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NATO Activates Allied Land Command In Turkey

November 30, 2012 1 comment

Stars and Stripes
November 30, 2012

NATO activates Allied Land Command in Turkey
By John Vandiver

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“It is not an accident that NATO decided to put Land Command here. Rather, it represents recognition by all 28 Nations of Turkey’s strategic importance to NATO.”

“These last 17 years of operations in Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya have created a level of experience and interoperability within NATO that is higher than it has ever been in its history.”

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Admiral James Stavridis, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander, makes remarks during a ceremony on November 30 marking the activation of the new Allied Land Command in Izmir, Turkey

STUTTGART, Germany: NATO Allied Land Command, the alliance’s new headquarters in charge of land force planning, officially activated Friday at its new home in Izmir, Turkey.

“Turkey has been essential to the effectiveness and viability of NATO since it joined the Alliance because of its geography and its very large military contribution,” U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Frederick “Ben” Hodges, the new commander of the headquarters, said during the ceremony in Izmir. His comments were made available by the headquarters public affairs office.

“It is not an accident that NATO decided to put Land Command here,” Hodges said, according to the remarks provided. “Rather, it represents recognition by all 28 Nations of Turkey’s strategic importance to NATO.”

The headquarters was established in connection with NATO’s transformation, aimed at trimming a bloated and costly command structure.

Adm. James Stavridis, commander of U.S. European Command and NATO’s supreme allied commander, was on hand during the ceremony.

“Izmir has been the junction of cultures for centuries,” Stavridis said, according to the public affairs office. “Ultimately, NATO is a bridge connecting 28 countries in the alliance. Therefore, I believe the Land Command being in Izmir has a symbolic meaning.”

The roughly 350-person headquarters in Izmir assumes the responsibilities of Force Command Heidelberg in Germany, and Force Command Madrid in Spain, which are being deactivated as part of NATO’s transformation. A similar merger of Air Command headquarters formerly in Turkey with one in Germany is taking place at Ramstein Air Base.

The Allied Land Command is responsible for ensuring readiness of NATO forces, conducting land operations and synchronizing land force command and control.

Hodges said in an interview with Stars and Stripes last week that a major focus for his headquarters will be to ensure that the tactical lessons learned during a decade of fighting in Afghanistan aren’t lost as the war winds down.

He reiterated that during Friday’s activation ceremony, also citing earlier conflicts as key to bolstering the know-how of troops in the field.

“These last 17 years of operations in Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya have created a level of experience and interoperability within NATO that is higher than it has ever been in its history,” Hodges, according to the comments provided to Stars and Stripes.

Going forward, Hodges said his command intends to capitalize on the experiences of noncommissioned officers in particular.

“Indeed, a 25- or 30-year-old sergeant today is much more technically savvy than are any of the officers of my generation,” Hodges said. “We must take advantage of that experience and competence by increasing the level of authority we give them, empowering them to do more.”

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Anatole France and Michel Corday: The press fans the flames of war’s blast furnace

November 30, 2012 2 comments

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

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Anatole France: Selections on war

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Anatole France
From a letter to L’Humanité in 1922
Translated by J. Lewis May

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I hope you will call the attention of your readers to Michel Corday’s new book, Les Hauts Fourneaux. They ought to know of it.

It contains ideas about the origins and the conduct of the war that you will appreciate, even now, are too little known in France. In particular we shall see that the World War was essentially the work of the capitalists. We shall see that it was the great manufacturers of the various European countries who, first of all, willed the war, then made it inevitable, and, finally, prevented it from coming to an end. They made it their trump card; they put all their money on it, reaped immense profits, and prosecuted it with such ardour that they brought ruin on Europe, on themselves, and put the whole world out of joint.

Hear what Corday has to say on the subject; for it is a subject on which he concentrates all the force of his convictions, all the resources of his talent.

“Those men,” he says, “are like their own blast furnaces, like those feudal towers which stand up face to face along the frontiers, things whose insatiable maws must unceasingly be filled, day and night, with ore and fuel, so that a constant stream of molten metal may pour from beneath them. With unappeasable voracity they cry aloud for fuel, yet more fuel, and demand that all the riches of the soil, all the fruits of labour, ay, and men too, men in herds, in armies, should be flung pell-mell into the gaping furnace, so that the smelted ore may accumulate in ever-growing masses at their feet. Yes, such is their emblem, the device by which we may know them. They it is, who are real blast furnaces.”

And so those who died in the war knew not why they died. It is the same in all wars. But not to the same degree. The men who fell at Jemmapes [1792] were not deceived as to the cause for which they gave their lives. This time the ignorance of the victims is tragic. They think that they are dying for their country: in reality, they are dying for the manufacturers.

These, our present-day masters, possess the three things necessary for great modern enterprises: factories, banks and newspapers. Michel Corday shows us how they employed these three mighty engines. And in particular he explains a phenomenon which had caused us great surprise, not so much from its nature as from its excessive intensity, an intensity unparalleled in history; I mean how it was the hatred of a nation, whole nation, spread abroad throughout France with unprecedented violence, a violence far transcending the hatred engendered in this same country by the wars of the Revolution and the Empire. I am not speaking of the wars of olden days. They bred no hatred in the hearts of the French people. But with us, this time, it was a hatred that did not die away with the coming of peace; a hatred that made us forget our own interests and lose all sense of reality, without our even feeling the passion which possessed us, save perhaps now and again to find it not violent enough.

Michel Corday shows us quite clearly that this hatred was worked up by the newspapers, the same newspapers which, at this very hour, are guilty of fostering a state of mind which is luring, not only France, but the whole of Europe, to irremediable disaster. “The spirit of vengeance and hatred,” says Michel Corday, “is kept alive by the Press, whose uncompromising dogmatism will brook no questionings, no lukewarmness. Those who do not agree with it are branded as cowards or criminals.”

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Sweden and Finland Join NATO’s Militarization in the Arctic North

November 30, 2012 2 comments

Space Alert!
Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space
December 2012

Sweden and Finland Join NATO’s Militarization in the Arctic North
By Agneta Norberg

My intervention here is about Sweden and Finland, two countries in NATO’s “Partnership for Peace.” The US National Security Directive #66 states: “The US has broad and fundamental national security interests in the Arctic region and is prepared to operate either independently or in conjunction with other states to safeguard these interests.

“These interests include missile defense and early warning; deployment of sea and air systems for strategic sealift, strategic deterrence, maritime presence and maritime security operations; and freedom of navigation and over-flight.”

In November 2009 the US Navy released a paper called “Navy Arctic Roadmap.” The paper refers to the directive quoted above and the roadmap speaks about the intent to “Preserve the global mobility of US military and civilian vessels and aircrafts throughout the Arctic region.”

Less than three weeks after unveiling this Arctic strategy, NATO held a two-day meeting in Iceland attended by US/NATO top-military commanders and the NATO Secretary General. They proclaimed that the high north is going to get more NATO attention. (Now that Arctic ice is melting due to climate change and energy corporations can drill for oil.) Russia was not invited to send an observer.

Norway has now moved its operational command into the Arctic, the only command centre above the polar circle, and purchased 48 F–35 fighter jets for Arctic patrol. Denmark is said to have plans to establish an Arctic Command, an Arctic response force and military buildup at the Thule airbase in Greenland. The US and Britain are conducting joint submarine warfare exercises under the shrinking Polar ice cap.

Today all countries bordering Russia are members of NATO or in the Partnership for Peace, which most people describe as an antechamber to NATO.

US military airfields are set up in all Baltic States: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Hungary. Fighters from the US, Great Britain, Germany, Turkey, Spain, Denmark, Norway, Portugal, The Netherlands, Belgium, Czech Republic, Romania and Sweden are training on daily missions close to St Petersburg, Russia. All this is a breach of the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe. Russia is today totally encircled by hostile installations and some of these are radars, which will serve the dangerous missile defense program.

Also for this purpose huge radar installations are installed in northern Norway (at Vardö), Romania and in Turkey.

How do Sweden and Finland fit into this pattern? Both countries have taken part in numerous recent war exercises held in northern and southern Sweden and northern Norway with the NATO countries as well and in the waters in the Baltic Sea.

On the December 15, 2004 the Swedish parliament passed a decision about Sweden’s adjustment to NATO, and the US military’s need for a large training area for their many wars. A large part of Northern Sweden will be opened up for military training of combat vehicles, fighter planes, weapons and drones.

At North European Aerospace Test range (NEAT), weapons corporations were invited to test systems of different kinds and join war exercises. The new type of satellite-directed war requires larger areas for training as do weapon systems like AMRAAM (Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile).

The area is ideal because it’s as large as the country of Macedonia. In July 2010, The US Air Force conducted bomb training for a couple of weeks at NEAT and British Royal Air Force was allowed to train almost the entire year 2011. But already in 2002 Israel got permission to train their drones, which later were used in the war on Gaza.

Esrange, the world’s biggest downloading station for satellites, not far from the city of Kiruna, is situated within NEAT. Every state or corporation, which are ready to pay, can buy maps from Esrange over any area on the earth.

When in South Korea, I came to know that Esrange serves the South Korean Air Force with maps covering North Korean territory. Another example of Esrange´s role in warfare is the following story: At a lecture in Kiruna, by Bruce Gagnon a couple of years ago about how space is used in modern warfare, one young woman in the audience confessed that she as a student trainee at Esrange, had questioned the practice of downloading maps of Russian territory. She asked why these maps were sent to receivers in the US. She never got a good explanation, she told us.

There is a rather strong resistance towards joining NATO in both Sweden and Finland according to recent polls. What can the governments do to circumvent these anti-NATO sentiments and bring us into this dangerous alliance?

One way is to drag non-NATO countries into the alliance without mentioning NATO. This was done in 2011 when British Prime Minister Cameron hosted a meeting in London and invited all Nordic countries, including the Baltic states, to consolidate common interests with the Nordic nations. The common interests were about air space, sea areas, security in Northern regions, cyber security, training in equipment and of troops.

“Interoperability” it is called. The reason for this cooperation was said to be the increasing tensions in the Arctic area. We have to understand these realities and make pressures on the parliamentarians in political parties who proclaim in their party programme that they are against NATO membership. We have to start a serious debate about these dangerous step-by-step developments.

Many Swedish and Finnish people still believe we are non-aligned and neutral countries.

We who see the dangerous developments have to work together with other Nordic activists to counter these war preparations and stop it. One step we are planning is to hold the 21st annual Global Network space organizing conference in Kiruna, Sweden on June 27–30, 2013. By bringing key peace movement leaders from around the world to northern Sweden we intend to shine a bright light on these offensive and destabilizing NATO plans for war to control Arctic resources. Please plan to join us.

Agneta Norberg is vice chair of Swedish Peace Council, a member of the IPB Steering Committee and serves on the Global Network board.

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NATO, U.S. Tighten Grip on Georgia

November 29, 2012 Leave a comment

Trend News Agency
November 29, 2012

Parliament holds discussion on relations between Georgia and NATO
N. Kirtzkhalia

Tbilisi: The relations between Georgia and NATO were discussed in the Parliament.

Members of the committees of international relations, European integration and defense and security, together with representatives of the NATO liaison office in Tbilisi, discussed relations between Georgia and the alliance and policy partnership during the joint event, which was held behind closed doors.

“It is the first time that the parliament of Georgia hosts a committee hearing on the relations between Georgia and NATO and their prospects. It is important that friend of Georgia, head of the NATO liaison office William Lahue, will participate in the event,” Parliament’s Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Tedo Japaridze said before the meeting.

“It is the first such meaning and we will discuss relations between Georgia and EU, Georgia and the regions and so on in the future,” Japaridze added.

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Rustavi 2
November 29, 2012

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary completes his visit in Georgia

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary Eric Rubin has completed his visit in Georgia. He held today his last meeting within the U.S.-Georgia Charter on partnership and strategic relations and the working group on defense and security.

Georgia`s deputy foreign minister and deputy defense minister attended the meeting.

At the meeting of the working group, the issues of Georgia`s integration into NATO, the country`s contribution to the ISAF operation in Afghanistan and its transit potential.

The U.S. side reiterated at the meeting its support to Georgia`s sovereignty and territorial integrity. They said after the assessment and analysis of the ongoing cooperation in security, the two countries are moving to the implementation stage.

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Trend News Agency
November 29, 2012

Georgian president, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State discuss strategy
N. Kirtskhalia

Tbilisi: Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Eric Rubin discussed strategic cooperation between Georgia and the U.S. in Tbilisi.

As the Georgian presidential administration said, special attention was paid to the continuation of the partnership under the Strategic Cooperation Charter and ensuring the defence capability and security of Georgia.

Rubin stressed Georgia’s contribution to international security and gave thanks for the participation of the Georgian contingent in the NATO peacekeeping operation in Afghanistan.

Saakashvili reiterated that Georgia remains a priority for integration into European and Euro-Atlantic structures.

Rubin acknowledged Georgia’s success in this direction and supported enhancing cooperation to achieve the country’s goals and providing it with assistance.

Saakashvili and Rubin also paid attention to the Geneva process, as well as settlement of Georgian-Russian relations. Rubin said the U.S. strictly adheres to all the negotiations on the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia.

Rubin stressed that parliamentary elections in Georgia were held in accordance with democratic norms.

“The United States will closely monitor and evaluate the processes that take place in Georgia after the transfer of power,” he said.

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Civil Georgia
November 30, 2012

Secretary Clinton, Georgian FM Meet in Washington

Tbilisi: Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, was “very clear” about “rule of law expectations” in Georgia when she met Georgian Foreign Minister, Maia Panjikidze, in Washington no November 29, the U.S. Department of State said.

In remarks made before the meeting, the Secretary of State said the October 1 parliamentary election was “a successful and important step on the further development of democracy in Georgia, and the move toward fulfilling the Euro-Atlantic aspirations that Georgia has.”

Panjikidze, who is visiting Washington five weeks after becoming Georgia’s new foreign minister and three weeks after visiting Brussels, said in her remarks before the meeting that she was grateful to the Secretary of State for inviting her “so soon after the elections in Georgia.”

“We are very proud that the United States are our strategic partner,” the Georgian Foreign Minister said…

A spokesperson for the Department of State, Victoria Nuland, said at a daily press briefing, that Clinton and Panjikidze had “a very good meeting.”

Nuland said that Georgian new government’s “commitment to continuity in foreign policy” was among the issues discussed at the meeting, including in respect to Georgia’s NATO and EU integration and participation in the Afghanistan operation, including its contribution to the post-2014 NATO mission in Afghanistan. The State Department spokesperson said that the U.S. was “very gratified” to hear that the new government was committed to continuity in foreign policy.

“The Secretary was very clear about our rule of law expectations,” Nuland said.

“The Secretary was very clear in her public statements that this is something that the international community is watching and that undergirds our support for Georgia – democratic values that we share, and rule of law being key among them, are vital to our support for Georgia,” she said when asked about series of arrests of officials from the previous government in Georgia.

“In the bilateral meeting the Foreign Minister [Panjikidze] both began and ended the meeting with reassurances with regard to the way these cases will go forward and was very clear in understanding that they know the world is watching,” Nuland added.

PM Bidzina Ivanishvili, who paid his first official visit abroad to Brussels this month, said on November 22 that he was initially planning to pay a visit to the U.S. by late November, but “upon my request, which was shared by the American side, arrangements for my visit to the United States will start next year in due course.” Ivanishvili cited “too much work” internally as a reason behind his decision to postpone the U.S. trip.

The Department of State’s spokesperson said on November 29 that PM Ivanishvili “will be the guest of the White House” when he visits the United States.

Meanwhile in Tbilisi, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, Eric Rubin concluded his three-day visit to Georgia on November 29. He met President Saakashvili, PM Ivanishvili and other senior officials and participated in the defense and security working group meeting, held in frames of strategic partnership commission.
The working group on defense and security is one of those four inter-agency bilateral groups, which were established to address priority areas of the U.S.-Georgia Strategic Partnership Charter, which was signed in January, 2009. Other priority areas of cooperation identified by the charter are democracy, economic and people-to-people relations.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Philip H. Gordon, was in Tbilisi two weeks ago, who also met with both the President and the Prime Minister.

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Arnold Zweig: War’s hecatomb from the air, on land and at sea

November 29, 2012 2 comments

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

Arnold Zweig: Selections on war

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Arnold Zweig
From Young Woman of 1914 (1931)
Translated by Eric Sutton

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The night, pulsating with the roar of aeroplane engines, brooded in unearthly clarity between the hills. The moon, in her last quarter, poured a mild radiance over the roofs of the hutments. It was on such nights as these that the airmen went out after their prey. Not a shimmer of light appeared in the close-curtained windows.

[A] sinister high-pitched humming could be heard above them in the air…Ah! a searchlight darted the milk-white tongue of a spectral beast of prey across the sky. A second followed, and a third; they swung in half-circles through the black firmament, tongues broadening at the end with which they caught their prey. Suddenly, with a sharp hoarse scream something shot up out of the night; far above them a red splash burst against the darkness, and three or four seconds later they heard the detonation.

The night seemed to be falling silent; very far away Bertin could hear the familiar thud and crackle of the aeroplane motors. Toward Douaumont, where there had been heavy fighting yesterday and the day before, there was a constant flicker of rifle fire and the rattle of machine-guns. No peace in that direction.

“I wonder how many poor devils are laying dead out yonder, eh? Several thousand, I shouldn’t be surprised,” said Hildebrand grimly.

