ocean, north or south.

Reporting on the conference, the Pentagon’s website paraphrased an unnamed senior Defense Department official, “speaking on background,” as affirming that “Every opportunity for NATO members and their partners to work together helps to keep the alliance moving forward…especially as they seek to improve interoperability [and] refine tactics and procedures…”

Quoted directly, the source added:

“NATO remains a very strong partnership – as strong as ever – and we have a lot of demonstrated successes with NATO if you look at the history up through today and current events, and especially in the last year. So I think that bodes well for the future of the partnership. The United States involvement in NATO is a strong partnership for tackling any future challenges.”

The Pentagon account also mentioned meetings between the assembled military chiefs and representatives of Georgia and Ukraine, within the NATO-Georgia Commission and NATO-Ukraine Commission frameworks, and of the NATO-Russia Council.

The top military commanders also discussed what in a Pentagon report on the conference was alluded to as Pacific perspectives.

The North Atlantic Alliance in fact has a Pacific strategy. Most of the most recent additions to NATO’s Troop Contributing Countries in Afghanistan have come from Asia-Pacific nations: Malaysia, Mongolia, Singapore, South Korea and Tonga. Japan has dispatched military personnel, medics, as well. Australia and New Zealand have had troops, including special forces, engaged in combat operations in Afghanistan for years. With 1,550 soldiers assigned to the International Security Assistance Force, Australia is the largest troop provider to that NATO operation of any non-NATO country.

The Afghan war has been employed by the U.S. and NATO to forge an unprecedented 50-nation interoperable military force and the bloc has formalized the arrangements initiated to that end with its new Strategic Concept adopted at the last NATO summit in Portugal in late 2010. At a NATO foreign ministers meeting in Berlin a year ago the alliance endorsed a new partnership format, a uniform Partnership Cooperation Menu (with approximately 1,600 activities), to strengthen already existing military cooperation programs and to expand its network of military partnerships throughout the world.

In addition to the Partnership for Peace, Mediterranean Dialogue and Istanbul Cooperation Initiative programs – in Europe and Asia, North Africa and the Middle East, and the Persian Gulf, respectively – NATO has a new category it calls partners across the globe, which as its name indicates has no geographical boundaries.

NATO lists Partnership for Peace members, which with the alliance’s 28 members are subsumed under the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, as:

Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia, Finland, Georgia, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

Its Mediterranean Dialogue partners are Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia.

Istanbul Cooperation Initiative partners are Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, with Saudi Arabia and Oman next in line.

Partners across the globe are, to date, though subject to expansion, Afghanistan, Australia, Iraq, Japan, Mongolia, New Zealand, Pakistan and South Korea.

The new Partnership Cooperation Menu provides for a new type of global NATO partnership arrangement called an Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme. The first country to be enrolled in it was Mongolia last month. With Kazakhstan, NATO now has two partners that border both China and Russia.

The issue of Israel employing the Partnership Cooperation Menu to secure Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme status like Mongolia (in 2006 Israel was the first nation to be granted membership in another NATO partnership modality, the Individual Cooperation Program) has arisen lately in regard to reports that Turkey has blocked Israel’s participation at next month’s NATO summit to prevent the above reaching fruition.

The Partnership Cooperation Menu became effective the first of this year and initial plans were to grant the above-mentioned program to Israel and other members of the Mediterranean Dialogue.

NATO is cultivating Iraq and Yemen for prospective Istanbul Cooperation Initiative membership and Libya for membership in the Mediterranean Dialogue, with Lebanon and Syria (in the event of a change in regime) after it. With Iraq the partnership with the Western military organization is a continuation of the seven-year NATO Training Mission-Iraq.

In reference to partners across the globe, NATO maintains that “Japan is NATO’s longest-standing global partner,” adding:

“At their meeting in Berlin in April 2011, Allied foreign ministers listed Japan as one of NATO’s partners across the globe. As such, in the framework of the establishment of a single Partnership Cooperation Menu (PCM) open to all NATO partners, Japan will be able to access a wide range of cooperation activities with the Alliance and develop a more effective individual programme.”

Article 9 of the Japanese constitution expressly forbids the nation entering into any form of collective self-defense. A formal partnership with the world’s only military bloc is doing just that.

The government of South Korea has stated: “Following the new partnership policy of NATO approved in the NATO Ministerial meeting in Berlin, Germany in April 2011, the Republic of Korea is committed to further developing its partnership with NATO and to deepening practical cooperation with the trans-Atlantic defense organization.”

Pakistan is another nation that has expressed interest in the Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme.

Afghanistan, whose new military is being developed for interoperability with those of the major Western powers through the NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan, is another candidate.

The 21st century has witnessed the emergence of a truly worldwide military alliance, one which in regard to the number of members and partners, geographic range, defense capabilities and universal ambitions is staggering.

As the war council in Brussels was underway, Italian Defense Minister Giampaolo di Paola (former chairman of the NATO Military Committee) while speaking at a NATO Smart Defense Agenda meeting in Rome advocated the establishment of ties between the military bloc and the BRICS nations (Russia, Brazil, India, China and South Africa), asserting that “the Alliance must have a global vision and must take responsibility for the problems concerning security on a global level,” according to Agenzia Giornalistica Italia.

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO news: April 26, 2012

April 26, 2012 1 comment

====

Turkish Prime Minister: Will Enlist NATO Against Syria

Fighter Jet Catches Fire, Crashes During U.S.-Bulgaria Drills

U.S. F-16s, MiGs Engage In Combat Training Over Bulgaria

U.S. To Hold Largest-Ever Interceptor Missile Test

Sixteenth Georgian Soldier Killed In Afghanistan

NATO Trains Global Adjuncts At Deployable Joint Force Headquarters

====

Turkish Prime Minister: Will Enlist NATO Against Syria

http://en.trend.az/regions/met/turkey/2018958.html

Trend News Agency
April 26, 2012

Turkey to turn to NATO if Syria violates Turkish border once again
A. Taghiyeva

Baku: If the Syrian army violates the Turkish border once again, Turkey will turn to NATO to address this problem, the country’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in an interview with Qatari Al-Jazeera TV channel.

“Turkey is a NATO member. Violation of borders of the country, a member of the Alliance gives the right to turn to NATO for help,” Erdogan said.

He also said that Turkey will always support the Syrian opposition and accept all the refugees from that country. President al-Assad regime can no longer stay in power after so many crimes, Erdogan said.

====

Fighter Jet Catches Fire, Crashes During U.S.-Bulgaria Drills

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-04/26/c_131553703.htm

Xinhua News Agency
April 26, 2012

MiG-29 fighter jet crashes during Bulgarian-U.S.drill

               
SOFIA: A MiG-29 fighter jet crashed Thursday near the Graf Ignatievo Air Base in Bulgaria during a Bulgarian-U.S drill, and the two pilots survived, local media reported.

According to Radio Focus, the MiG-29 crashed between the villages of Tzarimir and Golyam Chardak, some 7 km northwest of the Graf Ignatievo Air Base, 150 km southeast of the Bulgarian capital Sofia.

The fighter plane was engulfed in flames before the crash, the radio said, citing witnesses.

The two pilots ejected successfully, and have returned to the base.

Bulgaria has 16 Soviet-made MiG-29 fighters that make up the backbone of the country’s current air defense.

The joint Bulgarian-American flight training, codenamed “Thracian Star 2012″, began on April 17 and will end on May 11 at the Graf Ignatievo Air Base, one of the four military facilities jointly used by the United States and Bulgaria.

—————————————————————————-

http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c154/403613.html

Itar-Tass
April 26, 2012

MiG-29 crashes in training flight in Bulgaria, pilots catapulted

SOFIA: The fighter MiG-29 crashed in the Plovdiv Region in Bulgaria on Thursday. The pilots managed to catapult and were not injured, the Focus news agency reported.

The firemen, the ambulances and the military police rushed to the incident site. According to the eyewitnesses, the fighter caught fire in the air.

====

U.S. F-16s, MiGs Engage In Combat Training Over Bulgaria

http://www.usafe.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123299416

U.S. Air Forces in Europe
April 25, 2012

F-16s, MiGs engage in combat training over Bulgaria
By Senior Airman Katherine Windish
31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

GRAF IGNATIEVO AIR BASE, Bulgaria: U.S. pilots from the 555th and 510th Fighter Squadrons based out of Aviano Air Base, Italy, have been given a rare opportunity to train and share experiences with Bulgarian air force MiG-21 and MiG-29 pilots during their deployment here in support of Thracian Star 2012.

Since the start of the training mission on April 18, Bulgarian and American pilots have been flying together and working toward the goal of the exercise: to strengthen partnerships, increase interoperability between NATO allies and maintain a standard of excellence.

Throughout the month-long bilateral training exercise, Aviano F-16 Fighting Falcon pilots will spend more than 60 hours per week flying close air support, basic fighter and air combat maneuvers, tactical intercepts, defensive counter air and large force missions with Bulgarian MiG-21 and MiG-29 pilots.

“We are performing the same mission sets we do at home station, but we are integrating the Bulgarian pilots into the training,” said Capt. Bryan Faughn, 555th FS F-16 pilot. “It gives us an opportunity to see how another country’s air force works…”

To gain better insight into both the tactics of the pilots and the capabilities of the different aircraft, pilots have gone on ride-along flights in the other country’s jets.

Capt. Kirby Sanford, 555th FS F-16 pilot, was the first American pilot to get the opportunity to ride in a MiG.

Bulgarian air force Capt. Petar Milkov, was the first MiG-29 pilot to fly in an F-16 during Thracian Star 2012. The aircraft was piloted by Col. David Walker, 31st Operations Group and Thracian Star detachment commander.

====

U.S. To Hold Largest-Ever Interceptor Missile Test

http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_04_26/72999242/

Vesti.ru
April 26, 2012

US to conduct ‘largest ever’ missile defense test – Pentagon

       

The US plans to conduct ‘the largest ever test launch’ of its missile defense program elements to intercept and destroy five ‘enemy’ missiles- three medium-range ballistic missiles and two cruise missiles, the director of the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency Gen. Patrick O’Reilly told Congress on Wednesday.

It is planned to use several surface-to-air guided missile air defense systems, including the Patriot, THAAD and Aegis.

The US has been working with other NATO countries to locate such defense systems in the Asia-Pacific region and in the Middle East.

====

Sixteenth Georgian Soldier Killed In Afghanistan

http://www.civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=24692

Civil Georgia
April 25, 2012

Sixteenth Georgian Soldier Killed in Afghanistan

Tbilisi: Sergeant Valerian Khujadze from the 31st infantry battalion died following an improvised explosive device attack in Afghanistan’s southern province of Helmand, the Georgian Ministry of Defense said on April 25.

The recent incident puts the total death toll of Georgian soldiers in Afghanistan to sixteen – all of them were serving in Helmand province; this is the fifth fatality among the Georgian soldiers in Afghanistan this year.

The Georgian MoD said that 35-year-old Sergeant Khujadze died of injuries sustained from IED attack during patrolling.

“He had been serving in the Georgian Armed Forces since 2004. Sergeant Khujadze also participated in a peacekeeping mission in Iraq. In 2011 he was awarded with the “Medal for Participation in Peacekeeping Operations,” MoD said.

This is the second tour of duty in Afghanistan for the 31st battalion of the 3rd infantry brigade.

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.

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 following year Georgia increased 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.

====

NATO Trains Global Adjuncts At Deployable Joint Force Headquarters

http://www.aco.nato.int/natos-partner-nations-gain-knowledge-on-joint-operations.aspx

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations
April 26, 2012

NATO’S PARTNER NATIONS GAIN KNOWLEDGE ON JOINT OPERATIONS
23 staff officers from NATO’s Partner countries learn the principles of the DJF HQ organization

With two weeks 23 staff officers from NATO’s Partnership for Peace (PfP), Mediterranean Dialogue (MD) and Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) countries learn the principles of the DJF HQ (Deployable Joint Force Headquarters) organization.

The training conducted from 16 to 27 April, at NATO Allied Joint Force Command (JFC) Headquarters Brunssum aims to prepare the participants to work as augmentees in a Deployable Joint Force Headquarters (DJF HQ) environment. DJF HQ serves as an example of a Joint HQ for non-NATO nations to contribute to Alliance’s missions.

Shared knowledge

With the course, the attending officers gain knowledge in crisis management, Logistic support, Special Operations, Intelligence, Strategic Communications, other Functional Areas as well as take part in workshops.

Based on an operational scenario, Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) guidance and UN resolutions, the staff officers have to develop their assessments and deliver situational awareness briefings.

“For Finland this has been a routine to send officers here and it forms a part of our officers’ training. We use this as an opportunity to learn how NATO conducts international operations and to keep us up to date with the latest developments,” Major Ari Laaksonen from Finland said.

“United Arab Emirates has worked with NATO before; we were in Kosovo for KFOR. I find this course important, as it helps the participating nations to be on the same line with their procedures,” Lieutenant Colonel Suhail Al Rashedi from the United Arab Emirates said.

Shared experiences

Students from Azerbaijan, Belarus, Finland, Georgia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Qatar, Ukraine and United Arab Emirates attend the course.

Many of the attending nations already share close ties with NATO and have taken part in NATO’s missions, including the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.

Military Cooperation, one of the framework tasks of JFC Brunssum, aims to broaden and strengthen the Alliance by establishing enduring relationships and effective cooperation mechanisms with Partner Nations.

The ICI is an initiative to engage in practical security cooperation activities with states throughout the Greater Middle East. The initiative stands alongside NATO’s PfP Program aimed at creating trust between NATO and other states in Europe and the former Soviet Union while MD continues to offer a forum of cooperation between NATO and seven countries of the Mediterranean.

JFC Brunssum, the Netherlands is one of three NATO operational level commands in NATO Allied Command Operations (ACO) and serves as the higher headquarters for ISAF in Afghanistan, with ISAF as a primary mission and NATO Article 5 Operational Planning, Baltic Air Policing, Military Cooperation and NATO Response Force (NRF) among other major activities.

By CPO Roland Murof (EST N), NATO JFC HQ Brunssum

====

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO Chief Recruits European Union For Global Interventions

April 26, 2012 2 comments

Stop NATO
April 25, 2012

NATO Chief Recruits European Union For Global Interventions
Rick Rozoff

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen addressed the European Parliament on April 23 and, as published on the website of the military bloc he heads, “called for closer NATO-European Union coordination on security issues and urged the EU to adopt the needed capabilities to take action abroad.”

For abroad, read anywhere NATO’s bombs, missiles, fighter jets and warships have paved the way: The Balkans, Central and South Asia, North Africa, the Arabian Sea and the Broader Middle East.

His speech, entitled “A global perspective for Europe,” was delivered to the foreign affairs committee of the European Parliament, the elected body of the European Union, as – again according to the Alliance’s website – “part of a debate on preparations for next month’s NATO Summit in Chicago,” which will be attended by European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso by way of quid pro quo.

Addressing the EU as what in fact it is and is even more markedly becoming, the semi-civilian European wing of global NATO, Rasmussen made little distinction between the organization he leads and that he was addressing:

“When it comes to security, Europe has reason to be proud. Over the past decade, NATO’s European Allies have stayed the course in Afghanistan. They flew most of the sorties in Libya. And they helped stabilise the Balkans. Over the same period, the European Union has taken on key roles in Georgia, the Balkans and Africa.”

The European Union, which is in many ways no less under the influence of its “Euro-Atlantic” big brother on the other side of the ocean than is NATO, is in the viewpoint of Brussels a collective of NATO members and partners (all 27 EU member states are in NATO or its Partnership for Peace program except for small and divided Cyprus) that anticipates, supports, complements and cleans up after NATO in several parts of the world outside EU territory and mainly outside Europe itself.

The EU sanctions, freezes the assets of, bans visits from leaders of and in general softens up targeted nations. NATO bombs and occupies them. When the latter accomplishes its mission the EU steps in to supply security, policing, financial and other assistance and to relieve NATO forces (which are often interchangeable with their EU counterparts) for their next deployment. The EU has fulfilled that function, entirely or partially, in Bosnia, Macedonia and Kosovo and will do so next in Afghanistan and Libya.

Rasmussen further spelled out the global nature of the NATO-EU-U.S. triad and its alleged unique role in “preserv[ing] freedom and democracy,” presumably in the bloc’s member states as anyone familiar with the aftermath of NATO interventions in Bosnia, Yugoslavia-Kosovo, Macedonia, Afghanistan and Libya would hardly hail the situations prevailing in those states as triumphs of freedom and democracy. Surely not as hallmarks of peace and stability.

His comments included this attempted justification for the consolidation of NATO as an international expeditionary and assault force, history’s first:

“Today, our security cannot be separated from global security. This sometimes means we have to deploy our forces beyond our borders to keep our people secure at home. As we have done in Afghanistan. Off the coast of Somalia. And in the skies over Libya.”

“European nations must look outwards, and stay ready and able to act for their own sake. And be capable of joining our North American Allies in operations outside the Euro-Atlantic area.”

NATO, which is a consortium of Europe’s past colonial masters (Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Italy and Turkey), post-World War II world neocolonial powerhouse the U.S and assorted underlings and appendages, is bluntly asserting as its prerogative – as its new foundational mission – the exclusive right and obligation alike of intervening anywhere it chooses to outside the “civilized world”: The Balkans, Central and South Asia, Africa, the Gulf of Aden, the South Caucasus and the Middle East.

When NATO’s 28 heads of state gather in Chicago in May they will, with the exception of the American president, look very much alike. The military organization that presumes to direct the course of world affairs has no members in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Oceania. The combined population of NATO’s member states is only slightly over one-eighth of the human race.

The fiftieth anniversary summit of the military alliance in Washington, D.C. in 1999 revived and emboldened it with a 21st century global version of the infamous Berlin Conference of 1884 in which a majority of NATO’s non-North American founding members divided the African continent into spheres of influence.

The Washington summit, of NATO’s 24 summits to date the sole one in the U.S. (the second will occur in Chicago on May 20 and 21), introduced among several other initiatives for the current century the basis for the Berlin Plus agreements between NATO and the EU adopted three years later. Ever since, NATO and the EU have shared information and intelligence, planning capabilities and personnel and military assets and missions as well as conducting joint exercises.

The EU’s first naval mission, Operation Atalanta (European Union Naval Force Somalia), is conducted in conjunction with NATO’s Operation Ocean Shield off the Horn of Africa and the U.S.-led Combined Task Force 150, Combined Task Force 151, Combined Task Force 152 and Combined Task Force 158 in and off the Arabian Sea.

On April 23 Rasmussen wove together the strands of NATO-EU integration, the 21st century rebirth of 19th century European military interventions abroad and the ultimate subordination of both to the U.S. in stating:

“Today we have a more capable and more willing Europe than 20 years ago. More European troops are deployed in more places than ever in recent history. Even smaller nations, like my own [Denmark], have shown their capacity to punch above their weight.

“In Libya last year, European nations clearly demonstrated that they are willing and able to lead a NATO operation.”

“NATO and the European Union can, and should, play complementary and mutually reinforcing roles in supporting international peace and security.

“To carry out this role, Europe must invest sufficiently in our common security. And Europe must continue to invest in the vital transatlantic bond – in political, economic, and military terms.”

The declaration issued by NATO at its last summit in Lisbon, Portugal in November 2010 at which the alliance unveiled its first Strategic Concept for the new millennium contains this section on EU-NATO relations:

“NATO and the European Union (EU) share common values and strategic interests, and are working side by side in crisis management operations. We are therefore determined to improve the NATO-EU strategic partnership, as agreed by our two organisations. We welcome the recent initiatives from several Allies and the ideas proposed by the Secretary General. Building on these initiatives and on the guidance provided by the new Strategic Concept, we encourage the Secretary General to continue to work with the EU High Representative…”

The summit declaration issued in Chicago next month will reaffirm and strengthen that commitment. Heaven help their next joint targets.

Categories: Uncategorized

Russia-India-China: International Balance Of Power Changing In Favor Of World Peace

April 25, 2012 2 comments

Russia & India Report
April 24, 2012

RIC: trilateral set to scale new heights
Nivedita Das Kundu

====

RIC’s main agenda has been to oppose unilateralism and to promote a pluralistic democratic international order. The three countries believes that the diverse threats and risks cannot be addressed by military power alone…

RIC trilateral cooperation has great importance in terms of geopolitics as the three countries are home to around 2.4 billion, 40 percent of the world’s total population and account for 22.5 per cent of the total area of the world. Undoubtedly, the three countries have great human resources, huge potential of market and rich endowment of natural resources.

During the recent RIC meeting in Moscow, the three countries have taken similar positions on the issues of the Syrian crisis and on Iran’s nuclear standoff.

There are strong complementarities among the three countries, in terms of natural resources, services capability, skilled labour, manufacturing capability and technology.

====

The Russia-India-China trilateral is an idea whose time has come, and will become increasingly more important in setting the global agenda, says Nivedita Das Kundu.

The international balance of power is changing in favour of world peace. Russia, India and China (RIC) have been interacting trilaterally since 1996. The 11th round of the Russia-India-China (RIC) Foreign Minister’s meeting was held on April 13, 2012 in Moscow. The impetus of the RIC Foreign Ministers’ recent meeting was strengthened as it was held within a fortnight after the March 29 BRICS summit in New Delhi. RIC’s main agenda has been to oppose unilateralism and to promote a pluralistic democratic international order. The three countries believes that the diverse threats and risks cannot be addressed by military power alone but need to be appraised through political, social and economic prisms.

Russia-India-China’s possible axis formation is an important political idea that emerged in the post-Cold War period. It was advocated by Russian President Yeltsin in 1993 and Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov in 1996. Indo-Russian, Sino-Russian and Sino-Indian relations have begun to unfold a new trend now. If this trend continues it will stimulate the process of multi-polarity which will be of far reaching significance for international relations.

Countries like Russia, India and China need a multi-polar world in order to promote their national interest across and autonomy of decision-making. To construct a multipolar world, the Russia-India-China triangle would be indispensable. Although there are some unresolved issues between these countries, the movement towards a better understanding between these three states is evident. The relations between the three flourished during the Cold War period. Even after the end of the Cold War, the relationship was maintained as Russia proved to be India’s tested and trusted friend.

Similarly, the China-India relationship became smoother in the eighties and after the 1993 accord economic relations acquired an added momentum. The three countries have many converging interests that could add substance to trilateral cooperation. They back the primacy of the United Nations in solving crises and support the principle of non-intervention in internal affairs of sovereign states. In the long term, it is the mutual confidence which will help these three powers to play a larger role in global politics and to respond jointly to the challenges of the new century. There is, however, a need to coordinate the actions as the international environment has become more intricate and complicated. The commonality of key national interests and the long-term friendly relations in the field of culture, economy and science and technology create a real possibility for cooperation between these three great powers.

The three nations share wide-ranging interest on many major international issues, and are committed to build a just and fair, new international political and economic order. There are advantages of trilateral cooperation despite the obvious asymmetries, given the fact that they are amongst the world’s largest continental-sized entities and civilization states.

All three countries have had a long history of interaction, exchange, cooperation and close relationships. In the post-World War II period, there have been phases of tremendous warmth and bonhomie among them. There have also been periods of near-total breakdown and actual hostilities, as happened during the 1962 India-China war. However, what has become clear to all three is that any restructuring of relations would be based on a qualitatively different strategic reality. There is, for instance, no doubt that there could be no resurrection of any kind of alliance relationship clearly directed against or targeting any third country or any agreement offering unconditional support to the other.

One of the major areas of cooperation for the three countries is energy security. Russia is an energy-surplus country, whereas China and India are energy-deficient. If these three states can work together, they can invest in joint projects that could facilitate the flow of oil and gas from Russia into China and India. The trilateral cooperation can improve the overall energy security scenario in Asia and the world.

They can also cooperate in combating separatist movements. With each other’s cooperation, they can refrain from supporting these movements in each other’s country, exchange their experience in solving ethnic problems and can cooperate in opposing terrorism and extremism.

Sustained economic development of Russia, India and China has become the engine of the global economy. There are many similarities in the socio-economic conditions of the three countries and the way they are responding to globalization. The prospects of cooperation in technology, energy, raw materials, etc. are extremely broad. The population of each country should recognise the benefits of Russia-India-China cooperation so that it could gain popular support. Globalisation offers new opportunities and brings new challenges to China, India and Russia. In order to realise the opportunities and to respond to challenges, there is a need for a permanent mechanism for a regular exchange of views and coordination of actions.

RIC trilateral cooperation has great importance in terms of geopolitics as the three countries are home to around 2.4 billion, 40 percent of the world’s total population and account for 22.5 per cent of the total area of the world. Undoubtedly, the three countries have great human resources, huge potential of market and rich endowment of natural resources.

All the three countries are faced with the tasks of developing their economy. China has common borders with both Russia and India. All three countries advocate non-alliance and non-confrontation. The relationship among the three countries affects the basic principles of Asian security. It will definitely have a positive impact on Asian security if their ties could be further improved and more countries are persuaded to observe these principles.

The trilateral cooperation has made much headway in the past few years since the first meeting in Moscow in September 2001. The trilateral format was initiated by holding meetings of the ministries of foreign affairs on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly sessions in New York in the year of 2003 and 2004.

A landmark stand-alone meeting of the foreign ministers was held in Russia in June 2005 in Vladivostok. As a result, a clear-cut profile of the troika took shape. The agenda of the ministerial meeting in this format includes an exchange of views on key international and regional problems, including the war on international terror, illicit drug trafficking and other major challenges.

The intensification of trilateral economic interaction acquired an added importance in the ensuing years. At the October 2007 meeting of the three ministers in Harbin, China, the three countries provisionally divided these lines of preparation in a way that the issue of agriculture was coordinated by China, that of health care by India, and emergency prevention and response by Russia.

In February 2007 and later in October 2007 when meetings of the foreign ministers of the three countries were held in New Delhi (India) and in Harbin (China) respectively, it was decided to give a structured and dynamic character to relations in this format to promote practical cooperation. The initiation of the consultation mechanism between the heads of territorial departments of the ministries of foreign affairs of Russia, India and China became a key agency in implementing these objectives. It was decided to hold such events on a regular basis, at least once a year, and since then yearly meetings of the RIC foreign ministers are taking place regularly.

In recent years, the trilateral has been marked by closer coordination on key international issues. During the recent RIC meeting in Moscow, the three countries have taken similar positions on the issues of the Syrian crisis and on Iran’s nuclear standoff. They were supportive of Kofi Annan’s peace initiative on Syria. According to RIC, Iran has the sovereign right to peaceful nuclear energy and has strongly argued for resolving this issue through political and diplomatic dialogue and through consultations between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The RIC joint statement also reiterated their concerns on Afghanistan, where increasing focus on the exit of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) was discussed and RIC focused on post-ISAF exit responsibilities of these three countries. They are all immediate neighbours of Afghanistan and victims of terrorism and drug trafficking emanating from Afghanistan.

