Archive

Archive for June, 2012

Romania: U.S. Escalates Missile Brinkmanship Against Russia

June 30, 2012 1 comment

Stop NATO
June 30, 2012

Romania: U.S. Escalates Missile Brinkmanship Against Russia
Rick Rozoff

On June 29 U.S. European Command announced the signing of new accords with the government of Romania for the stationing of American interceptor missiles in the country, a senior Russian diplomat stated that further talks with the U.S. on cuts in conventional and nuclear arms will not occur until Washington changes its stance on the U.S.-NATO missile shield project in Europe, and a top Russian official pledged to develop the means of circumventing the interceptor system on earth and in space.

At a joint committee meeting in the Bucharest, Major General Mark Schissler, Director of Plans and Policy at Headquarters U.S. European Command, and the Romanian Defense Ministry’s State Secretary for Defense Policy and Planning Sebastian Hulaban signed two implementing arrangements and three amendments to existing implementing arrangements related to the construction and operation of an American interceptor missile facility at a former air base in Deveselu. The new implementing arrangements pertain to the use of land surrounding the base and the use of air space over it for Phase II of the European Phased Adaptive Approach, the first phase of which was announced to be operational at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit in Chicago in May.

Also present for the signing were Rear Admiral Randall Hendrickson, Deputy Director of the Missile Defense Agency, and Brigadier General Thomas Sharpy, Director of Plans, Programs and Analyses for U.S. Air Forces in Europe.

The new codicils follow the Ballistic Missile Defense Agreement between the two nations which was signed in September of last year and entered into force in December. That pact in turn succeeded Romania’s announcement in February 2010 that it would host U.S. missiles as part of the Barack Obama administration’s Phased Adaptive Approach system to deploy scores of interceptors on land and sea in Eastern Europe from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea along Russia’s western flank.

Construction on the Romanian site will begin next year and in 2014 24 Standard Missile-3 interceptors will be deployed to the country, to be followed by as many, of a more advanced model, in Poland three years later.

Earlier in June U.S. representatives participated in an industry day in Romania, announcing that ground would be broken for the missile facility within months and dangling the prospect of contracts before local businesses, although Missile Defense Agency facilities require an American prime contractor for the military components.

The American representatives said they expected two contracts to be approved, one for developing the facilities of the Missile Defense Agency and one for the U.S. Navy component that is included in the Deveselu site. The involvement of the Navy, which will gain an access control center and facilities for 250 personnel, could indicate that the U.S. and NATO will not limit themselves to the placing of land-based Standard Missile-3s but may add the deployment of the sea-based version on American guided missile cruisers and destroyers in the Black Sea. 

Commenting on the above, the press officer at the American embassy in Romania, Kenneth Wetzel, said, “This project reaffirms Romania’s commitments to NATO and reflects the very strong relations between our two countries.”

The missile shield facility will initially be a bilateral U.S.-Romanian undertaking until it is transferred to NATO control. Bogdan Aurescu of the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that Romanian companies have gained considerable experience in NATO and NATO-interoperable projects since joining the U.S.-led military bloc in 2004 that permits the country to be the first to host longer-range, higher-velocity interceptors in Europe. (Two years ago the Pentagon moved a Patriot Advanced Capability-3 battery and approximately 100 military personnel to Poland.)

The 2011 agreement on basing U.S. interceptor missiles in Romania begins with these words:

“Having in mind the United States–Romanian Strategic Partnership and the further development thereof, and recognizing that a very important pillar of the United States–Romanian relationship is the solidarity embodied in Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, the United States and Romania recognize the importance of enhancing their individual and collective national security by working within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization…

“Reaffirming their strong will to work together towards contributing to, in accordance with the principle of the indivisibility of the security of NATO and with the principle of NATO solidarity, the NATO missile defense capability, as a key mission of the Alliance, with the aim of providing full coverage and protection for all NATO European populations, territory and forces, as well as to shaping NATO’s central role in missile defense in Europe…”

In 2005, the year after Romania joined NATO, the U.S. signed a comprehensive defense cooperation agreement with the country that provided the Pentagon its first military bases in a former Warsaw Pact country, including the Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base which had been used for the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and subsequent to that has been employed for the wars in that nation, Afghanistan and Libya.

On June 18 the above-cited Romanian official Aurescu met with Poland’s presidential adviser on security matters Stanislaw Koziej to share Romania’s experience in regard to hosting American Standard Missile-3 interceptors. The U.S. will deploy the new Standard Missile-3 Block 1B, to go into production this fall, to Romania in 2015 and the more advanced Block 11A to Poland in 2018.

The missile system will be controlled by NATO from the U.S. air base in Ramstein, Germany and connected with the Army Navy/Transportable Radar Surveillance X-band missile radar put into operation in Turkey in January, which an Obama administration official last autumn described as “probably the biggest strategic decision between the United States and Turkey in the past 15 or 20 years.”

On June 29 Grigory Berdennikov, the Russian envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency, stated that Russia will not continue talks with the U.S. on conventional and nuclear arms reductions until, as cited by Russian Information Agency Novosti, “Washington changes its stance on the global deployment of U.S. missile defenses.”

The news agency quoted Berdennikov as warning:

“[H]ow are we supposed to move forward if the United States refuses to curb its missile defenses?

“We are certainly hoping that they will change their stance on missile defense, because at this point there is no progress (in missile defense talks) whatsoever. We cannot do anything else while there is no clarity on missile defense issues.”

On the same day Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin told a Russian radio station that Russia will develop a response to the U.S.-NATO missile interception system that will allow for it being confronted and overcome. He said, “Our task is to create a real guarantee of security for the Russian Federation by arming Russian forces with equipment capable of countering any attempts to offset the strategic balance.”

According to a Xinhua News Agency account of his statement, Russia will “create defensive systems capable of intercepting incoming missiles or upgrade its own first-strike nuclear forces so as to overcome any anti-missile umbrella.”

Rogozin added: “We, of course, will create a system of overcoming and suppressing any anti-missile defense. If somebody thinks it is possible to surround us with an anti-missile fence, we will break down everything, the entire wall, if someone would attempt to isolate us or make us kneel down.”

In anticipating the next step in U.S. and NATO missile interception plans – the inevitable expansion into space – the Russian official said that his nation will also “give an adequate response” to the threat of military attacks from that domain.

He explained Russia’s concerns regarding the militarization of space: “Obviously, long-term space stations will be created not only for civilian but, perhaps, for military purposes. Today it is impossible to draw the line between civilian and military space (programs).”

The deployment of interceptor missiles in Romania and Poland will mark the beginning and not the end of U.S. and NATO plans for an international – and beyond, to space – missile system for potential first-strike use against Russia and other nations, a system that can prove the greatest threat to humanity since the end of the Cold War.

Categories: Uncategorized

Combined Maritime Forces: U.S.’s Global Naval Force in the Arabian Sea

June 30, 2012 2 comments

Stop NATO
June 29, 2012

Combined Maritime Forces: U.S.’s Global Naval Force in the Arabian Sea
Rick Rozoff

The U.S. Navy blog site ran a feature on the U.S.-created and -led multinational Combined Maritime Forces operation throughout the Arabian Sea on June 28.

Established in February 2002 toward the beginning of the so-called global war on terror, it has in the interim expanded to include 35-40 ships engaged in what are identified as anti-piracy operations and the “promotion of security, stability and prosperity” in 2.5 million square miles of international waters from the Horn of Africa to the western coast of Pakistan and from the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Aden separating Somalia from Yemen: A zone taking in recent and current American and North Atlantic Treaty Organization theaters of war in Iraq, Afghanistan-Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen; indeed the central focus of Western military operations and geopolitical strategy over the past decade.

Two and a half years ago Washington claimed that its campaign and that of its NATO allies in Afghanistan had proven so successful that it had driven al-Qaeda elements out of South Asia, forcing them to – somehow, it was never explained how – flee across the entire width of the Arabian Sea to Somalia and Yemen, although overall developments related to the intractable, and unwinnable, war in Afghanistan in the interim hardly bear out the first half of that self-deluding assessment.

The over decade-long Combined Maritime Forces initiative is commanded by American Vice Admiral John Miller, who is simultaneously commander of U.S Naval Forces Central Command and the U.S. Fifth Fleet, all three based in Bahrain. Its deputy commander is Commodore Simon Ancona of the Royal Navy, who also serves as the United Kingdom Maritime Component commander in charge of Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships in the Middle East. The U.S. Fifth Fleet has a Carrier Strike Group, Expeditionary Strike Group, at most times two nuclear-powered supercarriers and other ships and aircraft with 15,000 service members assigned to them.

Combined Maritime Forces consists of three combined task forces (CFTs) — CTF 150, CTF 151 and CTF 152 – which are identified as conducting maritime security, counter-piracy and Persian Gulf maritime security operations, respectively.

The Combined Maritime Forces website describes the geostrategic importance of its area of operation as encompassing “some of the world’s most important shipping lanes,” from the Red Sea to the Gulf of Oman and the Laccadive Sea; where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Arabian Sea and where the latter connects with the Persian Gulf and where it flows into the Bay of Bengal.

Combined Maritime Forces now includes naval forces from 26 nations, all but one, Thailand, NATO members states, partners and Troop Contributing Nations for the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

Member states: The U.S., Belgium, Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Turkey.

Partners: Australia, Bahrain, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, New Zealand, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates.

Troop Contributing Nations not yet in the second category: Malaysia and Singapore.

Combined Task Force 150 operates in the Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman, Arabian Sea, Red Sea and Indian Ocean and has been commanded at various times by the U.S., Britain, France, Canada, the Netherlands, Australia and Pakistan.

The strategic significance of CTF 150’s geographical scope is described by Combined Maritime Forces as follows:

“This area is a vital artery of world trade that includes the main shipping routes from the Far East to Europe and the US with over 23,000 shipping movements per year. Over one third of the world’s oil passes through the Area of Operation (AOR) each year. In addition the AOR contains three narrow waterways, know as ‘choke points’, where vessels are required to pass closely between two shorelines…”

Combined Task Force 151 is deployed to the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia, covering 1.1 million square miles. It has been commanded by the U.S., Denmark, Turkey, Pakistan and South Korea. CTF 151 coordinates all its activities with NATO and the European Union Naval Force Somalia, which are conducting Operation Ocean Shield and Operation Atalanta, respectively.

Combined Task Force 152 operates in what Combined Maritime Forces refers to as the Arabian Gulf; that is, what most of the world knows as the Persian Gulf. The use of the first description is a naked affront to Iran and is meant to be just that. CTF 152 operates in conjunction with the navies of the six Gulf Cooperation Council member states: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. It has been commanded by the U.S., Britain, Italy, Australia, Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

The Combined Maritime Forces website offers this concise background information (and at least implicitly reveals why the CTF 152 is present where it is):

“Today the Gulf is one of the most strategic waterways in the world due to its importance in world oil transportation. It contains in the region of 700 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, representing over half of the world’s oil reserves, and over 2,000 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves (45% of the world total). Arabian Gulf countries maintain about one-third of the world’s productive oil capacity. The majority of the oil exported from the Arabian Gulf is transported by sea.”

The U.S. and its military allies in Canada, Europe, the Asia-Pacific region and the Persian Gulf have their warships and shipborne aircraft positioned in the most economically and geostrategically vital stretch of water in the world. To protect their own interests in the manner the world’s sole military superpower employs throughout most of the planet – maintaining the presence of overwhelming firepower – and whenever it suits them to threaten the fundamental interests of others.

Categories: Uncategorized

U.S. Tests New Interceptor Missile For NATO System Deployment

June 28, 2012 2 comments

Stop NATO
June 28, 2012

U.S. Tests New Interceptor Missile For NATO System Deployment
Rick Rozoff


Standard Missile-3 launch

On June 27 the U.S.’s Missile Defense Agency conducted its second test of the new-generation Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block 1B interceptor since last month.

The missile is to replace the current Block 1A version used on American Aegis class cruisers and destroyers capable of being deployed around the world and to be stationed in a land-based configuration in Romania in 2015.

A yet more advanced model, the Block 11A, will be deployed in Poland three years later. As the heart of what Washington calls the European Phased Adaptive Approach, 24 missiles apiece will be based in Romania and Poland to complement as many as 83 U.S. warships already able or upgraded to carry Standard Missile-3 interceptors (at the moment there are 24, with 36 by 2014) which can be dispatched to the Mediterranean Sea, where an Aegis class warship is already on deployment, and in future the Baltic, Norwegian, Barents and Black Seas if the U.S. and NATO desire to place them in those locations. 

NATO allies will provide other vessels equipped for missile radar purposes – perhaps dozens, perhaps scores; the missile radar site established in Turkey this January can be supplemented by others, likely in Caucasus and Baltic nations; and the Phased Adaptive Approach will be integrated with existing NATO programs like the Active Layered Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence and the Medium Extended Air Defense System to cover all of NATO’s European territory with an eventually impenetrable missile shield.

At its summit in Chicago in late May, NATO announced that the continent-wide missile interception system has achieved interim capacity.

A system that extensive is hardly required for the purposes the U.S. and NATO claim it is being created for – missile threats from Iran, North Korea and, according to NATO, even Syria – and instead possesses the potential of presenting a threat to Russia’s strategic assets.

The latest test of the SM-3 1B was off the coast of Hawaii where the USS Lake Erie fired the missile at what has been described as either a medium- or intermediate-range ballistic missile, destroying it in flight. In February 2008 the same guided missile cruiser launched an SM-3 130 miles over the Pacific Ocean to destroy a U.S. satellite, described as being disabled, in what some observers feared could mark the beginning of space warfare.

This week’s was the second successful launch of the SM-3 1B in a month and a half and the 21st successful test of an SM-3 in 28 attempts.

The preceding test, on May 9, was characterized by Wes Kremer, vice president of Raytheon’s Air and Missile Defense Systems, as being more “scripted” and the June 27 test as “more complex” because, he added, “We did do things on this mission that have not ever been previously done before with regards to the complexity of the target…” The latest test involved a separating target missile and the SM-3 Block 1B’s new enhanced two-color infrared seeker which distinguishes missiles from decoys.

The president of Raytheon Missile Systems, Dr. Taylor W. Lawrence, stated that subsequent test scenarios will be progressively more complex “as we demonstrate the full capability of the SM-3 Block IB against more advanced threats.” More complex than largely if not entirely fictitious Iranian and North Korean missile capabilities can serve as a pretext for.

After Wednesday’s launch, Missile Defense Agency spokesman Richard Lehner announced that production of the new SM-3 model will begin in the autumn.

Two days following the test, the head of Russia’s military, General Nikolai Makarov, stated that talks between his nation and the U.S. on the latter’s European interceptor missile system have gone nowhere, as Washington refuses to provide Russia with guarantees that the system will not be aimed against it. In Makarov’s words, “The work of experts continues, but no progress has been made.”

Early last month the above general, chief of the Russian general staff, in speaking of the U.S.-NATO missile system warned that “A decision to use destructive force pre-emptively will be taken if the situation worsens.”
     

Categories: Uncategorized

Conquer And Plunder: Kosovo For The NATO General

June 28, 2012 3 comments

Voice of Russia
June 28, 2012

Kosovo for the general
Igor Siletsky and Timur Blokhin

====

Wesley Clark always had good contacts with the Kosovo “government” and its “prime minister” – the former militant Hashim Thaci. There is even a street in Pristina named after Wesley Clark.

“It is clear that during their ‘cooperation’ that started in 1998, they concluded business agreements. Now it is absolutely clear that the bombings of Kosovo pursued both political and economic objectives: they were aimed not only at separating Kosovo from Serbia, but also at depriving Kosovo of its extensive natural resources…”

“Kosovo created a precedent. It was the first link in the strategy of the ‘humanitarian’ interventions of the NATO countries led by the USA…To be more exact, the possibility of interference in other regions of the world under this or that pretext became possible.”

Coal mining is very good but oil still has a good price. So everything continued, following the former format: Iraq, Somalia, and Libya.

====

Kosovo’s economy is overfilled with investments.

True, the majority of investors are Americans who bore a relation to the “democratization” of Yugoslavia that was carried out at the end of the 90s of the last century. Among them is the former commander of NATO forces in Kosovo retired general Wesley Clark, who is determined to invest more than 5.5 billion dollars in the former Yugoslav republic. Experts say that Washington’s strategy could be characterized by the following slogan: “Conquer and plunder”.

His closest supporters say that Wesley Clark is a great strategist. He wrote the book “Winning Modern Wars” that was published in 2001. In his fundamental survey the author mentions the Pentagon’s list of countries that can be regarded as candidates for a quick change of leadership. On that list are Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, and Somalia. Yugoslavia was not mentioned there because by that time the undesirable regime of Slobodan Milosevic had been overthrown with the help of precision and carpet bombings.

By the way, shortly after the Kosovo operation the tired general – Wesley Clark – retired and immediately got involved in the banking business. As it appears, he invested all his savings that he had accumulated as general, receiving from 150 to 200,000 dollars annually, in the banking business. Because of that he had to earn additional money, working as a military analyst on U.S. TV channels. However, he did not lose his contacts with Kosovo, where, following the previously mentioned democratization, entrepreneurship, especially, in the field of medicine, was on the rise. And now the Envidity Company that is in Clark’s ownership has filed a request for coal mining to the Kosovo authorities. Serbia, which does not recognize Kosovo’s independence, says that it is determined to demand protection for the natural resources belonging to it. Nobody wants to ask for Belgrade’s permission though as was the case many times before.

Wesley Clark always had good contacts with the Kosovo “government” and its “prime minister” – the former militant Hashim Thaci. There is even a street in Pristina named after Wesley Clark. By the way, a Russian political analyst and retired colonel-general Leonid Ivashov at the trial of Slobodan Milosevic mentioned the allied character of relations between the NATO troops and the militants of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). As we can see, this cooperation has borne fruit, including both political and economic benefits, a Serbian journalist, Nikola Vrzic, says.

“It is clear that during their ‘cooperation’ that started in 1998, they concluded business agreements. Now it is absolutely clear that the bombings of Kosovo pursued both political and economic objectives: they were aimed not only at separating Kosovo from Serbia, but also at depriving Kosovo of its extensive natural resources. As it appears, coal is Kosovo’s main resource. Geologists say that there are other minerals there too. More prospecting for natural resources is needed there.”

Against the background of instability on the oil market, experts talk more and more often about good prospects for the development of synthetic fuel, including obtaining synthetic fuel from coal. Clark’s firm believes that it is possible to produce up to 100,000 barrels of the new source of energy daily.

The economic motives of NATO’s military games are actually not a secret. Of interest here is the fact that in the middle of the 1990s, at the very height of the fratricidal war in Yugoslavia, NATO countries’ citizens bought property in the Balkan republic. Buyers were making preparations for a new “post-Yugoslav” reality. And Kosovo was a good training ground, an expert with the Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Pavel Kandel, said in an interview with the Voice of Russia.

“Kosovo created a precedent. It was the first link in the strategy of the ‘humanitarian’ interventions of the NATO countries led by the USA. Shortly before the Kosovo operation, at the urgent request of Washington, NATO adopted a new doctrine, which set a number of tasks beyond defence limits before the member-states of the formerly defensive bloc. To be more exact, the possibility of interference in other regions of the world under this or that pretext became possible.”

The strategy that was used earlier can be used again. Coal mining is very good but oil still has a good price. So everything continued, following the former format: Iraq, Somalia, and Libya. Something has gone wrong with Syria though. Damascus wants to develop democracy without humanitarian aid from the West. There are problems with Iran too. But economic strategists have enough patience: investor-generals are ready for investing at any time.

Categories: Uncategorized

Syria: NATO Member Turkey, Proxy Saudi Arabia On War Footing

June 28, 2012 2 comments

Global Research
June 28, 2012

NATO Proxies Turkey and Saudi Arabia Move to War Footing on Eve of Syrian ‘Peace Summit’
By Finian Cunningham

The NATO-backed covert aggression against Syria could be reaching a tipping point for all-out war involving state forces. That should be no surprise. For the past 16 months, NATO and its regional proxies have been steadily increasing the violence and turmoil inside and outside Syria, while the Western corporate-controlled media maintain the ridiculous fiction that the bloody chaos is largely due to the government forces of President Bashar Al Assad cracking down on “peaceful protesters”.

Ironically, the crisis is culminating at the same time that the United Nations convenes an emergency summit on Syria in Geneva this weekend. The meeting, which is ostensibly aimed at “reviving the Kofi Annan peace plan”, will be attended by the five permanent members of the UN security council and other “invited” regional states. The irony is that leading NATO members, the US, Britain and France, as well as their Turkish and Arab allies who will also be attending the crisis conference, are the very parties that have deliberately created the precipice for all-out war in the Middle East.

As dignitaries fly into Geneva to “salvage peace in Syria”, there is a lockstep military build-up on the northern and southern flanks of Syria underway, with news that Turkey has dispatched battlefield tanks, missile batteries and heavy artillery to its Syrian border, while to the south Saudi Arabia has announced that its military forces have been put on a “state of high alert”.

Ankara’s military mobilization along its 800km land border with Syria came within hours of the declaration by Turkey’s prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan slating Syria as “a hostile state”. The immediate cause of the deterioration in relations between the neighbouring countries is the downing of a Turkish fighter jet last week in Syrian territorial waters. Syria claims it was acting in self-defence after the Phantom RF-4E warplane entered its airspace on Friday. Ankara has so far failed to give an explanation for why one of its warplanes was making such a provocative low-flying manoeuvre into Syrian airspace. But the Turkish government has announced that any move by Syrian armed forces towards its border will be viewed as another “hostile act” that it will respond to. How’s that for a provocative tether? Especially towards a country that is being attacked by armed groups crossing over its border with Turkey.

Meanwhile, on the same day that Turkey is militarizing along its border with Syria, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah makes an unprecedented announcement putting his armed forces on high alert “due to the tense situation in the Middle East”. Using vague and contrived language, the Saudi ruler warned against “foreign or terrorist attacks” to justify the mobilization of the kingdom’s armed forces.

The military pincer movement against Syria tends to support the analysis that the downing of the Turkish fighter jet was a deliberate set-piece scenario designed to furnish a cause for war, or at least a stepping up of the international psy-ops campaign of intimidation against Syria.

It is notable that the circumstances surrounding the shooting down of the warplane have yet to be clarified. The Syrians seem to have firm grounds for acting in the way they did given the provocative conduct of the Turkish fighter jet. And there is an onus on the Ankara government to give some explanation for the unusual military manoeuvre, especially in the light of claims that the aircraft was on a reconnaissance mission on behalf of anti-Assad forces on the ground in Syria. Yet almost reflexively, before details have been established about the incident, Turkey has moved on to a war footing. Equally telling is that Saudi Arabia, a key ally of Ankara in opposition to Syria, has simultaneously moved also on to a war footing – without any substantive grounds for such a mobilization.

Some informed analysts have said that the Turkish-Saudi pincer on Syria is more aimed at intensifying the psy-ops pressure on Bashar Al Assad to cave in and relinquish power. Hisham Jaber, director of the Beirut-based Center for Middle East Studies, told Press TV that Ankara and Riyadh will balk at an all-out war with Syria because both are well aware that any such conflict will bring in Iran, Russia and China in support of their ally in Damascus.

Nonetheless, there is an ineluctable logic towards all-out war. Ever since the armed insurrection by foreign mercenaries was instigated in Syria’s southern town of Deraa in mid-March 2011, Turkey and Saudi Arabia have played key roles in fomenting the covert campaign of aggression to overthrow the Assad government – a campaign that is authored by leading NATO members, the US, Britain and France. The division of labour is such that Turkey has supplied land bases to organize the mercenaries from Libya, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Iraq; while Saudi Arabia provides the money – up to $100 million – to buy weapons and pay wages for the soldiers of fortune; and ultimately it is Washington, London and Paris that are calling the tactical shots in the NATO war plan on Syria.

As several other commentators have pointed out, this war plan is aimed at asserting Western capitalist hegemony in the oil-rich Middle East and Central Asia regions. Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria are part of an overarching bid for “full-spectrum dominance” that will eventually target, overtly, Iran, Russia and China.

It is this crucial wider context of war-making by the waning capitalist powers that underscores the gravity of the military build-up inside and outside Syria. The dynamic for war has a compelling, nefarious logic – as the history of world wars testifies.

Which makes the Geneva “crisis conference” this weekend appear all the more ludicrous. In attendance are the US, Britain, France, Turkey and the Gulf Arab monarchical states of Kuwait and Qatar. All are professing to support a peaceful solution in Syria even though all the above are funnelling weapons, logistics and personnel to wage a brutal, terrorist assault on that country – an assault that has now led to the precipice of all-out regional war.

Also attending the UN conference are secretary general Ban Ki-moon and the UN/Arab League special envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan. The UN and the Arab League and these two figureheads in particular have shown themselves to be willing dupes to NATO’s war of aggression on Syria, and beyond, by indulging in the charade that the Western powers are “supporting peace” instead of denouncing them as “supporting war”. Significantly, the UN and Annan have not invited Iran to attend the conference as a result of US pressure. How provocative is that? Iran clearly has vital interests at stake given its proximity and geopolitical threats from the encroaching war on its Syrian ally.

The other ghost missing from the feast in Geneva this weekend is Saudi Arabia. The omission of Saudi Arabia should not be seen as some kind of consolation to Syrian and Iranian sensibilities, but rather as a way of shielding the House of Saud from embarrassment. Considering the incendiary role of Saudi Arabia in Syria, and possibly the region’s conflagration, the Saudi rulers should be summoned to a top seat at the “peace summit” – to face the most withering questions about their warmongering, criminal interference in a neighbouring state.

Then, using Nuremburg principles, prosecutors should proceed to arraign the rulers in Riyadh along with their accomplices in Washington, London, Paris and Ankara.

Finian Cunningham is Global Research’s Middle East and East Africa Correspondent

Categories: Uncategorized

U.S. Double Standards Crystal Clear In Bahrain

June 28, 2012 1 comment

Voice of Russia
June 28, 2012

U.S. double standards crystal clear in Bahrain
John Robles

====

[W]here are the calls from the U.S. and NATO for a “humanitarian intervention” or for regime change in Bahrain, a U.S. ally that hosts the headquarters of the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet? Nowhere. However on May 9, 2012 Hillary Clinton met with Bahraini Crown Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa and expressed that “much work remains to fully address ongoing human rights issues.” Where were statements like this in regard to Gadaffi or to Assad?

The entire Bahraini military, called the Bahraini Defense Force and numbering about 13,000, is equipped with U.S. hardware, everything from F-16s to Blackhawk helicopters, to Abrams tanks and even an Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate. But the relationship does not end there, Bahrain hosts the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, giving them a base in Juffair, and has signed a cooperation agreement with the U.S. military.

====

Even in today’s world of instant messaging, the Internet, mobile and satellite communications and worldwide mass media, there are still places that exist where events take place unbeknownst to the rest of the planet. There exist countries that do not want the world to know what is going on within their borders or there exist countries that try to control the flow of information coming out of areas where their activities are not within the boundaries of what the civilized world would find as acceptable or appropriate.