In those days, in that summer, the German battleships left Wilhelmshaven to try to break through the British stranglehold on Germany. Wireless messages flashed back and forward, and those from Germany were deciphered by the British. With streaming funnels the ships dashed out to sea; they would drown those upstart squadrons like dangerous young cats, who thought they could one day get the better of their elders. They met, and many ships were sunk. Vast elaborate steel structures, produced at the cost of better schools, hospitals, and pensions for the poor, turned over in the lashing North Sea waves, and plunged keel upwards to the bottom, with their crews, and more of them were German than English. The English long-range guns reached farther, and did more damage than the latest German guns. When the fleets parted, both believed that the battle had been drawn, but later on each side announced by wireless that they alone had won the victory. The world believed the British; and the blockade still held, in spite of all the bloodshed and brave deeds, and the drowning of more than eight thousand red-cheeked German lads and English boys. In the deep currents of the treacherous sea, dead men swung dumbly to and fro; they could not praise the German nor the English admiral, for they were being slowly eaten by the fishes, or lay perhaps imprisoned in corroding steel.

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At the moment, the A.S.C. men were possibly burying the dead, Germans, Russians, and Austrians of all races. This process they did not describe; they announced that they were confident that Germany would be victorious, just as a cow gives forth milk, when its udders are properly squeezed. At the same moment, the allies of two very Christian Emperors, the Turks, were exterminating one million three hundred thousand Christian Armenians, including three hundred and thirty thousand children…A great mass of the German people, the educated classes more especially, the readers of the newspapers, the professors and their satellites, the female intellectuals, doctors, judges, teachers, authors, bankers, industrialists, and great land-owners, both men or women, all these had long ceased to live in the war as it really was. Those who lived in the real war were the survivors of the killed, the women-folk of men on service, and the workmen and workwomen in businesses and factories who were expected to work very hard on very short rations. But the others all lived for the realization of the ideals of Germany, by which they meant the control of mineral deposits, Channel ports, Russian provinces, Turkish concessions, and oil as far as Persia…If an officer went forth into this offensive and fell, what then? Lieutenant Lederer (one of the many thousands), Dr. Theodor Lederer, a man of trained intelligence and an expert on the arts. The mountain fighting had failed to kill him, but he fell very promptly in the new offensive. Returned from leave, assigned to a fresh unit, sent to the front and into action, shot dead and buried – finished. Who would take up this man’s work, half-achieved? No one. Was this man, so deeply versed in religious art and the Christian myths, no longer needed in the West? Surely…But Lieutenant Lederer was mouldering to dust with a horde of his comrades in a common grave; centuries later, perhaps, someone would dig up that finely moulded skull and marvel at its contours. What, in the meantime, had become of that high-hearted woman, Mela Hartig-Lederer, the pianist? She did not recant her views, she wept in secret, she held that Tirol peasant’s head of hers as high as ever – but she grew gradually silent. She was less and less able to play in public. Her memory began to fail her strangely; the notes she was actually playing, the next bar, the onward rush of a Beethoven theme, slipped suddenly from her mind. Her existence was corroded by grief, her great impulsive heart was turned to stone, she shut up her house, crept away into the mountains with her young son, and her aspect vanished from the memory of her contemporaries.

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NATO Missiles in Turkey: Threat to Syria and Russia

November 29, 2012 Leave a comment

Voice of Russia
November 29, 2012

Deployment of Patriot missiles fraught with destabilization

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Deployment of German units and German-made Patriot batteries means that the Syrian conflict is going international and could reach a hot phase. This is particularly relevant amid moves to recognize the Syrian opposition on the part of the EU and NATO.

Plans to supply Ankara with Patriot batteries put Russia’s security at risk, Vladimir Kozin of the Strategic Research Institute, says. These missiles could become part of the global system for intercepting ballistic missiles…

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A group of military experts consisting of representatives of Turkey and the NATO command has got down to surveying the sites for the deployment of Patriot anti-missile batteries on the Turkish-Syrian border. Germany has expressed readiness to supply two batteries, while the Netherlands will supply one.

According to official reports, Patriot missile batteries are deployed to thwart missile attacks from Syria. Experts say, however, that they are deployed to shut the Syrian air space for any flights as part of preparations for a ground invasion of Syria. An anti-missile battery is designed to shoot down aircraft rather than address missile defense problems.

NATO has provided no clear answer to Russia’s questions concerning the deployment of missiles, Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Denisov said.

Moscow wants a full explanation as to who poses a threat; why, for how long and for what purpose. If the deployment serves the purpose of taking restrictive measures against Syria, it could be carried out only by decision of the UN Security Council, the diplomat said.

Meanwhile, NATO is advising other countries not to step in, while Germany is reassuring Russia that a no-fly zone is not on the agenda.

The role of Germany in all this is not outright clear, Chief Editor of National Defense Journal Igor Korotchenko says.

“Germany is a member of NATO. It’d better refrain from pursuing initiatives like that because they could lead to trouble, particularly in view of the burden of the past that hovers over Germany. Deployment of German units and German-made Patriot batteries means that the Syrian conflict is going international and could reach a hot phase. This is particularly relevant amid moves to recognize the Syrian opposition on the part of the EU and NATO. In all likelihood, a Syrian government in exile could be formed fairly soon. It could then ask NATO for support on behalf of the Syrian people. And the support would be provided. All this fits in well with NATO’s plans to launch a military campaign in Syria.”

Plans to supply Ankara with Patriot batteries put Russia’s security at risk, Vladimir Kozin of the Strategic Research Institute, says. These missiles could become part of the global system for intercepting ballistic missiles which is being created by the United States and is oriented against a large number of countries. Should the supplies become reality, they will lead to further destabilization in the Middle East with far-reaching consequences, the expert said.

In a word, the decision to deploy Patriot missiles on the Turkish-Syrian border creates more problems than solutions. It’s time NATO, the US and Turkey weighed the consequences of such a move and stopped fooling the international community regarding its purposes.

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NATO Global Rapid Deployment Force Marks 20th Anniversary

November 29, 2012 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations
November 19, 2012

HQ ARRC celebrates its 20th Anniversary

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“The ARRC [Allied Rapid Reaction Corps] has played a central role in NATO led operations over the last 20 years. It has served in Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan twice and therefore has accrued a wealth of experience of the broad spectrum of intervention activities in the process…

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Headquarters Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (HQ ARRC) celebrated the 20th Anniversary of its formation on 26th November 2012 at Imjin Barracks, Innsworth.

To mark the event a conference was held to discuss the theme of how military operations may look in the future hosted by Lieutenant General James Bucknall.

The attendees included the current Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), General Sir David Richards, the heads of the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force. Also present were previous commanders of the ARRC, the current Deputy Commander Supreme Allied Command Europe, General Lord Dannatt, General Sir Mike Jackson and many other past and present military figures.

Academic input was provided by Professor Hew Strachan, All Souls Oxford University, whilst CDS provided his views on how the military can learn from the lessons of recent operations.

“The ARRC has played a central role in NATO led operations over the last 20 years. It has served in Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan twice and therefore has accrued a wealth of experience of the broad spectrum of intervention activities in the process. This conference has allowed current and previous ARRC Commanders and staff to highlight the key lessons and implications for the future whilst providing a fitting opportunity to formally mark the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Headquarters” said Lieutenant General James Bucknall, Commander of the ARRC.

HQ ARRC is a NATO Rapid Deployment Corps headquarters, founded in 1992 in Germany, and headquartered in Gloucestershire since August 2010.

ARRC is scheduled to play a key role in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Response Force (NRF) in 2013.

Although HQ ARRC’s ‘framework nation’ is the United Kingdom, comprising approximately 60% of the overall staff, the ARRC is fully multinational in nature and organization, with 15 Partner Nations contributing the remaining complement of personnel (Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, and the United States).

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Switzerland: NATO’s Secret Partner

November 29, 2012 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations
November 28, 2012

SWITZERLAND: A KEY PARTNER ON DEFENCE REFORM

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A number of military training facilities are available for PfP training activities. These include the Centre for Information and Communication of the Armed Forces in Berne, the Mountain Training Centre of the Swiss Armed Forces in Andermatt, the International Training Centre of the Swiss Army (SWISSINT) in Stans, and the Tactical Training Centre at the Swiss Officers’ Training Centre in Lucerne.

Switzerland is also an active donor to Partnership Trust Fund projects. Along with individual Allies and partners, it has supported 13 projects since 2000, which have provided assistance for the destruction of mines, arms, or ammunition in Albania, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Serbia, Montenegro, Ukraine and, more recently, Jordan and Mauritania.

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From left to right: Ueli Maurer, Head of the Federal Department of Defence of Switzerland; NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Didier Burkhalter, Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs Switzerland

NATO and Switzerland have developed a strong partnership over the years since the country joined the Partnership for Peace in 1996. The Swiss armed forces are making a valuable contribution to the NATO-led force in Kosovo. Switzerland has also distinguished itself in terms of its significant contribution to promoting work with partners in the area of defence reform, education and training. The NATO Secretary General exchanged views with key members of the Swiss government on how to deepen partnership, during his visit to Switzerland on 22 November.

“Our partnership goes much further, and deeper, than operations,” underlined NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, speaking at the prestigious Churchill Symposium of Zürich University’s European Institute. “Over the years, your country has developed enormous credibility and trust – both among NATO Allies and among our other partners. With your soft-power diplomacy and your mediation skills, you have become a unique and essential contributor to our cooperative security.”

“Because of these shared values, Switzerland has made an enormous investment in NATO’s partnership programmes. You have provided trainers in defence reform, military training and education, and building democratic institutions. Your experts work alongside those of NATO to build more transparent and democratic security institutions,” added Mr. Fogh Rasmussen.

Committed to cooperative security

Switzerland is a generous contributor – intellectually, materially and financially – to the development of practical cooperative security within the Euro-Atlantic area and beyond.

The support of the government and of government-funded institutions has played an essential part in deepening and enhancing NATO’s Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme and the activities of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC)…

The country hosts many courses within the PfP framework and develops training materials in areas such as democratic control of armed forces, international humanitarian law, humanitarian demining, civil-military cooperation, security policy, arms control and disarmament.

One of the most active members of the PfP Consortium of Defence Academies and Security Studies Institutes, Switzerland has made a number of civilian training facilities available. These include the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP), the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD), the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), and the International Relations and Security Network (ISN) based in Zurich.

A number of military training facilities are available for PfP training activities. These include the Centre for Information and Communication of the Armed Forces in Berne, the Mountain Training Centre of the Swiss Armed Forces in Andermatt, the International Training Centre of the Swiss Army (SWISSINT) in Stans, and the Tactical Training Centre at the Swiss Officers’ Training Centre in Lucerne.

Switzerland is also an active donor to Partnership Trust Fund projects. Along with individual Allies and partners, it has supported 13 projects since 2000, which have provided assistance for the destruction of mines, arms, or ammunition in Albania, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Serbia, Montenegro, Ukraine and, more recently, Jordan and Mauritania.

Switzerland has also supported a Trust Fund project in Serbia for the reintegration of demobilized military personnel into the civilian workforce. Moreover, the country is co-leading a Trust Fund on Building Integrity in Defence Institutions and has also contributed over 130,000 euro to the Trust Fund for the development of the Afghan National Army.

Support for peace-support operations

Swiss law excludes participation in combat operations for peace enforcement and Swiss units will only participate in operations under UN or OSCE mandate. Within the limits of its neutrality, Switzerland participates in peace-support operations or multilateral cooperation in military training.

Over 200 soldiers are currently deployed as part of the Kosovo Force (KFOR). The Swiss armed forces have been contributing to KFOR’s Multinational Task Force – South since 1999.

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Tbilisi: U.S., Georgia Discuss Strengthening Military Cooperation

November 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Trend News Agency
November 28, 2012

Georgia, U.S. discuss deepening of military cooperation
N. Kirtskhalia

Tbilisi: U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Eric Rubin met with Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Alasania.

The conversation touched upon bilateral cooperation, prospects of integration into NATO, reforms planned in the defense area and the contribution of the Georgian contingent in the international mission ISAF, the Georgian Defense Ministry told Trend on Wednesday.

Alasania said that Georgia remains a reliable partner of the United States and is ready to make an even greater contribution to global security.

Alasania thanked the guest for support to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and integration into Euro-Atlantic structures.

At the meeting, Alasania also paid attention to the NATO Military Committee’s planned visit to Georgia next year.

The conversation also touched upon the military cooperation between Georgia and the United States. Within the strategic partnership the United States provides assistance to Georgia in six areas, which primarily envisages strengthening the capacity of anti-aircraft defense, as well as training in military engineering.

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Ministry of Defence of Georgia
November 28, 2012

Minister of Defence of Georgia meets with Mr. Eric Rubin

Defence Minister Irakli Alasania has received Mr. Eric Rubin, the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, today. The U.S.-Georgia partnership, NATO integration prospects, reforms scheduled in the field of defence and the contribution of Georgian peacekeepers in the ISAF mission were the key topics of discussion at the meeting. According to Irakli Alasania, Georgia still remains a reliable partner of the United States and stands ready to provide more contributions to global security.

The Defence Minister expressed gratitude for the support of the United States to Georgia’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and Euro-Atlantic integration. During the meeting with Eric Rubin, Irakli Alasania underlined the visit of the NATO Military Committee in Georgia scheduled next year.

At the meeting, the sides focused attention on the enhanced defence cooperation between the two countries. Within the framework of the U.S.-Georgia Charter on Strategic partnership, the United States provides assistance to the Georgian side in six directions which cover, among other issues, enhancement of air-defence capabilities, defensive combat engineer training and education and utility helicopter aviation training support.

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Rustavi 2
November 27, 2012

Eric Rubin holds meetings in Tbilisi

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Eric Rubin pays an official visit to Georgia. He will participate in a session of the working group on Defense and Security Issues, which is held in the framework of the U.S.-Georgia Strategic Partnership Commission. Meetings with the NGOs, international missions to Georgia and country`s senior authorities are also on the agenda.

Mr. Rubin has already met with Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili. The sides emphasized the meaning of the 20-year-long cooperation between Georgia and the United States and expressed their hope that the cooperation between the two friendly countries would be further enhanced.

Bidzina Ivanishvili thanked Eric Rubin for great support provided to Georgia. The issue of Georgia-Russia relations was also reviewed.

`We had a very friendly, warm meeting; it was very interesting. We discussed bilateral relations once more and expressed hope that these relations would be enhanced in the terms of the new government,` Bidzina Ivanishvili said after the meeting.

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Lion Feuchtwanger: War to make the world safe for democracy

November 28, 2012 Leave a comment

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

Lion Feuchtwanger: Selections on war

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Lion Feuchtwanger
From Success (1930)
Translated by Willa and Edwin Muir

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In the years after the Great War justice all over the globe was more than ever perverted to political ends. In China, during the civil war, state officials of every grade who had served under the defeated government were hanged or shot after due trial by the party who were triumphant at the time for every conceivable crime which they had not committed.

In India, polite imperialistic judges, who paid deep homage to the disinterestedness and nobility of the accused, sentenced the leaders of the Nationalist movement on dubious and purely formal grounds to long terms of imprisonment for publishing certain books and articles.

In Russia Bolshevist judges executed supporters of the Tsarist regime for acts of espionage of which they were presumably innocent, after brow-beating any defence that was offered.

In Romania, Hungary, and Bulgaria, after a parody of justice, Jewish and Socialist prisoners were shot, hanged and imprisoned for life for offences which could not be proven, while Nationalists who had committed proved offences were either not proceeded against, or acquitted, or given a trifling sentence and pardoned.

It was the same in Germany.

In Italy supporters of the dictatorship in power were acquitted in spite of murders proved against them; and opponents of the same dictatorship after a secret trial were banished and declared to have forfeited their property and civil rights.

In France officers of the Rhine Army of Occupation were acquitted after murdering German subjects; while Parisian Communists, arrested during a riot, were sent to several years’ imprisonment for unproven offences.

In England the Sinn Feiners were treated in the same way. One or two died while hunger-striking.

In America members of a patriotic club who had lynched innocent negroes were set free; while Italian immigrants, radicals, were sent to the electric chair ostensibly for murder in spite of credible alibis brought forward by witnesses from a large town.

These things happened in the name either of a republic, or of the people, or of a king; in any case in the name of justice.

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Russia-China Cooperation: Pillar of International Stability

November 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Global Times
November 28, 2012

Russia-China rapport can be pillar of international stability

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China has “three rings” of diplomacy. The first ring is sound relations with big powers; the second is friendly ties with its neighbors; and the third is all-round cooperation with other developing countries. Russia is the only country that falls into all three rings.

China now faces security threats from three sides: east, south and west. The only secure side is north thanks to good relations with Russia and Central Asian countries. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) should play an active role in Afghanistan, when US-led NATO troops withdraw in 2014.

In multinational arenas such as the UN Security Council, G20, SCO, and the BRICS, China and Russia have found more and more common interests.

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Editor’s Note:

Chinese diplomacy under the new leadership is being closely watched and discussed by political scientists and scholars around the world. The Chinese and Russian leaderships have seen increasing bilateral cooperation both economically and politically in recent years. How will these relations develop? What challenges remain ahead of the two largest emerging powers? The RIA Novosti news agency invited analysts from both countries to debate these issues after China’s leadership transition at the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.

Sustained growth

Wu Enyuan, researcher of the Institute of Russian, Eastern European and Central Asian Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

Despite the change in leadership, China’s foreign policy will maintain its previous role as serving domestic economic development. China has “three rings” of diplomacy. The first ring is sound relations with big powers; the second is friendly ties with its neighbors; and the third is all-round cooperation with other developing countries. Russia is the only country that falls into all three rings.