The joint statements mentioned their commitment to ensuring stability in Afghanistan and reaffirmed their commitment to contribute towards ensuring stability and security within the UN framework or through other regional initiatives, including the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), as Russia and China are full member or observer of the SCO and India is an observer. The growing closeness amongst RIC is clearly noticeable in various fora from the United Nations to the G-20 Summits, within the SCO, during Asia-Europe meetings, during climate change meetings, during East Asian summits, and so on.

There are strong complementarities among the three countries, in terms of natural resources, services capability, skilled labour, manufacturing capability and technology. They are all strong on entrepreneurial activity and in innovation and technology activities.

However, the current levels of trade, investment and economic interaction between them are far below their potential. There is, therefore, considerable scope for cooperating on technology and innovation. The RIC has already set up subsidiaries like the RIC trilateral experts meeting on disaster management, the trilateral business forum, and the trilateral academic scholar’s dialogue, and held other trilateral projects and conferences in these specialised fields. However, for all three, food and commodity security will emerge as a major concern and that is one area in which closer interaction and some understanding would be essential as the three states go forward to integrate in the global market.

The regular meetings of the three countries’ foreign ministers are playing a key role in promoting the trilateral cooperation. The main task of the troika forum is to create a good climate among the three countries and to improve the security paradigm in the region and to strengthen mutual understanding and trust, which is essential for finding the best solutions for certain problems at the bilateral level. The principles laid down in the trilateral dialogues are those of equality, mutual trust and consensus. Trilateral cooperation has gained strong momentum and as long as patience and perseverance are maintained, cooperation among the three countries will go on to scale new heights.

Nivedita Das Kundu is assistant director, (research), Indian Council for Social Science Research, New Delhi, India and a foreign policy analyst

Categories: Uncategorized

The Arctic Heats Up

Russia & India Report
April 25, 2012

Arctic heats up
Ilya Kramnik

Global warming is making the polar regions of the Earth more accessible, and while the possibility of armed conflict is limited, all regional players are preparing for such a scenario.

The Arctic region is expected to be the disputed territory between the world’s powers. Source: Geo Photo

The opening of the Arctic as a result of global warming only interested academics and journalists until recently. Now, however, it attracts the attention of politicians and military leaders.

The possibility of the revival of the Cold War in the Arctic is being increasingly discussed in both global and regional media. Meanwhile, the chiefs of the general staffs of the countries of the region have begun holding regular meetings on the issue of maintaining peace and security in the Arctic.

The latest meeting, which took place in Canada on April 12-13, was attended by military leaders of all Arctic powers, including Nikolai Makarov, chief of the Russian General Staff. The meeting took place against the backdrop of military revival in the region: Both NATO countries and Russia have conducted military exercises in the Arctic. The NATO Cold Response exercises, which took place in March, were held in the area between Sweden and Norway, with the participation of 16,300 troops. The exercises did not take place without incident: Five Norwegian soldiers were killed in a crash when a C-130J military transport plane crashed into the western slope of Mt. Kebnekaise in northern Sweden.

Russian soldiers have also conducted exercises. The 200th Motorized Rifle Brigade stationed near Murmansk has also performed military drills in the Arctic. Its T-80 tanks, which are the most adapted to Arctic conditions because their gas turbine engines are much easier to start in the cold than conventional diesel ones, were engaged in maneuvers. Ships of the northern fleet, airplanes and helicopters of the air force and naval planes all participated in maneuvers.

The air force also conducted separate maneuvers in the north of the country. The Ladoga 2012 exercise was held April 9-15 at the Besovets Air Force Base in Karelia and included the participation of more than 50 airplanes and helicopters. During the exercises, pilots shot down more than 150 aerial targets.

Intersection of interests

The Russian and NATO maneuvers are both in pursuit of one goal: With the growing accessibility of the region, all the key players want to demonstrate their capabilities and at the very least gain extra points through the kind of information-psychological confrontation that largely determines the outcome of today’s diplomatic conflicts. Of course, no one wants an actual war, least of all the United States, which has most of its military forces tied up in another part of the world. But the active acquisition of polar resources, territorial disputes and the imminent expansion of navigation along the Northern Sea Route make the Arctic a very important region.

The atmosphere at major maritime crossroads has always been difficult: witness the Mediterranean, the Horn of Africa and the Strait of Malacca. If the Arctic becomes such a crossroads, and this seems very likely, then conflicts will quickly appear. How they will be resolved depends on the willingness of the parties to defend their interests.

Russia has expressed its readiness in both its military operations and its plans to expand its Arctic infrastructure. Twenty border posts will be built in the near future in order to protect and exercise some control over the polar domains. Some of these posts will be located next to the nine centers planned by the Emergencies Ministry and the Russian Ministry of Transport, which must be deployed according to the program for the development of the Northern Sea Route. The other frontier posts will be located on islands. Uninterrupted communication with the “mainland” will be provided through the Arctic satellite system, which is being deployed specifically for this purpose.

Frontier posts will act as the first layer of protection of Russian interests in the Arctic. If necessary, they can be supported by the Northern Fleet, a part of the air force and Arctic Brigades of the Ministry of Defense. Almost all of the countries of the region already have or are in the process of forming Arctic contingents that are adapted for operations in the region.

For the time being possible conflicts in the Arctic remain the subject of theoretical debates and of computer games – in particular the recently released game Naval Warfare – Arctic Circle, which conceives a war between Russia and NATO in the Arctic using naval and air forces.

Currently the world’s leading players are too busy fighting the global economic crisis to make this story a reality. But the situation could change, faster than we think.

Ilya Kramnik is an analyst with Voice of Russia.

Categories: Uncategorized

Namibia: Germany’s Forgotten Genocide, Colonial Roots Of Nazism

April 25, 2012 1 comment

Southern Times
April 23, 2012

Confronting the Past
By Peter Katjavivi

In October 2011, the skulls of Namibian ancestors were returned to their country of origin.

The Namibian delegation that participated in the repatriation of the human skulls from Germany successfully accomplished the mission.

However, not all the skulls were ready for repatriation and therefore arrangements are underway to ensure that those skulls still held at the Freiburg University can be brought home.

Bishop Dr Z Kameeta of the Lutheran Church of Namibia succinctly summed up the mood within the Namibian delegation when he said the following in St Matthew Church in Berlin on September 24, 2011: “I do not know whether we comprehend the enormity of this solemn and divine occasion and the privilege and honour accorded to our generation.

“In His mercy and wisdom, God has chosen this generation to come here to Germany and to take back the remains of our ancestors who were brutally killed by the German colonial forces and in an undignified manner removed from Namibia to Germany.”

When the information about a number of human skulls at various German institutions was disclosed to me in 2008, shortly after I returned from being Namibia’s Ambassador in Berlin, I spoke out publicly about the need to have these human remains returned to Namibia.

The revelation came in a German television documentary and there has been a great deal of discussion in the media since then, as well as exchanges of communications between the Namibian and German governments.

This led to the confirmation by the German institutions, including the Medical History Museum at the Charité teaching hospital in Berlin and Freiburg University, that they did indeed have a number of Namibian skulls.

Their admission resulted in the German government agreeing to assist in the repatriation process.

For young Germans, who know little about the colonial war fought by the German forces in Namibia, this news was surprising.

For young Namibians, this news created a point of further discourse about Namibia–German relations.

This has raised demands that the events of the past be more fully addressed.

Markus Frenzel, a German television reporter for ARD, brought further information to light stating that “it is believed that a total of at least 300 Herero skulls were taken to Germany in the early 20th century”.

However, it is likely that we are talking about skulls not only of Hereros but also of Namas, Damaras and San.

The question many people are still asking is what led to the initial displacement of these skulls.

David Olusoga and Casper W Erichsen had this to say about the politics of the skulls in their book, “The Kaiser’s Holocaust: Germany’s forgotten genocide and the colonial roots of Nazism”: “In recent years, the skulls and even the preserved heads of the prisoners from the concentration camps have been found in the medical collections of a number of German universities.

“Freiburg University is said to have 12 Namibian skulls from Namibia in its anthropological collection, while the medical history museum of Berlin’s Charité hospital is believed to hold 47 Namibian skulls.

“It is suspected that among the human remains at the Charité Hospital are 17 decapitated heads of Nama prisoners, prepared and dispatched from Shark Island in 1906 by the camp Physician, Dr Bofinger.

“These ‘specimens’ were later studied by Christian Fetzer, a Berlin medical student who endeavoured to identify anatomical similarities between the Nama and the Anthropoid ape. Fetzer’s theories were influenced greatly by the work of Eugen Fischer.”

It is no accident that the Namibian past comes back to confront its present.

The past reminds us about the ugly colonial legacy of Namibia.

The cruel aspect of the German colonial history in our country is undeniable.

Therefore, the German authorities should not be surprised if several questions are being asked concerning the purpose of the removal, transportation and experimentation on the skulls that were undertaken in Germany.

One of the most disturbing aspects of the story is the clear indication that Namibian skulls were taken not only for perverted scientific experimentation but also as trophies.

Those who were responsible for such experiments, at the time, may have been part of a larger network that operated on a larger scale, and had far-reaching implications beyond the immediate suffering of our people in Africa.

It is for this reason that I believe that Olusoga and Erichsen do indeed have a valid point when they state that: “No unstoppable historical force carried Germany from Waterberg to Nuremberg.

“But the Herero and Nama Genocides along with the Nazi vision of race war and settlement in Eastern Europe, can be seen as aspects of a larger phenomenon – the emergence from Europe of a terrible strain of racial colonialism that viewed human history through the prism of a distorted form of social Darwinism and regarded the earth as a racial battlefield on which the ‘weak’ were destined to be vanquished.”

What is the way forward or what lessons can be learned from these events?

First, particularly for Namibians, is that we should confront the past honestly as part of the process of recovering our dignity and thereby contributing towards the healing of the wounds of the past.

To quote the words of the Southern Sudanese leader John Garang in his 1994 address to the Seventh Pan African Congress in Kampala, Uganda: “The dead are not dead, and the living are not living.”

Therefore, the repatriation of the skulls gives voice to the dead to tell their own story to the world about how absurd and inhumane German colonialism was towards black communities in Namibia.

As the political scientist Dr Tapera Chirawu has pointed out: ‘(Garang’s) statement … underlines the fact that the present is what it is because of past policies, and that today’s policies shape the future …

“There could not be a better attestation of the link between those who have come and gone, those who are alive today, and those still to be born.”

Second is that, with a now independent Namibia, we can finally repatriate the human remains and accord them the appropriate welcome as fallen pioneers of the long and bitter Namibian resistance to foreign occupation.

With the achievement of independence in Namibia, we declared that we would make every effort to regain our rights, freedoms and our past.

The recovery and repatriation of the skulls is an essential component of regaining our past, and consequentially our dignity.

From this process we can rebuild a society that has been shaped by its history, but that is determined to avoid a repetition of the events of the past.

Avoiding such repetition is predicated upon asking questions and provoking debate in both Namibia and Germany about the bloody conflict that took place during the colonial period in this country.

We are confident that the two countries will face these challenges and be prepared to address issues associated with the repatriation of the skulls in a mature and sensitive manner.

This will be in the interest of all concerned.

The late South African leader Oliver Tambo has written: “Blood and death suffuses the history of Southern Africa, but our lodestar is a noble hope.”

And the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda reminds us that: “History teaches with her light that man can change that which exists.”

• Prof Peter Katjavivi is the author of “A History of Resistance in Namibia” (1988, James Currey). He is SWAPO Chief Whip in Parliament

Categories: Uncategorized

Russia And China: Common Goals And Common Opponent

Voice of Russia
April 24, 2012

Russia and China: common goals and common concerns
Ilya Kramnik

Russia and China have launched one of the largest joint navy drills, with a total of 25 ships and submarines, over 20 aircraft and special forces on both sides taking part in what is a very visible flexing of military muscle. The Maritime Cooperation 2012 maneuvers kicked off last Sunday and will run until April 27.

Modern political practice is largely based on dealing in subterfuges, with the real role of the armed forces being the most closely guarded secret. This is especially true of troops acting as part of international alliances. The majority of international military exercises seemingly focus on predominantly humanitarian, peacekeeping missions, where countries learn to cooperate more closely on rescue operations, fighting arms and drugs smuggling, illegal migration and dealing with natural calamities.

On the other hand, emerging combinations of chess pieces on the global chessboard suggest that the existing balance of power is going through major changes whenever other types of war games are reported. Such is the case with the ongoing Sino-Russian naval drills, which heavily hinge on military implementation of naval and air defense troops, including engaging submarine and air targets, combating enemy vessels, coordinating submarine forces, conducting convoys and supplying ships at sea. Among the few humanitarian goals set for these exercises are anti-piracy cooperation and search and rescue operations.

China is the official host of the maneuvers, having dispatched 16 warships and motorboats, two submarines and a couple of naval auxiliary ships out of the total of 25 vessels taking part in the war games. However, the fleets of the two nations are interacting solely in the Russian language. In its turn, Russia has dispatched several navy auxiliary vessels and a detachment of warships – the “Varyag” missile cruiser and three large anti-submarine ships, “Admiral Vinogradov,” “Marshal Shaposhnikov” and “Admiral Tributs,” coming back from patrol shift in the Horn of Africa region. These ships constitute the core of Russia’s Pacific Fleet.

China is currently involved in numerous territorial disputes with Russia and Japan over the South Kuril Islands; however Moscow and Beijing also have a common opponent, namely the US.

Yet another stumbling block are the ties between the parties to the so-called “China-Russia-India triangle,” where China and India have a history of long-strained relations. Recent years have seen a clear thaw between Beijing and New Delhi, with both nations maintaining a steadfast partnership with Moscow. This month Moscow hosted a summit between the Russian, Chinese and Indian foreign ministers, a promising meeting that proved the three nations have common interests to defend. And, indeed, these countries, who dominate the Asia-Pacific region, see eye-to-eye on a whole range of issues, including Afghanistan, the Middle East, North Korea and Iran, as well as their trilateral economic cooperation.

This all plays into Russia’s hand, which has been pushing China and India to seal their long-lasting relations gap. Incidentally, Russia’s military drills with either of its Asian partners will only benefit the common cause.

Categories: Uncategorized

Emotional Engineering: U.S. World Leader In “Color Revolutions”

RT
April 25, 2012

US ‘world leader’ in color revolution engineering

VIDEO

The US is the foremost power when it comes to creating and applying “color revolutions”: America invented the know-how and has the best experts in this area, political scientist Mateusz Piskorski told RT.

RT: What are the key ingredients to start a color revolution?

Mateusz Piskorsky: There has to be a real political and social crisis, which may be an inspiration for those groups who protest. There is no color revolution without a social basis. Common consciousness of a real economic or social problem is needed to easily manipulate the protesting groups.

RT: So the problem has to be economic or social rather than a regime problem, like a dictatorship?

MP: Yes, about 90 per cent of every society, including the societies of Central and Eastern Europe, are first and foremost interested in their social and economic interests. Which means they don’t care about politics, the political system or the character of a political regime. They’re just worried about their economic prospects and possibilities of keeping their families on a certain social level. This is the most important factor in every revolution.

RT: What is the infrastructure behind a protest?

MP: Really professional coordination centers… secret from ordinary protesters, but functioning very effectively.

RT: What is the share of people power versus the power of the people who actually pull the strings?

MP: Every protester has his own interests to participate in the protest, but it is really very easy for him to lose his rationality and become a subject of “emotional engineering”.

RT: When people realize they have been subject to manipulation – what is their reaction?

MP: Usually they do not realize they are subject to manipulation. It’s a question of the so-called information area or mass-media.

One of the very important factors in any color revolution is the control of mass-media. First you take control over alternative mass media which has good reliability in the opinion polls. Then you think about a color revolution.

One of the decisive parts of a color revolution project is the media.
This is not a war between the regime and the people. It is a conflict between PR specialists of the government on one hand and the protest movement, or some foreign powers engaged on the other.

RT: Talking about foreign powers – where does the funding come from for such [color revolution] projects?

MP: This is the most interesting question, and also the most guarded secret… Certain foundations from some western countries, including the US, funded protests in Ukraine and Belarus.

RT: Is the US always present in such conflicts?

MP: I’m not sure about always, but it is in most of the conflicts. Another factor here – you have geopolitical interests.

Every superpower like the US makes its decision: is it worth engaging, starting or igniting a color revolution or not? It is not only the US, but to be honest the US has the best experts in this area. The man who invented the whole technology is Gene Sharp [considered by many the world’s best expert on non-violent revolution, author of From Dictatorship to Democracy].

The US is the leading power when it comes to this technology, I can say.
RT: The US new ambassador in Russia Michael McFaul has admitted that America used to fund opposition movements and color revolutions but under a different administration, that it’s no longer done under the Obama administration. Do you believe that?

MP: I believe that Mr. McFaul is one of the best specialists and scholars working on color revolutions, including in Ukraine. He’s an expert. I don’t believe the US is not using this technology.

Sometimes a color revolution may not end on a peaceful note and may proceed to a civil war, the case with Syria and Libya.

RT: How much can a project like installing a new regime in Ukraine in 2003 cost?

MP: Most of them range from $20 million to $120 million.

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO news: April 25, 2012

April 25, 2012 1 comment

====

NATO Chief Calls For NATO-EU International Collusion

Polish Warplanes Tale Over NATO Baltic Patrol

NATO Prepares Bosnia For Full Membership

Russian Military Chief Repeats Anti-Missile Shield Pledge

U.S., Bulgaria Stage Major Aviation Drills, Aviano ‘Moves’ East

====

NATO Chief Calls For NATO-EU International Collusion

http://www.theparliament.com/latest-news/article/newsarticle/rasmussen-calls-for-closer-nato-eu-cooperation/

The Parliament
April 24, 2012

Rasmussen calls for closer Nato-EU cooperation
By Martin Banks

Nato secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen has called for closer Nato-EU coordination on security issues.

Speaking in parliament on Monday, the official also urged the EU to adopt the needed capabilities to take action abroad.

Fogh Rasmussen met MEPs on the foreign affairs committee to discuss the upcoming Nato summit in Chicago.

The meeting was also attended by members of national parliaments from member states.

He said that European nations should not shy away from a more robust role on the world stage.

The secretary general said European nations should have the necessary military capabilities to take action where it is needed, as well as shouldering a fair share of allied operations outside the Euro-Atlantic area.

He told the committee, “European nations must look outwards and stay ready and able to act for their own sake.”

He urged member states not to turn inward amid the economic crisis which has led to deep budget cutbacks at home.

“The need for a confident, assertive, outward-looking Europe has never been greater. That is why European nations must continue to invest in critical military capabilities – smartly and sufficiently. And they must continue to show willingness to use them when needed.”

Fogh Rasmussen said the difficult budgetary times necessitated the need for member states of both Nato and the EU to invest in efforts to pool and share military resources and to avoid duplication.

“If we help each other, and if we go for multinational solutions, then we can afford the capabilities we need in the 21st century.

“This is ‘smart defence’. And a crucial part of smart defence involves closer coordination and closer cooperation between Nato and the EU.”

He said the two organisations had to reinforce each other rather than competing with each other.

“We all have much to gain from a more capable European defence. Nato and the EU can and should play complementary and mutually reinforcing roles in supporting international peace and security,” he said.

The Danish official, in calling for closer Nato-EU ties, said Europe could not afford to be inward-looking especially at a time of great international uncertainty.

“This is a time when, more than ever, we depend on each other to ensure our shared security and preserve our shared values. So we need to keep investing in the security relationships that matter,” Fogh Rasmussen said.

He said progress had already been made, pointing to a recently agreed EU project to create an air-to-air refuelling capability for member states.

The secretary general pointed to Nato’s recent Libya mission where European nations took the lead in the operation, but he warned that the mission would have been less effective without the needed contributions made by the United States.

These contributions included air-to-air refuelling, surveillance and intelligence assets; areas where European nations have been asked to pool and share resources to bolster their capabilities.

====

Polish Warplanes Tale Over NATO Baltic Patrol

http://www.defpro.com/news/details/34768/?SID=2775fa6d119cfb4936ffaf690f04c0a7

Defence Professionals
April 24, 2012

NATO’s Baltic Air Policing Mission to be Transferred to Polish Troops

On April 24 two Mig-29 fighter-jets of the Polish Air Force will land in the Siauliai Air Base of the Lithuanian Air Force, the aircraft will conduct the Baltic Air Policing mission.

Polish Air Force which will be conducting the Baltic Air Policing mission for the fourth time will patrol the Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian airspace with four Mig-29 fighters.

The formal changeover between the neighbouring country’s air contingent and Germany’s air unit currently in charge of the mission will take place on April 26.

====

NATO Prepares Bosnia For Full Membership

http://www.setimes.com/cocoon/setimes/xhtml/en_GB/features/setimes/features/2012/04/23/feature-01

Southeast European Times
April 23, 2014

BiH edging closer to NATO process
Ahead of the NATO summit next month in Chicago, BiH must implement its political agreement on military property.
By Drazen Remikovic

Sarajevo: The clock is running for Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). The country has roughly four weeks to determine ownership of dozens of military facilities – bases, barracks and warehouses – before NATO holds its annual spring summit, this year in Chicago.

The sorting process is a crucial step in BiH’s path to potential membership in the Alliance.

On April 10th, NATO members meeting in Brussels made clear that BiH is on track to get the green light for a Membership Action Plan (MAP). Since then, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent a letter to BiH’s Presidency, asking authorities “to register these assets as soon as possible so that BiH can enjoy all benefits that MAP has to offer.”

Specifically, 69 pieces of property are on the table. Ownership is in question because they were all once in the hands of the former Yugoslav army. For example, in Republika Srpska, there are about 45 barracks. Just over half of them are to be registered to the state. The rest will be handed over to local authorities, who will convert them into a range of purposes.

NATO wants the list winnowed down so that BiH’s military can use what is left to its full capacity. When finally registered to the state, the armed forces will have unlimited use of these properties.

Currently, the value of all this property is unclear, but by some estimates it could be worth hundreds of millions of euros.

So while a political agreement was struck last month regarding the process, the Council of Ministers must implement it by the May 22nd summit.

Denis Hadzovic, director of the Sarajevo-based NGO Centre for Security Studies, told SETimes, “I think that the technical part of the property registration is much easier than the political part. I am sure that BiH will succeed in doing this; that we will bring a document to the NATO summit in Chicago that proves that we earned the MAP.”

Deputy Defence Minister Mirko Okolic seems optimistic.

“The Council of Ministers has already begun to work on this and I think that the job will be completed by the NATO summit,” he told SETimes.

But larger issues loom. “After MAP, I think political debate will follow on whether BiH even needs to join NATO, because there are different views on this issue in Sarajevo and Banja Luka,” Okolic added.

In mid-March, RS President Milorad Dodik reopened the issue of BiH’s membership, reiterating that the citizens of RS will decide in a referendum whether they wish to join NATO when the time comes.

Regardless, Ines Kuburovic, spokeperson for NATO Headquarters in Sarajevo, said the headquarters has continuously co-operated with state institutions to help them meet the requirements to activate the MAP.

After meeting with BiH Presidency member Bakir Izetbegovic earlier this month, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the Alliance is committed to BiH receiving full membership.

====

Russian Military Chief Repeats Anti-Missile Shield Pledge

http://en.ria.ru/world/20120424/173017483.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
April 24, 2012

Russia Repeats Iskander Deployment Threat

MOSCOW: Moscow reiterated on Tuesday it may deploy Iskander theater ballistic missiles in the Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad that will be capable of effectively engaging elements of the U.S. missile defense system in Poland.

The missile defense system in Poland does not jeopardize Russia’s nuclear forces, Army General Nikolai Makarov, chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, said.

“However, if it is modernized…it could affect our nuclear capability and in that case a political decision may be made to deploy Iskander systems in the Kaliningrad region,” he said in an interview with RT television.

“But that will be a political decision,” he stressed. “So far there is no such need.”

NATO members agreed to create a missile shield over Europe to protect it against ballistic missiles launched by so-called rogue states, for example Iran and North Korea, at a summit in Lisbon, Portugal, in 2010.

Russia has strongly criticized NATO’s reluctance to provide written, legally binding guarantees that its European missile shield will not be directed against Moscow.

President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered an array of measures to strengthen the country’s missile defense capabilities to counter NATO’s shield, including the deployment of Iskander missiles on the border with Poland.

====

U.S., Bulgaria Stage Major Aviation Drills, Aviano ‘Moves’ East

http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=138690

Sofia News Agency
April 20, 2012

US, Bulgaria Stage Major Aviation Drills, Aviano ‘Moves’ East

The air forces of the USA and Bulgaria have started the most large-scale military aviation drills of their type entitled “Thracian Star 2012″.

The drills at the Graf Ignatievo Air Base near the southern Bulgarian city of Plovdiv are conducted jointly by the Bulgarian Air Force, the Romanian Air Force, and the 31st Force Support Squadron stationed at the Aviano Air Base, a NATO Air Base under US Air Force administration in northeastern Italy.

Because of the large number of US F-16 fighter jets participating in the drills – two squadrons of 16 planes each – Bulgarian media have been quick to note that the Aviano Air Base has moved to Graf Ignatievo.

The Graf Ignatievo Air Base has already been used jointly by Bulgaria and the USA for seven years. Bulgaria, Romania, and the USA have boosted their military cooperation in the recent years under the so called Task Force East (formerly known as Joint Task Force East). According to the Bulgarian newspaper 24 Chasa daily, the Romanian Air Force is also taking part in the Thracian Spring drills.

The Thracian Star 2012 drills taking place between April 17 and May 11, 2012, feature Bulgarian Air Force MiG-29, MiG-21, Su-25, and Spartan C-27J planes; US Air Force F-16s, and Romanian Air Force MiG-21s

The drills are managed by Bulgarian Brigade General Rumen Radev, deputy commander of the Bulgarian Air Force.

The Thracian Star exercises are the most large-scale stationing of military staff and equipment from Bulgaria’s allies, Capt. Nadezhda Topurova, PR of the Graf Ignatievo Air Base has explained.

The major goals of the drills are to improve the tactical interoperability of the US Air Force in Europe and Bulgarian and Romanian military aviation.

According to the Bulgarian press, some of the drills will feature US F-16 strikes at the Koren training ground near Haskovo, with the Bulgarian planes protecting the strikes from the Romanian pilots.

====

Categories: Uncategorized

U.S. Leads Largest Air Combat Exercises In Bulgaria’s History

Stop NATO
April 24, 2012

U.S. Leads Largest Air Combat Exercises In Bulgaria’s History
Rick Rozoff


U.S. F-16 Fighting Falcons with the 510th Fighter Squadron during NATO’s bombing campaign in Yugoslavia in 1999

On April 18 U.S. Air Forces in Europe began the largest air exercise in the history of Bulgaria, no doubt in that of the Balkans as a whole, when 24-32 American F-16 fighter jets and 500 airmen joined Bulgarian counterparts for the opening of the almost month-long Thracian Star 2012.

Described by the Sofia News Agency as “the most large-scale military aviation drills of their type,” they include both squadrons of the U.S. 31st Fighter Wing based at the Aviano Air Base in Italy and the air forces of Bulgaria and Romania. According to the same Bulgarian news source, “Because of the large number of US F-16 fighter jets participating in the drills – two squadrons of 16 planes each – Bulgarian media have been quick to note that the Aviano Air Base has moved to Graf Ignatievo,” the Bulgarian air base from which the exercise is coordinated.