Serbia and Kosovo are places where such a media blackout exists and those are places where I believe need more attention from the international community. Another is Bahrain.

Officially called the Kingdom of Bahrain, the country is a small island nation situated in the western part of the Persian Gulf and has a population of about 1,234,571 according to a 2010 census. The country ranks 42nd on the Human Development Index, it is also a member of the UN, the WTO, the Arab League, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf.

Bahrain was caught up in what has become known as the Arab Spring on February 14th 2011 when protestors took to the streets demanding more political freedom and an improvement in the human rights situation in the country. Originally there was no threat to the monarchy nor were there calls for a regime change in the country. This all changed however on February 17th when police killed four protestors while attempting to clear the Pearl Roundabout in Manama, the central gathering place for most of the protests taking place in the country.

Since then the response and the crackdowns on peaceful and unarmed demonstrators by police and security forces has been described as brutal. Almost 3,000 people have been arrested and more than 70 have been killed, according to the acting president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, Maryam Al-Khawaja, in an interview for the Voice of Russia ( http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_06_28/79576566/ ). There are also widespread reports of torture, beatings and the denial of medical assistance leading to death.

As with most of the Arab Spring countries there is an internal conflict between Shiite and Sunni Muslims. In Bahrain the majority of the population is comprised of Shiites although the Sunnis control most of the government sectors and politics. There are reports of widespread and institutionalized discrimination in employment, housing and other areas against the Shiites.

According to Ms. Al-Khawaja, there exists a media blackout in Bahrain. The most obvious and pervasive form being a system of filtering and blocking Internet sites that is implemented and executed by the Bahraini Information Affairs Authority (IAA) and which has a noticeable impact on the overall speed of Internet traffic for the country’s more than 250,000 Internet users. According to the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) there are over 1,000 sites currently blocked in Bahrain including their own.

Bahrain has also seriously cracked down on bloggers and regularly arrests people for posting on Twitter and Facebook. Opposition groups views and opinions have no place in Bahraini media so they resort to the Internet. One such person, Nabeel Rajab, the president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (http://www.bahrainrights.org/en ), who I interviewed last September (http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/09/20/56438166.html) has been arrested twice and may have been tortured. During one arrest, according to the center, he was beaten and blindfolded and in his own words was threatened with rape and kicked when he refused to say he loved the prime minister.

The situation in the country is getting worse, with many experts saying that the situation may soon explode. According Ms. Al-Khawaja, part of the daily routine for many Bahraini citizens involves being tear gassed and trying to save their children from suffocating.

Human rights organizations all over the world have called for a halt to dozens of widespread abuses in the Kingdom. Some of the most notable being the following: Human Rights Watch has called on Bahrain’s High Court of Appeal to reject the use of confessions possibly obtained by torture. The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint program of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT), wrote an open letter to the King of Bahrain to state its concerns about the arbitrary detention of Nabeel Rajad.

Amnesty International has issued many statements, in particular with regard to the persecution of medical personnel who were attempting to assist injured protestors. Human Rights First says the persecution of human rights workers is getting worse. The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies stated in a report: “The human rights situation in Bahrain in 2011 witnessed unprecedented deterioration at almost all levels, especially in light of the repressive retaliatory action aimed at crushing the popular uprising which demanded far-reaching democratic reforms.” And the list goes on.

So where are the calls from the U.S. and NATO for a “humanitarian intervention” or for regime change in Bahrain, a U.S. ally that hosts the headquarters of the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet? Nowhere. However on May 9, 2012 Hillary Clinton met with Bahraini Crown Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa and expressed that “much work remains to fully address ongoing human rights issues.” Where were statements like in regard to to Gadaffi or to Assad?

So with all of these reports, what does the U.S. do? They sell arms to the Bahraini government. In February of this year 18 representatives and 3 Senators, all of them from the Democratic Party, wrote a letter of protest to Clinton who in turn, did nothing.

There have been widespread reports that the security forces are using military-grade tear gas on protestors and gassing homes, killing civilians.

But that is just one of the lesser pieces of equipment and weaponry that the U.S. is selling Bahrain. The entire Bahraini military, called the Bahraini Defense Force and numbering about 13,000, is equipped with U.S. hardware, everything from F-16s to Blackhawk helicopters, to Abrams tanks and even an Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate. But the relationship does not end there, Bahrain hosts the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, giving them a base in Juffair, and has signed a cooperation agreement with the U.S. military.

When speaking recently with regards to Syria, I think Russia’s plenipotentiary envoy for human rights affairs, Konstantin Dulgov, said it best: “Double standards in human rights are unacceptable and Russia and the majority of the international community reject that”.

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter also recently stated something worth repeating with regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “The U.S. government’s policies are now clearly violating at least 10 of the declaration’s 30 articles, including the prohibition against ‘cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.’”

So there you go, another example of a double standard and complete hypocrisy from the only country in the world where its leader signs off on a daily kill list. Who shall we kill today?

Categories: Uncategorized

Poll: Three Of Four Pakistanis Consider The U.S. An Enemy

RT
June 28, 2012

3 in 4 Pakistanis now consider the US an “enemy”, resentment towards US grows

Approximately 3 in 4 Pakistanis now consider the US an enemy according to a new Pew research poll released on June 27th. The polls show increasing hostility towards the US and new lows in the already strained relationship between the two countries.

The Pew Research poll conducted by the Pew Global Attitudes Project has published stark numbers. The poll, entitled “Pakistani Public Opinion Ever More Critical of US”, says 74% of Pakistanis now view the US as an ‘enemy’ up from 69% last year, while support for President Barack Obama continues to be exceptionally low.

A majority of Pakistanis hold the view that Obama has been just as bad a president as George W. Bush was in his last year in office. Furthermore, approximately 4 in 10 Pakistanis believe that US military and financial aid is having a negative impact on their country; only 1 in 10 believes the impact has been positive.

Tensions have been extreme between the two countries due to unceasing US drone attacks inside Pakistani territory. Pakistan shut down a highly strategic NATO supply route through its territory into Afghanistan last November in response to a NATO air strike that killed 24 Pakistani troops on the Afghan border.

The US has argued that the air strikes are necessary to counter the insurgency movements in Afghanistan. However, resentment towards the tacit alliance with the US allowing the drone strikes has fueled a domestic insurgency in Pakistan, leading to broad outrage at the resulting loss of Pakistani life.

“Pakistan has lost somewhere between 5000 to 6000 soldiers and paramilitary soldiers, but more than that, we’ve lost more than 35,000 civilians, and these people died because of terrorist bombings,” Ahmed Quraishi, President of the Paknationalists forum, told RT in an interview.

However, Washington’s view differs, with many in the United States government seeing Pakistan as a willing recipient of US humanitarian aid and funding, but an uncooperative US partner in the region. In May, a US senate panel voted to cut aid to Pakistan if Islamabad did not re-open the NATO supply corridor in a frustrated attempt to resolve the months-long dispute.
“We’re not going to be giving money to an ally that won’t be an ally,” Senator Lindsey Graham, the panel’s top Republican, told reporters at the Senate vote.

However, there is division on how far Pakistani loyalty to US should extend, and the high cost that Pakistan is paying for allowing US aid.

“They want the Pakistanis to do the dirty work for us, and the Pakistanis have simply said ‘we supported you for 11 years, and we can’t do it anymore, you’re killing our stability.’ They have to stop the civil war in the country, they have to stop the war that’s going on in their own territory because of their helping the United States, so they have number of problems which I think amount to a mess, and they’re going to be left high and dry when we leave,” said SB Michael F. Scheuer, a former CIA intelligence officer.

“There is one mistake that we have committed we put all our eggs in the American basket,” Ahmed Quraishi continued. “And part of the deterioration of our strategic position of the past decade since 2001 is because of this fact, that we completely relied on the Americans…They’ve ditched us before as well, but we made this mistake, and we’re now trying to correct that mistake.”

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO Expands Caucasus Presence As Broader War Looms

June 28, 2012 2 comments

Stop NATO
June 27, 2012

NATO Expands Caucasus Presence As Broader War Looms
Rick Rozoff

On the sidelines of the twentieth anniversary summit of the Organization of Black Sea Economic Cooperation in Istanbul, Turkey on June 26, Georgia’s President Mikheil Saakashvili met with his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul and, according to Trend News Agency of Azerbaijan, discussed “Issues of regional security and stability…”

The presidents also discussed regional – Transcaucasian and Trans-Caspian – energy and transportation projects engineered by the United States and several key NATO allies over the past twenty years.

President Gul also met with Azerbaijan’s president Ilham Aliyev to deliberate over, among other matters, the increasingly volatile situation on the borders of Azerbaijan and Armenia and Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh, where over a dozen Armenian and Azerbaijani soldiers have been killed in armed clashes this month.

The unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is supported by Armenia and although surrounded by Azerbaijan is near Armenia to its west and Iran to its south. The fact that deadly hostilities have of late not only occurred along Azerbaijan’s border with Nagorno-Karabakh but with Armenia directly is cause for particular concern.

Standing immediately behind Azerbaijan in any war to “reclaim” or “liberate” Nagorno-Karabakh, as Azeri officials from the president down constantly threaten, is its ethnic and linguistic cousin and main military ally Turkey. Having conducted ongoing armed incursions and air strikes inside Iraq against the Kurdistan Workers Party, branded a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and NATO, and actively preparing for the same against Syria (which is defending its own territory), there is no reason to believe that Ankara would sit on the sidelines if Azerbaijan attacked Nagorno-Karabakh and in so doing triggered a war with Armenia.

Armenia is, like Azerbaijan and Georgia, a NATO partner (all three are members of the Partnership for Peace program, have an Individual Partnership Action Plan and have deployed troops to Afghanistan under NATO command), but alone among the South Caucasus nations is also a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, Russia’s only security alliance in the former Soviet Union.

If a new and expanded conflict erupts between Armenia and Azerbaijan and Turkey backs the second and Russia the first, the threat of a direct confrontation between NATO and Russia would be a possibility for the first time.

Three weeks ago Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited all three South Caucasus nations – Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia – and in the third country pledged American assistance in training the armed forces of the nation “to better monitor your coasts and your skies” and committed Washington to “helping Georgia give its officers the 21st century training they need for today’s changing missions.”

She also reiterated the U.S. and NATO contention that independent Abkhazia and South Ossetia (along with Nagorno-Karabakh and Transdniester the so-called frozen conflicts in former Soviet space) are part of Georgia and currently “occupied territories”; that is, occupied by Russia which has troops in both new nations.

In the aftermath of the five-day war between Georgia and Russia in August 2008 following Georgia’s armed assault on South Ossetia, Russian officials revealed that air and other bases in Georgian had been prepared for prospective attacks against Iran. Georgia’s military has been upgraded and transformed by the U.S. Marine Corps (and for a brief period before that by Green Beret U.S. Army special forces) over the past decade and 2,000 U.S.-trained Georgian troops served in Iraq and soon 1,700 will be in Afghanistan. The Pentagon has prepared the Georgian army for expeditionary operations in foreign theaters of war and, as President Saakashvili has repeatedly emphasized, made it a modernized, more battle-ready force for wars nearer home.

On June 25 Saakashvili asserted “we have real chances to become a NATO member” at the next summit of the military bloc, stating:

“The next summit will probably take place in 2014 and I think that Georgia will have a very good chance; I’ve never been so sure about it as I am now.”

After meeting with what NATO refers to as aspirant countries – Georgia, Bosnia, Macedonia and Montenegro – at the alliance summit last month, Hillary Clinton vowed that those states and perhaps others were candidates for full NATO membership, saying “I believe this summit should be the last summit that is not an enlargement summit.”

When Georgia joins NATO the latter will be in an immediate de facto state of conflict with Russia over Abkhazia and South Ossetia which, recall, in Clinton’s words are Russian-occupied parts of Georgia.

On June 22 NATO’s Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, Poland’s General Mieczyslaw Bieniek, visited Georgia for two days and according to the Georgian Ministry of Defence stated, “Georgia`s aspiration toward NATO has been once more confirmed at the Bucharest and Chicago summits and Georgia is making a lot of efforts on its way to NATO integration.”
 
Bieniek toured the host country’s National Defence Academy, lecturing students on the role of the U.S.-based Allied Command Transformation, and met with the defense attachés of NATO member states in Georgia.

Three days before 28 U.S. soldiers graduated from a course at the Sachkhere Mountain Training School, a NATO standard and NATO-supported institution. The graduation ceremony was attended by leading Georgian military officials and representatives of the NATO Liaison Office in Georgia. The latter was opened in October 2010 and its purpose is, as described by NATO, to “Provide advice and assistance to the Government of Georgia in support of civilian and military reform efforts required for NATO integration” and to “Conduct liaison with Georgian, NATO, Allied, and Partner Authorities to enhance cooperation and understanding in pursuit of the NATO/Georgia goal of Georgia becoming a full NATO member.”

According to a statement issued by the Georgian Defence Ministry last July, “Under PfP [Partnership for Peace] status the School will train military units of NATO and its partner countries’ armed forces.”

It added:

“In September the instructors of the Mountain Training School will conduct a mountain training basic summer course for military servicemen of NATO countries. The essential part of the course consists of practical exercises. Its aim is to provide soldiers with the basic mountain-technical skills and master them in operating under mountain circumstances. The exercise will be conducted in the English language…

“Under the schedule military servicemen from Poland, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia will undergo trainings in the Sachkhere Mountain Training School as well.”

NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow, a former National Security Council and Defense Department official and U.S. ambassador to NATO, is paying a two-day visit to Georgia on June 28-29, where he will meet with several major government officials, including the defense minister, interior minister and national security advisor as well as deliver a keynote speech at the Georgia Defence and Security Conference on June 29.

The South Caucasus, composed of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, borders Iran, Russia and Turkey and will not remain unaffected by military conflicts in the general region, nor will hostilities between states in the region not create the potential for far larger conflicts.

Categories: Uncategorized

Oliver Goldsmith on war: Hundreds of thousands killed without consequence

June 28, 2012 1 comment

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

Oliver Goldsmith
From Citizen of the World (1762)

imagesCAYPA01E

All the great nations still nearly preserve their ancient limits; none have been able to subdue the other, and so terminate the dispute. France, in spite of the conquests of Edward the Third and Henry the Fifth, notwithstanding the efforts of Charles the Fifth and Philip the Second, still remains within its ancient limits. Spain, Germany, Great Britain, Poland, the states of the North, are nearly still the same. What effect then has the blood of so many thousands, the destruction of so many cities, produced? Nothing either great or considerable. The Christian princes have lost indeed much from the enemies of Christendom, but they have gained nothing from each other. Their princes, because they preferred ambition to justice, deserve the character of enemies to mankind; and their priests, neglecting morality for opinion, have mistaken the interests of society.

On whatever side we regard the history of Europe, we shall perceive it to be a tissue of crimes, follies, and misfortunes, of politics without design, and wars without consequence.

*****

[C]ompacts for peace are drawn up with the utmost precision, and ratified with the greatest solemnity: to these each party promises a sincere and inviolable obedience, and all wear the appearance of open friendship and unreserved reconciliation. Yet, notwithstanding these treaties, the people of Europe are almost continually at war. There is nothing more easy than to break a treaty ratified in all the usual forms, and yet neither party be the aggressor. One side, for instance, breaks a trifling article by mistake; the opposite party, upon this, makes a small but premeditated reprisal; this brings on a return of greater from the other; both sides complain of injuries and infractions; war is declared; they beat; are beaten; some two or three hundred thousand men are killed; they grow tired; leave off just where they began; and so sit coolly down to make new treaties.

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO: Digest for June 20-27

Categories: Uncategorized

U.S. Military Expansion In Africa Aimed At China

June 27, 2012 1 comment

Voice of Russia
June 27, 2012

US expanding military aid to Africa – for what end?
Boris Volkhonsky

====

[In] recent years have witnessed a radical shift of Africa’s role – not as a new important global player, but rather as an important playing ground for the new “Great Game”. And the country that has really changed the global attitude towards the continent is China.

The big difference in China’s attitude as compared to the West, and primarily the U.S., is that it used the so called “soft power” creating a positive impression of itself rather than twisting the arms of its partners and expanding military presence…Feeling that they might lose the competition with China if it continues to move along economic rails only, the West has resorted to the time-tested tactics of increasing its military presence.

[W]hile shifting the focus of its strategy to the Asia Pacific (i.e. to China’s immediate neighborhood), the U.S. is ready to start a scramble for influence on “distant playgrounds” as well.

====

As reported by The Associated Press, speaking this week at a conference attended by representatives from African nations, General Carter Ham, head of U.S. Africa Command, said that the U.S. is carefully expanding efforts to provide intelligence, training and at times small numbers of forces to African nations, to help counter terrorist activities in the region.
He also said that coordinated moves by several Africa-based terrorist groups to share their training, funding and bomb-making materials are worrisome and pose a threat to the U.S. and the region.

“Do we collect information across Africa? Yes, we do,” said Ham, singling out the Lord’s Resistance Army and its leader Joseph Kony operating in Uganda and in neighboring countries. “To have some intelligence collection capability that has the ability to monitor the areas in which we believe the Lord’s Resistance Army is operating, to be able to see, to be able to listen, to be able to collect information which we then pass to the four nations, four African nations, which are participating, I think is a good way ahead.”

General Ham also made special reference to Libya where “Al Qaeda and other terror groups want to establish a foothold”, and where “the U.S. is seeking a partnership – not a large military presence.” He also briefly mentioned Djibouti, in the Horn of Africa, where the U.S. has a military base stationing about 2,000 U.S. troops, and “small, temporary” troop presences in other nations, like Liberia, Morocco and Cameroon.

Altogether, Ham said, the U.S. has trained as many as 200,000 peacekeepers and enforcement personnel from about 25 different African nations.

The General’s statement at the conference came only a couple of weeks after The Washington Post published a lengthy article on the U.S. military expanding covert intelligence operations in Africa. According to that story, the US military is expanding its secret intelligence operations across Africa, establishing a network of small air bases to spy on terrorist hideouts from the fringes of the Sahara to jungle terrain along the equator. At the heart of the surveillance operations are small, unarmed turboprop aircraft disguised as private planes.

The operations have intensified in recent months, as part of a growing shadow war against Al Qaida affiliates and other militant groups. The surveillance is overseen by U.S. Special Operations forces but relies heavily on private military contractors and support from African troops.

In fact, both reports reflect the changing reality in the African continent which for many years was regarded as “forgotten land.” While the global economy and politics were focused elsewhere, the countries of the continent (most of which gained formal independence in early the 1960s) were by and large neglected by leading world powers and looked upon only as a source of cheap mineral resources.

But recent years have witnessed a radical shift of Africa’s role – not as a new important global player, but rather as an important playing ground for the new “Great Game”. And the country that has really changed the global attitude towards the continent is China. In recent years China has become the main trading partner for quite a number of African countries. In terms of investment, it still lags behind the U.S. and the European Union, but is swiftly narrowing the gap. The big difference in China’s attitude as compared to the West, and primarily the U.S., is that it used the so called “soft power” creating a positive impression of itself rather than twisting the arms of its partners and expanding military presence.

In any case, such developments have posed a serious threat to Western interests in Africa. Feeling that they might lose the competition with China if it continues to move along economic rails only, the West has resorted to the time-tested tactics of increasing its military presence.

The pretext may be any – the anti-terrorism fight as in the case of Africa, or even “humanitarian operations” and search for the remnants of U.S. pilots killed in World War II like the one the U.S. is planning to launch in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, bordering China and disputed by the latter. But the long term goal is clear – that is, pressing China out of all spheres of vital interest.

Whether such development and the substitution of China’s “soft power” by the U.S. “hard power” is in vital interests of the affected countries themselves, is for the latter to judge. But one thing is clear – while shifting the focus of its strategy to the Asia Pacific (i.e. to China’s immediate neighborhood), the U.S. is ready to start a scramble for influence on “distant playgrounds” as well.

Boris Volkhonsky, senior research fellow, Russian Institute for Strategic Studies

Categories: Uncategorized

Audio: NATO And Syria, Not If But When?

The Taylor Report
CIUT 98.5 FM
June 25th, 2012

NATO and Syria: Not if but When?
NATO’s aggressive impulses then and now

June 25th, 2012
Featured Guests: Rick Rozoff, Zafar Bangash

AUDIO

Description:

Rick Rozoff of Stop NATO describes the NATO meeting occurring during heightened tensions with Syria. With the war machine heating up, he investigates the position of the new government in France, the composition of the UN team, and whether the UN is a problem or a solution.

Zafar Bangash investigates the foreign support for Syria’s rebels. “The Saudis have opened their chequebooks.”

Categories: Uncategorized

What’s Behind NATO Reaction To Downed Turkish Jet?

June 27, 2012 2 comments

Voice of Russia
June 26, 2012

What’s behind NATO’s reaction to downed Turkish jet?
Igor Siletsky

Although NATO is not considering military action over the shooting down of a Turkish fighter jet in Syria, what happened is unacceptable and deserves condemnation, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said after a NATO emergency meeting on Syria. His statement indicates NATO’s reluctance to use military force against Damascus.

On June 22, Syrian troops shot down a Turkish jet fighter. Syria insists that the plane violated its airspace and was destroyed over its territorial waters not far from the Latakia province. The pilots have not been found. Syrian commanders say they acted in full compliance with the law.

Turkey, which initially acknowledged that its F-4 fighter jet had crossed into Syrian airspace, now claims that it was in international airspace the moment the attack occurred.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu admitted soon after the incident that the plane had crossed the Syrian border 15 minutes before the attack. Later, Ankara retracted this statement and took a tougher stance. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recalled that Syrian helicopters had intruded into Turkish airspace on five occasions and that no retaliatory action followed. He made clear this would not be the case any more.

Some analysts think that the plane incident aimed at probing the combat readiness of the Syrian air defense forces.

On the other hand, it could be used as a pretext for a military operation against Syria. But NATO’s reaction to the incident makes the latter scenario unlikely.

Russian analyst Alexander Khramchikhin thinks that the latest hollow statement from Brussels is a sign that NATO is not planning any military intervention in Syria at least for the time being.

Political scientist Sergei Markov argues that intervention has actually started. Foreign mercenaries are fighting on the opposition’s side, and Syrian refugee camps in Turkey are being used to train armed opposition fighters.

Categories: Uncategorized

U.S. Expanding Bases To Contain China

June 26, 2012 2 comments

Voice of Russia
June 26, 2012

US tosses new challenge to China in Asia
Konstantin Garibov

Thailand is soon likely to be on the list of the Asia-Pacific countries where US troops will be based on a permanent basis.

Right now, the Pentagon is mulling its return to the U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy Airfield which was a military base for the USAF B-52 bombers during the Vietnam War in the early 1970s to launch airstrikes on Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

Located 40 kilometers from the Thai resort of Pattaya, U-Tapao also serves as an international civil airport which mainly receives tourist charter flights from Russia, the CIS countries and those of Eastern and Western Europe. Speaking at a regional security conference in Singapore earlier this month, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that NASA was weighing the use of U-Tapao as its basic airfield which would help implement its regional meteorological program. Panetta also said that the US would shift 60 percent of its naval forces to Pacific ports, a move that commentators say is designed to contain China’s growing military clout.

It is clear that conducting atmospheric studies will hardly be the only goal of the US base in U-Tapao. Speaking on condition of anonymity earlier this month, a spokesman for the Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters said that Bangkok is concerned over China’s reaction to the possible use of U-Tapao airfield by the United States which Beijing fears may be used for collecting intelligence information.

These concerns seem well-grounded given that there is already a small-sized US company in U-Tapao which deals with refueling US planes and ships which transport US servicemen and military supplies to Afghanistan and Iraq. Speculation is also rife that U-Tapao’s US sector was used by stealth aircraft to transport foreign terrorism suspects to the United States and its Guantanamo base in Cuba.

Washington wants Bangkok to help it implement a program on aerial surveillance of the transportation of trade and military cargos en route from the Middle East to the Pacific Ocean. This is the main maritime transportation artery that China uses to develop its trade relations with many Asian and African countries, says Andrei Volodin of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Diplomatic Academy.

“The United States is dismayed about China’s ever-increasing geo-economic might which may well be transformed into military and political clout,” Volodin says. “This is why Washington is trying to resuscitate its Cold War-era dominance in the Pacific, something that is designed to contain China. By doing so, the United States hopes to implement its strategy on containing communism on the whole,” Volodin says.

In a bid to expand its Pacific clout, the United States is also considering its return to the Cam Ranh Air Base in Vietnam and the Subic Bay Air Base in the Philippines. Experts say that US troops returning there is just a matter of time. Washington’s policy on building up its military presence in Asia is already bringing its first results, something that analysts say is almost certain to prod China to respond in kind. Given many regional countries’ dependence on China, Beijing will try to prevent these countries from cooperating with Washington, pundits say, referring to China’s drive to uphold its strategic interests.

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO War Council To Target Syria

June 26, 2012 3 comments

Stop NATO
June 26, 2012

NATO War Council To Target Syria
Rick Rozoff

On Tuesday, June 26 Belgium time the North Atlantic Council, the highest governing body of the U.S.-dominated North Atlantic Treaty Organization military bloc, will take up the issue of Syria under provisions of its founding document that in the past ten and a half years have resulted in military deployments preparatory to and the subsequent waging of full-scale wars.

The ambassadors of the alliance’s 28 member states constitute the council, nations whose collective population is 900 million. Its founding members include three nuclear powers – the U.S., Britain and France – the first the self-proclaimed world’s sole military superpower.

Until the day before the meeting NATO was to take up a request by member Turkey to hold consultations under the terms of the North Atlantic (Washington) Treaty’s Article 4, which allows any member state to call on the entire alliance to respond to alleged threats to its territorial integrity and security.

On June 25, three days after a Turkish F-14 supersonic fighter-bomber was shot down over Syrian waters, Turkey announced that it was going to ask the military alliance to discuss its Article 5, which states that “an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all” and commits NATO allies to “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…”

Article 5 was invoked for the first and to date only time in October 2001 and is the basis for the deployment of troops from 28 NATO and 22 partner states to Afghanistan over the past decade.

Article 4 was first invoked on February 16, 2003, again by the North Atlantic Council and again in relation to Turkey, on the eve of the U.S. and British invasion of Iraq. So-called Operation Display Deterrence was launched as a result and five Patriot interceptor missile batteries, three Dutch and two American, and four Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) surveillance aircraft were deployed to Turkey in conjunction with NATO’s Integrated and Extended Air Defence System.
 
NATO, in its own words, deployed “1000 technically advanced and highly capable forces” to run the operation.

The first AWACS aircraft arrived on February 26 and three weeks later the bombardment and invasion of Iraq began. Although Iraq at the time had a population of approximately 25 million and Turkey 70 million, and although Turkey had one of the most formidable militaries in the region while Iraq’s had been weakened by the eight-year war with Iran in the 1980s, the U.S. and allied bombing campaign of 1991 and in the interim, and twelve years of crushing sanctions, NATO afterward praised Operation Display Deterrence as having “tested and proved the success of NATO’s military to respond immediately and with appropriate defensive force to a rapidly developing threat against a member of the Alliance.”