Some foreigners are skeptical about China’s economic model. They believe China is facing greater and greater risks of economic collapse, mixed with severe corruption problems. But we must realize there is also great potential to bridge the development gaps between cities and the countryside, and between the western and eastern parts of the country. China’s domestic consumption demand has yet to be unleashed.

China’s and Russia’s leaderships also have reached a target to bring bilateral annual trade volume to $100 billion in 2015, and then double it by 2020. Although the figure is not comparable with the current China-US trade volume of nearly $450 billion a year, it remains an ambitious goal, given the current weak state of China-Russia trade. A precondition for this to succeed is a stable environment for sustained economic growth in China. Russia will undoubtedly benefit from this.

China now faces security threats from three sides: east, south and west. The only secure side is north thanks to good relations with Russia and Central Asian countries. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) should play an active role in Afghanistan, when US-led NATO troops withdraw in 2014.

Social risks

Sergey Luzyanin, deputy director of the Institute of Far East Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences

A group of Russian experts has carefully examined the report that Chinese leader Hu Jintao made at the 18th Party congress. We noted China’s ambition to build a wealthy and strong socialist country by 2049. China’s strategy is based on harmonious development and friendly relations with neighboring countries.

In multinational arenas such as the UN Security Council, G20, SCO, and the BRICS, China and Russia have found more and more common interests. China has realized that Russia, which has settled its territorial issues with China, can be a very good partner in these occasions. But economic cooperation between China and Russia has apparently fallen behind political cooperation.

While China applies the brakes to its economic growth rate, it will be no easy task to double the income of Chinese people by the end of this decade. What’s more, the middle class in China, benefiting from the transition of economic development model, will continue to grow up and demand more political representatives. This will happen as the grass roots in China are becoming increasingly averse to corruption.

Externally, the US will not loosen up its containment of China, and expanding China-US exchanges will not only let the two become more interdependent, but also bring more potential frictions.

Common duties

Feng Yujun, director of the Institute of Russian Studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations

Russian President Vladimir Putin has made it clear in his foreign policy statement that China’s economic development is a historic opportunity for Russia. But there have been negative thoughts emerging in Russia recently. Some people see a stronger China as a threat, and they believe China erodes Russia’s interests in Central Asia by developing ties with ex-Soviet republics there.

When China and Russia were hostile to each other in the 1960s, both lost opportunities to develop economic ties, setting them back decades. Now, the leaders from both countries have renewed this focus. Russia has set itself the goal of increasing its per capita income to $35,000 in 2020. Even if China doubles its people’s income by that time, the Chinese per capita income will only stand at $10,000. China does not pose any economic threat to Russia.

In political governance, China and Russia could also find a way to share their experience in fighting against corruption. And internationally, the two countries share the common responsibility to avoid a new imbalance in Asia-Pacific, preventing hot disputes from souring into real conflicts.

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Washington Continues To Build Georgian Proxy Army

November 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
November 28, 2012

Minister of Defence of Georgia meets with Mr. Eric Rubin

Defence Minister Irakli Alasania has received Mr. Eric Rubin, the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs today.

The U.S.-Georgia partnership, NATO integration prospects, reforms scheduled in the field of defence and the contribution of Georgian peacekeepers in the ISAF mission were the key topics of discussion at the meeting. According to Irakli Alasania, Georgia still remains a reliable partner of the United States and stands ready to provide more contributions to global security.

The Defence Minister expressed gratitude for the support of the United States to Georgia’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and Euro-Atlantic integration. During the meeting with Eric Rubin Irakli Alasania underlined the visit of the NATO Military Committee in Georgia scheduled for next year.

At the meeting, the sides focused attention on enhanced defence cooperation between the two countries. Within the framework of the U.S.-Georgia Charter on Strategic Partnership, the United States provides assistance to the Georgian side in six directions which cover, among other issues, enhancement of air-defence capabilities, defensive combat engineer training and education and utility helicopter aviation training support.

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Civil Georgia
November 27, 2012

Defense Minister’s Visit to Afghanistan

Tbilisi: Defense Minister Irakli Alasania visited Afghanistan this week where he met Georgian troops serving in the ISAF mission, the country’s leadership, as well as the ISAF leadership, the Georgian Ministry of Defense (MoD) said on November 26.

Georgia has doubled its contribution to the NATO-led ISAF operation in Afghanistan to 1,571 servicemen starting from October, according to the Georgian Ministry of Defense (MoD).

Georgia currently has two battalions in the Helmand province of Afghanistan: the 12th battalion of the first infantry brigade and 32nd battalion of the third infantry brigade; for the latter it is the second tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Georgian troops “will continue fulfilling their obligations in ISAF until the end of 2014 and render assistance to Afghan National Security Forces in post-ISAF period,” MoD said.

During the visit Alasania met with Georgian troops in Helmand province and also held talks with General John R. Allen, the commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, according to the Georgian MoD.

On the last day of the visit Alasania met the president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, on November 25.

Georgia has lost a total of eighteen soldiers in Afghanistan since joining ISAF mission in November, 2009, seven of them this year.

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NATO To Control Interceptor Missiles In Turkey

November 27, 2012 2 comments

Hürriyet Daily News
November 28, 2012

NATO to control Patriots

BRUSSELS/ANKARA: NATO’s chief says the command of Patriots will be under the control of the alliance and hints that the decision will be taken within ‘days.’ Meanwhile, opposition parties slam the deployment decision

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“Russia has no right to intervene in this process. This is a NATO decision; third parties have nothing to say,” Rasmussen said about Russian objections to the deployment.

“Will these missiles be deployed to protect the Kürecik radar base? Or will these missiles be deployed as a result of bargaining with Israel behind closed doors? The government should answer these questions.”

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NATO General-Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen believes that NATO allies will respond positively to Turkey’s demand for Patriot missiles within “days” and that command of the system will be under NATO control. He also said the alliance would not avoid using further measures for Turkey’s defense.

Rasmussen said NATO allies were concerned about Turkey’s defense and that all allies were likely to support Turkey’s demand for the missiles. “Turkey’s demand for Patriot missiles is only for defensive purposes,” Rasmussen said in an interview with private Turkish broadcaster NTV. “The deployment of missiles will conform to the NATO chain of command, of which Turkey is also a part.”

“Russia has no right to intervene in this process. This is a NATO decision; third parties have nothing to say,” Rasmussen said about Russian objections to the deployment.

According to Rasmussen, NATO finances would be used to fund the Patriot system and Turkey would also contribute as the host country. The NATO chief was also questioned regarding the efficiency of Patriot missiles. “I suppose this deployment will dissuade potential aggression,” he said. “Similar instruments were used in Turkey in 2003. NATO possesses sufficient instruments to provide for Turkey’s defense and will not avoid using them.” Rasmussen did not give a specific date for the deployment of the missiles, though he said it would take days, not weeks.

Questions from CHP, MHP

The request has raised eyebrows in opposition parties, as the main and nationalist opposition parties linked the issue to the protection of Israel. Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has countered government claims and played down any missile threat from Syria. “Will these missiles be deployed to protect the Kürecik radar base? Or will these missiles be deployed as a result of bargaining with Israel behind closed doors? The government should answer these questions,” Kılıçdaroğlu said yesterday in an address to his party’s parliamentary group meeting.

Government statements over a possible missile threat from Syria are not persuasive, according to the main opposition leader.

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli echoed Kılıçdaroğlu and calling on the government to inform Parliament on the missiles. “We wonder why Prime Minister Erdoğan abruptly requested Patriot missiles from NATO. Have Syrian missiles been directed to Turkey? Has President Gül’s concern over missiles turned out to be right? Is Turkey a target for chemical missiles? Our other worry is whether Patriot missiles will be deployed for Israel’s defense,” he said in an address to his parliamentary group yesterday.

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Romain Rolland: A father’s plea against war

November 27, 2012 Leave a comment

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

Romain Rolland: Selections on war

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Romain Rolland
From Clerambault (1920)
Translated by Katherine Miller

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His first word was a cry of self-accusation:

“FORGIVE US, YE DEAD!”

This public confession began with an inscription; a musical phrase of David’s lament over the body of his son Absalom:

“Oh! Absalom my son, my son!”

I had a son whom I loved, and sent to his death. You Fathers of mourning Europe, millions of fathers, widowed of your sons, enemies or friends, I do not speak for myself only, but for you who are stained with their blood even as I am. You all speak by the voice of one of you, — my unhappy voice full of sorrow and repentance.

My son died, for yours, by yours. — How can I tell? — like yours. I laid the blame on the enemy, and on the war, as you must also have done, but I see now that the chief criminal, the one whom I accuse, is myself. Yes, I am guilty; and that means you, and all of us. You must listen while I tell you what you know well enough, but do not want to hear.

My son was twenty years old when he fell in this war. Twenty years I had loved him, protected him from hunger, cold, and sickness; saved him from darkness of mind, ignorance, error, and all the pitfalls that lie in the shadows of life. But what did I do to defend him against this scourge which was coming upon us?

I was never one of those who compounded with the passions of jealous nationalities. I loved men, and their future brotherhood was a joy to me. Why then did I do nothing against the impending danger, against the fever that brooded within us, against the false peace which made ready to kill with a smile on its lips?

I was perhaps afraid to displease others, afraid of enmities; it is true I cared too much to love, above all to be loved. I feared to lose the good-will of those around me, however feeble and insipid such a feeling may be. It is a sort of play acted by ourselves and others. No one is deceived by it, since both sides shrink from the word which might crack the plaster and bring the house about our ears. There is an inward equivocation which fears to see clearly in itself, wants to make the best of everything, to reconcile old instincts and new beliefs, mutually destructive forces, like the ideas of Country and Humanity, War and Peace…We are not sure which side to take; we lean first one way and then the other, like a see-saw; afraid of the effort needed to come to a decision and choose. What slothful cowardice is here! All whitewashed over with a comfortable faith in the goodness of things, which will, we think, settle themselves. And we continue to look on, and glorify the impeccable course of Destiny, paying court to blind Force.

Failing us, other things — and other men — have chosen; and not till then did we understand our mistake, but it was so dreadful to admit it, and we were so unaccustomed to be honest, that we acted as if we were in sympathy with the crime. In proof of this sympathy we have given up our own sons whom we love with all our hearts, more than life — if we could but give our lives for theirs! — but not more than our pride, with which we try to veil the moral confusion, the empty darkness of mind and heart.

We will say nothing of those who still believe in the old idol; grim, envious, blood bespattered as she is — the barbarous Country. These kill, sacrificing themselves and others, but at least they know what they do. But what of those who have ceased to believe (like me, alas! and you)? Their sons are sacrificed to a lie, for if you assert what you doubt, it is a falsehood, and they offer up their own children to prove this lie to themselves; and now that our beloved have died for it, far from confessing it, we hide our heads still deeper not to see what we have done. After our sons will come others, all the others, offered up for our untruth.

I for my part can bear it no longer, when I think of those who still live. Does it soothe my pain to inflict injury on others? Am I a savage of Homer’s time that I should believe that the sorrow of my dead son will be appeased, and his craving for light satisfied, if I sprinkle the earth which covers him with the blood of other men’s sons? — Are we at that stage still? — No, each new murder kills my son again, and heaps the heavy mud of crime over his grave. He was the future; if I would save the future, I must save him also, and rescue fathers to come from the agony that I endure. Come then, and help me! Cast out these falsehoods! Surely it is not for our sakes that men wage these combats between nations, this universal brigandage? What good is it to us? A tree grows up straight and tall, stretching out branches around it, full of free-flowing sap; so is a man who labours calmly, and sees the slow development of the many-sided life in his veins fulfil itself in him and in his sons. Is not this the first law, the first of joys? Brothers of the world, which of you envies the others or would deprive them of this just happiness? What have we to do with the ambitions and rivalries, covetousness, and ills of the mind, which they dignify with the name of Patriotism? Our Country means you, Fathers and Sons. All our sons. — Come and save them!

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Interview: U.S. To Retain Strategic Bases In Afghanistan After 2014

November 27, 2012 Leave a comment

Press TV
November 27, 2012

‘US wants to retain strategic bases after 2014 in Afghanistan’

Audio

President Barack Obama intends to keep around 10,000 US troops in Afghanistan beyond the much-advertised 2014 ‘withdrawal’ date, which is over 13 years since the U.S. and NATO troops entered the country, “effectively retaining control over key strategic military bases in Afghanistan” Rick Rozoff, manager of the Stop NATO organization said.

Rozoff said “We have to recall that the U.S. entered Afghanistan with the purpose of situating itself, militarily, in one of the most important vital parts of the world, in South and Central Asia”.

Rozoff continued that “The U.S., entering Afghanistan with geopolitical designs, is not prepared to leave it entirely and will still attempt to meddle in affairs in the region.”

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U.S. Troops To Stay In Afghanistan

November 27, 2012 1 comment

Voice of Russia
November 26, 2012

US troops to stay in Afghanistan
Artyom Kobzev

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“It’s no secret that when the U.S. and NATO troops were deployed in Afghanistan, the U.S. set the task of monitoring the territories of Iran and Pakistan. Originally, its desire was to go into Central Asia. It seems that they have no desire to give up this idea.”

In the spring, the presidents of America and Afghanistan signed an agreement on long-term strategic cooperation. Under the agreement, Americans enjoy the right to use several military bases in Afghanistan.

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The U.S. Administration aims to keep 10,000 troops in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of American and NATO forces in 2014, senior Pentagon officials said.

The forces of the U.S. and its allies will be withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of 2014. The Obama Administration has made relevant statements more than once. However, it has long been no secret that a certain number of American troops will stay in Afghanistan after the completion of “Operation Enduring Freedom”. The only secret was the size of this consignment. Head of the Pentagon Leon Panetta promised to answer this question shortly. He kept his word. The American command has said that 10,000 U.S. troops would stay in Afghanistan.

Commenting on the situation, expert at the Political Research Centre Vadim Kozyulin has this to say.

“Some said this figure would be 30,000. Experts believed that this would be the number of servicemen needed to maintain their positions, repulse aggression and fulfill those functions they have outlined there. I believe that this is a very small figure. In this case, we have to take into account the fact that the U.S. is now experiencing serious financial difficulties. The military budget is being sharply cut. The U.S. is planning to cut its military expenses by about 30 percent. Most likely, the above figure is linked to this situation,” Vadim Kozyulin said.

The American troops who will stay in Afghanistan will fulfill several tasks. For one, they will train Afghan soldiers and teach them how to control UAVs that are actively used in Afghanistan. Another important mission of the U.S. troops will be carrying out targeted special operations.

However, they will also fulfill other tasks that have nothing to do with Afghanistan, says invited researcher at the NATO College in Rome Oleg Kulakov.

“It’s no secret that when the U.S. and NATO troops were deployed in Afghanistan, the U.S. set the task of monitoring the territories of Iran and Pakistan. Originally, its desire was to go into Central Asia. It seems that they have no desire to give up this idea,” Oleg Kulakov said.

In the spring, the presidents of America and Afghanistan signed an agreement on long-term strategic cooperation. Under the agreement, Americans enjoy the right to use several military bases in Afghanistan. In response, Washington promised Kabul to sponsor its Defence Ministry and finance civil projects. Moreover, at present, the two sides are discussing an agreement on security issues. One of the conditions set by President Hamid Karzai for signing it is that American forces come under the jurisdiction of Afghan courts.

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Azerbaijan, Turkey and Georgia Hold Military Training In Ankara

November 27, 2012 Leave a comment

Azeri Press Agency
November 24, 2012

Azerbaijan, Turkey and Georgia to hold joint military training in Ankara
Malahat Najafova

Baku: The Turkish Armed Forces will start a special military training, “Caucasus Eagle,” on November 26.

APA reports that servicemen from Azerbaijan, Turkey and Georgia will participate in the trainings.

The Turkish General Staff reports that special groups from the three countries will attend the trainings in Ankara from November 26 till December 2.

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Trend News Agency
November 26, 2012

US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State to visit Georgia
N. Kirtzkhalia

Tbilisi: U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Eric Rubin will visit Georgia on November 27-29. He will meet with government officials and non-governmental and international organizations during the visit.

Eric Rubin will also participate in the work of the group on defense and security, which will be held in the frame of the Committee of the Georgian-American strategic cooperation, the U.S. Embassy told Trend on Monday.

The United States supports the deepening of Georgian-American relations. They help Georgia in democratic and economic reforms, and strongly support the sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.

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Trend News Agency
November 26, 2012

Georgian Defense Minister invites Afghan leader to Tbilisi
N. Kirtskhalia

Tbilisi: Afghan President Hamid Karzai met with Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Alasania in Kabul.

According to Afghan media outlets, Alasania informed the Afghan leader about his visit to his country’s troops serving in southern Helmand province, as well as a meeting with Afghan Defense Minister Bismillah Mohammadi.

Alasania described the talks with his Afghan counterpart as efficient.

In addition, on behalf of President Mikheil Saakashvili Alasania invited the Afghan leader to visit Georgia. Hamid Karzai has accepted the invitation gratefully.

According to the Defense Ministry of Georgia, in October, the country increased the number of its troops in Afghanistan up to 1,571 people. Thus, Georgia became the state with the largest contingent within ISAF among non-NATO countries.

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Aldous Huxley: All devote themselves methodically and scientifically to general massacre and wholesale destruction

November 27, 2012 Leave a comment

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

Aldous Huxley: Selections on war

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Aldous Huxley
From Science, Liberty and Peace (1946)

(In memory of Mons Lomblad)

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In a world where the concentration of economic power is advantageous to the ruling minority, it is only natural that the results of disinterested scientific research should be applied in such a way as to foster large-scale mass production and mass distribution. And in a world where nationalism is taken for granted, and where the values of nationalism are held to be supreme, it is only natural that these same results should be applied to the end of producing and continually improving the instruments of war.