The commander of the base, Brigadier General Tsanko Stoykov, was quoted by the U.S. European Command website as stating:

“Bilateral training is important for us at Graf Ignatievo because it gives us a chance to implement new tactics and procedures and increase our combat capabilities. It also gives us a chance to improve our interoperability with our NATO allies and partners.”

The amount of F-16 Fighting Falcons and personnel accompanying them this year, “about twice the amount than any other U.S. Air Forces in Europe wing thus far” according to EUCOM, substantially surpasses the numbers in past joint U.S.-Bulgarian and U.S.-Bulgarian-Romanian air force exercises.

The first U.S.-led air combat exercise in Bulgaria, Viper Javelin in 2005, included one of the fighter squadrons assigned to the 31st Fighter Wing, the 510th, which returned in 2007 for Rodopi Javelin.

In the first Thracian Star exercise in 2010, the U.S. deployed the 480th Fighter Squadron from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany with sixteen F-16s and 280 support and maintenance personnel.

Thracian Star 2012 includes as many as twice the number of American warplanes and nearly twice as many airmen as its predecessor.

Thracian Star exercises are one of several regular joint U.S.-Bulgarian drills which also include Thracian Spring and Thracian Fall exercises.

The first joint air drills, Viper Javelin 2005, occurred the year after Bulgaria joined NATO and the year before the U.S.-Bulgarian Defense Cooperation Agreement was signed, replicating a similar agreement with neighboring Romania the year before.

The pact allowed the Pentagon to station as many as 2,500 troops at four military facilities in Bulgaria: The Graf Ignatievo and Besmer air bases, the Novo Selo Training Range and the Aitos Logistics Center.

In 2009 the U.S. armed forces publication Stars and Stripes disclosed that the Pentagon was spending $110 million to “build new military bases” in Bulgaria and Romania.

The newspaper specified that Washington was allotting funds for “a $50 million military base in Romania that could house 1,600 U.S. troops, and another $60 million facility for 2,500 troops in Bulgaria.”

The locations of the bases weren’t divulged, but indications are that the U.S. has upgraded and expanded Bulgaria’s Besmer and Graf Ignatievo and Romania’s Mihail Kogălniceanu airfields.

The U.S. created the Joint Task Force-East (now simply Task Force-East) for permanent deployments to Bulgaria and Romania in 2004, bringing it to full operational capability in 2008.

The task force, which has used the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment for Afghan war pre-deployment training in Bulgaria and Romania (for three months in 2009, with 30 Stryker Combat Vehicles), has operated out of the Novo Selo Training Area in the first country and the Mihail Kogălniceanu Airfield and Babadag Training Area in the second.

In 2010 the U.S. Marine Corps inaugurated the Black Sea Rotational Force, which has been conducting multilateral training exercises, including live-fire combat drills, with the militaries of Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia and Greece for further NATO integration and for “downrange” military operations like the war in Afghanistan.

The ongoing Thracian Star air force exercises in Bulgaria are also being used for current and future combat applications, in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Thracian Star 2010 not only provided the venue and opportunity for U.S. F-16s to practice low-altitude training and practice for advanced weapons delivery, fighter maneuvers, tactical intercepts, defensive and offensive counter-air, destruction and suppression of enemy air defenses, large force engagement and close air support, it did so by pitting U.S. combat aircraft against Bulgarian Russian-design opposite numbers – MiG-21, MiG-29 and Su-25 military aircraft – the U.S. and its NATO allies can confront in the Baltic Sea region, the South Caucasus and elsewhere. (Washington has been pressuring Bulgaria to purchase 16 F-16s and Romania as many as 48 of the aircraft to displace and replace Russian aircraft.)

According to the Bulgarian press, this year’s Thracian Star – “the most large-scale stationing of military staff and equipment from Bulgaria’s allies” – includes Bulgarian MiG-29s and Su-25s and Bulgarian and Romanian MiG-21s. Drills will include “US F-16 strikes at the Koren training ground” with Bulgarian planes supporting them against “enemy” Romanian aircraft.

In early February Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Bulgaria and stated:

“Bulgaria is a very important, productive NATO partner. There will be a series of joint military exercises between Bulgaria and the U.S. this year. We are seeking ways to enhance the military cooperation and make a thorough review of its conditions and where it will go in the future.”

Shortly after Clinton departed, James Townsend, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for European and NATO Policy, and Major General Mark Schissler of U.S. European Command arrived in Sofia. Standart News reported that  “military cooperation between Bulgaria and the USA was discussed,” adding that “This extraordinary visit has additionally fed rumours about coming military operations in the Middle East and the formation of new coalitions of the kind existing against Iraq in 2003.”

The Bulgarian news source also said that “the situation in Syria was particularly paid attention to” and “Diplomatic sources…commented that the real reasons behind Clinton’s visit to Bulgaria are still to be unveiled.”

As many as 32 U.S. F-16s currently at the Graf Ignatievo air base could be used for an air assault against Syria. Or Iran. And in the future if a new Georgia-Russia conflict erupts in the South Caucasus.

There are precedents.

F-16s attached to the 31st Fighter Wing at the Aviano Air Base were used for missions over Bosnia in 1994 and 1995. The U.S. F-16 shot down over Bosnia in 1995 was part of the 555th Fighter Squadron, along with the 510th assigned to the 31st Fighter Wing.

In NATO’s 78-day bombing campaign against Yugoslavia in 1999 the 31st Air Expeditionary Wing, the largest expeditionary wing in U.S. Air Force history, flew almost 9,000 combat sorties over Yugoslavia, with the Aviano-based 510th and 555th squadrons accounting for 2,400 of them.

The 510th (afterward nicknamed the Balkan Buzzards) dropped 136,508 pounds of ordinance over Iraq in late 2002 as part of Operation Southern Watch.

The two U.S. fighter squadrons in Bulgaria have proven what they are capable of doing. At this very moment and in the future.

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO news: April 24, 2012

April 24, 2012 1 comment

====

Mediterranean: PACE Blames NATO For 1,500 Refugees’ Deaths

Colombia: Panetta Intensifies U.S. Counterinsurgency Support

NATO Soldier Killed In Eastern Afghanistan

Bulgaria: Pentagon’s NATO Surrogate In Southeast Europe

Shanghai Cooperation Organization Defense Ministers Meet In China

====

Mediterranean: PACE Blames NATO For 1,500 Refugees’ Deaths

http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_04_24/72760711/

Interfax
April 24, 2012

PACE blames NATO for refugee deaths

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe blames NATO for the death of 1,500 Libyan refugees who tried to cross the Mediterranean in 2001.

In a resolution released on Tuesday, PACE says the refugees had fallen victim to official negligence and non-assistance. The document mentions, among other things the events of March 26, 2011 when NATO warships ignored distress signals being sent from a sinking boat with 72 refugees on board. Only nine survived.

====

Colombia: Panetta Intensifies U.S. Counterinsurgency Support

http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=116054

U.S. Department of Defense
April 23, 2012

Panetta Promises Continued Support to Colombia
By Cheryl Pellerin

- “I affirmed that the United States stands in solidarity with Colombia and its campaign against [FARC], and that we will continue to provide training, equipment and assistance that Colombia has requested in order to defeat this common enemy.”

BOGOTA, Colombia: After a meeting today with Colombian Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón Bueno, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta promised the U.S. military partner of 60 years continued commitment and assistance.

On the first day of a weeklong visit to South America, Panetta said it is appropriate that Colombia was his first stop.

“This country is one of our closest partners in the hemisphere,” the secretary said, “and an emerging regional and global leader.”

After a meeting in Bogota, Pinzon took Panetta on a tour of some of the Colombian Army’s best Special Forces troops at Tolemaida Air Base, 47 miles southwest of the capital city. For an hour, paratroopers and other service members performed technical demonstrations against a backdrop of green mountains and dark clouds.

Later, in a nearby hangar, the two defense leaders positioned themselves at twin podiums and spoke with a crowd of journalists and broadcasters. Behind them in the hangar was a much-used Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.

“In our discussions today,” Panetta announced, “I affirmed that the United States stands in solidarity with Colombia and its campaign against [the narcoterrorist group FARC, for Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarios de Colombia], and that we will continue to provide training, equipment and assistance that Colombia has requested in order to defeat this common enemy.”

As one example, he added, “the United States is prepared to facilitate the sale of 10 helicopters – five U.S. Army Black Hawks and five commercial helicopters to help Colombia’s efforts against the FARC.”

After having been a “receiver of grants over the course of the last few years,” Pinzon said through a translator, “Colombia is now exporting knowledge and capacity in terms of regional security.”

What Colombian soldiers on land, sea and air do is appreciated worldwide, Pinzon said, adding, “We don’t forget that many of those capacities were developed thanks to the effective cooperation of the U.S. government.”

Panetta said the progress Colombia has made in resolving its internal security challenges has helped strengthen the U.S.-Colombian relationship and cooperation on regional security challenges, especially those emanating from Central America.

“Our two nations both understand that our security depends on stability not just within our borders but beyond our borders,” the secretary said.

From that cooperation arises the potential for the two military forces to work closely to help build the capacity of other nations in this region to address the same kinds of security challenges.

Earlier this month, during President Barack Obama’s visit to Colombia, he and President Juan Manuel Santos signed a new U.S.-Colombia Action Plan on Regional Security.

As part of the plan, the White House said in a statement, discussions between technical experts and policy officials will focus on four key areas that align with hemispheric citizen security goals and priorities.

These include fighting narcotics trafficking, combating crime, strengthening institutions, and fostering resilient communities.

Both countries, the White House said, will develop complementary security assistance programs and operational efforts to support hemispheric and international partner nations afflicted by effects of transnational organized crime.

“Minister Pinzon and I had a very productive discussion today,” Panetta said, “about the next steps we can take within the framework of this plan to achieve our shared desire for a secure, stable and prosperous Western Hemisphere.”

A specific step includes establishing a State Partnership Program between Columbia and the U.S. National Guard.

The program links U.S. states with partner countries to support security cooperation objectives of the region’s combatant commander.

“This program has helped deepen our defense cooperation with other partners in the region,” the secretary said, “including Chile, Peru and Uruguay.

State partnership programs, he added, “have helped us share lessons learned and expertise for disaster response and other missions where the armed forces can provide critical support to our civil authorities.”

Establishing such a program represents an opportunity to further enhance our capabilities in this area, and an important new avenue for defense cooperation, the secretary said.

====

NATO Soldier Killed In Eastern Afghanistan

http://en.apa.az/news.php?id=170275

Azeri Press Agency
April 24, 2012

NATO soldier killed in E. Afghanistan

Baku: One NATO soldier was killed on Sunday in a blast in eastern Afghanistan, the military alliance confirmed on Monday, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

“Two International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) service members died following an improvised explosive device (IED) attack in southern Afghanistan yesterday,” the NATO-led ISAF said in a press releases issued on Monday.

However, the brief statement did not provide more details and the nationalities of the victims, only saying “it is ISAF policy to defer casualty identification procedures to the relevant national authorities.”

Taliban insurgents, whose regime was toppled in a U.S.-led incursion in late 2001, have intensified their activities against Afghan forces and some 130,000 ISAF troops recently as spring and summer, known as “fighting season”, are drawing near in the insurgency-hit country.

A total of 122 NATO soldiers, with the majority of them being Americans, have been killed in Afghanistan so far this year.

====

Bulgaria: Pentagon’s NATO Surrogate In Southeast Europe

http://www.usafe.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123297515

U.S. Air Forces in Europe
April 23, 2012

Joint-nation NCO symposium empowers Bulgarian, US enlisted leaders
By Staff Sgt. Daryl Knee
52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

-[T]he relationship between Bulgaria and America is one founded on the continued ability for the NATO partners to rely on one another during situations ranging from training sessions to times of conflict.
“Even though Bulgaria is a small country, when we call, they answer.”

SOFIA, Bulgaria: The first Bulgarian and U.S. joint-nation NCO symposium takes place at the Bulgarian Land Forces headquarters here April 10-11.

The symposium’s goal is to allow American and Bulgarian senior enlisted leaders to share doctrine, strengths and leadership philosophies, which are designed to empower and inspire NCOs in both nations’ corps.

Some of the topics at the event include discussing the relationship between a commander and senior enlisted leader; evaluating the roles and values of the enlisted force; and motivating and leading subordinates. Military enlisted leaders from across the world will combine and share their experiences gained throughout their many years of military service.

U.S. Air Forces in Europe led the charge for expanding interoperability between the Bulgarian and U.S. NCOs in 2009 by researching ways the NATO partners could share education resources. The Kisling NCO Academy staff in Kapaun Air Station, Germany, began inviting Bulgarian service members to attend the 223-hour course, and one of the more recent graduates of the course was Bulgaria’s Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Ivo Bakardzhiev.

“It’s events like [the symposium] where people talk through their plans and goals to work together and come up with ways to solve problems together,” said Susan M. Sutton, Deputy Chief of Mission for the U.S. Embassy Sofia, Bulgaria.

Sutton went on to say the relationship between Bulgaria and America is one founded on the continued ability for the NATO partners to rely on one another during situations ranging from training sessions to times of conflict.

“Even though Bulgaria is a small country, when we call, they answer,” she said…

====

Shanghai Cooperation Organization Defense Ministers Meet In China

http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c154/400692.html

Itar-Tass
April 24, 2012

Shanghai Organization defense ministers to hold conf in Beijing

MOSCOW: Problems of regional security and struggle with international terrorism dominate the agenda of a conference of Defense Ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), who are getting together in Beijing.

Russia is represented by Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov.

“During the visit to Beijing we also hope to effectuate a number of bilateral meetings with SCO defense ministers and China’s top leaders,” Lieutenant Colonel Irina Kovalchuk, the Defense Ministry spokeswoman told reporters.

Besides, Serdyukov and other fellow ministers will raise the problems of counteraction to international drugs trafficking and the organization of a joint exercise on the ice.

Upon the results of the conference, its participants will sign a communiquй, Lt Col Kovalchuk said.

====

Categories: Uncategorized

U.S.’s Post-Afghanistan Counterinsurgency War: Colombia

April 24, 2012 1 comment

Stop NATO
April 23, 2012

U.S.’s Post-Afghanistan Counterinsurgency War: Colombia
Rick Rozoff

The Pentagon announced on April 23 that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has begun a trip to South America, arriving in Colombia as part of a three-nation tour that will also take him to Brazil and Chile.

It is his first visit to the continent as Pentagon chief, though he has visited often in other capacities, including as director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Panetta’s meetings with top government and military officials in the three nations will follow those of America’s top military officer, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey, in Colombia and Brazil late last month.

Panetta’s mission also occurs two weeks after U.S. and Brazilian presidents Barack Obama and Dilma Rousseff met in the White House on April 9 and agreed on the establishment of the U.S.-Brazil Defense Cooperation Dialogue, announcing that Defense Secretary Panetta and Brazil’s Defence Minister Celso Amorim will hold the first meeting in that format on April 24.

While on a scandal-plagued trip to Colombia on April 15 to attend the Summit of the Americas, Obama and his Colombian counterpart Juan Manuel Santos signed a new U.S.-Colombia Action Plan on Regional Security.

Colombia is the largest recipient of U.S. military aid in Latin America, though its population is less than a quarter of Brazil’s, and the third largest in the world after Israel and Egypt.

After the passage by Congress of the Clinton administration’s Plan Colombia in 2000, the military in Bogota has received approximately $7 billion in U.S. assistance, up from $50 million in 1998 when it was already the biggest beneficiary of American military aid in Latin America.

On October 30, 2009 the Obama administration and that of then-Colombian President Alvaro Uribe agreed on the U.S.-Colombia Defense Cooperation Agreement, which opened up three Colombian air bases, two naval bases, two army installations “and other Colombian military facilities if mutually agreed” to the Pentagon.

One of the bases obtained by the United States, the Larandia Military Fort in Florencia, is within easy striking distance of Ecuador, as the Alberto Pawells Rodriguez Air Base in Malambo is of Venezuela.

Colombia launched a deadly attack against rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) inside neighboring Ecuador in 2008, which the Ecuadorian government accused U.S. special forces personnel inside its country of having assisted. The following year the Colombian armed forces conducted an incursion inside Venezuela, seizing four border guards.

Panetta is in Colombia to coordinate a final offensive against FARC fighters, who have been battling the country’s narco-oligarchy and its political minions in Bogota since 1964.

According to Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs and Pentagon Press Secretary George Little, the defense secretary is to meet with Colombian Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon Bueno and General Alejandro Navas, General Commander of the Military Forces of Colombia.

On April 23 Panetta praised his military ally, stating, “Colombia, to its credit, has done a tremendous job in going after the FARC.” He failed to mention with, in addition to $7 billion dollars of Washington aid, U.S. helicopter gunships, planes, trainers and special forces troops.

Pentagon spokesman Little added, “Clearly we still have plenty to talk about in continuing to support the Colombians in their efforts against [the FARC]…”

When chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Dempsey was in Colombia on March 27-28, the Defense Department website reported that he visited Joint Task Force Vulcano, “a new interagency force aimed at defeating the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia…The strategy calls for Colombia to cut the FARC forces in half in two years.”

In Dempsey’s words, “They selected 2014 as a key moment for them, They want to accelerate their effects against the FARC.” With the Pentagon’s active connivance and assistance, which why is Dempsey was and Panetta is in the country.

Dempsey was explicit about the American role in the “final solution” of the Colombian civil war: “We’re getting ready to send some brigade commanders who have been in Iraq and Afghanistan down here to partner with their Joint Task Force commanders in a leader developmental function. The challenges they face are not unlike the challenges we’ve faced in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

The Pentagon’s website reported the following on March 27, worth quoting in detail.

Dempsey “joined virtually the entire Colombian defense leadership to visit Joint Task Force Vulcano,” just outside the town of Tibu, only three kilometers from the Venezuela border.

“The Colombian government established the task force in December. It is the latest effort to defeat the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia…

“Dempsey arrived at the base in a Colombian Air Force Mi-17 helicopter along with Colombian Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon Bueno and Gen. Alejandro Navas, commander of the Colombian Armed Forces.

“Following his comments, Dempsey discussed strategy with the minister and the chief of defense and also Army chief Maj. Gen. Sergio Mantilla Sanmiguel, Navy chief Vice Adm. Roberto Garcia Marquez and Air Force chief Maj. Gen. Tito Saul Pinilla-Pinilla.

“Before Joint Task Force Vulcano stood up, there were a small number of troops in the region. Now there are more than 10,000, [spokesman for the task force, Colombian army Captain Jose Mojica] said. The forces are composed of three mobile brigades and a geographic brigade. A fourth brigade is getting ready to deploy to the area.

“This is all part of an ambitious Colombian strategy to cut the FARC by half in two years. U.S. Embassy officials said there are about 8,000 FARC members now. Colombian officials spoke of the plan as the end game for the rebellion against the government after 48 years of intermittent war.”

Immediately before Dempsey’s visit to Colombia, U.S. Army South held talks with the Colombian armed forces in Bogota from March 19-23.

Three years ago CBS News quoted an unnamed Pentagon official stating, “The more Afghanistan can look like Colombia, the better.” The equation is now being reversed.

Other top U.S. defense and military officials have for years spoken of “coming back home” to the Western Hemisphere as the war in Afghanistan winds down.

Panetta’s and Dempsey’s visits to Colombia and their statements regarding the purpose of them leave no doubt as to where America’s new, at any rate expanded, counterinsurgency war is occurring. 

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO news: April 23, 2012

April 23, 2012 1 comment

====

U.S. Upgrades, Expands Global Missile Shield

25 U.S. F-16s In Bulgaria For War Games

U.S.-Bulgarian Exercise Improves NATO Interoperability

Two NATO Soldiers Killed In Eastern Afghanistan

U.S. Military Chief In Jordan Ahead Of Large-Scale Exercise

U.S. Military, Defense Chiefs Build Anti-ALBA Bloc In South America

====

U.S. Upgrades, Expands Global Missile Shield

http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123298784

U.S. Department of Defense
American Forces Press Service
April 19, 2012

U.S. missile defense counters growing threat
By Cheryl Pellerin

-The agency…demonstrated the first Aegis intercept of a 3,700-kilometer target using remote forward-based radar, he said, and the simultaneous intercept of two missiles by the terminal high-altitude area defense system, called THAAD.
-“This year the first two THAAD batteries will be available for deployment, increasing the number of Aegis-capable ships to 29.”
-Coming up…the largest missile defense tests in history will involve the first simultaneous intercepts of multiple short and medium-range ballistic missiles and cruise missiles by Patriot forward-based radar.
The United States has missile defense cooperative programs with the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, Israel, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Poland, Italy and many other nations.

WASHINGTON: Six days after North Korea’s failed long-range rocket launch, the head of the Defense Department’s Missile Defense Agency testified on Capitol Hill about bolstering U.S. defenses against a growing ballistic missile threat.

Agency Director Army Lt. Gen. Patrick J. O’Reilly appeared yesterday before the Senate Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee to discuss the administration’s fiscal 2013 budget request of $7.75 billion for his agency.

…Since 1999, the United States has invested more than $90 billion in missile defense.

The latest request, O’Reilly said, “balances our policies as documented in the 2010 Ballistic Missile Defense Review [with] U.S. Strategic Command’s integrated air and missile defense priorities, [Missile Defense Agency] technical feasibility assessments, affordability constraints and current intelligence community estimates of the ballistic missile threat.”

But the director expressed concern to the panel about two critically needed programs that are in jeopardy because of past congressional funding reductions.

The first, he said, is a missile defense sensor capability provided by the precision tracking space system, which allows space-based tracking of ballistic missiles. The second is the need to develop a second independent layer of homeland defense with the SM-3 IIB interceptor, a highly deployable missile that would destroy threat missiles earlier in their flight paths than the current architecture.

“I request your support for these programs,” O’Reilly said, “so that our homeland benefits from the same layered missile defense approach that we successfully employ in our regional defenses.”

The director described improvements made last year to the complex ballistic missile defense system designed to protect the United States and its allies. These include activating a new missile field and a fire-control node at Fort Greely, Alaska; activating an upgraded early warning radar in Thule, Greenland; and upgrading the reliability of three ground-based interceptors, or GBIs, he said.

“This year,” O’Reilly told the panel, “we continue to aggressively pursue the agency’s highest priority – to conduct a missile intercept with the newest version of the GBI’s exo-atmospheric kill vehicle after two previous flight-test failures.”

Also this year, the agency will activate a hardened power plant at Fort Greely, increase the firepower of fielded GBIs by testing and upgrading GBI components, and boost the capability of sea-based X-band radar, the tracking and discrimination radar used for the GMD element of the Ballistic Missile Defense System.

“Regional defense highlights over the past year include the on-time deployment of the first phase of the European Phased Adaptive Approach,” O’Reilly said, “consisting of the command-and-control node in Germany, forward-based radar in Turkey and an Aegis missile defense ship on station in the Mediterranean Sea.”

The agency also demonstrated the first Aegis intercept of a 3,700-kilometer target using remote forward-based radar, he said, and the simultaneous intercept of two missiles by the terminal high-altitude area defense system, called THAAD.

The THAAD element gives the missile defense system a globally transportable, rapidly deployable ability to intercept and destroy ballistic missiles in or out of the atmosphere during the final, or terminal, flight phase.

“This year the first two THAAD batteries will be available for deployment, increasing the number of Aegis-capable ships to 29,” the director said, and three SM-3 Block IB flight tests will show that last year’s flight-test failure is resolved.

Coming up, he said, the largest missile defense tests in history will involve the first simultaneous intercepts of multiple short and medium-range ballistic missiles and cruise missiles by Patriot forward-based radar.

The United States has missile defense cooperative programs with the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, Israel, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Poland, Italy and many other nations. O’Reilly said the agency works with more than 20 countries, “including our cooperative development programs with Israel and Japan and our first foreign military sale of THAAD to the United Arab Emirates,” and supports technical discussions with the Russians on missile defense.

Phases 2 and 3 of the European phased, adaptive approach to missile defense are on track to meet the 2015 and 2018 deployment dates, the director said.

====

25 U.S. F-16s In Bulgaria For War Games

http://www.usafe.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123298719

U.S. Air Forces in Europe
April 19, 2012

Fighting Falcons land in Bulgaria

Tech. Sgt. Brent Watkins, Airman Gage Boardingham and Airman 1st Class Corey Loesch, 31st Civil Engineer Squadron firefighters, test a barrier engagement on an F-16 after landing here April 17, 2012.

Graf Ignatievo is now host to more than two dozen F-16 Fighting Falcons and more than 500 U.S. Air Force personnel in support of Thracian Star 2012, a month-long joint training exercise focused on building partnerships and increasing interoperability with the Bulgarian pilots, maintainers, joint terminal air controllers, firefighters and security forces Airmen.

====

U.S.-Bulgarian Exercise Improves NATO Interoperability

http://www.usafe.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123298671

U.S. Air Forces in Europe
April 19, 2012

U.S., Bulgarian air forces kick off Thracian Star 2012
By Senior Airman Katherine Windish
31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

-While this is not the first time the Bulgarian air force has hosted American forces at Graf Ignatievo, Thracian Star 2012 boasts the largest contingent of Airmen to date they’ve hosted. In all, the 31st FW brought more than two dozen F-16 Fighting Falcons and more than 500 Airmen – about twice the amount than any other U.S. Air Forces in Europe wing thus far.

GRAF IGNATIEVO AIR FORCE BASE, Bulgaria: U.S. and Bulgarian Airmen launched Thracian Star 2012, a joint training exercise focused on building partnerships and increasing interoperability, during a ceremony here April 18.

Brig. Gen. Tsanko Stoykov, the Bulgarian base commander, welcomed the 31st Fighter Wing Airmen from Aviano Air Base, Italy, emphasizing the significance of the month-long exercise and wished them well during their deployment.

“Bilateral training is important for us at Graf Ignatievo because it gives us a chance to implement new tactics and procedures and increase our combat capabilities,” said Stoykov. “It also gives us a chance to improve our interoperability with our NATO allies and partners.”

While this is not the first time the Bulgarian air force has hosted American forces at Graf Ignatievo, Thracian Star 2012 boasts the largest contingent of Airmen to date they’ve hosted. In all, the 31st FW brought more than two dozen F-16 Fighting Falcons and more than 500 Airmen – about twice the amount than any other U.S. Air Forces in Europe wing thus far.

“It is my personal opinion that this is not only the biggest deployment but also the best organized and executed deployment in the history of our bilateral training,” said Stoykov.

[Colonel David Walker, 31st Operations Group and Thracian Star 2012 detachment commander] agreed, stating, “We very rarely send two of our fighter squadrons to the same location so in both scope of training and size this is historic for us.

During the exercise, American forces will work closely with their Bulgarian counterparts, increasing interoperability between pilots, maintainers, joint terminal air controllers, firefighters and security forces Airmen.

