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Several Russian Military Vessels Headed To Syrian Port

December 31, 2012 1 comment

Itar-Tass
December 30, 2012

Russian large landing ship heads for Syrian Tartus

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The Novocherkassk

MOSCOW: The large landing ship Novocherkassk of the Russian Black Sea Fleet left the Novorossiysk naval base and is heading for the Syrian port of Tartus, a source from the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces has told Tass.

The Novocherkassk is expected to sail through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles into the Aegean Sea on Monday, December 31. It carries marines and several units of military hardware.

The large landing ship, accompanied by a combat ship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, is expected to arrive at the maintenance base of the Russian Navy in the Syrian port of Tartus in the first week of January, the source said.

He reminded the interlocutor that two more large landing ships, the Azov and the Nikolai Filchenkov, sailed through the straits and into the Aegean Sea on December 28 and joined a group of Black Sea Fleet ships.

From that area, the Russian landing ships with marines and military hardware on board headed for Tartus accompanied by the guided missile cruiser Moskva. They are expected to arrive in Tartus within the next few days.

“Thus, the large landing ship Novocherkassk has become the third landing ship of the Black Sea Fleet that will call at Syria’s Tartus in January,” the source summed up.

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Afghanistan: NATO Air Strike Victims Seek Compensation

December 31, 2012 Leave a comment

Pajhwok Afghan News
December 30, 2012

Kunduz survivors seek compensation: lawyer

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KUNDUZ CITY: Relatives of those killed and wounded in a September 2009 NATO airstrike in northern Kunduz province have sought $4.4 million in compensation from the perpetrators, a lawyer for the survivors said, a claim denied by families of the victims.

The deadly airstrike on Sept. 4, 2009 had been carried out by German troops based in the province. The aircraft targeted two fuel tankers that had been hijacked by Taliban fighters in the Omarkhel village of the Chardara district.

As the trucks stuck in mud, rebels called on residents to empty fuel into jerry canes. A large number of residents rushed to the site to take fuel home. More than 100 people were killed and dozens of others were wounded when the jets dropped bombs on the crowd.

Abdul Hanan, who lost his two teenage sons and a brother to the incident, said though he was a poor farmer, yet he was not ready to sell the blood of his slain relatives.

After the incident, foreign troops paid $5,000 to each family of those dead. Later, German forces and the United Nations Human Rights commissioner…visited victims’ families and pledged assistance.

“We have told them that we only want the individuals who ordered the airstrike to be punished,” he said.

The defence lawyer for the families, Karim Popal, has recently said in a statement that the survivors had sought $4.4 million in compensation from the German government.

Noor Jan, 30, who lost his left arm in the airstrike, said it was difficult for him to work on farms. “I have several times approached the provincial labour department for help, but in vain,” he said.

Germany has 4,300 soldiers in Afghanistan stationed in the country’s north. So far 53 German soldiers have been killed since the Afghan war began 10 years ago.

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Kurt Tucholsky: The Trench

December 31, 2012 Leave a comment

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

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Kurt Tucholsky: The White Spots

Kurt Tucholsky: Murder in disguise

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Kurt Tucholsky
The Trench (1926)
Translated by Karl F. Ross

kurttucholsky

Mother, why have you brought up your fellow,
taught and tended him for twenty years,
waited anxiously to hear his “hello,”
whispered little stories in his ears?
Till they hauled him from his bed and bench
to the trench, good woman, to the trench.

Sonny, do you still remember Daddy?
How he used to take you on his arm,
how he gave a penny to his laddie
and he chased with you around the farm?
Till they sent him out to fight the French
in the trench, young fellow, in the trench.

France’s comrades over there were lying
side by side with England’s workingmen.
Old and young ones, even boys, fell dying
where the bullets hit them, there and then.
As their lifeblood ebbed, the soil to drench,
they were buried in that common trench.

Don’t be proud of chevrons and citations!
Don’t be proud of medals and awards!
You stood guard for greedy corporations,
pseudo-statesmen and feudal lords.
Yours was just the squalor and the stench
of the tomb, companions, and the trench.

Dump those flags! A dance of death they’re casting
to the music of an army band.
When you’re gone – a wreath of everlasting,
that’s the thank-you from your fatherland.
Think what agony you cause to others:
Over there stand fathers, sons and mothers,
struggling hard, like you, for meager living -
won’t you turn to them without misgiving?
Stretch your hand out, let your fist unclench,
‘cross the trench, my friends, across the trench!

***

Der Graben

Mutter, wozu hast du deinen aufgezogen?
Hast dich zwanzig Jahr mit ihm gequält?
Wozu ist er dir in deinen Arm geflogen,
und du hast ihm leise was erzählt?
    Bis sie ihn dir weggenommen haben.
    Für den Graben, Mutter, für den Graben.

Junge, kannst du noch an Vater denken?
Vater nahm dich oft auf seinen Arm.
Und er wollt dir einen Groschen schenken,
und er spielte mit dir Räuber und Gendarm.
Bis sie ihn dir weggenommen haben.
    Für den Graben, Junge, für den Graben.

Drüben die französischen Genossen
lagen dicht bei Englands Arbeitsmann.
Alle haben sie ihr Blut vergossen,
und zerschossen ruht heut Mann bei Mann.
    Alte Leute, Männer, mancher Knabe
    in dem einen großen Massengrabe.

Seid nicht stolz auf Orden und Geklunker!
Seid nicht stolz auf Narben und die Zeit!
In die Gräben schickten euch die Junker,
Staatswahn und der Fabrikantenneid.
    Ihr wart gut genug zum Fraß für Raben,
    für das Grab, Kameraden, für den Graben!

Werft die Fahnen fort!
Die Militärkapellen spielen auf zu euerm Todestanz.
Seid ihr hin: ein Kranz von Immortellen -
das ist dann der Dank des Vaterlands.
    Denkt an Todesröcheln und Gestöhne.
    Drüben stehen Väter, Mütter, Söhne,
    schuften schwer, wie ihr, ums bißchen Leben.
    Wollt ihr denen nicht die Hände geben?
    Reicht die Bruderhand als schönste aller Gaben
    übern Graben, Leute, übern Graben -! 

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U.S. Trains Georgia’s Future Officer Corps

December 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
December 29, 2012

Meeting with Georgian Students of U.S. Military Institutions

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The defence minister of Georgia met with eight Georgian students who study at various military educational institutions in the USA. Irakli Alasania got acquainted with learning conditions of the future officers and expressed interest in their future plans. The meeting with the Georgian students was of an introductory character.

“I am very delighted with the great knowledge our cadets get in the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, as well at the Coast Guard, Navy and Air Force academies. These students are our ambassadors, our representatives in American educational institutions…I am sure that their return to the Georgian Armed Forces will enrich and make our army more capable”, stated Defence Minister after the meeting with the students.

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Georgian students have received education in various American military educational institutions since 2007.

Before being sent to the American military academies, they conclude a 10-year-long contract with the Georgian Defence Ministry. After graduation they continue service in the Georgian Armed Forces. The tuition period in the US military educational institutions last for four years. Currently, 12 Georgian students receive education in U.S. military academies.

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

December 30, 2012 Leave a comment

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

American writers on peace and against war

Randolph Bourne: Selections on war

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Randolph Bourne
A War Diary (1917)

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Time brings a better adjustment to the war. There had been so many times when, to those who had energetically resisted its coming, it seemed the last intolerable outrage. In one’s wilder moments one expected revolt against the impressment of unwilling men and the suppression of unorthodox opinion. One conceived the war as breaking down through a kind of intellectual sabotage diffused through the country. But as one talks to people outside the cities and away from ruling currents of opinion, one finds the prevailing apathy shot everywhere with acquiescence. The war is a bad business, which somehow got fastened on us. They won’t want to go, but they’ve got to go. One decides that nothing generally obstructive is going to happen and that it would make little difference if it did. The kind of war which we are conducting is an enterprise which the American government does not have to carry on with the hearty cooperation of the American people but only with their acquiescence. And that acquiescence seems sufficient to float an indefinitely protracted war for vague or even largely uncomprehended and unaccepted purposes. Our resources in men and materials are vast enough to organize the war-technique without enlisting more than a fraction of the people’s conscious energy. Many men will not like being sucked into the actual fighting organism, but as the war goes on they will be sucked in as individuals and they will yield. There is likely to be no element in the country with the effective will to help them resist. They are not likely to resist of themselves concertedly. They will be licked grudgingly into military shape, and their lack of enthusiasm will in no way unfit them for use in the hecatombs necessary for the military decision upon which Allied political wisdom still apparently insists. It is unlikely that enough men will be taken from the potentially revolting classes seriously to embitter their spirit. Losses in the well-to-do classes will be sustained by a sense of duty and of reputable sacrifice. From the point of view of the worker, it will make little difference whether his work contributes to annihilation overseas or to construction at home. Temporarily, his condition is better if it contributes to the former. We of the middle classes will be progressively poorer than we should otherwise have been. Our lives will be slowly drained by clumsily levied taxes and the robberies of imperfectly controlled private enterprises. But this will not cause us to revolt. There are not likely to be enough hungry stomachs to make a revolution. The materials seem generally absent from the country, and as long as a government wants to use the war-technique in its realization of great ideas, it can count serenely on the human resources of the country, regardless of popular mandate or understanding. 

II.

If human resources are fairly malleable into the war-technique, our material resources will prove to be even more so, quite regardless of the individual patriotism of their owners or workers. It is almost purely a problem of diversion. Factories and mines and farms will continue to turn out the same products and at an intensified rate, but the government will be working to use their activity and concentrate it as contributory to the war. The process which the piping times of benevolent neutrality began, will be pursued to its extreme end. All this will be successful, however, precisely as it is made a matter of centralized governmental organization and not of individual offerings of good-will and enterprise. It will be coercion from above that will do the trick rather than patriotism from below. Democratic contentment may be shed over the land for a time through the appeal to individual thoughtfulness in saving and in relinquishing profits. But all that is really needed is the co-operation with government of the men who direct the large financial and industrial enterprises. If their interest is enlisted in diverting the mechanism of production into war-channels, it makes not the least difference whether you or I want our activity to count in aid of the war. Whatever we do will contribute toward its successful organization, and toward the riveting of a semi-military State-socialism on the country. As long as the effective managers, the big men in the staple industries, remained loyal, nobody need care what the millions of little human cogs who had to earn their living felt or thought. This is why the technical organization for this American war goes on so much more rapidly than any corresponding popular sentiment for its aims and purposes. Our war is teaching us that patriotism is really a superfluous quality in war. The government of a modern organized plutocracy does not have to ask whether the people want to fight or understand what they are fighting for, but only whether they will tolerate fighting. America does not co-operate with the President’s designs. She rather feebly acquiesces. But that feeble acquiescence is the all-important factor. We are learning that war doesn’t need enthusiasm, doesn’t need conviction, doesn’t need hope, to sustain it. Once manoeuvred, it takes care of itself, provided only that our industrial rulers see that the end of the war will leave American capital in a strategic position for world-enterprise. The American people might be much more indifferent to the war even than they are and yet the results would not be materially different. A majority of them might even be feebly or at least unconcertedly hostile to the war, and yet it would go gaily on. That is why a popular referendum seems so supremely irrelevant to people who are willing to use war as an instrument in the working-out of national policy. And that is why this war, with apathy rampant, is probably going to act just as if every person in the country were filled with patriotic ardor, and furnished with a completely assimilated map of the League to Enforce Peace. If it doesn’t, the cause will not be the lack of popular ardor, but the clumsiness of the government officials in organizing the technique of the war. Our country in war, given efficiency at the top, can do very well without our patriotism. The non-patriotic man need feel no pangs of conscience about not helping the war. Patriotism fades into the merest trivial sentimentality when it becomes, as so obviously in a situation like this, so pragmatically impotent. As long as one has to earn one’s living or buy tax-ridden goods, one is making one’s contribution to war in a thousand indirect ways. The war, since it does not need it, cannot fairly demand also the sacrifice of one’s spiritual integrity. 

III.

The liberals who claim a realistic and pragmatic attitude in politics have disappointed us in setting up and then clinging wistfully to the belief that our war could get itself justified for an idealistic flavor, or at least for a world-renovating social purpose, that they had more or less denied to the other belligerents. If these realists had had time in the hurry and scuffle of events to turn their philosophy on themselves, they might have seen how thinly disguised a rationalization this was of their emotional undertow. They wanted a League of Nations. They had an unanalyzable feeling that this was a war in which we had to be, and be in it we would. What more natural than to join the two ideas and conceive our war as the decisive factor in the attainment of the desired end! This gave them a good conscience for willing American participation, although as good men they must have loathed war and everything connected with it. The realist cannot deny facts. Moreover, he must not only acknowledge them but he must use them. Good or bad, they must be turned by his intelligence to some constructive end. Working along with the materials which events give him, he must get where and what he can, and bring something brighter and better out of the chaos. 

Now war is such an indefeasible and unescapable Real that the good realist must accept it rather comprehensively. To keep out of it is pure quietism, an acute moral failure to adjust. At the same time, there is an inexorability about war. It is a little unbridled for the realist’s rather nice sense of purposive social control. And nothing is so disagreeable to the pragmatic mind as any kind of absolute. The realistic pragmatist could not recognize war as inexorable  —  though to the common mind it would seem as near an absolute, coercive social situation as it is possible to fall into. For the inexorable abolishes choices, and it is the essence of the realist’s creed to have, in every situation, alternatives before him. He gets out of his scrape in this way: Let the inexorable roll in upon me, since it must. But then, keeping firm my sense of control, it will somehow tame it and turn it to my own creative purposes. Thus realism is justified of her children, and the liberal is saved from the limbo of the wailing and irreconcilable pacifists who could not make so easy an adjustment. 

Thus the liberals who made our war their own preserved their pragmatism. But events have shown how fearfully they imperilled their intuition and how untameable an inexorable really is. For those of us who knew a real inexorable when we saw one, and had learned from watching war what follows the loosing of a war-technique, foresaw how quickly aims and purposes would be forgotten, and how flimsy would be any liberal control of events. It is only we now who can appreciate The New Republic  —  the organ of applied pragmatic realism  —  when it complains that the League of Peace (which we entered the war to guarantee) is more remote than it was eight months ago; or that our State Department has no diplomatic policy (though it was to realize the high aims of the President’s speeches that the intellectuals willed America’s participation); or that we are subordinating the political management of the war to real or supposed military advantages, (though militarism in the liberal mind had no justification except as a tool for advanced social ends). If, after all the idealism and creative intelligence that were shed upon America’s taking up of arms, our State Department has no policy, we are like brave passengers who have set out for the Isles of the Blest only to find that the first mate has gone insane and jumped overboard, the rudder has come loose and dropped to the bottom of the sea, and the captain and pilot are lying dead drunk under the wheel. The stokers and engineers however, are still merrily forcing the speed up to twenty knots an hour and the passengers are presumably getting the pleasure of the ride. 

IV.

The penalty the realist pays for accepting war is to see disappear one by one the justifications for accepting it. He must either become a genuine Realpolitiker and brazen it through, or else he must feel sorry for his intuition and be regretful that he willed the war. But so easy is forgetting and so slow the change of events that he is more likely to ignore the collapse of his case. If he finds that his government is relinquishing the crucial moves of that strategy for which he was willing to use the technique of war, he is likely to move easily to the ground that it will all come out in the end the same anyway. He soon becomes satisfied with tacitly ratifying whatever happens, or at least straining to find the grain of unplausible hope that may be latent in the situation. 

But what then is there really to choose between the realist who accepts evil in order to manipulate it to a great end, but who somehow unaccountably finds events turn sour on him, and the Utopian pacifist who cannot stomach the evil and will have none of it? Both are helpless, both are coerced. The Utopian, however, knows that he is ineffective and that he is coerced, while the realist, evading disillusionment, moves in a twilight zone of half-hearted criticism and hoping for the best, where he does not become a tacit fatalist. The latter would be the manlier position, but then where would be his realistic philosophy of intelligence and choice? Professor Dewey has become impatient at the merely good and merely conscientious objectors to war who do not attach their conscience and intelligence to forces moving in another direction. But in wartime there are literally no valid forces moving in another direction. War determines its own end  —  victory, and government crushes out automatically all forces that deflect, or threaten to deflect, energy from the path of organization to that end. All governments will act in this way, the most democratic as well as the most autocratic. It is only liberal naïveté that is shocked at arbitrary coercion and suppression. Willing war means willing all the evils that are organically bound up with it. A good many people still seem to believe in a peculiar kind of democratic and antiseptic war. The pacifists opposed the war because they knew this was an illusion, and because of the myriad hurts they knew war would do the promise of democracy at home. For once the babes and sucklings seem to have been wiser than the children of light. 

V.

If it is true that the war will go on anyway whether it is popular or not or whether its purposes are clear, and if it is true that in wartime constructive realism is an illusion, then the aloof man, the man who will not obstruct the war but who cannot spiritually accept it, has a clear case for himself. Our war presents no more extraordinary phenomenon than the number of the more creative minds of the younger generation who are still irreconcilable toward the great national enterprise which the government has undertaken. The country is still dotted with young men and women, in full possession of their minds, faculties, and virtue, who feel themselves profoundly alien to the work which is going on around them. They must not be confused with the disloyal or the pro-German. They have no grudge against the country, but their patriotism has broken down in the emergency. They want to see the carnage stopped and Europe decently constructed again. They want a democratic peace. If the swift crushing of Germany will bring that peace, they want to see Germany crushed. If the embargo on neutrals will prove the decisive coup, they are willing to see the neutrals taken ruthlessly by the throat. But they do not really believe that peace will come by any of these means, or by any use of our war-technique whatever. They are genuine pragmatists and they fear any kind of an absolute, even when bearing gifts. They know that the longer a war lasts the harder it is to make peace. They know that the peace of exhaustion is a dastardly peace, leaving enfeebled the morals of the defeated, and leaving invincible for years all the most greedy and soulless elements in the conquerors. They feel that the greatest obstacle to peace now is the lack of the powerful mediating neutral which we might have been. They see that war has lost for us both the mediation and the leadership, and is blackening us ever deeper with the responsibility for having prolonged the dreadful tangle. They are skeptical not only of the technique of war, but also of its professed aims. The President’s idealism stops just short of the pitch that would arouse their own. There is a middle-aged and belated taint about the best ideals which publicist liberalism has been able to express. The appeals to propagate political democracy leave these people cold in a world which has become so disillusioned of democracy in the face of universal economic servitude. Their ideals outshoot the government’s. To them the real arena lies in the international class-struggle, rather than in the competition of artificial national units. They are watching to see what the Russian socialists are going to do for the world, not what the timorous capitalistic American democracy may be planning. They can feel no enthusiasm for a League of Nations, which should solidify the old units and continue in disguise the old theories of international relations. Indispensable, perhaps? But not inspiring; not something to give one’s spiritual allegiance to. And yet the best advice that American wisdom can offer to those who are out of sympathy with the war is to turn one’s influence toward securing that our war contribute toward this end. But why would not this League turn out to be little more than a well-oiled machine for the use of that enlightened imperialism toward which liberal American finance is already whetting its tongue? And what is enlightened imperialism as an international ideal as against the anarchistic communism of the nations which the new Russia suggests in renouncing imperialist intentions? 