Because it paid them to do so, men of science, inventors and engineers have worked to build up a system of centralized industry; and because, as nationalists, they thought it was their duty (and also, it must be added, because the duty was often a very profitable one), they have worked to produce such marvels of technological ingenuity as tanks, bombers, flame-throwers and atomic missiles.

‘Nationality,’ wrote Lord Acton in 1862, ‘does not aim either at liberty or prosperity, both of which it sacrifices to the imperative necessity of making the nation the mould and measure of the state. Its course will be marked with material as well as moral ruin.’ Acton’s prophecy is still in the terrible process of fulfilment. The material havoc wrought by applied science in the service of nationalism is such that it will take a generation to repair the damage. For many millions of men, women and especially children, the moral ruin caused by the war is irreparable; to the end of their lives they ane doomed to remain psychologically warped…

[I]ncendiaries, the heavy bomber and the jet-propelled robot plane, the rocket and finally the atomic missile — taken together these constitute a powerful temptation to ignore the traditional rules of war and to obliterate whole-sale entire civilian populations and their dwellings. To this temptation all the belligerents in the Second World War succumbed.

And so long as governments and manufacturers continue to subsidize research into the science and technology of armaments, these temptations will remain, irresistibly beckoning to nationalistic power lovers, just as drink and sex and money beckon to their respective addicts.

In recent months many persons have optimistically argued that the harnessing of atomic energy must (because that energy is so destructive) put an end to men’s inveterate habit of making war. Similar arguments have been set forth in the past. Whenever progressive applied science has produced some strikingly more efficient instrument of slaughter, hopes have been voiced, and facts and figures marshalled to prove, that henceforward war would be too expensive in life, suffering and money to be worth waging. Nevertheless wars have still been fought…

Methods of defence against the new destructive weapon are devised and yet more efficient instruments of counter-attack are invented. Advances in technology do not abolish the institution of war; they merely modify its manifestations. In the present instance it seems quite possible that there may be no defence against atomic missiles. But this does not necessarily presage the end of warfare. The collective mentality of nations — the mentality which reasonable adults have to adopt, when making important decisions in the field of international politics — is that of a delinquent boy of fourteen…

Area bombing, saturation bombing, rocket bombing, bombing by atomic missiles — the indiscriminateness has steadily increased throughout the Second World War, until now no nation even makes a pretence of observing the traditional distinction between civilians and combatants, innocent and guilty, but all devote themselves methodically and scientifically to general massacre and wholesale destruction. Other practical consequences of our ‘nothing-but’ philosophies of life are the employment by civilized people, with a high standard of scientific and technological training, of torture, human vivisection and the systematic starvation of entire populations. And finally there is the phenomenon of forced migration — the removal at the point of the bayonet of millions of men, women and children from their homes to other places, where most of them will die of hunger, exposure and disease.

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NATO to Survey Patriot Missile Sites in Turkey

November 26, 2012 Leave a comment

Russian Information Agency Novosti
November 26, 2012

NATO to Survey Patriot Missile Sites in Turkey

ANKARA: NATO officials will start surveying sites along the Turkey-Syria border on Tuesday for possible deployment of Patriot air defense systems, the Turkish General Staff said in a statement.

The NATO delegation includes 30 experts from the United States, Germany and the Netherlands, all of whom have Patriots in their arsenals.

“The regions the Patriot systems would be deployed to and the number of foreign personnel that will be assigned to them will be be based on the NATO delegation’s site-survey,” the statement said.

Turkey, a NATO member, has requested the deployment of Patriot missiles on its territory, saying the anti-missile system is necessary to protect its 900-km border with conflict-torn Syria.

Among the most possible sites for the Patriot deployment are Diyarbakir, Urfa and Malatya in southeastern Turkey. Hurriyet said up to 300 military personnel will be needed to service the Patriot batteries.

Syria has condemned the Patriot missile plan in Turkey as “another act of provocation.” Russia has warned that the move could trigger a regional crisis. NATO maintained that the missiles would be placed for defensive purposes only.

US Patriot surface-to-air missiles were last deployed to Turkey in 1991 and 2003, during the two Gulf Wars, to protect the country from Saddam Hussein’s Scud missiles.


—————————————————————————-

Voice of Russia
November 26, 2012

NATO representatives,Turkish servicemen to examine sites for Patriot Missile Air-Defence Systems

A delegation of NATO representatives and of the Turkish army will start examining Tuesday the places for the planned deployment of the Patriot Missile Air-Defence Systems on Turkey’s border with Syria, the General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces said.

The Patriot Missile Air-Defence Systems that Ankara asked NATO to supply it with are defensive in character and aimed against a possible missile attack on Syria’s part, and will be used neither for the establishment of no-fly zones nor for offensive operations, the General Staff said.

Turkey, which is a NATO member, filed an official request to the NATO alliance last week with a request for supplying the Patriot Misslel Air-Defence Systems to it.

According to local media reports, a delegation consisting of 30 NATO experts will arrive in Turkey soon.

Among the most probable system where the Patriot missiles could be deployed are the Turkish provinces Diyarbakir, Urfa and Malatya in the south-east of the country/

Last week, Turkey, the NATO member, formally applied to the Alliance with a request for providing it with the Patriot complexes.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that Ankara’s order will be immediately considered.

According to the statements of the Turkish General Staff posted on its web site, the works connected with the deployment of the anti-missile complexes and stationing of foreign troops in the country, will be carried out on the basis of the Memorandum, which will be signed in the framework of the existing NATO agreement.

Russian expert warns of possibility of large-scale war in Middle East

Turkey has asked NATO to deploy “Patriot” missiles on the Turkish side near the Turkish-Syrian border.

In an interview with the Voice of Russia, Russian analyst Konstantin Sivkov said: “Deploying these missiles in Turkey will be dangerous for Syrian military planes – this is obvious. A lesser obvious thing is that Turkey is getting ready for a war against Syria. If an attack on Syria from the territory of Turkey does take place, this will most likely be an attack not of the Turkish army, but of NATO’s forces.”

“The Middle East is getting ready for a large-sale battle which will very likely affect the Russian part of the Caucasus, and this, in its turn, will be reflected on the entire Russia,” Mr. Sivkov added.

Deployment of Patriots in Turkey means no-fly zone for Syria

The planned deployment by NATO countries of Patriot air defence systems on Turkey’s Syria border will actually amount to the imposition of a no-fly zone for Syrian aircraft in circumvention of the UN Security Council.

The opinion has been voiced by the leading research fellow of the Russian Institute for Oriental Studies, Vladimir Kudelev.

He feels that Patriot systems may drastically influence the fighting between the government troops and the opposition in the north of Syria, since the militants will thus get a 200 kilometre – to 250 kilometre-wide “umbrella” all along the Syrian-Turkish border.

The deployment of Patriots would also undermine the role of the UN Security Council, which, experts feel, would hardly authorize any proposal to impose a no-fly zone for Syrian aircraft.

Categories: Uncategorized

Iran, Russia, Syria Fight NATO Missiles On Turkish-Syrian Border

November 25, 2012 Leave a comment

Arutz Sheva
November 25, 2012

Iran, Syria, Russia Fight NATO Missiles on Turkish-Syrian Border
Iran is fighting the placement of Patriot defense missiles along the Turkish-Syrian border. So are Syria and Russia.
By Chana Ya’ar

Iran is doing everything it can to fight the placement of Patriot defense missiles along the Turkish-Syrian border. So is Syria, Iran’s beneficiary, backed by Russia, its other benefactor.

Turkey, a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has requested deployment of the Patriot anti-missile defense system. Ankara has been looking for ways to beef up defenses along Turkey’s 900-kilometer (560-mile) border with Syria.

The request came during talks over how best to prevent further spillover from the ever-intensifying civil war between the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and opposition forces.

Installation of the system on Turkish soil will “not only not help solve the situation in Syria, it will actually make the situation more difficult and complicated,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told the ISNA news agency on Sunday.

“The installation of such systems in the region has negative effects and will intensify problems in the region,” warned Iranian parliament Speaker Ali Larijani on Saturday evening, the IRNA state news agency reported. Larijani made the statement upon his return from a trip to Syria, Turkey and Lebanon, the news agency said.

Russia joined Iran in opposing the deployment of the NATO Patriot missile battery, as did Syria, which called the Turkish request “provocative.” Moscow, a heavy benefactor of Damascus, said the deployment could increase risks in the conflict. Russia has also been opposed to the placement of the NATO missile defense shield in Turkey and in Europe as well.

Meanwhile, more than a hundred thousand Syrian refugees have crossed the border into Turkey, including some of the rebels who are fighting the regime. Ankara has scrambled fighter jets in the past to deal with some of the gunfire, mortar fire and artillery shelling that has been directed, or has randomly landed in its territory.

Lebanon, Jordan, and Israel have also been subjected to various forms of weapons fire as a result of the Syrian conflict. As the fighting escalates further, the situation is rapidly deteriorating and it is no longer clear who is fighting who, or why.

Nearly a week ago, the fragmented opposition forces who had managed to united into a council to form a government-in-exile instead split in half, with 13 Muslim extremist groups forming their own secessionist movement. The Muslim group stated its distaste for the internationally-supported, “secular, foreign-controlled” Syrian National Council and instead declared an independent Islamic state in the northern commercial city of Aleppo.

Categories: Uncategorized

U.S. intensifies military encirclement of China

November 25, 2012 2 comments

Voice of Russia
November 24, 2012

US intensifies military encirclement of China
Rick Rozoff

“With the emergence of China as the world’s second-largest economy and its concomitant renewal of (comparatively minor) territorial claims in the East China Sea and South China Sea, the stage is set for a U.S.-Chinese confrontation of a nature and on a scale not seen since before the Sino-Soviet split of 1960″, Rick Rozoff, Stop Nato.

Following the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization throughout Europe over the past thirteen years, every European nation is now a full member of or involved in one or more partnership arrangements with the U.S.-led military bloc (except for Cyprus, which, however, is under intensified pressure to join the Partnership for Peace program). Having thus enforced a cordon sanitaire on Russia’s western and much of its southern frontier, it was inevitable that the U.S. and its allies would next move to encircle, quarantine and ultimately confront China.

In the past decade the Pentagon has begun conducting annual multinational military exercises in countries bordering China (Khaan Quest in Mongolia, Steppe Eagle in Kazakhstan) and near it (Angkor Sentinel in Cambodia), has with its NATO allies waged war and moved into bases in nations bordering China – Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan and Tajikistan – as well as nearby Uzbekistan, and, even before the official announcement of the strategic shift to the Asia-Pacific region, acquired the use of new military facilities in Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Australia, Singapore and the Philippines.

President Obama’s current visit to Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s simultaneous trip to Australia, Cambodia and Thailand are exemplary of this trend.

Early this year NATO announced the launching of its latest, and first non-geographically specific, partnership program, Partners Across the Globe, which began with the incorporation of eight Asia-Pacific nations: Afghanistan, Australia, Iraq, Japan, Mongolia, New Zealand, Pakistan and South Korea.

Since the summer of 2010 the U.S. has been courting the ten members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam), several of whom are embroiled in island disputes with China, for inclusion into a rapidly evolving Asian analogue of NATO. This includes the eight above-mentioned new NATO partners and is intended to be a super-Cold War era-like bloc, subsuming the former members of the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO), Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) and Australia, New Zealand, United States Security Treaty (ANZUS) into a systematic initiative aimed against China.

The so-called “Asia-Pacific pivot” also entails the deployment of 60 percent of total American naval assets – quantitatively the largest and qualitatively the most technologically advanced and lethal in the world – to the Asia-Pacific region. Even before that, the U.S. Pacific Command’s area of responsibility had included over 50 percent of the world’s surface, more than 100 million square miles, with U.S. Central Command bordering China and India in the other direction. The U.S. Seventh Fleet, tasked to patrol the waters of the Asia-Pacific, is the largest overseas naval force in the world and will be further enhanced by the U.S. Navy’s intensified deployment to the region. The U.S. has eleven of the world’s twelve nuclear aircraft carriers and all eleven supercarriers.

Washington is also incorporating several Asia-Pacific nations into its global interceptor missile grid, in its initial avatar launched in conjunction with NATO and the so-called European Phased Adaptive Approach, which will station increasingly longer-range land-based missiles in Romania and Poland. This in addition to Aegis class cruisers and destroyers equipped with Standard Missile-3 interceptors in the Mediterranean and likely later in the Baltic, Norwegian, Black and even Barents Seas.

The Pentagon’s partners in the Asia-Pacific wing of the international missile system, which targets China, as the European version does Russia, include to date Japan, South Korea, Australia and Taiwan, with the Philippines reported to be the future host of two Forward-Based X-Band Radar-Transportable interceptor sites of the sort deployed to Turkey at the beginning of this year and to Israel in 2008.

China is a key component of the two groups representing the greatest potential for a multi-polar world, BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Russia, its partner in both, confronting the same threats from the West, must, in its own interest as well as those of world peace and equilibrium, support China against American brinkmanship and gunboat diplomacy.

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO War Plans Against Syria To Affect Russia: Expert

November 25, 2012 1 comment

Voice of Russia
November 24, 2012

Russian expert warns of possibility of large-scale war in Middle East

In an interview with the Voice of Russia, Russian analyst Konstantin Sivkov said: “Deploying these missiles in Turkey will be dangerous for Syrian military planes – this is obvious. A lesser obvious thing is that Turkey is getting ready for a war against Syria. If an attack on Syria from the territory of Turkey does take place, this will most likely be an attack not of the Turkish army, but of NATO’s forces.”

“The Middle East is getting ready for a large-sale battle which will very likely affect the Russian part of the Caucasus, and this, in its turn, will be reflected on the entirety of Russia,” Mr. Sivkov added.

Deployment of Patriots in Turkey means no-fly zone for Syria

The planned deployment by NATO countries of Patriot air defence systems on Turkey’s Syria border will actually amount to the imposition of a no-fly zone for Syrian aircraft in circumvention of the UN Security Council.

The opinion has been voiced by the leading research fellow of the Russian Institute for Oriental Studies, Vladimir Kudelev.

He feels that Patriot systems may drastically influence the fighting between the government troops and the opposition in the north of Syria, since the militants will thus get a 200 kilometre – to 250 kilometre-wide “umbrella” all along the Syrian-Turkish border.

The deployment of Patriots would also undermine the role of the UN Security Council, which, experts feel, would hardly authorize any proposal to impose a no-fly zone for Syrian aircraft.

NATO shows great interest in deployment of Patriot missile air-defence systems

Plans for the deployment of the Patriot Missile Air-Defence Systems on the Turkish-Syrian border are defensive in character, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a telephone talk with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Earlier Moscow voiced its concern over the militarization of that region.

The above-mentioned telephone talk was held on the initiative of the NATO Secretary General. Moscow says that Rasmussen wanted to clarify the situation with the deployment of the Patriot Missile Air-Defence Systems on the Turkish territory. Ankara filed a relevant request to NATO on November 21st. The information that appeared in the press more than once last month said that Turkey was making preparations for appealing to Brussels. Possibly, acting in this way Ankara wanted to indirectly put pressure on its NATO allies. As you know, till recently NATO was strongly against getting involved in a conflict between Turkey and Syria, a political analyst, Stanislav Tarasov, says.

“They started asking NATO to interfere in the conflict, using the Alliance’s Clause No.5 – the defence of territories. Which means that they wanted to drag NATO into the conflict and thus, to ensure its military presence in the region. NATO said “No”. Then they resorted to Clause No. 4 – the provision of help”.

NATO said that it would consider Turkey’s request without any delay. And Germany’s Foreign Ministry said that Turkey’s request should be met without any delay. Media reports even said that Berlin was ready not only to provide the Patriot Missile Air-Defence Systems to Turkey but also to send 120 Bundeswehr soldiers to the region. Turkey has not only moved its forces to its border with Syria but has also approved a law enabling it to bring its troops into the territory of its neighbor in case of a military threat. The reason for such a large- scale militarization was firing missiles into the Syrian territory, which official Damascus called an accident. Any escalation of this conflict is inadmissible, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on November 23rd. Moscow is well aware of Turkey’s concern as well as of NATO’s arguments but what is important in this case is the potential, not intentions – that is why any militarization on the Turkish-Syrian border may lead to an uncontrollable turn of events, the Russian minister said.

“Any accumulation of arms creates certain risks and urges all those who would like like to resort to the exterior factor of force to finally use it. We believe that this will not happen, and that all outside players will display maximum responsibility in assessing the on-going developments in the region’.

In the diplomatic language this means that the events in Syria may start developing according to the Libyan Scenario, experts say. As you know, the opposition is losing its support, and Assad has a military superiority in Syria now, an Oriental studies expert, Azhdar Kurtov, says.

“The Syrian-Turkish border has a sophisticated mountain relief. Under such conditions, combat aviation is a very effective method of fighting against the rebels. Thus, if Turkey deploys the Patriot Missile Air-Defence Systems on its territory, it will be able to block Syria using its own aviation in the border regions on its own territory, which may change the turn of military developments in the region. When the overthrowing of the Gaddafi regime was under way, a no-fly zone was established over Libya. Something like that may be created near the Turkish-Syrian border”.

Moscow’s fears may also be caused by something that is not directly linked with the crisis in Syria, a Turkish political analyst, Barysh Adybelli, says.