Brig. Gen. Rumen Radev, Bulgarian air force deputy commander [said]:

“The F-16s from Aviano have written remarkable pages in our aviation history,” Radev said. “In 2005, you were the first ones to open the door for realistic fighter training in the Bulgarian air force…During Viper Javelin 2005, we needed to prove that we could just fly together safely, [and], thanks to your support in Rodopi Javelin 2007 and other deployments, we proved that we can fly complex missions and do it in a fully compatible and safe manner. In this deployment, we will prove there is no limit to success when two nations share common values, stand firmly shoulder-by-shoulder and fly wing-by-wing.”

It’s been eight years since Bulgaria became a NATO member. Former President George W. Bush, accompanied by former NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, congratulated the prime ministers of Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, during a White House ceremony held March 29, 2004. Since the joining the NATO alliance in 2004, Bulgaria and the United States continue to build upon their partnership.

====

====

Two NATO Soldiers Killed In Eastern Afghanistan

http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_04_23/72632035/

Interfax
April 23, 2012

Bomb killed 2 NATO soldiers in Afghanistan

       
A bomb explosion in east Afghanistan killed 2 NATO soldiers, the British newspaper The Guardian said Monday.

The bomb explosion happened Sunday but the journalists found out about it only on the next day. There is no information on the dead soldiers’ identification and on the details of the incident.

Mostly American troops are located on eastern Afghanistan but there is a possibility that NATO soldiers could be those killed too.

====

U.S. Military Chief In Jordan Ahead Of Large-Scale Exercise

http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=116035

U.S. Department of Defense
April 22, 2012

Dempsey Meets With Jordan’s Defense Chief, Moves on to Afghanistan
By John D. Banusiewicz

KABUL, Afghanistan: Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, met today with his counterpart in Jordan’s capital of Amman before flying here for the second leg of an overseas trip.

The chairman and Lt. Gen. Mashal al-Zaben, Jordan’s defense chief, discussed regional security issues.

“Jordan is one of our most important non-NATO allies, and they’ve been actively involved with us in Afghanistan,” Dempsey told American Forces Press Service during the flight to Kabul…

Jordan and the United States have an enduring partnership that includes exercises and exchanges, the chairman said, citing the upcoming Exercise Eager Lion 12 as an example. The exercise will bring together more than 8,000 participants from more than 15 countries over five continents. Its focus is to strengthen military-to-military relationships of participating partner nations through a joint, whole-of-government, multinational approach, Dempsey’s spokesman, Marine Corps Col. David Lapan, said yesterday in Amman.

In his meeting with Zaben, Dempsey said, the two military leaders also discussed the Jordanian perspective on the situation in neighboring Syria.

Upon arriving in Amman yesterday, the chairman had a series of meetings with U.S. Embassy officials and took time to meet informally with service members stationed in Amman.

====

U.S. Military, Defense Chiefs Build Anti-ALBA Bloc In South America

http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=116037

U.S. Department of Defense
April 22, 2012

Panetta Visit to Expand South American Defense Ties
By Cheryl Pellerin

-Beyond the Western Hemisphere, the Defense Department is looking to Colombia and Brazil, both of which already have deep ties to Africa and now provide assistance there, to help U.S. Africa Command with peacekeeping and other efforts there.
-Panetta will…seek to expand the range of defense collaborations, including traditional military efforts such as training, exchanges and joint exercises.

WASHINGTON: During his first visit to South America as defense secretary, which starts today, Leon E. Panetta will meet over the next week with military officials in Brazil, Colombia and Chile, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said.

The secretary “is looking to expand defense and security cooperation with three important countries in the region and, increasingly, in the world,” Little added.

Panetta will travel to Brasilia and Rio de Janiero in Brazil, Bogota in Colombia, and Santiago in Chile.

This trip follows a late-March visit by Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to the U.S. Southern Command in Miami, Fla., and then to Brazil and Colombia.

In Brazil Dempsey met with Defense Minister Antonio Celoso Amorim and top-ranking military official Gen. Jose Carlos de Nardi in Brasilia, and in Bogota with Colombian Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon Bueno and Gen. Alejandro Navas, commander of the Colombian Armed Forces.

For Panetta, one set of discussions in South America will focus on partnering with Brazil, Chile and Colombia to help build capacity for the military to assist civil authorities in such Central American nations as Guatemala, El Salvador and Belize, a senior defense official told reporters in a background briefing on Friday.

“The challenges these countries face are towering compared to their own capacity to deal with them,” he said, adding that Brazil, Chile and Colombia already are significant contributors to building partner capacity.

Colombia, for example, offers capacity-building assistance in 16 countries inside and outside the region, including Africa.

Colombian service members have trained more than two dozen Mexican helicopter pilots and now train police in Honduras and Guatemala. The nation also provides assistance in nondefense areas like justice reform, the official said.

“By collaborating with [all three countries],” he added, “the United States can get down to specifics about which country will be conducting specific initiatives and what kinds of initiatives, so together we can ensure the investment we’re making … is as efficient and effective as possible.”
During an April 9 meeting in Washington, President Barack Obama and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff established the U.S.-Brazil Defense Cooperation Dialogue and announced that Panetta and Amorim would hold the first meeting this week in Brazil.

The DCD will help bolster cooperation between DOD and Brazil’s Ministry of National Defense, and between the nations’ militaries, the White House said in a statement.

Beyond the Western Hemisphere, the Defense Department is looking to Colombia and Brazil, both of which already have deep ties to Africa and now provide assistance there, to help U.S. Africa Command with peacekeeping and other efforts there.

“Africa typifies the situation we’re in, where the United States has limited capacity to help build partner capabilities,” the defense official said.

“Brazil and Colombia … are stepping up to the plate. Let’s collaborate with them, establish a dialogue between their militaries and Africom so we’re working in mutual support in an informed, cooperative way,” he added.

Panetta will also seek to expand the range of defense collaborations, including traditional military efforts such as training, exchanges and joint exercises.

“Clearly we still have plenty to talk about in continuing to support the Colombians in their efforts against [the narcoterrorist group FARC, for Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarios de Colombia or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia]to talk about counternarcotics,” the official said.

Panetta also will discuss new challenges like cyber security and defense support to civil authorities that offer opportunities for collaboration.

He added, “In the context of limited resources of the United States for defense … we have an opportunity to partner together with other nations so they become security exporters.”

Panetta, Little said, sees Brazil, Chile and Colombia “as increasingly important players on the regional stage and also in terms of their leadership roles internationally.”

====

Categories: Uncategorized

Malta: Case Study In NATO Subversion And Coercion

April 22, 2012 5 comments

Malta: Case Study In NATO Subversion And Coercion
Rick Rozoff

On April 20 the European Affairs spokesman of Malta’s opposition Labour Party, George Vella, demanded the resignation of the government’s permanent representative to the European Union, Richard Cachia Caruana, over the latter’s role in dragging the island nation back into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s Partnership for Peace program behind the back of parliament four years ago.

Malta joined the Partnership for Peace in 1995 under a Nationalist Party administration and after Labour won the following year’s parliamentary election it pulled the country out of the NATO military partnership used to integrate twelve Eastern European states – Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia – into full membership in the decade beginning in 1999, representing a 75 percent increase in the bloc’s membership.

Partnership for Peace obligations entail joint military exercises and training, visits by leading NATO and U.S. military commanders and naval forces, the creation of NATO bases, training centers and liaison offices, and the deployment of troops for the Alliance’s war in Afghanistan. Albania and Croatia were tapped for military contingents for NATO’s first Asian war before joining NATO in 2009 and current Partnership for Peace members Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Finland, Georgia, Ireland, Macedonia, Montenegro, Sweden, Switzerland (until 2008) and Ukraine have also supplied troops for the over ten-year-long conflict.

The complaint by the Labour Party against the ruling Nationalist Party is that the latter conspired in the person of Cachia Caruana with the American ambassador to the European Union in 2004, the year of Malta’s EU accession, to bring Malta back into the NATO program by circumventing the nation’s parliament. The source of that report was a U.S. diplomatic cable obtained by WikiLeaks.

Another cable obtained by the same source, this one from 2008, quoted Maltese Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi pledging to U.S. Ambassador Molly Bordonaro in January, two months before the election that brought him to his current post, that he would reactivate the Partnership for Peace program, which he did immediately after being sworn in as head of state.

According to a Times of Malta report of last September, “The commitment to join the PfP [Partnership for Peace] was never made public and was one of the very first decisions taken by the PN [Nationalist Party] government soon after the election, causing widespread furore.”

The newspaper added: “Another embassy cable, in February, giving the State Department an overview of the election that had just been announced, expressed concern that a victory for the Labour Party would impact US interests ‘in several ways, including by reducing possibilities for multilateral security cooperation.'”

And: “Malta’s participation in the PfP programme seems to have been of great interest to the US as evidenced by other leaked cables.

“A cable sent to the State Department by the US Embassy in Malta in November 2009 said former Ambassador Douglas Kmiec found comments by Labour foreign affairs spokesman George Vella on Malta’s participation in the programme as ‘troublesome.'”

“The ambassador had also noted the PL’s [Labour Party's] reluctance to accept any status of forces agreement (SOFA). These agreements generally establish the framework under which US military personnel operate in a foreign country…”

Malta’s abrupt withdrawal from the Partnership for Peace program in 1996 marked a precedent that has yet to be replicated. It was the first time since NATO’s founding 63 years ago that any member or any of its over 40 partners around the world had ever left the alliance or any of its military partnerships. Despite the fierce opposition by respective populations, as in Iceland in 1949, or lack of support among the populace, as with Greece in 1952, once a country is brought into NATO it never leaves. Is not permitted to leave.

The same coercive dynamic obtains with its partners in Europe, the South Caucasus, the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia, South Asia, East Asia and the South Pacific.

The surreptitious strong-arm tactics used by Washington to complete the subordination of Europe and the Mediterranean Sea basin to the military bloc it dominates have been applied to fellow island nation Cyprus, where in February of last year the country’s opposition parties conspired – in collusion with Brussels and Washington – in the parliament to demand that Cyprus join the Partnership for Peace as well. Cyprus is the only European state, excluding five microstates (Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican), that is not a NATO member or partner.

Cyprus is also one of only four Mediterranean nations, in addition to Libya, Syria and Lebanon, that is not a NATO member or partner. Libya, Syria and Lebanon are being eyed for incorporation into NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue partnership.

Cyprus and Malta are the only countries to have joined the European Union since NATO’s post-Cold War expansion drive without first having joined NATO:

The Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland joined NATO in 1999 and the EU in 2004. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia joined NATO in 2004 and the EU the same year. Bulgaria and Romania joined the military alliance in 2004 also and entered the EU in 2007. NATO is the gateway to the EU and the EU is the bait to lure erstwhile nonaligned nations into NATO.  

The U.S. and NATO intend to correct the two exceptions by using all means fair and foul, mainly foul, to recruit Malta and Cyprus into NATO through the Partnership for Peace mechanism.

Malta’s Labour Party specifically accuses the Nationalist Party’s Cachia Caruana of conspiring with the U.S. in 2004 to make the nation a potential troop contributor and base provider for NATO wars abroad, stating, “This is manipulation and goes against democratic principles as it places the interests of a foreign country above ours.”

Although the Labour Party has subsequently “adjusted” its position toward NATO integration, much like the Scottish National Party’s Alex Salmond, who may well deliver to NATO its 29th member, it is pursuing what is at least a point of procedure argument that the U.S. and NATO – which preach democracy and wage war – used underhanded methods in bringing its only stray sheep back into the fold. (One anticipates future revelations of Mr. Salmond’s backroom conversations with the American ambassador in Brussels or London.) 

Labour’s Vella implied that ahead of the meeting between the American ambassador, Rockwell Schnabel, and the Nationalist Party official eight years ago the second suggested a scheme whereby if it could be claimed that “Malta had simply ceased active participation in the PfP – but not formally withdrawn – it could state that the prior agreements remained in force,” according to the Malta Independent Online.

The WikiLeaks cable in question states, “This would spare the Maltese government from requesting a divisive parliamentary vote to join PfP, and could set the stage for Malta to participate in EU-NATO strategic discussions.”

The leaked document elaborated:

“According to his [Cachia Caruana's] interpretation, the government of Malta can argue that they never withdrew from or renounced the security agreement they had entered into with NATO as part of their PfP membership, nor did they rescind their adherence to the framework document.

“Such an approach would obviate the need to return to Malta’s parliament to request approval of a (new) subscription to the PfP framework document, and also eliminate the need to negotiate (and ratify) a security agreement with NATO.”

“Coincidentally,” as the Times of Malta put it, Nato’s Mine Countermeasure Group 2 arrived in Malta’s Grand Harbour for exercises with the Armed Forces of Malta’s Maritime Squadron on the day Vella issued his accusation.

According to the newspaper, “Officials said the purpose of the visit is to promote cooperation and understanding between Nato and Malta, building on the ‘excellent relations’ developed under the Partnership for Peace framework.”

Those excellent relations, not coincidentally, were in evidence in NATO’s six-month air war and naval blockade against Libya last year.

Malta, only some 200 miles north of Tripoli, was employed by the U.S. and NATO for their first African war.

In December of 2010 U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus began a seven-day trip that eventually took him to Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Italy and Algeria in the Maltese capital of Valletta. NATO’s Partnership for Peace, which the commander of the NATO naval group currently in Malta claimed “does not impinge on its neutrality,” has opened a lot of doors for the Pentagon and the Atlantic alliance.

Twelve days before the bombardment of Libya began, former prime minister Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici accused both the Maltese government and the opposition Labour Party of being “accomplices” to the impending war. 

He may have been alluding in part to the deployment of a Canadian reconnaissance team, medics, two C-130J Super Hercules cargo planes and two C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft to the country in late February in what the Canadian Press referred to at the time as “a signal of deeper military involvement in the crisis in Libya.”

Britain deployed early-warning aircraft equipped with long-range radar to Malta at the same time.

A few weeks into the bombing campaign several French warplanes, Mirages and Super Etendards, made what were described as emergency landings in the country.

In June the U.S. Navy led multinational maritime interdiction operations, Phoenix Express 2011, in support of the Proliferation Security Initiative from Souda Bay, Greece with the participation of naval and other armed forces personnel from Albania, Algeria, Croatia, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco,Spain, Tunisia and Turkey.

The U.S. Navy website quoted an American official attached to the exercise stating, “We want to help foster international relations and reinforce our standing commitment to NATO, as well as show our commitment to the countries of Northern Africa.”

In the same month, less than 90 days into the war against Libya, NATO’s top military commander, American Admiral James Stavridis, Supreme Allied Commander Europe and U.S. European Command’s top commander as well, made an unannounced visit to Malta where he met with Prime Minister Gonzi, the Armed Forces of Malta Brigadier, Martin Xuereb, and Director for Defence Matters, Vanessa Frazier. Their talks focused on Libya. Stavridis also visited the Maritime Squadron of the Armed Forces of Malta base at Haywharf.

His appearance there was confirmed in a post on his Twitter account which commended the host country for “provid[ing] superb help to NATO w/emergency landings & airspace & response to refugees as Libya ops continue.”

According to the Malta Independent, “Admiral Stavidris said he was very happy with the US engagement with Malta…during the time of operations in Libya.”

Two months later the guided-missile destroyer USS Carney spent four days in Malta’s capital.

At the end of August the Pentagon announced that it was sending $25 million in military equipment, small boats and other assistance to Tunisia and Malta, which as the Associated Press reminded its readers are nations that “flank Libya and are key allies in the tumultuous region.”

In October NATO signed an air corridors agreement with the Transitional National Council of Libya in Malta. During the preceding seven months what air traffic NATO allowed over Libya was coordinated from Malta.

The following month the commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and Allied Joint Force Command Naples, Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III (as of last month chief of U.S. Pacific Command), visited Luqa, Malta to meet with top government, defense and military officials. Maltese Brigadier General Martin Xuereb greeted the U.S. and NATO commander with full military honors, including a troop review at the Armed Forces of Malta headquarters in the capital.

On the occasion, U.S. European Command provided this background information: “With more than 33% of the world merchant traffic passing between Malta and Sicily, and more than 80% of Europe’s energy resources traveling near the island nation, Malta’s role in maintaining maritime domain awareness is critical.”

In December of last year the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) headquarters at Luqa Barracks gathered over 100 naval and coast guard representatives from several countries for workshops to begin the week-long Eurasia Partnership Capstone 2011 conference, co-hosted by Commander, Armed Forces of Malta and Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, and Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet.

The statement by a senior NATO officer in Malta two days ago that Partnership for Peace membership does not impinge on a country’s neutrality is a colossal lie. That applies to the partnership’s other 21 members as fully as it does to Malta.

As no NATO members or partners, collectively over a third of the nations in the world, will be allowed to withdraw from their commitments, the bloc itself will have to be dissolved, entirely and post-haste.

Categories: Uncategorized

West Pits India Against China To Subjugate The World

Global Times
April 22, 2012

India and China must remember common threat amid missile fuss
The article was compiled by Global Times reporter Chen Chenchen based on an interview with M.D. Nalapat, director and professor of the School of Geopolitics at Manipal University in India

====

The celebrations over the missile conceal the inadequacies and slow pace of the program, and hide the fact that successive Indian governments have capitulated to pressure from NATO to restrict the range and power of their launch vehicles.

By playing up the “China threat” and postulating that India can “counter and contain China,” vested interests are hoping to ensure that more and more money is spent on foreign weapons systems rather than domestic manufacture.

Bad relations between India and China will hurt both countries and aid those who seek to subjugate Asia and the world.

====

The successful launch of the long-range nuclear-capable Agni-V missile on Thursday was applauded and celebrated by many Indian analysts and media outlets. They associate the move with India’s wish to set China as a reference point for its military development, and believe that India is going to join the global intercontinental missile club soon.

In fact, India has little to celebrate. Up until the 1980s, India was far more advanced than China in both economy as well as technology. After that, China raced ahead, and today has outclassed India in both areas.

The Manmohan Singh government, because of pressure from NATO member countries, has kept a slow pace with their Integrated Guided Missile Program (IGMP).

The Agni-V is deemed to be in its final stage, whereas in fact the IGMP ought to have progressed to develop a range of 9,000 kilometers.

The celebrations over the missile conceal the inadequacies and slow pace of the program, and hide the fact that successive Indian governments have capitulated to pressure from NATO to restrict the range and power of their launch vehicles.

By now, India ought to be a space power. However, the country is so far behind China in this field that it is embarrassing.

India faces a huge vulnerability. More than 80 percent of its critical weapons systems are imported from France, the US, Russia and Israel.

If these countries cut off supplies or ammunition during a conflict, India would be helpless.

India’s recent military output, including a strategic growth in nuclear forces and arms purchasing, is designed to catch the eye. But for how long can borrowed weaponry lead to genuine security?

The fact is, weapons systems imported from abroad are subject to a massive risk of supply disruption.

Those in India who celebrate because the country has become a favorite destination of international arms dealers are just being foolish.

Sadly, it is easy to please the Indian government. All that is needed is flattery.

By playing up the “China threat” and postulating that India can “counter and contain China,” vested interests are hoping to ensure that more and more money is spent on foreign weapons systems rather than domestic manufacture.

It is also interesting to see the Indian public’s response to the boost of military strength, especially the latest test of the Agni-V missile. There are lots of nationalistic voices to be heard at the moment. They say that the Indian people are strong, the military is motivated and there is no fear of China among the ordinary people.

However, both countries should beware of efforts to create widespread fear and tension. Bad relations between India and China will hurt both countries and aid those who seek to subjugate Asia and the world.

Both Indian and Chinese commentators need to look at the bigger picture and focus on the common threat faced by both peoples; the efforts to derail their nation’s development and weaken them internally.

Patriotism is only genuine when it is expressed in a way that helps the country. If expressed in ways that are harmful to national interests, then it is false patriotism.

India still suffers from a lack of funds for infrastructure construction and public voices are speaking out to say that the government should spend more on civil livelihood projects, rather than military schemes. There are similar arguments in China, too.

At China’s stage of development, it is not possible to completely separate the military from the civilian.

In the case of both countries, the development of technology is crucial to a better future which means a certain amount of sacrifice has been necessary in recent times.

But it would be short-sighted to slow down on military research and development. On the contrary, technological innovation stemming from military research can help other aspects of the economy to become more competitive internationally. This has to be explained to the people.

Although there is an international effort to paint India and China as enemies and to make the two countries go to war with each other, such an effort will fail. The Chinese and Indian people share a long history and culture, and what is needed is more discussion between the two about their economics, education, tourism and culture.

We must create so many bridges of friendship that the plans of other countries to make China and India into enemies will fail. Together, India and China can make Asia strong. Divided, not only these two countries but all of Asia will remain weak.

The article was compiled by Global Times reporter Chen Chenchen based on an interview with M.D. Nalapat, director and professor of the School of Geopolitics at Manipal University in India.

Categories: Uncategorized

Yellow Sea: China, Russia Begin First Joint Naval Drills

Xinhua News Agency
April 22, 2012

Russia-China joint naval exercise starts

QINGDAO: Russian naval deputy chief of staff Rear Admiral Leonid Sukhanov announced here on Sunday the official start of the joint exercise with the Chinese navy.

Ding Yiping, deputy commander of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, delivered exercise tasks.

This marks the first naval drill between China and Russia, following four military exercises involving the two nations since 2005.

The April 22-27 drill, taking place in the Yellow Sea off China’s east coast, involves a total of 16 vessels and two submarines from Chinese navy and four warships from Russian navy’s Pacific Fleet as well as three supply ships being summoned for the exercise.

The exercise will focus on joint maritime air defense and defense of marine traffic arteries, including subjects of joint escort, maritime search and rescue, anti-submarine tactics as well as joint effort to rescue hijacked vessels.

Related:

Chinese, Russian warships gather for joint drill

QINGDAO, April 21: Chinese and Russian warships gathered at the eastern Chinese harbor of Qingdao Saturday to prepare for a joint exercise, slated for April 22-27 in the Yellow Sea.

A total of 16 vessels and two submarines from Chinese navy have been summoned at Qingdao of east China’s Shandong Province, including five missile destroyers, five missile frigates, four missile boats, a support vessel and hospital ship. Together with them are 13 aircraft and five shipboard helicopters. Full story

Joint navy drill to boost China-Russia military ties: senior Chinese officer

BEIJING: An upcoming China-Russia maritime drill will further promote strategic coordination and mutual trust between the two militaries, a senior Chinese military official said Tuesday.

Chen Bingde, Chief of the General Staff of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), made the remarks while discussing bilateral miliary ties and the imminent joint drill in a telephone conversation with his Russian counterpart Nikolai Makarov.

—————————————————————————-

Voice of Russia
April 22, 2012

Russia, China start joint naval drills in Yellow Sea
Mikhail Aristov

Russia and China started joint naval drills in the Yellow Sea on Sunday. The six days of the Naval Interaction-2012 drills will see the participation of a total of 20 warships and supply ships, as well as combat aircraft. During the war games, the two countries’ sailors will communicate in Russian.

The exercises will involve several simulated missions, including the rescue of a hijacked ship, the escort of a commercial vessel, and the defense of a convoy from air and sea attacks, a Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said on Sunday. For his part, Anatoly Klimenko, deputy head of the Center of Strategic Problems of Asia and Shanghai Cooperation Organization countries, said that the war games’ aim is to handle interoperability of the two countries’ navies to jointly maintain security in the pirate-infested Gulf of Aden.

“Right now, pirate attacks are not uncommon in the Yellow Sea, the South China Sea and the southern part of the Indian Ocean, which is why the current Russian-Chinese drills are taking place in the Yellow Sea,” Klimenko says. “Russia and China have held an array of joint military exercises since 2005 as part of their strategic collaboration within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization which has repeatedly called for fighting terrorism, separatism and extremism.”

Igor Korotchenko, chief editor of the National Defense magazine, says that despite the fact that Russia is not China’s military ally the two countries have regularly held joint war games.

“China is not Russia’s military ally either, which is why speaking of our armies taking part in joint military operations is irrelevant,” Korotchenko says. “But as strategic partners, we want peace and stability on our borders,” he adds. “In this regard, the two countries holding joint drills and military consultations adds significantly to boosting ties between Moscow and Beijing,” he concludes.

A Russian naval task group includes the Varyag missile cruiser, three Udaloy class destroyers and three fleet support ships. As for the Varyag, it is equipped with sophisticated multi-purpose missile system which is capable of destroying land and surface targets. The warship is also equipped with several anti-submarine mortar systems and torpedo launchers.

The drills are due to be wrapped up on April 27 which will see Russian and Chinese sailors hold a naval parade in the Yellow Sea.

—-

Itar-Tass
April 22, 2012

Russian, Chinese warships start joint exercise in Yellow Sea

MOSCOW: Russia and China start on Sunday the naval exercise “Sea Cooperation-2012” in the Yellow Sea, Itar-Tass learnt at the press service of the Russian Defence Ministry.

“The plot of the joint war games of the Russian and Chinese navies provides for accomplishing a set of tasks on organising joint defence and cooperation in ensuring security on sea lanes,” the Defence Ministry noted.

“The war games will be conducted in two stages and will round off on April 27. The first stage provides for resolving the tasks of basic preparation of headquarters and ship crews, and the second – training sessions of warships will be staged at specially pinpointed sea areas,” the press service specified.

“The information exchange on high seas between Russian and Chinese warships will be made only in the Russian language during the active phase of the ‘Sea Cooperation-2012’,” the Russian Defence Ministry emphasised.

The Russian side musters for the war games a force of Pacific Fleet warships, consisting of the missile cruiser Varyag, the big anti-submarine ships Admiral Vinogradov and Marshal Shaposhnikov and auxiliary ships as well as the big anti-submarine ship of the Northern Fleet Admiral Tributs and auxiliary ships.

Deputy chief of the Main Staff of the Russian navy, Rear Admiral Leonid Sukhanov is responsible for the exercise from the Russian side.

According to the Russian Defence Ministry, training of the joint headquarters of the exercise on conducting practical actions as well as training on communications between the joint headquarters and command points of forces of Russian and Chinese warships will be carried out during the war games.

Russia and China regularly conduct joint naval exercises. The largest Russian-Chinese war games on high seas were mounted in 2005 over the past decade. The Chinese side mustered over 60 surface ships and submarines, and the Russian – around ten warships, including two submarines.

====

Categories: Uncategorized

Norway: NATO Rehearses For War In The Arctic

Stop NATO
April 21, 2012

Norway: NATO Rehearses For War In The Arctic
Rick Rozoff

The largest military exercise in the High North, inside and immediately outside the Arctic Circle, since the end of the Cold War (and perhaps even before) was completed on March 21 in northern Norway.

Except for the crash of a Norwegian military transport plane in Sweden during its course the world would have been unaware of it.

Cold Response 2012 was conducted from March 12-21 primarily in Norway but also in Sweden with the participation of 16,300 troops from fifteen nations as part of full spectrum – air, sea, infantry and special forces – maneuvers against the backdrop of the past three years’ new scramble for the Arctic.