VI.

Skeptical of the means and skeptical of the aims, this element of the younger generation stands outside the war, and looks upon the conscript army and all the other war-activities as troublesome interruptions on its thought and idealism, interruptions which do not touch anywhere a fibre of its soul. Some have been much more disturbed than others, because of the determined challenge of both patriots and realists to break in with the war-obsession which has filled for them their sky. Patriots and realists can both be answered. They must not be allowed to shake one’s inflexible determination not to be spiritually implicated in the war. It is foolish to hope. Since the 30th of July, 1914, nothing has happened in the arena of war-policy and war-technique except for the complete and unmitigated worst. We are tired of continued disillusionment, and of the betrayal of generous anticipations. It is saner not to waste energy in hope within the system of war-enterprise. One may accept dispassionately whatever changes for good may happen from the war, but one will not allow one’s imagination to connect them organically with war. It is better to resist cheap consolations, and remain skeptical about any of the good things so confidently promised us either through victory or the social reorganization demanded by the war-technique. One keeps healthy in wartime not by a series of religious and political consolations that something good is coming out of it all, but by a vigorous assertion of values in which war has no part. Our skepticism can be made a shelter behind which is built up a wider consciousness of the personal and social and artistic ideals which American civilization needs to lead the good life. We can be skeptical constructively, if, thrown back on our inner resources from the world of war which is taken as the overmastering reality, we search much more actively to clarify our attitudes and express a richer significance in the American scene. We do not feel the war to be very real, and we sense a singular air of falsity about the emotions of the upper-classes toward everything connected with war. This ostentatious shame, this grovelling before illusory Allied heroisms and nobilities, has shocked us. Minor novelists and minor poets and minor publicists are still coming back from driving ambulances in France to write books that nag us into an appreciation of the real meaning. No one can object to the generous emotions of service in a great cause or to the horror and pity at colossal devastation and agony. But too many of these prophets are men who have lived rather briskly among the cruelties and thinnesses of American civilization and have shown no obvious horror and pity at the exploitations and the arid quality of the life lived here around us. Their moral sense has been deeply stirred by what they saw in France and Belgium, but it was a moral sense relatively unpractised by deep concern and reflection over the inadequacies of American democracy. Few of them had used their vision to create literature impelling us toward a more radiant American future. And that is why, in spite of their vivid stirrings, they seem so unconvincing. Their idealism is too new and bright to affect us, for it comes from men who never cared very particularly about great creative American ideas. So these writers come to us less like ardent youth, pouring its energy into the great causes, than like youthful mouthpieces of their strident and belligerent elders. They did not convert us, but rather drove us farther back into the rightness of American isolation. 

VII.

There was something incredibly mean and plebeian about that abasement into which the war-partisans tried to throw us all. When we were urged to squander our emotion on a bedevilled Europe, our intuition told us how much all rich and generous emotions were needed at home to leaven American civilization. If we refused to export them it was because we wanted to see them at work here. It is true that great reaches of American prosperous life were not using generous emotions for any purpose whatever. But the real antithesis was not between being concerned about luxurious automobiles and being concerned about the saving of France. America’s benevolent neutrality had been saving the Allies for three years through the ordinary channels of industry and trade. We could afford to export material goods and credit far more than we could afford to export emotional capital. The real antithesis was between interest in expensively exploiting American material life and interest in creatively enhancing American personal and artistic life. The fat and earthy American could be blamed not for not palpitating more richly about France, but for not palpitating more richly about America and her spiritual drouths. The war will leave the country spiritually impoverished, because of the draining away of sentiment into the channels of war. Creative and constructive enterprises will suffer not only through the appalling waste of financial capital in the work of annihilation, but also in the loss of emotional capital in the conviction that war overshadows all other realities. This is the poison of war that disturbs even creative minds. Writers tell us that, after contact with the war, literature seems an idle pastime, if not an offense, in a world of great deeds. Perhaps literature that can be paled by war will not be missed. We may feel vastly relieved at our salvation from so many feeble novels and graceful verses that khaki-clad authors might have given us. But this noble sounding sense of the futility of art in a world of war may easily infect conscientious minds. And it is against this infection that we must fight. 

VIII.

The conservation of American promise is the present task for this generation of malcontents and aloof men and women. If America has lost its political isolation, it is all the more obligated to retain its spiritual integrity. This does not mean any smug retreat from the world, with a belief that the truth is in us and can only be contaminated by contact. It means that the promise of American life is not yet achieved, perhaps not even seen, and that, until it is, there is nothing for us but stern and intensive cultivation of our garden. Our insulation will not be against any great creative ideas or forms that Europe brings. It will be a turning within in order that we may have something to give without. The old American ideas which are still expected to bring life to the world seem stale and archaic. It is grotesque to try to carry democracy to Russia. It is absurd to try to contribute to the world’s store of great moving ideas until we have a culture to give. It is absurd for us to think of ourselves as blessing the world with anything unless we hold it much more self-consciously and significantly than we hold anything now. Mere negative freedom will not do as a twentieth-century principle. American ideas must be dynamic or we are presumptuous in offering them to the world. 

IX.

The war  —  or American promise: one must choose. One cannot be interested in both. For the effect of the war will be to impoverish American promise. It cannot advance it, however liberals may choose to identify American promise with a league of nations to enforce peace. Americans who desire to cultivate the promises of American life need not lift a finger to obstruct the war, but they cannot conscientiously accept it. However intimately a part of their country they may feel in its creative enterprises toward a better life, they cannot feel themselves a part of it in its futile and self-mutilating enterprise of war. We can be apathetic with a good conscience, for we have other values and ideals for America. Our country will not suffer for our lack of patriotism as long as it has that of our industrial masters. Meanwhile, those who have turned their thinking into war-channels have abdicated their leadership for this younger generation. They have put themselves in a limbo of interests that are not the concerns which worry us about American life and make us feverish and discontented. 

Let us compel the war to break in on us, if it must, not go hospitably to meet it. Let us force it perceptibly to batter in our spiritual walls. This attitude need not be a fatuous hiding in the sand, denying realities. When we are broken in on, we can yield to the inexorable. Those who are conscripted will have been broken in on. If they do not want to be martyrs, they will have to be victims. They are entitled to whatever alleviations are possible in an inexorable world. But the others can certainly resist the attitude that blackens the whole conscious sky with war. They can resist the poison which makes art and all the desires for more impassioned living seem idle and even shameful. For many of us, resentment against the war has meant a vivider consciousness of what we are seeking in American life. 

This search has been threatened by two classes who have wanted to deflect idealism to the war   — the patriots and the realists. The patriots have challenged us by identifying apathy with disloyalty. The reply is that war-technique in this situation is a matter of national mechanics rather than national ardor. The realists have challenged us by insisting that war is an instrument in the working-out of beneficent national policy. Our skepticism points out to them how soon their mastery becomes drift, tangled in the fatal drive toward victory as its own end, how soon they become mere agents and expositors of forces as they are. Patriots and realists disposed of, we can pursue creative skepticism with honesty, and at least a hope that in the recoil from war we may find the treasures we are looking for.

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Turkey Pushes NATO Integration Of Central Asia, Caucasus, Balkans, Arab World

December 29, 2012 Leave a comment

News.Az
December 29, 2012

Ankara considers Azerbaijan’s active participation in NATO programs necessary
 

Turkish FM Ahmet Davutoglu proposed an initiative of correcting the NATO program the Partnership for Peace.

“We consider it necessary for the Central Asian countries, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco, to take a more active part in NATO programs”, Davutoglu said in the interview with Samanyolu TV channel.

The new program of partnership is already being developed.

“The program has been supported by not only Turkey but also other countries. We have attained a bigger diplomatic success in this issue”, the Turkish Foreign Minister said.

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News.Az
December 29, 2012

Azerbaijani servicemen to attend NATO trainings

Azerbaijani servicemen are to attend several NATO trainings.

According to the news service for the Defence Ministry of Azerbaijan, under the program of military cooperation between the United States and Azerbaijan, Azerbaijani servicemen will attend a training course at the US Academy of the Marine Fleet in Rhode Island from 7 January until 26 June.

International courses of the English language for servicemen will be held in Vilnius from 14 January until 17 May. The meeting of working groups within the VERITY program is due in Brussels from 15 to 19 January.

The discussions of the situation in Central Asia after the withdrawal of international coalition forces from Afghanistan in 2014 will be discussed in Garmisch, Germany from 15 until 23 January.

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Asia-Pacific: Third Phase Of U.S. Post-Cold War Global Expansion

December 28, 2012 Leave a comment

People’s Daily
December 28, 2012

China must and is able to withstand pressure
By Ren Weidong

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[S]ince the end of the Cold War, the U.S. global strategy has gone through two major historical stages. In the first 10 years (in the 1990s), the strategic focus was on Eastern Europe. The main strategy was presented by the NATO’s eastward expansion and the European Union’s eastward expansion. In the first 10 years of the new century (2000-2010), the strategic focus is to expand in the Middle East and Central Asia, with launching wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as its main strategy.

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Since the United States adjusted its global strategy to return to the Asia-Pacific region, China-U.S. strategic relations and China’s security environment has undergone significant historical changes.

From a geopolitical perspective, since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. global strategy has gone through two major historical stages. In the first 10 years (in the 1990s), the strategic focus was on Eastern Europe. The main strategy was presented by the NATO’s eastward expansion and the European Union’s eastward expansion. In the first 10 years of the new century (2000-2010), the strategic focus is to expand in the Middle East and Central Asia, with launching wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as its main strategy.

Around the second 10 years in the new century, the United States has ceased its strategic task in Central Asia and the Middle East for a while. Despite the fact that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are not going very smoothly, the United States succeeded in overthrowing the anti-American regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq and established pro-American regimes. Therefore, the strategic focus of the United States shifting from Central Asia and the Middle East to East Asia entirely followed its strategic steps as planned.

Since the adjustment of the U.S. strategic focus, a series of its strategic initiatives in East Asia can be summarized as follows: Politically establishing a united front line around China; making military deployments targeted at China; and undermining the economic influence of China.

Out of hegemonic geopolitical need, the United States will not allow the emergence of a unified geopolitical situation that is out of its control on the other side of the Pacific.

In addition, the most developed and prosperous cities are gathered on the coastal region of southeast China, therefore the region is vital for the Chinese economy. As the main transportation mode for China’s foreign trade and energy supply is via the sea route, taking control of the transportation line from the West Pacific Ocean to India via the Strait of Malacca means seizing the lifeline of the Chinese economy. Therefore, it is necessary for the United States to put its strategic focus on Asia, especially East Asia, which is fatal for China.

The strategic focus shifting to the Asia-Pacific region means that the United States has targeted China as the main objective of its global strategy in the current situation, pushing China to the position where it has nowhere to retreat or hide, but only accept the truth.

From the historical experience of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, there must be murder accompanied behind the containment. In Africa, the United States excludes China’s economic interests and political influence; in the Middle East, it controls China’s energy throat; and in the neighboring countries of China, it seeks and supports a force to contain China. It even directly ruins the key to the security and the development of China in East Asia. Together with internal penetration, evolution and division of China, what the U.S. did is not simply containment with a purpose of stopping expansion, but a curb with the purpose of manipulation or even choking.

There are only two ways for China to choose: Either withstanding the external pressure, taking an independent place in the multi-centered world pattern in the future; or following in the steps of the Soviet Union, and experiencing survival ravages. The sharpness of the struggle is self-evident, but with 5,000 years’ cultural heritage and 63 years’ revolution achievements, China will be able to overcome the challenges.

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Georgia, U.S., EU/NATO In Confrontation With Abkhazia

December 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Interfax
December 28, 2012

Abkhaz diplomats act in secrecy because of Georgia’s, U.S.’, EU’s intrigues – foreign minister

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SUKHUMI: The Abkhaz Foreign Ministry has to conceal a lot from journalists so that Georgia as well as the U.S. and the European Union as its sponsors could not take advantage of this information, Abkhaz Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Chirikba said.

“We cannot say about everything that occurs in our ministry and outside it. I cannot tell you about all trips that I have made this year and about all contacts that we are establishing with political figures of various countries, because our confrontation with Georgia, the U.S. and the European Union is very bitter,” Chirikba said.

“They are faultlessly tracking our telephone conversations, text messages, and emails, and they do everything to break our contacts with possible diplomatic partners. Therefore, we have to work in secrecy, however intriguing this might sound,” he said.

“I was in Italy recently, where I was supposed to read a lecture at a university. Georgia learned about this somehow and did all it could to thwart this lecture. But these petty steps don’t do it any good. I still gave a large press conference, at which I said all I wanted to say,” Chirikba said.

Even though Abkhazia’s contacts with foreign countries are being hampered, its diplomats are working on all continents, i.e. Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia, he said.

The minister said he was sure that the number of countries recognizing Abkhazia’s independence will be growing.

Stronger strategic partnership with Russia and broad international recognition are strategic objectives of Abkhazia’s foreign policy, he said.

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Transdniester: Time To Stop Creating Preconditions For War

December 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Itar-Tass
December 28, 2012

Dniester Republic wants Russian peacekeepers to stay

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TIRASPOL: The Dniester Republic wants Russian peacekeepers to stay until a political settlement is finally reached, Yevgeny Shevchuk, the president of the unrecognized Dniester Republic, told journalists on Friday, commenting on the proposal of the Moldovan leadership to replace “Russian Blue Helmets” by civilian observers.

“It’s time to stop creating preconditions for a war. Regrettably, we can see that representatives of Moldova’s political elite couldn’t refrain from aggressive remarks about the Dniester Republic in the outgoing year. These remarks are a source of concern for our people, in the first place,” Shevchuk went on to say.

He gave some figures, according to which about 40 incidents had occurred in the buffer zone on the Dniester River this year. They were settled by the Joint Control Commission that supervises the peacekeeping operation and commands the peacekeeping battalions of Russia, Moldova and the Dniester Republic.

“This is another evidence that the peacekeeping operation is a serious guarantee that the tragic events of 1992 when thousands of people were killed, wounded or became refugees will never be repeated,” Shevchuk emphasized.

He recalled that the Russian peacekeepers were staying in the Dniester region under an agreement that was signed in Moscow in 1992 and allowed for solving the conflict peacefully.

“First, under this document the Russian Group of Troops carries out a peacekeeping operation. Second, the Russian Group of Troops continues guarding munitions in the Kolbasnoye village of the Rybnitsky district, which is the property of the Russian army,” Shevchuk said, adding that the population of the Dniester Republic would like to expand the Russian military presence in the region in the foreseeable future.

This year, the Dniester Republic has marked the 20th anniversary of the peacekeeping operation in the Dniester Valley. The Joint Peacekeeping Forces of Russia, Moldova and the Dniester Republic as well as Ukrainian observers have been guarding the security zone on the banks of the Dniester River since the end of an armed conflict between Moldova and the Dniester Republic under an agreement on the principles of the conflict’s peaceful settlement singed on July 21, 1992. Moldova considers the conflict to be over and believes that the existing peacekeeping format should be changed by replacing the peacekeepers by civilian observers under the OSCE mandate.

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Romain Rolland: The collective insanity, the terrible spirit of war

December 28, 2012 Leave a comment

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

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Romain Rolland: Selections on war

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Romain Rolland
From Jean Christophe in Paris (1908)
Translated by Gilbert Cannan

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Following on a sequence of apparently insignificant events, relations between France and Germany suddenly became strained: and, in a few days, the usual neighborly attitude of banal courtesy passed into the provocative mood which precedes war. There was nothing surprising in this, except to those who were living under the illusion that the world is governed by reason. But there were many such in France: and numbers of people were amazed from day to day to see the vehement Gallophobia of the German Press becoming rampant with the usual quasi-unanimity. Certain of those newspapers which, in the two countries, arrogate to themselves a monopoly of patriotism, and speak in the nation’s name, and dictate to the State, sometimes with the secret complicity of the State, the policy it should follow, launched forth insulting ultimatums to France.

The great mass of the German people had nothing at all to do with the provocation: they were shocked by it: the honest men of every country ask only to be allowed to live in peace: and the people of Germany are particularly peaceful, affectionate, anxious to be on good terms with everybody, and much more inclined to admire and emulate other nations than to go to war with them. But the honest men of a nation are not asked for their opinion: and they are not bold enough to give it. Those who are not virile enough to take public action are inevitably condemned to be its pawns. They are the magnificent and unthinking echo which casts back the snarling cries of the Press and the defiance of their leaders, and swells them into the Marseillaise, or the Wacht am Rhein.

***

It never occurred to Christophe to support his argument by the citation of similar crimes perpetrated by all nations all through the history of the world. He was too proud to fall back upon any such humiliating excuse: he knew that, as humanity advances, its crimes become more odious, for they stand in a clearer light. But he knew also that if France were victorious in her turn she would be no more moderate in the hour of victory than Germany had been, and that yet another link would be added to the chain of the crimes of the nations. So the tragic conflict would drag on for ever, in which the best elements of European civilization were in danger of being lost.

***

Men of the firmest intelligence, men the most secure in their faith, now saw it dissolve at the first puff of reality, and stood turning this way and that, not daring to make up their minds, and often, to their immense surprise, deciding upon a course of action entirely different from any that they had foreseen. Some of the most eager to abolish war suddenly felt a vigorous passionate pride in their country leap into being in their hearts. Christophe found Socialists, and even revolutionary syndicalists, absolutely bowled over by their passionate pride in a duty utterly foreign to their temper.

***

And as they were held on and on in suspense, they grew restless and feverish. André was in torment. He knew that his faith was true, and yet he could not defend it! He felt that he was infected by the moral epidemic which spreads among the people of a nation the collective insanity of their ideas, the terrible spirit of war!

But it was impossible to endure such suspense for long. The wind of action willy-nilly sifted the waverers into one group or another. And one day, when it seemed that they must be on the eve of the ultimatum, when, in both countries, the springs of action were taut, ready for slaughter, Christophe saw that everybody, including the people in his own house, had made up their minds. Every kind of party was instinctively rallied round the detested or despised Government which represented France. Not only the honest men of the various parties: but the esthetes, the masters of depraved art, took to interpolating professions of patriotic faith in their work. The Jews were talking of defending the soil of their ancestors. At the mere mention of the flag tears came to Hamilton’s eyes. And they were all sincere: they were all victims of the contagion. André Elsberger and his syndicalist friends, just as much as the rest, and even more: for, being crushed by necessity and pledged to a party that they detested, they submitted with a grim fury and a stormy pessimism which made them crazy for action. Aubert, the artisan, torn between his cultivated humanitarianism and his instinctive chauvinism, was almost beside himself. After many sleepless nights he had at last found a formula which could accommodate everything: that France was synonymous with Humanity.