In what manner a fatally debilitated Iraq had presented Turkey with “a rapidly developing threat” was never specified.

The AWACS flew 100 missions and the Dutch Patriot batteries included Patriot Advanced Capability-2 missiles and “a more modern missile provided by Germany,” according to NATO.

The operation was concluded on May 3, 65 days after it began and 45 days after the invasion of Iraq. To provide an indication of what NATO will claim after its meeting on Syria, the then-Turkish ambassador to the bloc stated after the invoking of Article 4:   

“I convey once again the most sincere gratitude of the Turkish people and Government for the Alliance solidarity shown in reinforcing the defence of my country in response to the latest crisis in Iraq. We are convinced that, through such an active and collective display of deterrence, NATO has not only extended a much-appreciated helping hand to one of its members in her hour of need, but also proven, once again, its credibility and relevance as the cornerstone of collective security in the Euro-Atlantic area.”

Turkey was then, as it is now, portrayed as the victim – in its “hour of need” moreover – and besieged and soon to be devastated Iraq as the aggressor.

Syria’s population now is much the same as Iraq’s was then and Turkey is now a nation almost three times as large. Syria is isolated and its military forces are small compared to its neighbor Turkey’s. The latter can count on the support of 27 allies, including most of the world’s major military powers. The U.S. has an estimated 90 B61 tactical nuclear weapons stationed at the Incirlik Air Base 35 miles from Turkey’s Mediterranean coast.

Activating the Article 5 mutual military assistance – in effect war – clause has been mentioned by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at least twice since April, on the first occasion over two months before the downing of the Turkish warplane last week.

On June 25 Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc announced that his nation “has made necessary applications with NATO regarding Article 4 and Article 5.”   

According to the Associated Press, he added:

“It should be known that within legality we will of course use all rights granted under international law until the end. This also includes self-defense. This also includes retaliation many-fold. This includes all sanctions that can be applied to the aggressor state under international law. Turkey will not leave anything out on this issue…”

The U.S. and NATO have been itching for a pretext to attack Syria, and Turkey, the only NATO member to border the country, has always been the pretext which would be employed to justify military action against the Arab nation.

Last Friday’s incident and the NATO meeting following it signal the fourth act in a tragedy that the world community has precious little time to stop.

Categories: Uncategorized

As Syria Beckons, Libya Descending Into Chaos After NATO “Success”

June 25, 2012 2 comments

Chronicle Herald
June 25, 2012

Libya descending into chaos after NATO ‘success’
By Scott Taylor

Last week, it was reported that the Canadian military is studying their options should an international intervention in war-torn Syria become a reality.

The Defence Department sources quoted claimed this preparatory planning was not being conducted at the request of the government, rather it was simply a prudent exercise given the escalating violence in Syria.

No troops or squadrons have been put on alert as of yet, but if the international community comes calling for partners in a coalition force, the Canadian military wants to have a handy list of options available to present Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

The usual pro-war pundits have opined that Canada could, yet again, take a lead role in this deployment as we did with the Libya mission last year.

Canadian combat aircraft could rapidly be deployed to support a NATO-led air campaign to assist the Syrian rebels and HMCS Charlottetown, which is already on station in the Arabian Sea, could easily be enforcing an arms embargo off the Syrian coast.

What is interesting is the fact that even the most rabid of the tub-thumping Colonel Blimps, who claimed our soldiers’ sacrifice in Afghanistan proved our nation was “punching above our weight on the international stage” and earning Canada a “seat at the table” with the world powers, are now unanimous in warning against putting boots on the ground in Syria.

The rationale for using the Libyan template for intervention is based on the presumption that the Libyan conflict was a resounding success.

From a NATO perspective, it certainly would appear that way. For 10 months last year, NATO aircraft, ably led by Canada’s own highly decorated Lt.-Gen. Charles Bouchard, bombed the bejeezus out of Libyan targets without suffering a single casualty.

Those repeated airstrikes, in addition to the arming and training of opposition forces, the freezing of President Moammar Gadhafi’s finances and the enforcement of a one-sided arms embargo, finally led to a rebel victory.

Allied leaders, including Prime Minister Harper, cheered the demise of a tyrant when Gadhafi was captured, beaten, sodomized and executed in cold blood by a mob of rebels.

True to a Hollywood-style script, it was at this juncture that the international media began running the credits on the Libyan saga against a backdrop of NATO countries staging elaborate victory parades.

Unfortunately for the long-suffering people of Libya, whom we ostensibly intervened to protect, no one thought to tell the rebels to stop fighting.

While the Western propaganda machine labelled the anti-Gadhafi forces as pro-democracy fighters, the fact is that, from the outset, this fractious gaggle of ill-disciplined armed militias were fighting for a variety of tribal, economic and religious objectives.

Once the last vestiges of Gadhafi’s regime were removed, these armed factions refused to disarm.

Without any form of central authority, Libya has become virtually lawless. Revenge killings, detention, ethnic cleansing and torture continue unabated.

On Jan. 25, the organization Doctors Without Borders brought brief attention to the atrocities being committed when they suspended their operations in Misrata. The reason for their withdrawal was the fact that they realized they were providing medical treatment to prisoners just so they could become healthy enough to be tortured again.

Last month, one rebel faction stormed and held the Tripoli airport when they mistakenly thought their commander had been arrested.

Last week, Juma Obaidi al-Jazawi, a military prosecutor, was gunned down outside a mosque in Benghazi because it is believed that he was responsible for the arrest and execution of fellow rebel, Gen. Abdul Fatah Younes last July.

In addition to the savage infighting, the jihadists among the rebel ranks are starting to flex their muscles as well. Rather than being grateful for NATO helping drive out Gadhafi, the al-Qaida elements have begun targeting British, American and UN facilities.

To add insult to injury, mobs of Libyan Islamic fundamentalists have now, twice, stormed the desecrated Commonwealth war graves in Benghazi that date back to the Second World War.

One has to hope that the Canadian military strategists toiling away at devising a strategy for Syria take a closer look at what was actually claimed to be a victory in Libya.

Scott Taylor is editor of Esprit de Corps.

Categories: Uncategorized

Pakistan and the Emerging Geo-Political Scenario

June 25, 2012 1 comment

Stop NATO
June 25, 2012

Pakistan and the Emerging Geo-political Scenario
Sajjad Shaukat

====

[R]apidly developing geo-political differences among global powers in Asia show that the next Cold War is likely to be waged between the Russia-China alliance and the U.S.-led bloc in Asia, while Pakistan has already become its arena. Hence, U.S.-backed infiltration of militants from Afghanistan and unrest continues unabated in our country.

Pakistan…has a strategic geo-political location at the corridor of major world maritime oil supply lines, and has close proximity to oil-rich Central Asian countries. Pakistan’s location could influences Central Asia, South Asia and the Middle East. So, Pakistan is the focus of attention in the wake of the emerging geo-political scenario.

====

We are living in a world where shifts occur in international politics from time to time, depending on the relationship of big countries. Now, a new geo-political scenario is emerging rapidly in the world, focusing on Afghanistan, while Pakistan has become a special arena of the major countries’ rivalries.

Although leaders of all the concerned countries express cooperation among themselves, emphasising stability in Afghanistan, in various summits and conferences held in recent years, yet all are preparing for the new Cold War which the U.S. intends to initiate against China and Russia.

In this respect, during his Asian visit, on June 2 of this year U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta disclosed in Singapore, “The United States will shift a majority of its warships to the Asia-Pacific region by 2020” as part of a new U.S. military strategy in Asia. Panetta’s Asian visit came at a time of renewed tension over claims in the South China Sea between China and the Philippines, a major U.S. ally. Besides, the U.S. also backs other countries like Taiwan, Brunei, Vietnam and Malaysia by opposing China’s legitimate claim.

During his trip to Australia on November 17, 2011, President Barack Obama, while sending an unmistakable message to Beijing, said, “The United States is a Pacific power, and we are here to stay,” and that he would send military aircraft and Marines to Australia to a training hub to help allies and to protect U.S. interests across Asia. Obama stressed that any reductions in America’s defense spending will not come at the expense of that goal.

Besides some other countries, America has also troops and security relationships with New Zealand and some Gulf countries. Disagreements also exist between Washington and Beijing over the Taiwan issue. American strategic thinkers take China’s military modernisation as a great threat to its military bases in the continent.

At the same time Russia opposes U.S. intentions to deploy a national missile defence system (NMD) in Europe and the expansion of NATO towards Eastern Europe. Against this backdrop, Russian President Putin has openly stated that his country was returning to its Soviet era practices.

Russia, on January 18, 2012 rejected the tough U.S.-led Western strategy of sanctions over Iran and Syria. In this regard, on February of this year Russia and China vetoed a UN Security Council resolution calling on the Syrian president to step down. Both Moscow and Beijing had also opposed the U.S.-led NATO attack on Libya, while they have asked the U.S. to resolve the question of Iran’s nuclear programme peacefully. But America and Israel are still acting on a war-like diplomacy against Tehran.

Notably, old NATO ally Turkey also changed its policy. Now, by supporting the cause of Palestinians, Ankara is increasing trade with Iran, meaning not to comply with sanctions against Tehran. In keeping with the new emerging geo-political scenario in the world, Pakistan is also strengthening its ties with Turkey.

Since May 2, 2011 tensions already existed in Pakistani-U.S. ties when U.S. commandos killed Osama bin Laden, and the same received a greater blow with the November 26 incident which killed 24 soldiers on Pakistani Army outposts. In response, Pakistan blocked NATO supplies to Afghanistan and closed the Shamsi Airbase. Finally, Islamabad decided to reassess its engagement with the U.S. It also rejected American duress in relation to the IP gas pipeline project with Iran, and is no more interested in the U.S.-supported gas pipeline project, Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan (TAP).

Taking note of U.S. anti-Pakistan plans, besides China, Pakistan has also cultivated its relationship with the Russian Federation. Moscow and Islamabad agreed to enhance bilateral relations in diverse fields. In 2010, the then Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin publicly endorsed Pakistan’s bid to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), which includes the former Central Asian republics as permenent members. Putin also remarked that Pakistan was a very important partner in South Asia and the Muslim world for Russia.

Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari participated in the 12th summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization recently held in Beijing. While addressing the summit, hinting out towards U.S. secret designs, Chinese president Hu Jintao said, “The international situation has been complex, thus bringing many uncertainties to the regional situation.” He explained that only when SCO member states remain united can they effectively cope with emerging challenges. President Putin said, “The SCO should enhance security cooperation.”

After the withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan in 2014, the U.S. has decided to establish six military bases in that country, having eyes on the energy resources of Central Asia, with multiple strategic aims against Pakistan, China, Iran and Russia.

Meanwhile, during his recent visit to New Delhi and Kabul, by way of reviving the old blame game U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta allegedly remarked that drone attacks would continue on terrorists’ safe havens which Pakistan “offers to insurgents in Afghanistan.”

Leon Panetta also encouraged India to take a more active role in Afghanistan in training Afghan forces. India, which has already invested billion of dollars in Afghanistan, signed a wide-ranging strategic agreement with that country on October 5, 2011.

In fact, it is due to Pakistan’s province of Balochistan, where China has invested billion of dollars to develop the Gwadar seaport which could link Central Asian trade with rest of the world, that the U.S. and India are irritated. America, which signed a nuclear deal with India, has been providing New Delhi with sophisticated defence-related arms to make it a great Asian power to counterbalance China, control Balochistan and subdue Iran. For these purposes, the American CIA, Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad have been supporting subversive acts in various places in Pakistan and separatism in Balochistan besides backing similar actions in the Iranian Sistan-Baluchistan and the Tibetan region of China.

At this delicate hour, when Pakistan’s diplomats were negotiating the complex issue of resumption of NATO supply routes to Afghanistan with America, and no breakthrough occurred, drone attacks killed more than 50 people in FATA. This action is part of the anti-Pakistan campaign.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar reiterated that seeking an apology from the U.S. on the Salala incident is essential for resuming NATO supplies. But top U.S. officials refused to tender an apology. Pakistan’s civil and military leaders remain firm on their stand that the issue of NATO supply lines would be decided in light of parliamentary guidelines.

However, rapidly developing geo-political differences among global powers in Asia show that the next Cold War is likely to be waged between the Russia-China alliance and the U.S.-led bloc in Asia, while Pakistan has already become its arena. Hence, U.S.-backed infiltration of militants from Afghanistan and unrest continues unabated in our country.

Pakistan is the only declared Islamic nuclear power. It has a strategic geo-political location at the corridor of major world maritime oil supply lines, and has close proximity to oil-rich Central Asian countries. Pakistan’s location could influences Central Asia, South Asia and the Middle East. So, Pakistan is the focus of attention in the wake of the emerging geo-political scenario.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO: What’s In A Name?

June 25, 2012 12 comments

OccuWorld
Global Occupy News
June 25, 2012

NATO: What’s in a name?
By ‘Snake’ Arbusto

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has now expanded to include South America. And into countries with no Atlantic coast at all, let alone on the North Atlantic. Unless you count the Caribbean…

Rick Rozoff, in a post entitled “NATO Expands Military Network To All Continents,” reports on the recent Strategic Military Partnership Conference held in Zagreb and reveals that:

The South American nation(s) were not identified, but NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, Admiral James Stavridis, recently identified El Salvador in Central America and Colombia in South America, respectively, as current and future NATO partners and troop contributors…

Of course, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are members of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, a NATO partner. And Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Tunisia (and soon, possibly, Libya) are members of the Mediterranean Dialogue, also a NATO partner. None of them have an Atlantic coast either. And Admiral Stavridis, Rozoff reports, also told Congress in March that Brazil and India also were potential NATO partnership states. India?

Rozoff points out that the inclusion of South America marks the crossing of a new threshold for NATO: It now has members and partners on all six inhabited continents, accounting for over a third of the nations in the world.

NATO’s name is likely to become something of a PR handicap if it continues this expansion. We hereby launch a challenge to our many readers: come up with a new name to fit the existing acronym. A friend has already jokingly suggested “New American Terrorism Overseas,” but of course he was engaging in irony. We all know that NATO is an international organization, that its purpose is peace and the protection of civilian populations, and that it is not in the business of advancing the cause of US foreign policy and arms sales for US manufacturers…Though we have to admit that there is at least a hint of that in NATO’s language: As NATO has remarked of the Connected Forces Initiative, it is “aimed at ensuring that NATO retains and builds on the valuable gains of interoperability among Allies and partners as a result of NATO’s recent operations.”

Still, Rozoff’s article should be read by anyone who finds it curious that NATO even continues to exist, let alone expand. And everyone with a nervous system capable of engaging with the outside world should read his last paragraph:

The steady expansion of NATO military partnerships and operations around the world, which now include all populated continents, has no precedent in history. This is the first attempt to establish an international military alliance that is capable of and prepared to intervene in any nation and region it chooses to for the geopolitical benefit of its leading member states.

Categories: Uncategorized

U.S. Reconstructs Former Military Bases Across Asia-Pacific

Antiwar.com
June 23, 2012

 

US Reconstructs Former Military Bases Across Asia-Pacific

Posted By John Glaser

 

The Obama administration is continuing its strategic pivot to Asia-Pacific and now trying to cultivate renewed relationships with countries in a bid to further expand the amount of US military basesthroughout the region.

Source: BBC

Much of this means rebuilding and refurbishing former US bases that were abandoned since WWII or since the Vietnam War. Administration officials have been in intense talks with the Thai government over using airfields and naval ports and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta recently visited Vietnam to visit the naval and air base at Cam Ranh Bay.

The Obama administration has been ramping up the pressure on China with an increasingly antagonistic foreign policy. The so-called ‘Asia pivot’ is an aggressive policy that involves surging American military presence throughout the region – in the Philippines, Japan, Australia, Guam, South Korea, Singapore, etc. – in an unprovoked scheme to contain rising Chinese economic and military influence.

The US has also been refurbishing long-abandoned World War II bases scattered across the Pacific for potential use in the event of a major conflict with China. Last month, US Marines rebuilt and restored the 8,000-foot runway at the abandoned North Field air base on the island of Tinian and engaged in a military exercise with nearby US forces based in Guam. The Tinian airbase is where the B-29s that dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki took off from in 1945.

The idea is to have enough U.S. bases peppered throughout the region so that China would be too surrounded to safely attack. “Doing so would make it more difficult for China to wipe out entire squadrons sitting on the ground with surprise attacks from its long range ballistic missiles,” according to reports from Military.com.

This bellicose posture has increased tensions between the U.S. and China and between China and its weaker neighbors, like the Philippines. A recent report from the Center for Strategic International Studies predicted that next year “could see a shift in Chinese foreign policy based on the new leadership’s judgment that it must respond to a U.S. strategy that seeks to prevent China’s reemergence as a great power.”

“Signs of a potential harsh reaction are already detectable,” the report said. “The US Asia pivot has triggered an outpouring of anti-American sentiment in China that will increase pressure on China’s incoming leadership to stand up to the United States. Nationalistic voices are calling for military countermeasures to the bolstering of America’s military posture in the region and the new US defense strategic guidelines.”

Categories: Uncategorized

Syria: A Precursor To War

June 25, 2012 2 comments

Voice of Russia
June 25, 2012

A precursor to war: Syria
John Robles

       
Despite all of the efforts of the UN and Russia and other countries that have influence in the region, the West continues to do anything and everything that it can to facilitate and provoke an invasion of Syria, and it is clear that those beating the drums of war have no interest in the untold number of lives that will be snuffed out by the hell they are preparing to unleash on the people of Syria, who are already suffering, nor on the very distinct possibility that it will ignite a larger violent conflict in the region.

If you have been following the news I am sure that you have heard by now that over the weekend a Turkish F-4 Phantom Fighter was shot down over the territory of Syria. At first Turkey reported that the aircraft was flying in international waters and almost immediately called for an emergency NATO session under article 4. As Turkey is a NATO member it does have that right to do so. Article 4 states that member countries must meet, “whenever the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the parties is threatened.”

So here we have it, what anyone who has been watching the situation in Syria has been waiting for: the perfect pretext for a Syrian “no fly zone, humanitarian intervention” invasion. Again directed from Washington, carried out by its surrogate NATO, and taking place on the Eurasian continent.

The war drums are beating once again, and even though Turkey has now admitted the fighter “strayed” into Syrian airspace, and the wreckage has been found on the bed of the Mediterranean, in Syrian waters at a depth of 1,300 meters, there is no talk of cancelling their call for talks on NATO involvement.

While the Western media are full of reports blaming Syria and the like, no one thinks to question why in such a volatile area and under the current circumstances Turkey would send, or even allow, their fighter aircraft into the area and then allow it fly into Syrian air-space.

Provocation: pure and simple. And the timing could not be more perfect, coming on the heels of developments that undermine the plans of the North Atlantic Alliance. The first being the Syrian government pledging to follow the peace plan drawn up by Kofi Annan and the another being the inclusion of the opposition in the new cabinet and government formed after the country’s first multiparty elections which were held on May the 7th.

This also comes on the heels of reports and the materialization of evidence that the CIA and the West are funding and arming the Syrian “rebels” and a failed propaganda attempt by Hillary Clinton to provoke Russia and again give a reason for military intervention in Syria.

The playbook is the same and follows the script for complete and total global domination that was drawn up by the Project for the New American Century before the events of 9-11, an event which served as the catalyst for all of the wars we are living through today and which has pulled the world into an endless global war against phantom enemies.

First there are accusations of human rights abuses, mass killings, weapons of mass destruction, acts of aggression etc., then reports of the necessity to intervene, after which complete obliteration and destruction of the target country, massive casualties and then control of resources, the members of the new ruling class, and massive profits from reconstruction and resource control.

We have seen the same thing before with NATO and the U.S.: Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, and Kosovo; it is a formula they seem to have stuck to because so far they have gone unpunished for what in fact are crimes against humanity. Yes, waging a war of aggression is a crime against humanity. Even if it is a “preventive” war as the US loves to go around labeling its bloody criminal killing enterprises.

There are always accusations of terrible crimes and violence that must not go unpunished by what in fact are the worst out-of-control killers, killing thousands and destroying countries to make them exploitable, in what must be called one the worst crimes against humanity that can be committed, and they do so based on lies and through media manipulation. They have grown so emboldened that they do so regularly and will say anything at all, now without even the need for proof or backing evidence.

Take Hillary Clinton’s recent accusations against Russia, accusing it of selling attack helicopters to Syria, when in fact under old contracts it was selling and servicing what are largely transport helicopters, which of course could be outfitted with guns. We could say the same thing about the US if a terrorist uses an American car, fills it with explosives and blows it up. We could say the US is supplying terrorists with exploding cars. Ridiculous, and for comments like this to be made by the Secretary of State and then for redactions to be made when they are immediately seen for the lie they are would have been an unforgiveable disgrace before 9-11.

Now they are emboldened, running amok and out of control, making statements and fabrications so obvious and so unbelievable to back up their killing machine that it seems an effort in futility to try to counter such an assault on humanity.

For that is what it is, an assault on humanity, on every thinking, breathing, feeling and conscious being on the planet. When one country is allowed to kill at will, a country with a president who laughs that he has a daily assassination list he signs off on, the world must pull together and cut off the head of the beast even it is the Hydra.

We must not sit idly by while they invade yet another sovereign nation on false evidence; any country that does so even once must be stripped of its weapons and of any right to wage war.

Categories: Uncategorized

Pre-Determined Guilt: Wars Waged With Mass Media Complicity

June 23, 2012 1 comment

Russia & India Report
June 22, 2012

Pre-determined guilt
Viktor Litovkin
Modern wars are not conducted without mass media involvement

====

To accuse Moscow of the fact that it promotes “murder of peaceful Syrian citizens” is tantamount to unreasonably assigning responsibility for something to which it is not a party. One must recall that the USA itself is actively supplying weapons (at a rate of 5-7 billion dollars per year) to its closest allies in the Arab world – Saudi Arabia and Qatar – knowing full well that they, in turn, actively arm the Syrian opposition with this military equipment! American weapons in particular are used most frequently to commit mass murders in this troubled country, and not only of the Alawite supporters of President Assad, but also of Christians, which is what happened in Homs.

====

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced recently that Russia is arming Syria with military helicopters, which are then being used in the war against the peaceful population. The Secretary of State was not ready to back up this information, which was instantly spread across the world by the leading mass media outlets, without any facts. It very quickly turned out that there were no such deliveries at all. Even a Pentagon spokesman had to admit that the head of the U.S. government foreign affairs agency sinned against the truth.

Despite the fact that the Secretary of State was obviously embarrassed, she did not even think to apologize. Only her assistant allowed herself to reinterpret the words of her boss, noting that she was not referring to new helicopters, but refurbished ones. A small clarification, but one made in principle. And in vain the global mass media hardly even noticed it.

The fact of the matter is that Syria has around 100 Mi-8 and Mi-17 helicopters, which, in turn, represent a perfected version of the “8.” Specialists are well aware that the Mi-8/17 is a transport and multi-purpose helicopter. It is first of all a transport aircraft, and secondly a multipurpose one. It is not delivered abroad, and this is even more true of refurbished aircraft, with installed weapons. It can be made into a military helicopter on the spot: it is possible to install a machine gun or cartridges for unguided missiles. But this is the decision and responsibility of the buyer of equipment.

To accuse Moscow of the fact that it promotes “murder of peaceful Syrian citizens” is tantamount to unreasonably assigning responsibility for something to which it is not a party. One must recall that the USA itself is actively supplying weapons (at a rate of 5-7 billion dollars per year) to its closest allies in the Arab world – Saudi Arabia and Qatar – knowing full well that they, in turn, actively arm the Syrian opposition with this military equipment! American weapons in particular are used most frequently to commit mass murders in this troubled country, and not only of the Alawite supporters of President Assad, but also of Christians, which is what happened in Homs.

Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia, talked about this publicly. But his words were not picked up by the mass media. Meanwhile, Western television and newspapers, as well as their Arab colleagues, try to outdo each other in their talk “about the aggressive plans of the Russians.”

Take, for example, what the U.S. television channels are broadcasting, citing the Pentagon. “The U.S. is closely watching the movement of a Russian military cargo ship bound for Syria with a cargo of weapons, ammunition and a detachment of marines.”

“American intelligence believes,” says CNN television, “that Russia has sent a ship to protect its logistical naval supply point in the Syrian port of Tartus.” And it adds that according to shots taken by spy satellites this ship is the Nikolay Filchenkov. It allegedly was loaded in Sevastopol on June 7, and it is now on its way to Tartus.

But, as it turned out, in those days, when the news spread from newspaper to newspaper, the Filchenkov was still standing in port at Sevastopol. And it is still standing there today. But, nonetheless, the information campaign continues. In recent days, there are regular reports that Black Sea Fleet warships with detachments of marines on board are preparing to go to Syria’s aid “to perform special actions in the Syrian port of Tartus, where there is a Russian naval logistical supply point.”

The media outlets supply names of ships, reporting that the Kaliningrad, a large landing assault ship of the Baltic Fleet, is preparing to take part in this action, although right now it is participating in Kiel Week. Some mass media outlets (in particular, the inter-Arab television channel Al Arabia – V. L.) even are reporting that quadrilateral military exercises are to be conducted in the near future on Syrian territory, where Russian, Chinese, Syrian and Iranian forces will participate with thousands of troops.

To deny such news is even embarrassing. In a country torn by civil war, any kind of exercises are inconceivable. Especially in this configuration. What is this but a new attempt to muddy the waters, to discredit Russia together with China?

Officials at the Ministry of Defense after a long silence said what was clear: no exercises on the territory of Syria are planned. And the Kaliningrad large landing assault ship will return to its port of registration after the end of Kiel Week. Spokesmen for the Ministry of Defense have not uttered one word concerning the large landing ships Caesar Kunikov and Nikolay Filchenkov, which, according to the reports of Western agencies, are ready to leave for Syria.

It seems that our military leadership has no clear and unambiguous plan of action in case the security of our people in Tartus and other Syrian cities is threatened. It is hard to believe that we have no specific plans for the protection of Russian national interests in the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Hopefully, we will not wait for the blood of our citizens to be spilled, and only then make a decision and announce it publicly.

Categories: Uncategorized

Gulf Of Tonkin Redux?

SteveLendmanBlog
June 23, 2012

Gulf of Tonkin Redux?
By Stephen Lendman

=====

Ankara acted provocatively. Perhaps it was at the behest of Washington. Turkey is a NATO member. A previous article explained it can invoke NATO Charter Articles 4 or 5.

Article 4 calls for members to “consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence, or security of any” is threatened.

Article 5 considers an armed attack (real or otherwise) against one or more members, an attack against all, and calls for collective self-defense.

====

Lyndon Johnson wanted war on Vietnam and got it.

The August 1964 false flag Gulf of Tonkin incident initiated full-scale conflict after Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.

War was authorized without declaring it.