The term High North is a translation of the Norwegian designation nordområdene which was adopted by NATO in January of 2009 for its two-day Seminar on Security Prospects in the High North in Reykjavík, Iceland attended by the bloc’s secretary general, chairman of its Military Committee and two top military commanders, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe and the Supreme Allied Commander Transformation.

Four of the five Arctic claimants – the United States, Canada, Norway and Denmark – are members of NATO. The other, Russia, is not. In 2010 Norway became the first Arctic nation to move its military command center within the Arctic Circle, transferring the Norwegian Operational Command Headquarters from Stavanger to Bodø, a five-story complex built during the Cold War to withstand a nuclear attack. The preceding year Norway purchased 48 Lockheed Martin F-35 fifth generation multirole fighters.

Last month’s Cold Response was the largest of five such exercises held since 2006. The first was the largest military exercise ever conducted in Norway, with 10,000 troops from eleven nations. All NATO member states, at the time 26, were invited to participate. 
         
The next, in 2007, included 8,500 military personnel. The third, in 2009, consisted of 7,000 troops from eleven nations and the fourth, in 2010, included 8,500 soldiers from fourteen nations.

This year’s Arctic drills were almost twice as large in terms of troop numbers as any preceding one.

Information on the exercise was scarce before, during and after the event; even the full roster of participating nations was not disclosed by the Norwegian military.

According to the website of the Norwegian Armed Forces, military forces from fifteen nations were involved – NATO members Norway, the U.S., Britain, France, Canada and the Netherlands – as well as Partnership for Peace affiliate Sweden, part of whose territory was employed for the exercise.

The other eight nations were not identified but the exercise was described as a joint Norwegian-NATO-Partnership for Peace undertaking. One of only a handful of English-language reports on the subject, from Finland, confirmed that nation’s participation. Finland and Sweden are for all intents the 29th and 30th members of the Alliance.

The other Partnership for Peace states involved are likely to have been, among others, former Soviet republics like Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Ukraine.
 
According to the Norwegian Armed Forces, “The main purpose of this year’s winter exercise is to rehearse high intensity operations in winter conditions within NATO with a UN mandate.”

The source added: “Participants will rehearse deploying and using military reaction forces in an area of crisis where they have to handle everything from high intensity warfare to terror threats and mass demonstrations. The soldiers have to balance the use of diplomatic and military force.”

High-intensity warfare, terror threats and mass demonstrations in the Arctic…

It also described live-fire infantry, naval and air – with the participation of fighter jets and helicopters operating from several Norwegian and Swedish bases and from aircraft carriers – components of the exercise.

The ground forces included U.S. Marines. According to the Marine Corps Times, “After years of fighting in a desert environment, most Marines may not think of the North Pole often, but the area abounds with oil, gas and other minerals, making it one of the most contentious regions of the world.”

The same source quoted a national security and Arctic expert at the Washington, D.C.-based Center for a New American Security with the improbable name of Will Rogers:

“The importance of why we need forces capable of operating in the Arctic is very basic power projection — to make a show to other players in the international community that we are an Arctic nation, and we are going to protect our interests in the Arctic Circle.”

Britain deployed HMS Illustrious, its last-remaining aircraft carrier, which had to return home early for repairs after being rammed by a tugboat, thereby eliciting a few paragraphs in the Daily Mail.

A Norwegian C-130 Super Hercules military transport plane crashed in Sweden, killing five soldiers. A memorial service was presided over by King Harald V, the titular commander-in-chief of the Norwegian armed forces.

The assault ship HMS Bulwark accompanied HMS Illustrious, which carried eight helicopters, and the first landed British commandos as well as American and Dutch troops, equipment and vehicles on the northern Norwegian coast.

In the words of the commanding officer of the Bulwark:

“It is not simply park the ship and offload it. In war – and therefore in training – we have to take account of the environment, enemy forces in the air, sea, and on land, coordinate people into boats and naval helicopters, all to arrive on target, in the right order, at the right time, to achieve the battle-winning effect. Few navies deliver this successfully and most aspirants look to the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, and Fleet Air Arm, with our war-proven capability, for guidance – on the sea in the air and on the land.”

Regarding “war-proven capability(ies),” Defense Media Network quoted U.S. Marine Corps Brigadier General James M. Lariviere, commanding general of 4th Marine Division, present for the occasion:

“It was an opportunity to interact with our allies. Many of them are veterans of Iraq, Afghanistan, and anti-piracy task forces off the coast of Somalia. They all have a lot of experience working with the U.S. and our allies in various capacities…”

The U.S. uses the Bjugn Cave Facility in Norway’s Fosen peninsula for Marine Corps Prepositioning Program Norway, the Marine Corps’ only land-based prepositioning program. According to a U.S. European Command article of last year:

“Well guarded within 671,000 sq. feet of six climate-controlled caves, $420 million worth of Marine Corps equipment and supplies lie ready for real world use. The caves, located in Norway, serve as a key strategic storage site for the Marine Corps….The Norwegian caves are strategically located to provide support to the United States Marine Corps’ operations around the globe…[T]he equipment from the climate controlled caves of Norway has seen action in places as diverse as the deserts of Iraq and mountains of Afghanistan in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.”

The Helsingin Sanomat, which reported 215 Finnish soldiers participating in the exercise, characterized Cold Response 2012 as “a major military training exercise being held in the far north of Norway [in which] armed forces from 14 nations are protecting civilians in the same way as last year in Libya, and are fighting against the local opposition just as in Afghanistan.”

The newspaper also quoted a Finnish military media and communications officer stating, ”It would be silly to rehearse a situation if it were not realistic.”

A Swedish website, which identified Denmark, Spain, Estonia, Latvia and Switzerland as having also supplied units for Cold Response, published a synopsis of the scenario for the Swedish part of the exercise provided by the Swedish Armed Forces, which included:

A “strange group of people” have settled in northern Sweden and established a state called “Gardaland” from which they have invaded “an area in Norway,” after which NATO intervenes under a United Nations mandate.

The Ministry of Defence of the Netherlands reported a potpourri of unrelated and even conflicting scenarios that leaves the door open for any pretext for military intervention:

“The Netherlands Defence organisation sent 800 military personnel to take part in the exercise, including a large maritime detachment and units from the army and air force. The Dutch units left the Norwegian training area on 21 March, after a simulated attack lasting 48 hours. The emphasis was on beating off air attacks, combating submarines and covertly landing amphibious units. The scenario also included taking terrorists into custody.”

The Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 was deployed to the Norwegian Arctic island city of Tromsø for the exercise. NATO established a Joint Warfare Centre in Stavanger, which at the time hosted the nation’s military command headquarters, in 2003. According to NATO’s Norfolk, Virginia-based Supreme Allied Command Transformation, the center is “the jewel in the Crown of Allied Command Transformation”.

On the opening day of this year’s Cold Response, Igor Korotchenko of Russia’s National Security Journal put the event in geopolitical perspective:

“The current military drill takes place amid NATO’s increased activities in the Arctic. Apparently, NATO is set on obtaining a share of Arctic resources and is carrying out the naval exercises to demonstrate that its geopolitical and diplomatic efforts lean on military might.”

Vladimir Yevseyev of the International Security Center of the Institute of Global Economy and International Relations, as cited by Voice of Russia, added:

“[T]he exercises are being held on the territories of Norway and Sweden, in close proximity to Russian borders. They might thus be seen as a provocation. Russia has all grounds for concern given that ships equipped with the…Aegis Combat System can be deployed in the Arctic.”

The last sentence is an allusion to the U.S.-NATO sea- and land-based interceptor missile system, which thus far is limited to Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean Sea but could well expand into the Norwegian, Barents, Baltic and Black Seas in future.

The Western campaign for global dominance has reached the top of the world.

Categories: Uncategorized

Pentagon’s “Successful Plan”: Hundreds Of Tomahawks Deployed Near Iran

RT
April 20, 2012

Pentagon has ‘successful plan’ with hundreds of Tomahawks deployed near Iran

America’s plan B for Iran “will be successful,” promises US defense secretary, Leon Panetta. Reports suggest this is no sable rattling, as the US strike groups deployed to the Persian Gulf may be carrying some 430 Tomahawk missiles.

Washington has not yet dropped its “all options” stance towards Iran, who, they fear, may be building nuclear weapons. The confirmation was obtained by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer from Panetta on Thursday.

“We are prepared with all options on the table if we have to respond,” Panetta said, adding that “there are plans” to deal with Iran if the country does not give up its nuclear ambitions.

“I don’t think there is any question that if we have to implement that plan, it will be successful,” he added.

This practical approach sees two American aircraft carriers, their battle groups, several submarines and additional Marines deployed to the Gulf waters. Both the US Navy and the Pentagon say the commissions are “routine.”

Nevertheless, assessments made by Interfax news agency say that the group headed by the USS Enterprise alone has taken at least 130 Tomahawk missiles to the Persian Gulf.

The other group, which has the USS Abraham Lincoln as its flagship, has as many long-range cruise missiles of the same class. This group was last reported to be patrolling the Arabian Sea, where the US Navy says it is providing air support to NATO troops in Afghanistan.

The submarine USS Georgia, which is also navigating the waters, is estimated to be carrying 154 Tomahawks. Another submarine, assigned to an amphibious assault group, is reported to have 12 cruise missiles at its disposal.
All this gives a total figure of at least 430 Tomahawks with a range of 1,700 km on a routine voyage around the waters of the Persian Gulf. The missiles would be able to take out Iran’s air-defense system in its entirety and turn its military airfields into rubble, experts tell Interfax.

With all the military build-up in the area, Washington says the first round of nuclear talks with Tehran gave them “positive” feelings. However, no alleviating of sanctions against Iran’s economy has so far been debated in the White House, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared on Monday.

The USA seems to be between a rock and the hard place regarding the issue of Iran. On the one hand, Washington says they want Iran to drop nukes, but diplomacy comes first. On the other hand, the US has to restrain Israel as its Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has branded the first round of talks with Iran an international “freebie” for the country. He also makes it a point of mentioning at least once a month that Tehran is “an existential threat” to Israel.

Iran denies it is trying to build nuclear weapons, saying also it is their right to produce nuclear energy and radioactive treatment for cancer patients.

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO Baltic Buildup Threatens Belarus And Russia

April 21, 2012 2 comments

Stop NATO
April 21, 2012

NATO Baltic Buildup Threatens Belarus And Russia
Rick Rozoff

The defense ministers of Belarus and Russia, jointly the Union State, met in the Belarusian capital of Minsk on April 18 and underlined the need for the two countries to strengthen military cooperation in response to the qualitative intensification of North Atlantic Treaty Organization deployments and operations on and near their borders.

Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov stated, “We are troubled both by an increase in NATO’s activity near the borders of the Union and plans of the U.S. and other members of the alliance to deploy elements of a missile defense shield in Europe.” 

The Belarusian defense minister, Major-General Yuri Zhadobin, issued a comparable and complementary warning; he was paraphrased by the state-run Belarusian Telegraph Agency as commenting: “Preparations of international troops near Belarusian borders have been stepped up in recent years: plans of neighboring countries, which are NATO members, to modernize their military forces are being implemented, including ten military airfields and four seaports meant to receive foreign troops. There are plans to station US air forces in Poland in Q4 2012, with a modern air defense system deployed in the immediate vicinity of the Union State borders. All these factors force one to seek effective military and technical solutions to these threats.”

To believe that NATO has shifted its focus entirely away from its Cold War-era target, the now former Soviet Union, in favor of waging neo-colonial wars in the Balkans, Asia, Africa and the Middle East is both inaccurate and dangerous. Sophisticated, next-generation interceptor missiles slated for deployment in Poland, which borders both Belarus and Russian territory, no later than six years from now are assuredly not directed toward Iran, much less North Korea, and have no conceivable role in such standard NATO casus belli ruses as combating terrorism and piracy, fending off computer hacking or enforcing the Responsibility to Protect.

As the Russian and Belarusian defense chiefs noted, the most menacing moves by NATO are in Europe, most particularly in the Baltic Sea region, where any military conflict would immediately, inevitably, escalate into a confrontation between the world’s two major nuclear powers and the only nations with a triad of strategic delivery systems: NATO mainstay the U.S. and Russia. In particular, military aggression against Belarus, linked to Russia both through the Union State and the Collective Treaty Security Organization, could not avoid triggering a clash between NATO and the Pentagon on the one hand and Russia on the other.

At the end of February the European Union, in conjunction with the United States – collectively NATO – enforced new sanctions and travel bans against Belarus and recalled all its member states’ ambassadors from Minsk in an escalation of “regime change” measures alarmingly evocative of similar ongoing actions against Syria and those against Libya in 2011.

That NATO, emboldened by what it has celebrated as an unprecedented victory in Libya last year and avidly seeking a new mission after (if there is an after) Afghanistan could take military action against Belarus – or in the South Caucasus or against nations like Zimbabwe or even Venezuela – is not an unimaginable possibility. The bloc certainly arrogates to itself the option of doing so.

As mentioned above, the Western alliance is preparing the military infrastructure for doing just that: Air and naval bases, training and command-and-control centers, missile and radar sites, cyber defense (read warfare) and airlift capabilities, and integration of the armed forces of regional and NATO-wide armed forces in the Baltic region.

In March of 2004, three months before the three countries were inducted into the alliance, NATO began air patrols over Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania based in the air base at the Šiauliai International Airport in Lithuania. Conducted under the deceptively innocuous name of Baltic Air Policing, three-month rotations of four warplanes supplied by the U.S., Germany, Britain, France, Turkey, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Spain, Portugal the Czech Republic and Romania have flown near the borders of Russia and Belarus for over eight years. Estonia and Latvia border the Russian mainland and Lithuania (as well as Poland) abut its non-contiguous Kaliningrad district. Latvia, Lithuania and Poland border Belarus.

Before the patrols were instituted, the Russian defense minister at the time, Sergei Ivanov, warned that they would entail the deployment of NATO, including American, warplanes “a three-minute flight away from St. Petersburg,” Russia’s second largest city.

This February NATO announced it was extending the air mission until 2018, fourteen years after it commenced. Early this month U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton cited the Baltic operation as an example of NATO capabilities to be discussed at the bloc’s summit in Chicago next month.

The current rotation consists of German F-4 Phantom II long-range supersonic jet interceptor fighter-bombers. Germany has been responsible for four of the past nine rotations. Only in a world without a sense of history – even a sense of irony – could the Luftwaffe deploy combat aircraft near Russian territory and the fact pass without notice. 

On September 25, 2010 Lithuania’s near neighbor Estonia completed a three-year project to upgrade the Ämari Air Base to accommodate NATO warplanes. The government in Tallinn announced that the expanded, modernized Soviet-era base could accommodate 16 fighters, 20 transport planes and 2,000 personnel a day.

Estonia’s President Toomas Hendrik Ilves – born in Sweden and raised in the U.S. where he worked for Radio Free Europe during the Reagan years of the 1980s – at the time stated, “NATO will have one of the most modern air force bases in the region at its disposal.”

Three years ago a Polish news source disclosed that NATO had allotted over one billion euros to upgrade and expand military capabilities in Poland and had modernized seven military airports, two seaports and five large fuel bases (12 in total were planned) and that six strategic long-range aerial radars had already been completed. The Atlantic bloc also equipped military airfields in Powidz, Lask and Minsk Mazowiecki with new installations to increase their logistical and defense capabilities.

NATO projects also include the establishment of air defence headquarters in Poznan, Warsaw and Bydgoszcz and a radio communications center in Wladyslawowo on the Baltic coast.

In June of 2009 then-Polish Defense Minister Bogdan Klich disclosed that NATO would inaugurate a Joint Battle Command Centre in the northern city of Bydgoszcz where NATO had run a Joint Force Training Centre since 2004, stating that “NATO has decided to heavily invest in Poland by modernizing military infrastructure including air and sea bases.”

Between 2006-2008 the U.S. delivered 48 F-16 Fighting Falcon jet fighters at a cost of $3.5 billion, which represented the largest defense contract by a former Warsaw Pact member state (except for Russia) since the end of the Cold War, the most expensive arm deal in Poland’s history and the first deployment of F-16s to Eastern Europe.

In addition to those F-16s, based near Poznan, last May the Pentagon announced that the U.S. will transfer 16 of its own F-16s from the Aviano Air Base in Italy to Poland along with Hercules C-130 military transport aircraft and special forces transferred from Special Operations Command Europe in Stuttgart, Germany.

A year before, the U.S. deployed a Patriot Advanced Capability-3 interceptor missile battery with over 100 military personnel to the Polish city of Morag, only 35 miles from Russian territory, in the first long-term stationing of missile interceptors in Europe.

In the third stage of the U.S.-NATO Phased Adaptive Approach missile defense program, to be implemented no later than 2018, 24 third-generation Standard Missile-3 interceptors – SM-3 Block IIAs – will be based in Poland.

In August 2008 the U.S. signed an agreement with Poland which includes a “commitment for both states to come to each other’s assistance in case of military threats.” It was the honoring of an analogous treaty with Poland by Britain and France in September 1939 that, the initial phony war notwithstanding, marked the beginning of World War II.

As part of regular exercises conducted by the U.S. and its NATO allies in the Baltic Sea, the latest Baltic Region Training Event (BRTE XI) wrapped up this March 28 at Lithuania’s Šiauliai air base after German, Finnish and Swedish warplanes – Phantom, Hornet and Gripen fighter jets – participated in aerial exercises in support of the NATO air patrol operation. Finland and Sweden are being dragged into full NATO membership, first in Afghanistan and now in the Baltic, behind the backs of their populations.

Also last month, a planning conference for this summer’s Baltic Host 2012 exercises was held in Lithuania. The drills will be part of host nation support obligations in relation to NATO forces and conducted simultaneously in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

The U.S. Marines Corps last month released details of its role in the upcoming BALTOPS 2012 war games in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, the latest in annual Baltic Operations exercises, by quoting an officer with the Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO:

“This year the exercise includes land, air, and at sea activities all coordinated under a maritime-based Combined Joint Task Force led by Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (Strike Force NATO). Having performed the CJTF role in 2010 and leveraging recent Libyan crisis experience as part of Operation Unified Protector, Strike Force NATO is looking to achieve a much higher degree of interaction amongst subordinate air, land, and sea components spread across the 1,000 km wide training area.”

The U.S. Marine Corps website added that the exercises “will bring Marines and sailors from Black Sea Rotational Force 12, stationed in Romania, to conduct amphibious/land operations with Lithuania Army Forces, to include counter-insurgency and peace keeping training.”

A planning conference was held by U.S. European Command’s Naval and Marine Forces Europe and the Lithuanian armed forces at the General Adolfas Ramanauskas Warfare Training Center in Vilnius, Lithuania from February 27-March 2 for the purpose.

The U.S. and NATO have turned the Baltic Sea into a powder keg that can be set aflame by a single carelessly tossed match, and “leveraging recent Libyan crisis experience” will not permit the resultant conflagration to be contained.

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO In Azerbaijan: Confronting Armenia And Iran

News.Az
April 20, 2012

Azerbaijan-NATO cooperation makes Iranian and Armenian officials vulnerable
Edited by RR

News.Az reprints from the blog Streit Talk the article “Azerbaijan-NATO Cooperation Makes Iranian and Armenian Officials Vulnerable” by Galib Mammadov.

In February 2012 Ilham Aliyev met with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and expressed Azerbaijan’s desire to expand the NATO partnership. NATO has a continued interest in cooperating with Azerbaijan, as 30% of NATO’s shipments to Afghanistan are being carried via Azerbaijan. In the meeting President Aliyev said that Azerbaijan is willing to continue to be a reliable partner to NATO.

Although Azerbaijan is not a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member state, Azerbaijan’s relations with the organization date back to March, 1992. The former President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev, signed the Partnership for Peace Framework Document in 1994. At that time Azerbaijan, together with 37 Central and Eastern European and former Soviet countries, joined the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (NACC) which in 1997 transformed into the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council. Continued cooperation with NATO accelerates Azerbaijan’s integration into Euro-Atlantic structures, and gives Azerbaijan a chance to participate in NATO-led operations and accelerate reform in the defense and security sectors.

Azerbaijan’s willingness to cooperate with NATO makes some of its neighbor countries like Armenia and Iran feel vulnerable. The Armenian government considers the upgrading of the Azerbaijani army to NATO standards as a threat…The Azerbaijani President mentioned many times the possibility of using hard power to resolve the [Nagorno-Karabakh] conflict if peaceful talks do not work. Azerbaijan’s pro-west policy helps the country to increase its influence in the region, and Armenian officials understand that it will be harder to negotiate with a NATO power.

Azerbaijan’s relations with its neighbor, Iran are also very tense. Iran is now home to more than 25 million Azerbaijanis…The majority of Azerbaijanis living in Iran want independence from the Mullah Regime, and this desire for independence makes the Iranian regime vulnerable. Iran fears that Azerbaijan can exploit ethnic Azerbaijanis to detach the territory from Iran…

Azerbaijani officials have never openly supported Iranian Azerbaijanis in their battle against the regime. If Azerbaijan becomes a NATO member as a result of the close partnership with the organization, Azerbaijani officials will have more power to be able openly support the independence of Southern Azerbaijan.

Relations were also tense because of a dispute over the legal status of the Caspian Sea…Iran was excluded from the Contract of the century in 1995 due to U.S. pressure. U.S. officials openly demanded that Azerbaijan exclude Iran from the Contract of the Century; otherwise American companies would withdraw from the contract. In protest, Iran brought forth the issue of legal status of Caspian Sea and claimed that it is illegal to exploit its resources without the accordance of all Caspian states. Despite Iranian warnings Azerbaijan continued its offshore exploitation.

…In August 2001, a Turkish Air Force division called the “Turkish Stars” had a demonstration in Baku which was attended by Azerbaijani President, Ilham Aliyev. Turkey is a historic NATO member. Many experts stated that with that [action] Turkey protected NATO’s and Azerbaijan’s interest in the region against Iran. Azerbaijan’s NATO membership would increase Azerbaijan’s bargaining power on the issue of legal status of the Caspian Sea.

The Azerbaijan-NATO partnership increases Azerbaijan’s security against its neighbors like Armenia and Iran. The Azerbaijani army and its regional importance are not the same as they were in 2001. Azerbaijan’s pro-west policies and its partnership with NATO include the country in the West’s sphere of interests. Projects like the Trans-Anatolia gas pipeline and the Nabucco pipeline also serve this purpose, as they are very important for Europe’s energy security and for Azerbaijan’s increasing importance in the region. Thus, any threat to Azerbaijan’s national security coming from Iran or Armenia is in conflict with the West’s/NATO’s regional interests.

…A possibility of three NATO members in the region—Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Georgia—would undermine Iran’s regional policy.

Categories: Uncategorized

Japan Flexing Its Military Muscle

April 20, 2012 3 comments

China Daily
April 20, 2012

Japan flexing its military muscle
By Cai Hong

====

Although Japan’s Constitution forbids offensive military operations, Japan has quietly built one of the most capable armed forces in the world. It has more than 250,000 men and women in uniform and its annual defense budget is about $56 billion, among the six largest in the world.

Now Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force has established its first overseas military base in Djibouti since World War II in the name of fighting piracy.

====

Japan is building its military muscle to play a bigger role in Asia and the rest of the world, and it is making its military might more visible.

Japan changed its defense policy last December to allow Japanese companies to export weapons and collaborate with countries other than its main ally, the US.

During British Prime Minister David Cameron’s visit to Tokyo last week, it inked a deal with Britain on jointly developing and building defense equipment. It was Japan’s first weapons-building covenant with a country other than the United States since World War II.

Japan’s desire to build up its military strength has been fueled by the pivoting of the US’ strategic focus to the Asia-Pacific region.

In January US President Barack Obama outlined a new national defense strategy refocusing on what he described as a smaller, more agile force across Asia, the Pacific and the Middle East in line with the country’s planned cuts in defense spending. The new defense strategy called on US allies to boost their military roles in the years ahead.

Japan and the US have jointly conducted weapons research and development to step up their security alliance, but that’s not enough as Japan is expected to play a greater role in international peacekeeping, humanitarian support and to contribute to anti-piracy and anti-terrorism efforts, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said.

The easing of the ban allows Japanese defense contractors to get access to cutting-edge weapons technology from other countries.

“We should acquire the most advanced defense technology to upgrade the capability of Japanese defense industry and cut production costs by pursuing international joint development and production of defense equipment,” Fujimura said.

The joint development deal between Japan and Britain is the first step.

Although Japan’s Constitution forbids offensive military operations, Japan has quietly built one of the most capable armed forces in the world. It has more than 250,000 men and women in uniform and its annual defense budget is about $56 billion, among the six largest in the world.

Japan is also extending its military presence overseas and focusing on the operational flexibility of its forces.

Japan managed to send the Maritime Self-Defense Force to the sea off Somalia in 2009 by using the pretext of “counter-piracy” actions in the region.

Now Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force has established its first overseas military base in Djibouti since World War II in the name of fighting piracy.

Djibouti rests at the confluence of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, across from strife-torn Yemen, and borders the northwest corner of equally conflict-ridden Somalia. The narrow span of water separating it from Yemen is the gateway for all maritime traffic passing between the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean via the Suez Canal, the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea.

However, the Japanese Constitution does not allow the SDF to be sent abroad even to “counter” pirates. This is clear from the official government interpretation that the SDF is the minimum unit of organized force to defend Japan.

In a further move to flex its military muscle, Japan’s Foreign Ministry is also planning to dispatch officials to the Philippines in May to determine the type and number of patrol vessels to be sent to the country, according to Kyodo News.

The government is considering providing the Philippines with patrol vessels and a sea-ground communications system as part of its official development assistance

Using China’s growth as an excuse, Japan is raising the capabilities of its forces and moving further away from the principles of its pacifist constitution.

This is no good news for the victim nations of Japanese military aggression during World War II.

The author is a senior writer with China Daily.

Categories: Uncategorized

Chicago Summit: NATO Prepares For Operations Until 2020 And Beyond…Throughout The Galaxy

April 19, 2012 2 comments

Stop NATO
April 19, 2012

NATO Prepares For Operations Until 2020 And Beyond…Throughout The Galaxy
Rick Rozoff

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization held meetings of the defense and foreign ministers of its 28 member states on April 18 and April 19 ahead of and in preparation for next month’s two-day summit in Chicago, identified by NATO as the largest in the military bloc’s 63-year, 25-summit history.

The meeting of foreign ministers also included 22 counterparts from NATO partner states in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the South Pacific.

Undaunted by the war in Afghanistan that has lasted over ten and a half years with at least two and a half more to go and by the air war of last year that plunged Libya into irreparable chaos and bloody internecine warfare, Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen crowed: “We will ensure that our Alliance has the modern, deployable and connected forces that we need for the next decade and beyond.”

Reiterating the point in reference to one of the three main topics to be discussed at the Chicago summit, upgrading and integrating NATO’s military capabilities, he added: “The defence package will not be a one-off, or the end of the story. This is not just about NATO 2012. And it’s not just about one summit. It’s about keeping our Alliance fit for the long term – for 2020 and beyond.”