***

Olivier was much calmer than he, though he had much more reason to be upset. Of all Christophe’s acquaintance, he seemed to be the only one to escape the contagion…For his own part, he refused to take part in the skirmish. While the civilized nations were cutting each other’s throats he was fain to repeat the device of Antigone: “I am made for love, and not for hate.” For love and for understanding, which is another form of love. His fondness for Christophe was enough to make his duty plain to him. At a time when millions of human beings were on the brink of hatred, he felt that the duty and happiness of friends like himself and Christophe was to love each other, and to keep their reason uncontaminated by the general upheaval. He remembered how Goethe had refused to associate himself with the liberation movement of 1813, when hatred sent Germany to march out against France.

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NATO Pitting Turkey Against Its Neighbors

December 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Voice of Russia
December 27, 2012

NATO pitting Turkey against neighbours

“By following the lead of the West, we are widening the split between us and our neighbours,” Turkey’s Saadet Party deputy chair Birol Aydin has told the Voice of Russia.

According to Mr. Aydin, it was a NATO’s initiative to deploy elements of the European missile shield in Turkey and to pull Patriot missile systems to Syria’s northern border.

All of that wasn’t proposed by Turkey, the pundit said, claiming the North Atlantic alliance made Ankara seek the deployment of Patriot missiles on its turf.

Fatih Evyapan from the Anatolian Youth Association shares his viewpoint. He believes the West is pitting Turkey against its neighbours, Syria and Iran. For that purpose, NATO is creating its military infrastructure in Turkey, including a radar system in Malatya and Patriot missiles on the Turkish-Syria border. Their deployment means a direct intrusion into neighbouring Syria, he said.

Mr. Evyapan pointed out that the West had recently triggered a war between Iran and Iraq and was bending every effort to fan a similar conflict between Iran and Turkey.

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Henri Barbusse: “War must be killed; war itself”

December 28, 2012 Leave a comment

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

Henri Barbusse: Selections on war

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Henri Barbusse
From Under Fire (1916)
Translated by Fitzwater Wray

237 - HENRI BARBUSSE, LES HOMMES VERITABLES_Photos_237-Henri_Barbusse-5

“The Jingoes – they’re vermin,” growled a shadow.

Several times they repeated, as though feeling their way, “War must be killed; war itself.”

“That’s all silly talk. What diff does it make whether you think this or that? We’ve got to be winners, that’s all.”

But the others had begun to cast about. They wanted to know and to see farther than to-day. They throbbed with the effort to beget in themselves some light of wisdom and of will. Some sparse convictions whirled in their minds, and jumbled scraps of creeds issued from their lips.

“Of course – yes – but we must look at facts – you’ve got to think about the object, old chap.”

“The object? To be winners in this war,” the pillar-man insisted, “isn’t that an object?”

Two there were who replied together, “No!”

***

At this moment there was a dull noise; cries broke out around us, and we shuddered. A length of earth had detached itself from the hillock on which – after a fashion – we were leaning back, and had completely exhumed in the middle of us a sitting corpse, with its legs out full length. The collapse burst a pool that had gathered on the top of the mound, and the water spread like a cascade over the body and laved it as we looked.

Some one cried, “His face is all black!”

“What is that face?” gasped a voice.

Those who were able drew near in a circle, like frogs. We could not gaze upon the head that showed in low relief upon the trench-wall that the landslide had laid bare. “His face? It isn’t his face!” In place of the face we found the hair, and then we saw that the corpse which had seemed to be sitting was broken, and folded the wrong way. In dreadful silence we looked on the vertical back of the dislocated dead, upon the hanging arms, backward curved, and the two outstretched legs that rested on the sinking soil by the points of the toes. Then the discussion began again, revived by this fearful sleeper. As though the corpse was listening they clamored – “No! To win isn’t the object. It isn’t those others we’ve got to get at – it’s war.”

“Can’t you see that we’ve got to finish with war? If we’ve got to begin again some day, all that’s been done is no good. Look at it there! – and it would be in vain. It would be two or three years or more of wasted catastrophe.”

***

A still more violent blast of wind shut our eyes and choked us. When it had passed, and we saw the volley take flight across the plain, seizing and shaking its muddy plunder and furrowing the water in the long gaping trenches – long as the grave of an army – we began again.

“After all, what is it that makes the mass and the horror of war?”

“It’s the mass of the people.”

“But the people – that’s us!”

He who had said it looked at me inquiringly.

“Yes,” I said to him, “yes, old boy, that’s true! It’s with us only that they make battles. It is we who are the material of war. War is made up of the flesh and the souls of common soldiers only. It is we who make the plains of dead and the rivers of blood, all of us, and each of us is invisible and silent because of the immensity of our numbers. The emptied towns and the villages destroyed, they are a wilderness of our making. Yes, war is all of us, and all of us together.”

“Yes, that’s true. It’s the people who are war; without them, there would be nothing, nothing but some wrangling, a long way off. But it isn’t they who decide on it; it’s the masters who steer them.”

***

“We shall say to ourselves,” says one, “‘After all, why do we make war?’ We don’t know at all why, but we can say who we make it for. We shall be forced to see that if every nation every day brings the fresh bodies of fifteen hundred young men to the God of War to be lacerated, it’s for the pleasure of a few ringleaders that we could easily count; that if whole nations go to slaughter marshaled in armies in order that the gold-striped caste may write their princely names in history, so that other gilded people of the same rank can contrive more business, and expand in the way of employees and shops – and we shall see, as soon as we open our eyes, that the divisions between mankind are not what we thought, and those one did believe in are not divisions.”

***

Ah, you are right, poor countless workmen of the battles, you who have made with your bands all of the Great War, you whose omnipotence is not yet used for well-doing, you human host whose every face is a world of sorrows, you who dream bowed under the yoke of a thought beneath that sky where long black clouds rend themselves and expand in disheveled lengths like evil angels – yes, you are right. There are all those things against you. Against you and your great common interests which as you dimly saw are the same thing in effect as justice, there are not only the sword-wavers, the profiteers, and the intriguers.

There is not only the prodigious opposition of interested parties – financiers, speculators great and small, armor-plated in their banks and houses, who live on war and live in peace during war, with their brows stubbornly set upon a secret doctrine and their faces shut up like safes.

There are those who admire the exchange of flashing blows, who hail like women the bright colors of uniforms; those whom military music and the martial ballads poured upon the public intoxicate as with brandy; the dizzy-brained, the feeble-minded, the superstitious, the savages.

***

And even while they are saying that they do not wish for war they are doing all they can to perpetuate it. They nourish national vanity and the love of supremacy by force. “We alone,” they say, each behind his shelter, “we alone are the guardians of courage and loyalty, of ability and good taste!” Out of the greatness and richness of a country they make something like a consuming disease. Out of patriotism – which can be respected as long as it remains in the domain of sentiment and art on exactly the same footing as the sense of family and local pride, all equally sacred – out of patriotism they make a Utopian and impracticable idea, unbalancing the world, a sort of cancer which drains all the living force, spreads everywhere and crushes life, a contagious cancer which culminates either in the crash of war or in the exhaustion and suffocation of armed peace.

They pervert the most admirable of moral principles. How many are the crimes of which they have made virtues merely by dowering them with the word “national”? They distort even truth itself. For the truth which is eternally the same they substitute each their national truth. So many nations, so many truths; and thus they falsify and twist the truth.

Those are your enemies. All those people whose childish and odiously ridiculous disputes you hear snarling above you – “It wasn’t me that began, it was you!” – “No, it wasn’t me, it was you!” – “Hit me then!” – “No, you hit me!” – those puerilities that perpetuate the world’s huge wound, for the disputants are not the people truly concerned, but quite the contrary, nor do they desire to have done with it; all those people who cannot or will not make peace on earth; all those who for one reason or another cling to the ancient state of things and find or invent excuses for it – they are your enemies!

They are your enemies as much as those German soldiers are to-day who are prostrate here between you in the mud, who are only poor dupes hatefully deceived and brutalized, domestic beasts. They are your enemies, wherever they were born, however they pronounce their names, whatever the language in which they lie. Look at them, in the heaven and on the earth. Look at them, everywhere! Identify them once for all, and be mindful for ever!

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Turkey Seeks 117 Missiles From The U.S.

December 26, 2012 Leave a comment

Voice of Russia
December 26, 2012

Turkey seeks 117 missiles from US

Turkey has ordered 117 air-to-air Sidewinder missiles from the US amid a spiraling conflict in Syria, the Defense Department’s Security Cooperation Agency said Monday.

The agency has issued a notice for the US Congress saying the order worth $140 million included Sidewinder missiles and associated equipment. The Congress has about a fortnight to cancel the deal, else the agency will be given the green light to go on with the sale.

The order package allegedly consists of 117 AIM-9X-2 Sidewinder Block-II missiles, 6 AIM-9X-2 Block II tactical guidance units, 6 dummy air training missiles, 130 LAU-129 Launchers, containers, missile support and test equipment, provisioning, spare and repair parts, as well as personnel training equipment.

Voice of Russia, Interfax

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Afghanistan: U.S. Launches Record Number Of Deadly Drone Strikes This Year

December 26, 2012 1 comment

RT
December 25, 2012

US sets records with number of drone strikes in Afghanistan this year

The United States has carried out more drone strikes this year in Afghanistan than it has during its eight-year-long air war in Pakistan, launching 447 strikes and killing thousands while also reducing its air surveillance.

At a time when the US is transitioning military power to the Afghan government and planning its 2014 withdrawal, it broke a new record with the 447 drone strikes it launched in the war-torn country in 2012. Not only did the US launch more drones this year than ever before, but it carried out more strikes in Afghanistan than it did in Pakistan in the past eight years, which is how long the CIA has been conducting such strikes. About 338 drone strikes have been launched in Pakistan.

The data, which was released by the US Air Force, shows that drone strikes have been steadily increasing in Afghanistan, even after former terrorist leader Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011 and the conflict has been winding down. Last year, the US carried out 294 drone strikes in Afghanistan, which was up from 278 in 2010.

The average number of drone strikes per month has also been on the rise. This year, the average was 33 drone strikes, while last year, it was 24.5 At the same time, drone strikes have been increasingly criticized by both legislators and the American public.

A December report by the Brave New Foundation condemned the use of drones, which have killed hundreds of children – and possibly many more that were not reported. In Pakistan, 178 children were reportedly killed by US drones.

“Obama does not kill children deliberately. But their deaths are an inevitable outcome of the way his drones are deployed,” writes The Guardian’s George Monibot, who finds it hypocritical for the president to mourn the deaths of 20 US children killed in a shooting in Connecticut, while ignoring the fact that hundreds of children have died in drone strikes overseas.

US air surveillance in Afghanistan has significantly decreased, but still, drone strikes have been launched at an even greater rate. Surveillance sorties, many of which are flown by drones, decreased from an average of 3,183 per month in 2011 to 2,954 in 2012.

“The numbers are yet another powerful data illustrating the fact that unmanned systems are here and they are here to stay,” Peter W. Singer, who runs the Brooking Institution’s 21st Century Defense Initiative, told Wired.

Meanwhile, the media continues to publish harrowing accounts regarding the effect of US drone strikes, both on the victims and those who are forced to execute the deadly strikes.

The German publication Der Spiegel published an account of a former drone pilot whose bunker was located in New Mexico, from where he watched the strikes on video. After the drone pilot discharged a Hellfire missile into a mud house in northern Afghanistan, he witnessed a small child step into the picture. Much of the house was completely destroyed, and the pilot never again saw the child on video. The pilot says he was scarred from the incident, and still thinks of the people whose fate he decided that day.
“I felt disconnected from humanity,” he said.

But such occurrences are common in Afghanistan and Pakistan. While there may be no numbers accurately reflecting the number of civilians killed in drone strikes, they are in the thousands, and significantly on the rise in a country that the US says it is withdrawing from.

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Michel Corday: War sentiment is general dementia, barbarous and neolithic

December 26, 2012 Leave a comment

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

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Michel Corday: Selections from The Paris Front

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Michel Corday
From The Paris Front (1934)
Translator not identified

January 1916

- The 1st. The historian Lavisse, in the Petit Parisien, is giving gentle hints to the minority which wants peace. For he himself wants war, still more deaths, plenty of deaths! For he is contemplating the future, he is! He loves his country, he does! In fact, the reasons he gives are an indication of the general dementia. Here they are:

1. We cannot allow all those Frenchmen to have died in vain. )So let us make just as many more die!)

2. Our sorrows demand the solace of vengeance. (A sentiment which, in any period of sanity, would be considered barbarous and neolithic.)

3. The war”which was thrust upon us” must provide revenge for 1870. (Ho! Ho! So he is by no means sorry to be compelled to take his revenge!)

4. No Frenchman can live without honour or glory. It is his duty to free the world from tyranny, etc. (Ah! if only we tore off those veils of verbiage, what a foul body would be seen beneath!)

- The very old and the very young are the greatest enemies of peace. For the former have no more desire for life, while the latter have no yet required it. The old remember the defeat of 1870. The young have a sporting interest in fighting, and are a prey to the vain-glory tainting the very air they breathe.

- Little children are being dressed up as soldiers, just as they used to be in carnivals. Little girls wear policemen’s caps and cloaks of “horizon blue.” And yet the Socialists imagine that this is the war to end war! And yet generations are being brought up to love uniforms – one of the causes of the present war.

- The income tax is to come into force from the 1st March, 1916. It is comic. For so many people preferred to have this war rather than this tax! Now they have got them both.

- It is reported that French and German soldiers, especially on the Northern front, flooded out of their trenches, camped on the parapets by tacit agreement, without firing on each other. They even exchanged food. Stories like this make our patriots feel really ill, even though the armistice was mutual. They are anxious that we shall not cease in our ferocity. They are afraid that the war might stop.

- The association of motor manufacturers in Lyons has declared a boycott against the pacifist Ford. This detestation of peace has the secondary advantage of serving their interests, since Ford is flooding all the markets of the world with his cars.

- Over the last eighteen months the war has cost Europe 3,000 human lives every day and an average of 350,000,000,000 francs. Nobody worries any longer about these astounding figures.

- Despite the savage expectations of our patriotic madmen, soldiers still exchange friendly conversation between the trenches. Thus, one night, a German outpost asked a French sentry: “Tell me, now, how does one go about it to establish a republic?”

- This is only one nation in which forty-three members of Parliament, out of three hundred and sixty, have refused to vote war credits, and in which poor women have expressed their indignation by wrecking luxurious restaurants – and that is Germany.

- Anyone who comes back from the front has to face the bland enquiry of comfortable middle-class women: “Are the men still keen?” That means, of course: “Are the troops still perfectly resigned to their duty of killing and being killed?”

     

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Kosovo: U.S. Builds Army, Prepares NATO Membership

December 25, 2012 7 comments

Stars and Stripes
December 24, 2012

Kosovo aims to form military force and join NATO
Steven Beardsley

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“It is not absolutely clear if all allies are going to participate in those new tasks, but NATO as an alliance will do it,” then-NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told reporters in June 2008.

[I]ndividual nations were left to shoulder much of the burden for training and equipping the force. Chief among them was the U.S., which remains Kosovo’s biggest supporter…It provides between $5.5 MILLION and $7 million in annual training and military sales, among other forms of assistance, according to the U.S. Embassy.

“The U.S. is our strategic partner, and it will forever be our strategic partner,” KSF commander Lt. Gen. Kadri Kastrati said. “Everything that we are doing we do in coordination with [the] U.S. military attaché in Pristina and our colleagues who work here in NATO Advisory Team or Office of Defense Cooperation.”

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PRISTINA, Kosovo: Nearly five years after Kosovo declared independence, its international backers are encouraging the tiny Balkan nation to walk on its own.

One of its next steps may be to form a small army from an existing 2,500-strong civil protection force — a difficult task for a young nation that still has not secured full international recognition and is deeply distrusted by its northern neighbor, Serbia, from which it declared independence in 2008.

Nearly 5,600 NATO troops, including close to 800 Americans, remain stationed in Kosovo to help keep the peace with ethnic Serbs [sic] who refuse to recognize the government of the former Serbian province, where 90 percent of the population is ethnic Albanian.

“We have to produce security, not consume security,” said Rexhep Selimi, a member of the Kosovo assembly committee that oversees the current force. “That’s why we want to finish our job as soon as possible, so we can join NATO.”

While the U.S. backs Kosovo’s nationhood, embassy officials in Pristina declined to comment on Kosovo’s push for a military, saying only that the U.S. supports the current Kosovo Security Force and a security sector review, guided by U.S. military advisers.

“It’s what we think is a great opportunity for them to take a hard look at where they’re going,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Ray Wojcik, head of the embassy’s Office of Defense Cooperation.

Kosovo’s declaration of independence in February 2008 came nearly nine years after a NATO bombing campaign to end Serbia…It continues to divide world opinion.

Russia, which as an ally of Serbia has refused to recognize Kosovo’s independence, has veto power on the U.N. Security Council to keep Kosovo out of the world body. Five members of the European Union, including four NATO members, don’t recognize Kosovo, putting any aspirations Kosovo has for membership in those organizations on hold.

Nonetheless, NATO’s Kosovo force helped stand up the civilian-controlled Kosovo Security Force, despite the alliance’s internal divisions over Kosovo’s status. The KSF specializes in demining, search and rescue and IED-defeat, among other tasks.

“It is not absolutely clear if all allies are going to participate in those new tasks, but NATO as an alliance will do it,” then-NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told reporters in June 2008.

And indeed, individual nations were left to shoulder much of the burden for training and equipping the force. Chief among them was the U.S., which remains Kosovo’s biggest supporter, according to Wojcik. It provides between $5.5 MILLION and $7 million in annual training and military sales, among other forms of assistance, according to the U.S. Embassy. The KSF budget hovers around $35 million.

The U.S. provided uniforms and radios, and it opened its schools to KSF members, including the Army Sergeants Major Academy at Fort Bliss, Texas, and the service’s Command and General Staff College. It paired Kosovo with the Iowa National Guard for a mentor relationship, and sent members to Grafenwöhr, Germany, for NCO training.

Such training is now being incorporated into the KSF structure with U.S. military help. At a September ceremony on a KSF base in the southern Kosovo city of Ferizaj, U.S. Army advisers looked on as some two dozen senior NCOs graduated a course run within the country, and largely by KSF trainers.

“The U.S. is our strategic partner, and it will forever be our strategic partner,” KSF commander Lt. Gen. Kadri Kastrati said. “Everything that we are doing we do in coordination with [the] U.S. military attaché in Pristina and our colleagues who work here in NATO Advisory Team or Office of Defense Cooperation.”

The U.S. military is also instrumental in the next phase of Kosovo’s force. The Defense Institution Reform Initiative within the Department of Defense is guiding the Kosovo government’s security sector review, which began in March as a rethink of Kosovo’s security structure.