It’s an American tradition. Big lies launch wars. Manufactured pretexts initiate them. Mass killing and destruction follow.

One nation after another is ravaged. Syria’s next, then Iran, followed by other states on Washington’s hit list.

On June 22, Turkey provocatively flew two warplanes at low altitude over Syrian airspace. It wanted a response and got it.

On June 23, Syria’s SANA state media headlined “Military Spokesman: Anti-Air Defenses Intercepted a Target That Violated Syrian Airspace Over Territorial Waters, Shot It Down West of Lattakia,” saying:

“At 11:40 AM on 22/6/2012, an unidentified aerial target violated Syrian airspace, coming from the west at a very low altitude and at high speed over territorial waters, so the Syrian anti-air defenses counteracted with anti-aircraft artillery, hitting it directly as it was 1 kilometer away from land, causing it to crash into Syrian territorial waters west of Om al-Tuyour village in Lattakia province, 10 kilometers from the beach.”

Syria’s military spokesman also said naval forces from both countries were “searching for the two missing pilots.”

Some media sources said both crew members were rescued. Others said they’re still missing.

On June 23, Turkey’s Today’s Zaman headlined “Turkey says Syria down(ed) its air force jet,” saying:

The incident will “likely….worsen already strained relations between” both countries.

After a two hour security meeting, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed Syrian forces for downing its aircraft. An official statement said:

“Following the evaluation of data provided by our related institutions and the findings of the joint search and rescue efforts with Syria, it is understood that our plane was downed by Syria.”

Turkey “will determinedly take necessary steps” in response. No further details were given.

At the time of its report, Today’s Zaman said both crew members were missing. It added that Ankara wouldn’t “tolerate any action that it deemed violating its security.”

Turkish TV reports said two military aircraft were on a reconnaissance mission.

In fact, Ankara acted provocatively. Perhaps it was at the behest of Washington. Turkey is a NATO member. A previous article explained it can invoke NATO Charter Articles 4 or 5.

Article 4 calls for members to “consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence, or security of any” is threatened.

Article 5 considers an armed attack (real or otherwise) against one or more members, an attack against all, and calls for collective self-defense.

On June 23, Reuters headlined “Turkey warns it would respond decisively to Syria downing it aircraft,” saying:

Erdogan’s “initial comments and subsequent statement (were) measured in tone. He said Turkish and Syrian forces were working together to search for the two missing crew of the aircraft.”

Turkish media also said Syria apologized for the incident.

“Turkish state television interviewed witnesses on the country’s Mediterranean coast, near the Syrian border, who said they saw two low-flying fighter jets pass overhead in the morning in the direction of Syrian waters but only one return.”

Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi said:

“There was no aggression.” Damascus confirmed “an unidentified target flying at very low range when it violated Syrian airspace.” He added that both sides were searching for missing crew members.

The New York Times said an official Turkish statement hadn’t “yet concluded that the Syrian action was provocative, and it acknowledged that Syrian rescue teams were cooperating in trying to locate the aircraft and crew.”

“But the statement also left open the possibility that Turkey, a NATO member, would respond militarily, an outcome that could further complicate and widen the Syrian conflict.”

Washington has longstanding regime change plans. In early 2011, it orchestrated Western-generated violence.

It wants Assad replaced by a subservient puppet leader. If events on the ground don’t succeed, expect war to follow.

The Obama and Erdogan administrations may have staged Friday’s incident. Whether it’s a pretext for full-scale intervention remains to be seen.

Events on the ground keep escalating dangerously. Anything may erupt anytime. Provocations are easy to stage.

Friday’s incident may indeed become a casus belli. If not, perhaps something greater is planned to give Obama another war he wants. What better way to silence his Republican critics who call him soft on Assad.

On June 22, Foreign Policy’s associate editor Uri Friedman headlined “How would NATO respond to Syria shooting down a Turkish plane?” saying:

“Could this incident – or an incident like it – trigger more aggressive action against Syria by the international community? After all, Turkey is a member of NATO….”

Its Charter affirms its all-for-one-and-one-for-all policy. Attacking one member is considered acting against all 28. Collective self-defense is called for.

On September 12, 2001, NATO invoked Article V for the first time. Will Syria be number two? If Turkey claims Damascus acted aggressively, will war follow?

“It is not an entirely unreasonable” possibility, said Friedman.

In April, Erdogan suggested he might invoke Article V. Whether he plans it now remains to be seen.

According to former UN Permanent Representative to NATO Kurt Volker, Article V gives NATO countries a chance to consult with one another on possible responses. It doesn’t automatically suggest a military one.

“A response could be anything from a statement reiterating the inviolability of security guarantees to members coordinating activities so that they can respond to further attacks on Turkish interests.”

Volker doesn’t think Friday’s incident justifies war. At the same time, the ball advanced closer to initiating it without Security Council authorization.

One way would be by creating Syrian “safe zones,” providing greater opposition support, and conducting air strikes against strategic military sites.

“I do get the feeling,” he added, “that the patience of the international community is growing thinner.”

“I think we may be approaching a point at which this kind of coalition intervention is more thinkable than it was a couple of months ago.”

Atlantic Council managing editor James Joyner also doesn’t believe Friday’s incident justifies war.

“It would be one thing if Syria sent ground troops into Turkey and started shooting,” he said.

In contrast, “shooting down a plane that might have been surveilling Syrian air space is just a different animal than that.”

“This is more of a harsh words and sanctions kind of thing, and frankly there’s not much more of that that we can do in terms of Syria.”

On June 23, UK government controlled BBC headlined “Turkish warplane downed by Syria ‘may have crossed border,’ ” saying:

Turkish President Abdullah Gul said its aircraft may have violated Syrian airspace. Doing so isn’t unusual for short distances at high speed, he added.

“It is routine for jet fighters to sometimes fly in and out over (other) borders….when you consider their speed over the sea,” he claimed.

“These are not ill-intentioned things but happen beyond control due to the jets’ speed.”

Unexplained was that it’s one thing for peaceful neighbors occasionally to violate each other’s airspace without authorization.

No harm, no foul.

It’s quite another given months of intense violence in Syria and Turkey’s direct role.

Moreover, violating another country’s airspace by trying to avoid its defensive capabilities at low altitude shows clear hostile intent.

Damascus has every right to consider these type actions aggressive and threatening. Turkey would react the same way. So would Washington, key NATO partners and Israel.

A virtual state of war exists in Syria short of officially declaring it. These type incidents can easily be used as pretexts for full-blown conflict. It remains to be seen if Washington has that in mind.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”

http://www.claritypress.com/Lendman.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

Categories: Uncategorized

Cold War Politics Redux

June 23, 2012 2 comments

SteveLendmanBlog
June 23, 2012

Cold War Politics Redux
by Stephen Lendman

Following Soviet Russia’s dissolution, everything changed but stayed the same. US aims remained hard-wired. Today it’s back to the future.

Cold War politics were reinvented. Russia’s again the Evil Empire. Today’s stakes are much greater. World peace is threatened.

Preemptive aggression is official US policy. America’s duopoly power wages permanent wars. Israeli Lobby and Christian Right extremists support them. The fuse is lit for trouble.

Beating up on Russia is relentless. Putin is fast emerging as public enemy number one. Intense propaganda vilifies him. His opposition to America’s imperial agenda draws rebukes.

At Mexico’s G20 summit, he reiterated his position against foreign intervention to oust Assad. Syrian sovereignty is inviolable. Its people alone should decide who’ll lead them.

The same holds for all countries. International law prohibits nations from interfering in the internal affairs of other states, except in self-defense if attacked.

Syria threatens no one. Crisis conditions there should be resolved constitutionally.

“No one is entitled to decide for other nations who will be brought to power and who will be removed,” Putin stressed.

“A change of power, if it occurs – and it could only occur by constitutional means – should result in peace and stop the bloodshed.”

“In order to achieve that goal, we need to work well, to make all parties to the armed conflict stop the bloodshed, sit down to the negotiating table and agree on how they will jointly live in a common country and how the interests and security of people involved in the conflict will be ensured.”

“This should be done beforehand, and not like in some North African countries, where bloodsheds continue despite regime changes.”

Rebukes follow these type comments. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and UN envoy Susan Rice repeat spurious accusations. Media scoundrels regurgitate them. No holds barred propaganda war is waged. Truth and full disclosure don’t have a chance.

“Punish the Russian abusers,” headlined a Washington Post editorial.

Obama’s “hopes of forging a partnership with (Putin) appear to be fading fast.”

“Russia is rebuffing U.S. appeals for cooperation in stopping the massacres in Syria, while continuing to supply the regime of Bashar al-Assad with weapons.”

“Meanwhile the Kremlin is cracking down on Russians seeking democratic reform or fighting corruption.”

“Partnership” and “cooperation” are code terms for surrender.

Putin isn’t about to roll over for Washington. As a result, he’s public enemy number one.

People, nations, or editorial writers who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. US corruption is rife. Grand theft is official policy. So is stealing from the poor for the rich.

Dissent is an endangered species. Whistleblowers and courageous journalists are targeted. So are nonviolent protesters and anyone challenging US hegemony.

America is the land of the free only in political rhetoric and patriotic songs. Hard facts reveal a nation heading fast for full blown tyranny.

“Congress (must) send Mr. Putin and his cadres the message that their lawless behavior will have consequences.”

Congress and administration officials spurn international, constitutional, and US statute laws. Corruption is a way of life. So is war on humanity.

Fingers pointing the right way explain what’s vital to expose to the clear light of day.

Scoundrel media suppress what’s most crucial to disclose.

An earlier Post editorial headlined “US must maintain way to press Putin regime on human rights,” saying:

He campaigned “on a platform of anti-Americanism.” As president, he’s “inaugurating an era of unrest in a nation whose rising middle class rejects him.”

His agenda features “autocratic domestic policies….”

“(D)emocratic reform” is needed.

Putin lacks “political legitimacy.”

In fact, with 64.7% support, he won reelection by a landslide. His closest rival finished a distant second with 17%. Putin is Russia’s most popular leader.

Times editorial writers claim his popularity is “waning.” He’ll have to find new ways “to guarantee his legitimacy.”

His electoral majority topped every US president since James Monroe. In 1820, he ran virtually unopposed.

Franklin Roosevelt’s most impressive win was 60.8% (1936). Lyndon Johnson got 61.1% (1964). Richard Nixon managed 60% (1972). Ronald Reagan’s best was 58.8% (1984).

In 1860, Abraham Lincoln won an electoral college victory with 39.8% of the popular vote. His nearest rival got 14.3%.

In 1864, he repeated with a 55% majority.

Putin’s victory stands all the more impressive. Nonetheless, Times commentaries call Russia’s political system “hermetic.” It “parod(ies) democracy.”

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Washington spurns democratic values and rule of law principles. Hardline governance is policy.

US Elections are scripted theater. Secrecy and back room deals substitute for a free, fair and open process. Candidates are pre-selected. Big money owns them. Key outcomes are predetermined.

Power brokers control everything. Voters get the best democracy money can buy.

Popular majorities reject both major parties. They’re in lockstep on all issues mattering most.

Ravaging humanity is policy. Public welfare is a quaint artifact. So are human and civil rights. No nation spurns them more than America. No media more aggressively support the worst of all possible worlds.

New York Times editorials and op-eds accuse Putin of mocking democratic rights. “There can be no illusions about who Mr. Putin really is,” they say. He “bullies his own citizens (and) neighbors.”

Other commentaries call him “a strongman.” US relations under him “chill(ed).”

Challenging US hegemony draws harsh political and scoundrel media responses. They haven’t deterred Putin from saying what few other leaders dare.

A Final Comment

Congressional action on two issues are pending. They include whether or not to repeal Jackson-Vanik (JV). It’s a Cold War relic.

Section 401, Title IV of the 1974 Trade Act affects commercial relations with communist and former communist countries.

It targets nations accused of restricting emigration and human rights. Following unanimous congressional approval, Gerald Ford signed it on January 3, 1975. It still influences trade relations with some states. Repealing it is long overdue.

Congressional action approaches. Passage remains uncertain. Obama and Senate Democrats want it. Hardline House and Senate Republicans object.

Eight Senate Finance Committee Republicans issued a joint statement, saying:

“Many aspects of the U.S.-Russia relationship are troubling.”

They cited the “flawed election and illegitimate regime of Vladimir Putin.”

Hardline House Foreign Affairs Committee chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R. FL) said:

“….concessions to Moscow must stop, including the latest effort to repeal the Jackson-Vanik amendment to give Russia preferential trade benefits.”

At issue is linking JV with so-called House and Senate Magnitsky legislation.

On May 19, 2011, S. 1039: Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2011 was introduced. No further action was taken.

On April 19, 2012, HR 4405: Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012 was introduced. It awaits full House consideration.

Both Houses plan linking JV with Magnitsky. Doing so damages US/Russian relations.

Sergei Magnitsky was a Russian attorney. His 2009 death in police custody drew international media attention.

Employed by Firestone Duncan, he specialized in civil law. He did anti-corruption work. He represented Hermitage Capital. He uncovered evidence of tax fraud. He implicated the police, judiciary figures, tax officials, bankers, and Russia’s mafia.

He was called “the ‘go to guy’ in Moscow on courts, taxes, fines, and anything to do with civil law.”

In November 2008, he was arrested, imprisoned, and treated abusively. Held for 11 months, he was denied family visits. He developed serious health problems, but got inadequate treatment.

On November 16, 2009, he died for reasons attributed officially to a “rupture to the abdominal membrane” and subsequent heart attack. If trial proceedings didn’t begin, he was due to be released eight days later.

At the time, RIA Novosti said his death “caused public outrage and sparked discussion of the need to improve prison healthcare and to reduce the number of inmates awaiting trial in detention prisons.”

In December 2009, an independent Moscow Public Oversight Commission said he was subjected to “psychological and physical pressure….”

One of its members first blamed his death on medical negligence. She later believed he was murdered. In November 2009, then President Dmitry Medvedev ordered an official investigation. In July 2011, it blamed his death on medical neglect.

House and Senate Magnitsky legislation imposes visa bans, asset freezes, and other sanctions on Russian nationals accused of committing human rights abuses. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov calls the measure “anti-Russian.”

He’s right. It’s more about targeting Russia and Vladimir Putin than individual human rights abusers.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov warned Moscow will introduce tough countermeasures if Magnitsky passes.

“If this outrageous move takes place, Moscow’s reaction will be complex, multidimensional and really tough,” he said. He urged Congress to reconsider. Otherwise, “negative consequences for the whole complex of Russian-US relations” would follow.

He called Magnitsky “inadmissible” extraterritorial legislation.

The US National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) opposes the bill. It urged House and Senate members reject it. Passage will harm US/Russian trade. It’ll also cause political damage.

In July 2011, the State Department issued visa bans on several dozen Russian officials accused of involvement in Magnitsky’s death. Moscow retaliated in kind.

Linking Magnitsky legislation to lifting JV imposes a major stumbling block on US/Russian relations. It’s also about beating up on Putin.

Congressional hardliners apparently have that those objectives in mind. So do supportive media scoundrels.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”

http://www.claritypress.com/Lendman.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

Categories: Uncategorized

Open Letter on Saudi Arabia

June 23, 2012 3 comments

Open Letter
Anthony B. Newkirk

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)                                    ChairmanHouse Committee on Foreign Affairs Howard L. Berman (D-CA)Ranking MemberHouse Committee on Foreign Affairs

June 22, 2012

Honorable Members:

On October 20, 2010, the Obama administration announced approval of projected arms transfer agreements with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia totaling over $60 billion in value. On February 16, 2011, I wrote a letter to you requesting further information. As I have not yet received a response, I am resubmitting my questions in a more public forum.

It is not hard to fathom why the United States and Saudi Arabia have very close ties. The perception that our country is dependent on “Arab oil” is firmly implanted in popular opinion. But the topic of security assistance for Saudi Arabia is not, an example being the 2010 Saudi arms deal. Of course, this is hardly the only problem facing our nation in this time of assaults on job security, social services, and civil liberties. It is also far from being the only problem in the Middle East. However, the Saudi arms deal focuses attention on a range of issues related to America’s fiscal soundness, security, and defense of human rights.

Last year Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Andrew Shapiro called the Saudi arms deal “the largest defense trade deal in history with Saudi Arabia.” In a letter dated November 10, 2010, you and 196 other members of the House of Representatives had expressed concern about the transaction to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. But I am aware of no formal congressional action after the one-month deadline was reached on November 20, 2010, in keeping with the Arms Export Control Act (AECA).

During a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on May 12, 2011, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy James Miller testified the events of the Arab Spring put defense trade agreements with the Gulf Cooperation Council “on hold” and details could be discussed in “closed hearing.” While only fragments of information are openly available, notices issued by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency from the very day of your hearing through the end of 2011 indicated otherwise. In this period, the DSCA confirmed Saudi intentions to buy over $2 billion of night vision equipment, armored vehicles, cluster bombs, howitzers, and Humvees from American defense contractors in line with the 2010 announcement. This is besides on-going DSCA notices of proposed sales of advanced weapons systems to all GCC countries.

In November, the Wall Street Journal reported and the DSCA confirmed that the Obama administration was shipping advanced weaponry to GCC members, including Joint Direct Action Munitions systems to the United Arab Emirates. This was not unprecedented because Israel, the UAE, and Oman got JDAMs in the past. But the lack of congressional and, curiously, Israeli opposition to 1,000 JDAM kits in the 2010 arms deal was unprecedented (to be precise, they were tucked into a $30 billion transaction sealed last Christmas Eve for 84 new Boeing F-15SA fighters plus repairs to F-15s in the Saudi air force; the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute judges this the world’s single largest arms transfer in the past two decades and in 2011 alone). Another part of the 2010 arms package has attack helicopters for Saudi internal security forces, which will increase “sustainability and interoperability with the U.S. Army, the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, and other coalition forces.” Defense Industry Daily reports many agreements between the Saudis and U.S. arms contractors approved in 2010 have gone through, with the rest waiting in the pipeline.

The arms deal does not apply only to land and air forces. In response to questions submitted to Congressman Tim Griffin, a committee member and my congressional representative, his office had emailed me the following message on February 24, 2011:

The $60 billion Saudi deal for F-15 fighters has already cleared Congress but prospective sales of naval ships and missile-defense systems to Saudi Arabia and other regional partners have yet to be completed and could run into congressional hurdles.

It later came to my attention that this passage appeared verbatim in a report published in the Wall Street Journal the previous day, a fact not pointed out in the email. However, the reference to “naval ships” in the newspaper report was interesting if only because there are not yet been any DSCA notices to this effect. But it is also a matter of public record that we have backed the “Saudi Naval Expansion Program II” since it was established in the 1990s.

It is often said that arms transfers to the Persian Gulf are needed to defend the United States and its allies from Iran. This argument rests in a frame of debate encompassing enhanced sanctions, legislation you yourselves introduced a year ago that would hamper diplomatic contact with Iran, or the wild card of general war. A big argument for sanctions is they will forestall Iran’s nuclear weapons program – assuming such a program exists, which Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has his doubts about – and the threatening presence of late of the Iranian navy in the Persian Gulf and surrounding waters. But claims about Iranian designs lack persuasiveness, particularly in comparison with Saudi behavior in the region. It would therefore be wiser to spell out the economic reasons why the United States should protect Saudi Arabia, as a recent Heritage Foundation report attempted to do.

Another argument is that some details concerning talks between arms contactors and foreign nations, facilitated by the federal government, are private and this is necessary in the War on Terror. Still another argument is arms deals bring jobs. But besides using its declining resources to care for our veterans, America must bear the costs incurred by special interests justifying their actions in terms of “privacy.” And while U.S. citizens in effect guarantee the risks of profit-driven defense trade, it has played a small role in increasing sustained employment in the current economic downturn. If I am mistaken, please set me straight.

In terms of America-Saudi relations, little is truly secret. There is a well-documented history of Saudi-U.S. defense cooperation going back to World War II, information Congress already possesses thanks in part to the work of the Congressional Research Service. It is therefore hard to understand why so many elected officials from both parties are hesitant about sharing public information with American taxpayers.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee is to be commended for its attention to the terrible events in Syria. But the human rights implications of arms sales to Saudi Arabia are receiving short shrift. In fact, both Republican and Democratic presidential administrations have been silent when questions about the House of Saud’s commitment to human rights and the sovereignty of neighboring countries arise.

The death of Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz al-Saud reminds us Saudi Arabia is one of the few absolute monarchies left in the world. It is public knowledge that campaigns of repression against dissidents have been underway across the country for a very long time. A report recently issued by Amnesty International claims the Saudi government has meted out harsh prison sentences to hundreds of people, including intellectuals, workers, and professionals, young and old, male and female, citizens and guest workers. The victims are of all tendencies within Islam and well as other faiths. The gross economic inequality between the scions of the House of Saud and the bulk of the Saudi population has even gone viral.

The Saudis staged air strikes in northern Yemen in 2009 against insurgents fighting the country’s president who was a close Saudi ally, a move supported by the United States according to a diplomatic cable disclosed by Wikileaks. In 2011, Saudi troops entered Bahrain, another close ally. As demonstrated by on-going construction at the local U.S. Navy base and renewed arms shipments, Bahrain’s shocking human rights crisis is by no means affecting our deep commercial and strategic ties with that country’s rulers. Like former administrations, the White House claims it has no position on Saudi-Bahraini cooperation.

No one likes to consider matter of Saudi involvement in 9/11, which is understandable as this was truly a day of infamy and Saudi Arabia is a close ally. But there are many unanswered questions and the public has a right to know the truth – a matter incidentally being taken up in Manhattan District Court. Surely the death of Army First Sergeant David Robinson in the Kingdom in October also deserves closer attention.

In light of the enormity of these matters, to say nothing of the seeming contradictions in relation to them, I have eight questions:

1.  If JDAMs were considered too controversial to include in the Bush administration’s $63 billion arms package for the GCC in 2007, why were they inserted in the Saudi arms deal three years later?

2.  In terms of Saudi Arabia’s internal defense, what is the exact meaning of “sustainability and interoperability with the U.S. Army, the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, and other coalition forces”?

3. Why are littoral combat ships under consideration for sale to Saudi Arabia?

4. What is the current status of the proposed sale of littoral combat ships?

5.  Although its existence is not classified, why doesn’t the American public know more about the United States Military Training Mission that has functioned in Saudi Arabia for the past 63 year?

 6. While not altogether secret, why is little known about the Facilities Security Force formed in the Kingdom within the past decade, according to U.S. embassy documents?

 7. What were the circumstances of Sergeant Robinson’s death?

8. Why won’t the U.S. government comment on Saudi-Bahraini ties?

Americans have a right to know how, and for what purposes, our tax money is spent in Saudi Arabia. American taxpayers subsidize arms producers like Boeing, Raytheon, and Lockheed Martin with little benefit accruing to general living standards. One might be tempted to wonder if defense trade in general is merely a bailout of the defense industry. But if there is a larger context to defense trade, the American people can come to terms with it. That is, as long as there is nothing dishonest about the larger context. I am sure you agree.

I am sure you also agree that attention should never be distracted from what are obvious contradictions with emotion-laden appeals to prejudice, racial, national, religious, or otherwise (during the Dubai Port World controversy, it was often forgotten some Dubai-based companies have Pentagon contracts). And under no circumstances do random and disjointed pieces of information constitute transparency. Even if my questions are irrelevant in our world of power politics, concern for the democratic process impels me to request frank answers.

Since the inception of our republic, the House of Representatives has been the most open branch of government. The House Foreign Affairs Committee can help to perpetuate this proud tradition by, among other things, backing reform of the AECA. It is true that AECA reform is a source of concern to the House Foreign Affairs Committee. You nevertheless seem to be preoccupied with how to service what you, Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen, have termed “our American businesses.” But what needs reforming the most is accountability to the general public that pays for arms contractors’ profits and losses.

When the White House has discussions with congressional staff, Congress should relay these discussions to the public. Or at least the reason why the conversations must be kept confidential should be promptly explained. Information about the public subsidy of private activities with serious human rights implications should not be buried in official hearings or press handouts. My concerns are not unprecedented. For instance, a report issued by the General Accountability Office two years ago addressed problems with defense trade record-keeping practices in the framework of the Gulf Security Dialogue.

Hence, I call for the insertion of unambiguous clauses in a revised ACEA that:

- require the White House to submit its defense trade endorsements to both Congress and the general public for approval;

- grant U.S. citizens enough time to give defense trade endorsements informed consideration, and to vote on them in special referendums;

- deny U.S. approval or funding of private arms sales to governments that violate universally-recognized human rights standards in any context.

If these suggestions are a bit impractical, the fact remains that the Saudi arms deal highlights the dangerous state our foreign and domestic affairs have fallen into. Nor is this specific issue an isolated or unprecedented phenomenon, another fact that should alone give rise to outrage. For the reasons I have outlined and for others you are doubtless much more intimately aware of than I am, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs should demand full transparency about the Saudi arms deal. Let the chips fall where they may.

Sincerely, Anthony B. Newkirk

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO Expands Military Network To All Continents

June 22, 2012 1 comment

Stop NATO
June 22, 2012

NATO Expands Military Network To All Continents
Rick Rozoff

The top military officials – chiefs of defense staff – and other representatives of 55 North Atlantic Treaty Organization and partnership states met in Croatia on June 18-20 for the 2012 Strategic Military Partnership Conference.

NATO’s Allied Command Transformation, established at the 1999 fiftieth anniversary summit in Washington, D.C. and the first alliance command based in the U.S. (in Norfolk, Virginia), reported that participation came from “numerous partnership nations that came from all over the world including South America, North Africa, the South Pacific and East Asia” and that attending nations were members of the bloc’s Partnership for Peace, Mediterranean Dialogue, Istanbul Cooperation Initiative and other military partnerships.

The first of the above three includes 21 nations in Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia (Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia, Finland, Georgia, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.) The Partnership for Peace program was employed to prepare the twelve nations incorporated as full members between 1999 and 2009: Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Mediterranean Dialogue members are Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia. As will be seen below, Libya is scheduled to be the next partner.

Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are members of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, with Saudi Arabia and Oman being groomed as new members and perhaps Iraq and Yemen behind them.

The nations in attendance at the NATO meeting in the Croatian capital of Zagreb, subtitled Current and Future Challenges, would have included what were formerly referred to as Contact Countries – Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea – and which are now included in a new category called Partners Across the Globe along with Afghanistan, Iraq, Mongolia and Pakistan.

The South American nation(s) were not identified, but NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, Admiral James Stavridis, recently identified El Salvador in Central America and Colombia in South America, respectively, as current and future NATO partners and troop contributors in Afghanistan. This March Stavridis told Congress that Brazil and India also were potential NATO partners.

Before assuming the joint roles of NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe and commander of U.S. European Command in 2009, Stavridis was commander of U.S. Southern Command and as such in charge of American military operations and military-to-military relations in Central America, South America and the Caribbean. In 2007 the Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 conducted “presence operations” in the Caribbean Sea, the first time that alliance warships deployed there.