Not only is the Atlantic alliance the sole military bloc surviving the Cold War, the largest in history and the longest-lived in modern times, it also has no intention of ever dissolving, instead being intent on expanding memberships, partnerships and operations ever farther around the world, ever farther from the ocean that gives it its name.

In January NATO hosted the chiefs of defense staff (CHODS), the NATO designation for top military officials like the U.S.’s chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey and his opposite numbers in other nations, of 67 countries at the bloc’s headquarters in Brussels. There are 194 members of the United Nations, dozens of them microstates (30 with populations under half a million). The top military chiefs gathered at NATO headquarters in January, then, accounted for over a third of the world’s nations and an even larger percentage of major ones.

The meeting of the leading military commanders of so many nations at one time is unparalleled in history. Such a convocation suggests a world war – a real one encompassing the entire globe unlike the two conflicts of the last century that are referred to as such – if not a science fiction scenario in which the planet unites against a common threat from another galaxy.

Sound far-fetched? Seven years ago General Harald Kujat of Germany addressed the NATO Military Committee he was the chairman of at the time and boasted of NATO: “[I]t is the most powerful Alliance in this galaxy. Not only on this globe.

Today the Earth and tomorrow the island universe.

Categories: Uncategorized

U.S. Holds First First-Ever Defense Talks With Bangladesh

Xinhua News Agency
April 19, 2012

Bangladesh, U.S. first-ever security talks end, no media briefing

Bangladesh: U.S. And NATO Forge New Military Partnership In South Asia

         
DHAKA: The first-ever security talks between Bangladesh and the United States were held in Dhaka Thursday focusing on security challenges facing the two countries and the region at large.

The day-long dialogue came about two months after reports were published in both local and foreign media that the U.S. special forces were present in five South Asian countries, including Bangladesh which Dhaka and Washigton later rejected.

The closed-door dialogue, which began at 9:00 a.m. local time, concluded in the evening without holding any media briefing on the outcome of the talks.

Although the Bangladesh side preferred to remain mum after Thursday’s first-ever security talks, the U.S. embassy in Dhaka said, “This inaugural Dialogue on Security Issues highlights the robust engagement between the United States and Bangladesh as well as our growing defense relationship.”

Moving forward, the embassy in a statement issued at midday before the end of the talks also said that the U.S.-Bangladesh Security Dialogue will broaden and strengthen bilateral cooperation on a wide range of political-military issues, and enhance partnerships in peacekeeping, joint military exercises and exchanges, counterterrorism, and security cooperation.

“The positive and substantial exchanges of the dialogue reflect the breadth, depth, and strength of the bilateral defense relationship, as well as our shared commitment to peace and prosperity in the region,” said the U.S. in the statement.

According to an official in the Bangladesh’s Minsitry of Foreign Affairs, some 32 senior officials – 21 from Bangladesh and 11 from the U.S. – took part in the dialogue at the Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies.

Mustafa Kamal, additional secretary of Bangladesh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, led the Bangladesh delegation while U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Andrew J. Shapiro, who arrived in Dhaka on Wednesday afternoon, led his side at the dialogue, said the official who preferred to be unnamed.

Foreign Ministry officials described the dialogue as an effort to explore avenues of cooperation in security-related issues, local leading English newspaper The Independent said in a report Thursday.

Quoting the unnamed Foreign Ministry officials, it also said that currently cooperation existed separately between Dhaka and Washington in the fields of army, defence and disaster management.

“…..We want to work together on all of the security challenges that we face here through this region and the world,” U. S. Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman told reporters after an hour-long meeting with the Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Dipu Moni in the first week of this month.

Although Moni then said that there would be a briefing after the security talks, no journalists were invited to cover the event.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman who preferred to be unnamed confirmed that the ministry will not even issue a statement on outcome of the talks.

Categories: Uncategorized

China, Russia To Hold Joint Naval Drill In Yellow Sea

Xinhua News Agency
April 17, 2012

Joint navy drill to boost China-Russia military ties: senior Chinese officer

====

Friendly military-to-military cooperation is an important aspect of the China-Russia strategic partnership, Chen [Bingde, Chief of the General Staff of the People's Liberation Army] said, adding the drill is the first of such moves by the two countries’ navies.

Chen also said the drill would strengthen the naval forces’ ability to jointly confront new regional threats and demonstrate their confidence to maintain peace and stability in the region and world.

====

BEIJING: An upcoming China-Russia maritime drill will further promote strategic coordination and mutual trust between the two militaries, a senior Chinese military official said Tuesday.

Chen Bingde, Chief of the General Staff of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), made the remarks while discussing bilateral miliary ties and the imminent joint drill in a telephone conversation with his Russian counterpart Nikolai Makarov.

The maneuver will take place on April 22-27 in the Yellow Sea near China’s eastern coastal resort city of Qingdao.

Friendly military-to-military cooperation is an important aspect of the China-Russia strategic partnership, Chen said, adding the drill is the first of such moves by the two countries’ navies.

Chen also said the drill would strengthen the naval forces’ ability to jointly confront new regional threats and demonstrate their confidence to maintain peace and stability in the region and world.

Makarov, for his part, said Russia sees great importance in promoting cooperation between the two militaries and the naval exercise shows that bilateral strategic coordination is at a high level.

He also said lots of preparation has already been done by both sides, and Russia would like to work with China in ensuring that the drill is a success so as to make contributions to preserving security and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.

The two generals approved the program of the drill.

According to the introduction of an army general with the foreign affairs office of China’s defense department, the drill will focus on joint maritime defense and protection of navigation. It will involve 16 vessels including destroyers, frigates, support and hospital ships, and two submarines.

Meanwhile, four warships from Russia’s Pacific Fleet, as well as support vessels, warplanes, helicopters and naval infantry, left Vladivostok on Sunday for the exercise.

Since 2005, China and Russia have conducted several joint military exercises within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

Categories: Uncategorized

Secessionist Threat In Macedonia: New War In Balkans?

April 19, 2012 3 comments

ADN Kronos International
April 17, 2012

Macedonia: Mysterious ‘army’ threatens ‘liberation of Albanian lands’

====

Ethnic Albanians rebelled in 2001…gaining concessions from the government under international [NATO, U.S., EU] mediation. But tensions have been running high ever since.

====

Skopje: Tensions were high in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on Tuesday, less than a week after the murder of five Macedonians near the capital of Skopje, as a mysterious “army” threatened a “liberation of occupied Albanian lands”

The until recently unknown “The Army for Liberation of Occupied Albanian Lands”, in a statement published by the Macedonian media, gave the government an ultimatum to withdraw in two weeks from what it called “occupied Albanians lands” or face reprisals.

The “army’ said it has decided at a meeting of its “general staff” it would attack “Slavo-Macedonian police and military structures” if they don’t withdraw from the territory inhabited by ethnic Albanians.

Ethnic Albanians, who make about 25 percent of Macedonia’s two million population, are concentrated mostly in the west of the country bordering Albania, but there are numerous cities, like Skopje, with a mixed population.

Five Macedonian youths and a middle aged man were killed last week near a lake north of Skopje while fishing and local media speculated the murders were ethnically motivated.

The police still haven’t discovered the perpetrators and about one thousand Macedonians protested in Skopje Monday evening, smashing windows at a government building and clashing with police.

Six people, including three policemen, were injured in the clashes and fourteen protesters were arrested as police blocked demonstrators from marching onto Albanian section of the city.

Ethnic Albanians rebelled in 2001…gaining concessions from the government under international [NATO, U.S., EU] mediation. But tensions have been running high ever since.

Macedonians are Slavs and the mysterious army has accused prime minister Nikola Gruevski of “daily violations of the rights of Albanians”, of “spreading anti-Albanian ideology, staging attacks on innocent Albanians and of blocking Albanian villages”.

“We have been silent long enough, the silence is now over,” the statement said. It vowed to “revenge brothers” and to “respond on fire with fire, an eye for an eye and an arm for an arm”.

Categories: Uncategorized

Missile Race: India Must Not Join Western Containment Of China

April 19, 2012 2 comments

Global Times
April 19, 2012

India being swept up by missile delusion

====

India should…not overstate the value of its Western allies and the profits it could gain from participating in a containment of China. If it equates long range strategic missiles with deterrence of China, and stirs up further hostility, it could be sorely mistaken. 

====

India announced a test of its long-range nuclear-capable Agni V missile. The missile has a range of over 5,000 kilometers, meaning it could reach China. India apparently is hoping to enter the global intercontinental missile club, despite intercontinental missiles normally having a range of over 8,000 km.

India has moved rapidly in developing missile technology. It successfully launched the Agni IV with a range of 3,500 km last year. Indian public opinion has long seen China as its reference point for military development.

It seems India’s path for boosting its military strength has not met too many obstacles. India is still poor and lags behind in infrastructure construction, but its society is highly supportive of developing nuclear power and the West chooses to overlook India’s disregard of nuclear and missile control treaties. The West remains silent on the fact that India’s military spending increased by 17 percent in 2012 and the country has again become the largest weapons importer in the world.

India should not overestimate its strength. Even if it has missiles that could reach most parts of China, that does not mean it will gain anything from being arrogant during disputes with China. India should be clear that China’s nuclear power is stronger and more reliable. For the foreseeable future, India would stand no chance in an overall arms race with China.

India should also not overstate the value of its Western allies and the profits it could gain from participating in a containment of China. If it equates long range strategic missiles with deterrence of China, and stirs up further hostility, it could be sorely mistaken.

China and India should develop as friendly a relationship as possible. Even if this cannot be achieved, the two should at least tolerate each other and learn to coexist.

Their status as newly emerging countries shows the two should cooperate on the international stage. It would be unwise for China and India to seek a balance of power by developing missiles.

The geopolitics of Asia will become more dependent on the nature of Sino-Indian relations. The peace and stability of the region are crucial to both countries. China and India should both take responsibility for maintaining this peace and stability and be wary of external intervention.

China understands the Indian desire to catch up with China. China, as the most appropriate strategic target for India, is willing to take India as a peaceful competitor.

Due to historical reasons, China and India are sensitive toward each other. But objectively speaking, China does not spend much time guarding against India, while India focuses a lot of attention on China.

China hopes India will remain calm, as this would be beneficial to both giants.

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO Buildup, Missiles Prompt Closer Russia-Belarus Cooperation

====

Preparations of international troops near Belarusian borders have been stepped up in recent years: plans of neighboring countries, which are NATO members, to modernize their military forces are being implemented, including ten military airfields and four seaports meant to receive foreign troops. There are plans to station US air forces in Poland in Q4 2012, with a modern air defense system deployed in the immediate vicinity of the Union State borders.

====

Interfax-Ukraine
April 18, 2012

US missile defense plans prompting closer cooperation between Moscow and Minsk

MINSK: U.S. plans to deploy a missile defense shield in Europe and a surge in NATO’s activity near the borders of the Russia-Belarus Union are prompting Moscow to step up its cooperation with Minsk, Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said.

“We are troubled both by an increase in NATO’s activity near the borders of the [Russia-Belarus] Union and plans of the U.S. and other members of the alliance to deploy elements of a missile defense shield in Europe,” he said after a session of the joint board of the Russian and Belarusian Defense Ministries in Minsk on Wednesday.

“The present-day situation is prompting us to step up cooperation with our allies, primarily Belarus,” Serdyukov said.

The sides “plan to continue their constructive dialogue aimed at bolstering their common security,” the Russian minister said.

Moscow and Minsk “see eye to eye on key avenues of cooperation in military issues,” Serdyukov said.

“It was confirmed at a bilateral meeting [with Belarusian Defense Minister Yury Zhadobin]. We exchanged opinions on issues surrounding cooperation between the Defense Ministries,” he said.

“An informative and sincere discussion” took place during the board’s session, he said.

“We addressed the prospects for developing regional groups of forces of Belarus and Russia,” Serdyukov said.

—————————————————————————-

Belarusian Telegraph Agency
April 18, 2012

Defense Minister: Cooperation with Russia decisive for security in the region

-Preparations of international troops near Belarusian borders have been stepped up in recent years: plans of neighboring countries, which are NATO members, to modernize their military forces are being implemented, including ten military airfields and four seaports meant to receive foreign troops. There are plans to station US air forces in Poland in Q4 2012, with a modern air defense system deployed in the immediate vicinity of the Union State borders.

MINSK: Cooperation with Russia is strategic for Belarus and plays the decisive role in ensuring security in the entire region, said Belarusian Defense Minister, Major-General Yuri Zhadobin, on 18 April as he summed up results of the regular session of the board of the Belarusian and Russian defense ministries.

The Minister said international security and the military component are now more important. Preparations of international troops near Belarusian borders have been stepped up in recent years: plans of neighboring countries, which are NATO members, to modernize their military forces are being implemented, including ten military airfields and four seaports meant to receive foreign troops. There are plans to station US air forces in Poland in Q4 2012, with a modern air defense system deployed in the immediate vicinity of the Union State borders. All these factors force one to seek effective military and technical solutions to these threats.

Yuri Zhadobin stressed Belarus is united with Russia in matters of national security. “We act open, consistently and understandably, protecting national interests. Cooperation with Russia in military matters is strategic,” said the Minister. Belarus is interested in comprehensive expansion and enhancement of the cooperation, assured Yuri Zhadobin.

The session of the joint board of the Belarusian and Russian defense ministries in Minsk on 18 April confirmed it. At the session the sides came to terms regarding the operation of the Belarusian-Russian regional taskforce and the creation of the united regional air defense system. A list of military administration bodies, troops and units to join the united regional air defense system was agreed as well as the candidacy of the commander.

Yuri Zhadobin remarked active military cooperation between Belarus and Russia will continue, with over 200 joint events planned for 2012.

Categories: Uncategorized

South China Sea: War Games Show Hypocrisy Of U.S. Intentions

Global Times
April 17, 2012

War games show hypocrisy of US intentions

The US and Philippines kicked off a joint war game Monday. The annual exercise was moved to an area adjoining the Nansha Islands. The Philippines has claimed repeatedly that the exercise is not aimed at China. But the claim will not change China’s assessment of the situation in the South China Sea.

Manila has been openly seeking US naval backing in regional maritime disputes. Washington is also interested in lending its support. It is clear what the real target of the joint exercises is even if the two sides deny it.

It remains uncertain how the Washington-Manila war game will impact the South China Sea. But it still means that such interference into regional maritime disputes lacks legitimacy. ASEAN countries are also concerned by the involvement of the US in this way.

The absolute advantage of US navy in South China Sea is in question as China grows. The Philippines may also exaggerate Washington’s determination to launch a military deterrent. But the US will not give up the opportunity to apply strategic ambiguity in the region, a skill at which it excels.

This concerns China’s sovereignty and dignity. China may be worried about US maneuvers, but this will not affect its decisions at times of urgency. War is far from the South China Sea and China is consistent in its peaceful plans. The war game, coming shortly after a standoff near Huangyan Island between China and the Philippines, reminds China of the necessity to make long-term preparations.

The US has reiterated its pivot back to Asia is not aimed at containing China and that it intends to improve mutual trust with China. The military exercise proves these are hypocritical remarks.

Despite a cautious response from China’s foreign ministry, the Chinese public is wary of Washington. Since last year, the US navy, including an aircraft carrier, has been busy participating in joint military drills near China’s territory. It is clear to Chinese and the world that the US is cementing a military partnership against China.

China needs to respond firmly, for example, by initiating military exercises in the South China Sea close enough to put pressure on Manila. If China does nothing in response, it is encouraging more military drills. China has to build its anti-access naval capacity. In the long term, it needs to have a comprehensive military power on par with the US’ in the Western Pacific.

Military competition between US and China, however subtle, means certain pain for the Asia-Pacific region. But the pain cannot be relieved by China alone if the US and neighboring countries are not interested in taking their responsibilities seriously.

Categories: Uncategorized

Letter: NATO Should Just Go Away

April 18, 2012 3 comments

Joliet Herald News
April 17, 2012

Letter: NATO should just go away

From the ashes of World War II rose the great superpower rivalry — the Cold War between the U.S. and Soviet Union. The U.S. formed NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The U.S.S.R. formed the Warsaw Pact, building up the largest concentration of military machines ever, along the Iron Curtain.

Eventually, the Soviet Union went bankrupt and the Cold War came to a screeching halt, scrapping the Warsaw Pact.

So what’s happened to NATO? To my amazement, it’s grown larger, with soldiers all over the world and no end in sight. The U.S., already nearly half the world’s “kill power,” combines with NATO nations for a whopping three-quarters of the world’s military spending.

The four big NATO wars: Yugoslavia, Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan are outside the defense of the original borders in violation of the treaty, and further agreements are being broken as NATO pushes missile systems inside former Soviet territory.

These wars have been one lie after another, and the results have been considerably less than a resounding victory. As soon as we start ignoring the disaster of one war, NATO is ramping up for another.

As with the Warsaw Pact at the end of the Cold War, why in blazes didn’t NATO just go away? Most press coverage of the pending NATO summit in May focuses solely on the supposed violence of protesters — as if we now need NATO to keep them from overthrowing the government.

We all need to meet in Chicago on May 20 for that summit at McCormick Place to ask why NATO should even exist. We need to agitate for scrapping NATO before it bankrupts us on another cold war or, worse, another world war or little wars that add up to a really big war.

Gary Jones
Joliet

Categories: Uncategorized

Chicago Summit: NATO To Complete Domination Of Arab World

April 18, 2012 2 comments

Chicago Summit: NATO To Complete Domination Of Arab World
Rick Rozoff

On April 17 King Abdullah II of Jordan visited the North Atlantic Treaty Organization headquarters in Brussels in the latest act of obeisance paid to the military bloc by what Zbigniew Brzezinski in 1998 referred to, bluntly but accurately enough, as the dependent vassals and pliant tributaries of the West from the Middle East, North Africa, Eastern Europe, the South Caucasus, Central Asia, South Asia, East Asia and the South Pacific.

The Jordanian monarch’s pilgrimage was preceded by those of the presidents of Germany, Georgia and Moldova, the prime minister of Montenegro, the foreign minister of Croatia and the defense minister of Slovenia in the past month.

Top officials of nations as diverse as Israel, Mongolia, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Australia, New Zealand, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Japan, South Korea, Iraq, Armenia and Azerbaijan visit NATO headquarters regularly.

Notwithstanding the alliance’s claims of embodying “individual liberty, democracy, human rights and the rule of law,” so-called Euro-Atlantic or transatlantic values, it has always exhibited a propensity for elitist and exclusionary forms of national governance, particularly monarchy. The majority of NATO’s founding members – Belgium, Britain, Canada, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Norway – retain that pre-republican, pre-modern preference in the somewhat attenuated form of constitutional monarchies.

So it is not surprising that King Abdullah and his fellow hereditary rulers in Morocco and in the Gulf Cooperation Council feel entirely at home in Brussels.

In the NATO website’s account of his visit, “NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen praised His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan for his country’s valued security partnership during talks at NATO headquarters…”

Rasmussen, faithful subject of Queen Margrethe II accustomed to bending the knee to royals, and the crowned head of state discussed NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue military partnership, Jordan’s Individual Cooperation Programme with the alliance, the Middle Eastern nation’s role in NATO operations around the world (Jordan is a troop contributor for NATO’s war in Afghanistan) and the consolidation of its global partnerships to be deliberated on at next month’s summit in Chicago.

In the press release describing the visit, NATO added, “Jordan is an important security partner, contributing to NATO led-missions in Afghanistan, the Balkans and most recently in Libya…”

Jordan was one of four Arab states present at the March 19 summit in Paris with the U.S. and leading European NATO powers that announced the beginning of the six-month bombing campaign against Libya. The other three were Morocco, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The last two are members of NATO’s Istanbul Cooperation Initiative and jointly supplied 18 fighter jets for the aerial onslaught in Libya, both during the U.S. Africa Command-led Operation Odyssey Dawn and the NATO-led Operation Unified Protector phases of the war.

Less than two months into the conflict it was reported that the alliance of Persian Gulf kingdoms, sheikhdoms and emirates (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates), the Gulf Cooperation Council, had invited the only other monarchies in the Arab world, Jordan and Morocco, to join, although neither country is near the Gulf.

It is this bloc of royal family-ruled nations that is the West’s main partner in effecting regime change in the Arab world from Libya to Syria to Yemen and in future in Algeria, Libya, Iraq and other nations as needed.

The eight monarchies are all NATO military partners: Jordan and Morocco through the Mediterranean Dialogue and Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates with the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, with Oman and Saudi Arabia practical if not yet formal members of the latter.

Libya had been the only country in North Africa not a member of the Mediterranean Dialogue.

Shortly after the murder of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi last October, U.S. ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder offered the bloc’s support in fashioning a new Libyan army and, according to Agence France-Presse, “said Libya could bolster its ties with the transatlantic alliance  by joining NATO’s Mediterranean dialogue, a partnership comprising Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Mauritania, Jordan and Israel.”

At a NATO foreign ministerial meeting in Brussels on December 7-8, Secretary General Rasmussen applauded the outcome of NATO’s first African war and “several NATO officials and spokespersons expressed interest in Libya joining the Mediterranean Dialogue,” the Tripoli Post reported.

Regarding transformations in the Arab world over the past fifteen months in relation to NATO, the net result is that the U.S.-dominated military alliance is poised to gain one new adjunct, Libya, with Syria targeted as the next. Lebanon is another prospect for the Mediterranean Dialogue after Libya and Syria, which if it occurs will convert the entire Mediterranean basin into NATO territory. Similarly, if the West and its Arab monarch allies can arrange for the installation of compliant regimes in Iraq and Yemen (perhaps royal pretenders to complete the pattern), NATO can acquire two additional Istanbul Cooperation Initiative cohorts as well. The alliance identifies Iraq as a partner state and the NATO Training Mission-Iraq was instrumental in building the nation’s new armed forces from scratch, training everyone from the top officer corps to oil police.

In respect to the remaining Arabic-speaking countries, since at least 2005 leading American and NATO officials have promoted the deployment of NATO forces to Palestine in the event of, or as a precondition for, a peace deal with Israel. Last August Palestine’s Ma’an News Agency reported that “Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told visiting US Congressmen on Thursday that the security of the future Palestinian state will be handed to NATO under US command…” 

From 2005 to 2007 NATO airlifted several thousand African Union troops to the Darfur region of western Sudan, and in a Washington Post column in 2005 current U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice called for the deployment of 12,000-15,000 troops there under NATO command and two years later demanded NATO enforce a no-fly zone over and deploy the NATO Response Force to Sudan.

Two years ago NATO airlifted 2,500 Ugandan and Burundian troops into the Somali capital of Mogadishu for counterinsurgency operations. NATO uses Somalia’s autonomous state of Puntland as a base of operations for its Operation Ocean Shield naval mission in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea.

Djibouti is effectively a NATO outpost in the Horn of Africa with 2,000 U.S. troops and the headquarters of the Pentagon’s Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa, 3,000 French troops and, over the past decade, several hundred British, Dutch, German and Spanish troops stationed there. 

Last May it was announced that the United Arab Emirates, which supplies a military contingent for NATO in Afghanistan as well as having provided warplanes for the Libyan campaign, would become the first Arab state to open an embassy at NATO headquarters.

At the above-mentioned NATO ministerial last December, in addition to revealing that “Nato officials said that they think Libya was likely to request to join the Mediterranean Dialogue,” Gulf News in the United Arab Emirates reported, “The foreign ministers of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) have agreed to reinforce their contacts and cooperation with Arab countries in North Africa and the Middle East.”

The meeting’s final communiqué stated: “Significant political developments have taken place this year in North Africa and the Middle East. Against this background and in accordance with our partnership policy, we have agreed to further deepen our political dialogue and practical cooperation with members of the Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative…We stand ready to consider, on a case-by-case basis, new requests from countries in these regions, including Libya, for partnership and cooperation with Nato, taking into account that the Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative are natural frameworks for such requests.”

At the 2004 NATO summit in Turkey which created the eponymous Istanbul Cooperation Initiative to forge military partnerships with Iran’s neighbors in the Persian Gulf, the Western military bloc also upgraded the Mediterranean Dialogue formed into 1994 into a full partnership program, which is to say the equivalent of the Partnership for Peace used to prepare twelve Eastern European nations for accession into NATO from 1999-2009.

Two years later Mediterranean Dialogue member Israel was the first nation to join NATO’s Individual Cooperation Programme, with Egypt following the next year and Jordan in 2009. The NATO website currently lists Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia as partners in that program too.

On April 3 Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered a speech to the World Affairs Council 2012 NATO Conference in Norfolk, Virginia that discussed the three major topics to be addressed at the NATO summit in Chicago on May 20-21. In addition to the war in Afghanistan and the commitment to “update NATO’s defense capabilities for the 21st century” – she mentioned drone surveillance, the European Phased Adaptive Approach interceptor missile system and patrols by NATO warplanes over the Baltic Sea – she highlighted the need “to cement and expand our global partnerships.”

The nature of those partnerships in the Arab world was demonstrated the week before her speech when the Washington Post reported of her then-upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia that “Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton…will inaugurate a strategic dialogue with the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council that the administration expects will ultimately lead to a coordinated, U.S-supplied regional missile defense system,” later identified as an extension of the U.S.-NATO Phased Adaptive Approach.

NATO and its allies in the (expanding) Gulf Cooperation Council are reversing 60 years of Arab independence and nonalignment, of pan-Arabism and of republican and socialist models of development in Arab nations in an effort to subordinate the 350,000,000 inhabitants of the Arab world to their regional and global agendas.

Categories: Uncategorized

South China Sea As The New Middle East

April 17, 2012 2 comments

Voice of Russia
April 17, 2012

South China Sea as the New Middle East
Boris Volkhonsky

On Monday, 7,000 U.S. and Philippine troops started military exercises in the South China Sea near the disputed Scarborough Shoal. The drill began only a week after an incident involving eight Chinese fishing vessels, Chinese and Filippino warships and coast guard vessels and a Chinese aircraft.

The standoff started when a Filippino warship stopped Chinese fishing vessels with an allegedly illegal haul of corals, giant clams and live sharks. But Chinese warships prevented the Filippino military from making any arrests. Despite talks between Chinese and Philippine diplomats held on Monday, the standoff has not been satisfactorily resolved yet.

Now, both the U.S. and the Philippine military claim that the current drill is in no way related to the standoff. The focus of the exercises will be on “improving security, counter-terrorism and humanitarian and disaster response,” Philippine military spokesman Major Emmanuel Garcia said. Also, both U.S. and Philippine officials stressed that China, which in the past has protested military exercises involving American forces near the contested region, was not an imaginary target in the drills.

In fact, the drill is an annual event planned a long time before. But there are some factors which prompt one to make a conclusion that this year’s exercise has a specific meaning and is – albeit indirectly – related to the Chinese–Philippine standoff.

It comes after the Barack Obama administration positively declared the South China Sea as an area of utmost importance for U.S. national interests. Already the U.S. has started allocation of its troops in adjacent regions. The first 200 marines have already arrived in Australia, and there are plans to deploy warships in Singapore.