The review is significant in light of a recent change in the country. In September, Kosovo’s international backers stepped aside to grant the country full sovereignty over its laws. One, the law on the KSF, opens to restructuring in June 2013.

Agim Ceku, the current minister of the KSF, and former prime minister, says a defense force is a necessity.

“We are now not only building [a] state, but we are building society here,” Ceku said in a recent interview.

“And I think military force is [an] important factor of national identity for us.,” said Ceku, who fought in Croatia’s war of independence from the former Yugoslavia and served as a general in the Kosovo Liberation Army, which took up arms against Serbia in the late 1990s in a push for independence. He is considered a war criminal by Serbia. “Military force is [a] very good instrument for modernizing society. Here we can serve as [an] example, good example, of discipline, service to a nation, commitment to duty.”

Both Ceku and Kastrati, the commander of KSF, envision a small force developed to NATO standards and deployable for specialized capabilities such as demining or search and rescue, similar to what the KSF does now.

Many Kosovo leaders and some analysts envision a future within NATO. In the meantime, how the alliance would view a Kosovo military is unclear.

Even the status of the KSF remains contentious. NATO member nations are still considering whether to approve a largely technical designation of the force — that it reached its “Full Operational Capability” — granted by NATO’s own Kosovo Forces commander last November. The U.S. supports it.

“It’s something that we try to build broader consensus around and moving it in a positive direction,” said Michael Kreidler, political-military officer at the U.S. Embassy in Kosovo. “But the consensus-building process in Brussels, it’s agonizing.”

Another international concern about Kosovo standing up an army is the tense security situation in Kosovo’s north, where ethnic Serbs refuse any representation of the Kosovo government. Rioting erupted last year after Kosovo police entered the territory to impose customs offices on the border with Serbia.

Ilir Deda, chief of staff to Kosovo President Atifete Jahjaga through this past January and current director of the Kosovo Institute for Policy Research and Development, believes that even with a settlement over the north, countries in NATO that don’t recognize Kosovo may not come around to the idea of a Kosovo military. He said Kosovo needs to focus on its most influential supporters.

“If it happens, it has the (U.S.) support and U.K. support,” he said.

It’s a feeling repeated by Kosovo officials like Ceku.

“They are now supporting the process here,” he said. “And this process we are going to do together. I said I will not come up with any recommendation that it is not coordinated with the U.S. and accepted by the U.S.”

beardsleys@estripes.osd.mil

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Afghanistan: U.S.’s Parthian Retreat

December 24, 2012 2 comments

Voice of Russia
December 24, 2012

What next for Afghanistan after NATO’s scheduled pullout?
Boris Pavlishev

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“The Americans are actually not after stability or putting an end to terrorism in Afghanistan. They are after gaining a permanent strategic foothold in Southwest Asia. Providing advice and training will be no more than a disguise. In reality, the Americans will be digging in and building a launchpad for further military adventures on the Asian continent.”

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On a snap visit to Kabul a few days ago, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta declined to clarify what is in store for Afghanistan after NATO’s announced pullout in 2014. The American-led forces arrived in Afghanistan 11 years ago on a United Nations mission to combat terrorism. In a recent interview with Afghan television, Russian Ambassador Andrei Avetisyan said this mission is far from accomplished, as is the task of equipping Afghanistan with modern armed forces.

This means that pulling out and leaving behind a few thousand instead of hundreds of thousands of NATO soldiers can only perpetuate the terrorist insurgency in Afghanistan. Then what is behind the much touted plans to clinch an Afghan-American security pact?

If and when acted upon, this pact would likely leave only two key airbases, Bagram and Kandahar, in American hands. The Americans and some of their NATO allies would ostensibly retain only advisory and coaching roles. Moscow is doubtful, saying that coaching a small army for a mission on which even NATO failed is absolutely pointless.

Chairman of the Trustees Board of the Moscow-based Demography, Migration and Regional Development Institute Dr Yuri Krupnov says he suspects an ulterior motive:

“The Americans are actually not after stability or putting an end to terrorism in Afghanistan. They are after gaining a permanent strategic foothold in Southwest Asia. Providing advice and training will be no more than a disguise. In reality, the Americans will be digging in and building a launchpad for further military adventures on the Asian continent.”

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Turkey Plays Israel-Egypt Balance In NATO

December 24, 2012 Leave a comment

Hurriyet Daily News
December 25, 2012

Turkey plays Israel-Egypt balance in NATO

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Turkey has convinced unnamed NATO members to lift their vetoes on NATO activities on a number of countries in the Middle East, the Caucasus and the Balkans. Among those, it appears Egypt has a more important role to play than others.

Turkey’s move to put Egypt into the NATO picture more than before, as a counterbalance to Israel, might work as an anchor for Egypt to NATO, thus Western standards. So playing an Egypt-Israeli balance might result in holding Egypt in the Western camp instead of it falling under the influence of centrifugal forces of the Arab Spring.

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Yes, there is an Egypt story other than Mohammad Morsi’s victory in getting his Islamic law-based constitution approved through a referendum in Egypt; it is upgraded relations between Egypt and the Western defense alliance, NATO.

Egypt is not a member of NATO; nor is Israel. But a development last week hinted that both countries might have turned out to be parts of a political bargain in the greater NATO picture.

Yet Israel has been in a unique relationship with NATO, partly because of U.S. foreign policy preferences. The U.S. is the main driving force of NATO, after all, despite the need to have a unanimous vote on every decision in the organization. Israel takes part in a number of NATO programs, especially those in relation to the Mediterranean.

Turkey has decided to use that veto power in NATO to force Israel to make an open apology on the killing of nine Turks onboard the passenger ship Mavi Marmara during its voyage to break the embargo on Gaza in 2010, the most painful one concerning Israeli participation in a NATO Summit in Chicago in May 2012 (HDN, Feb 18, 2012). In return, Israel has put a hold on the sale of certain military devices to Turkey, which did nothing but push Turkey harder to work on its own unmanned aerial vehicle and satellite systems.

Turkish officials do not confirm Israeli claims that the conditional lift on Israeli vetoes are somehow linked with approving Turkey’s demand to deploy Patriot anti-missile weapons against the possibility of an attack from the civil-war hit Syria. Yet the news about Turkey’s lifting of vetoes on Israel’s participation in NATO projects other than military exercises came after a NATO decision – including Turkey’s vote, of course – to deploy six batteries to three southern Turkish cities near the Syrian borde: two German-operated batteries to Kahramanmaraş, two Dutch-operated ones to Adana and two U.S.-operated ones to Gaziantep. In return, according to Turkish sources, Turkey has convinced unnamed NATO members to lift their vetoes on NATO activities on a number of countries in the Middle East, the Caucasus and the Balkans. Among those, it appears Egypt has a more important role to play than others.

Having had its regime changed through the Tahrir Revolution, Egypt is on a new path now. On the one hand, a free vote is an important step toward Western democratic standards. On the other hand, the first two outcomes of the free vote have been an Islamist President – is it possible to call Morsi a moderate? – and a constitution based on Islamic law.

Turkey’s move to put Egypt into the NATO picture more than before, as a counterbalance to Israel, might work as an anchor for Egypt to NATO, thus Western standards. So playing an Egypt-Israeli balance might result in holding Egypt in the Western camp instead of it falling under the influence of centrifugal forces of the Arab Spring.

It may also help Israel to apologize to Turkey over the flotilla tragedy, following the elections in January.

An interesting period worth watching closely is ahead of us.

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William Cullen Bryant: Christmas In 1875

December 24, 2012 1 comment

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

American writers on peace and against war

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William Cullen Bryant
Christmas In 1875

(Supposed to be written by a Spaniard)

No trumpet-blast profaned
The hour in which the Prince of Peace was born;
No bloody streamlet stained
Earth’s silver rivers on that sacred morn;
But, o’er the peaceful plain,
The war-horse drew the peasant’s loaded wain.

The soldier had laid by
The sword and stripped the corselet from his breast,
And hung his helm on high -
The sparrow’s winter home and summer nest;
And, with the same strong hand
That flung the barbed spear, he tilled the land.

Oh, time for which we yearn;
Oh, sabbath of the nations long foretold!
Season of peace, return,
Like a late summer when the year grows old,
When the sweet sunny days
Steeped mead and mountain-side in golden haze.

For now two rival kings
Flaunt, o’er our bleeding land, their hostile flags,
And every sunrise brings
The hovering vulture from his mountain-crags
To where the battle-plain
Is strewn with dead, the youth and flower of Spain.

Christ is not come, while yet
O’er half the earth the threat of battle lowers,
And our own fields are wet,
Beneath the battle-cloud, with crimson showers -
The life-blood of the slain,
Poured out where thousands die that one may reign.

Soon, over half the earth,
In every temple crowds shall kneel again
To celebrate His birth
Who brought the message of good-will to men,
And bursts of joyous song
Shall shake the roof above the prostrate throng.

Christ is not come, while there
The men of blood whose crimes affront the skies
Kneel down in act of prayer,
Amid the joyous strains, and when they rise
Go forth, with sword and flame,
To waste the land in His most holy name.

Oh, when the day shall break
O’er realms unlearned in warfare’s cruel arts,
And all their millions wake
To peaceful tasks performed with loving hearts,
On such a blessed morn,
Well may the nations say that Christ is born.

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NATO’s Africa Medal: Dutch Submarine In River Thames

December 24, 2012 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
December 20, 2012

Netherlands Submarine Crew in River Thames Visit
HNLMS Bruinvis crew awarded NATO medal for counter piracy mission

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HNLMS Bruinvis

Yesterday, the crew of the Dutch submarine, HNLMS Bruinvis, were awarded NATO’s Africa medal for their work as part of NATO’s counter piracy mission, Operation Ocean Shield. The submarine made a scheduled visit to London, berthing at Canary Wharf.

The medal ceremony took place at Canary Wharf and was attended by Rear Admiral Ian Corder (RN) Commander of NATO’s Submarine Force and Major General (RN Marine Corps) Rob Verkerk, Deputy Commander of the Royal Netherlands Navy. They were joined by members of the merchant shipping community.

Before awarding the crew their medals with Maj Gen Verkerk, RAdm Corder said

“During your deployment you’ve sailed an extensive amount of sea miles. Your operations have pushed both you and your boat towards the endurance limits of the WALRUS class submarine. Your professionalism and enthusiasm gave both NATO and the Dutch submarine service a position where they’ve used your capabilities with all available confidence. With your integration in the NATO counter piracy task force and your support to task forces you have contributed in an extensive way to the counter piracy effort.

“Although the counter piracy mission may look different from more traditional submarine missions, you’ve proven again the invaluable contribution of a submarine in the NATO counter piracy effort.”

The crew will remain in London for another day before heading home to Den Helder where they will be reunited with family and friends shortly before Christmas.

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Pakistan: Defining Our War

December 24, 2012 1 comment

The Nation
December 23, 2012

Defining our war
Jalees Hazir

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The problem with those eager to claim the US-led intervention in the region as our war is that they use the acts of terror perpetrated by militant groups as a justification to support the far more serious and barbaric strategy of terror officially sanctioned by the superpower and its Nato allies. The one-eyed liberal fascists seem to have no ideas of their own.

What brand of noble intentions could justify the brutal occupation of Afghanistan for more than a decade? What kind of fictitious weapons of mass destruction make the hell let loose on Iraqi citizens acceptable? What definition of human rights and freedom allows the continued destruction of Libya? Which human values sanction subversion of order in Syria?

Are they really ignorant of the nexus between militant groups scattered all over the globe and the CIA that has fathered, adopted, nurtured and fanged them?

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Acts of terror in and around Peshawar last week reminded us once again that we are in the middle of a war. These recent attacks that claimed many innocent lives made some commentators renew their advocacy of accepting the US-led so-called war on terror as our war. On the other hand, the evil-looking tattoo on the back of one of the killed terrorists was considered by many as evidence to write off the entire menace of militant extremism as a US-controlled project that will disappear in thin air with an end to the US occupation of Afghanistan. It is important to move beyond these simplistic formulations in order to understand the challenge we face and to define the war we’re trapped in.

The problem with those eager to claim the US-led intervention in the region as our war is that they use the acts of terror perpetrated by militant groups as a justification to support the far more serious and barbaric strategy of terror officially sanctioned by the superpower and its Nato allies. The one-eyed liberal fascists seem to have no ideas of their own.

They would like us to believe the false narrative spun by the US establishment as divine injunction and dance to its belligerent tune like a good unquestioning ally. They would like the state of Pakistan and its security forces to become an errand boy for a two-faced Uncle Sam, implementing his dubious war strategy that has brought death and destruction to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Are they so naïve, these ‘our-war’ cheerleaders? Their logic seems to suggest as much. According to them, the US is fighting a global war against terrorism and since Pakistan is being attacked by terrorists as well, we have a common enemy and we should fight it together. Of course, for them, fighting it together means taking orders and doing as we are told. They would like to take the obviously hypocritical pronouncements of the so-called superpower on their face value. Truthful to the US narrative, they would like to bundle together the resistance in Afghanistan with the terrorism we face and convince us that the only hurdle in defeating terrorism is our reluctance to cooperate whole-heartedly with the US game plan.

Their complete faith in the US and what it says is a bit confounding. What brand of noble intentions could justify the brutal occupation of Afghanistan for more than a decade? What kind of fictitious weapons of mass destruction make the hell let loose on Iraqi citizens acceptable? What definition of human rights and freedom allows the continued destruction of Libya? Which human values sanction subversion of order in Syria? What makes these ‘our war’ cheerleaders blind to not just these, but countless covert and overt imperialist interventions by the US around the world?

Are they really ignorant of the nexus between militant groups scattered all over the globe and the CIA that has fathered, adopted, nurtured and fanged them?

Actually, we don’t need any tattoo to convince us that the US is involved in spreading terrorism in the world. It is documented history. Its dangerous covert games are no longer secret in any case as its leaders openly boast of funding and arming terrorists that they dub as rebels or any convenient name that sounds less offensive.

In the case of Pakistan, when CIA and Blackwater operatives were thrown out after the Raymond Davis episode, the CIA head calmly told us that the agency did not need its agents on the ground anymore as it had established an extensive network of local assets in the country. Does this network include the TTP contacts on Raymond Davis’ phone?

Certainly, we need to pull out of this imperialist war and work with other neighbours of Afghanistan to rid the region of the US presence. Pulling out of the US war is an important first step, and it will help us on two counts at least. It will bring an end to the dangerous covert games the meddlesome superpower plays under the garb of cooperation and friendship to begin with. Besides, it will take away the flimsy ideological excuse used by militants, who think it is kosher to kill innocent Pakistani Muslims because their country is siding with the infidels.

More importantly, without the distraction of trying to do more in line with the US devious demands, it will also bring clarity to our understanding of the problem and, hence, help us in evolving an effective strategy to counter it. However, to say that the menace of militant extremism will disappear with an end to US occupation of Afghanistan is equally simplistic.

While it is true that growth of militant extremism owes much to CIA and American proxies in the Middle East, its roots have grown deep in Pakistan over the last three decades and it is supported by an environment of distorted and sectarian notions about Islam that have become common in our society.

A multi-pronged response is needed to counter it. Other than a strong military offensive against the mercenary hardcore terrorist groups, the government will have to closely monitor the sources of funding, syllabi and activities of the large number of seminaries that have mushroomed all over Pakistan. In many cases, they are involved in spreading sectarian hatred and militant attitudes that encourage impressionable students to use coercion and violence against people who do not subscribe to their version of Islam. The government will have to act against the blatant abuse of loud speakers in mosques and self-proclaimed scholars of Islam issuing fatwas that incite hatred and violence against other sects and communities. It is not difficult to prod youngsters weaned on such ideas to commit acts of terror to please God.

In fact, the entire society will have to get involved. The media will have to be more careful about what it dishes out in the name of religion. And the educated Muslims will have to reclaim their religion from an ignorant clergy. It’s not only about hunting and killing a handful of mercenary terrorists acting on foreign commands. To defeat militancy in the name of Islam, the nation must fight it on all fronts.

The writer is a freelance columnist.

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Georges Duhamel: Mosaic of pain stained with mud and blood, the colours of war

December 24, 2012 Leave a comment

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

Georges Duhamel: Selections on war

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Georges Duhamel
From Civilization, 1914-1918
Translated by T.P. Conwil-Evans

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From different points a burst of discharging shells sent up white clouds, side by side, in quick succession, like rows of trees on the roadside. In the open sky more than thirty balloons formed a ring, giving one the impression of spectators interested in a brawl.

The Adjutant, pointing out the tents, said to me, “That’s Hill 80. You will see more wounded passing there than there are hairs on your head, and more blood flowing than the water in the canal. All those who are hit between Combles and Bouchavesnes are brought to Hill 80.”

I nodded, and we relapsed again into silence and reflection. The day gave out in the unclean air of the marshes. The English were firing their big cannon not far from us, and their roar crashed along the alignment like an enraged horse dashing blindly away. The horizon was so thick with guns that you could hear a continuous gurgle as of a huge cauldron in the tormenting grip of a furnace.

The Adjutant turned again to me. “Three of your brothers have been killed,” he said. “In one sense you are out of the business. You won’t be very badly off as a stretcher-bearer. In another it is unfortunate, but a good thing for you. It’s hard work, stretcher-bearing, but it’s better than the line. Don’t you think so?”

I said nothing. I thought of that devastated little valley where I had spent the first few weeks of the summer in front of the Plémont hill – the deadly hours I spent looking at the ruins of Lassigny between the torn and jagged poplars, and the apple-trees blighted with the horror on the edge of the chaotic road, and the repulsive shell-holes full of green slime and swarming with life, and the mute face of the Château Plessier, and the commanding hill which a cosmic upheaval alone had made capable of giving rise to grim forebodings. There during the long nights I had breathed the fetid air of the corpse-laden fields. In the most despairing loneliness I had been in turn terrified of death and longing for it. And then some one came along one day to tell me that “You can go back behind the lines. Your third brother has been killed.” And many of the men looked at me, seeming to think with the Adjutant, “Your third brother is dead. In a sense you are lucky.”

***

Far away, like idly moving rivers, large columns of dust marked all the roads in the district, and were filtered by the wind as they flowed over the countryside. The light of day was polluted with it, as the sky was ravaged by great flights of aeroplanes, and the silence violated and degraded, and the earth with its vegetation torn and mutilated.

I was not that day by any means disposed to be happy, but all this plunged me into the deepest gloom.

Looking all around me I found the only places where I could rest my eyes were in the innocent looks of the horses or on some unfortunate timid men who worked on the roadside. Everything else was nothing but a bristling gesture of war.

***

I got up with the dawn and, wandering through the mist, tried to find my bearings.

There was the road leading from Albert, worn, hollowed, and terrible overrun. It bore the never-ending stream of wounded. Alongside of it stood the city of tents with its streets, its suburbs, and its public squares. Behind the tents, a cemetery. That was all.