“Moscow believes that in case the Patriot Misslile Air-Defence Systems are deployed in Turkey, they can be used as one of the elements of the early warning system – that is, as one of the elements of the European missile defence system which the USA is ardently defending by now”.

Official Ankara reacted to Moscow’s statements on November 23rd. Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan called Moscow’s reaction to a possible deployment of the Patriot Missile Air-Defence systems erroneous, adding that Russia is trying to present Turkey’s domestic issue as its own problem. Fears remain though.

Categories: Uncategorized

Turkey-Syria Standoff: NATO Missiles Readied, Kurdish Fighters On Border

November 24, 2012 Leave a comment

RT
November 24, 2012

Turkey-Syria standoff: Patriot missiles prepared, Kurdish fighters on the border

Syria has lashed out at Turkey’s “provocative” request to deploy NATO surface-to-air missiles on the countries’ shared border. The batteries may be installed in a matter of weeks, in a buildup that could further flare tensions in the turbulent zone.

Ankara has asked its NATO partners to station Patriot missile batteries along its southern border, claiming they are needed to protect Turkey’s national security. The system can shoot down aircraft and some missiles at a range of up to 600 kilometers.

The region has seen a number of episodes of cross-border mortar fire in recent months, though Syrian warplanes and gunboats were never reported attacking targets on Turkish territory.

The request was acknowledged by NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Thursday, who said that the possible deployment of the missiles was “purely defensive,” and would “serve as a deterrent to possible enemies even thinking of attacks”.

But the Syrian government sharply criticized the plan on Friday. A ministerial source told Syrian state TV that the deployment would be “a provocative step,” and that Syria would hold Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan “responsible for the militarization of the situation on the Syrian-Turkish border and increased tensions.”

Iran voiced similar criticisms, and sent parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani to visit to Damascus this week in a gesture of support for Tehran’s ally.

“The internal crisis in Syria cannot be solved through the deployment of such weapons,” Larijani said at a news conference in Beirut after his trip to Syria.

“The difference between us and the others when it comes to Syria is that the others want to impose democracy through weapons,” he added. “Iran cannot accept or support such a way.”

Russia also expressed concern that the military buildup along the Turkey-Syria border will only further complicate matters, tempting those who seek an escalation of violence in the tensions.

Turkish media speculates that the Patriot batteries will be delivered in a matter of weeks. Next week, a group of NATO military specialists will visit the sites to make assessments about potential deployments. The plan will then be reviewed by the US, Germany and Netherlands militaries, which agreed to provide the weapons.

Fears are being raised that the missiles would be used to create a de facto no-fly zone inside Syrian territory without a UN mandate. So far, Syrian air forces have been a key factor in Damascus’ fight against rebel troops.

Ankara has supported the rebels for months, allowing them to regroup inside Turkish territory and turning a blind eye to weapons smuggling.

Kurds take up arms against rebels

Turkey’s support for rebels is also viewed with suspicion by Syria’s Kurdish population, the majority of which lives in the northern border region. On Friday, two of the main Kurdish groups in Syria agreed to join forces to fight against anti-Assad Islamist militants, which attacked Kurdish areas this month.

The Democratic Union Party, known by its Kurdish initials PYD, and the Kurdish National Council (KNC) came to an agreement after a meeting in Arbil, the capital of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region. The two factions vowed to jointly defend the predominantly Kurdish towns in Syria and administer them together until an election can be held to form a local government.

The agreement followed fierce clashes between PYD militias and rebels from the Al-Nusra Front and allied Ghuraba al-Sham group in the Kurdish districts of Ras al-Ayn. The violence started in early November with a rebel attack on a small group of government soldiers in the area, escalating into a battle that killed at least five Kurds and 18 rebels.

Since then, Ghuraba al-Sham has called on other rebel groups to attack Ras al-Ayn and the provincial capital, Hasakeh. The rebels said that local Kurds, especially those from PYD, were enemies of the Syrian revolution.

PYD is seen as a close ally of Turkey’s Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a Kurdish force that has for decades been fighting a guerrilla war in Turkey in a bid for national autonomy. Ankara is hostile to both parties. Many Syrian Kurds believe that Turkey helped the Syrian rebels prepare their offensive at Ras al-Ayn, or even directly orchestrated it.

There are some 2 million Kurds living in Syrian territory…

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO Missile Deployment Means No-Fly Zone For Syria

November 24, 2012 Leave a comment

Voice of Russia
November 24, 2012

Deployment of Patriots in Turkey means no-fly zone for Syria

The planned deployment by NATO countries of Patriot air defence systems on Turkey’s Syria border will actually amount to the imposition of a no-fly zone for Syrian aircraft in circumvention of the UN Security Council.

The opinion has been voiced by the leading research fellow of the Russian Institute for Oriental Studies, Vladimir Kudelev.

He feels that Patriot systems may drastically influence the fighting between government troops and the opposition in the north of Syria, since the militants will thus get a 200 kilometre-to 250 kilometre-wide “umbrella” all along the Syrian-Turkish border.

The deployment of Patriots would also undermine the role of the UN Security Council, which, experts feel, would hardly authorize any proposal to impose a no-fly zone for Syrian aircraft.

NATO shows great interest in deployment of Patriot missile air-defence systems

Plans for the deployment of the Patriot Missile Air-Defence Systems on the Turkish-Syrian border are defensive in character, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a telephone talk with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Earlier Moscow voiced its concern over the militarization of that region.

The above-mentioned telephone talk was held on the initiative of the NATO Secretary General. Moscow says that Rasmussen wanted to clarify the situation with the deployment of the Patriot Missile Air-Defence Systems on the Turkish territory. Ankara filed a relevant request to NATO on November 21st. The information that appeared in the press more than once last month said that Turkey was making preparations for appealing to Brussels. Possibly, acting in this way Ankara wanted to indirectly put pressure on its NATO allies. As you know, till recently NATO was strongly against getting involved in a conflict between Turkey and Syria, a political analyst, Stanislav Tarasov, says.

“They started asking NATO to interfere in the conflict, using the Alliance’s Clause No.5 – the defence of territories. Which means that they wanted to drag NATO into the conflict and thus, to ensure its military presence in the region. NATO said “No”. Then they resorted to Clause No. 4 – the provision of help”.

NATO said that it would consider Turkey’s request without any delay. And Germany’s Foreign Ministry said that Turkey’s request should be met without any delay. Media reports even said that Berlin was ready not only to provide the Patriot Missile Air-Defence Systems to Turkey but also to send 120 Bundeswehr soldiers to the region. Turkey has not only moved its forces to its border with Syria but has also approved a law enabling it to bring its troops into the territory of its neighbor in case of a military threat. The reason for such a large- scale militarization was firing missiles into the Syrian territory, which official Damascus called an accident. Any escalation of this conflict is inadmissible, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on November 23rd. Moscow is well aware of Turkey’s concern as well as of NATO’s arguments but what is important in this case is the potential, not intentions – that is why any militarization on the Turkish-Syrian border may lead to an uncontrollable turn of events, the Russian minister said.

“Any accumulation of arms creates certain risks and urges all those who would like like to resort to the exterior factor of force to finally use it. We believe that this will not happen, and that all outside players will display maximum responsibility in assessing the on-going developments in the region’.

In the diplomatic language this means that the events in Syria may start developing according to the Libyan Scenario, experts say. As you know, the opposition is losing its support, and Assad has a military superiority in Syria now, an Oriental studies expert, Azhdar Kurtov, says.

“The Syrian-Turkish border has a sophisticated mountain relief. Under such conditions, combat aviation is a very effective method of fighting against the rebels. Thus, if Turkey deploys the Patriot Missile Air-Defence Systems on its territory, it will be able to block Syria using its own aviation in the border regions on its own territory, which may change the turn of military developments in the region. When the overthrowing of the Gaddafi regime was under way, a no-fly zone was established over Libya. Something like that may be created near the Turkish-Syrian border”.

Moscow’s fears may also be caused by something that is not directly linked with the crisis in Syria, a Turkish political analyst, Barysh Adybelli, says.

“Moscow believes that in case the Patriot Misslile Air-Defence Systems are deployed in Turkey, they can be used as one of the elements of the early warning system – that is, as one of the elements of the European missile defence system which the USA is ardently defending by now”.

Official Ankara reacted to Moscow’s statements on November 23rd. Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan called Moscow’s reaction to a possible deployment of the Patriot Missile Air-Defence systems erroneous, adding that Russia is trying to present Turkey’s domestic issue as its own problem. Fears remain though.

Categories: Uncategorized

Georgia’s Goal Remains Conquest of South Ossetia: Government

November 24, 2012 Leave a comment

Republic News Agency
November 23, 2012

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of South Ossetia: the goal of Tbilisi is the same – to establish control over South Ossetia
Edited by RR

Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of South Ossetia

Twenty-three years ago, November 23, 1989, on the outskirts of Tskhinval a march of tens of thousands of Georgian extremists, organized by leaders of the nationalist movements, through complicity of the authorities of Georgia was stopped. The march to Tskhinval was aimed at intimidating the Ossetians which would be followed by their expulsion from the territory of South Ossetia.

That plan of the Georgian nationalists was thwarted, however. Those November days were a prologue to the long struggle of the people of South Ossetia for the right to life, liberty, and human dignity.

The repeated armed invasions by Georgian gunmen and army units in South Ossetia in 1990-1992, in 2004 and 2008 and their barbaric atrocities have cost the people of South Ossetia enormous victims and immeasurable suffering.

Thousands of our fellow citizens have become the victims of the armed aggression and genocide carried out by different regimes in Georgia over the past twenty years. The only possible way for Ossetians to withstand and survive was to restore their independent statehood.

Now the Republic of South Ossetia is a country that has obtained international recognition.

In Georgia [the government] still does not want to recognize the current reality and continues to dream of revenge. Georgia’s new authorities are camouflaging their intentions with regard to South Ossetia by rhetorical tricks, talking about the possibility of all sorts of bonuses and economic benefits to attract Ossetians. The goal of Tbilisi has remained the same – to establish its control over South Ossetia.

Imperial ambitions, which have been nurtured in Tbilisi, are unrelated to South Ossetia. Georgia has never had a legal right to the territory of South Ossetia, which was included in the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1922, against the will of the Ossetian people. By the denunciation of all acts adopted in 1921, Georgia in 1990 completely destroyed any state-legal basis for the maintenance of South Ossetia in its composition.

The people of South Ossetia have repeatedly reaffirmed the will for independence at referendums in 1992, 2001 and 2006. South Ossetia’s status is determined by its people and is not negotiable. For over 20 years, South Ossetia has been an independent state; since 2008 it has won international recognition. This objective reality is undeniable and, sooner or later, Georgia will also have to admit that.

If the new Georgian government really wants to normalize relations with the Republic of South Ossetia, first of all they must agree to sign a legally-binding agreement on the non-use of force, to accept responsibility for the genocide of the people of South Ossetia, to punish the perpetrators of crimes against our people and to make up for all the damage caused to our country. Only on this basis can good-neighbourly relations between the Republic of South Ossetia and Georgia be established. Any other ideas that seem enticing to the new Georgian leadership will not be accepted by the people of South Ossetia.

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO Allied Land Command Activating Next Week In Turkey

November 24, 2012 1 comment

Stars and Stripes
November 23, 2012

NATO Allied Land Command activating next week in Turkey
By John Vandiver

====

Establishing the headquarters in Turkey — home to NATO’s second largest military – makes good strategic sense, [Lt. Gen. Frederick] Hodges said.

“Turkey’s location from a geographic standpoint — adjacent to the Middle East, nearly adjacent to Russia — it’s an important location,” Hodges said. “It sends a signal not only to Turkey and the rest of the alliance. It sends a signal to the other neighbors.”

====

STUTTGART, Germany: A new NATO land command headquarters, restructured to streamline costs and decision making, will be activated next week in Turkey as the new home for planning how infantrymen from the 28-nation alliance fight together.

As the war in Afghanistan winds down, one of the prime focuses of NATO Allied Land Command will be harnessing that war fighting experience to ensure that the alliance doesn’t lose the lessons learned, said the American Army officer commanding the new headquarters in Izmir, Turkey.

Coming off more than a decade at war, the level of “interoperability” among NATO members is at an all-time high, Lt. Gen. Frederick “Ben” Hodges, said.

“My job will be to maintain that level of interoperability,” Hodges said. “You’ve got to retain this experience, and a lot of that resides in the noncommissioned officer corps.”

Following an activation ceremony on Friday in Izmir, Allied Land Command headquarters will formally assume the responsibilities of Force Command Heidelberg, Germany, and Force Command Madrid, Spain, which are being deactivated as part of NATO’s transformation. A similar merger of Air Command headquarters formerly in Turkey with one in Germany is taking place at Ramstein Air Base.

The Allied Land Command is responsible for ensuring readiness of NATO forces, conducting land operations and synchronizing land force command and control.

[An] area of focus for Hodges is lobbying for a U.S. policy change that currently limits tours in Izmir to one-year unaccompanied missions for U.S. personnel. To ensure the U.S. can attract the best troops to the command, tours in Izmir should become accompanied and extended like other alliance members’ tours, according to Hodges.

“The current policy hurts our effectiveness,” said Hodges. “I think it marginalizes the American contribution to some extent.”

Meanwhile, Hodges said he hopes to develop an exercise that would bring together allies in a rugged environment to test their logistical and communication abilities.

For NATO reaction forces to be effective, “we’re going to have to ramp up some of our training,” he said.

While NATO may not have the resources to bring back something on the massive scale of the Cold War-era Reforger exercise, ground troops would benefit from getting together for a major logistics event, Hodges said. “You’ve got to apply rigor to truly test logistics.”

Establishing the headquarters in Turkey — home to NATO’s second largest military – makes good strategic sense, Hodges said.

“Turkey’s location from a geographic standpoint — adjacent to the Middle East, nearly adjacent to Russia — it’s an important location,” Hodges said. “It sends a signal not only to Turkey and the rest of the alliance. It sends a signal to the other neighbors.”

Categories: Uncategorized

William Blake: O go not forth in Martyrdoms & Wars

November 24, 2012 Leave a comment

====

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

***

William Blake: O for a voice like thunder, and a tongue to drown the throat of war!

William Blake: Groaning among the happier dead

William Blake: To peaceful arts shall envy bow

====

William Blake
From Milton

blake

Rouze up O Young Men of the New Age! set your foreheads against the ignorant Hirelings! For we have Hirelings in the Camp, the Court, & the University: who would if they could for ever depress Mental & prolong Corporeal War.

And Milton said: I go to Eternal Death! The Nations still
Follow after the detestable Gods of Priam: in pomp
Of warlike selfhood contradicting and blaspheming.

Lo Orc arises on the Atlantic. Lo his blood and fire
Glow on Americas shore: Albion turns upon his Couch:
He listens to the sounds of War, astonished and confounded:
He weeps into the Atlantic deep…

This Wine-press is call’d War on Earth, it is the Printing-Press
Of Los; and here he lays his words in order above the mortal brain
As cogs are formd in a wheel to turn the cogs of the adverse wheel.

O when shall we tread our Wine-presses in heaven, and Reap
Our wheat with shoutings of joy, and leave the Earth in peace
Remember how Calvin and Luther in fury premature
Sow’d War and stern division between Papists & Protestants
Let it not be so now! O go not forth in Martyrdoms & Wars
We were plac’d here by the Universal Brotherhood & Mercy,
With powers fitted to circumscribe this dark Satanic death,
And that the Seven Eyes of God may have space for Redemption.

These are the Gods of the Kingdoms of the Earth: in contrarious
And cruel opposition: Element against Element, opposed in War
Not Mental, as the Wars of Eternity, but a Corporeal Strife…

Because we were combind in Freedom & holy Brotherhood:
While those combined by Satans Tyranny, first in the blood of War
And Sacrifice, & next, in Chains of imprisonment, are Shapeless Rocks
Retaining only Satans Mathematic Holiness, Length, Bredth & Highth.

Distinguish therefore States from Individuals in those States.
States Change: but Individual Identities never change nor cease.
You cannot go to Eternal Death in that which can never Die.

In Tyre & Sidon I saw Baal & Ashtaroth. In Moab Chemosh
In Ammon Molech: loud his Furnaces rage among the Wheels
Of Og, & pealing loud the cries of the Victims of Fire:
And pale his Priestesses infolded in Veils of Pestilence, border’d
With War…

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO Missiles In Turkey: Libyan Scenario, Part of Broader System

November 23, 2012 1 comment

Voice of Russia
November 23, 2012

NATO shows great interest in deployment of Patriot missile air-defence systems

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Media reports even said that Berlin was ready not only to provide Patriot missile air defence systems to Turkey but also to send 120 Bundeswehr soldiers to the region. Turkey has not only moved its forces to its border with Syria but has also approved a law enabling it to bring its troops into the territory of its neighbor…

“[I]f Turkey deploys Patriot missile air defence systems on its territory, it will be able to block Syria using its own aviation in the border regions on its own territory, which may change the turn of military developments in the region. When the overthrowing of the Gaddafi regime was under way, a no-fly zone was established over Libya. Something like that may be created near the Turkish-Syrian border”.

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Plans for the deployment of Patriot missile air defence systems on the Turkish-Syrian border are defensive in character, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a telephone talk with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Earlier Moscow voiced its concern over the militarization of that region.

The above-mentioned telephone talk was held on the initiative of the NATO Secretary General. Moscow says that Rasmussen wanted to clarify the situation with the deployment of Patriot missile air defence systems on Turkish territory. Ankara filed a relevant request to NATO on November 21st. Information that appeared in the press more than once last month said that Turkey was making preparations for appealing to Brussels. Possibly, acting in this way Ankara wanted to indirectly put pressure on its NATO allies. As you know, till recently NATO was strongly against getting involved in a conflict between Turkey and Syria, a political analyst, Stanislav Tarasov, says.