The South China Sea is one of the world’s busiest sea lanes, and has lately become a stage for harsh territorial disputes between China on the one hand (which claims the maritime area of the South China Sea almost in its entirety) and other littoral countries, on the other. The bitterest disputes China has with Vietnam and the Philippines. The standoffs with these countries have become a common practice, and recently China issued a warning to other outside powers not to participate too actively in economic projects including oil drilling in the disputed zones. A factor adding to the existing tensions is that all China’s rivals are members of the ASEAN group and would prefer to deal with the territorial dispute in a multilateral format, while China prefers to deal with each country separately.

The U.S. policy of recent years has been that of engaging China’s rivals in the area. Against such a background, the important thing about the current maneuvers is that in the past the U.S.–Philippine exercises were held in other regions of the Philippines, namely in ones grappling with Muslim and communist insurgencies. The current drill is held close to the disputed maritime area and includes a mock retaking of an oil rig supposedly seized by terrorists.

The recent developments in the region, including the current drill, prompt many observers to note that tensions in the area are even higher than in the war-torn Middle East. There, the U.S. was drawn into two wars by the previous administration, and the present administration is trying to solve the problem of getting out of the calamity without losing face.

The strategic aim of containing China is becoming more and more a priority in U.S. foreign policy. At the moment, time is on China’s side – the U.S. will not dare risk any military standoff in the Asia Pacific until it is totally disentangled from the Middle East mess.

This does not exclude forming an alliance of littoral countries with their possible inclusion into an anti-Chinese front of countries like Japan, South Korea and (which is the U.S.’ golden dream) India. So, in future we may see more drills in the disputed waters conducted bilaterally and multilaterally.

Twenty years ago, Filippinos voted for a removal of all U.S. bases, including its biggest naval base in the Pacific at Subic Bay. It seems that U.S. strategists have come to the conclusion that it is time to return to a stage of national importance.

Boris Volkhonsky, senior research fellow, Russian Institute for Strategic Studies

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO news: April 17, 2012

====

Estonia: Japan Invited To Join NATO Cyber Warfare Efforts

Afghan War: NATO Loses 112 Soldiers This Year

Turkish Defense, Foreign Ministers To Attend Brussels NATO Meeting

Bulgarian Atlanticist: NATO Must Intervene In Syria

Washington Hosts U.S.-Georgian Strategic Partnership Meeting

====

Estonia: Japan Invited To Join NATO Cyber Warfare Efforts

http://en.rian.ru/world/20120417/172865949.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
April 16, 2012

Estonia Invites Japan to Join NATO’s Cyber Security Efforts

TALLINN: Estonia has urged Japan to deepen its collaboration with NATO on cyber defense and to take part in joint cyber defense exercises, the Estonian Defense Ministry said.

Estonia’s Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defense Mikk Marran, who is on a visit to Japan, met on Monday with Japan’s Vice Minister of Defense Hironori Kanazawa. The sides discussed various issues of military cooperation between Japan and NATO-member Estonia, focusing on cyber security.

“The structure of the Estonian and Japanese agencies involved in cyber defense is very similar; however, contacts between Estonian and Japanese cyber specialists to date have been few,” Marran said, inviting Japan to contribute to the work of NATO’s Cyber Defense Centre in Tallinn.

Estonia has been advocating the establishment of international cyber security bodies since 2007 after a series of targeted online attacks disrupted the operation of some of Estonia’s most important web services.

Estonian authorities accused Russia of staging the “cyber assaults”, but Moscow repudiated those accusations as groundless.

Cyber security experts from the European Union and NATO could not establish a “Russian trace” in the attacks as they had been launched by software running on machines in more than 100 different countries.

In May 2008, seven NATO nations and the Allied Command Transformation signed the documents for the formal establishment of a Cooperative Cyber Defense (CCD) Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Tallinn.

There are currently 11 countries involved within the center: Estonia, Germany, Italy, Slovakia, Latvia, Spain, Hungary, Poland, Lithuania, the United States and the Netherlands.

Turkey has announced its intent to join the work of the center in the near future.

====

Afghan War: NATO Loses 112 Soldiers This Year

http://www.khaama.com/explosion-kill-nato-soldier-in-eastern-afghanistan-722

Khaama Press
April 16, 2012

Explosion kill NATO soldier in eastern Afghanistan
By Sadaf Shinwari

NATO-led International Security Assistance Force following a statement on Sunday announced a NATO service member died following an improvised explosive device attack in eastern Afghanistan today.

The statement did not disclose further information regarding the exact location of the incident and nationality of the deceased soldier.

The International Security Assistance Force generally does not disclose identities of the NATO soldiers killed in Afghanistan saying, “It is ISAF policy to defer casualty identification procedures to the relevant national authorities.”

At least 112 NATO service members including 72 US troops, 14 British soldiers and 26 soldiers from the other NATO member countries have been killed in Afghanistan since the beginning of 2012.

====

Turkish Defense, Foreign Ministers To Attend Brussels NATO Meeting

http://www.todayszaman.com/news-277685-turkeys-foreign-defense-ministers-to-attend-nato-meeting-in-brussels.html

Today’s Zaman
April 16, 2012

Turkey’s foreign, defense ministers to attend NATO meeting in Brussels

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz is scheduled to participate in NATO’s annual defense and foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on April 18-19.

A statement released by the Turkish Foreign Ministry said foreign and defense ministers of NATO member countries will meet in North Atlantic Council format on Wednesday and the NATO member states ministers will also participate in the NATO-Russia Council and foreign ministers of non-NATO states who contribute to the NATO-led International Security Assisstance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan on Thursday.

The statement said the ministers will discuss preparation for the NATO summit in Chicago on May 20-21 along with developments related to Afghanistan, missile defense, alliances and NATO-Russia relations.

Davutoğlu and Yılmaz are also expected to hold several bilateral meetings with their counterparts.

====

Bulgarian Atlanticist: NATO Must Intervene In Syria

http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=138543

Sofia News Agency
April 16, 2012

Bulgarian ex-FM Passy: NATO Shoud Rid Syria of Assad

-Solomon Passy was Bulgaria’s foreign affairs minister in the cabinet of PM Simeon Saxe-Coburg, 2001-2005.
Prior to that he was for many years president of the Atlantic Club in Bulgaria, an organization devoted to promoting Bulgaria’s integration to NATO, which he still chairs.

NATO should intervene in the conflict in Syria in the wake of the incursion by Syrian government forces in Turkish territory, stated former Bulgarian Foreign Affairs Minsiter Solomon Passy.

“Turkey is a major geopolitical power and it can indeed defend itself from Syrian raids, but notwithstanding NATO should give the Bashar Al-Assad regime a clear signal of our solidarity with Turkey,” said he.

“NATO can still help to free the Syrian people of the nearly half-century long dictatorship of the Assad clan,” added Passy.

According to him, it is high time that Syria too experiences its spring and real transition to democracy.

“Syria is just the next piece of evidence that whenever NATO is idle or heistating, humankind as a whole loses. While when NATO acts, all win,” quipped Passy.

Solomon Passy was Bulgaria’s foreign affairs minister in the cabinet of PM Simeon Saxe-Coburg, 2001-2005.

Prior to that he was for many years president of the Atlantic Club in Bulgaria, an organization devoted to promoting Bulgaria’s integration to NATO, which he still chairs.

====

Washington Hosts U.S.-Georgian Strategic Partnership Meeting

http://en.trend.az/regions/scaucasus/georgia/2014804.html

Trend News Agency
April 16, 2012

Georgia, U.S to hold meeting within Strategic Partnership Charter
N. Kirtskhalia

Tbilisi: The next meeting within the Georgian-U.S. Charter on Strategic Partnership will be held in Washington on April 16.

According to Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Nino Kalandadze, this time a meeting of the “Group of Democracy” will be held.

At the meeting, the Georgian delegation will be headed by the Secretary of the National Security Council Giga Bokeria, while the U.S. delegation will be led by Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, Philip Gordon.

====

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO Summit: Obama To Fete 50-Nation Expeditionary Military Force

April 17, 2012 1 comment

NATO Summit: Obama To Fete 50-Nation Expeditionary Military Force
Rick Rozoff

Last week the Sun-Times, one of Chicago’s two major dailies, reported that the president and his wife will host complementary receptions during next month’s North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit attended by the heads of state and government (presidents and prime ministers), defense ministers and foreign ministers of 50 countries supplying troops for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force war effort in Afghanistan.

On May 20 President Obama is to host a working dinner with the heads of state of NATO’s 28 member states at Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears football team; the same night a dinner for perhaps all 22 non-NATO countries providing troops for the alliance’s over decade-long military campaign in Afghanistan will be held at the Field Museum of Natural History not far away from sports stadium.

First Lady Michelle Obama is to officiate over a “spouse dinner” with NATO’s women’s auxiliary the same evening, possibly at the Symphony Center complex.

The fifty nations with troops serving under NATO command in Afghanistan are collectively referred to in NATOese as Troop Contributing Nations.

The Sun-Times listed the contributors in alphabetical order and the roster is both impressive and not a little alarming: Never before have armed forces from so many states participated in one war, surely not on one side under a unified command and in a single war theater, much less in one country.

The NATO nations are Albania, Belgium, Britain, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey and the United States.

The non-NATO (or rather not yet NATO) contributors are in almost all instances members of one or more NATO military partnership programs, listed in parentheses below:

Armenia (Partnership for Peace, Individual Partnership Action Plan), Australia (Contact Country), Austria (Partnership for Peace), Azerbaijan (Partnership for Peace, Individual Partnership Action Plan), Bahrain (Istanbul Cooperation Initiative), Bosnia (Partnership for Peace, Individual Partnership Action Plan) El Salvador, Finland (Partnership for Peace), Georgia (Partnership for Peace, Individual Partnership Action Plan, NATO-Georgia Commission), Ireland (Partnership for Peace), Jordan (Mediterranean Dialogue, Individual Cooperation Programme), Macedonia (Partnership for Peace, Individual Partnership Action Plan), Malaysia, Mongolia (Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme), Montenegro (Partnership for Peace, Individual Partnership Action Plan candidate), New Zealand (Contact Country), Singapore, South Korea (Contact Country), Sweden (Partnership for Peace), Tonga, Ukraine (Partnership for Peace, NATO-Ukraine Commission) and the United Arab Emirates (Istanbul Cooperation Initiative).

Other nations that are providing or have provided (Switzerland until 2008) military and security personnel for ISAF and for the Afghanistan-Pakistan war front in general include Afghanistan (Afghanistan-Pakistan-International Security Assistance Force Tripartite Commission, NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan) Colombia, Egypt (Mediterranean Dialogue, Individual Cooperation Programme), Japan (Contact Country), Kazakhstan (Partnership for Peace, Individual Partnership Action Plan), Moldova (Partnership for Peace, Individual Partnership Action Plan) Pakistan (Afghanistan-Pakistan-International Security Assistance Force Tripartite Commission) and Switzerland (Partnership for Peace).

That is, military forces from all six inhabited continents.

In addition, NATO troops are stationed in military bases in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and the bloc has transit centers in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, all five Central Asian countries being members of NATO’s Partnership for Peace program.
   
The war in Afghanistan has been employed as the longest, largest and most ambitious effort to date by the U.S. and NATO to consolidate an integrated expeditionary military force ready for global deployments.

That effort has built upon three previous stages in the development of the above objective: In Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq.

With Bosnia, in 1996 NATO led 60,000 troops under its Stabilisation Force command from its current 28 members, although 12 of those would join in the decade of 1999-2009 after proving their mettle in the missions in Bosnia and later Kosovo. They were joined by contingents from Australia, Austria, Egypt, Finland, Ireland, Malaysia, New Zealand and Sweden among others.

Three years later NATO moved into the Serbian province of Kosovo in charge of the 50,000-troop Kosovo Force with soldiers from its then-19 members, nine more which would join in the following decade and several partnership members which would later send troops to Iraq and/or Afghanistan, including Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Finland, Georgia, Ireland, Mongolia, Sweden, Switzerland and Ukraine. 

From 2004-2010 the U.S.-led Multi-National Force – Iraq consisted of troops from 22 of NATO’s current 28 members, all but Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg and Turkey. Canada, France and Germany compensated by increasing their troop strength in Afghanistan, where they among the largest contributors after the U.S. and Britain.

The twelve new NATO states – Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia – all had troops in Iraq during the period of most intense combat, for the most part in the Polish-led South-Central zone which was supported by NATO.

NATO partner states in addition to the nine that joined the alliance in 2004 and 2009 also served their apprenticeship in Iraq: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Australia, Bosnia, Georgia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Tonga and Ukraine.

In 2008 the above nations started withdrawing their contingents from Iraq ahead of redeploying them to Afghanistan, where they remain.

The steady military involvement of the same 50 or so nations over the past sixteen years in the Balkans, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya (Sweden, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, an Istanbul Cooperation Initiative member, provided warplanes for NATO’s six-month air war last year) demonstrate how the U.S. has used NATO in the post-Cold War period to forge an international intervention force unparalleled in history, working together in active and post-conflict war zones under the same command, often in integrated units, with interoperability of weapons, tactics and language.

Over the past decade the U.S. and NATO allies have conducted annual military operations in two of the three countries that border both Russia and China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan – Operation Khaan Quest and Operation Steppe Eagle – to advance that global integration. Last month Mongolia became the first nation to join NATO’s Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme instituted a year ago.

The 50 heads of state gathering in Chicago next month, like the chiefs of defense staff and military experts from 66 countries (over a third of the world’s nations) that met at NATO headquarters in late January, represent a growing U.S.-led military network that is the main threat to world peace.

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO Attacked In Afghan Capital, Provinces

April 16, 2012 2 comments

Pajhwok Afghan News
April 15, 2012

Dozens dead, injured in coordinated rebel attacks
By Khwaja Basir and Jawad Sharifzadaon

KABUL: Several Western diplomatic missions and other high-security offices in Kabul and three other provinces came under well-coordinated rebel attacks on Sunday, officials and witnesses said.

Seven attackers were killed, while 14 policemen and nine civilians were wounded in the near-simultaneous strikes in Kabul, Logar, Nangarhar and Paktia, an interior ministry spokesman told Pajhwok Afghan News.

Ghulam Siddiue Sadiq said security personnel and civilians had suffered no fatalities, contradicting statements from other officials in Kabul and Nangarhar. Two militants were caught alive in the capital.

Authorities in Nangarhar, where the Jalalabad airfield and the US provincial recontruction team (PRT) compound were assaulted, said at least three ordinary people were among the dead.

While asserting responsibility for the daring assaults, the Taliban said the German and British embassies, as well as the ISAF headquarters, were the prime targets in the capital.

A large number of foreign troops, Afghan soldiers and policemen were killed and wounded in the attacks that were planned over the past few months, said militant spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, who added the assaults marked the Taliban’s spring offensive.

One police officer, who did not want to be named, said three intelligence operatives, one policeman and a taxi driver had died in the Kabul fighting.
At least four suicide attackers were shot dead in the Paktiakot area of the 9th police district, a police statement said. A series of blasts were heard across the capital, where gunshots rang out for hours.

A rocket-propelled grenade landed outside the gate of a compound used by UK envoys, two struck the guard tower of the British embassy and one slammed into the Canadian embassy.

Three rockets hit a supermarket frequented by foreigners and one fell close to the World Bank country office, sources revealed.

Bursts of gunfire and several blasts rocked the capital at about 1.45pm, soon after multiple bombers stormed a luxury hotel in the Wazir Akbar Khan diplomatic enclave.

The gunfire erupted near the Ghazanfar Bank and a heavy explosion rocked the area as the attackers stormed the Kabul Star Hotel in front of the Iranian embassy, said Mohammadullah, giving a witness account.

Smoke billowed from a couple of buildings in the locality, where sirens wailed for quite some time. British and German embassies, as well as an American military base and the Presidential Palace, are located in the area.

The Quick Reaction Force (QRF) partially cleared the building from where the militants fired rockets at the embassies, as well as the residence of Interior Minister Bismillah Mohammadi.

A US embassy spokesperson, Gavin Sundwal, said the embassy was currently in lockdown, following its standard operating procedures after hearing explosions and gunfire in the area.

“All its personnel are accounted for and safe. We have no reports of injuries to any compound personnel,” the spokesperson added.

Elsewhere, some assailants took up positions in an under-construction building in Darul Aman area, firing a volley of rockets and gunshots at the parliament building.

“I was on my way to the office when gunfire rocked the locality,” said Hamidullah, a driver with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

On the eastern outskirts of the capital, several militants attacked the Kabul Military Training Centre and a NATO military base in the Pul-i-Charkhi area.

In Nangarhar, seven suicide attackers and three civilians were killed and four other assailants wounded. Four bombers detonated their explosives-laden vehicles close to the PRT office.

Another two bombers were shot dead by police, the governor’s spokesman Ahmad Zia Abdulzai said. A seventh rebel later succumbed to his injuries.

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said three rockets were fired into the airport, causing no casualties. The force said one of the attackers was killed near the PRT office.

But Niamatullah Noorzai, the administrative headof the Behsud district where the airfield and the PRT compound are situated, said three attackers and as many civilians were killed and another two people injured.

In southeastern Paktia province, three assailants were killed and 23 people, including civilians, injured when gunmen opened fire from a multi-storey building rooftop at the police headquarters.

The governor’s spokesman, Roohullah Samoon, said the gunmen sneaked into the six-storey building near the university at about 1:30pm and started firing at the police headquarters.

The clash lasted four hours and foreign troops provided air support to Afghan security personnel. The attackers’ bodies were lying at the scene, he added.

A doctor on duty at the Paktia Civil Hospital said they had received 23 injured people, including three policemen, two women, five children and students.

Elsewhere in central Afghanistan, four attackers were killed and eight security men injured after key government offices and a NATO military base came under attack in Logar.

The governor’s house, the police headquarters, an ISAF base and the National Directorate of Security (NDS) department were attacked, police chief Brig. Gen. Ghulam Sakhi Rogh Lewanai said.

Four of the militants who stormed the mines and handicrafts department were killed in a four-hour fire exchange with Afghan and international troops.

The wounded included three intelligence operatives, as many Afghan soldiers and two policemen. As the clash escalated, Afghan personnel sought air support from ISAF, the police chief said.

Education department spokesman Shahpur Arab said two officials were wounded when an insurgent-fired rocket hit their compound.

According to Zabihullah Mujahid, dozens of Taliban – laced with weapons, suicide vests, RPGs, heavy machine guns and hand grenades – hit their targets.

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO Reaffirms Membership Pledge To Georgia

April 16, 2012 2 comments

New Europe
April 15, 2012

NATO reaffirms membership pledge to Georgia

After talks with Georgia’s President Mikheil Saakashvili in Brussels, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Georgia is a special partner to NATO, committed to NATO operations, to NATO accession, and to reform. The meeting was held prior a NATO-Georgia commission session at the organisation’s headquarters, The Messenger reported.

The NATO envoy hailed Georgia’s reforms and its aspirations to join the alliance underlining that decision of Georgia to joint alliance stands firm.

“You already contribute the second-largest non-NATO force to our mission in Afghanistan. And by the end of this year, you will be the largest non-NATO ISAF partner. Your troops are doing an outstanding job, shoulder-to-shoulder with NATO troops, under challenging circumstances. Some have given their lives in our shared cause and I pay tribute to their sacrifice, and I offer my deepest condolences to their families and loved ones,” the Secretary General said.

He said Georgia is one of the major contributors to its operation in Afghanistan. Secondly, reflect that Georgia in general is a major contributor to the trans-Atlantic co-operation within the special NATO-Georgia Commission, and thirdly, that Georgia is also considered an aspirant country, a country that aspires to become a future member of NATO.

He added that the Allies have not yet finalized any decision about the development of the Georgia-NATO partnership prior to the Chicago summit in May. Rasmussen said Georgia has become a model of commitment, co-operation, and connectivity with the Alliance and encourage continuing in this direction. NATO doesn’t recognise the recently held presidential and parliamentary elections in Georgia’s breakaway regions South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which are occupied by Russia.

—————————————————————————-

Civil Georgia
April 15, 2012

Saakashvili: ‘Evil Force, Occupying Parts of Georgia, will be Defeated’

Tbilisi: The “evil force” which occupies parts of Georgia where “our churches are trampled down”, will “retreat and definitely be defeated”, President Saakashvili said, adding: “I am absolutely sure about it.”

“This belief makes me and every Georgian patriot live on,” he said.

He was speaking after attending Orthodox Easter service in the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi on Sunday.

Saakashvili said that “occupation of 20% of [Georgia's] territory by the enemy” was “of course a temporary situation”.

He said that the Easter was symbolizing victory of good over evil and this holiday was fitting well to “the optimistic nature of the Georgian nation.”

—————————————————————————-

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
April 12, 2012

Leon Panetta visits the Georgian military servant wounded in Afghanistan

The United States Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta visited Georgian military serviceman LTC Alexander Tughushi who had been wounded in Afghanistan. Mr. Panetta visited the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda where Lieutenant Colonel undergoes a medical rehabilitation course.

President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashili awarded Alexander Tugushi with the I rank Vakhtang Gorgasali Order while staying in America on an official visit. Afterwards the Georgian LTC was seen by the President of the United States of America Barack Obama.

The personnel of the 31st Battalion have been performing a peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan since 2011. The Georgian military contingent is engaged in the NATO-led ISAF operation in the province of Helmand as part of the US military unit.

Categories: Uncategorized

America’s Policy Of China Containment

April 16, 2012 1 comment

Voice of Russia
April 13, 2012

America’s policy of Chinese containment
Alexey Pilko

====

[T]he United States, in its confrontation with China, has at least three lines of strategic deterrence located all over the Pacific Ocean. The first is in close proximity to the Chinese territory, based on U.S. military bases and infrastructure on the Japanese archipelago, in South Korea, Okinawa and Taiwan. Intense negotiations are taking place on re-establishing the US naval base in Subic Bay in the Philippines. It has been confirmed that the U.S. and Vietnam have begun informal talks on leasing the former U.S. military base in Cam Ranh.

The southern transit route, which runs through the strategically important Strait of Malacca, is vital for China. If it were closed, China’s economy would not be able to survive even for a month. That is why the U.S. created a permanent group of warships that will be located in Singapore. Strategic depth will be provided by the U.S. military in Australia and the Philippines. Thus, the strait can easily be blocked by Washington.

The formation of an anti-China coalition consisting of the USA, Russia, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and Southeast Asia could put China in a desperate situation.

====

Apparently, with the Cold War over, a new global confrontation between the United States and China could begin. One might get this impression after analyzing the steps taken by Washington in the international arena.

For now, America is avoiding making any declarations towards China, such as the Truman or Eisenhower doctrines or Churchill’s Fulton speech. However, practical steps to curb Beijing have already been taken. The U.S. has been consolidating its power in Australia and Singapore, and there are plans to begin military assistance to countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

From discussing the problem with American experts working on military issues, it becomes clear that today the United States, in its confrontation with China, has at least three lines of strategic deterrence located all over the Pacific Ocean. The first is in close proximity to the Chinese territory, based on U.S. military bases and infrastructure on the Japanese archipelago, in South Korea, Okinawa and Taiwan. Intense negotiations are taking place on re-establishing the US naval base in Subic Bay in the Philippines. It has been confirmed that the U.S. and Vietnam have begun informal talks on leasing the former U.S. military base in Cam Ranh.

If you draw a line between all these states, you will see the first circle of the U.S. containment of China, which effectively prevents the country from being a maritime power. Today, the Chinese navy’s access to open water is controlled by Americans. However, there is also a second circle (based on Guam and Hawaii), as well as a third, reserve one, the base for which is California and Alaska.

According to a source close to the White House, China is now clearly perceived by the American political establishment as the most important threat to U.S. interests in the long run, so Washington believes it is advisable to start to control China today.

The United States is not going to control China alone. It is actively trying to recruit as many allies as possible. These can be divided into several groups. The first is composed of countries that are heavily dependent on the U.S.: Japan (in military terms, the country is more an American satellite rather than an ally), South Korea (which without military aid from Washington risks a showdown with North Korea), and Taiwan (an unrecognized state that remains de facto independent only with the support of the U.S.). Tokyo, Seoul and Taipei will support any initiatives from the White House directed against China.

The situation is more complicated with other international actors. The United States, in trying to contain China, has set up a system allowing it to deprive the Chinese economy of energy commodities at any time. To implement this, it is important to shut the northern and southern transit routes, according to the abovementioned expert close to Barack Obama’s administration.

The southern transit route, which runs through the strategically important Strait of Malacca, is vital for China. If it were closed, China’s economy would not be able to survive even for a month. That is why the U.S. created a permanent group of warships that will be located in Singapore. Strategic depth will be provided by the U.S. military in Australia and the Philippines. Thus, the strait can easily be blocked by Washington.

The situation is somewhat more complicated with the northern transit route, Russia. According to available information, for the past few months the United States has been waging an intense campaign of negotiations with Moscow, trying to obtain its support on the issue of containing China. They have so far been unsuccessful. In order to achieve a positive outcome, the U.S. is willing to make some concessions to Russia, including on missile defense and financial and economic issues. In Washington, they are well aware that Russian support may be the decisive factor in dictating terms to China. That is why they intend to continue to move in this direction.

Simultaneously, the U.S. continues to hold an anti-China dialogue with India. In recent years, Sino-Indian relations have not been so bad, but in the past significant differences have arisen between Beijing and New Delhi. That is why the participation of India in containing China does not seem improbable. The formation of an anti-China coalition consisting of the USA, Russia, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and Southeast Asia could put China in a desperate situation.

The Chinese government is well aware of this and is trying to find a way out by creating a powerful fleet capable of operating far beyond the Chinese coast for a long period of time and that could directly threaten the United States, as well as by strengthening relations with Russia, which does not want to contain China. This is one of the reasons for the Chinese media’s attempts to project the idea of a Russian-Chinese Eurasian alliance, which could in fact be a tool for balancing U.S. influence in Eurasia.

It is not yet clear how far Washington is ready to go in its anti-China strategy. But the signals coming from the White House are raising some concerns. That is why international relations in the second decade of the 21st century may see the reappearance of the doctrines of “containment”, “liberation” and “massive retaliation”, concepts that were thought to have been long forgotten.

Associate Professor at the Moscow State University
Faculty of History

Categories: Uncategorized

Features on NATO summit in Chicago

April 14, 2012 1 comment
Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO news: April 14, 2012

April 14, 2012 1 comment

====

Jungle Warfare Training Centre: NATO Troops Train In Australia

NATO Official: South Caucasus Important For NATO

Azeri FM: NATO Must “Insure Regional Stability” In Caucasus

NATO: Azerbaijan Can Play Greater Role In Global Operations

Scotland Hosts Largest NATO Naval-Air-Ground Military Exercise

====

Jungle Warfare Training Centre: NATO Troops Train In Australia

http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/8450556/qld-to-host-nato-camouflage-trial

Channel 9 News
April 12, 2012

Qld to host NATO camouflage trial19:56 AEDT Thu Apr 12 2012

Australia is hosting an international trial to test the effectiveness of military camouflage uniforms in tropical conditions.

Defence Science and Personnel Minister Warren Snowdon said that was being conducted at the Army Jungle Warfare Training Centre at Tully, north Queensland, with 10 Australian soldiers testing trial camouflage suits in a variety of environmental conditions.