I was leaning on the fence and I was looking at the cemetery. Though it was overflowing, its appetite was insatiable. A group of German prisoners were occupied in digging long dark pits that were like so many open and expectant mouths. Two officers went by: one was fat and looked as if at any moment he would be struck with apoplexy. He was gesticulating wildly to the other. “We have,” he said, “got ready in advance 200 graves and almost as many coffins. No, you can’t say that this offensive has not been planned.”

***

The men were lying down: they had grave wounds. Placed side by side on the uneven ground, they made a mosaic of pain stained with mud and blood, the colours of war; reeking with sweat and corruption, the smells of war; noisy with cries, moans and hiccups which are the sounds and music of war.

I shivered at the sight. I had known the bristling horror of the massacre and the charge. I was to learn another horror, that of the tableau – the accumulation of prostrate victims, the spectacle of the vast hall swarming with human larvae, in heaps, on the floor.

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NATO Missiles To Be Deployed To Turkey In Days

December 23, 2012 2 comments

Hurriyet Daily News
December 22, 2012

Patriots to be in Turkey by the end of 2012

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NATO photograph

ISTANBUL: Patriot missiles will be deployed in Turkey at the end of December, NATO announced in a written statement according to private broadcaster NTV.

They will be reportedly deployed in the Mediterranean provinces of Kahramanmaraş and Adana and in the southeastern province of Gaziantep.

The total number of batteries to deploy were determined as six.

The Patriots are expected to be ready to use from the second half of January.

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Sunday’s Zaman
December 23, 2012

NATO announces Turkish locations for Patriots

İSTANBUL: Three NATO allies who have agreed to provide Patriot missiles to augment Turkey’s air defenses – Germany, the Netherlands and the United States – have agreed on the locations where the batteries will be deployed, the alliance said on Friday.

“Germany will deploy its batteries to Kahramanmaraş, the Netherlands will deploy its batteries to Adana, and the United States will deploy its batteries to Gaziantep,” a NATO spokesperson said in a statement on Saturday.

The locations were “decided jointly with Turkey as the host nation and in close coordination with the Supreme Allied Commander Europe,” NATO said.

Turkey asked NATO for the Patriot system, designed to intercept aircraft or missiles, in November to help bolster its border security after repeated episodes of gunfire and shelling from Syria spilling into Turkish territory.

NATO agreed to send Patriots to Turkey with Germany, the Netherlands and the United States having offered to provide two Patriot batteries each.

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Friday that the Syrian military had fired more Scud-type missiles inside the country, justifying NATO’s decision to dispatch Patriot anti-missile systems to NATO ally Turkey – a deployment criticized by Syria, Iran and Russia.

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Turkey To Resume NATO Cooperation With Israel

December 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Daily Star
December 23, 2012

Turkey to resume NATO cooperation with Israel

ISTANBUL: Turkey has agreed to drop its ban on cooperating with Israel as a third-country NATO partner, a diplomat said Sunday.

Ankara cut off such cooperation after the Israeli army raided a Turkish ship carrying humanitarian aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip in 2010, leaving nine Turks dead.

The decision to renew NATO links came at a December 4 meeting in Brussels of the 28-member alliance on a proposal by its Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the diplomat said.

The ban had “created a lack of confidence among the partners”, he said.

However Turkey will maintain its ban on joint military manoeuvres, and Ankara has reserved the right to bar activities with Israel on its own soil.

The agreement comes after NATO agreed early this month to deploy Patriot anti-aircraft missiles along the Turkish border with Syria.

Turkey’s relations with its former ally deteriorated sharply after the raid on the Turkish ship in international waters in the Mediterranean.

Israel has rejected Ankara’s demands for an apology and compensation.

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Georgian Defense Chief Awards U.S. Military Trainers

December 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
December 21, 2012

U.S. Advisor-Instructors Awarded

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Today Georgian Defence Minister Irakli Alasania has awarded American advisor-instructors.

Sergeant Major Gregory Wright, 1st Sergeant Vincent Heller and Gunnery Sergeant Anthony Cuccurese were granted with the medal of General Kvinitadze for their special contribution to pre-deployment training Georgian soldiers for the ISAF mission. The awards ceremony was held at the training base Sounth Vaziani, Algeti.

“Today we have visited the 33rd Battalion currently undergoing the trainings with our American partners. They will depart for Afghanistan in the nearest future. Our soldiers are morally and physically ready and most important is that they have relevant military knowledge to solve every task successfully. They should always be aware to save themselves and carry out the most important task – to provide international and national security”, declared the defence minister.

The leadership of the GAF also attended the awarding ceremony. After the ceremony, the defence minister had a tour around the training base and the infrastructure.

U.S. advisor-instructors have positively assessed the preparedness of Georgian soldiers. According to 1st Sergeant Vincent Heller, the Georgian soldiers are highly motivated and distinguished for their professionalism.

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Russian Foreign Minister: West Reprises Yugoslav, Iraqi, Libyan Models In Syria

December 22, 2012 1 comment

Itar-Tass
December 22, 2012

Al-Assad overthrow not end war in Syria – Lavrov

MOSCOW: Western special services predict that the overthrown of Bashar al-Assad will not end the war in Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told journalists on Saturday.

“Western special services say the overthrow of Bashar al-Assad will not stop the bloodshed in Syria. This is a country where various ethnic groups and religions coexisted for many thousands of years. To destroy all to overthrow only one person…We observed such events in Yugoslavia and Iraq and we observed what had happened in Libya because Al-Gaddafi’s head was needed,” Lavrov said.

“One cannot simply say – the Arab Spring, democratisation, the drive for the better life – how childish. A serious political analysis is really lacking,” the Russian foreign minister noted.

He confirmed that Russia did not intend to give al-Assad political asylum. “Russia said we had not invited al-Assad. We have no such plans. Certain countries of the region addressed us: ‘Tell al-Assad we are ready to accept him’. But we replied: ‘What does this come in? If we have such plan, address directly’,” Lavrov said.

He recalled that al-Assad himself made a statement saying he was not going to resign. Lavrov referred to al-Assad saying even if Russia or China invited him, he would die in Syria.

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Georg Brandes: War, uninterrupted series of horrors, atrocities, and slaughter

December 22, 2012 Leave a comment

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

Georg Brandes: Selections on war

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Georg Brandes
From The World at War (1917)
Translated by Catherine D. Groth

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1916

He who remarks how, on the sixteenth month of the war, the conflicting peoples, each and all, are convinced they are fighting for justice and truth against falsehood and oppression, while they all simultaneously massacre each other by means of most frightful inventions, cannot help feeling that man by nature is a vastly more sophisticated devil than the one whom Goethe characterised in Faust by the celebrated lines: 

“Ein Theil von Jener Kraft 
Die Stets das Böse will und stets das Oute Schaft.” 

Man, or at least the spirit of the nations, is quite different and much more terrible. He and they are part of that force which 

“Stets das Gute will und stets das Böse schafft.” 

For all belligerent statesmen, strategists, officers, and soldiers, as well as generals and admirals, colonels and naval commanders, all, without exception, day in and day out, only ask to do the right — but their good intentions are expressed day in and day out by an uninterrupted series of horrors, atrocities, and slaughter in proportions the world never dreamed of. The fight for the good has had the certain result of causing the most awful evil which one would think inspired only by the wildest lust of bloodshed and destruction. 

***

The actors as well as the spectators of the huge tragedy have been taught from childhood that a supernatural and wise destiny directs the world. And they believe that everything, even that which seems most desperate in our eyes, is for the best. They ask in deep anxiety: What good is to come out of this?

Theologists and philosophers have ready answers.

They say a new era will come over the world, courage and virtue will take the place of luxury. From the thunder of canons, the clash of firearms, from bursting grenades and exploding mines, from machines that spread burning liquids or poisonous gas over what was previously called fellow men, now the enemy, they claim, will come what is called justice.

Most people believe this because philosophers as well as ministers and poets have impressed it on them. And young people wishing to appear thoroughly up to date are convinced they are “modern” when they profess optimism.

Few are they who know that humanity is worth more than nationality. Few who know that where hatred is sown nothing but hatred can be reaped.

Few they are who feel, as it says in a little Swedish verse I have read:

“I saw innocence crushed under foot,
I heard might admired,
Truth despised,
Then my blood boiled.
Now I have quite ceased to be surprised,
When everything flouts simple, common sense,
I know right is crushed under foot
In spite of prayers and tears,
I know life’s law is hard and not good.”

***

War — cultural power, it is claimed to be! — has made everything poorer and more sordid — everything is brutalised, militarised, clericalised, nationalised, over all the earth.

***

During the war, the press of the belligerent countries has succeeded in exciting to an unknown degree the most horrible of all powers, national hatred — hatred which is not founded on a person’s faults or crimes, but on his race or birthplace — idiotic race hatred and national hatred. This hatred is the political factor which prevents peace.

But behind the nations and over the nations stands humanity and humanness.

And behind national hatred and above the national hatred the love of humanity still exerts itself.

It is human love that strives to diminish the sufferings which national hatred has caused, and to heal the wounds it has caused.

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Christmas Present: U.S. Senate Votes $631 Billion Military Budget

December 22, 2012 Leave a comment

Voice of Russia
December 22, 2012

US Senate: a Christmas present
Valentin Zorin

The US Senate has unanimously approved a $631bln defense budget for 2013. The draft budget has evoked no objections from the White House. As he ran for president four years ago, Barack Obama promised to cut defense programs and put an end to the arms race which drained the US economy. The Obama administration has failed to stabilize the economy.

The country’s state debt is growing at a fast rate. And judging by the newly approved 2013 budget, Washington has no intention of ending the arms race. At present, the US military expenditure exceeds combined military spending of all other countries.

Experts attribute the current difficulties experienced by the US economy to the fact that it cracked under the burden of military spending, which proved too heavy for it, if not outright intolerable. According to the US Treasury Department, the unprecedented $17 trillion debt will increase to $19 trillion in the foreseeable future and exceed 100% of the country’s current GDP. On top of that, Boston University Professor Laurence Kotlikoff has established that the US budget deficit is larger than that officially reported, amounting to a whopping $200 trillion.

Trillions of dollars of state debt that are ruining the American economy did not come out of nowhere. The war in Iraq which was unleashed by the Bush administration cost US taxpayers $3 trillion, another half a trillion dollars have been spent on the military operation in Afghanistan, also started by the Republican government. An end to this spending is nowhere in sight. The Republican majority in the US Congress is pushing for so-called “nuclear modernization” which envisages the creation of 80 new types of nuclear warheads. Even though Congressmen keep mum on the cost of the program, it’s clear that it will require billions of dollars.

It’s the fifth US administration that has set its mind on promoting a missile defense program, despite the failures and costs associated with it. In accordance with the most modest estimates, more than $2 trillion have already been invested in the program and hundreds of billions will still be needed to pursue it.

The hefty sums channeled for financing military programs lead to a further increase in the US state debt. Unlike abortive missile tests, they don’t dissolve in the boundless expanses of outer space but land on specific accounts of specific individuals. These individuals are Pentagon clients and are part of military-industrial concerns, or what President Eisenhower described as the “military-industrial complex”.

The military-industrial complex has turned the arms race into an endless source of profit for weapons manufacturers and dictates policies to those in power. All hopes and election pledges on the part of aspiring politicians drown in this striving for profit which gains the upper hand, defying people’s interests and the requirements of common sense.

Ordinary Americans have to pay for it. According to an official report of the US Census Bureau, 15% of the population live below the poverty line. The position of other people whose lives are far from easy as well is not disclosed.

The generous present – the 2013 military budget – is not for them.

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U.S. To Deploy Latest Battlecraft To New Asia-Pacific Bases

December 21, 2012 3 comments

Today Online/Agencies
December 21, 2012

US to deploy newest battle craft to its Asia-Pacific bases
Move part of new military strategy to reinforce America’s influence in the volatile region

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[T]he Pentagon will send P-8 submarine-hunting aircraft, cruise missiles, Virginia-class submarines, coastal combat ships and F-35 fighter jets to the Asia-Pacific region in coming years.

The Philippines, Australia and other parts of the region have seen an increase in the number of US warships, planes and personnel since President Barack Obama announced a “pivot” in foreign, economic and security policy towards Asia late last year.

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Virginia class attack submarine

WASHINGTON: The United States is planning to deploy its newest high-tech military hardware, including submarines and warships, to its military bases in the Asia-Pacific region, as it turns its attention to a fast-growing Asia and a newly assertive China.

A US military official, who was speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the deployment is part of Washington’s new military strategy to reinforce its influence in the volatile region.

“What you’re seeing is part of a bigger effort; the Pacific theatre will get the newest weapons systems first,” he was quoted as saying by Iranian television network Press TV.

The official said the Pentagon will send P-8 submarine-hunting aircraft, cruise missiles, Virginia-class submarines, coastal combat ships and F-35 fighter jets to the Asia-Pacific region in coming years.

The Philippines, Australia and other parts of the region have seen an increase in the number of US warships, planes and personnel since President Barack Obama announced a “pivot” in foreign, economic and security policy towards Asia late last year.

The first of a new class of US coastal warships will be sent to Singapore next spring for a roughly 10-month deployment. Both countries have said the deployment stops short of a basing agreement.

On Tuesday, Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said that the stealthy F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft, which is currently in development, could be deployed at the Iwakuni air station in Japan’s Yamaguchi prefecture by 2017.

The Pentagon had announced in September that it will be providing Japan with a new radar installation to bolster its missile defences.

The US also announced on Wednesday that it will open up military ties with Myanmar. US-Myanmar military-to-military ties were cut off after 1988…

A senior US defence official said the move to renew military ties with Myanmar was to bolster the political reforms undertaken so far.

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Aldous Huxley: Imposition of permanent military servitude upon the masses

December 21, 2012 Leave a comment

====

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)

aldoushuxley

When the issues involved are of no great weight, the adults in control of a nation’s policy are permitted, by the rules of the curious game they are playing, to behave like adults. But as soon as important economic interests or national prestige is involved, this grown-up Jekyll retires and his place is taken by an adolescent Hyde, whose ethical standards are those of a boy-gangster and whose Weltanschauung seems to have been formed by a study of Houston Stewart Chamberlain and the more sanguinary comic strips. And let us remember that this same delinquent boy who, concealed in the middle-aged body of a politician, decrees that millions shall do and suffer the utmost in scientifically organized malice, resides within us all, ready and waiting, whenever some crisis makes us forget our surface rationality and idealism, to come out into the open. To this boy gangster in our midst, the natural reaction to the atom bomb is not an impulse to put an end to war by getting rid of its causes in nationalism, economic rivalry and the craving for power. Rather it is an impulse to make use of the new powers provided by science for the purpose of establishing world dominion for his particular gang. It is a highly significant fact that people love to talk about a war to end war, or a war to preserve democracy; they do not love to talk about peace to end war, or self-governing democracy (which is the polar antithesis of militarism) to preserve democracy. Like the adult, with whom he is associated, the nationalistic boy-gangster is frightened of what atomic power may do to him and his world. Nevertheless he continues to think in terms of gang rivalry and his own supremacy.

****

The real, the unavowed reason for peacetime conscription must be sought in the all too natural desire of a powerful, centralized government to regiment and control its subjects by placing them, actually or potentially, under martial law and by arrogating to itself the right, whenever it so desires (as, for example, during an inconvenient strike), to call them to the colours. In these days of atomic weapons, mass armies would seem to have become something of an anachronism. Nevertheless, no country which imposed peacetime conscription in the past shows any inclination to relax its grip upon the masses of its people. Moreover, in countries where peacetime conscription was previously unheard-of there are many high military and civilian officials who advocate the imposition of permanent military servitude upon the masses.

There is also another way in which the preparation for war is useful to the holders of centralized political power. When things go badly at home, when popular discontent becomes inconveniently articulate, it is always possible, in a world where war-making remains an almost sacred habit, to shift the people’s attention away from domestic to foreign and military affairs. A flood of xenophobic or imperialistic propaganda is released by the government-controlled instruments of persuasion, a ‘strong policy’ is adopted toward some foreign power, an appeal for ‘national unity* (in other words, unquestioning obedience to the ruling oligarchy) is launched, and at once it becomes unpatriotic for anybody to voice even the most justifiable complaints against mismanagement or oppression. It is difficult to see how any highly centralized government could afford to dispense with militarism and the threat of foreign war.

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Pakistan: Four Killed, Several Injured In 39th U.S. Drone Strike This Year

December 21, 2012 2 comments

Xinhua News Agency
December 21, 2012

Four killed in U.S. drone strike in NW Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: At least four people were killed and many others were injured on Friday afternoon when a U.S. drone launched a strike in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal region of North Waziristan, local media reported.

According to the reports, the pilotless plane fired two missiles at a house in the Hesokhel village of Mir Ali, a famous district of North Waziristan.

The missile strike completely destroyed the house and killed four people present in the building.

Soon after the incident, local people rushed to the site and started rescue work to take the dead bodies and injured out of the debris.

The injured were being shifted to the local hospital for treatment but local rescuers were unable to tell the number of wounded people.

Earlier on Thursday night, a U.S. unmanned aircraft, which was reportedly being used to target militants’ hideouts, crashed in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal region of South Waziristan, the neighboring area of North Waziristan.

According to the reports, the pilotless plane crashed in the Wana district of South Waziristan, a restive tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

Local media quoting official sources reported that the U.S. drone might had come to attack some target but crashed apparently due to some technical fault.

U.S.-led NATO forces fighting in Afghanistan believed that Pakistan’s bordering areas especially North Waziristan and South Waziristan are the safe havens for the militants who allegedly attack NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Pakistan, on a number of occasions, protested and expressed its reservations over such strikes, terming them the violation of its sovereignty but U.S. considered it an effective strategy to eliminate militants hiding in hilly areas.

The Friday attack is the 39th of its kind (counted on a daily basis) in Pakistan during 2012, killing at least 273 people and injuring hundreds of others.

On Dec. 9, at least four people were killed when a U.S. drone launched a strike firing four missiles at a house in North Waziristan.

Earlier on Dec. 1, U.S. drone attacked a suspected house in South Waziristan killing at least four people…

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Kuwait: NATO Establishes First Training Site In Persian Gulf

December 21, 2012 1 comment

Gulf News
December 20, 2012

Nato military site part of agreement — Kuwait
By Habib Toumi
Bureau Chief

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The Nato training site in Kuwait is the first to be set up in a GCC state.
At its Chicago summit in May, Nato in its final communiqué said that it looked forward to a better understanding of common security threats in the region.

A Nato official last year told Gulf News that the alliance was keen to reinforce its cooperation and relations with GCC individual members through the ICI.

“We can see how we can enhance military-to-military cooperation, inter-operability…,” said Appathurai, Nato spokesperson from 2004 to 2010. He now serves as the Nato secretary general’s special representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia.