The inclusion of South America marks the crossing of a new threshold for NATO: It now has members and partners on all six inhabited continents, accounting for over a third of the nations in the world.

In January NATO’s Military Committee held a meeting in chiefs of defense staff session in which, as the NATO website described it, “Top level military representatives of 67 countries [discussed] in various formats the evolution of NATO and NATO led operations, the implementation of the new NATO Command Structure and its military consequences.” Unprecedented in scope, the military leaders present accounted for over a third of the 194 member states of the United Nations. 

The Strategic Military Partnership Conference in Croatia was held a month after the NATO summit in Chicago and concentrated on the results of the latter and the further implementation of the Strategic Concept adopted at the preceding summit in Portugal in late 2010.

French General Stéphane Abrial, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, opened the three-day conference and placed particular emphasis on two initiatives NATO calls the Connected Forces Initiative and Smart Defense. The second is designed to pool the resources of the bloc’s 28 members states in times of economic austerity and the first to increase training and exercises and the use of compatible military equipment; both will have the effect of furthering the integration of NATO members for interoperability in furtherance of operations abroad by making a military virtue of an economic necessity.

The main aspects of Smart Defence were identified as the U.S.-dominated interceptor missile system in Europe, the purchase of American Global Hawk drones by European countries for the Alliance Ground Surveillance program and the patrolling of Baltic air space by NATO warplanes.

The conference participants then discussed three main issues: Implications of the May summit for NATO member states; Partners Stability and security in the Middle East, North Africa and the Persian Gulf Region; the Connected Forces Initiative in relation to training, exercises, education and technology. Other topics addressed included what were identified as the future development of partnerships and strategic implications of improvements to military efficiency.

The new Partners across the Globe format was highlighted in discussions on expanding partnership arrangements as were the new Partnership Cooperation Menu, the Partnership for Peace Planning and Review Process, the Operational Capabilities Concept and the Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme, whose first member is Mongolia as of March and one of whose next is Iraq, both now members the Partners across the Globe program as well. The latest, increasingly international, partnerships and programs are described by NATO’s Allied Command Transformation as “focused on the priorities of building capabilities, interoperability, and supporting defence and security sector reforms.”

A NATO account of the conference reiterated the current Strategic Concept’s assertion that “the promotion of Euro-Atlantic security is best assured through a wide network of partner relationships with countries and organizations around the globe.”

In relation to the May summit, the same source stated:

“The Alliance restated its willingness to provide…further support to regional partners in such areas as security institution-building, defence modernisation, capacity development, and civil-military relations. Based on a Moroccan initiative, NATO and MD [Mediterranean Dialogue] countries will develop a new political framework. The Alliance is, moreover, prepared to welcome Libya as a new partner…”

The opening of an Istanbul Cooperation Initiative Regional Centre in Kuwait was also agreed upon at the Chicago summit.

The conference in Croatia accentuated “A framework developed for NATO nations’ and partner countries’ available training and exercise ranges, along standardized lines” and the “potential to integrate partners and facilitates participation in exercises.”

The deepening and widening of military collaboration between NATO and its scores of partners, including integrating partnership nations into the global NATO Response Force, are to be built on joint efforts during and following NATO’s wars on three continents: Those in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Libya.

As NATO has remarked of the Connected Forces Initiative, it is “aimed at ensuring that NATO retains and builds on the valuable gains of interoperability among Allies and partners as a result of NATO’s recent operations.”

The steady expansion of NATO military partnerships and operations around the world, which now include all populated continents, has no precedent in history. This is the first attempt to establish an international military alliance that is capable of and prepared to intervene in any nation and region it chooses to for the geopolitical benefit of its leading member states.

Categories: Uncategorized

Drug-Addled Burlesque Empire On Global Joyride

June 21, 2012 2 comments

RT
June 21, 2012

America: Drugged up, dumbed down and crazy dangerous
Robert Bridge

====

If you were planning to conquer the world, or at least a broad swath of it, the war would necessarily start at home. After all, no general worth his salt would rush into battle with his rear exposed. You’d have to muzzle the media, severely curtail political choice and dissent, while preaching to the world about democracy and human rights to cover your tracks. You’d have to construct the mother of all propaganda machines, which proclaims over every available wavelength that it’s the best darn civilization since Atlantis sunk to its watery grave thousands of years ago.

What we are left with after the smoke has cleared bears no resemblance to a classic, text-book democracy. What we are left with is an obese, drug-addled Burlesque Empire, bursting at the seams with electronic circuses, cocaine and corn puffs, physically and mentally incapable of finding the remote control when the scenes of war become too unappetizing.

====

The dogs of war are barking in the backyard and some deranged minds seem determined to swing open the gates – again. At the same time, the American people, the only ones who can stop the savagery, are saddled with long-term debt, deficits and depression.

As the new age Romans mission-creep toward the next doomed Middle East neighborhood, this time in Syria, when does the quaint phrase “experiencing déjà vu” become just a polite way of saying we are apathetic spectators at the Circus Maximus? Does uttering mindless platitudes while the swords are swinging make us accomplices to death and destruction? Do our politicians – the nice guys who bailed out the bankers to the tune of trillions while we got cash for clunkers – really care about innocent civilians abroad who are getting caught in the crossfire?

By playing the knight in shining armor on behalf of every oppositional groundswell, we are actually encouraging these revolutionary uprisings from the start. As the Arab Spring shows, the opponents of the ruling authorities are seizing the reins of power through street violence, which seems to be the preferred method of political campaigning these days.

The opponents of vanquished Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, for example, did not have to prove their political prowess to win power. They only had to show up and demonstrate their staying power until NATO air support was called in. Eventually, the opposition revealed their true colors, however, when they dragged Gaddafi from a hole, Hussein-style, before summarily executing him. No trial, no judge, no jury, no worry. Welcome to the brave new political jungle where the side with the best crowd control always wins.

Essentially, the western powers are bankrolling unproven political wannabes not with hard cash, which is bad enough, but with overwhelming firepower. This opens the door to crimes of worse magnitude than would have been the case had nobody interfered in the first place. For example, if the Syrian political opposition understand, as they certainly must, the infinite power of global communication, then they will also understand the effectiveness of sending a message (tweeting, texting, whatever) that government forces committed an “atrocity” – even if they have not.

Consider the May 25 massacre in the village of Houla. Nobody yet has been able to prove beyond a shadow of doubt the identity of the perpetrators behind that barbaric event, which saw the murder of 108 people, mostly women and children. The opposition claims government forces hired mercenaries known as Shabiha to carry out the attack. However, the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad maintains that armed groups were determined to sabotage UN peace talks. (On May 15, one day before a UN Security Council meeting on Syria, militants carried out a massacre in the town of Homs, while the Houla attack coincided with a visit by UN negotiator Kofi Annan.) Why would Assad, of all people, be opposed to ending the violence that threatens to bring down his government, and possibly far worse?

To date, western forces have thrown their support behind the political opposition in Egypt, Libya and most infamously in Iraq. And how is that working? Egypt is witnessing a tense standoff between the Muslim Brotherhood and the military, while the new Libyan authorities have just detained four members of the International Criminal Court who were in town to provide a defense attorney to Gaddafi’s son. So much for planting the seeds of democracy.

Meanwhile, many Americans are still scratching their heads over the “preemptive” attack on Iraq, which never had weapons of mass destruction or a hand in the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

Yet, we still have not learned the lessons of Iraq. In fact, some people are twisting that failed mission to fit in with the new mission statement. In fact, one writer for Haaretz argued that the “world must intervene before the ‘Iraqization’ of Syria,” reasoning that “the collapse of the Syrian army and Assad’s regime is liable to lead to the ‘Iraqization’ of the country, in such a way that it will no longer be clear who controls it.”

Have we already forgotten that it was the US invasion of Iraq on March 20, 2003 that prompted the “Iraqization” of Iraq in the first place?

Perhaps this is what Russian President Vladimir Putin partially meant when he once called the collapse of the Soviet Union “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.” Although the momentous event triggered severe dislocations across Russia, it also gave the United States an opportunity to behave like a veritable beast on the human stage. Now, after some 20 years of snorting and licking the mirror of power, the world’s solitary superpower, saying no-no-no to rehab, continues to do what it does best: acting like an infantile Bam-Bam from the Flintstones. So where is the homegrown American opposition to rein in these military misadventures?

If you were planning to conquer the world, or at least a broad swath of it, the war would necessarily start at home. After all, no general worth his salt would rush into battle with his rear exposed. You’d have to muzzle the media, severely curtail political choice and dissent, while preaching to the world about democracy and human rights to cover your tracks. You’d have to construct the mother of all propaganda machines, which proclaims over every available wavelength that it’s the best darn civilization since Atlantis sunk to its watery grave thousands of years ago. It would be a bit like decorating the halls of a mental asylum with idyllic nature scenes. You’d also have to hire an army of loud-mouth talking heads to shout down any and all dissenters, accuse them of being conspiracy theorists and lunatics and commies, while keeping a paramilitary police force on the standby 24/7 should the bullying tactics fail.

You’d have to spoon-feed the populace with a liberal dose of anti-depressants, Jersey Shore, American Idol and 24-hour shopping channels with easy credit to prevent them from giving a moment’s thought to real-time, third-dimensional issues. You could also fuel battles over trifling cultural issues, like homosexuals in the military, Mel Gibson’s latest rant and Charlie Sheen’s complicated love life. What we are left with after the smoke has cleared bears no resemblance to a classic, text-book democracy. What we are left with is an obese, drug-addled Burlesque Empire, bursting at the seams with electronic circuses, cocaine and corn puffs, physically and mentally incapable of finding the remote control when the scenes of war become too unappetizing.

We are overstretched at home, and like despotic Rome, overstretched overseas. Now it is anybody’s guess where this depressing joyride will take us.

Categories: Uncategorized

No Replay: Russia Says NATO, Not Libyan People, Decided Gaddafi’s Fate

June 21, 2012 1 comment

Itar-Tass
June 21, 2012

Lavrov says Russia will not admit replay of Libyan scenario for Syria

MOSCOW: Russia will not admit a replay of the Libyan scenario in Syria, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with the Echo of Moscow liberal radio.

“It wasn’t the Libyan people who decided Gaddafi’s fate, it was NATO,” he said. “Nothing would have happened there without NATO’s bombings. Or, to be more precise, a reciprocal self-annihilation of the people would have continued, but NATO wouldn’t have gotten a mandate to take part in that war as one of the warring sides anyway.”

“That’s why Gaddafi’s plight is a somewhat different story but a replication of the Libyan scenario in Syria won’t be admitted, and we can guarantee this,” Lavrov said. “That’s why the parties to the Syrian conflict should take seats at the conference table and negotiate peace.”

—————————————————————————

Interfax
June 21, 2012

Syrian govt, opposition should pull out troops from cities simultaneously – Lavrov

MOSCOW/ST. PETERSBURG: The Syrian government and the opposition should withdraw their troops from cities and other communities simultaneously under the UN observers’ control, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

Speaking to Echo Moskvy radio station on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg Economic Forum on Thursday, Lavrov said Russia could give its consent to increasing the number of UN military monitors in Syria.

“We deem it very important at this stage to make all the conflicting parties withdraw their armed units and military hardware from cities and other communities, but this must be done simultaneously,” Lavrov said.

“It happened earlier that the Syrian government, complying with an Arab League plan, left some cities last fall, and monitors reported that this happened, and then the government entered these cities again because opposition units had occupied them in the absence of government forces,” he said.

“There is a need for a plan of simultaneous withdrawal on both sides for each populated area under control of UN international monitors, the number of which we are prepared to increase,” he said.

————————————————————————–

Interfax
June 21, 2012

Lavrov warns against Assad’s resignation

In an interview with Radio Ekho Moskvy on Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov described as ‘unrealistic’ Western leaders’ demands for Syrian President Bashar Assad’s free-will resignation.

Lavrov slammed the West’s scheme which cites Assad’s resignation as the only way to halt the violence in Greece. He recalled that at least 50 percent of Syrians supported Assad’s party during the elections.

Separately, Lavrov commented on a statement by French President Francois Hollande who said that Assad’s stepping down should become a precondition for the resolution of the Syrian crisis.

The top Russian diplomat said that the West’s Syria policy may lead to radicals’ coming to power there, something that will, in turn, damage security interests of moderate Muslims and Christians.

Lavrov was speaking on the sidelines of the 2012 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

—————————————————————————

Voice of Russia
June 21, 2012

Russia continues consultations on Syria conference

Russia continues consultations to pave the way for the holding of an international conference on Syria which was earlier initiated by Moscow, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told reporters on Thursday.

He declined to elaborate.

Earlier this month, presidential aide Yuri Ushakov said that the conference could be held in Moscow or Geneva, and that the exact date was yet to be defined.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, for his part, voiced hope that the gathering will be attended by all permanent UN Security Council members and Syria’s immediate neighbors, as well as a host of key regional players and major international organizations.

Syria’s immediate neighbors include Iraq, Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, while among key regional players are Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Iran.

Categories: Uncategorized

U.S. Remains In Gulf With Tens Of Thousands Of Troops

RT
June 20, 2012

US clings onto Gulf with tens of thousands of troops in region

====

The build-up of the American contingent in the region is a direct result of Washington withdrawing troops from Iraq in December 2011. The troops and military vehicles did not actually go far: many simply crossed the border with Kuwait and added to the population of the three US bases that serve as logistical hubs, training ranges, and which provide support for regional operations. Besides, the territory of Kuwait is securely covered by Patriot missile batteries stationed there, a vital element of missile defense to be developed in the region, as promised by the US to its allies.

====

The latest US Senate Foreign Relations Committee report suggests the US will seek to maintain its position as the only superior military power in the Arabian Peninsula and Persian Gulf region for the time being.

Despite the troop withdrawal from Iraq, the American military presence in the area is set to expand.

The seven-point report suggests that working in close cooperation with GCC (Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf) states, the US intends to maintain military bases or presence in practically all of those countries, namely Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

Americans call this strategy a “lily pad” model. The US military bases scattered here and there enable the US military command to hold the territory under full control, allowing it to increase military presence in chosen locations at any given time.

In Kuwait alone, where the US has three bases, there are 15,000 troops stationed, including a couple of brigade combat teams and a combat aviation brigade.

Overall in the region there are reportedly 40,000 American servicemen ready for action.

The build-up of the American contingent in the region is a direct result of Washington withdrawing troops from Iraq in December 2011. The troops and military vehicles did not actually go far: many simply crossed the border with Kuwait and added to the population of the three US bases that serve as logistical hubs, training ranges, and which provide support for regional operations. Besides, the territory of Kuwait is securely covered by Patriot missile batteries stationed there, a vital element of missile defense to be developed in the region, as promised by the US to its allies.

If one divides the Persian Gulf lengthwise, it becomes clear that one shore is under tight Washington control, with troops stationed in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

Despite the fact that the United States withdrew most troops from Saudi Arabia in 2003, the country remains the biggest American arms buyer. Some 3,000 servicemen of the 64th Air Expeditionary Group are still stationed about 20 km southeast of the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh.

====

Seven principles of US military policy in the Persian Gulf:

1. The US ensures a “security umbrella” to its Arab allies.
2. The US remains a central part of the Gulf security framework.
3. The US increases trade relations with GCC states to promote economic reform and diversification.
4. The US preserves the “lily pad” model of military bases throughout the Gulf region, which permits the rapid escalation of military force in case of emergency.
5. The US uses the GCC partners’ capabilities in select defensive missions, though keeping its role as a security guarantor.
6. The US provides the Gulf partners with security assistance, supports a comprehensive strategy for regional arms sales and ensures a stable security architecture.
7. The US should promote the gradual political reintegration of Iraq into the Arab fold.

====

The other side of the Gulf belongs to a nation that actually gave its ancient name to it – Iran. Since Iran and its nuclear program remain a major stumbling block in international politics, the correct answer to the question “why does Washington need so many combat-ready troops in the Persian Gulf” is Iran. There is simply no other nation in the region that might pose a threat to Washington’s interests in the Middle East.

The Gulf Security Architecture: Partnership with the Gulf Cooperation Council report prepared by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee again stresses the political and economic importance of the region for the US and outlines seven principles for the US military to provide security in the Persian Gulf region.

The US continues to expand its combat-capable presence in the unstable region of the Middle East despite a declared shift of interests to the Asia-Pacific region. Heavy financing of the American contingent in the Gulf region is called to stress that America has not forgotten its Arab allies and that Washington intends to play a military superpower role in the foreseeable future.

Categories: Uncategorized

Syria Is West’s Way Station En Route To Iran And Russia

June 21, 2012 1 comment

Voice Russia
June 20, 2012

Syria – Iran – Russia: is the West ready for any kind of compromise?
Dmitry Babich

====

Western proven arms’ sales to Saudi Arabia, Iran’s enemy and one of the perpetrators of the revolt in Syria, somehow attract a lot less attention in the global media than Russia’s alleged arms shipments to Syria, even though Saudi Arabia makes little secret of its intention to pass a lot of their newly bought weapons to Syrian rebels.

Somehow, the rearmament of the Gulf states, Bahrain’s repressions against its Shia majority and direct military aid from Qatar and Saudi Arabia to the Syrian opposition do not make headlines in the West. But movements of Russian marines’ vessels in the Black Sea do.

What is important for Russia and for the majority of other countries of the world is the question: are Western leaders going to compromise on any of their “revolutionary” plans for the Middle East?

====

       
The flurry of news around Syria and Iran might look chaotic at first glance, but as pieces slowly form the puzzle, the “big picture” is becoming more or less clear.

Syria is just a transitory object for Western pressure. The real long-term targets are Iran and in future, most probably, Russia. Fruitless talks on the Iranian nuclear program in Moscow and the still raging Western media campaign on presumed deliveries of Russian arms to Syria reveal the general vector of the strategies of the US and the EU better than any official statements. The question remains, although: are the United States and the European Union ready for ANY kind of compromise?

Talks between the EU’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and the head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jallili ended in Moscow with no result in terms of nuclear security. But, obviously, the results desired by the EU and the United States lay in a very different field. Catherine Ashton’s spokesman, Michael Mann, told reporters in Moscow that there remained “no doubt” that economic sanctions, imposed on Iran by the EU, will gain full force on July 1, as scheduled. After two days of intense talks in Moscow, the EU diplomats can say that they did everything possible to avert confrontation with Iran. And Michael Mann indicated that the EU wanted to see some steps from the Iranian side before it would compromise itself.

What can those steps be? Obviously, Iran, seeing the developments in Syria, its ally which is facing an attempt of a foreign-sponsored “regime change,” may be tempted to protect its sovereignty by all possible means. So, the Syrian example, instead of dissuading Iran from the “nuclear option” for its defense, may work in a counterproductive way, encouraging Iran to arm itself in order to avoid the fate of Syria or something even worse. The situation is entering a vicious circle: the more Western powers increase their pressure on Iran and Syria, the more Tehran may be tempted to try the last resort. Economic deprivation does not help neither.

“The West is directing its efforts to weakening the Iranian regime,” said Sergei Demidenko, an expert of the Moscow-based Institute for Strategic Analysis. “Right now, anticipation of war can be even more damaging for Iran than war itself. The West is scaring Iran so that it would spend all its money on defense.”

Western proven arms’ sales to Saudi Arabia, Iran’s enemy and one of the perpetrators of the revolt in Syria, somehow attract a lot less attention in the global media than Russia’s alleged arms shipments to Syria, even though Saudi Arabia makes little secret of its intention to pass a lot of their newly bought weapons to Syrian rebels. Saudi Arabia’s recent contract with Germany, formalizing the sales of 600-800 German made tanks to Riyadh, did not awaken any concerns, even though similar sales in the 1990s, made in a legally incorrect way with some help from corrupt officials, had prompted one of Germany’s biggest journalist investigations against Helmuth Kohl’s government several years ago.

Saudi Arabia’a growing military might gives Iran one more reason to rearm, since the Sunni-dominated Saudi monarchy is known for its animosity to Iran, a traditional realm of the Shia branch of Islam. A few months ago, Wikileaks divulged American diplomatic cables on Saudi king Abdullah’s intention “to cut the head of the [Iranian] snake.” History does not provide Iran with a feeling of security: it is also widely known that the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was supported in his 1980 aggression against Iran by Saudi Arabia and most of the “oil monarchies” of the Persian Gulf. Wikileaks’ revelations, depicting the events in the Middle East as a Sunni-Shia conflict and not as “a march for democracy” could be one of the main reasons why its former head Julian Assange preferred asylum in the Ecuadoran embassy to possible extradition to the United States.

Somehow, the rearmament of the Gulf states, Bahrain’s repressions against its Shia majority and direct military aid from Qatar and Saudi Arabia to the Syrian opposition do not make headlines in the West. But movements of Russian marines’ vessels in the Black Sea do.

Several newspapers, including Russian ones, “dispatched” Russian Black sea fleet warships Caesar Kunikov and Nikolai Filchenkov to Syria, even though what indeed took place next to the two ships’ base in Sebastopol was just a routine exercise, after which both vessels returned to their base the same day. The strange story with British media suddenly becoming 100 percent sure that a Russian-owned vessel, MV Alaed, was carrying attack helicopters and coastal anti-ship missiles “somewhere off the coast of Scotland” also lacks clarifications. But the British foreign secretary William Hague made a special statement about it in the House of Commons. Obviously, in modern politics, politicians do not shy away from participating in media games.

“What is important is that the Western audience had these words crammed in its head: Russia – ships – troops – arms – Syria. How much truth is behind these words, will the suspicions be proved in 2-3 weeks or even 2-3 days is indeed not so important,” said Konstantin Bogdanov, an analyst on the military matters at the Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

What is important for Russia and for the majority of other countries of the world is the question: are Western leaders going to compromise on any of their “revolutionary” plans for the Middle East? For the moment, signs are not very reassuring. The next talks of the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany (5+1) with Iran on Tehran’s nuclear program are scheduled to start on July 1 in Istanbul. So, there is still some room for compromise.

Categories: Uncategorized

Iraq: NATO Forges New Strategic Partnership In Persian Gulf

Stop NATO
June 20, 2012

Iraq: NATO Forges New Strategic Partnership In Persian Gulf
Rick Rozoff

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization announced on June 20 that it has opened what it terms a Transition Cell in Iraq “to smooth the path towards strengthened partnership and cooperation.”

The decision to do so was reached at the May 20-21 summit of the Western military bloc in Chicago.

The initiative follows eight years of the NATO Training Mission-Iraq, established in 2004 under the control of NATO’s top political body, the North Atlantic Council, and in conjunction with the Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq. The first commander of both the training mission and the command was David Petraeus, who set up both operations and who subsequently was in charge of U.S. Central Command, then of all U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan and is now director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

The announcement by NATO that it was continuing and deepening military cooperation with the government and military of Iraq came a day after a Saudi deputy foreign minister visited NATO Headquarters to strengthen strategic relations with the alliance and NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen urged the Persian Gulf military powerhouse join the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative

On June 18 NATO announced that Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow would arrive in Israel for a two-day visit to meet with senior government officials and on June 20 leave for Jordan to meet with Prince Faisal bin Hussein, Prime Minister Al-Tarawnah and Chief of Defense Staff General Al-Zaben and deliver a keynote address at a conference titled “NATO in the new global security era.”

Israel and Jordan are members of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue military partnership along with Algeria, Egypt, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia, with Libya slated to be the next addition.

Ahead of the Chicago summit NATO disclosed a new, geographically unlimited, category of military cooperation it calls partners across the globe, and identified its first eight members as Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Mongolia, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea.

In March Mongolia, bordering Russia to its north and China to its south, was the first nation to be granted another new NATO partnership, the Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme.

On June 20 NATO announced that within months Iraq’s Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme will be finalized.

Last October, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of Iraq stated American military trainers, as many as 5,000, might be allowed to remain in his country under the auspices of the NATO Training Mission-Iraq, but NATO’s insistence on immunity from prosecution for its personnel led to the mission being terminated on December 31.

Nevertheless, the U.S.-dominated military organization trained over 5,000 Iraqi officers and soldiers and more than 11,000 security personnel, members of the Iraqi Federal Police and Oil Police.

The NATO Training Mission-Iraq conducted English language courses in Iraq and training courses for senior officers at the Iraqi Defence University for Military Studies and the Iraqi War College as well as abroad at the NATO Joint Warfare Centre in Stavanger, Norway.

Two years ago American Lieutenant General Michael Barbero was quoted on the NATO Training Mission-Iraq website stating: “NATO advisors and mentors are shaping the future leadership of the Iraqi Army, at all levels, from the Basic Officer Commissioning Course, to the Joint Staff and Command College, the Iraqi War College, and the Iraqi National Defence College.”

If the West can’t control how Iraqis vote and thus their government, NATO can leave behind a foreign-trained officer corps as a Trojan horse for use as needed in a country flanked by Syria in the west and Iran in the east.

Categories: Uncategorized

Interview: Why Does U.S. Provoke Russia?

June 20, 2012 2 comments

Voice of Russia
June 20, 2012

Why does US provoke Russia?
John Robles
Recorded on June 16, 2012

AUDIO: Download

Recent statements by Hillary Clinton regarding Syria and the Russian Federation are a provocation or not?

Hello, this is John Robles. You are listening to an interview with Rick Rozoff, the manager and the owner of the Stop NATO website and mailing list and a regular contributor to the Voice of Russia.

I’d like to talk to you about the recent statements by Hillary Clinton regarding Syria and the Russian Federation and the seeming provocation by the U.S.

You are referring of course to the incident earlier this week when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accused Russia of sending helicopter gunships to Syria, more or less in her words for the express and exclusive intent of murdering Syrian civilians. You know an absurd contention but a very dangerous provocation.

Why do you think the U.S. is set on, it seems to me, provoking Russia?

You’re using the right word. These are actions that usually, ordinarily rather, are employed against a nation with which the U.S. is at loggerheads and is considering potential hostile actions against. This is wild rhetoric, it’s reckless, it’s unjustified of course and it’s not even so much evocative of the Cold War period; in many ways it is even worse than some of what we heard during even the most stressful years of the Cold War.

Why is the U.S. taunting Russia, why is it challenging it, why is it attempting to discredit and humiliate it? I think I am using the right verbs. I can only say that Russia, by standing its ground and maintaining its position on the territorial integrity and sovereignty of nations and continuing to oppose unilateral and lawless intervention, military intervention in the first place, into the internal affairs of sovereign nations, is an obstacle to U.S. plans for extending its military and political influence globally and to affect in the specific case of Syria and other nations so-called regime change to bring about a geopolitical configuration more favorable to the United States. Russia is standing on the way of that, then, has to be condemned and excoriated by the United States in an effort to win international support against Russia. And any fabrication, any exaggeration, any outright lie that serves that purpose, will be something that U.S.  government officials will not hesitate to employ.

What kind of things are they saying in the U.S. press about Russia right now?

We are seeing the gutter journalism mill churned up of course. There was an article in the Los Angeles Times yesterday by a regular contributor that has a statement to the effect that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions in Syria in supporting tyranny and dictatorship and so forth are in his genes, that is presumably that as a Russian he is genetically programmed to support genocide and dictatorship and so forth.