“They started asking NATO to interfere in the conflict, using the Alliance’s Article No.5 – the defence of territories. Which means that they wanted to drag NATO into the conflict and thus to ensure its military presence in the region. NATO said ‘No”. Then they resorted to Article No. 4 – the provision of help”.

NATO said that it would consider Turkey’s request without any delay. And Germany’s Foreign Ministry said that Turkey’s request should be met without any delay.

Media reports even said that Berlin was ready not only to provide Patriot missile air defence systems to Turkey but also to send 120 Bundeswehr soldiers to the region. Turkey has not only moved its forces to its border with Syria but has also approved a law enabling it to bring its troops into the territory of its neighbor in case of a military threat.

…Any escalation of this conflict is inadmissible, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on November 23rd. Moscow is well aware of Turkey’s concern as well as of NATO’s arguments, but what is important in this case is the potential, not intentions; that is why any militarization on the Turkish-Syrian border may lead to an uncontrollable turn of events, the Russian minister said.

“Any accumulation of arms creates certain risks and encourages all those who would like like to resort to the exterior factor of force to finally use it. We believe that this will not happen, and that all outside players will display maximum responsibility in assessing the on-going developments in the region.”

In diplomatic language this means that the events in Syria may start developing according to the Libyan scenario, experts say. As you know, the opposition is losing its support, and Assad has military superiority in Syria now, an Oriental studies expert, Azhdar Kurtov, says.

“The Syrian-Turkish border has a sophisticated mountain relief. Under such conditions, combat aviation is a very effective method of fighting against the rebels. Thus, if Turkey deploys Patriot missile air defence systems on its territory, it will be able to block Syria using its own aviation in the border regions on its own territory, which may change the turn of military developments in the region. When the overthrowing of the Gaddafi regime was under way, a no-fly zone was established over Libya. Something like that may be created near the Turkish-Syrian border”.

Moscow’s fears may also be caused by something that is not directly linked with the crisis in Syria, a Turkish political analyst, Barysh Adybelli, says.

“Moscow believes that in case Patriot misslile air defence systems are deployed in Turkey, they can be used as one of the elements of an early warning system; that is, as one of the elements of the European missile defence system which the USA is ardently defending by now”.

Categories: Uncategorized

“NATO By Now Includes Nearly Every European Nation”

November 23, 2012 4 comments

Deutsche Welle
November 22, 2012

Who’s next to join the NATO alliance?

NATO by now includes nearly every European nation. Ten years since the last major expansion, four more countries in line to join. Russia, however, remains critical of the alliance’s continued expansion.

Ten years ago, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) agreed to accept seven central and eastern European countries and in 2004 those new members officially joined the alliance. At the 2002 summit in Prague then-NATO Secretary General Lord George Robertson pointed out that the new expansion was not to be understood as being directed against Russia or any other country.

“NATO has never been an exclusive organization” he said. “From 12 original countries, we’ve enlarged successively to 14, then to 15, to 16 and then in 1990 to 19. And NATO’s door is still open.”

In 1999, Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary were the first three former Warsaw Pact members to join the alliance. By then, the Warsaw Pact had, like its leader the Soviet Union, disappeared. “Back in the early 1990s we would never have dreamed of one day becoming a NATO member,” Estonian Prime Minister Siim Kallas said at the Prague summit a decade ago.

The door remains open

Rasmussen said NATO’s door remains open The 2008 summit in Bucharest once again confirmed what Robertson had said in 2002 – that NATO’s door remained open. Only a few days ago, current Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said during a meeting with new Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili in Brussels that back in 2008, the alliance had agreed to offer NATO membership also to Georgia and Ukraine.

Newly elected Ivanishvili said Georgia would do everything required for…Russia and Georgia fought a brief war four years ago over a rebel province seeking independence from Tbilisi.

No say for Russia

Russia has been critical of all NATO expansion since 1990…

Russia does not have an actual say in that matter [NATO expansion to its border], said German parliamentarian Karl Lamers, currently president of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.

“The relationship between NATO and Russia is marked by dialogue and transparency, but Russia does not co-determine policy. Quite on the contrary: We’ve seen in the past that Russia has again and again complained against the expansion. I’m thinking in particular about Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania,” Lamers told DW, adding that Russia’s objections did not halt the alliance’s expansion.

Ukraine no longer interested

In 2008, Ukraine was ambitious to join at some point. But since the election of pro-Russian Victor Yanukovych, the country has dropped its membership ambitions.

“Under the current president there’s no perspective for joining NATO,” Lamers explained.

But close cooperation would continue, Rasmussen said at the most recent official meeting with the Ukrainian government in spring 2012. Ukraine is, for instance, part of NATO led missions like the one in Afghanistan.

Three Balkan candidates

In spring 2009, Croatia and Albania had joined – long before a possible EU membership. The criteria for NATO are less strict than for the European Union, but prospective members do have to be stable democracies and have a civilian control over their military. Also, their military forces have to be somewhat on the level with standards of the alliance. Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and Macedonia are currently working towards achieving those standards. When exactly they will join though remains unclear.

Macedonia has fulfilled the requirements for years. But as NATO member Greece objects to Macedonia’s name – as Greece has a province of the same name – and Athens has blocked membership for the former Yugoslav republic.

Ties to Serbia

Kosovo still has NATO troops stationed on it’s territory In 1999, NATO fought a war against Serbia…Relations between Belgrade and NATO are therefore still somewhat cool.

NATO also does not accept any members who would bring unresolved territorial disputes into the alliance. That means that first of all, Serbia would have to normalize its ties with Kosovo. Currently, Belgrade does not yet recognize Pristina’s independence and there still are NATO-led troops stationed in Kosovo.

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Russia Reiterates Objection To NATO Missiles On Syrian Border

November 23, 2012 1 comment

Interfax
November 23, 2012

Lavrov reiterates Russia’s concerns about Turkey plans to deploy Patriot missiles

MOSCOW: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov once again iterated Russia’s concerns about plans to deploy Patriot missile systems at the Turkish-Syrian border in a telephone conversation with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

“Anders Fogh Rasmussen informed [Lavrov] about the situation related to Turkey’s request that NATO deploy Patriot air defense missiles on its territory. Lavrov reiterated Russia’s concerns about the plans to step up the military potential in the region and the proposal on establishing a direct communication line between Ankara and Damascus to avoid incidents,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement it published on its website following the conversation.

The parties also discussed preparations for a ministerial meeting of the NATO-Russia Council planned for December 4 in Brussels, it said.

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Russian Information Agency Novosti
November 23, 2012

Russia Reiterates Concern Over NATO Missiles in Turkey

MOSCOW: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated on Friday Moscow’s concern over the possible deployment of US Patriot air defense systems in Turkey.

Turkey, a NATO member, has requested the deployment of Patriot missiles on its territory, saying the missile system is necessary to protect its 900-km border with conflict-torn Syria.

“Sergei Lavrov has reiterated Russia’s concern over [NATO] plans to boost its military capability in the region, and reaffirmed the need for direct dialogue between Ankara and Damascus in order to avoid incidents,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said following a phone conversation between Lavrov and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

Rasmussen, who earlier stated that the deployment of Patriot missiles would “contribute to the de-escalation of the crisis along NATO’s south-eastern border,” reassured Lavrov that the missiles would be placed for defensive purposes only.

US Patriot surface-to-air missiles were last deployed to Turkey in 1991 and 2003, during the two Gulf Wars, to protect the country from Saddam Hussein’s Scud missiles.

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Russian Black Sea Warships Deployed To Eastern Mediterranean

November 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Itar-Tass
November 23, 2012

Warships of Russian Black Sea Fleet are ordered to stay in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea

MOSCOW: Fulfilling orders, a convoy of warships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet arrived in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea for a possible evacuation of Russian citizens from the Gaza Strip in case of an escalation of the Palestinian-Israeli armed conflict, a source in the High Command of the Russian Navy told Itar-Tass on Friday.

“The guards missile-carrying cruiser Moskva and the big landing ship Saratov have arrived in the designated area already on November 20, the border patrol ship Smetlivy and the big landing ship Novocherkassk joined the foresaid warships 1-2 days later, after the refuelling from the big sea tanker Ivan Bubnov. The full convoy of the warships of the Black Sea Fleet arrived in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea in order to evacuate Russian citizens from the Gaza Strip in case of escalation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict,” the Russian naval source said.

“It is not ruled out that our warships will be assigned for another combat mission in case of deterioration of the regional situation,” the source in the High Command of the Russian Navy told Itar-Tass. However, the source did not specify what mission in concrete can be set for Russian warships.

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Resource Wars Assume Epidemic Proportions

November 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Voice of Russia
November 23, 2012

Wars for resources assume epidemic proportions
Ilya Kharlamov

A civil war in Congo may cause big problems for millions of cell phone and computer users across the globe.

Congo is the world’s third largest producer of tantalum used in high-tech electronics. Even a temporary supply shortage may deal a serious blow to the electronics industry with far-reaching consequences for other branches. The situation in Congo is just one example of how regional conflicts may affect the lives of millions of people on other continents.

Although sparked by a tribal and clan feud, the ongoing bloodshed in that Central African country is actually a war for mineral resources. This week, the rebels seized Goma, the biggest city in the mineral-reach eastern part of Congo, and are poised to fight on with government troops and UN forces unable, so far, to check their advance. The rebels, who call themselves the March 23 Movement, or M23, are widely believed to enjoy clandestine support from neighboring Rwanda and Uganda struggling for access to Congo’s mineral wealth.

Congo has vast and largely untapped reserves of oil, gold, diamonds, copper, uranium, cobalt and other minerals, including tantalum – a rare-earth metal used in the nuclear power industry, mobile phones, computers, digital cameras and other high-tech products. With demand for tantalum growing faster than supply, fueled by rapidly-developing high-tech branches, tantalum is becoming more profitable than gold or diamonds. For Congo’s poor neighbors, control over tantalum deposits could mean a chance for an economic breakthrough and higher living standards. And although producers have stockpiled sufficient quantities of tantalum, the situation is very alarming and prompting scientists to look for alternatives.

Analysts draw parallels with Serbia and the Balkan conflict. A Western project for the independence of Kosovo intended not only to punish the disobedient Serbia, but also to strip it of a vast portion of mineral reserves – coal, gold, platinum, bauxites, zinc, nickel and cobalt – estimated at dozens of millions of tons. Cobalt, for example, is a key element in renewable energy production.

The recent bloody war in Sudan is seen by some experts as a battlefield between Beijing and Washington. China has invested and continues to invest billions of dollars in Africa and made it a priority of its foreign policy. As a result of the war, Sudan split into two separate states – Sudan and South Sudan. Last year, the oil-rich South Sudan acquired independence with the active assistance of the United States. But the Sudanese oil, though extracted in the south, cannot be transported other than through the north, which makes oil transit an essential issue with many lances broken over it already.

As the global population grows at a rate of tens of millions per year, the task of providing it with energy and staple goods is becoming a top priority. While for many countries, control over mineral resources is actually a matter of surviving, for elites it’s an opportunity to enrich themselves uncontrollably. Wars for resources may assume epidemic proportions.

Categories: Uncategorized

Russia Alarmed By NATO Missile Deployment Near Syrian Border

November 23, 2012 Leave a comment

RT
November 22, 2012

Russia: Patriot missile deployment at Syria-Turkey border would be ‘alarming’

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Moscow will certainly be concerned by any additional attempts by NATO to militarize the region.

Moscow and Washington are already at loggerheads over NATO efforts to install a US missile defense system in Eastern Europe. Russia has warned of “another arms race” unless an agreement is reached.

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The Russian Foreign Ministry has expressed strong reservations against Ankara’s announcement that it is requesting Patriot missiles from NATO to deploy along the Turkey-Syria border.

“Militarization of the Syrian-Turkish border is an alarming signal,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Alexander Lukashevich said during a news conference in the Russian capital on Thursday.

The diplomat advised Turkey to instead promote dialogue between Damascus and the Syrian opposition.

“We have a different recommendation for our Turkish colleagues: they should use their influence on the Syrian opposition to promote the soonest beginning of the inter-Syrian dialogue,” he said.

Syria is experiencing a protracted conflict between a rebel opposition and forces loyal to President Bashar Assad. Some of this violence has spilled over into Turkish territory.

In October, Turkey fired artillery into Syria after stray shells from the conflict hit the Turkish border town of Akcakale, killing five civilians.

Moscow, which has actively engaged both the Syrian opposition and government officials, is increasingly concerned that the situation along the Turkish-Syrian border may spiral out of control.

The ministry spokesman strongly advised Turkey against “building muscle or putting the situation on such a dangerous track.”

However, Lukashevich remained cautious when asked how the situation might play out. “Let’s wait for a reaction from our NATO partners,” he said.

Meanwhile, although the ministry spokesman did not openly state it, Moscow will certainly be concerned by any additional attempts by NATO to militarize the region.

Moscow and Washington are already at loggerheads over NATO efforts to install a US missile defense system in Eastern Europe. Russia has warned of “another arms race” unless an agreement is reached.

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Sofia News Agency
November 22, 2012

Turkey to Deploy Patriot Missiles on Syria Border, Russia Cries Foul

The Turkish government led by PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan has officially requested Patriot missiles from NATO to be deployed along its border with Syria.

The missiles, Turkey says, are to be used only defensively in case of a spill over of the Syrian civil war across the border.

According to NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the move is bound to have a beneficial effect on security in the region.

Russia has however reacted sharply, arguing that such deployment would actually further worsen boiling tensions.

“We have asked Turkey to refrain from deploying Patriot missiles,” said Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Alexander Lukashevich.

In the past month, Turkey and Syria have exchanged incidental fire across the border.

Turkish PM Erdogan has sharply denounced the embattled regime of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, and has repeatedly issued calls for a step down.

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NATO Inspects Turkish Sites For Missile Deployments

November 22, 2012 Leave a comment

Voice of Russia
November 22, 2012

NATO inspects Turkish sites for Patriot deployment

A group of NATO experts has set off for Turkey to select sites for the deployment of Patriot missiles on its border with Syria, a source in the alliance told reporters Thursday.

The decision will be made after a report by the experts and consultations with all NATO members.

On Monday, Turkey forwarded a request to deploy the missiles to protect itself from potential Syrian strikes.

Russia warns Turkey against Patriot missiles

Russia has expressed its concern over the militarization of the Turkish-Syrian border, the VoR correspondent Polina Chernitsa has cited the Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich who commented on Turkey’s request to deploy Patriot missiles on the Syrian border.

Moscow would like Turkey to contribute to the beginning of the inter-Syria dialogue rather than flex its military muscles, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Thursday.

“The militarization of the Syrian-Turkish border is a dismal signal,” Lukashevich said, referring to Turkey’s recent request to deploy Patriot anti-missile systems to protect its border with Syria.

He urged Turkey to interact more with the Syrian opposition so as to help start the inter-Syria dialogue as soon as possible.

Turkey already hosted the complex twice. in 1991 and 2003 during the two Iraqi campaigns but never used it.

Voice of Russia, TASS

Categories: Uncategorized

High-Level NATO Official Visits Iraq

November 22, 2012 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
November 22, 2012

High level NATO official visits Iraq

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Iraq: NATO Forges New Strategic Partnership In Persian Gulf

Partners Across the Asia-Pacific: NATO Reinforces Pentagon’s Shift to East

Iraq: NATO Assists In Building New Middle East Proxy Army

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James Appathurai and Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari at NATO HQ, May 2012

On 21 November 2012, NATO’s Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs James Appathurai travelled to Baghdad at the invitation of the Iraqi government. He met with Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari and with National Security Advisor Falih al-Fayyadh.

Mr. Appathurai’s visit, only two months after the Iraqi National Security Advisor’s visit to NATO HQ, aims at reinforcing bilateral political dialogue between NATO and Iraq, and will also serve to steer the implementation of the NATO-Iraq Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme.

NATO is committed to building a full-fledged partnership with Iraq, based on the principles of respect for sovereignty, respect for international law, joint ownership and mutual benefit. The signing of the NATO-Iraq Individual Partnership and Cooperation programme, only two months ago, marked the formal accession of Iraq to NATO’s “partnership family”.

During his meetings with the Iraqi leadership, Mr. Appathurai reaffirmed NATO’s commitment to assisting Iraq as it builds a modern security sector, as well as the Alliance’s interest in maintaining regular high-level political dialogue on security issues of common interest.

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NATO Chief In Switzerland: No Nation on the Sidelines

November 22, 2012 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
November 22, 2012

NATO Secretary General stresses closer security cooperation in visit to Switzerland

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen stressed the importance of cooperative security and building stronger security partnerships during talks with Swiss government leaders on Thursday (22 November).

The Secretary General, who was on a one-day visit to Switzerland, met with Swiss Vice President and Defence Minister Ueli Maurer and the head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Didier Burkhalter in Bern. This was the first visit of a NATO Secretary General to Switzerland since 2004.

During his talks Mr. Fogh Rasmussen thanked Switzerland for its contribution to NATO’s Kosovo mission and various Trust Fund projects and discussed where NATO and Switzerland can cooperate further. The Secretary General noted that Switzerland “is a keen and generous contributor” to cooperative security.

“Your role is essential and highly appreciated,” he said.