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NATO and Gulf Countries: Facing Common Challenges Through the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative conference in Kuwait in 2006

Manama: The allocation of a piece of land to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) in Kuwait is part of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) launched in 2004, a senior Kuwaiti official has said.

“The move consolidates Kuwait’s interest in international missions, especially that Kuwait was the first Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) country to join the ICI,” Shaikh Sabah Al Khalid, the deputy prime minister and foreign minister, said.

The land will be used by Nato as a training site under the ICI, he added.

“We are interested in the region’s security and stability and in being partners with anyone who seeks to achieve them. We are also interested in facilitating everything that is related to our contacts and consultations with Nato,” the minister said on Wednesday, quoted by Kuwait News Agency (Kuna).

Shaikh Sabah was speaking at a press conference in Kuwait City alongside his Belgian counterpart Didier Reynders.

The Nato training site in Kuwait is the first to be set up in a GCC state.
At its Chicago summit in May, Nato in its final communiqué said that it looked forward to a better understanding of common security threats in the region.

“We will strengthen political dialogue and practical cooperation in the ICI,” the communiqué said. “We warmly welcome the generous offer by the State of Kuwait to host an ICI Regional Centre, which will help us to better understand common security challenges, and discuss how to address them together. We encourage our ICI partner countries to be proactive in exploiting the opportunities offered by their partnership with Nato. We remain open to receiving new members in the ICI,” the 28-member alliance said.

A Nato official last year told Gulf News that the alliance was keen to reinforce its cooperation and relations with GCC individual members through the ICI.

“We do want to deepen our engagement with our Gulf partners, through the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative,” James Appathurai, the then NATO’s deputy assistant secretary general for political affairs and security policy, said. “I do stress that our engagement with Gulf partner countries is a two-way street. The moment has come for us to work more closely with our partners in the Gulf and we are confident there will be opportunities to deepen our political and practical cooperation,” he said.

Plans included more regular dialogue and political consultations to promote a better mutual understanding with the region and engaging in shared strategic analyses, he said.

“We can see how we can enhance military-to-military cooperation, inter-operability and public diplomacy so that we can better explain Nato and what it does and, at the same time, we at Nato can better understand the region,” said Appathurai, Nato spokesperson from 2004 to 2010. He now serves as the Nato secretary general’s special representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia.

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U.S. Africa Command Forms Rapid Reaction Force

December 21, 2012 Leave a comment

Stars and Stripes
December 18, 2012

AFRICOM announces it will have rapid reaction force
By John Vandiver

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While AFRICOM says the unit will be based in Fort Carson — home to the 10th Special Forces Group — it is more likely that the team of operators will spend most of its time forward-deployed in Africa, according to a recently retired Green Beret who served on multiple Commander’s in-Extremis units.

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U.S.-led Operation Flintlock exercise in Mali

STUTTGART, Germany: In the politically charged aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks in Benghazi, in which the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed, it emerged that something crucial was missing from the structure of U.S. Africa Command: a rapid reaction force.

Not anymore. In response to a question during a recent speech at George Washington University, AFRICOM boss Gen. Carter Ham said his command is now outfitted with a new capability.

“With regard to a response force, when the command was initially formed there was a sharing arrangement with what’s called the Commander’s in-Extremis Force with European Command. That was a good relationship that up until the 1st of October of this year was a shared arrangement,” Ham said. “And now we have our own.”

[W]hen it comes to rapid response, location is key. Particularly in Africa, where AFRICOM is responsible for U.S. military interests in a territory roughly three times larger than the United States. So where will AFRICOM’s new Commander’s in-Extremis Force be located? In Fort Carson, Colo., according to an AFRICOM spokesman.

“Distance is a major factor for doing anything in Africa, and we regularly work with EUCOM,” which has its own Commander’s in-Extremis Force, said AFRICOM spokesman Benjamin Benson when asked whether it would make more sense to have the Special Forces unit located in Europe or Africa. AFRICOM declined to comment further about the placement of its elite Special Forces team, whose movements are generally shrouded in secrecy.

For AFRICOM, the stationing of troops on the African continent has long been a sensitive issue, which could explain the command’s reluctance to discuss the idea of a forward presence of Special Forces troops in Africa. However, former special operators say they don’t expect the new rapid reaction force to spend much time in the U.S., as the long travel times to Africa would make the team ineffective as crisis responders.

While AFRICOM says the unit will be based in Fort Carson — home to the 10th Special Forces Group — it is more likely that the team of operators will spend most of its time forward-deployed in Africa, according to a recently retired Green Beret who served on multiple Commander’s in-Extremis units.

“The capability we bring to a COCOM (Combatant Command) is that it is a certified counterterrorism unit at his (the commander’s) disposal on short notice. That’s the reason why we exist, and we are forward-deployed for that reason,” said the former special operator, who asked not to be identified.

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NATO Strengthens Military Ties With Kazakhstan

December 21, 2012 Leave a comment

Trend News Agency
December 20, 2012

Kazakh ambassador presents his credentials to NATO Secretary General
D. Mukhtarov

20120522_120521i-002_rdax_128x85
NATO-Kazakh meeting in May

Astana: A ceremony to present the new ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Almaz Khamzayev’s credentials to NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen took place at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Thursday, the Kazakh Foreign Ministry press service said on Thursday.

“During the meeting the newly appointed head of the Kazakh mission and organisation’s secretary general discussed the current state and prospects of cooperation between Kazakhstan and NATO, including military cooperation, civil emergency planning and scientific cooperation’, the statement reported.

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Kazinform
December 20, 2012

Kazakh ambassador Khamzayev presents credentials to NATO Sec Gen

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Kazakhstan Almaz Khamzayev has presented his credentials on 17 December to NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Kazakh MFA’s press service reports.

During the meeting, the head of the Kazakh mission now posted in Brussels and the Secretary General discussed the state and prospects of partnership between Kazakhstan and the organization, including military cooperation, civil emergency planning and research collaboration.

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Henri Barbusse: Soldier’s glory is a lie, like every other fine-looking thing in war

December 21, 2012 Leave a comment

====

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

Henri Barbusse: Selections on war

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Henri Barbusse
From Under Fire (1916)
Translated by Fitzwater Wray

80px-Henri_Barbusse

They will say to you,” growled a kneeling man who stooped with his two bands in the earth and shook his shoulders like a mastiff, ‘My friend, you have been a wonderful hero!’ I don’t want them to say it!

“Heroes? Some sort of extraordinary being? Idols? Rot! We’ve been murderers. We have respectably followed the trade of hangmen. We shall do it again with all our might, because it’s of great importance to follow that trade, so as to punish war and smother it. The act of slaughter is always ignoble; sometimes necessary, but always ignoble. Yes, hard and persistent murderers, that’s what we’ve been. But don’t talk to me about military virtue because I’ve killed Germans.”

“Nor to me,” cried another in so loud a voice that no one could have replied to him even had he dared; “nor to me, because I’ve saved the lives of Frenchmen! Why, we might as well set fire to houses for the sake of the excellence of life-saving!”

“It would be a crime to exhibit the fine side of war, even if there were one!” murmured one of the somber soldiers.

The first man continued. “They’ll say those things to us by way of paying us with glory, and to pay themselves, too, for what they haven’t done. But military glory – it isn’t even true for us common soldiers. It’s for some, but outside those elect the soldier’s glory is a lie, like every other fine-looking thing in war. In reality, the soldier’s sacrifice is obscurely concealed. The multitudes that make up the waves of attack have no reward. They run to hurl themselves into a frightful inglorious nothing. You cannot even heap up their names, their poor little names of nobodies.”

“To hell with it all,” replies a man, “we’ve got other things to think about.”

“But all that,” hiccupped a face which the mud concealed like a hideous hand, “may you even say it? You’d be cursed, and ‘shot at dawn’! They’ve made around a Marshal’s plumes a religion as bad and stupid and malignant as the other!”

The man raised himself, fell down, and rose again. The wound that he had under his armor of filth was staining the ground, and when he had spoken, his wide-open eyes looked down at all the blood he had given for the healing of the world.

* * *

The others, one by one, straighten themselves. The storm is falling more heavily on the expanse of flayed and martyred fields. The day is full of night. It is as if new enemy shapes of men and groups of men are rising unceasingly on the crest of the mountain-chain of clouds, round about the barbaric outlines of crosses, eagles, churches, royal and military palaces and temples. They seem to multiply there, shutting out the stars that are fewer than mankind; it seems even as if these apparitions are moving in all directions in the excavated ground, here, there, among the real beings who are thrown there at random, half buried in the earth like grains of corn.

My still living companions have at last got up. Standing with difficulty on the foundered soil, enclosed in their bemired garb, laid out in strange upright coffins of mud, raising their huge simplicity out of the earth’s depths – a profundity like that of ignorance – they move and cry out, with their gaze, their arms and their fists extended towards the sky whence fall daylight and storm. They are struggling against victorious specters, like the Cyranos and Don Quixotes that they still are.

One sees their shadows stirring on the shining sad expanse of the plain, and reflected in the pallid stagnant surface of the old trenches, which now only the infinite void of space inhabits and purifies, in the center of a polar desert whose horizons fume.

But their eyes are opened. They are beginning to make out the boundless simplicity of things. And Truth not only invests them with a dawn of hope, but raises on it a renewal of strength and courage.

“That’s enough talk about those others!” one of the men commanded; “all the worse for them! – Us! Us all!” The understanding between democracies, the entente among the multitudes, the uplifting of the people of the world, the bluntly simple faith! All the rest, aye, all the rest, in the past, the present and the future, matters nothing at all.

And a soldier ventures to add this sentence, though he begins it with lowered voice, “If the present war has advanced progress by one step, its miseries and slaughter will count for little.”

And while we get ready to rejoin the others and begin war again, the dark and storm-choked sky slowly opens above our heads. Between two masses of gloomy cloud a tranquil gleam emerges; and that line of light, so blackedged and beset, brings even so its proof that the sun is there.

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Serving NATO: Georgian Soldier Missing In Afghanistan

December 21, 2012 Leave a comment

Civil Georgia
December 20, 2012

MoD: Georgian Soldier ‘Missing’ in Afghanistan

Georgian_soldies_Afghan

Tbilisi: A Georgian soldier serving in NATO-led operations in Afghanistan “is missing” since December 19, the Georgian Ministry of Defense said on Thursday.

“Circumstances are not known yet,” the MoD said in a brief statement on its website.

It said that Regional Command Southwest, whose area of responsibility is Helmand and Nimroz provinces, “is conducting a search and rescue operation”.

“All Georgian units in theater are moved to the highest security alert posture,” MoD said, adding that it was not appropriate to give more details due to the ongoing search and rescue operation.

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.

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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Rustavi 2
December 20, 2012

Statement by Ministry of Defense

The Ministry of Defense of Georgia has released a special statement regarding the missing Georgian soldier in Afghanistan.

“A Georgian soldier from the Georgian peacekeeping contingent of the ISAF mission is missing since December 19, 2012. Circumstances are not known yet. Currently, RCT Southwest Command is conducting a search and rescue operation. Family members of the lost soldier are notified about the incident. All Georgian units in theater are moved to the highest security alert posture.

“Due to the search and rescue operation no other details are given at this moment,` the statement says.

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Outside Interference In Syria Could Plunge Middle East Into Chaos

December 20, 2012 Leave a comment

China Daily
December 19, 2012

Syrian crisis could push Mideast into chaos
By Liu Yueqin

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The Syrian government wants countries opposed to war, such as Russia, China and other emerging economies, to restore normalcy. And the opposition forces are determined to overthrow the Assad government with the help of the US, NATO, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and some other countries. This makes the Syrian crisis akin to the one in Libya before the eventual overthrow of Muammar Gadhafi.

Many believe that with the re-election of Barack Obama as US president, Washington now has a free hand to deal with Assad, while some analysts say it is time the Syrian crisis was resolved through military intervention. France has emerged as the most prominent backer of Syria’s armed opposition. And NATO has approved Turkey’s request to deploy Patriot missiles along its border with Syria…

The risk of the Syrian crisis spilling over to other Middle East countries is increasing. The military conflict in Syria could spill into Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and other neighboring countries. And once Hezbollah and Hamas, and Israel are drawn into the conflict, the Middle East will be engulfed by chaos and more bloodshed.

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The Syrian crisis has turned into a civil war. The Free Syrian Army, the main armed opposition in Syria, has launched consecutive attacks on the suburbs of Damascus and even plans to shell the presidential residence. So bloody has been the recent violence that on Sunday UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed alarm at the situation in Syria.

In the beginning, the armed conflict was confined between Syrian government forces and loosely knit opposition fighters. But with the help of foreign forces, the opposition is much stronger now and the conflict has become a doing-dong battle for the control of Syria.

The opposition is gaining increasing international recognition. On Nov 11, 2012, some Syrian opposition groups established the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces in Doha, Qatar, with the former imam of the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, Moaz al-Khatib, being elected its president.

The Gulf Cooperation Council immediately recognized the coalition as the legitimate government of Syria. Later, the Arab League, the United States, France and Turkey recognized the coalition as the “true representative” of the Syrian people. On Nov 19, the European Union recognized it as “the legitimate representatives of the aspirations of the Syrian people” and said it was ready to help it build relationships with other countries.

But there still are great differences among Syria’s opposition forces. The al-Nusra Front and 13 other armed groups, for example, have rejected the Syrian National Coalition as the “true representative” of the Syrian people.

The role of external forces has been (and will be) crucial to the Syrian crisis. The opposition and their foreign patrons are continuing their fight against the Bashar al-Assad government. The Syrian government and the opposition both are trying to get the support of external forces to consolidate their positions.

The Syrian government wants countries opposed to war, such as Russia, China and other emerging economies, to restore normalcy. And the opposition forces are determined to overthrow the Assad government with the help of the US, NATO, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and some other countries. This makes the Syrian crisis akin to the one in Libya before the eventual overthrow of Muammar Gadhafi.

At present, on the table are both diplomatic and military resolutions to the Syrian crisis. Many believe that with the re-election of Barack Obama as US president, Washington now has a free hand to deal with Assad, while some analysts say it is time the Syrian crisis was resolved through military intervention. France has emerged as the most prominent backer of Syria’s armed opposition. And NATO has approved Turkey’s request to deploy Patriot missiles along its border with Syria to protect it from potential cross-border attacks and repeatedly called for establishing a “no-fly zone” in northern Syria.

Obama, during his first term as US president, adopted a policy of strategic retreat from the Middle East, vowing to recalibrate America’s relationship with the Islamic world, and announced a near complete withdrawal of US combat troops from Iraq. During the Libyan crisis, the US passed on the “authority” of launching air strikes to NATO. Washington’s response to the Syrian crisis, though strong in terms of words, has not been of military intervention; it claims to have offered only non-combative support, such as communications equipment, to the Syrian opposition forces.

Obama is likely to refrain from being involved in a war in the Middle East even during his second term in office, because he needs to rebuild Washington’s Middle East strategy, restore American prestige and repair the US’ relations with Middle East countries that have been weakened by the “Arab Spring”.

There is no guarantee, though, that the US will not use force against the Assad government. There is only a possibility that as long as a non-military solution is likely, Obama will not intervene militarily in Syria for fear of igniting a powder keg in the Middle East. Of course, NATO, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the Syrian opposition want the US to use force to oust Assad. But it seems that both diplomatic and military solutions are still on the table.

The risk of the Syrian crisis spilling over to other Middle East countries is increasing. The military conflict in Syria could spill into Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and other neighboring countries. And once Hezbollah and Hamas, and Israel are drawn into the conflict, the Middle East will be engulfed by chaos and more bloodshed. To prevent the Middle East from sliding into turmoil, the US and Russia tried to promote a peaceful transfer of power in Yemen, which was successful.

The Syrian crisis seems to have spiraled out of control and led to ethnic conflicts, and the Kurdish problem has become another important factor in the crisis. The Kurds in Syria have taken advantage of the turmoil to consolidate their position, which is perceived as a big threat to Iraq, Turkey and Iran. These three countries will not allow the Kurds in their territories to unite with those in Syria to establish a Kurd state.

So if the Syrian crisis continues for long, the consequences for the entire Middle East will be disastrous.

The author is a researcher at the Institute of West Asian and African Studies, affiliated to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

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Global NATO Hosts Foreign Ministers of Djibouti and Jordan

December 20, 2012 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
December 20, 2012

Visit to NATO by the Prime Minister of Djibouti

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NATO Maritime Command’s deputy commander, Vice Admiral Christian Canova, accompanies representatives from the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Djibouti last month

The Prime Minister of Djibouti, Mr. Dileita Mohamed Dileita, will visit NATO Headquarters on Friday, 21 December 2012. He will meet the NATO Secretary General, Mr. Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

Media Advisory

09:15 NATO Secretary General and Mr. Dileita will jointly meet the press at the main entrance

The press point will be streamed live on the NATO website.
Video footage and still photographs will be available on the NATO website after the event.

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North Atlantic Treaty OrganizationDecember 19, 2012

Visit to NATO by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Jordan

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Jordan’s King Abdullah II and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at NATO headquarters in April

The Jordanian Foreign Minister, Mr. Nasser Judeh, will visit NATO Headquarters on Wednesday 19 December 2012. He will meet the NATO Secretary General, Mr. Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

There will be no media opportunity.

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Michel Corday: In war fathers bury their sons

December 20, 2012 Leave a comment

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

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Michel Corday: Selections from The Paris Front

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Michel Corday
From The Paris Front (1934)
Translator not identified

1915

- During the last few years a prominent manufacturer in the Rue d’Avron has been loudly complaining of German competition, declaring that it could not last, that we must have a war without delay. He had four sons. The war broke out. Three sons were killed, the fourth was carefully posted ten miles behind the line. But even there a shell reached him and killed him. His father and mother have committed suicide.

- Certainly one of the great tragedies of the time is that one is not allowed to express one’s horror of war in itself. One is supposed to be proud of it and consider it noble.

- This war will demonstrate the idiocy of war. For it will prove to have entailed death and destruction without result.

- Tales are going around about the cruel effects of poison gas – pneumonia lasting four days, filling the lungs with pus, and involving death.

- The 14th. The newspaper La Liberté, in one and the same issue, displays savage satisfaction over our aerial raid on Trier, expressing the hope that ancient monuments have been destroyed and plenty of civilian residents killed – and yet, over an article about a raid of German aeroplanes on the coast of Kent, it has the headline of “The Pirates.”

- I remember the remark made at Gabriel Voisin’s by a naval officer just before the war. He war glorifying war, declaring it essential to industry: “Without war, what would they make, sir? Lifts?” The scorn with which he shot out those words at me would have to be seen to be believed.

- From the newspapers. Near Lieusaint, some children were playing at war. They burnt themselves with flaming paper, which was supposed to be poison gas, and were bruised by stones, which were meant to represent hand-grenades. That is how the world is preparing for the future – for the “lasting peace.”

- A tax on war profits has been suggested. A Socialist Minister has made a violent effort to secure the rejection of the proposal, asserting that it would discourage the enterprise of manufacturers.