This was in the U.S. press?

This was in the Los Angeles Times, one of the major dailies in the United States. And the fact that filth like this can be published quite openly, and uncontested evidently, is something that truthfully I don’t recall during the Cold War where the U.S. government and its obedient mass media at least attempted to draw a distinction between, let’s say, the Soviet government and the people of the Soviet Union. Now, evidently the actions of the Russian government are attributed to some genetic deficiency within the Russian people. This is horrific, it’s almost evocative of the Hitler period.

Hillary Clinton, as she decided to make some serious anti-Russian remarks during a press conference at the Brookings Institute, you wrote something about the fact that in the background there was an Israeli flag. Do you think it was done on purpose and how was it played out in the Arab countries?

These are both very penetrating questions, so I’ll attempt to answer them. She was speaking at the Brookings Institution, which has given the Barack Obama administration amongst other personnel, on leave from the Brookings Institution, Dr. Susan Rice, who is the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Ivo Daalder who is the  U.S. ambassador to NATO and other officials, so that is a venue dear to the likes of Hillary Clinton but she was speaking with Israeli President Shimon Peres and that was the occasion presumably for the Israeli flag being in the background, though I didn’t see an American flag.

She was sitting down when she made the wild accusation that Russia was sending helicopter gunships to be used against Syrian civilians, because that’s what she stated, and in the meantime incidentally waving her arm in the air and almost shaking her fist, I guess for rhetorical effect. The irony or the fact that anyone watching that on Youtube throughout the world and particularly in the Arab world watching her make one of her more provocative statements to date in relation to Russia as she is all but draped in the Israeli flag would certainly send a message other than what she intended I suppose, unless it was intended as you imply. And I certainly can’t answer that.

But we do have to recall that her comment is not an isolated one. It was backed up by her spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, spokesman for the State Department, former U.S. ambassador to NATO incidentally. It was backed up by Jay Carney, White House spokesman, and others who have immediately afterwards made comparable statements indicting Russia for an event that as we now know never occurred.

Every few years there seems to be an intensification of the Russia-baiting initiative. It’s generally stirred up the press in the United States and perhaps even more so in Britain. There have been recent articles in the Daily Telegraph, there have been some in recent months in the Guardian, including by Simon Tisdall, who’s their deputy editor, and it’s the worst sort of anti-Russian vitriol that, again, I have seen since the Cold War and perhaps worse than anything I saw during that period, and it is clear that the U.S. wants to complete its transformation of the Middle East as they would perhaps refer to as. That is, the overthrow of secular, non-monarchical governments in Arab countries in favor of the U.S.’s dearest military client in the world right now – Saudi Arabia – with whom it signed a $60 billion arms deal late last year as your listeners will recall, which by my calculations is probably the largest bilateral military weapons package in
 human history, and the fact that the democracy-loving and freedom-promoting and so forth United States (those are all in italics, ironic italics) is siding with the likes of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and other monarchic, theocratic regimes in the Persian Gulf and working hand-in-glove with them, much as the United States and Saudi Arabia did against Afghanistan starting since 1978, when the Saudis provided the funds and not a few fighters for the Mujahideen war and the United States provided weapons and advisers.

And we seem to see a resumption of that bilateral strategic, or geostrategic, alliance between United States and Saudi Arabia. Russia stands in the way. First of all, Russia’s government is very principled is demanding adherence to international law, to particularly non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign nations as we’ve talked about, and the United States is the opposite. They feel emboldened to, feel driven by, I would add, the need to interfere in and topple the governments of any number of countries in the world, and because these two nations, Russia and the United States, are so fundamentally opposed on that key principle of international relations, then the United States has to isolate, has to discredit and has to politically if not otherwise crush Russia in order to have its position become the dominant one, one that is uncontested.

Thank you.

You were listening to the interview with Rick Rozoff, the manager and the owner of the Stop NATO website and mailing list and a regular contributor to the Voice of Russia.

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO: Digest for June 14-19

Categories: Uncategorized

Saudi Arabia: Persian Gulf Of Strategic Interest To NATO

June 20, 2012 2 comments

Stop NATO
June 19, 2012

Saudi Arabia: Persian Gulf Of Strategic Interest To NATO
Rick Rozoff

On June 18 Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen met with Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Nizar Madani at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.

The head of the Western military alliance extended an invitation to the Persian Gulf kingdom to join NATO’s partnership program in the region, stating “Saudi Arabia is a key player in the region and NATO would welcome the opportunity to engage the Kingdom’s government as a partner in the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative.”

The latter was launched in 2004 during the NATO summit in the Turkish city which gave the partnership its name, part of a series of sweeping measures that also saw the largest-ever one-time expansion of NATO membership – the absorption of seven new nations in Eastern Europe, including the first former Yugoslav and first three former Soviet republics – as well as committing the bloc to upgrading its other Middle Eastern military partnership program, the Mediterranean Dialogue (whose members are Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia), to that of the Partnership for Peace, which was used to elevate NATO’s 12 new post-Cold War members to their current status.

The Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) is aimed at the West’s political and military partners in the Persian Gulf, the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. All but Oman and Saudi Arabia have joined the ICI.

Over the past six years NATO naval groups have visited Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Leading NATO officials have paid visits to and the bloc has held conferences in ICI member states.

Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have troops serving under NATO command in Afghanistan, and Qatar and the United Arab Emirates supplied warplanes for NATO’s six-month air campaign against Libya last year.

Now, with the U.S. and its Western allies refocusing on the Persian Gulf and the threat of Western military action against Syria and Iran mounting, it is clearly NATO’s intention to recruit Saudi Arabia for the Persian Gulf partnership.

The Saudi diplomat, in addition to meeting with NATO chief Rasmussen, also met with the bloc’s deputy secretary general, the North Atlantic Council (which consists of the permanent representatives – ambassadors – of its 28 member states) and other alliance officials “who provided him with an overview of NATO’s outreach and cooperation programmes with partner countries in the Mediterranean and in the Gulf region.” That is, with the seven Mediterranean Dialogue and four Istanbul Cooperation Initiative members. (To date. Libya will be the next member of the first, with Syria and Lebanon to follow if the West succeeds in overthrowing the government of Syria. Iraq and Yemen are prospective members of the second.)

As the NATO website wrote concerning the visit of the Saudi official, “For NATO, the security of its partners in the Gulf is a key strategic interest to the Alliance.”

Precisely how strategically important the Persian Gulf is to NATO and its leading member, the U.S., and in part why it is so was indicated on June 14 when Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Andrew Shapiro gave a briefing via teleconference on Global Economic Statecraft Day in which he demonstrated what the State Department in large measure exists for: To drum up business for American arms manufacturers.

His comments included:

“Global Economic Statecraft Day is a global event that we’re holding to highlight America’s commitment to put strengthening American jobs at the center of our foreign policy…Our work in the Political-Military Bureau, to expand security cooperation with our allies and partners, is critical to America’s national security and economic prosperity. And it is also an important part of the State Department’s economic statecraft efforts…[It is] the Secretary of State that is given the authority to oversee and authorize all arms sales in order to ensure they advance U.S. foreign policy.”

He also boasted:

“Today, I can confirm that this is already a record-breaking year for foreign military sales, which are government-to-government sales. We have already surpassed $50 billion in sales in Fiscal Year 2012. This represents at least a $20 billion increase over Fiscal Year 2011, and we still have more than a quarter of the fiscal year left.

“To put this in context, Fiscal Year 2011 was a record-setting year at just over 30 billion. This fiscal year will be at least 70 percent greater than Fiscal Year 2011…”

Sixty percent of the arms sales abroad so far this fiscal year resulted from a $30 billion weapons contract with Saudi Arabia signed last December for 84 F-15 fighter jets and assorted weaponry. Which is part of a $67 billion deal struck with the Saudis in 2010 for the multirole warplanes, 2,000-pound bunker-busting bombs, 72 Black Hawk and 70 Apache Longbow attack helicopters, Patriot Advanced Capability-2 and other missiles, and warships. The largest bilateral arms transaction in history.

And that in turn is part of an $123 billion arms package with Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates announced in the same year. The “Iranian threat” may be the most lucrative public relations scheme ever devised.

Last December 25 the U.S. signed a deal to sell 96 Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor missiles to the United Arab Emirates, the first THAAD missiles to be deployed outside the U.S. It was also announced last year that the United Arab Emirates will become the first Arab state to open an embassy at NATO Headquarters.

On June 11 the U.S. and Turkey began the second round of this year’s Anatolian Eagle air combat exercises in the second country, whose purpose is, in the words of the Pentagon’s press service, “to conduct a variety of air missions to include interdiction, attack, air superiority, defense suppression, airlift, air refueling and reconnaissance.”

The joint U.S.-Turkey Anatolian Eagle-2012/1 was held in March. The ongoing Anatolian Eagle-2012/2 also includes the participation of NATO and warplanes from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Pakistan and Italy.

A U.S. Air Force press report, not mentioning Saudi Arabia’s involvement, offered this description of the exercise:

“The Blue Force, consisting of the United States, Italy, the United Arab Emirates, Spain, Turkey and NATO, will perfect their large force employment skills against the Red Force of F-16s, F-4s and F-5s piloted by Turkish pilots.”

The same source quoted a U.S. Air Force official as contending, “If there’s ever another (Operation) Allied Force, these are the people we’re going to fight with side by side.”   

There can be little doubt about who the victims of the next Allied Force, the name of NATO’s 78-day air war against Yugoslavia 13 years ago, would be in the current geopolitical context. Turkey borders Syria and Iran, which are the two main impediments to Turkey and Saudi Arabia further expanding their influence in the Middle East.

Late last month the two nations, both invested in overthrowing secular, republican Arab governments from Libya to Syria and beyond, signed a military training agreement in Riyadh. The pact provides for training Saudi soldiers in Turkish (NATO standard) military schools for participation in joint military operations.

In initiating her campaign against Russia and China over Syria in February, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton invoked the Arab Spring and the Arab Awakening (the capital letters are hers): “They must understand they are setting themselves against the aspirations not only of the Syrian people but of the entire Arab Spring, the Arab Awakening.”

What in fact she and her Western counterparts are promoting in the Arab world from the Atlantic Ocean to the Persian Gulf is a lethal mixture of militarism, monarchism and theocracy.

Categories: Uncategorized

U.S. Implementing Afghanistan And Kosovo Models For Syria

Stop NATO
June 18, 2012

U.S. Implementing Afghanistan, Kosovo Models For Syria
Rick Rozoff

In a feature entitled The ‘Kosovo Road’ to Syria in The Gulf Today, a website based in the United Arab Emirates, author Hichem Karoui succeeded in identifying the template being employed by the U.S. to effect the overthrow of the Syrian government through the time-tested combination of supporting armed insurgents on the ground while plotting a concomitant air war.

The two go hand-in-hand and the first is the necessary precondition for implementing the other.

The writer also detailed the precise models being used: Those in Afghanistan from 1978-1992 and in the Serbian province of Kosovo in 1999.

Karoui toed the line of his state’s government, that of Qatar, which is arming and in other manners assisting the so-called Free Syrian Army in its armed uprising against the Syrian government, in no way questioning the basic assumption of Gulf states elites and their Western allies that President Bashar Assad must be forced out of office and be replaced by a regime supported by the Gulf monarchies and NATO powers.

However, he let several important cats out of the bag in his brief feature.

For example, he mentioned meeting with Burhan Ghalioun, until June 10 the president of the opposition Syrian National Council, in the Qatari capital Doha a few days earlier. Karoui asked Ghalioun, a professor of sociology at the Sorbonne in Paris, “whether it is true that there is a scenario resembling the fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan: funds from the Arabs, and weapons from the USA and its allies for the forces resisting Assad and his Russian allies?”

His interlocutor responded with an evasive and in fact non sequitur statement, but the question was sufficient on its own merits as it contained within itself the only possible answer: The U.S. and its chief allies in the Arab world, the hereditary leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman) are replicating the joint strategy used against the government of Afghanistan and its Soviet allies in the last quarter of the 20th century.

The Gulf monarchies, sheikhdoms and emirates are supplying the funds as well as many of the arms and recruiting foreign religious extremists as fighters; the U.S. and its NATO allies are preparing to arm anti-government forces with more advanced weaponry and train and advise them with Western special forces personnel.

As Pakistan was used as the base of operations for attacks inside Afghanistan from the late 1970s to the early 1990s, so now Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq are used for the same purpose vis-a-vis Syria.

Now that the term civil war has been used by Western and United Nations officials, a threshold has been crossed wherein the U.S. and NATO can claim to be intervening in an armed conflict between warring parties as it did in Bosnia in 1995 and in Kosovo in 1999. As an alleged disinterested third party, even as a “peacekeeping” force.

In fact, the author also stated:

“We have seen cases where wars and regime change are conducted as undercover operations, sometimes with the full knowledge of powerful Congressmen. This may happen again, not to mention the Kosovo crisis when Nato launched a military intervention against Russia’s strongest objections…”

He recalled that former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson recently asserted that Washington should openly enter the fray in Syria and that NATO should consider arming and training the rebels, citing the discredited canard of Russia supplying the government with attack helicopters as the impetus to do so.

Richardson told Fox News’ Juan Williams, “If the Russians get in there, and there’s evidence of that, I think that would be the defining step to move forward with arming the rebels.”

Karoui also reminded his readers that the U.S. Senate’s roving war-inciting trio of John McCain, Joseph Lieberman and Lindsey Graham visited the border of Turkey and Syria in April and met with the Free Syrian Army’s General Mustafa al-Sheikh and Colonel Riad al-Asaad (the ranks they formerly held in the Syrian armed forces), with McCain issuing the following alarmist and inflammatory comment:

“Make no mistake. The situation in Syria is an armed conflict. This is a war…”

The disinformation concerning Russian helicopters, first voiced by Secretary of State Hillary on June 12 and immediately parroted by State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland (an American ambassador to NATO in the George W. Bush administration), also serves as the pretext for the U.S. and NATO to push for the enforcement of a no-fly zone and the provision of ground-to-air missiles to the Free Syrian Army, reminiscent of Washington supplying Stinger missiles to the Pakistan-based Afghan mujahidin in the 1980s.

Whether or not American government officials pretend to believe their casus belli, that Russian helicopter gunships necessitate direct involvement in the name of protecting civilians, supplying the means to shoot them down is an additional provocation toward Russia, already at loggerheads with the U.S. over the latter’s interceptor missile system deployments on and near its western and southern borders.

The implementation of a no-fly zone over parts or the entirety of Syria by the U.S. and its NATO allies and Gulf partners would have to occur without a United Nations mandate, as any effort to authorize it in the Security Council would be blocked by Russia and China. Hence the reference to the 1999 Kosovo precedent. A more recent example exists as well. Last year the U.S., NATO and its Gulf partners Qatar and the United Arab Emirates exploited language contained in UN Resolution 1973 “to establish a ban on all flights in the airspace of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya in order to help protect civilians” to wage an unrelenting six-month air war against the government of the country with over 26,000 air missions and almost 10,000 strike sorties in addition to as many as 150 cruise missile attacks.

The Kosovo model pertains to another component of Western plots against Syria. In late April Syrian opposition figures led by Ammar Abdulhamid, who has lived in Washington, D.C. since 2005 and is a former visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, left the American capital for the capital of Kosovo, Pristina, where they consulted with former members of the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army on whose behalf the U.S. and NATO bombed the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia for 78 days in 1999.

Abdulhamid told the Associated Press:

“We are here to learn. Kosovo has gone through an experience that I think will be very useful to us in terms of how the different armed groups that formed the KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army) organized themselves.”

That he and his fellow anti-government leaders made such a trip with so explicit a purpose without the express consent of – without the visit being arranged by – the White House and State Department is inconceivable.

The pattern of Washington working in unison with multinational, cross-border armed extremists – with, if the word has any meaning, terrorists – has now been revealed as a global phenomenon.

While working with the Afghan mujahidin operating from within Pakistan 30 years ago, the U.S. and its Arab allies particularly favored what were arguably the two most ruthless leaders, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Jalaluddin Haqqani, whose respective groups – the Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin and the Haqqani network – are currently fighting against their erstwhile American paymasters and arms suppliers. In fact the above organizations represent two-thirds of the groups the U.S. and NATO state they are waging the over decade-long war in Afghanistan against.

The Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency also assisted foreign, primarily Arab, fighters in Pakistan engaged in the earlier Afghan war, including Osama bin Laden and his Maktab al-Khidamat as well as a Libyan named Abdelhakim Belhadj. The latter followed the traditional route through Saudi Arabia to Pakistan for the U.S. proxy war with the former Soviet Union in Afghanistan.

Later he returned to his homeland where he founded the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group of which he was the designated emir.

During last year’s air war against Libya conducted by the U.S. and NATO, Belhadj was the chief military commander of the Western-supported rebels and until recently the commander of the Tripoli Military Council.

Last November the Arabic-language press reported that 600 Libyan fighters formerly under his command entered through Turkey to Syria to fight against the government.

The U.S. continues to employ the services of Saudi-backed armed Wahhabi extremists as it did in South Asia starting over 30 years ago. Today the target is Syria. Tomorrow it will be another nation whose government is marked by Washington for regime change.

In most cosmogonies order emerges from chaos. The U.S. and its allies are frantically attempting to reverse the causality.

Categories: Uncategorized

Syria Strategy Looks Like A Bloody Repeat

June 18, 2012 4 comments

Chronicle Herald
June 18, 2012

Syria strategy looks like bloody repeat
Scott Taylor

Now that a United Nations official has declared the situation in Syria to be a civil war, it is legitimate for the western media to refer to the anti-regime forces as rebels.

Up until this juncture, those Syrians participating in the armed uprising, which began in March, 2011, were categorized as “pro-democracy demonstrators” or simply civilians. In turn, the security forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have been labelled as monsters, goons, thugs and baby-killers.

Since the outset, the western powers, led by the U.S. and a cheerleading Canada, have declared their objective to be regime change in Syria.

Thus far, Canada’s position has entailed the tightening of sanctions, expulsion of diplomats and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird screaming, “Assad must go!” at the now-empty Syrian Embassy in Ottawa.

In the black-and-white world of propaganda, this demonization of the Assad regime requires a counter-balance — lionizing the brave rebel forces who dare oppose him.

One problem with that is the fact that after 15 months of violent revolt, there isn’t a single pre-eminent leader emerging to unite the Syrian opposition under a single banner.

Instead, it is becoming clear that the loose coalition of rebel forces is a fractious collection based on tribal-ethnic loyalties and religious divisions. As Assad represents a secular platform, many of his enemies are in fact Islamic fundamentalists.

While that fact should automatically give one pause for thought, thinking is for sissies when the war drums are pounding — and John Baird ain’t no sissy. “Assad must go!”

One would think it would be virtually impossible to portray Islamic fundamentalists in a favourable light, especially after Canada has seen 158 killed and close to 2,000 wounded or injured battling similar fanatics in Afghanistan over the past decade.

Rick Hillier, the former chief of defence staff, referred to such individuals as “scumbags and murderers.” He denounced their tactic of employing improvised explosive devices as “cowardly.”

Now, even as our NATO allies continue to take mounting casualties in Afghanistan, western reporters embedded with Syrian rebel forces are painting the Islamic fundamentalists as heroic freedom fighters.

Last week, a report by David Enders, of the American media outlet McClatchy Newspapers, revealed that the Syrian rebels are using explosively formed penetrators to knock out Assad’s armoured vehicles. It was noted that these same penetrators were the bane of U.S. forces during their occupation of neighbouring Iraq.

Again, this might make one contemplate the possibility that Assad is not beyond reason when he claims to be combating “foreign fighters bent on establishing an Islamic republic.”

After all, this is the same type of enemy the Americans repeatedly claimed to be fighting in Iraq, and it appears they are using the same tactics and weaponry.

That would complicate things though, so it is best to just bellow: “Assad must go!”

Enders also reported that the rebels are now receiving a large influx of ammunition and weapons, presumed to be flowing across the Turkish border. This fact was somewhat contentious, as the rebels wish to continue being portrayed as defenceless underdogs by the western media.

However, as Enders wrote, “the improved supply of weapons to the rebels is clearly evident, both to reporters travelling in rebel-held areas and in the rising death toll among Syrian security forces in clashes with the rebels.”

Now there is word that Russia may supply Assad with helicopter gunships so that his security forces might regain the upper hand.

This has prompted demands from the western powers for the UN to authorize a no-fly zone over Syria, which would allow NATO’s air force to tip the balance in favour of the rebels, as they did in Libya.

That strategy, of course, brings us to look at the ongoing violence and instability in Libya these days, where tribes and militias are still battling for control in the post-Gadhafi power vacuum.

One other suggestion put forward was to furnish the Syrian rebels with sophisticated ground-to-air missiles so they could defeat the Russian helicopters in the same way the Afghan mujahedeen defeated the Soviets in the 1980s.

Yeah. That couldn’t possibly backfire on us, could it?

Scott Taylor is editor of Esprit de Corps.

Categories: Uncategorized

Russian Ships To Visit Syrian Port

Interfax
June 18, 2012

Russian Navy squadron to sail to Syrian port

A Russian Navy squadron is about to set out for the Syrian port of Tartus, to guarantee security of a Russian supply and maintenance naval base there.

A source in the Russian Navy Main Staff has told the Interfax news agency that a squadron of two large landing ships with marines on board and a rescue tug are almost through with their preparations, and will soon head for the Mediterranean.

The source told the news agency that the order to protect Russia’s interests off the Syrian coast had come unexpected. The Russian General Staff earlier reported about Moscow’s decision to send naval ships to the area.

—————————————————————————-

RT
June 18, 2012

Russian warships ‘on way to Syria’ to defend own citizens
Robert Bridge

It is being reported that large Russian amphibious naval ships are steaming toward the Syrian port of Tartus, where Russian civilians and naval infrastructure are under threat from ongoing civil disorder.

“The crews of the Nikolay Filchenkov, Ceasar Kunikov and SB-15 tugboat – together with the marine units they carry – are capable of protecting security of Russian citizens and evacuating a part of the property of the logistics base,” a source at the Russian Navy General Staff told Interfax-AVN on Monday.

But according to an officer stationed with the Black Sea Fleet, the Nikolay Filchenkov and Ceasar Kunikov are still sitting in dock in Sevastopol.

Moreover, the crew is said to be on “regular service duty” and are under no emergency orders. He pointed out, however, that Russian naval ships must be prepared to dispatch anywhere within 12 hours.

There has also been speculation over Russia’s Syrian logistics base in Tartus, which operates the PM-138 floating workshop. This facility provides technical maintenance of Russian warships deployed in the Mediterranean Sea.

The Russian Black Sea Fleet’s Iman tanker, with an anti-terrorist squad aboard, completed a mission off the coast of Syria in May; that same month, plans for the Moscow missile-carrying cruiser of the Black Sea Fleet to patrol the Syrian coastline was canceled in May.

Meanwhile, The Professor Katsman, a cargo vessel, pulled into Tartus on May 26. Some Russian and foreign media outlets speculated that the vessel delivered Russian weapons to the Syrian authorities that could be used to fight the opposition.

Russia denied the claims, stressing that it only provides Syria with defensive weapons to protect it from outside attack.

Last week, the rhetoric between Moscow and Washington escalated when US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told a press conference that Russia was supplying combat helicopters to the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The delivery of the helicopters, she said, would “escalate the conflict quite dramatically.”

Russia quickly extinguished the inflammatory comments, saying it was merely sending to Syria “old, refurbished helicopters” that it had been repaired and were being returned to Damascus as specified under contractual agreement.

Later, the US State Department issued a statement refuting Clinton’s claim.
On the weekend, presidential aide Yury Ushakov said Clinton’s unverified statement has helped to poison the atmosphere of the Syrian settlement negotiations ahead of the Los Cabos meeting of Presidents Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama on the G20 summit sidelines.

“The presidents will certainly discuss the Syrian situation. As you know, someone is trying to spoil the negotiations’ background,” Ushakov said. “The Americans are escalating tensions with their statements, which are refuted later on. For instance, the statement of Clinton was refuted by the Pentagon, which knew the real situation in the deliveries of military hardware and equipment.”

“They frequently make statements, update and correct them, while tensions escalate and harm bilateral cooperation,” he added.

“Russia and the United States disagree over pressing international issues,” Ushakov said, admitting that “disagreements are tactical rather than strategic in the case of Syria.”

“Actually, both of us want the same – peace and a democratic choice of the future by the people of Syria,” he said.

“Russia unwaveringly supports the beginning of a national dialog in the Syrian Arab Republic, in which the Syrians will choose the political structure of their country. The use of external force is impermissible in this situation.”

Categories: Uncategorized

Suspension Of UN Mission: Pretext For West’s “Next Steps” In Syria

June 18, 2012 2 comments

Xinhua News Agency
June 17, 2012

Suspension of UN observer mission serves for western “next steps” in Syria

====

What has further sustained the belief that the U.S. and its allies are pushing for militarization are recent reports that around 6,000 people, including Arabs, Afghans and Turks, have been recruited and trained by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to commit “terrorist” acts in Syria.

====

• Robert Mood announced Saturday that he decided to suspend the patrols of his 300-member team.
• Washington said it’s studying the next measures it would undertake to deal with the Syrian crisis.
• The UNSC’s five permanent members will also consider the next steps for the observer mission.

DAMASCUS: The suspension of UN observers’ patrols in Syria on Saturday shortly ahead of the upcoming G-20 summit in Mexico triggered the superpowers’ preparation for the “next steps toward a Syrian-led political transition” without shunning military options.

Maj. Gen. Robert Mood, head of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS), announced Saturday that he has decided to suspend the patrols of his 300-member team, citing spiraling violence in restive areas.

The observers have been deployed in Syria since April 20, a week after the six-point plan sponsored by the UN special envoy to Syria Kofi Annan went into effect, and their deployment was believed to be the only workable item of the plan to end the violence in Syria.

Mood accused both the government and the opposition of lacking the real will to push for a political settlement.

Syria has said that violence has been remarkably stepped up since the arrival of the observers, with at least five huge bombings taking place in different parts of the country since then.

The Syrian government and the opposition traded accusations, blaming each other for hindering the UN job and the mounting violence.

Immediately after the observers’ decision to suspend their patrols, Washington said it’s studying the next measures it would undertake to deal with the Syrian crisis without shunning the military option.

Tommy Vietor, a spokesman for U.S. National Security Council, said his country is now working with allies “regarding next steps toward a Syrian-led political transition” without the Syrian president. “The sooner this transition takes place, the greater the chance of averting a lengthy and bloody sectarian civil war,” he said.

The UN Security Council’s five permanent members will also consider the next steps for the observer mission after Mood briefs them on the situation in Syria on Tuesday.

Observers believe that no major step would be taken until after the G-20 summit amid reports that the recent violence in Syria will be at its top agenda as world powers try to overcome pro- Syrian government Russia’s stances.