Mr. Fogh Rasmussen also promoted security cooperation in an address to this year’s Churchill Symposium, which is organised by the University of Zurich’s Europe Institute. He said NATO nations and Alliance partners like Switzerland should use Winston Churchill’s bold vision for closer European cooperation in 1946 as an inspiration.

Mr. Fogh Rasmussen said that NATO and partner nations shared the same threats and as such needed to work together to address them, especially in times of economic austerity.

He noted that while European nations have moved to take up more responsibilities for their own security, they needed to do more. “We must show greater readiness to engage beyond our borders when necessary and we must build stronger security partnership around the globe, to find common solutions to common problems,” said the Secretary General. He added that no country, including Switzerland can afford to stay on the sidelines when it comes to security and protecting values like democracy. “We both understand the importance of defending and promoting those values in an uncertain world.”

Categories: Uncategorized

Netherlands: U.S. Black Hawk, Apache Helicopters In Military Exercise

November 22, 2012 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations
Story courtesy of Netherlands Ministry of Defence
November 22, 2012

AMERICAN BLACK HAWKS EVACUATE DUTCH CASUALTIES


Red berets watch as a Black Hawk takes off. (Photo courtesy: Netherlands Ministry of Defence)

More than 400 military personnel of 11 Airmobile Brigade took part in Exercise Wolf King last week, together with Dutch and American helicopter crews. The red berets were training their skills in integrated army and air force operations in the south of the Netherlands, using 2 Apache combat helicopters and 2 Chinook and 2 American Black Hawk transport helicopters.

The Black Hawks were deployed as medical transport helicopters. The main reason for the cooperation with the American helicopter crews was to train in the use of the international procedures for medical evacuations. These procedures were run through under various conditions and in great detail. For instance, there are rules concerning the handover of casualties to the flight nurse. In order to give them the right treatment during the flight, the military nurses must have as much information as possible about patients’ medical status.

Bridge at Bath

The medevac flights were carried out in various exercise disciplines, including an air assault operation. This is the most intensive form of cooperation between airmobile infantry personnel and helicopter crews. Not only do the infantry personnel use helicopters for transportation, but they are used throughout the operation, for instance for fire support by Apaches. This close cooperation requires excellent communication and coordination. The objective on this particular occasion was to capture the bridge at the town of Bath, in the province of Zeeland.

The Defence Helicopter Command and 11 Airmobile Brigade operate jointly as 11 Air Manoeuvre Brigade. This brigade can be deployed anywhere in the world within 20 days.

Categories: Uncategorized

Azeri Expert: New NATO Format For Intervention In Caspian, Caucasus

November 22, 2012 Leave a comment

Trend News Agency
November 22, 2012

Azerbaijani expert: NATO needs new format
M. Aliyev

Baku: NATO is in need of a new “Article 4.5″ format, expert on security issues and teacher at the Baku State University Bakhtiyar Aslanbeyli said at the International conference on “Ensuring Energy Security in the Caspian Basin and NATO’s role in protecting critical energy infrastructure”.

He said this format can be agreed in the middle of the existing format between NATO member countries (“an attack against one state shall be considered an attack against all”) and the “consultation” format between NATO and partner countries.

Aslanbeyli underlined that the new format could be realised by signing an Individual Security Agreement between Azerbaijan and NATO.

“By the signing of such an agreement Azerbaijan can gain additional guaranties vital for its security, NATO member countries can declare their interests in the security of critical energy infrastructure in the region which are of vital importance for their energy supply; also NATO can seriously strengthen its positions in the South Caucasus,” he said.

Aslanbeyli said that Azerbaijan’s location in the complicated geopolitical region, the existence in its territory of critical energy infrastructure with vital importance for energy supply to many European countries including NATO member states, the fact that neighbouring Armenia occupied the territories of Azerbaijan, remains a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization security system, but Azerbaijan declared integration to Euro-Atlantic structures as one of the main directions of its national security, in another neighbouring country, in Iran, different officials announce the energy interests of Western countries in Azerbaijan as a main target in case of military intervention to Iran, prompts Azerbaijan to be a member of a security system that could help to minimise such security threats.

“Of course, Azerbaijan’s current geopolitical position, military potential, and balanced foreign policy in the region serve as a solid background for the neutralization of existing security threats. But raising security relations (a security guaranty) with NATO to a higher level can positively influence the security situation of the country. Then, how those relations could be developed in addition to the PfP [Partnership for Peace] program. It is well known that the cornerstone of NATO’s activities – the principle of collective defence from armed attack stipulated by Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty applies to the member countries only. Of course, realization of a security guarantee in the format of Article 5 is not realistic for both sides. Relations with partner countries are regulated mainly under Article 4 of the North Atlantic Treaty. But ‘consultations’ meant in Article 4 may not be satisfactory for the neutralization of existing security threats in decisive moments,” Aslanbeyli said.

Categories: Uncategorized

Russia Warns Against NATO Missiles On Syrian Border

November 22, 2012 1 comment

Russian Information Agency Novosti
November 22, 2012

Russia Warns Against NATO Missiles on Syrian Border

MOSCOW: Russia’s Foreign Ministry cautioned Thursday against Turkey’s intention to deploy NATO Patriot missiles on its border with Syria.

“The militarization of the Turkish-Syrian border would be an alarming signal,” said ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich. “It would do nothing to foster stability in the region.”

“Our advice to our Turkish colleagues is to use their influence on the Syrian opposition to draw them closer to dialogue, instead of flexing their muscles and taking the situation down a dangerous path,” he added.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Wednesday that Turkey’s request to deploy the missiles would be considered soon. Ankara says the missile system is necessary to protect its border with conflict-torn Syria.

US Patriot surface-to-air missiles were last deployed to Turkey in 1991 and 2003, during the two Gulf Wars.

Tensions between Turkey and Syria flared dangerously this summer after Damascus shot down a Turkish fighter that had violated its airspace. Turkey threatened retaliation if there was any repeat of the incident, although it admitted the plane had mistakenly strayed slightly into Syria.

Lukashevich also denied Russian media reports that Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was planning to meet on November 26 with the Syrian opposition.

Russia – along with China – has drawn heavy Western criticism for its refusal to sanction UN sanctions against Assad’s regime, Moscow sole remaining ally in the Arab world. Moscow said the proposed UN resolutions betrayed a pro-rebel bias and would do nothing to bring peace.

Putin vowed earlier this year not to allow a repeat of the “Libya scenario,” which saw the ouster and murder of long-time Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi after a NATO military campaign.

But Moscow has denied it is supporting Assad in the conflict and says it will respect the will of the “Syrian people.”

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Voice of Russia
November 22, 2012

Russia warns Turkey against Patriot missiles

Russia has expressed its concern over the militarization of the Turkish-Syrian border, the VoR correspondent Polina Chernitsa has cited the Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich who commented on Turkey’s request to deploy Patriot missiles on the Syrian border.

Moscow would like Turkey to contribute to the beginning of the inter-Syria dialogue rather than flex its military muscles, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Thursday.

“The militarization of the Syrian-Turkish border is a dismal signal,” Lukashevich said, referring to Turkey’s recent request to deploy Patriot anti-missile systems to protect its border with Syria.

He urged Turkey to interact more with the Syrian opposition so as to help start the inter-Syria dialogue as soon as possible.

Turkey already hosted the complex twice. in 1991 and 2003 during the two Iraqi campaigns but never used it.

Categories: Uncategorized

Germany Approves Request For Missiles On Turkish-Syrian Border

November 22, 2012 Leave a comment

Xinhua News Agency
November 21, 2102

German FM approves Turkey’s missile request

BERLIN: German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle told the country’s ambassador to NATO on Wednesday to approve Turkey’s official request for NATO patriot missiles to be stationed near Turkish-Syrian border to help defend it from attacks.

“I’ve told the German ambassador to accept the request, of course if the necessary conditions are met,” Westerwelle said at the lower house of parliament, adding that rejecting the request would cause severe consequences for NATO.

The final decision on German troops’ mission in Turkey must be approved in the parliament.

The Turkish government said in a statement in Ankara on Wednesday that “in face of the threats and risks posed to our national security by the ongoing crisis in Syria…it has been decided to formally request from NATO that our national air defense be reinforced with the support of allied air defense elements.”

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a statement that NATO will discuss Turkey’s request without delay.

Rasmussen said it was up to Germany, the Netherlands and the United States that have Patriot missile systems to decide whether they can provide the missiles for deployment in Turkey and for how long.

During the 1991 Gulf war and 2003 Iraq war, Turkey had twice requested NATO for the deployment of Patriot missiles. In both cases, deployments were carried out by the Netherlands.

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North Atlantic Treaty Organization
November 21, 2012

Statement by the NATO Secretary General on Patriot Missile Deployment to Turkey

I have received a letter from the Turkish government requesting the deployment of Patriot missiles. Such a deployment would augment Turkey’s air defence capabilities to defend the population and territory of Turkey. It would contribute to the de-escalation of the crisis along NATO’s south-eastern border. And it would be a concrete demonstration of Alliance solidarity and resolve.

NATO will discuss Turkey’s request without delay. If approved, the deployment would be undertaken in accordance with NATO’s standing air defence plan. It is up to the individual NATO countries that have available Patriots – Germany, the Netherlands and the United States – to decide if they can provide them for deployment in Turkey and for how long. Next week a joint team will visit Turkey to conduct a site-survey for the possible deployment of Patriots.

The security of the Alliance is indivisible. NATO is fully committed to deterring against any threats and defending Turkey’s territorial integrity.

Categories: Uncategorized

Ernest Hemingway: All armies are the same

November 22, 2012 Leave a comment

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

American writers on peace and against war

Ernest Hemingway: Selections on war

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Ernest Hemingway

images

All armies are the same… (1922)

All armies are the same
Publicity is fame
Artillery makes the same old noise
Valor is an attribute of boys
Old soldiers all have tired eyes
All soldiers hear the same old lies
Dead bodies have always drawn flies

***

To Good Guys Dead (1922)

They sucked us in;
King and country,
Christ Almighty
And the rest.
Patriotism,
Democracy,
Honor -
Words and phrases,
They either bitched or killed us.

***

Champs D’Honneur (1922)

Soldiers never do die well;
Crosses mark the places -
Wooden crosses where they fell,
Stuck above their faces.
Soldiers pitch and cough and twitch -
All the world roars red and black;
Soldiers smother in a ditch,
Choking through the whole attack.

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NATO Readies Patriot Missile Deployment On Syrian Border

November 21, 2012 1 comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
November 21, 2012

Statement by the NATO Secretary General on Patriot Missile Deployment to Turkey

I have received a letter from the Turkish government requesting the deployment of Patriot missiles. Such a deployment would augment Turkey’s air defence capabilities to defend the population and territory of Turkey. It would contribute to the de-escalation [sic] of the crisis along NATO’s south-eastern border. And it would be a concrete demonstration of Alliance solidarity and resolve.

NATO will discuss Turkey’s request without delay. If approved, the deployment would be undertaken in accordance with NATO’s standing air defence plan. It is up to the individual NATO countries that have available Patriots – Germany, the Netherlands and the United States – to decide if they can provide them for deployment in Turkey and for how long. Next week a joint team will visit Turkey to conduct a site-survey for the possible deployment of Patriots.

The security of the Alliance is indivisible. NATO is fully committed to deterring against any threats and defending Turkey’s territorial integrity.

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RT
November 21, 2012

NATO confirms receiving Turkey’s Patriot missile request

NATO has confirmed that it received a request from Ankara to deploy Patriot missiles on Turkish territory. The coalition said it would process the appeal soon.

“I have received Turkey’s request for NATO to deploy Patriot missiles. Allies will discuss this without delay,” NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said via his Twitter account.

“The situation along the Syrian-Turkish border is of great concern,” Rasmussen said earlier at a meeting with the European Union’s foreign and defense ministers. “We have all plans in place to defend and protect Turkey if needed.”

The confirmation comes two weeks after Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced that he had requested that NATO install the surface-to-air missiles near the Turkish border with Syria. Prime Minster Recip Tayyip Erdogan later denied that Turkey had made such a request.

Davutoglu said that the missiles were needed to bolster defenses on its border with Syria. The surface-to-air missiles will be able to shoot down aircraft up to 160 kilometers away.

The Patriot is a long-range, all-weather and all-altitude defense system capable of countering tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and advanced aircraft.

Within NATO only the United States, the Netherlands and Germany have Patriot missile systems available.

Reports say Germany has already spoken in favor of the request. German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle told the Bundestag, the lower house of parliament, that he ordered the German Ambassador to Turkey “to positively receive such a request.”

“It would be a serious mistake if we were to refuse defensive support to a NATO member country in a moment when this member country feels that it is exposed to attacks from outside,” he said.

NATO installed Patriot systems by Turkish request two times, during the first and second Iraq wars in 1991 and 2003. The systems, however, went unused and were removed from the country shortly after the wars. In both cases the deployment was carried out by the Netherlands.

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO Recruits More Georgian Troops For Afghan War

November 21, 2012 1 comment

Trend News Agency
November 21, 2012

NATO-Georgia Commission discusses new Georgian government’s priorities
N. Kirtskhalia


Former general David Petraeus visiting with Georgian troops in Afghanistan

Tbilisi: The NATO-Georgia commission meeting discussed new the Georgian government’s priorities. As the North Atlantic Alliance’s website reported, Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen noted that the parliamentary elections held on Oct.1 were assessed to be free, fair and up to democratic standards. He said that Georgia had passed an important test.

Rasmussen recalled his meetings both with President Saakashvili and Prime Minister Ivanishvili last week, stressing the importance of cooperation.
“Allies welcomed Georgia’s commitments to take defence reforms forward and continue on the path of Euro-Atlantic integration,” Rasmussen said.

He thanked Georgia for increasing its contribution to ISAF in Afghanistan.

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Trend News Agency
November 21, 2012

Georgia increases its military contingent in Afghanistan
N. Kirtskhalia

Tbilisi: In October of this year, Georgia increased its military contingent, which participates in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), up to 1,571 people, Georgian Defense Ministry said.

At present, two Georgian battalions are deployed in Helmand province: the 12th Battalion of the First Infantry Brigade and the 32nd Battalion of the Third Infantry Brigade. The 32nd Battalion is in Afghanistan as part of its second rotation.

According to the Defense Ministry, Georgia along with Australia, the military contingent of which is 1,550 people, is one of the non-NATO states which makes great contribution to the ongoing operation in Afghanistan.

Georgia has lost 18 soldiers in Afghanistan after the country joined the NATO-led operation in November 2009. Seven of them died in 2012.

The Defense Ministry did not announce the number of those soldiers, who were injured in skirmishes in Afghanistan.

Defense Minister Irakli Alasania will visit the Georgian contingent in Afghanistan on Nov.22. He will fly to Kabul from Brussels, where he will attend the Georgia-NATO Commission meeting.

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Civil Georgia
November 20, 2012

MoD: 1,571 Georgian Soldiers Serve in Afghanistan

Tbilisi: Georgia has doubled its contribution to NATO-led ISAF operation in Afghanistan to 1,571 servicemen starting from October, according to the Georgian Ministry of Defense (MoD).

Georgia currently has two battalions in the Helmand province of Afghanistan – the 12th battalion of the first infantry brigade and 32nd battalion of the third infantry brigade; for the latter it is a second tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Figures provided by the MoD mean that Georgia is currently one of the largest non-NATO contributors to the ISAF operations together with Australia, whose contribution includes an annual average of 1,550.

Georgia has lost a total of eighteen soldiers in Afghanistan since joining the ISAF mission in November, 2009, seven of them this year.

The Georgian MoD declines to reveal number of soldiers who have been wounded in action in Afghanistan.

Categories: Uncategorized

Turkish Opposition To Government: Close NATO Radar Base If You’re Sincere On Israel

November 21, 2012 Leave a comment

Vestnik Kavkaza
November 20, 2012

Close NATO radar base if you’re sincere on Israel – CHP tells Erdogan

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan should suspend the activities of NATO’s radar base in eastern Turkey if he is really sincere in his harsh language toward Israel, the main opposition leader has said, arguing that the facility protects Israel.

“If Erdoğan wants to do something in favor of Gaza, he can do it very simply. If he was actually against Israel, then he would suspend the activities of the Kürecik radar base,” Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said.

“Why was the radar station in Kürecik established? It’s because of Israel’s security. Erdoğan, you are appealing to the Arab League and United Nations to take action for Gaza: Then do it yourself and be an example to the world,” Kılıçdarğlu said in his address to the CHP’s parliamentary group meeting today.

Kılıçdaroğlu also denounced Israel for its Gaza assault, calling the situation a humanitarian tragedy. Israel is killing people and even children, which is unacceptable, Kılıçdaroğlu said. “Israel should learn a lesson from its own history. They should not forget the atrocities against the Israeli people.”

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NATO-Georgia Commission Meets in Brussels

November 21, 2012 Leave a comment

Civil Georgia
November 20, 2012

NATO-Georgia Commission Meets in Brussels

Tbilisi: Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Alasania and State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Alexi Petriashvili attended a meeting of the NATO-Georgia Commission in Brussels on November 20.

The meeting was chaired by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

“We have assured our NATO partners that after the recent elections Georgia has turned into much more stable, much stronger, predictable and more preferred partner,” Alasania said. “We had a very open discussion about recent developments, including about the arrests [of former and current officials].”

NATO wants to see rule of law and absence of selective justice in Georgia and “I have explained them that selective justice is over in Georgia after the October 1 [parliamentary elections] and everything will be absolutely transparent,” Alasania said.