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Russia-NATO Standoff Over Syria Looms

December 20, 2012 Leave a comment

The Hindu
December 20, 2012

Russia-NATO standoff over Syria looms
Atul Aneja

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Analysts point out that there is body of opinion building up in Russia that argues that the kidnapping of the Russian nationals provides legitimate grounds for Moscow’s forceful intervention in Syria.

The hostility shown to Russia inside Syria by the opposition appears only one part of a bigger story, which has a larger international dimension. NATO forces at Ankara’s request are deploying Patriot missiles in Turkey, apparently, not far from the Syrian border. The Russians have slammed this move, and reinforced their opposition with the deployment in Syria of the state-of-the art Iskander missiles, which, apparently cannot be downed by any known anti-missile system.

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The kidnapping of Russian nationals on Monday is drawing Moscow deeper into the Syrian crisis, which is becoming increasingly internationalised as battle lines get more sharply defined between foreign supporters of the government and the armed opposition.

The foreign ministry of Russia has confirmed that two of its citizens, V.V. Gorelov, and Abdessattar, who holds dual Russian-Syrian nationality, were kidnapped from the coastal city of Latakia. An Italian was also abducted. All three worked in the Syria-owned Hmisho steel plant.

“We are now actively engaged and all the necessary steps are being taken in Syria, and in other countries that may have an impact on the situation,” said Sergei Lavrov the Russian foreign minister. The kidnappers have demanded a ransom, but the abductions may have been triggered more by political motives rather than criminal intent.

Haitham al-Maleh, a member of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces told Russia Today that his group identified Russians as legitimate targets because Moscow actively supported the government of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad. “Russia, like Iran, supports the Assad regime with weapons and ammunition, as well as in the political arena, so the citizens of these countries are legitimate targets for militants in Syria,” he asserted.

Mr. Maleh said that kidnapping of civilians was not a violation of the Geneva agreements, which, in his view, did not prohibit attacks on non-combatants who were cooperating with enemy armed forces. The Syrian opposition has also kidnapped Ukrainian journalist Ankhar Kochneva near Homs in early October. The abductors are now threatening to kill the journalist unless a $50 million ransom is paid.

Analysts point out that there is body of opinion building up in Russia that argues that the kidnapping of the Russian nationals provides legitimate grounds for Moscow’s forceful intervention in Syria.

The hostility shown to Russia inside Syria by the opposition appears only one part of a bigger story, which has a larger international dimension. NATO forces at Ankara’s request are deploying Patriot missiles in Turkey, apparently, not far from the Syrian border. The Russians have slammed this move, and reinforced their opposition with the deployment in Syria of the state-of-the art Iskander missiles, which, apparently cannot be downed by any known anti-missile system.

The Russian move mirrors the beginning of a standoff between Washington and Moscow – faintly echoing an era when rival missile deployments symbolised the Cold War chill between the two. Iran has also reacted furiously at the deployment of Patriot missiles, and the impending presence of these weapons seems to have reinforced an already existing dynamic of bringing Moscow and Tehran closer.

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian was in Moscow earlier this week. He told Iran’s Press TV that the Russian position towards Syria had not changed — a rebuttal of western media claims that Moscow’s ties with Damascus were cooling off.

Observers say that long pending transfer of the “game-changing” S-300 missiles by Russia to Iran would be one solid yardstick to measure the establishment of a close strategic relationship between the two. Iran’s armed forces chief, Hassan Firouzabadi had earlier shared Moscow’s concerns towards the deployment of Patriot missiles in Turkey, which, he said, was “a black mark on the world map, and is meant to cause a world war”.

While external tensions simmered, a new crisis was brewing on the regional horizon. The troubled exit in droves of Palestinian refugees from the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus, which has been attacked, has generated a fresh debate on the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland. In response to the fighting between armed fighters and government forces in Yarmouk, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has sought international support for bringing his conflict affected people to the Palestinian territories. Israel has for long rejected the right of return to displaced Palestinians, which is one of the core items on final status talks in the Israel-Palestine peace process.

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U.S., NATO Allies Plan To Replicate Iraqi, Libyan Horrors In Syria

December 20, 2012 1 comment

China Daily
December 19, 2012

End violence in Iraq

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To pursue their own interests in the region, the US-led Western countries have never given up their attempt to maneuver a regime change similar to Iraq and Libya. What is happening in Iraq today should provide enough lessons about the consequences of military intervention in a sovereign state. Any attempt to enforce another regime change in the Middle East would only plunge the region into deeper turbulence and instability.

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It is not enough to feel pity after a wave of deadly attacks hit a dozen Iraqi cities and towns on Monday, killing at least 47 people and leaving more than 110 wounded. More should be done to dig into the root cause of the Iraqi people’s plight today, and prevent the violent reality in Iraq from repeating itself elsewhere.

Monday’s heavy casualties were the result of high tensions between Iraq’s central government and the Kurdish minority over contested areas and of violence between the country’s Sunni and Shiite Muslims. The tragedy is a miniature of the Middle East country’s everyday life.

In fact, since the US withdrawal on Dec 18, 2011, hardly a day has passed in Iraq without clashes and bloodshed. Despite the promises by US officials of self-governance, peace and stability, the country has been mired deeper in political crisis, ethnic violence and sectarian rifts.

The US has unshirkable responsibilities in the worsening security situation in Iraq. It owes the Iraqi people a convincing explanation of why their country is left as chaotic as ever after it claimed victory over the war against terror one year ago and why it has yet to deliver its promises to the country.

However, there is enough evidence to show the US has yet to learn a lesson from Iraq, and there has been no soul-searching about its policy in the region. NATO’s decision to deploy Patriot missiles in Turkey this month and the US’ recognition of Syria’s main opposition group last week are widely seen as steps paving the way for military intervention in Syria.

Bearing every emblem of a civil war, the crisis in Syria has been dragging on for 21 months. The escalation of clashes between the Syrian government and opposition forces has taken the lives of more than 40,000 Syrians.

However, international efforts to stop the violence and push for dialogue and negotiations between the belligerent parties in Syria have so far achieved little result.

To pursue their own interests in the region, the US-led Western countries have never given up their attempt to maneuver a regime change similar to Iraq and Libya. What is happening in Iraq today should provide enough lessons about the consequences of military intervention in a sovereign state. Any attempt to enforce another regime change in the Middle East would only plunge the region into deeper turbulence and instability.

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West Unleashes Libya-Style Terrorism On Syria: Russian Expert

December 20, 2012 1 comment

Voice of Russia
December 19, 2012

Libya-style terrorism in store for Syria
Andrei Ontikov

Unveiling the latest State Department report on terrorism in Washington this week, the Department’s counter-terror coordinator Daniel Benjamin said the killing of the US Ambassador to Libya in an attack on the US Benghazi consulate in September became possible after the fall of the Gaddafi regime created conditions for a proliferation of terror groups.

He also said he feared a similar pattern in Syria might emerge.

Dr. Konstantin Sivkov is Vice President of Russia’s Geopolitics Academy:

“Indeed, blaming people other than terrorists for the Benghazi attack would be awkward and illogical. But this said, why on earth did the US and their NATO allies throw their weight behind the rebels who toppled the legitimate government of Muammar Gaddafi and created conditions for a rise of terrorism?

“It is also true that Syria is becoming another Libya. The insurgency there is dominated by radical groups affiliated to Al Qaeda. This, however, does not prevent the US from backing the rebels. Double standards are apparently at work: terrorists who blow in the sails of the West are treated by Western countries very favourably.”

At the same time, Washington cannot afford to turn a blind eye to the atrocities committed by the Syrian rebels, including the recent killing of dozens of school students by rebel mortar shells in a village near Damascus. For this reason, it has started to differentiate between ‘the opposition’ and ‘the terrorists’ in rebel ranks. For instance, the US has already included the Al Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front group in its list of terror groups.

The Syrian opposition didn’t like this.

This is what opposition activist Muheddin Lazkani, who attended the Morocco meeting of The Friends of Syria, had to say in his recent interview with an Arabic-language American television network:

“We can’t see any difference between people who shoot their guns at regime soldiers. We are convinced that they are all patriots and defenders of the fundamental interests of Syria.”

This means that supporting even a small faction of the Syrian opposition spells supporting terrorists.

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NATO Defense College Delegation Assesses Georgia’s Membership Prospects

December 20, 2012 Leave a comment

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
December 19, 2012

NDC Commandant’s Meeting with Georgian Defence Minister

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Head of NATO Liaison Office William Lahue talked about NATO-Georgia relations…Within the study trip, 80 students of NDC had been to Turkey and Azerbaijan.

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A NATO Defence College Delegation paid a study trip to the Georgian Defence Ministry. The head of the delegation, NDC Commandant Lieutenant General Arne Bard Dalhaug. held meeting with Defence Minister of Georgia Irakli Alasania. Deputy Defence Minister Tamar Karosanidze also attended the meeting. She coordinates the fields of education and human resources of the MOD.

The sides talked about the importance of THE NATO Defence College and professional development issues for military and civilian personnel. The Defence Minister briefed on the reforms ongoing in the military education sphere of Georgia as well.

The visit of the NDC students is to get acquainted with Georgia’s foreign policy directions, defence reforms, Georgia’s way towards NATO and regional security issues. Deputy Minister of MFA Nikoloz Vashakidze, First Deputy Defence Minister Levan Dolidze, Deputy State Minister of Georgia on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration David Dondua and President of GFSIS Alexander Rondeli informed the NDC students about the mentioned issues. Head of NATO Liaison Office William Lahue talked about NATO-Georgia relations, the role of the NLO and future cooperation to the College students.

Within the study trip, 80 students of NDC had been to Turkey and Azerbaijan. The six week course envisages raising qualification of the high ranking military and civilian personnel of defence and security sector.

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CSTO To Considerably Increase Its Military Component

December 20, 2012 Leave a comment

Interfax
December 19, 2012

CSTO intensifies work, considerably increases military component

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MOSCOW: The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) intends to increase its military component.

“The next session of the CSTO is over, and I would like to say that very serious decisions intensifying the work of the organization and considerably increasing the military component of the CSTO have been made,” Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev said, summing up the results of the CSTO summit held in Moscow on Wednesday.

Kyrgyzstan now chairs the CSTO.

An agreement has been reached to hold the next session of the CSTO in Bishkek in May, Atambayev said.

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Interfax
December 19, 2012

CSTO will increase its military component – Lukashenko

MOSCOW: Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has called for an increase of the military component of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), and his call was backed by all members of CSTO.

“Belarus wants gradual strengthening and improvement of the military potential of our organization. It’s a very good time to approve the main areas of military cooperation envisioning the joining of the military components of the Organization to form a unified functioning bloc,” Lukashenko said at the meeting of the CSTO Collective Security Council on Wednesday.

“All CSTO members who are present here have definitely backed the draft decision, in which we definitely increase the military component,” Lukashenko said.

Lukashenko spoke in favor of increasing military-technical cooperation and the creation of scientific research centers to develop and create new types of weapons. The president also believes “the trainings conducted in CSTO should be focused on real military scenarios.”

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Belarusian Telegraph Agency
December 19, 2012

Lukashenko: Complicated period ahead of CSTO

MOSCOW: The Collective Security Treaty Organization will have to live through a complicated period, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko told the session of the CSTO Collective Security Council in Moscow on 19 December.

“There is no doubt that the forthcoming period will be anything but simple,” said the Belarusian head of state.

“Unfortunately, we have to state that the conflict potential in international relations is still on the rise. It rises on the back of several objective factors like the escalation of violence in the Middle East and the deterioration of interstate contradictions in the energy sphere. Apart from that, the current system of international security is distorted by the eagerness of individual countries to play the leading role while disregarding the interests of others,” remarked the Belarus President.

In his words, the practice of putting economic and political pressure on sovereign nations thrives as a result. Alexander Lukashenko believes that the degradation of the existing system of control over conventional weapons in Europe plays its part, too, giving hints of a new arms race.

The Belarus president pointed out that the protection against threats originating from Afghanistan is a particularly sensitive issue for the Collective Security Treaty Organization. “Thus, the CSTO mission of ensuring national collective security and coordinating foreign policy views on international regional matters has never been more important,” the Belarusian head of state said. “All in all, we are satisfied with the performance of these interaction mechanisms,” he said.

Alexander Lukashenko added that collective guidelines have to be adapted to modern threats and challenges. Alexander Lukashenko remarked that between the sessions work had been done with assistance of the Russian Federation and Belarus had submitted proposals to update the guidelines. “Despite different foreign policy intentions of our countries regarding individual issues we have managed to determine the areas of joint actions to render mutual assistance,” said the Belarusian leader.

“The evolution of the Collective Security Treaty Organization envisages enabling security and safety not only in the organization’s responsibility area but along its perimeter, too,” said Alexander Lukashenko.

He recalled that during the Belarusian presidency in the CSTO the initiative to create the partnership institution was meant to expand the influence of the organization along its border.

The president pointed out the factor of the year 2014 when a large part of the coalition troops withdraws from Afghanistan had been taken into account. Alexander Lukashenko remarked that at the private conference all the heads of state had spoken in this manner. “I am convinced the idea is still topical, particularly in view of Mongolia’s efforts to get integrated into the existing structure of European security. The country has joined the OSCE recently. Mongolia may be interested in establishing cooperation with the CSTO in the spheres both the sides are interested in,” believes the Belarusian head of state.

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Belarusian Telegraph Agency
December 19, 2012

Belarus in favor of stronger CSTO

MOSCOW: Belarus is in favor of the systematic enhancement and improvement of the military potential of the Collective Security Treaty Organization. President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko made the statement at the session of the CSTO Collective Security Council in Moscow on 19 December, BelTA has learned.

Alexander Lukashenko remarked that the adoption of the major guidelines for military cooperation was a timely move meant to encourage further amalgamation of all the military components of the organization into one smoothly operating body. The President pointed out that all the present CSTO members had backed the draft resolution on strengthening the military component of the organization.

The Belarusian head of state mentioned several top-priority issues that require discussion. In particular, speaking about military technical cooperation the President remarked that the creation of joint R&D groups and design bureaus able to make new armaments and materiel should become an inalienable part of the cooperation in addition to existing efforts.

Speaking about military exercises, Alexander Lukashenko said that they should use modern real scenarios. “Frontline warfare that we have seen in the past is no more. Nobody attacks anyone head-on,” remarked the Belarusian leader. He believes that military representatives of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, who take part in international exercises as observers, should infuse the best practices into the CSTO operation.

The Belarus President believes that the CSTO should constantly improve methods used to counteract new threats and challenges. “In the last few years we have created a system for the member states to respond to emergencies virtually from the ground up. Classic prevention measures are effective, but still there are reserves to tap into,” said the head of state.

As the number of CSTO mechanisms increases, their coordinated operation becomes more important. “It is the coordinated actions of all the components of the collective security system that will allow the CSTO to stay in the mainstream of international politics,” stressed Alexander Lukashenko.

“The year 2012 has been rather intense for all of us. There have been successes and rather serious problems inside the largest organization due to views of individual member states. Practice indicates that our opinions about the international situation and development trends generally coincide,” remarked the Belarusian head of state. He underlined that reaching the same kind of accord regarding measures to counter existing challenges was the most important task now.

“Apart from that, we should coordinate actions for the sake of future development of the organization. However, not all the situations that we face now can be settled using the existing legal base,” remarked the Belarusian leader. In particular, such collisions were witnessed following Uzbekistan’s desire to suspend its CSTO membership.

Alexander Lukashenko believes that the CSTO’s success will be secured through the balanced development of the main branches of the organization’s activities.

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U.S. Tests First Aircraft Carrier-Launched Drone

December 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Stars and Stripes
December 19, 2012

Navy’s experimental unmanned drone passes tests aboard USS Truman
By Cristina Silva

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The Army, Air Force, Marines and Navy all use unmanned aircraft or are developing them, according to a report published earlier this year by the Congressional Research Service. In all, the Pentagon’s unmanned aircraft inventory increased from 167 in 2002 to nearly 7,500 in 2010…

Navy officials plan to land and launch the drone from sea in early 2013 in what would be the first unmanned aircraft flight from a carrier. Its success could launch a new class of automated, unmanned naval planes.

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X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System taxies on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman

NAPLES, Italy: An experimental drone that could change the future of naval aviation has survived its first round of testing aboard an aircraft carrier, Navy officials say.

The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System went through a series of mechanical and engineering tests designed to evaluate its compatibility with the Navy’s aircraft carriers during a two-week stint aboard the nuclear powered USS Harry S. Truman.

“I’m a believer that this is only the beginning,” Don Blottenberger, program manager for the Navy’s unmanned aircraft program, said in a statement. “There is a lot ahead for our program and a lot of hard work behind us. I look at Truman as the beginning of future unmanned integration with the fleet.”

Similar aircraft could eventually be used to deliver cargo to ships at sea, carry out airstrikes and conduct surveillance, according to Navy officials.

The development of unmanned aircraft has taken up an increasing amount of Department of Defense dollars in recent years, despite budget cuts. The Army, Air Force, Marines and Navy all use unmanned aircraft or are developing them, according to a report published earlier this year by the Congressional Research Service. In all, the Pentagon’s unmanned aircraft inventory increased from 167 in 2002 to nearly 7,500 in 2010, according to the report.

The aircraft “are expected to take on every type of mission currently flown by manned aircraft,” Jeremiah Gertler, a military aviation specialist, wrote in the report.

During the testing exercise aboard the Truman, sailors towed the X-47B across the flight deck using carrier-based tractors and tested how its digital engine controls reacted to electromagnetic fields, according to the Navy. Sailors also taxied the drone on the flight deck using a joystick attached to a remote control.

Digital messages, instead of verbal instructions, from shipboard controllers are used to control the aircraft.

“We followed the aircraft director’s signals to move the aircraft left or right, over the arresting wire, to and from the catapults and to various spotting positions,” said Gerrit Everson, one of the operators who controlled the X-47B aboard the Truman, in a statement. “These tests proved that we can taxi the X-47B with the precision that an aircraft carrier’s flight deck requires.”

Navy officials plan to land and launch the drone from sea in early 2013 in what would be the first unmanned aircraft flight from a carrier. Its success could launch a new class of automated, unmanned naval planes.

The X-47B made its first test flight in February 2011 at Edwards Air Force Base in California. It completed its first land-based catapult launch from Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland in late November. It was then shipped to Norfolk, Va., where a crane moved it onto the Truman.

“Nobody has ever done this before,” said Lt. Cmdr. Larry Tarver, Truman’s aircraft handling officer, said in a statement. “Unmanned aerial vehicles have flown all over the world, but an X-47B has never operated on an aircraft carrier.”

The drone, developed by Northrop Grumman, a Virginia-based aerospace contractor, has a 62-foot wingspan and is 38 feet long. It’s slightly smaller than the aircraft now used aboard Navy aircraft carriers and its wingtips fold, allowing for easier storage, according to the Navy.