Al-Thawra, a local newspaper in Syria, said Sunday that no one could “exonerate the U.S. statements that have come in parallel with the temporary suspension of the UN mission.”

What has further sustained the belief that the U.S. and its allies are pushing for militarization are recent reports that around 6,000 people, including Arabs, Afghans and Turks, have been recruited and trained by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to commit “terrorist” acts in Syria.

Syria reports daily killing and detention of dozens of alleged terrorists from different nationalities. A day earlier, it announced the murder to a prominent terrorist, Walid al-Ayyesh, whom it said had supervised the packing of all cars that were exploded in Damascus over the past months.

Categories: Uncategorized

What Is NATO/KFOR Really Doing In Kosovo?

June 18, 2012 4 comments

Voice of Russia
June 17, 2012

What is NATO/KFOR really doing in Kosovo?
John Robles

What exactly is NATO doing in Kosovo? Who or what are they protecting and what are they stationed there for? When we look at what they have been doing since June of 1999, in reality it does not look good.

We must not forget that NATO is a military organization and military organizations are designed for one thing, the legalized killing of the opponents of a state. No matter how noble NATO tries to paint itself it is an organization that should have been disbanded at the end of the Cold War and it has in itself become one of the most destabilizing factors and causes of death and destruction in modern times.

We must also not forget that NATO operates as a proxy for the US in promoting US interests in areas of the world where the US can not rightfully interfere, although this in reality does little to stop them.

Putting aside for the moment the destruction of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and other countries obliterated by Western “intervention,” let’s take a look for a moment at Kosovo.

What exactly is the US, I mean NATO, I mean KFOR, doing in Kosovo? What is their objective in the country? Who or what are they protecting and what are they stationed there for?

When we look at what they have been doing since June of 1999, in reality it does not look good.

Wanting to be fair and impartial when gathering material for this piece, one of the first places I went to was their own site. Not surprisingly it is filled with the usual Western catchphrases and pseudo-reasoning that many in the West gobble up to justify the killing and destruction they wreak on the world. Words and phrases like multi-ethnic force, assistance to civil authorities, civil protection and, my favorite sentence, “KFOR is cooperating with and assisting the UN, the EU and other international actors, as appropriate, to support the development of a stable, democratic, multi-ethnic and peaceful Kosovo.” Sounds good, but it is poppycock.

First of all who are these “other international actors”? The drug dealers and traffickers in human organs? The Mafia killers? The US imperial paymasters? The US-sponsored war criminals? As for a stable blah-blah multi-ethnic Kosovo, well, obviously, that means one free of Serbs, and this my dear reader is what it is all about.

Let’s go back in time a bit to February 2008. This was the month when, after protesters attacked the US Embassy in Belgrade, the former Bush administration finally admitted after starting two wars of aggression and the subsequent occupations of sovereign nations, the extensive use of torture, extraordinary renditions, the illegal prison at Guantanamo and extensive black sites worldwide, there was such a thing as international law.

The destruction, dismantling and dividing up of Yugoslavia into ethnically-pure sections was the crowning achievement of Hillary’s husband, former president Bill Clinton, so the final seal on the destruction of the former Yugoslavia, namely the “independence” of Kosovo, was something she wholeheartedly embraced. Like Hillary’s famous quote on the occasion of the death of Muammar Gaddafi, “we came, we saw, he died,” her statement on the occasion of Kosovo’s separation from Serbia also showed monumental callousness and complete disregard for human life and dignity.

Pretending to be so wise as to the local language, as her State Department did with the “overload” button disgrace, she used the Albanian word for Kosovo, “Kosova”; she referred to Kosovo by the Albanian spelling “Kosova” and stated: “It will allow the people of Kosova to finally live in their own democratic state. It will allow Kosova and Serbia to finally put a difficult chapter in their history behind them and to move forward.” The only problem, it was ripping the heart out of the Serbian people.

According to Nebojsa Malic at Global Research.ca, there can be no doubt that the March 1999 attack on Yugoslavia was illegal. In an article the following articles, treaties and citations were listed.

Violated articles:

Article 2, section 4 of the UN Charter clearly says: “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state…”

Article 53 (Chapter VIII) of the UN Charter clearly says that: “[N]o enforcement action shall be taken under regional arrangements or by regional agencies without the authorization of the Security Council”.

From NATO’s own charter, the North Atlantic Treaty of 1949, Article 1: “The Parties undertake…to settle any international dispute…by peaceful means…”

Article 7: “This Treaty…shall not be interpreted as affecting…the rights and obligations under the Charter of the Parties which are members of the United Nations, or the primary responsibility of the Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security.”

Other laws and treaties: the Helsinki Final Act of 1975 for violating the territorial integrity of a signatory state.

The 1980 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties for using coercion to compel a state to sign a treaty i.e., the Rambouillet ultimatum.

Finally, Yugoslavia did not attack any NATO member nor was it a security threat to any country in the region. What NATO perpetrated on March 24, 1999 was a war of aggression and a crime against humanity.

So if the invasion was illegal, then obviously the ensuing occupation was as well and everything KFOR/NATO/US is doing there is also illegal.

So what does KFOR do in Kosovo? With an almost total and complete media blackout, and I have seen this with my own eyes, there is little news we receive from the area. However the reports we get are of constant and methodical limitation to the freedom of movement and supplies to the Serbian population, in particular in Northern Kosovo, and reports of the continued practice of limiting Serbs to certain areas or ghettos, making them refugees in their own country. This serves to ethnically cleanse and divide the country along ethnic and racial lines, like most American cities, a comparison that I can not help but make.

KFOR also protects, enables and provides support for the belligerent side they have chosen to support in this conflict. What are the reasons? They are many but one of the main ones is money, huge money, which has been filling KFOR coffers for years on end, and according to countless media reports going back for years, from countless illicit sources. (That is a topic for a later discussion.)

On Friday there was another incident of KFOR opening fire, this time with rubber bullets, on peaceful Serbs as they blocked an important road and attempted to make Serbs accept Kosovo license plates for their cars, an obviously transparent attempt to make them recognize Kosovo as an independent entity.

A press release from the Raška-Prizren Eparchy stated that they are concerned about KFOR’s latest actions in northern Kosovo and stated “attempts to force the Serbs in the north to accept Kosovo license plates by using combat vehicles and blocking roads that are the main channel for supplies and medicines are creating a serious humanitarian crisis that could have immense consequences”.

The Eparchy also strongly urged all sides to work constructively to find solutions that contribute to the survival of the Serbian people in the entire territory of Kosovo and Metohija.

For the Serbian people, they are fighting for their very existence. For KFOR and the “West”, Kosovo is just another pawn in a filthy game of geopolitical influence and power. As soon as it is used up, or no longer needed, they will throw it away as well.

Categories: Uncategorized

Next Five Years: Global Order Poised Between Promise And Chaos

Global Times
June 17, 2012

Global order poised between promise and chaos
By Pang Zhongying

====

Whatever kind of world…ordered or disordered, a new or the old order, a diversified world or a Western-dominated one, the next five years are still of key importance. It could be the turning point of a new world order. It could also be a key moment for the West to regain the dominant position with all its might. Or perhaps, it will be a transition into a more chaotic world.

[O]nly when we can properly handle China’s relationship with the European countries and the US, and promote a shift from a Western-dominated world to a world shared by all nations, which means a world governed by global rules and including Chinese participation, can the relations between China and the West fundamentally shift.

====

The next five years are a key moment of the evolution of the world order, and for China’s own governance as well.

Due to suffering from the crisis and a lack of effective plans to solve the problems, the positions Western nations hold in the international pattern have slipped. Western nations generally believe in the “power transition” theory. They worry the current world order will either be replaced by a pluralistic, diversified, multipolar world, or a more disordered, chaotic one.

Though the G20 is organized and led by the West, it could be the beginning point of a new multipolar world order. In regard of the monetary system, the US dollar, euro, yen, yuan and the pound sterling can co-exist. In addition, besides the World Bank, the development banks and regional monetary finance plans, organized by the new big powers, have also burgeoned. After the decline of regionalism in Europe, other regional cooperation organizations, such as ASEAN and similar South American groups may be further enhanced.

In 2012, several large powers will have presidential elections or witness changes of leadership. The diplomatic policies of their new administrations will be key factors to evolve a world order for the future. If the EU cannot turn around its decline in five years, its influence and position in the world order will be gravely weakened.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has just returned to his former office. The national strength of Russia is expected to rise along with its international status.

For the 2012 US presidency, whoever wins the presidential campaign, the US will make all efforts possible to retain its leadership and hegemony. Unavoidably influenced by the crisis of the West, the BRICS will be less influential on the world order, which will result in a lack of strength for them to promote a new order.

Whatever kind of world China asks for, ordered or disordered, a new or the old order, a diversified world or a Western-dominated one, the next five years are still of key importance. It could be the turning point of a new world order. It could also be a key moment for the West to regain the dominant position with all its might. Or perhaps, it will be a transition into a more chaotic world.

Whether China can become a more influential country largely depends on to what extent we can take advantage of the crisis of the West. The West’s crisis can be taken as an opportunity. Whether or not we can take advantage of the crisis can decide the role China will play in the future world order.

Meanwhile, the evolution of China’s domestic situation, including the economic transformation, social progression, political reform, military reform and the diplomatic changes can be the basis for China to fight for the building of a new world order and seek a better position in it.

To deal with the changes of the international and domestic circumstances, some principles in China’s diplomatic policies, such as “never become the leader,” “non-alignment,” and “non-interference” need to be revised. Rethinking and adjusting the principles and priorities of our diplomatic policies do not necessarily mean giving up the current ones, but making them more flexible and applicable.

In the next five years, China should emphasize strengthening cooperation with new powers, of various sizes, and deal with their possible conflicts properly. At the same time, only when we can properly handle China’s relationship with the European countries and the US, and promote a shift from a Western-dominated world to a world shared by all nations, which means a world governed by global rules and including Chinese participation, can the relations between China and the West fundamentally shift.

To make this happen, China needs to introduce more appealing and inspiring proposals and targets for a new world order, as well as possible solutions that can address global issues.

The author is a professor at the School of International Studies, Renmin University of China.

Categories: Uncategorized

Syrian Intervention Matter Of When And Not If

June 17, 2012 1 comment

RT
June 17, 2012

Not ‘if’ but ‘when’: US intervention in Syria on countdown

A delegation from Syrian opposition is reportedly in talks with US officials over the targets they want to attack to weaken the Syrian government and the arms they want America to provide to do it. A “Libya lite” operation in Syria may be imminent.

The unnamed US official reportedly said that “the intervention will happen. It is not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’.”

The delegation from the Syrian Free Army is meeting with US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford and the State Department’s expert on Syria, Fred Hof, according to a report by debkafile, an Israeli news website, which is considered to have strong ties with the intelligence community.

The Syrian rebels have brought with them two lists for American approval.

One is that of targets in Syria they want to attack to hurt President Assad’s government. The second is a list of heavy weapons they need to carry out the attacks, which they want to get from the US, the report says.

Debkafile says the Obama administration is very close to giving the green light to shipping off the weapons, most of which have already been purchased by Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

The US is also close to deciding on the format of its own military operation in Syria, which the site’s source described as “Libya lite” – a small-scale version of the no-fly zone and air strikes carried out by NATO forces in Libya, which resulted in the toppling of its leader, Muammar Gaddafi.

Earlier top US military brass told American media that the Pentagon has finalized contingency plans for a possible operation in Syria.

This follows the UN observers pulling out of Syria due to the renewed violence in the country. The mission head said neither side of the conflict was willing to observe the ceasefire any longer, which put the UN personnel at risk.

Some reports suggest that the break in the warfare helped the Syrian opposition purchase new and better weapons with the money received from sponsors in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Categories: Uncategorized

Arms For Loyalty: U.S. Global Weapons Sales Surge

June 17, 2012 1 comment

RT
June 16, 2012

Guns for buddies: US weapons sales surge overseas

====

“When a country buys an advanced US defense system through our foreign military sales, direct commercial sales or foreign military financing programs, they aren’t simply buying a product. They are also seeking a partnership with the United States. These programs both reinforce our diplomatic relations and establish a long-term security relationship.”

====

US foreign military sales have shot over $50 billion. Another record-breaking year is expected thanks to US ally Saudi Arabia, which accounts for three-fifths of the sum.

“We have already surpassed $50 billion in sales in the fiscal year 2012,” Andrew Shapiro, assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, told journalists on Thursday.

Though it is three months till the end of the fiscal year, the figure already shows a 70 per cent increase over government-to-government military deals in 2011. Last year also set a record for the US with sales at some $30 billion.

“The sale to Saudi Arabia was very significant,” said Shapiro. The $29.4 billion deal finalized in December included 84 new fighter jets and the modernization of 70 old jets.

Former Canadian diplomat Peter Dale Scott told RT that Saudi’s big contribution to Washington’s revenues may be explained by the long standing “arms for petrol” relations between the two countries.

“During the oil price hikes of 1971 and 1973 the US negotiated an agreement to pay Saudi Arabia higher prices for crude, on the understanding that Saudi Arabia would recycle the petrodollars, many of them through arms deals,” said Professor Scott. “So recently the imports of American hardware to Saudi Arabia have grown significantly.”

The record-breaking figure also includes the sale of the Joint Strike Fighter to Japan, which is valued at approximately $10 billion, according to the State Department.

As for direct commercial sales, whereby companies sell directly to foreign governments as opposed to government-to-government sales, an official report released the previous week only accounts for 2011. That year brought US contractors some $44 billion with top customers including Jordan, Japan, Israel, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

How to join the US gun club

Shapiro also pointed out that weapons sales are licensed “to serve foreign policy interests” and brought up the trend of tying defense contracts to diplomacy. Countries willing to buy from the US have to be sure “about the nature of the relationship” with Washington.

“When a country buys an advanced US defense system through our foreign military sales, direct commercial sales or foreign military financing programs, they aren’t simply buying a product. They are also seeking a partnership with the United States. These programs both reinforce our diplomatic relations and establish a long-term security relationship,” said the official.

Can this mean that a country importing US weapons may fall under America’s influence?

“Yes, this link may be correct,” observed Professor Scott. “Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt, for instance, was the third-largest recipient of the US aid, which arrived in the shape of finances and arms. In return, Cairo granted security in the region, which first meant acceptance of Israel.”

Whether 2013 see a further increase in foreign military sales is “too early to predict,” says the US State Department.

The US is expected to continue expanding into key markets, including India, which is considering a $1.4 billion deal for 22 Apache helicopters. The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency is also eyeing military sales of more than $1.1 billion to Qatar and Oman, reports ArabianBusiness.com. Qatar is considering purchase of Black Hawk helicopters and missile-warning systems, while Oman might be buying missiles and military training kits.

Free weapons for Russia’s backyard?

However, it appears that some Asian countries can get US weapons for free, a report in the Russian daily Kommersant reveals. The Pentagon is engaged in talks with Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to hand over some of their military hardware after NATO troops quit Afghanistan in 2014.

This would mean distributing armored vehicles, tank trailers, tankers, medical equipment and communication tools – everything which is not worth sending back home due to high transport costs. Pakistan, affronted by continuous drone strikes, has pushed up fees from $250 per container to $5,000.

The US reportedly intends to give away some of its equipment for free, while some of it is to be left behind for secure storage, as it may prove to be of need later – for new operations in Afghanistan or Pakistan or other Central Asian countries.

Kyrgyzstan has confirmed negotiations are under way, but officials do not believe they will get anything valuable.

“This is done to study the three countries leaders’ reactions as well as the reaction of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and Collective Security Treaty Organization,” an unnamed official in the Kyrgyz Defense Ministry told Interfax news agency.

Meanwhile, the prospects of finding US military hardware in neighboring countries have reportedly thrust Moscow into “utter bewilderment.”

“This kind of scenario is totally unacceptable for Russia. It would contradict our arrangements with Central Asian partners and violate our agreement within the Collective Security Treaty Organization,” a diplomat told Kommersant.

Categories: Uncategorized

UN Suspends Syrian Mission As U.S.-Russia Tensions Escalate

Voice of Russia
June 16, 2012

UN suspends Syrian mission; tensions escalate
John Robles

====

Experts say that charges of attack helicopter supplies to Syria are a precursor to implementing what NATO has used in almost every campaign in the last 10 years, a no-fly zone, as they did in Libya to get rid of Gaddafi.

Russia will continue to seek a peaceful resolution as it has from the very beginning of the conflict in Syria and apparently the US will continue to use the situation in Syria to increase tensions with the Russian Federation.

====

The situation in Syria continues to worsen as tensions mount between Moscow and Washington and the UN has suspended their observer mission in the country.

The latest development in Syria, the suspension of the UN Mission, comes on the heels of intensified efforts by Moscow and the international community to come to a peaceful resolution to the crisis with Moscow’s recent calls for an international conference on Syria.

According to statements made to the press by the head of the UN Mission, Norwegian Major General Robert Mood, regarding the intensified violence over the last ten days, there is an increased risk to UN observers and as he put it, “a lack of willingness by the parties to seek a peaceful solution.” Therefore the decision has been made to suspend the UN Observer Mission.

Mood did add that the suspension would be reviewed on a daily basis and that operations would resume when they see the situation fit to carry out their mandated activities.

Mood repeated that the violence posed “significant risks” to the unarmed members of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS), who number 300 but that for now they will not be leaving the country but will stay in their compounds and have halted all patrols.

According to press reports. Syria’s Foreign Ministry released a statement that it had been told of the decision to suspend the mission on Friday evening and had told Mood that it understood his concerns and blamed the attacks on the rebels who are fighting government forces.

A statement by the Syrian Foreign Ministry said that since the start of the April 12th ceasefire deal “armed terrorist groups” have escalated their “criminal activities, which have often targeted the UN observers.”

Moscow continues to call for an international conference on Syria which will involve all of the players in the region. In a telephone conversation on Saturday with UN and Arab League Special Envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, made on Annan’s initiative, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated that this kind of forum could help end the bloodshed and kick-start the peace settlement process in Syria. According to TASS, during the conversation the UN and Arab League envoy supported the adoption of an international approach to the settlement of the Syrian crisis.

Speaking of the international conference on Syria to be held in Geneva on June 30th, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters that Russia will participate if its requirements regarding the goal of the conference and the countries invited are met.

These requirements include all countries participating in the conference committing their resources to the facilitation of an all-inclusive political process in Syria and that all countries in the region who can influence the situation should attend, including Iran, which the U.S. has spoken against.

Meanwhile tension continues to escalate between the US and Russia with Secretary of State Clinton continuing to issue provocative statements against the Russian Federation. According to Rick Rozoff, at Stop NATO, on June 12th Clinton appeared with Israeli President Shimon Peres at the Brookings Institution and stated; “We have confronted the Russians about stopping their continued arms shipments to Syria.” Russia had had contracts going back years before the conflict for the supply of defensive technology (only) to Syria.

She also added: “And we are concerned about the latest information we have that there are attack helicopters on the way from Russia to Syria, which will escalate the conflict quite dramatically,” statements which began the entire helicopter scandal and redactions by the US.

Experts say that charges of attack helicopter supplies to Syria are a precursor to implementing what NATO has used in almost every campaign in the last 10 years, a no-fly zone, as they did in Libya to get rid of Gaddafi.

Russian officials said the charges were a crude fabrication and cruder provocation, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stating: “We are not delivering to Syria, or anywhere else, items that could be used against peaceful demonstrators. In this we differ from the United States, which regularly delivers riot control equipment to the region, including a recent delivery to a Persian Gulf country. But for some reason the Americans consider this to be par for the course.”

Rozoff also said that, “Clinton has been steadily raising the level of anti-Russian invective, vilification and intimidation in recent months.”

The Voice of Russia’s Andrey Iyashenko reported that a “Pentagon official who wished to remain anonymous” reported that Clinton has “exaggerated a little bit” the real state of affairs concerning military-technical cooperation between Moscow and Damascus in order “to put the Russians in a difficult situation”.

The five permanent members of the UN Security Council are expected to hold talks on the sidelines of the G20 summit beginning on Monday in Mexico.

Russia will continue to seek a peaceful resolution as it has from the very beginning of the conflict in Syria and apparently the US will continue to use the situation in Syria to increase tensions with the Russian Federation. One has to ask oneself: why?

Categories: Uncategorized

Libya: New AFRICOM And NATO Beachhead In Africa

June 16, 2012 2 comments

Stop NATO
June 16, 2012

Libya: New AFRICOM And NATO Beachhead In Africa
Rick Rozoff

On June 15 the news agency of the U.S. Defense Department, American Forces Press Service, ran a story on commander of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) Army General Carter Ham’s testimony before the House Armed Services Committee four months before in which he which averred that last year’s war against Libya “imparted important lessons” for the Pentagon’s newest regional military command.

Operation Odyssey Dawn, as the first twelve days (March 19-31) of the naval blockade and air attacks against the North African nation of slightly more than six million people was codenamed, was AFRICOM’s first operation – its first war – before the North Atlantic Treaty Organization took control with its six-month Operation Unified Protector.

Testifying with General Ham was Admiral James Stavridis, jointly commander of U.S. European Command (EUCOM) and NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe.

AFRICOM was created by EUCOM under the tutelage of dual EUCOM and NATO top commanders Generals James Jones and Bantz John Craddock in the years before achieving full operational capability – that is, being launched as an independent unified combatant command – on October 1, 2008. In the year preceding that, during its October 1, 2007-September 30, 2008 initial operational capability, it was subordinated to EUCOM. Almost all of Africa’s now 54 countries (with South Sudan becoming an independent nation last year) were in EUCOM’s area of responsibility and all but Egypt (still covered under U.S. Central Command) are now in AFRICOM’s. As such, AFRICOM encompasses more nations than any other Pentagon regional command and all but one nation in a continent that is the world’s second-most populous, with Africa’s population having surpassed one billion last year.

The war against Libya was the inauguration of AFRICOM as an active military force capable of waging large-scale combat operations, as it was NATO’s first war in Africa, building on a strategy first unveiled in the massive Steadfast Jaguar war games in Cape Verde in 2006 to launch the global NATO Response Force.

During his congressional testimony, AFRICOM chief Ham applauded new military-to-military relations with the barely functioning government of Libya, which was bombed into power by NATO warplanes and U.S. Tomahawk cruise and Hellfire missiles, specifying the activation of an Office of Security Cooperation at the U.S. embassy in Tripoli that, according to the Pentagon press service, “can help coordinate security assistance, international military education and training and other security cooperation.”

The same source reported that “Ham said military operations in Libya drove home the point that all U.S. combatant commands including Africom must be capable of operating across the full spectrum of conflict,” and quoted him directly as pledging:

“It is probably not going to be very often where Africa Command goes to the more kinetic, the more offensive operations in Africa. But nonetheless, we have to be ready to do that if the president requires that of us.”

As he already has. U.S. Army Africa commander Major General David Hogg recently disclosed that the Army will begin the deployment of over 3,000 troops to Africa beginning next year, complementing special forces operations in Central Africa, a counterinsurgency campaign in Mali, involvement in the ongoing war in Somalia (especially from Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti where the U.S. has 2,000-3,000 troops, aircraft and ships), drone missile attacks in Yemen and Somalia directed by U.S. military personnel in Seychelles and Ethiopia and other, more covert, military operations throughout the continent.

Ham also spoke of AFRICOM’s Operation Odyssey Dawn being the model for expanding war-time cooperation with traditional NATO allies to include military partners in the Arab world, which is to say those outside Africa; to wit, the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council. Last year Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, long-standing U.S. military partners and since 2004 members of NATO’s Istanbul Cooperation Initiative program, supplied warplanes under NATO command for the merciless six-month bombardment of Libya.

The AFRICOM commander added that the collaboration between his command and EUCOM was central to the AFRICOM cum NATO war last year, saying, “we could not have responded on the timelines required for operations in Libya had air and maritime forces not been forward-stationed in Europe” and “Operations in Libya have truly brought U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command to a higher level of collaboration.”

Recall that AFRICOM was incubated by EUCOM and that Admiral Stavridis is commander-in-chief of EUCOM and NATO military forces in Europe alike and as such was in charge of Operation Unified Protector from March 23 to October 31 of last year.

Ham also stated that Europe is, “both through NATO and through the European Union,” as paraphrased by American Forces Press Service, “heavily invested in security matters in Africa.” In his own language, “it is our strong relationship and partnership with U.S. European Command that allows us to have access and meaningful dialogue in the planning and coordination of those activities.”

Speaking alongside Ham, Stavridis reinforced the former’s position that AFRICOM and EUCOM remain inextricably linked, as EUCOM supplies AFRICOM with practically all his personnel and equipment (in many cases joint NATO assets) as well as sharing its headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany with it.

He mentioned in particular that the two Pentagon commands “shared nautical component commanders” and engaged in unison in “anti-piracy” naval operations in the Mediterranean Sea and off the Horn of Africa as well as in Africa’s oil-rich Gulf of Guinea, though the admiral was discreet enough not to offer the above details.

In addition, he stated:

“We are also exploring ways that we can create efficiencies in intelligence and information sharing. And I believe we essentially share intelligence facilities now, and there may be some ways to do even more of that.”

Earlier this year Stavridis, in speaking of expanding NATO cooperation around the world, including for the first time “exploring possibilities with…India and Brazil,” recommended Libya as a candidate for NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue military partnership, which includes every North African nation except that country – Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria – stating:

“Today, the Mediterranean Dialogue, we’re in the process of talking, for example, with Libya. Already many of the other nations in General Ham’s [AFRICOM's] region are part of this. The nations around the Mediterranean are natural NATO partners.”

After the murder of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi last October, Agence France-Presse cited U.S. ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder urging that “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 two-day meeting of NATO foreign ministers last December, “several NATO officials and spokespersons expressed interest in Libya joining the Mediterranean Dialogue,” according to a report in the Tripoli Post.

The statement issued by the ministerial included this initiative:

“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.”

U.S. Central Command and NATO are greedily eyeing Syria and Lebanon as their next military client states, as the next Mediterranean Dialogue cohorts after Libya, which will leave the entire Mediterranean region a NATO sea except for Cyprus and Gaza, which will become the final acquisitions.

The absorption of Libya with Syria to follow would be entirely in keeping with the pattern NATO has established of militarily integrating nations it has attacked and brought about “regime change” in over the past seventeen years.

Bosnia is a NATO partner being prepared for the bloc’s Membership Action Plan, the final stage before full membership in the alliance. After the 78-day NATO air war against it in 1999, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia disintegrated into three entities: Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo. The last has been referred to by a former Serbian president and prime minister as the world’s first NATO state.

In 2009, only three years after it became independent, NATO offered Montenegro a Membership Action Plan. Serbia was brought into NATO’s Partnership for Peace program in 2006 and hosts a NATO military liaison office. Bosnia and Montenegro are supplying NATO with troops for the war in Afghanistan. Bosnian troops also served under the NATO-supported Multinational Division Central-South in Iraq.

This year NATO announced that Afghanistan and Iraq are members of a new military program, partners across the globe.