The NATO-Georgia Commission meeting came less than a week after PM Bidzina Ivanishvili visited Brussels where he met, among others, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

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Trend News Agency
November 20, 2012

Meeting of NATO-Georgia Commission held in Brussels
N. Kirtskhalia

Tbilisi: Georgia is anticipating a corresponding reflection of the country’s success after the democratically held elections on October 1, the Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Alasania told Georgian TV channels following a meeting of the NATO-Georgia Commission in Brussels.

According to him, NATO should make it clear to the Georgian side that it appreciates the efforts of Georgia’s integration into the NATO.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen attended the meeting.

According to Alasania, the meeting noted the merits of Georgia, which will move to a new level in the future.

“We have convinced our partners that with the change of power Georgia will even more firmly follow the path of democracy and development of relations with NATO. We are a reliable and strong partner and we have convinced NATO in this,” he said, stressing that the conversation also covered the recent arrests in Georgia, and the Georgian side has assured that the law will rule in Georgia.

Alasania said he was able to convince the members of the committee that the new Georgian government is a reliable partner of NATO. He also said that the pending visit of NATO Military Committee will be held in January next year.

The Minister stressed that Georgia reiterated its determination to continue participation in the NATO ISAF operation in Afghanistan.

Georgian State Minister for European Integration Aleksi Petriashvili, representing the country at the meeting, said that the meeting discussed issues related to the annual program of assistance and partnership between Georgia and NATO.

Alasania also stated that on November 22 he will visit the Georgian military contingent in Afghanistan.

Starting November some 1,600 Georgian soldiers will be involved in the peacekeeping operation in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.

This is the first visit of Irakli Alasania to Afghanistan in the rank of Georgian Defence Minister.

Alasania will go to Afghanistan from Brussels.

Georgian soldiers have been performing peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan as part of ISAF since August 2009. Some 18 Georgian soldiers were killed in the country since then.

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Ministry of Defense of Georgia
November 20, 2012

Georgian Defence Minister at NATO-Georgia Commission

A meeting of NATO-Georgia Commission has been held at NATO HQ, Brussels today. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Defence Minister of Georgia Irakli Alasania attended the Commission meeting. Irakli Alasania delivered a speech to the representatives of NATO member countries and answered their questions.

Defence Minister of Georgia introduced the priorities of a new Georgian Government, particularly the scheduled reforms in the defence sphere to NATO partners. “We have assured our NATO partners that after the elections Georgia has become much more stable, predictable and desired partner country for them. At the session we have talked about the lack of democracy existed in Georgia before the elections and what the new authorities have to do. We have also openly discussed the current developments in the country” – stated Irakli Alasania after the meeting of Commission.

The meeting of NATO-Georgia Commission had lasted during two hours behind closed doors. State Minister of Georgia on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Alex Petriashvili also attended the meeting.

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Post-Election: Expect More Drone And Space War

November 20, 2012 Leave a comment

Stop NATO
November 20, 2012

Post-Election: Expect More Drone And Space War
Rick Rozoff

An estimated $6 billion was spent on the November 6 U.S. federal elections – $2.5 billion on the two major parties’ presidential campaigns alone, $1 billion of that on television ads – and Americans woke up the following morning to discover that nothing had changed. Sadder perhaps if no wiser.

The White House and the Senate remained in the hands of the Democratic Party and the House of Representatives under Republican control. Built-in structural stalemate will continue, with no substantive legislation passed for four more years, surely none beneficial to the American people or to world peace, each party blaming the other for the lack of results. Onward to the next six-billion – or ten-billion – dollar election.

In the closing words of William Thackeray’s 19th-century novel Vanity Fair, “come, children, let us shut up the box and the puppets, for our play is played out.”

History’s most expensive Punch and Judy show completed, domestic and foreign policy affairs will remain as they are. In fact will grow worse. Especially the second.

Mere hours after Barack Obama’s victory speech in Chicago, an American drone-launched missile killed three people outside the capital of Yemen, adding to a hecatomb of over 3,000 drone killings in that nation, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia and Libya since Obama entered the White House in January of 2009. His re-election will be interpreted as a mandate to continue and escalate such attacks. Yet more Predator and Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles will be prowling the sky over the Greater Missile East, firing deadly Hellfire missiles at defenseless victims.

In the three televised debates between Obama and his challenger Mitt Romney, the president repeatedly accused his opponent of wanting “to spend $2 trillion on additional military programs, even though the military’s not asking for them,” although he didn’t hint at spending even a penny less than the Pentagon demands. The Defense Department’s base budget for next year is $520 billion, over $1,700 for every citizen.

Last year’s military spending, $711 billion with the base budget and Afghanistan and Iraq wars add-ons, was the highest in constant dollars since World War II. The U.S. and its allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization spent over $1 trillion on their defense budgets, approximately 70 percent of world military expenditures in 2011.

With the onerous constraints placed on third-party candidates’ ability to get on the ballot and to gain exposure in the commercial news media, including the presidential and vice presidential debates, only one perspective is provided to the public: That of the Pentagon war machine.

A military colossus that is almost daily expanding its presence through the building of military partnerships and the acquisition of bases around the world and beyond Earth into space.

In the months preceding the presidential election the U.S. moved an X-band transportable missile radar battery into Turkey under the auspices of the Obama administration’s European Phased Adaptive Approach missile interception program, cloaked under unconscionable euphemisms like missile defense and missile shield, though in fact the initial implementation of the Ronald Reagan administration’s so-called Strategic Defense Initiative, in popular parlance Star Wars.

The interceptor missile program was endorsed and adopted by NATO at its summit in Portugal two years ago and was announced to have achieved initial capacity at the NATO summit in Chicago this May. It will include the deployment of 48 increasingly longer-range, higher-velocity and more lethal land-based versions of the Standard Missile-3 interceptor to Romania and Poland and the permanent stationing of U.S. Aegis class warships – cruisers and destroyers – equipped with the same missiles to the Mediterranean Sea and eventually to other seas like the Black, Baltic, Barents and Norwegian.

Last month U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Spanish Defense Minister Pedro Morenes signed an agreement at NATO headquarters in Brussels to allow the stationing of four U.S. Aegis destroyers at the Naval Station Rota in Spain.

Recent reports detail plans for the U.S. to move Army Navy/Transportable Radar Surveillance – Model 2 (x-band radar) systems into the Persian Gulf (where the U.S. is selling Patriot Advanced Capability-3 and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense [THAAD] missile batteries to the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and other local monarchies) and the Philippines and perhaps elsewhere in Southeastern Asia as components of what major Russian and Chinese officials have correctly denounced as Washington’s global interceptor missile system.

Late last month the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency conducted what it described as the “largest, most complex missile defense flight test ever attempted” at the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site in the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands and the Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii, “resulting in the simultaneous engagement of five ballistic missile and cruise missile targets.”

The tests incorporated the triad of American interceptor missile systems: Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense with sea-based Standard Missile-3s, Patriot Advanced Capability-3 and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (with x-band radar) assets.

On November 12, two days before Israel launched the Operation Pillar of Defense attack on the Gaza Strip, the three-week-long Austere Challenge 12 interceptor missile exercises held by the U.S. and Israel in the latter nation ended. The largest-ever joint war games, with 3,500 American and 1,000 Israeli military personnel involved, tested the Israeli Iron Dome, David’s Sling and Arrow territorial and the longer-range U.S. Patriot and Standard Missile-3 interceptor systems.

On November 14 the Pentagon’s website reported that while in Australia for this year’s annual Australia-U.S. Ministerial Meeting, Defense Secretary Panetta met one-on-one with his Australian counterpart, Defense Minister Stephen Smith, and the two reached an agreement to transfer “two key space systems” from the Western Hemisphere to Australia. They are a U.S. Air Force C-band space surveillance radar currently based in Antigua in the West Indies and a space surveillance telescope designed and built by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) that is now located in New Mexico.

U.S. missile interception and space war assets are being deployed to Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean Sea, the Persian Gulf and the Asia-Pacific region to consolidate a global network of first-strike and counter-retaliation capabilities that will be employed for purposes of political blackmail and, in the worst case scenario, for offensive warfare of a dangerous nature never witnessed before.

Barring effective organizing to prevent it, the next four years will not be generous to the cause of world peace and disarmament.

Categories: Uncategorized

Gaza Violence Has Lessons For East Asia

November 20, 2012 1 comment

Global Times
November 20, 2012

Gaza violence has lessons for East Asia

Violence in the Gaza Strip has caused extensive civilian casualties. Israel has vowed to send Gaza “back to Middle Ages,” while Palestinian rage has been fueled. The Palestinians firmly resist Israel despite knowing they are unable to defeat the Israelis. For both Israel and Palestine, might is right.

Israel cannot make its revenge against Hamas sound reasonable, given the number of Palestinian civilian causalities. The West loathes the provocations by Hamas, but an increasing number of Westerners have begun to criticize Israel’s intemperance.

There is no foreseeable solution to the enmity between Palestine and Israel. Various negotiations, including the US road map for peace, can only bring temporary appeasement.

Rich oil reserves, scattered Arab peoples, cultural and socioeconomic gaps between Israel and its neighboring countries and the interference of external powers have all contributed to the continuing turmoil in the region. The world has become accustomed to a turbulent Middle East. The Middle East policy of the great powers, including their attitude on the Israel-Palestine issue, has remained rigid.

The US and European countries in fact are renouncing their responsibility to create peace in Middle East. Mediation efforts have been used many times as a tool to score political points.

The Israel-Palestine conflicts are the most enduring tragedy of the modern world. Heroes on each side are devils in the eyes of the other. There are many external powers offering support, but it’s hard to tell whether they are helping solve the conflicts or complicating them.

The US reaffirmed its support for Israel’s “right to defend itself” but meanwhile seized any opportune moment to call for both sides to be restrained. It’s hard to tell the influences of such contradictions on the chaos in the region.

China doesn’t have the capability to interfere in the Israel-Palestine conflict. China cannot afford for East Asia to turn into a second “Middle East.” The potential for a crisis in East Asia is increasing. The conflicts between the main powers in East Asia are not irreconcilable, and the degree of regional economic integration is high, but surprisingly, even a small provocation could stir up the region.

No one is predicting that East Asia will become another “Middle East,” but a solution to the territorial disputes in the region is impossible to reach in the foreseeable future. The question is, will countries in other regions use the continuing territorial disputes to define the political situation in East Asia and their policies against the region?

China is the most rational and restrained country in East Asia. We hope countries like Japan and the Philippines see China’s restraint. They should try to avoid pushing East Asia into a confrontational situation.

The Middle East situation is a lesson to the whole world, especially East Asia.

Categories: Uncategorized

Azerbaijan: NATO Mulls Caspian-Caucasus Pipeline Security Measures

November 20, 2012 Leave a comment

Azeri Press Agency
November 20, 2012

Azerbaijan gives some proposals to NATO on security of pipelines and energy infrastructure
Rashad Suleymanov

Baku: Azerbaijan has given some proposals to NATO on the security of the main pipelines and energy infrastructure, NATO experts told APA’s correspondent at [NATO] headquarters last week.

Azerbaijan’s proposals are connected with the physical security of pipelines (oil and gas). Azerbaijan asked technological assistance from NATO, referring to potential threats to the energy infrastructure in the Caspian Sea, and the territories of Georgia and Turkey, through which the pipelines pass.

“NATO has no concrete plans on the physical security of energy infrastructure in the partner countries. The proposals on priority directions in ensuring energy security of the Alliance members can be considered and estimated,” NATO experts underlined.

Analyzing the potential threats to the energy infrastructure in the Caspian basin-South Caucasus region, NATO experts said that the states located in this region and participating in the projects are capable of fighting against these threats. But the forecasts on the usage of energy as the main weapon in the fight among the states in the near future don’t rule out the appearance of serious threats in the above-mentioned direction.

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Russia Disappointed UNSC Statement On Gaza Still Not Adopted

November 20, 2012 Leave a comment

Voice of Russia
November 19, 2012

Russia disappointed UN SC statement on Gaza still not adopted

Russia is disappointed the draft UN Security Council statement on the situation in Gaza has still not been adopted. A corresponding statement was made for journalists by Russia’s envoy at the UN Vitaly Churkin.

According to him, work on the wording continues, and SC members shall get back to it in a few hours.

Churkin also expressed regret that numerous amendments have been proposed. “One of the Council members made it clear they will not accept any Council response that, according to their claims, may harm regional efforts, spearheaded by Egypt,” – said the diplomat.

Earlier, the United Kingdom’s envoy Mark Lyall Grant dubbed the draft “too one-sided.” According to him, the text placed too much emphasis on the actions of Israel.

According to Churkin, the document will consist of “three main parts”. Firstly, it will call for an immediate end to violence on both sides; secondly, express support for all international and regional efforts to resolve the situation peacefully, and, thirdly, contain a call for resumption of direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

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Xinhua News Agency
November 20, 2012

Israel intensifies airstrikes on Gaza, Palestinian death toll hits 110

GAZA: Three more Palestinians were killed late on Monday night in the ongoing Israeli warplane airstrikes on various targets in the Gaza Strip, raising the death toll since the start of the Israeli attack to 110 Palestinians, medical sources and witnesses said.

Two children from al-Nasasra family were killed in an airstrike on the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah and a third Palestinian was killed in an airstrike on northern Gaza Strip.

Earlier on Monday night, a father and two of his children aged two and four years old were killed and 13 others wounded in an Israeli airstrike in an Israeli air raid on a house in northern Gaza Strip, medics said.

The airstrike damaged neighboring houses and injured 13, including other members of the Hijazzi family, said the neighbors. Al-Qedra said that on Monday, 39 Palestinians were killed and more than 100 injured.

The latest airstrike raised the number of Palestinians killed since Israel began its military offensive here to 110 dead and more than 800 wounded, according to al-Qedra.

The aerial Israeli military campaign in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip started Wednesday. Hamas’ armed wing al-Qassam Brigades said that its militants fired more than 1,200 rockets from the coastal enclave on Israel.

The fatal airstrike came amid Egyptian efforts to mediate a cease-fire between Hamas and Israel.

Categories: Uncategorized

Obama In Myanmar: Challenging China

November 20, 2012 1 comment

RT
November 19, 2012

Challenging China: Obama’s Asia tour starts in Myanmar

Barack Obama has become the first sitting US president to visit Myanmar. It is part of a pivot to the region, in which, critics say, America is challenging China in effort to gain hegemony in the Asia-Pacific.

In pas 20-months Myanmar has transformed from an isolationist pariah state governed by a military junta and crippled by international sanctions into a praiseworthy example of a country transitioning towards democracy under elected President Thein Sein.

Myanmar has released some political prisoners, including Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and lifted the past restrictions on freedom of speech. It’s opened up for foreign investment and international trade, triggering a rush of capital into the country. It’s also welcomed foreign aid – something the previous regime was reluctant to do because its policies relied on self-sufficiency.

President Obama’s visit follows last year’s trip by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He is the first-ever sitting US president to visit the country. And, as Obama said in his Rangoon University speech on Monday, he’s come to keep his promise and “extend the hand of friendship” to Myanmar.

In a move described as “diplomatic courtesy” he even officially called it the new name, not the old Burma – which would have been impossible a few years ago, when the name-change was considered yet another instance of oppression by the military against their people.

In the wake of the trip, Washington lifted a decade-old ban on imports from the country. The move is meant “to encourage further change, as well as to offer new opportunities for Burmese and American businesses,” the State Department said.

During his meeting with Thein Sein, Obama expressed hopes that the reform process in Myanmar “could lead to incredible development opportunities.”

“But this remarkable journey has just begun, and has much further to go,” the US President later stressed, echoing the Human Rights groups who dubbed Obama’s visit to Myanmar as ‘hasty’…

Asian tour – a step towards containing China

The reason why human rights issues in Myanmar do not concern the US government as much as they used to, might be explained by Obama’s political course in the region, widely perceived by the media as strategic diplomacy. The American ‘pivot’ to Asia implies making new allies there.

Since Myanmar has long been a ally of China, Obama’s visit was closely watched by Beijing. China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson reaffirmed his department was “fully confident about the relationship between Myanmar and China.”

But some critics say America’s keen interest in the region as means of curbing China’s growing influence has already sown the seeds of conflict between the two countries. According to Brian Becker, the National Coordinator of the ANSWER Coalition, China experiencing growing pressure from the United States, as well as its allies and “proxy governments” in the Asia-Pacific region.

“The US is trying to contain China, limit China, it’s trying to move in and compete aggressively with China. That’s what is happening with the islands dispute, that’s happening in terms of the missile shield in Japan, which is nothing other than a prescription for a potential first-strike attack against China,” Becker told RT’s CrossTalk.

While keeping-up a diplomatic façade, the US and the Western powers are challenging China at all levels, Becker says. At the same time, the Chinese are no longer appeasing US foreign policy ambitions and are “recalibrating” their own foreign policy because of the “lessons learned in Libya and the Middle East,” he adds. It is reflected in China’s refusal to go along with American plans to overthrow the government of Syria, the anti-war activist says.

America’s turn to Asia partly lies within its economic interests in the region, Becker says. “The US refuses to sign the Law of the Sea treaty, because it has designs for Asia-Pacific mineral exploration and other energy exploration, which puts it on a direct collision course with the Chinese government’s interest not only for sovereign control over certain islands, but for the economic exploitation of the ocean bed,” the activist argues.

But in the long run, America’s pivot might mean a much more aggressive stance towards China, Becker claims, with the US trying to carry out an Arab spring scenario in the world’s second biggest economy.

Meanwhile, the US President has headed to the ASEAN meeting in Cambodia, highlighting the shift in American foreign policy towards a focus on the Asia-Pacific.

Categories: Uncategorized
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