After leaving the Truman, it will undergo further testing at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Navy officials said.

“We are planning to get it back on a carrier to complete catapult launches, arrested landings and aerial refueling tests,” Blottenberger said.

Categories: Uncategorized

Anatole France: Whether civil or foreign, war is execrable

December 19, 2012 Leave a comment

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

Anatole France: Selections on war

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Anatole France
From The Opinions of Jerome Coignard (1893)
Translated by Mrs. Wilfred Jackson

Anatole_FranceA

“Monsieur l’Abbe,” I said to my good master, “do you not think that the profession of arms is looked upon as noble because of the danger one runs therein and the courage that it is necessary to display?”

“Truly, my son” answered my good master, “if the state of man is noble in proportion to the danger that he runs I do not fear to state that peasants and labourers are the noblest men in the kingdom for they risk death every day by fatigue or hunger. The perils to which soldiers and commanders expose themselves are less in number and in duration, they last but a few hours in a life-time, and consist in facing cannon-balls and bullets which kill less surely than poverty. Men must needs be light and frivolous, my son, to give more honour to a soldier’s doings than to the work of a labourer and to place the destruction of war at a higher price than the arts of peace.”

“Monsieur 1’Abbe,” I asked again, “do you not consider that soldiers are necessary to the safety of the state and that we should honour them in recognition of their usefulness?”

“It is true, my son, that war is a necessity of human nature and one cannot imagine nations who will not fight, that is to say, who are neither homicides, pillagers, nor incendiaries. Neither can you conceive a prince who is not in some measure a usurper. They would reproach him too much on that score, and they would despise him for it as one who was no lover of glory. For war is necessary to men; and is more natural to them than peace which is but war’s interval. Thus one sees princes hurling their armies on one another on the worst of pretexts, and for the most futile of reasons. They invoke their honour, which is excessively touchy. A mere breath suffices to make a stain on it; which cannot be washed save in the blood of ten, twenty, thirty, or a hundred thousand men, in proportion to the population of the contending principalities. If only one thinks of it, it is inconceivable that the honour of a prince can be cleansed by the blood of these unhappy beings, or rather one realises that it is a mere form of speech, void of meaning; but for words men go willingly to their death. What is yet more wonderful, is that a prince gains much honour from the theft of a province and the outrage that would be punished by death in the case of some daring private individual becomes praiseworthy if it is carried out with the most outrageous cruelty by a sovereign with the help of his hirelings.”

“Monsieur 1’Abbe,” I said, “are there no wars that are just, and fought for a good cause?”

“Tournebroche, my son,” he answered me, “civilized nations have much overstrained the injustice of war and they have rendered it very iniquitous as well as very cruel. The first wars were undertaken for the establishment of tribes on fertile lands. Thus the Israelites conquered the land of Canaan. Hunger forced them to it. The advancement of civilization extended war to the conquest of colonies and foreign markets, as is seen in the example of Spain, Holland, England and France. Lastly, one has seen kings and emperors steal provinces of which they had no need, which they ruined, which they made waste, without profit to themselves and without other advantage than to raise pyramids and triumphal arches. And this abuse of war is the more odious as one must believe that nations are becoming more and more wicked by the advancement of the arts, or rather that war, being a necessity to human nature, is waged for its own sake when there is absolutely no reason for waging it.

“This reflection grieves me deeply, for I am disposed by my condition and inclination to the love of my fellow creatures…”

As much to distract his thoughts from this personal trouble as to instruct myself in his teaching, I asked him if civil war did not seem to him the most detestable kind of war there was?

“It is odious enough,” he replied, “but not so very inept, for members of a state when they come to blows between themselves have more chance of knowing why they fight than in the case where they go to war against a foreign people. Seditious and intestinal quarrels are usually born of the extreme wretchedness of the people. They are the result of despair, and the only issue left to the unhappy beings who may obtain thereby better conditions and sometimes even a hand in the game of ruling. But it is to be remarked, my son, that the more unhappy, and therefore excusable, are the insurgents, the less chance they have of winning the game. Starved and stupefied, armed but with their rage, they are incapable of great plans or of prudent considerations so that they are easily reduced by the prince. He has more difficulty in putting down rebellion among the great, which is to be detested, for it has not the excuse of necessity. In fine, my son, whether civil or foreign, war is execrable, and has a malignity that I detest.”

“I will show you, my son,” said my good master, “in the condition of these poor soldiers who are going to serve their king, both man’s shame and his glory. In fact, war sets us back and drives us to our natural savagery. It is the result of the ferocity that we have in common with the beasts; not only with lions and cocks, who bring a gallant bearing to it, but with little birds, such as jays and tits, whose ways are very quarrelsome, and even with insects, such as wasps and ants, who fight with a bloodthirstiness of the like of which the Romans themselves have left no example. The principal causes of war are the same in man and animal, who struggle with one another to gain or keep their prey, to defend their nest or their lair, or to gain a mate. There is no distinction in all this, and the rape of the Sabines perfectly recalls those duels between stags which make the woods bloody of a night. We have merely succeeded in lending a certain colouring to base and natural motives by the notions of honour with which we cover them, and without great exactitude at that.

“If we believe that we fight for very noble motives in these days, the nobility of them dwells entirely in the vagueness of our sentiments. The less the object of war is simple, clear, and precise, the more war itself is odious and detestable. And if it be true, my son, that we have come to killing one another for honour’s sake, it is beyond all bounds. We have surpassed the cruelty of wild beasts, who do each other no injury without good reason. And it is only right to say that man is wickeder and more unnatural in his wars than are bulls or ants in theirs.” 

“[W]hen two armies are in sight of one another, one of them must be conquered; from which it follows that the other will necessarily be victorious, without its chief in command having all the qualities of a great commander, or without his even having one of them. There are, I take it, clever commanders; there are also lucky ones, whose glory is no less. How, in these astounding collisions, are we to disentangle the effect of art from the result of luck? But you are leading me from my subject, Tournebroche, my son, I want to show you that war is man’s disgrace nowadays…”

“War is, moreover, in our time but an inherited evil, a prurient return to savage life, a criminal puerility. The princes of our day, and especially the late king, will for ever bear the notoriety of having made war the sport and amusement of courts. It saddens me to think that we have not yet seen the end of this preconcerted slaughter.

“As to the future, the unfathomable future, let me, my son, dream of it as more in accord with the spirit of sweetness and equity which dwells in me. The future is a place where there is room for dreams. It is there, as in Utopia, that it pleases the wise men to build. I should like to believe that nations will one day cultivate the virtues in peace. It is in the increasing size of armaments that I flatter myself I see a far-distant presage of universal peace. Armies will augment unceasingly in strength and number. Whole nations will be swallowed up by them. Then the monster will perish from his surfeit. He will burst from too much fatness.”

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Pentagon Signs Five-Year Military Cooperation Deal With Kazakhstan

December 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Trend News Agency
December 11, 2012

Kazakh and US Defense Ministries sign cooperation plan for 2013-2017
E. Kosolapova

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U.S. troops in Kazakhstan for this year’s annual Steppe Eagle military exercise

Kazakhstan: U.S., NATO Seek Military Outpost Between Russia And China

Baku: The Kazakh and US Defense Ministries signed a cooperation plan for 2013-2017 in Washington, the Kazakh Defense Ministry reported on Tuesday.

The document envisages cooperation in such areas as peacekeeping, staff training, technical assistance, development of the military education system and assistance in establishing contacts with the US military-industrial complex.

Within the bilateral consultations of the Defense Ministries of the two countries which took place in Washington, special attention was paid to the special forces’ trainings.

The parties agreed to develop a program of joint trainings and to exchange experiences.

Within the meeting, Kazakh Deputy Defense Minister Talgat Zhanzhumenov said that the development of the domestic military-industrial complex is one of the main priorities of the Kazakh armed forces.

The US party proposed Kazakhstan to cooperate in this sphere and the Kazakh party expressed interest in such cooperation.

Within the visit to US, the Kazakh military delegation visited U.S. military-industrial complex enterprises.

Within the meeting, the parties emphasized that the US and Kazakhstan aim at strengthening bilateral relations by continuing dialogue and cooperation.

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U.S. Backing Of Syrian Extremists: Another Afghanistan In The Making?

December 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Global Times
December 19, 2012

US in bed with extremists as new phase in 20-month war begins
By Clifford Kiracofe*

The war against Syria has been underway for over 20 months. Clearly the Syrian people have a right to determine their own future rather than having it imposed by external opposition groups controlled by Western countries and their Sunni Arab allies. But this war from the beginning has been about the geopolitical advantage of NATO and its Arab allies.

The policy of regime change is actively promoted by Britain, France, the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Egypt. In recent weeks, the political and military wings of the external opposition were reorganized in an attempt to make them more effective.

Throughout the last 20 months the Free Syrian Army (FSA), the military wing of the external opposition, has been led by the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. In addition to the FSA, Syria has been flooded with thousands of foreign Islamist terrorists waging what they call a jihad, a holy war. These extremists dream of a global caliphate and their objective in Syria is to create an Islamic government as part of the global caliphate process.

All of these paramilitary forces are financed and supplied by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and various Islamic non-state actors. The US, Britain, and France also provide assistance, training, and guidance to the FSA.

Reporting from war correspondents shows that real fighting over the past 20 months has been waged by the foreign Islamist terrorist groups. After they clear areas, the FSA forces move in. The FSA commanders and the foreign jihadi forces closely coordinate and are allies in the field of battle.

The foreign jihadi forces reportedly come from such countries as Libya, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, and even from Central Asia.

US President Barack Obama just placed the al-Nusra Front, the leading foreign jihadi group, on the US terrorist blacklist. Washington has delayed doing this for months because al-Nusra has been in effect a key ally in the war against Syria.

Washington’s move is designed as a fig leaf to cloak an embarrassing arrangement of convenience. The extremely capable and experienced al-Nusra fighters and others like them will continue their jihad against Syria and continue to coordinate with the FSA. Washington can now better pretend that it is not allied with Al Qaeda in Syria.

But the US is publicly supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and its Syrian branch which dominates the political and military wings of the external Syrian opposition. The problem for Washington is that the Muslim Brotherhood’s Egyptian and Syrian branches are secretly interfaced with Al Qaeda.

The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s secret paramilitary organization, the Special Apparatus, has for decades interfaced with Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. This apparatus has over the years trained various Syrian Muslim Brotherhood operatives who themselves later interfaced with Al Qaeda and similar extremist organizations.

Some reports from Cairo indicate that the Special Apparatus is the dominant faction within the Muslim Brotherhood and thus exercises decisive influence over its political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party.

Against this background, is another Afghanistan in the making? Time will tell.

*The author is an educator and former senior professional staff member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

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U.S. Seeks World Supremacy With Advanced Weapons: Russian Security Chief

December 19, 2012 1 comment

RT
December 18, 2012

US seeks ‘world supremacy’ through advanced weapons – Security Chief
Robert Bridge

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Patrushev explained that Russia, which has seen success in developing state-of-the-art technology, had not given enough attention to that field of research. As new weaponry appears, the US appears to be reconsidering the role of strategic nuclear arms in the fulfillment of a “geopolitical idea of world supremacy,” the security official added.

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Standard Missile-3 launch by U.S. Aegis class warship

The Secretary of the Security Council of Russia has provided his views on a number of national security issues, including the importance of preserving Russia’s nuclear arsenal against potential adversaries.

Nikolay Patrushev, commenting on how atomic weapons play more of a political role than a military one, said the consequences of even a “limited nuclear intervention” are so catastrophic that it makes the usage of such weapons absolutely impossible.

Nuclear arsenals therefore continue to serve as an effective deterrent against any possible large-scale war, Patrushev told Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper in an interview.

Patrushev spoke candidly on the nature and source of threats to Russian security, and what those challenges mean for the country.

“We…understand that the atomic weapons of leading western counties are aimed mainly against Russia,” he said. “In these conditions – and given the insufficient strength of Russia’s conventional armed forces – the preservation of the nuclear potential is a priority task.”

While ruling out the possibility of total nuclear disarmament, Patrushev nevertheless explained that a new generation of weapon systems – including anti-ballistic missiles – is changing the nuclear calculus.

Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin spoke on the threat of mobile, naval-based elements of the US missile defense system “suddenly appearing” on Russia’s coastline. Such an event would trigger “the harshest reaction from Russia,” he warned.

Rogozin said that Russia is now taking definite steps to counter US warships “equipped with the Aegis integrated naval weapons system.”

Moscow has frequently warned of “another arms race” unless a bilateral agreement is reached on NATO’s plans for missile defense near the Russian border.

Patrushev continued that theme in his interview, underlining the technological advances that have changed the face of war.

Not long ago, any state that possessed nuclear weapons was undoubtedly a “dominating force” in the international arena, he noted. However, in a clear reference to US plans for a naval-based missile defense shield in Eastern Europe, Patrushev mentioned that a new generation of weapons is being developed, and that “the United States has proven successful in this field of research.”

Patrushev explained that Russia, which has seen success in developing state-of-the-art technology, had not given enough attention to that field of research. As new weaponry appears, the US appears to be reconsidering the role of strategic nuclear arms in the fulfillment of a “geopolitical idea of world supremacy,” the security official added.

Political Challenges from the West

Unfortunately, as political events over the last year have proven, challenges to Russia from the West are not limited to the realm of military technologies.

“Last fall, Russia became (the target of) informational, organizational and other external leverages of interference into its internal affairs,” the Security Chief noted.

Patrushev talked about the mass protests that followed parliamentary elections last December and the presidential elections in March this year. Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets amid allegations from the political opposition that the election results were fraudulent.

While acknowledging the “constitutional right” of the demonstrators to assemble and protest, the Security Chief said that such actions should be carried out within the framework of the law. Unfortunately, this was not always the case.

Some members of the opposition and radical groups attempted to use the street movement as an opportunity to “provoke mass disorder,” he noted.

In response to these activities both at home and abroad, the state was forced to take measures to maintain order and stability.

The Russian government adopted amendments to the legal code and “halted activities of a number of NGOs, some of which were directly financed by the US Department of State,” Patrushev said.

In September, for example, Russian officials informed USAID that their services were no longer required.

According to the Foreign Ministry, USAID was attempting to manipulate the political winds inside the country.

“The character of the agency’s work…did not always comply with the declared aims of cooperation in bilateral humanitarian cooperation,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on its website. “We are talking about issuing grants in an attempt to affect the course of the political processes in the country, including elections at different levels and institutions in civil society.”

Steps undertaken by the Russian government to offset the damage “proved to be efficient” and the law enforcement officials managed – in a legal manner – to provide for the safety of the population, he added.

Patrushev indicated the leaders of the protests and their foreign supporters will continue in their efforts to wreak havoc on the Russian people.

“The situation is absolutely clear,” he said. “The ‘directors’ and sponsors of the anti-government rallies are known and they are not going to drop their plans.”

Despite their efforts, there are no preconditions for a color revolution in Russia, Patrushev assured. National security “will remain stable” in 2013.

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First NATO Missiles, Troops Arrive In Turkey

December 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Voice of Russia
December 19, 2012

Patriot missiles arrive in Turkey

eucom-photo
Patriot interceptor missiles being deployed near Russian border in Morag, Poland in 2010

The first parts of Patriot air defence missile systems have been delivered to Turkey, The Turkish Weekly reports. According to the newspaper, the mounting of the systems on the Syrian border is planned for the beginning of 2013.

Servicemen from Germany and the Netherlands arrived in Turkey at the same time with Patriot components. They will be accommodated at a Turkish military base.

In November Turkey requested NATO to provide it with Patriot missiles, allegedly to defend its air space against any Syrian attack. The NATO Council complied with Turkey’s request at the beginning of December.

Six Patriot systems will be deployed on the Syrian border. They will be ready for combat duty at the end of January.

Voice of Russia, RIA

Patriot systems on Turkish-Syrian border threaten regional security – diplomat

The deployment of Patriots anti-aircraft systems on the Turkish-Syrian border jeopardizes security across the entire Middle East, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said in Moscow on Tuesday.

Iran strongly opposes the appearance of these systems in the explosive region, the Iranian diplomat said.

On December 4, NATO decided to deploy Patriots in Turkey allegedly to protect it from Syrian missile strikes.

Six Patriot systems will be sent to Turkey.

They are scheduled to become operational in January.

Voice of Russia, TASS

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Xinhua News Agency
December 18, 2012

Iran expresses concerns over NATO’s Patriot missile deployment in Turkey

TEHRAN: Although NATO and Turkey’s officials have emphasized that the deployment of Patriot missiles in Turkey is only for defensive purpose, Iranian officials expressed their deep concerns over the issue over the past days.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast reiterated Tuesday that NATO’s deployment of Patriot missiles in Turkey is a “provocative” move.

Mehmanparast said that any “provocative” measures like deploying Patriot missiles in Turkey-Syria border is at odds with the interests of regional countries.

Such measures are the “root causes of instability and insecurity” in the region, said Mehmanparast at weekly press conference.

He said that Iran has announced its position over the deployment of the air defense system to the Turkish officials, emphasizing that the stability should be achieved by cooperation of the regional states and any measures which may led to further instability and insecurity in the region should be avoided.

NATO recently approved Turkey’s request to deploy Patriot missiles, and would sent six Patriot missile batteries from the United States, Germany and the Netherlands to Turkey to be operational by the end of January 2013.

Talking to reporters about the NATO’s imminent missile deployment in Turkey, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi said Tuesday that “We have always announced that we are against the presence of foreign forces in the region and do not think it is in the interests of the Muslims,” semi-official Fars news agency reported.

The West has proved that it is not concerned about the interests of the Muslims in the region but minds the interests of its own, Vahidi was quoted as saying.

On Sunday, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi also said that the deployment of NATO’s Patriot missiles in the region was ” provocative,” the semi-official ISNA news agency reported.

Salehi said, for sure, the deployment of NATO’s Patriot missiles was not instrumental to the security and stability in the region, according to the report.

It was believed that stationing these missiles in Turkey was ” provocative” not “deterring,” Salehi was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff of Iran’s Armed Forces Major General Hassan Firouzabadi was quoted by Fars on Saturday as saying that the deployment of NATO’s Patriot missiles in the region “can pave way for world war.”

“Unfortunately one by one, the Western countries are approving deployment of Patriot missiles to Turkey’s border with Syria while they are planning a world war which is very dangerous for the future of humanity and Europe itself,” Firouzabadi was quoted as saying.

“Patriot missiles are a defense line for the Zionists and a result of (the West’s) concern over Iran’s missiles and Russia’s presence to defend Syria,” said Firouzabadi.

On Tuesday, the Turkish foreign minister said Iran should “give a clear message to the Syrian regime to end the oppression” rather than point the finger at Turkey.

The 21-month protests against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have turned increasingly bloody, with heavy fighting often erupting along Syria’s border with Turkey.

Categories: Uncategorized
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