Mr Snowdon said Tully was selected for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) camouflage field trial because of its unique geography and natural tropical conditions.

He said the Australian Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) was participating and would share the information from the trial process.

“This is a significant activity to be hosted in Australia with participation from Canada, the Czech Republic, Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland,” he said in a statement.

“The trial will also contribute to the ADF’s ongoing program to enhance the protection of Australian soldiers. It will improve our understanding of detection by modern sensors that can ‘see’ in the ultraviolet, visual, infrared and radar bands of the electromagnetic spectrum.”

Mr Snowdon said the trials involved in-service and experimental clothing items, with NATO researchers using advanced imaging techniques to measure its effectiveness in the visual, ultraviolet, infrared and thermal spectrum under tropical conditions.

“Importantly, the trial will provide valuable data to better inform the ADF Diggerworks program in current and future camouflage design concepts and assessment methods,” he said.

====

NATO Official: South Caucasus Important For NATO

http://en.trend.az/news/politics/2014031.html

Trend News Agency
April 13, 2012

NATO official: South Caucasus countries important for NATO
E. Mehdiyev

Baku: South Caucasus countries are important for NATO, its representative Stefan Elqersma said at ‘The importance of the NATO summit in Chicago: new opportunities for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation’, conference held in Baku.

He added that NATO-Azerbaijan relations are heded in the right direction.

“The South Caucasus is important due to the transport corridor located here and there is also potential for an energy corridor,” the NATO official said.

At the same time, he noted that there are unresolved conflicts in the South Caucasus which create instability for the region.

“This region is of great importance for the overall security architecture in Europe,” Elqersma said.

====

Azeri FM: NATO Must “Insure Regional Stability” In Caucasus

http://en.trend.az/regions/scaucasus/azerbaijan/2014017.html

Trend News Agency
April 13, 2012

Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry: NATO should contribute to ensuring peace and stability in region
S. Agayeva

Baku: Azerbaijan, as a NATO partner country, has been contributing to global peace and stability for many years, is an active participant of the Alliance’s operations in Afghanistan, and the Alliance, in turn, may play an important role in ensuring regional security, Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry’s Security Department Deputy Chief Gaya Mammadov said at a conference in Baku dedicated to the upcoming NATO summit Chicago.

He said Azerbaijan and NATO cooperate in several directions: political dialogue, which is held at the highest level, the country’s participation in NATO peacekeeping operations, assistance in mine clearing in Azerbaijani territories previously occupied by Armenia and assistance in applying NATO standards in the Azerbaijani army.

“As is known Azerbaijan is in conflict with Armenia, and in this context, some problems emerge in applying NATO standards in the Azerbaijani Armed Forces. Therefore, Azerbaijan needs the Alliance’s assistance,” Mammadov said.

He said Azerbaijan hopes for NATO’s intensified role in establishing peace and stability in the region.

NATO and Azerbaijan are actively cooperating in the field of democratic, institutional and military reforms, as well as conducting practical cooperation in many areas. The programme of cooperation between Azerbaijan and NATO is set out in the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) of Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan seeks to achieve Euro-Atlantic norms and standards and come closer to Euro-Atlantic institutions. In this regard, support for security sector reform and creation of institutions of democracy are the key elements of cooperation between NATO and Azerbaijan.

In addition to reforms, another important area of cooperation is support to Azerbaijan in the conduct of NATO-led operations. Currently, Azerbaijan sent peacekeepers to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. In the past, the country has also actively supported operations in Kosovo.

====

NATO: Azerbaijan Can Play Greater Role In Global Operations

http://en.trend.az/regions/scaucasus/azerbaijan/2014008.html

Trend News Agency
April 13, 2012

NATO: Azerbaijan can make significant contribution to ensuring peace and stability
S. Agayeva

Baku: Azerbaijan as a country – a partner of NATO – can play a more important role in ensuring peace and stability in the world and in fulfilling tasks that the next NATO summit in Chicago will define, Romanian Ambassador to Azerbaijan, coordinating cooperation between Azerbaijan and NATO, Daniel Christian Ciobanu believes.

As Christian Ciobanu said at a conference dedicated to the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago, so far Azerbaijan has been actively involved in restoring peace and stability in Asia, particularly in Afghanistan. He expressed confidence that this cooperation will further continue.

The Conference: “Chicago Summit – new opportunities for Euro-Atlantic Partnership” is underway in Baku on Friday with the participation of representatives of the Foreign Ministry, the Azerbaijani parliament and foreign countries’ ambassadors.

NATO and Azerbaijan are actively cooperating in the field of democratic, institutional and military reform, as well as conduct practical cooperation in many areas. The programme of cooperation between Azerbaijan and NATO is set out in the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) of Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan seeks to achieve the Euro-Atlantic norms and standards and come closer to Euro-Atlantic institutions. In this regard, support for security sector reform and creation of the institution of democracy are the key elements of cooperation between NATO and Azerbaijan.

In addition to reforms, another important area of cooperation is support to Azerbaijan in the conduct of NATO-led operations. Currently, Azerbaijan sent peacekeepers to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. In the past, the country has also actively supported operations in Kosovo.

====

Scotland Hosts Largest NATO Naval-Air-Ground Military Exercise

http://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/Article.aspx/2724663

The Press and Journal
April 13, 2012

Nato ready to play war games
By Kaye Nicolson

Hundreds of military personnel are descending on the north and north-east for the largest Nato maritime, air and ground training exercise in Europe.

Joint Warrior is conducted in the spring and autumn of each year and provides training for all three UK armed services and forces from allied nations.

The exercise is held in the UK because of its complex geography and oceanography. Crews have to react to scenarios in anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare.

====

Categories: Uncategorized

Chicago Brainwashes Grade Schoolers For New Generation Of NATO Warfare

April 13, 2012 2 comments

Stop NATO
April 13, 2012

Chicago Brainwashes Grade Schoolers For New Generation Of NATO Warfare
Rick Rozoff

The day after NATO Host Committee co-chairperson Madeleine Albright belabored South Side high school students on her favorite topic – the ineffable virtues of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and its need to encompass the world so as to share its benefits with populations not yet bombed and occupied – two other members of the committee visited a sixth-grade classroom at the Walt Disney Magnet School on the North Lakefront to deliver the same message.

The two summit propagandists interrogated the primary school students, who had been given their homework in advance, with questions like “When was NATO started?” and “Why was it started?” in an instruction in dogma that resembles catechism classes in parochial schools.

In answer to the second query, one well-prepared youngster responded, “To prevent World War III!”

One is free to substitute another verb for “prevent.”

Other questions included, “Who were we worried about in 1949?” with the inevitable “The Soviet Union!” as the required answer. Matters haven’t changed much in essence since the Cold War bunker mentality of 1949 held sway over the minds of terrified schoolchildren.

The Chicago Tribune account of the event, written by the perpetually uncomprehending Mary Schmich, has the tone of schoolchildren being coached to celebrate the hosting of the 2016 Olympics (which Chicago bid for and lost) or the Chicago Cubs’ pennant prospects. Nice and “bubbly,” with a We Are the World schmaltziness incongruous with the deadly nature of the organization which is being paid obeisance.

During the earlier Albright session with a select (elect) group of students from an elite secondary school, the sort of pupils deemed potential successors to the likes of the former secretary of state and in the future able in their own right to order bomb and missile attacks on defenseless peoples, students were grilled on the benefits accruing to Chicago in hosting the military bloc’s summit, and one enterprising student earned herself a gold star by stating “It’s like being able to see history in front of your eyes.”

NATO and the Department of State Albright headed during NATO’s first war in 1999 have deployed brigades of officials to similarly indoctrinate students across the city of 3 million. The Host Committee, the State Department, the White House, the Rahm Emanuel administration and NATO Headquarters in Brussels have also prepared a number of public relations initiatives to promote the military alliance as a benign organization the hosting of which is an honor to the city and an opportunity to showcase the “world-class” qualities of the same.

Chicago Public Schools is fully collaborating with the NATO Host Committee in using classrooms and school hours to conduct a one-sided pro-NATO information campaign, as though academic standards and achievement in Chicago are so outstanding as to permit time for the inculcation of “North Atlantic values.”

Its website invites its almost half million students to “Win an iPod and start your career as a video director” by entering a contest to produce videos to “welcome leaders from more than 50 countries to Chicago for the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) Diplomatic Summit this May.”

There are no better issues, no higher values to promote than the world’s and history’s largest military bloc which only five and a half months ago completed its first war in Africa and is in the twelfth calendar year of a war in Asia. It is reprehensible – is criminal – enough to recruit men and women in their late teens and early twenties to kill and die abroad under the NATO banner, but to conduct this sort of children’s crusade is truly unconscionable.

It isn’t specified whether the iPod comes replete with the NATO logo. As the indoctrination process proceeds further down the grade levels to pre-school, perhaps scale-model toy cruise and Hellfire missiles and cluster bomb three-dimensional puzzles can be handed out to the children.

The NATO Host Committee also plans a video link-up with students in Chicago and counterparts in Afghanistan in which the two groups will share musical performances.

In a sane and just world Chicago students would be invited to visit bomb shelters where Serbian, Afghan and Libyan children huddled in terror in the cold and dark while NATO bombs and missiles rained down from the sky and the cemeteries where their opposite numbers’ battered bodies are buried.

The more valiant Chicago pupils could volunteer to spend their summer vacation clearing cluster bomb fragments in past NATO war zones.

That sort of practical education would contribute to learning the most important lesson: That war is an utter abomination and an organization that exist solely for that purpose has no right to exist.

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO Blamed For Unrest In Mali, Destabilization Of Sahel

April 13, 2012 1 comment

New Era
April 13, 2012

NATO blamed for Mali unrest
By Toivo Ndjebela

WINDHOEK: Namibia has blamed the architects of last year’s overthrow of the Libyan government for the civil strife and the recent coup against a democratically elected government in Mali.

Tuareg rebels in Mali have proclaimed independence for the country’s northern part after capturing key towns this week.

Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi administration fell last year after local rebels, with the help of NATO forces – and initially France, Britain and the USA – drove the long-serving leader out of the capital Tripoli and ultimately killed him after months in hiding.

The Namibian government believes the events in Libya are now bearing sour fruits within the western and northern parts of Africa, in what is jointly known as the Sahel region.

“The profoundly retrogressive developments in Mali are a direct consequence of the unstable security and political situation in Libya, created by the precipitous military overthrow of the government of Libya in 2011,” a government statement, released Tuesday by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, states.

The statement continued: “Accordingly, those countries that rushed to use military force in Libya, had underestimated the severe repercussions of their actions in the Sahel region.”

“They should thus bear some responsibility for the instability in Mali and the general insecurity in the region.”

Nomadic Tuaregs have harboured ambitions to secede from Mali’s northern part since the country’s independence from France in 1960, but lack of foreign support for this idea meant the dream would only be realized 52 years later.

Namibia herself survived a secession attempt in 1999 when a self-styled rebel group, led by former Swapo and DTA politician Mishake Muyongo, now exiled in Denmark, attempted to separate the Caprivi Region from the rest of Namibia.

The Mali situation already cost Amadou Toumani Toure his job last month, when junior army officers overthrew him for what they say was his reluctance to avail resources needed to fight the advancing Tuareg rebels.

Speaker of Mali’s parliament, Doincounda Traore, was expected to be sworn in as president yesterday morning, a development that would restore civilian rule in the humanitarian crisis-hit West African country.

Traore is inheriting control of only half of the country, with northern Mali now falling under control of Tuareg rebels and Islamists.
Namibia said those tearing Mali into administrative pieces should have observed the African Union’s principle of inviolability of borders of the African countries.

“This principle of indivisibility of borders has served Africa well since its adoption by the OAU (Organisation of African Unity) Summit in Cairo in 1964,” the statement further reads.

It further stated: “The Government of Namibia reiterates its unequivocal rejection of any attempt to dismember any African country and unreservedly condemns all manner of secessionist aspirations.”

Namibia is yet to officially recognize the new Libyan government, whose local embassy held a ‘revolution anniversary’ in February without attendance of any notable officials of the Namibian government.

Categories: Uncategorized

Russian Warships To Continuously Patrol Off Syrian Coast

Russian Information Agency Novosti
April 13, 2012

Russian Warships to Patrol Syrian Coast

MOSCOW: Russian warships will be continuously deployed for patrol duty off the Syrian coast in the Mediterranean, a high-ranking source in the Russian Defense Ministry said on Friday.

“A decision has been made to deploy Russian warships near the Syrian shores on a permanent basis,” the source said.

The Russian Kashin-class guided-missile destroyer Smetlivy is currently deployed near the Syrian coast.

“Another Black Sea Fleet ship will replace the Smetlivy in May,” the source said, adding that several Russian warships were on their way to the Mediterranean.

“This may be the Pytlivy frigate or one of the amphibious assault ships,” he said, adding that “deployment of a Black Sea Fleet task force to the region cannot be ruled out.”

The United States, France, Great Britain, Germany and some other countries have deployed more warships to the Mediterranean since the outbreak of unrest in Syria in February 2012. More than 9,000 people have been killed in the violence, according to the United Nations. On Thursday, the Syrian government declared a ceasefire with opposition fighters as part of a U.N.-brokered peace plan.

The Russian military has repeatedly underscored the need for Russian warships to patrol the Mediterranean on a permanent basis. In Soviet days, up to 50 warships from the Fifth Squadron of the Russian Black Sea Fleet and other Soviet Navy units have been deployed in the Mediterranean on a permanent basis.

Over the winter months, a Russian task force, led by the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, has been deployed to the Mediterranean. The ships returned to the Russian Northern Fleet’s home base of Severomorsk in February, after two-month naval exercises.

Other Russian ships currently on patrol duty in the Mediterranean are the Kildin surveillance ship, as well as the Iman tanker vessel and a floating workshop deployed near the Syrian port of Tartus.

Categories: Uncategorized

Interview: U.S. Moving Interceptor Missile System Into Middle East

Voice of Russia
April 13, 2012

 

US coming to the Middle East
John Robles

 

AUDIO: Download

 

The U.S. is about to announce that they are going to advance their SM-3 missile systems in the Middle East and Asia Pacific region.

Dealing with Middle East, what are they going to do there? We will talk on this with Rick Rozoff, the Manager of the Stop NATO website and mailing list and the contributing writer to globalresearch.ca.

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO Backs Powerful Turkey Against Embattled Syria

Voice of Russia
April 12, 2012

Powerful Turkey requesting NATO aid against the embattled Syria
Dmitry Babich

====

[E]ven the extremely anti-Assad French daily Le Monde reports that the recent spat on the Turkish–Syrian border was actually provoked from the Turkish side of the frontier. According to the newspaper, the incident occurred “when Syrian security forces opened fire on the rebels of the Free Syrian Army who were approaching the Turkish border.”

The New York Times is even more specific saying that the violence started early Monday “when Syrian insurgents attacked government soldiers at or near a Syrian border post.”

[T]he Brussels-based headquarters of the most powerful military bloc on the planet Earth are ready to defend the 79-million-strong country, with the most powerful army in the region, from its embattled small neighbor.

====

       
The brief lull which established itself on the recent domestic and foreign fronts of the Syrian civil war looked too good to be true for a long time.

Western observers predict a resumption of hostilities, some of them saying openly that it would be a mistake to let the Syrian regime survive after so many months of foreign-supported guerilla war. All sorts of new possible forms of casus belli for the resumption of the rebellion or a possible foreign intervention are mentioned. Not surprisingly, almost all such scenarios mention Turkey.

Meanwhile, just a few months ago Turkey would be seen as the least likely launching pad for a foreign intervention into Syrian territory.

Historically, Israel, Iraq or even Jordan would be seen as much likelier suspects. Just a few years ago, the Syrian and Turkish governments held joint sessions. The heads of the two sovereign and then friendly states – president Bashar al-Assad of Syria and the Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan – vacationed together. But, obviously, something changed not only in the Syrian, but also in Turkish society in the last few years. Now Istanbul shelters the most radical group of Syrian opposition, the Syrian National Council, and organizes conferences of the so-called “friends of Syria,” where representatives of Western countries discuss with their colleagues from the Gulf monarchies the best way of paying “salaries” to Syrian deserters.

“The speed with which Turkey and its prime minister Erdogan got rid of the old ties of friendship with the Syrian regime is indeed astounding,” comments Fyodor Lukyanov, the editor-in-chief of the Moscow-based magazine Russia In Global Affairs. “Most likely, Erdogan just realized that Assad’s regime is doomed.”

If that is right, then one must admit that Turkey is extremely open in its desire to take part in reaping the fruit of Assad’s demise. How else can its belligerent stance towards the Southern neighbor be explained? The argument that Turkey is the primary recipient of the flow of refugees from Syria does not work. It is made irrelevant by the specific nature of the Turkish “humanitarian action.”

Somehow, the Turkish authorities do not seem to be making the smallest possible effort to stop intrusions from both sides of the border – something that would be a natural reaction from a country which is afraid of a spillover effect from a conflict taking place nearby. In fact, even the extremely anti-Assad French daily Le Monde reports that the recent spat on the Turkish–Syrian border was actually provoked from the Turkish side of the frontier. According to the newspaper, the incident occurred “when Syrian security forces opened fire on the rebels of the Free Syrian Army who were approaching the Turkish border.”

The New York Times is even more specific saying that the violence started early Monday “when Syrian insurgents attacked government soldiers at or near a Syrian border post.” The Syrian soldiers returned fire thus committing a terrible breach of Turkish sovereignty.

The most astounding development is that Turkey used the incident to invoke article 5 of the NATO Treaty, requesting solidarity from other NATO members in defense of Turkey’s borders. “NATO has the responsibility of protecting Turkey’s borders,” Turkish prime minister was quoted as saying by Le Monde.

And the response from NATO did come – obviously, the Brussels-based headquarters of the most powerful military bloc on the planet Earth are ready to defend the 79-million-strong country, with the most powerful army in the region, from its embattled small neighbor. “We take our responsibility of protecting our NATO allies very seriously,” NATO’s spokesman Carmen Romero said. “We follow the situation very closely and we will continue doing that,” he added.

So, here we have the likeliest casus belli for the resumption of hostilities. The incidents on the Syrian-Turkish border, coupled with Turkey’s insistence on establishing a “humanitarian” zone near the border, which will be effectively wrested out of Syria’s sovereign control, pave the way for all sorts of actions against the Syrian government. At least, this is true in the eyes of the “friends of Syria” and especially those of them based in Istanbul.

Obviously, these kinds of developments would not be possible without certain events that have taken place place in Turkey since the coming to power of prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the year 2003. During all of those years Turkey has been steadily moving away from the European integration, away from secularism and towards greater imperial aspirations in the Middle East.

“It was not a slip of tongue when prime minister Erdogan said he wanted to bring the Turkish republic to the same “strong positions” that the Ottoman empire once had,” said Andrei Areshev of the Moscow based Strategic Culture Foundation. “These aspirations sound ominous to many.”

Categories: Uncategorized

North Korea: Pretext For U.S. To Expand Global Missile Shield

April 13, 2012 1 comment

China Daily
April 13, 2012

DPRK launch is just a pretext
By Hu Mingyuan

====

[The U.S. is] taking advantage of the launch, to persuade Japan, the ROK and Australia to create a regional missile shield modeled on the so-called “phased adaptive approach” to missile defense that was originally developed for Europe.

Although the US claims that the construction of antiballistic missile shields in Asia and the Middle East would protect the US and its allies from possible missile attacks by Iran and DPRK, the Asian shield system is widely believed to be part of the US’ attempts to contain China.

The US and its allies have…established first and second island chains to contain China, and the US intends to undermine China’s missile penetration probability and reinforce its own strike capability.

====

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea set the cat among the pigeons when it announced last month it will launch a Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite in mid-April to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of former leader Kim Il-sung.

The Republic of Korea has said it will track and intercept the rocket, and Japan has deployed missiles to shoot down the rocket if it strays into Japan’s airspace.

Japan hopes to use the DPRK’s satellite launch to examine its missile defense capabilities under simulated conditions. But its high-profile response to the launch – deploying seven ground-based Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles on Okinawa, Ishigaki and other areas and stationing three destroyers with Aegis combat systems and Standard Missile-3 interceptors in the Sea of Japan and in waters around Okinawa – underscores the transition of its exclusively defense-oriented policy to a proactive policy aimed at containing China and reinforcing its hold on islands it seized from China.

Meanwhile, the United States, while trying to pressure the DPRK into abandoning the launch, has sent its most advanced radar system, the Sea-Based X-Band radar, to the Pacific to track and monitor the DPRK’s rocket should the launch go ahead.

It is also taking advantage of the launch, to persuade Japan, the ROK and Australia to create a regional missile shield modeled on the so-called “phased adaptive approach” to missile defense that was originally developed for Europe.

Madelyn Creedon, an assistant secretary of defense for global strategic affairs, said at the 10th Annual US Missile Defense Conference on March 26 that the US is engaged in two sets of trilateral dialogues, one with Japan and Australia and the other with Japan and the ROK, to establish a missile shield in Asia. She said the shields could help counter any future long-range missiles that the DPRK might develop.

But if Japan does join a missile shield in Asia, it will be going beyond the limitations set by its Constitution, which will make neighboring countries concerned that it is seeking to restore its military status and thus threaten neighboring countries.

Although the US claims that the construction of antiballistic missile shields in Asia and the Middle East would protect the US and its allies from possible missile attacks by Iran and DPRK, the Asian shield system is widely believed to be part of the US’ attempts to contain China.

Creedon admitted as much when she said the regional shields should be tailored to an area’s unique deterrence and defense profile, taking into account geography, history and threats.

The US and its allies have also established first and second island chains to contain China, and the US intends to undermine China’s missile penetration probability and reinforce its own strike capability.

Even though there are doubts about how effective such a missile shield would be – critics say the Pentagon still has not proved the system can work in realistic conditions – should the US and Japan cling to setting up missile system in Asia, it will inevitably cause geopolitical uncertainty and agitate other countries.

Even if China develops its own ballistic missiles and anti-aircraft carrier missile, it will be still hard for China to break through such a defense system and safeguard itself against a possible saturation attack by the US. So China will deepen its strategic cooperation with countries that share its concern to confront the common security challenge.

Amid the increasing global challenges, nuclear proliferation and regional unrest, it is vitally important for the US and China to co-exist peacefully and achieve win-win cooperation. China respects the US’ presence and interests in the Asia-Pacific region, and the US should honor China’s core interests and prudently reconsider the defense missile program and seek to achieve universal security through political and diplomatic means.

The author is an assistant research scholar at the Center for Northeast Asian Studies, a research institution in Jilin province.

Categories: Uncategorized

Turkey-Syria: New NATO Intervention Ahead Of Chicago Summit?

April 12, 2012 3 comments

Turkey-Syria: New NATO Intervention Ahead Of Chicago Summit?
Rick Rozoff

On April 11 Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told reporters accompanying him to China that Turkey is considering asking the 28-nation North Atlantic Treaty Organization to invoke its Article 5 collective military assistance clause against Syria after a reported brief cross-border skirmish between Syrian military forces and what were identified as refugees, whether armed or otherwise remains unclear. Turkey unabashedly provides refuge for and, though not publicly acknowledged, assistance to thousands of Free Syrian Army fighters in its south.

The Turkish head of state insisted that “NATO has a responsibility to protect Turkish borders,” in what could only be interpreted as an allusion to the military bloc’s founding document provision mentioned above, the bulk of which states:

“The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them…will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.”

Turkey joined NATO along with Greece in 1952 as the culmination of the 1947 Truman Doctrine, the inauguration of which signaled the beginning of the Cold War, and after both countries served their NATO apprenticeship by supplying troops for the war in Korea.

It is the eastern-most member of the alliance, bordering Greece and Bulgaria to its northwest and Syria, Iraq, Iran, Armenia and Georgia – all potential flashpoints for future military conflicts – to its south and east.

Earlier this year the Turkish government agreed under NATO obligations to host a U.S. Forward-Based X-Band Radar as the advance guard of the Western global missile interception system being extended from Europe into the Middle East and the broader Asia-Pacific region.

According to the Zaman newspaper, Prime Minister Erdoğan also warned: “Turkey has a unique attitude; history is evidence of this. Turkey will at least take the position other countries would take in a similar situation. Syria should put itself in order. If Syria continues its violence, then, Syria should be ready to pay the consequences of this violence. Yesterday also there were armed attacks across our border with Syria. In terms of international law, it is clear what Turkey should do in terms of border violations.”

NATO spokesman Carmen Romero later told Agence France-Presse that in relation to Article 5 obligations, “We take our responsibility to protect NATO allies extremely seriously.”

The U.S. and NATO can exploit Turkey’s bordering Syria to intervene against the latter in the name of alleged collective defense. [1]

Article 5 has only been acted on once before in the 63 years of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, in October of 2001 after the attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. of the preceding month.

That decision was the genesis of NATO’s involvement in the over decade-long war in Afghanistan, which also includes Alliance warplanes and troops stationed in bases in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and deadly NATO attacks conducted inside Pakistan.

The activation of Article 5 also resulted in NATO AWACS surveillance aircraft being deployed along the Eastern Seaboard of the United States and the launching of Operation Active Endeavor, a permanent NATO naval surveillance and interdiction mission that controls all access to and from the Mediterranean Sea from the Strait of Gibraltar to the Suez Canal and the Dardanelles Strait.

Less than three years afterward, with direct relevance to the current situation, the closest approximation of an Article 5 mobilization (under Article 4: “The Parties will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened”) occurred when a month before the U.S. and British invasion of Iraq the NATO Defence Planning Committee authorized the deployment of three Patriot interceptor missile batteries from the Netherlands and two AWACS aircraft to the Turkish air base in Konya, used by U.S. Air Forces in Europe, including as the site of Operation Anatolian Eagle joint U.S.-Turkish air warfare exercises held several times a year, often with the participation of other NATO member states and partners. Partnership participants have included Mediterranean Dialogue members Israel and Jordan, Istanbul Cooperation Initiative member the United Arab Emirates (which has provided fighter jets and troops for NATO’s wars in Libya and Afghanistan) and Pakistan.

The Pentagon bases an estimated 90 B61 tactical nuclear bombs at the Incirlik Air Base in Turkey as part of its nuclear sharing agreement with NATO. That is, the U.S. has nuclear weapons (as well as a new missile radar base) in a nation bordering Syria and Iran under an arrangement with NATO.

With the Washington Post bluntly calling for NATO armed intervention in the West African nation of Mali and The Guardian demanding the same in Syria [2], all efforts must be extended to demand the disbanding of the lawless military bloc ahead of its summit in Chicago next month before it triggers an even larger crisis than it has in its previous wars in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Libya.

1) Turkish Actions Designed To Trigger NATO Confrontation With Syria?
Stop NATO
June 21, 2011

2) NATO nations must help restore order in Mali
The Washington Post
April 5, 2012

Simon Tisdall, Obama and Nato should act before the Syria crisis spreads further
The Guardian
April 10, 2012

Categories: Uncategorized
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 484 other followers