Nations bombed and occupied by the Western military organization are tapped for bases and troops to be used in wars against the next victims of aggression.

In regards to Africa, the offensive by the axis of AFRICOM, EUCOM, NATO and the European Union, with assistance from the Arab monarchies, to resubjugate the continent by returning it to the conditions of a century ago is well underway.

Categories: Uncategorized

Pentagon Finishes Contingency Plans For Invasion Of Syria

June 16, 2012 5 comments

RT
June 15, 2012

Pentagon finishes contingency plans for Syria invasion

Officials with the US Department of Defense have confirmed that the Pentagon has finalized procedures that outline how American forces could soon combat the government of war-torn Syria and officially involve itself in that state’s bloody uprising.

After months of rumors suggesting that the US has unofficially made efforts to weaponize rebel forces fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, officials with the Defense Department tell CNN that the Pentagon has finished drafting blueprints that lay-out just how the US military could aid in ousting the leader with America’s own troops.

In their report, CNN cites Defense Department officials speaking on condition of anonymity; in a separate sit-down however, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey confirms to the outlet that intensifying violence overseas in recent months has prompted the Pentagon to expedite establishing a role for US forces.

The violence “gives us all pause that have been in Iraq and seen how these issues become sectarian and then they become civil wars and then they become very difficult to resolve,” Dempsey tells CNN this week.

“There is a sense that if the sectarian violence in Syria grows, it could be worse than what we saw in Iraq,” he adds.

Although the issue of involving US forces in the war against Assad’s regime has been on the table since the beginning of the uprising, authorities in Washington — off the record — have all but officially thrown their hat in the ring in regards to offering assistance. RT reported earlier this week that intelligence forces have revealed to Israel’s Debka news agency that the US was believed to be readying the establishing of a no-fly zone in Syria, and last month discussed murmurings that suggested US President Barack Obama had quietly approved a shipment of anti-tank weapons to Syrian rebels.

CNN’s report confirms that the military has indeed drafted instructions that lay-out the implementation of the no-fly zone. Additionally, officials say that a large number of US troops could soon be installed overseas to aid in the war.

As early as March of this year, lawmakers including John McCain (R-Arizona) began rallying together to ask Congress to consider authorizing strikes on Assad. Without the permission of the United Nations, though, the US has been hesitant to offer any formal assistance.

“NATO took military action to save Kosovo in 1999 without formal UN authorization. There is no reason why the Arab League, or NATO, or a leading coalition within the Friends of Syria contact group, or all of them speaking in unison, could not provide a similar international mandate for military measures to save Syria today,” Sen. McCain told Capitol Hill constituents earlier this year.

Categories: Uncategorized

Russian General Staff: Warships Ready To Go To Syria

June 16, 2012 1 comment

Itar-Tass
June 15, 2012

Black Sea Fleet ships ready to go to Syrian coast – General Staff

MOSCOW: A number of warships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet are prepared to go to Syria, the Russian General Staff told Itar-Tass on Friday.

“The Mediterranean Sea is a zone of the Black Sea Fleet responsibility. Hence, warships may go there in the case it is necessary to protect the Russian logistics base in Tartous, Syria,” it said.

“Several warships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, including large landing ships with marines aboard, are fully prepared to go on the voyage,” he said.

The Cesar Kunikov large landing ship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, which is returning from Italian Messina to base, passed the Bosporus Strait on Friday. It will return to Sevastopol on Saturday, the staff said.

It strongly denied U.S. media reports claiming that a Black Sea Fleet warship had already headed for Tartous. “All the ships are staying in Sevastopol but the Cesar Kunikov large landing ship. Either the U.S. intelligence service works poorly or they have a poor knowledge of geography,” the source said.

The U.S. media said that Russia had sent a small group of servicemen to Syria for protecting the Tartous base. NBC said with the reference to a U.S. official that the servicemen were going to Tartous aboard a warship. The State Department spokesperson said she could not confirm the NBC report.

A group of Russian warships led by the Admiral Kuznetsov heavy aircraft carrying cruiser visited Tartous in January. The group visited the port for replenishing reserves and giving maintenance to ship systems.

Tartous is the only Russian naval base outside of former Soviet territory – this is the logistics center serving Russian ships on missions in the Mediterranean Sea. The base opened in 1971 under an agreement with the Syrian government.

—————————————————————————-

RosBusinessConsulting
June 15, 2012

Russia sets ground rules for Syria conference

Moscow: Russia is prepared to take part in an international conference on Syria to be held in Geneva on June 30 if its requirements regarding the goal of the conference and countries invited are met, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters today.

All countries participating in the conference should commit their resources to facilitate the beginning of an all-inclusive political process in Syria. Also, Russia insists that all countries wielding political clout in the region should attend, including Iran. The U.S. has spoken against inviting Iran to join the conference.

—————————————————————————-

Voice of Russia
June 15, 2012

Moscow and Baghdad focus on Syria
Lada Korotun

Russia is urging the international community to convene an international conference to discuss the Syrian crisis. The settlement of the Syrian crisis has been the focus of the talks between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari currently under way in Moscow.

Syria is Iraq’s next-door neighbour, and the two nations have traditionally enjoyed close political and economic relations. Iraq, which is currently presiding over the League of Arab States, could make a considerable contribution to a peaceful settlement of the Syrian problem, Sergey Lavrov said.

The international community has long been trying to put an end to the ongoing violence in Syria which has been tearing the country apart for over a year. In accordance with the plan devised by UN and the League of Arab States special envoy Kofi Annan, a truce was announced in Syria in the middle of April and UN observers have since been keeping a close eye on the developments in the country. However, the conflicting sides regularly report incidents of violence and new casualties. According to Sergey Lavrov, at an informal session held by the UN General Assembly in New York last week, Russia proposed to convene a conference on the Syrian problem, which would bring together the countries that could help solve the Syrian crisis.

“All the permanent members of the UN Security Council, Syria’s neighbours, like Iraq, Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, other key players in the region, such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Iran, as well as international organizations, such as the League of Arab States and the European Union, should take part in this conference. They should come up with measures that could bring about an internal dialogue between the Syrian government and all the opposition groups, which is exactly what Kofi Annan’s peace plan envisages.”

The Iraqi Foreign Minister supported his Russian counterpart’s proposal. He stressed that any international meetings aimed at solving the Syrian problem should involve all the interested parties, including Syria’s neighbours. Hoshyar Zebari also declared that Iraq supported Syria’s aspiration for a better life and democracy. He said that Russia is an important player both in the global area and in the Middle East, so it should be involved in any discussions related to the Syrian problem. For this reason, he said, Iraq supports Russia’s initiative to convene an international conference on Syria and believes that it can make an important contribution to the implementation of Kofi Annan’s plan.

At the end of the talks, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Moscow was hoping that the UN Security Council would not sanction a military operation aimed at replacing Syria’s incumbent political regime and that the US would not take any steps bypassing the UN Security Council.

Categories: Uncategorized

Interview: Syrian Intervention Could Cause 100,000 Deaths

June 15, 2012 1 comment

Voice of Russia
June 15, 2012

 

Alexei Pushkov: “humanitarian” intervention to Syria will lead to chaos
Tom Hedegard

Audio: Download

====

Russia is ready to look for answers together with Western countries. And we don’t accept this kind of criticism. And we don’t accept this kind of mythology that the insurgents are pro-reform people. Because we know very well that they have been financed and armed by monarchies of the Persian Gulf. They don’t even hide this fact and I hardly see a situation where democracy in Syria will be established with the help of Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

=====

Alexei Pushkov, the Chairman of the Russian Duma’s International Affairs Committee, offers his assessment of the conflict unfolding in Syria in an exclusive interview with the Voice of Russia.

I think that what we have been hearing from the US is very partial. Somehow the US thinks that the only source of civil war in Syria is the government, which is not the case. There are 33 thousand people who are fighting the Syrian government, and they’re fighting the Syrian government with heavy weapons, not just Kalashnikovs and pistols.

It’s heavy machine guns, it’s anti-tank guns and all of these armaments were on display when a ship coming from Libya full of US weapons was arrested in Lebanon. On the photos you can see what kind of armament was sent to the insurgents. It’s Syrian force which has been trained outside of Syria. Some of them are really professional fighters. There’s some information about people who have been fighting in Libya, now are fighting on the side of the insurgents. I think that the US had better look at what kind of people they try to support there and what these people will bring to Damascus.

Until now Syria was a secular country where different ethnicities and different religious factions were living in peace and for many years – that’s very valuable. You have Christians, Sunnis, Alawis, Druze, Kurds and quite a few other groups. And if all of this explodes, I don’t think that we’ll have 10 thousand victims, we’ll have maybe 100 thousand victims. Russia wants to prevent this explosion. What we hear from our Western partners is that Assad should go and they are willing to support the insurgency. But supporting the insurgency, they are basically throwing oil into the flame. That is why Russia suggested having international conference where we can try to find the solution that would be proposed to both sides in the Syrian conflict. The key Russian position is that we are ready to influence Assad’s government, but the West should influence the insurgents. Otherwise it will not work out.

Do you think that the Western media was unfairly portraying Russia?

I think one of the reasons the West has been so critical about Russia in the Syrian issue is that the West doesn’t have a policy at all towards Syria. I’m not pretending that Russia has the answers, but Russia fulfills a very important role for the Western media. By this could not criticize their own governments for not having any kind of solutions. Because the only political program the West has is that Assad should go. OK, what happens after Assad goes? How the regime falls? Who will come in its place?

Is Russia prepared for that situation?

Russia is ready to look for answers together with Western countries. And we don’t accept this kind of criticism. And we don’t accept this kind of mythology that the insurgents are pro-reform people. Because we know very well that they have been financed and armed by monarchies of the Persian Gulf. They don’t even hide this fact and I hardly see a situation where democracy in Syria will be established with the help of Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

And finally there have been some accusation that Russian foreign policy towards Syria is driven by its business interests. How do you respond to that?

I think that the most important thing is not business. Syria doesn’t play such a huge role in Russian foreign trade. The key factor in the Russian position is a very clear stand against so-called regime change, against so-called humanitarian intervention. We think that the Libyan example showed that these kinds of interventions lead to chaos and to the creation of a parallel international law: when you have a UN charter and at the same time you have some kind of parallel law which is being conducted by either friends of Syria or the Coalition of the Willing, something which goes around the UN rules and charter. We don’t want to accept a world where there would be another international law instead of the internationally accepted one. Syria is just a very serious example of the Russian desire to fight for international law which is universally accepted.

Categories: Uncategorized

Little Spin On Helicopters And Big Lie On “Arab Spring”

Voice of Russia
June 15, 2012

The “little spin” on helicopters and the big lie on the “Arab spring”
Dmitry Babich

The events in the Middle East are gradually forming a pattern that less and less suits the vision of the “Arab spring” propagated by American media and the media of the EU countries. Attacks against police, the headquarters of trade unions and political parties in Tunisia; the parliamentary crisis in Egypt, where the Islamist-dominated national assembly has been declared dissolved by the Constitutional Court; continuing ugly violence in Libya and now Syria – all of these events don’t fit the “democratization” pattern suggested by the mainstream Western media since the start of the Arab spring in early 2011.

The problem is, however, that the Western leaders refuse to recognize their own mistakes, continuing to present the developments in the region as “momentous change” for the better and urging Russia “to find its place on the right side of history,” i.e. on the side of Arab “revolutionaries.” There was a supreme irony in the fact that the arts’ exhibition that provoked the recent Islamist riots in Tunisia was named by its pro-Western organizers “The Spring of Arts” in a clear evocation of the “Arab spring.” There was also supreme irony in the fact that, having destroyed the exhibition, Tunisian Islamists are now planning to further constrain artistic freedom by a special law on protection of sanctity, thus putting ABSENCE of freedom in a legal framework, so much cherished in the West. Again ironically, the police trying to quell the anti-artistic riots used the law adopted in the times of the former “dictator” Ben Ali, now denounced in the West in the same way as Egypt’s Mubarak and Libya’s Ghaddafi. Meanwhile, the primary enemies of tolerant attitude to arts were “the people on the right side of history,” i.e. the “revolutionary” minister of culture and Ennahda, the Islamist party that dominates Tunisian parliament since the first post-Ben Ali elections, applauded by the West. Both the minister and the parliament denounced the artists, putting the main responsibility for violence on them.

“We often hear from our Western partners that we should put ourselves on the right side of history, but when hearing that one often gets an impression that this kind of advice comes from the people who have fallen out of history, who simply forget what they were saying a few months ago,” Russian deputy minister of foreign affairs Mikhail Bogdanov said in an interview to RIA Novosti news agency. “Today these Western partners of ours are on one side of history, tomorrow – on another one. They change affiliations on a daily basis. I think that our Arab friends and partners are getting more and more conscious of the fact that we simply don’t betray our old partners with whom we had been building relations for years.”

It is enough to remember the U-turn in the American policy of supporting Egypt’s Mubarak to illustrate the Russian deputy minister’s point. After decades of open support for Egypt’s strongman, the American state department suddenly became its staunchest critic, currently showing absolutely no compassion for the ailing Mubarak, sentenced to life in prison and currently slowly dying in custody. All of this – against the background of troubling political developments in Egypt, which prove that real democratization is a much more complicated process than the simplified American vision of it, usually reduced to a Hollywood style conflict of “everything bad” (a dictator) against “everything good” (freethinking people).

Again ironically, the latest spat between the U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton and the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov over the presumed Russian military supplies to the Syrian regime fits the same pattern. As it transpired, Mrs. Clinton preferred simplification (some would say a blatant lie) when talking about supplies of Russian helicopter gunships to the Syrian regime. In fact, the United States had to correct its diplomat number one, acknowledging that these were not supplies, but repairs and adding a lot more interesting details to Mrs. Clinton’s imprudent statement.

“She put a little spin on it to put the Russians in a difficult position,” the New York Times quotes “a senior Defense Department official” as saying. A “spin” in plain language is a half-truth, which in modern media has a tendency to become a lie, since, once put in context, it distorts the bigger picture. In the case of the current US policy on the Middle East, the “little spin” about helicopters was just a little detail of a bigger lie – that of “democratic US supporting the democratic Arab spring.”

Categories: Uncategorized

U.S. Exploits Syrian Situation For Showdown With Russia

June 15, 2012 5 comments

Stop NATO
June 14, 2012

U.S. Exploits Syrian Situation For Showdown With Russia
Rick Rozoff

On June 12 what passes for the U.S.’s top diplomat, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, further escalated tensions with Russia in an appearance with Israeli President Shimon Peres at the Brookings Institution, a think tank that has supplied the Barack Obama administration with many of its key foreign policy personnel.

With an Israeli flag behind her and waving her right hand in the air, she vociferated:

“We have confronted the Russians about stopping their continued arms shipments to Syria. They have, from time to time, said that we shouldn’t worry – everything they are shipping is unrelated to their (the Syrian government’s) actions internally. That’s patently untrue.

“And we are concerned about the latest information we have that there are attack helicopters on the way from Russia to Syria, which will escalate the conflict quite dramatically.”

Russian officials promptly denounced the charge as the crude fabrication and cruder provocation it was, with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov remonstrating:

“We are not delivering to Syria, or anywhere else, items that could be used against peaceful demonstrators. In this we differ from the United States, which regularly delivers riot control equipment to the region, including a recent delivery to a Persian Gulf country. But for some reason the Americans consider this to be fine.”

Clinton has been steadily raising the level of anti-Russian invective, vilification and intimidation in recent months.

Last December she denounced the country’s parliamentary elections of that month as being “neither free nor fair,” stating:

“Russian voters deserve a full investigation of all credible reports of electoral fraud and manipulation, and we hope in particular that the Russian authorities will take action.”

In February she commented on the double veto by Russia and China in the United Nations Security Council over Syria in the following choice American-style diplomatese at a so-called Friends of Syria conference in Tunisia:

“It’s quite distressing to see two permanent members of the Security Council using their veto while people are being murdered – women, children, brave young men – houses are being destroyed.

“It is just despicable and I ask whose side are they on? They are clearly not on the side of the Syrian people.”

Her characterization of Russia’s and China’s second joint veto over attempted moves against the Syrian government by the U.S., its NATO allies and their coalition of Arab monarchy partners (Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco. Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) as despicable echoed that of U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice earlier in that month:

“The fact that Russia and China chose to align themselves with a dictator who is on his last legs rather than the people of Syria, rather than the people of the Middle East, rather than the principled views of the rest of the international community, was indeed disgusting and shameful and I think that over time it is a decision they’ll come to regret when there is a democratic Syria that won’t forget this action.”

Despicable, disgusting and shameful are typical entries in the lexicon employed by the international relations corps of the world’s sole military superpower. (The term embraced by President Obama in his 2009 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech.) And indicative of the level of its diplomacy and its attitude toward other, even major, nations.

In the same address in Tunisia in February, Clinton bluntly called for a military coup d’etat in Damascus in these words:

“To those Syrians who still support Assad, especially members of the Syrian military: understand that this regime has no future. The longer you carry out its campaign of violence, the more it will stain your honor. But if you refuse to take part in attacks on your fellow citizens, your countrymen will hail you as heroes.”

Before she steps down as secretary of state Clinton may well establish a record for demanding foreign heads of state abdicate power – or face the fate of those who don’t do so at the snap of her fingers – adding Syria’s Bashar Assad to Ivory Coast’s President Laurent Gbagbo, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and, practically speaking, Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko last year. 

There are fewer and fewer governments in the world unwilling to do Washington’s bidding as votes in the United Nations Security Council and Human Rights Council on Syria this year demonstrate. In fact Russia, China, Iran, Belarus, North Korea, Zimbabwe, Eritrea, members of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela and at times Sudan are all that remain of nations with an independent foreign policy orientation.

Among that shrinking list Russia alone has rough strategic – nuclear – parity with the U.S. and as such is the true last barrier to the U.S. drive for global domination.

The Syrian crisis has dragged on for over fifteen months and has been exploited by the U.S. and its – particularly NATO – allies to isolate, humiliate and confront Russia in the first case and China in the second. Having to various degrees backed Russia down over Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya in recent years, Washington is now mounting a full frontal attack designed to effect not a retreat but a rout.

To believe for a moment that the military superpower that in recent years has laid waste to the former Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya and is conducting lawless and murderous drone missile attacks in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia is in any manner motivated by alleged humanitarian concerns in Syria is either to engage in deliriously wishful thinking or surrender to outright delusion.

On June 9 Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov provided a reality test for, an information antidote to the Western human rights argument:

“[I]n order to justify a foreign intervention they keep talking about the refugees from Syria. However, nobody talks about refugees inside Syria itself.

“This is similar to the former Yugoslavia. Does anybody think about the refugees from Serbia and Slovenia? [He may have intended Croatia with the latter reference.]

“According to some estimates, there are about a million refugees from Iraq and half a million Palestinians in Syria, and I don’t think people talk much about that.”

While in Beijing for the twelfth annual heads of state summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) at the beginning of the month, the Russian foreign minister emphasized an effective substitute to the West’s past 21 years of rampant military aggression, threats, bullying and arrogance in stating that “there is no alternative to the enlargement of the SCO, an interest in which is growing steadily inside and outside of the region.” 

The six members of the SCO are Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. At the latest summit Afghanistan joined India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan as an observer nation, Turkey joined Belarus and Sri Lanka as a dialogue partner and the president of Turkmenistan delivered a speech. Collectively, the above nations account for well over half the world’s population, three members of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and four nuclear powers and are the nucleus of a genuine new 21st century international political and economic approach and structure.

Unless a peaceful, cooperative and multipolar model based on the above and its underlying philosophy emerges soon, the ineluctable destiny the world faces is that Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev warned of on May 17:

“The introduction of all sorts of collective sanctions bypassing international institutions does not improve the situation in the world while reckless military operations in foreign states usually end up with radicals coming to power.

“At some point such actions, which undermine state sovereignty, may well end in a full-blown regional war and even – I’m not trying to spook anyone – the use of nuclear weapons.”

In intensifying its progressively more dangerous confrontation with the world’s other major nuclear power by threatening it over Syria and expelling it from the Arab world and the Mediterranean while surrounding it with NATO partnerships and a global interceptor missile system, Washington is pushing the world closer to just such a – the ultimate – nightmare scenario.

A wounded beast is often the most vicious and a dying empire doesn’t hesitate to destroy a world it cannot dominate.

Categories: Uncategorized

Russia Prepared To Respond To U.S.-NATO Interceptor Missile System

June 14, 2012 2 comments

Russian Information Agency Novosti
June 14, 2012

Putin: Russia Ready to Respond to U.S. Missile Defense

KORENOVSK (Krasnodar Territory: Russia has every possibility to provide proper response to the projected deployment of a U.S. missile shield in Europe, though Moscow would like to see the U.S. plans revised, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.

“We should look forward and give response [to these plans] in a timely manner,” Putin told servicemen at a Russian air base.

“Of course, our partners should better not do this [implement their missile shield plans] as this move would drive our response,” he added.

The president stressed that regardless to the rhetoric western politicians use to describe the shield deployment plans, “this remains a part of the arms race.”

“We have every possibility to provide a proper response,” he said.

In liaison with this, Putin stressed the importance of timely implementation of state defense orders. “We must implement state defense orders strictly on time, with the necessary quality and at reasonable prices. If we do it, there will be no particular threat to us.”

————————————————————————–

RT
June 14, 2012

Russia ready for arms race, prefers to avoid it – Putin

While Russia has every capability to adequately respond to the deployment of the US missile defense system in Europe, Moscow would prefer Washington’s plans to be reviewed, says President Vladimir Putin.

No matter what terms the American side uses, the missile defense shield “is still an element of an arms race,” the Russian leader pointed out.

“We should look into the future and respond in a timely manner (to the advancement of these plans),” Putin said. “Certainly, it would be better for our partners not to do it, because this will evoke our response,” he noted, adding that Russia has “every possibility” of providing it.

He named government defense contracts among priorities in that respect.

“We must meet our government defense targets exactly on time, with due quality and at acceptable prices,” the president stressed, as cited by Interfax. “If we do, there will be no major threat against us.”

The statements were made during Putin’s meeting with servicemen from the 393rd air base of the Russian Air Force in the Krasnodar Region.

Earlier in June, during a trip to Paris, Putin reiterated Moscow’s stance on the European missile defense plans, saying that it needs legally-binding guarantees that the system would not be directed against Russia.

“Statements like ‘Don’t be afraid’ and ‘We promise that nothing will happen’ are clearly insufficient in the modern world. This is childish. We need guarantees and serious agreements in the security sphere,” he told reporters.

Categories: Uncategorized

Syria: NATO Plans New Sykes-Picot, Middle East Chaos

Global Times
June 14, 2012

No repeat of Sykes-Picot in Mideast chaos
By M.D. Nalapat

On May 16, 1916, in the middle of World War I, Paris and London approved a secret agreement to dismember the Ottoman Empire and divide the Middle East between themselves.

The Sykes-Picot agreement set new boundaries for many countries in the region, and began a period of direct control of the Middle East that the West has sought to perpetuate to the present.

Since the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the US and Iraq’s former colonial master, the UK, NATO has been transparent in its desire to once again exercise direct control over the countries in the region. The few regimes that are opposed to NATO hegemony are being faced with a concerted effort by NATO and its regional backers to overthrow them.

After Iraq, it was the turn of Libya, followed by Syria. Next will be Iran. I believe the casualties in Libya were much higher than the official figures claimed by the coalition. Libya has become a madhouse of tribal and religious conflicts, and a country where competing mafias have sliced up the country, united only by their subservience to the commercial interests of their creator and benefactor, NATO.

Even the so-called peace mission to Syria has as its deputy head a diplomat from France, the main player in the 2011 regime change in Tripoli and a country that is actively pressing for military intervention in Syria. Only UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, with his complete confidence in NATO member states, believes that Jean-Marie Guehenno will play a “neutral” role in Syria.

NATO is also encouraging Turkey to believe that it can regain the status it enjoyed during the Ottoman Empire, thereby provoking Ankara into a hyper-active stance in support of NATO’s regime change operations.

As for Qatar and Saudi Arabia, they are so blinded by their hatred for the anti-monarchist and Shia regime of Bashar al-Assad that they are willing to join hands with NATO in destabilizing a fellow Arab government, oblivious to the fact that someday, they themselves could get exposed to the same medicine.

Unlike Libya, Syria is not in an isolated corner. An intensification of the NATO-sponsored civil war in that country, which is pitting Salafists and Wahhabis against Shia, Druze, moderate Sunnis and Christians, would set off sectarian unrest in the entire region.

If this has not happened so far, the credit must go to Russia and China, which have thus far succeeded in blocking NATO from direct military intervention. The alliance needs to know that 2012 is not 1916, and that their ongoing efforts at repeating the Sykes-Picot agreement will lead to disaster.

The author is director and professor of the School of Geopolitics at Manipal University in India.

—————————————————————————-

Global Times
June 14, 2012

Who brought Syria to brink of civil war?

UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Herve Ladsous claimed Tuesday that Syria is now in “a full-scale civil war.” It is the first time the UN has made such a grave assessment of the country’s situation.

Civil war is usually a result of military confrontation between forces with matching combat abilities and bases. In this sense, it is a bit early to call the current situation in Syria a full-scale civil war, as opposition forces cannot compete with the government army in terms of strength and bases at the moment.

But the Syrian conflict is spiraling out of control, and sliding toward an all out civil war. This is the tragedy of Syria. The current upheaval started with small-scale clashes. The Assad regime, under external pressure, has pledged comprehensive reform, including amending the constitution and adopting more democratic steps. But the West, seeking to oust Assad, turned a blind eye to the changes. The peace of the country and security of its 20 million people are at stake in this gamble by the West.

Not all Syrian people are against Assad, who still claims the support of at least half of the population. The political will of this country is being forced to change. An opposition force is being fostered and armed, putting Syria onto a bloody course. The Assad government has its share of the blame, but the process is being promoted by the West.

The Assad regime has already changed under the new constitution. But the real reason for the West seeking to end his rule is not about democracy, but weakening Iran and Moscow’s influence in the Arab world. If the current chaos continues, Assad may very likely be overthrown. But how many more people will be killed? And are they aware they are actually victims of a geopolitical game that has nothing to do with democracy?

China is not interested in sustaining Assad’s rule, but we support the Syrian people in choosing their own fate. We urge the parties involved to negotiate for a solution to end the bloody confrontation early. But the principle has been abandoned. Now the Assad regime and the Western-backed opposition are close to a showdown.

Annan’s reconciliation plan and the chance for peace have been wasted. But we still advocate political talks. Even though the appeal sounds weak, it is better than supporting killing. The escalation of the Syrian tragedy is a crucial lesson to China and Russia. They have to avoid the tragedy being repeated in Central Asia and regions that concern them.

Syria’s fate may have already been sealed, as it is a small country struggling with big powers and facing a divided domestic political landscape. But since its special geopolitical position will not be changed with this round of military actions, it will still be grilled further.

Categories: Uncategorized
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 498 other followers