U.S. European Command
February 27, 2013
NATO allies participate in Proud Manta
U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs
AUGUSTA BAY, Sicily: Exercise Proud Manta 2013 (POMA 13), NATO’s largest anti-submarine warfare exercise, began in the Ionian Sea, Feb. 23.
Participants in POMA 13 include four submarines, 16 aircraft and eight surface ships from 10 NATO nations, including the United States.
POMA is an annual at-sea exercise focused on training submarines, ships and aircraft in their NATO Response Force (NRF) roles and missions, including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare and precursor operations.
“We are very excited to participate in NATO’s Proud Manta, the world’s largest annual anti-submarine warfare exercise,” said Rear Adm. Frederick J. Roegge, Commander Submarines, Allied Naval Forces South. “While the participants will have the opportunity to exercise a wide range of tactical military objectives, the real value of Proud Manta is improving our ability to work together in a dynamic environment.”
Training with other military forces enhances mutual awareness and maritime capability of the partner nations. POMA 13 helps…interoperability among participating nations.
“Operating any ship, aircraft, or submarine in the maritime environment is never routine, so it’s even more challenging to coordinate eight surface ships, 16 aircraft and four submarines,” said Rear Adm. Roegge….
U.S. 6th Fleet units participating in the exercise are the guided-missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG 52), homeported in Norfolk, Va., and a P-3 aircraft from Patrol Squadron 4 out of Honolulu, Hawaii.
Participating countries include Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.
POMA 13 continues through Mar. 8.
From Under Fire (1917)
Translated by Fitzwater Wray
Some of the invalids break the silence, and say the word again under their breath, reflecting that this is the greatest happening of the age, and perhaps of all ages. Even on the lucid landscape at which they gaze the news casts something like a vague and somber mirage.
The tranquil expanses of the valley, adorned with soft and smooth pastures and hamlets rosy as the rose, with the sable shadow-stains of the majestic mountains and the black lace and white of pines and eternal snow, become alive with the movements of men, whose multitudes swarm in distinct masses. Attacks develop, wave by wave, across the fields and then stand still. Houses are eviscerated like human beings and towns like houses. Villages appear in crumpled whiteness as though fallen from heaven to earth. The very shape of the plain is changed by the frightful heaps of wounded and slain.
Each country whose frontiers are consumed by carnage is seen tearing from its heart ever more warriors of full blood and force. One’s eyes follow the flow of these living tributaries to the River of Death. To north and south and west ajar there are battles on every side. Turn where you will, there is war in every corner of that vastness.
One of the pale-faced clairvoyants lifts himself on his elbow, reckons and numbers the fighters present and to come — thirty millions of soldiers. Another stammers, his eyes full of slaughter, “Two armies at death-grips —that is one great army committing suicide.”
“It should not have been,” says the deep and hollow voice of the first in the line. But another says, “It is the French Revolution beginning again.” “Let thrones beware!” says another’s undertone.
The third adds, “Perhaps it is the last war of all.” A silence follows, then some heads are shaken in dissent whose faces have been blanched anew by the stale tragedy of sleepless night — “Stop war? Stop war? Impossible! There is no cure for the world’s disease.”
Some one coughs, and then the Vision is swallowed up in the huge sunlit peace of the lush meadows. In the rich colors of the glowing kine, the black forests, the green fields and the blue distance, dies the reflection of the fire where the old world burns and breaks. Infinite silence engulfs the uproar of hate and pain from the dark swarmings of mankind. They who have spoken retire one by one within themselves, absorbed once more in their own mysterious malady.
But when evening is ready to descend within the valley, a storm breaks over the mass of Mont Blanc. One may not go forth in such peril, for the last waves of the storm-wind roll even to the great veranda, to that harbor where they have taken refuge; and these victims of a great internal wound encompass with their gaze the elemental convulsion.
They watch how the explosions of thunder on the mountain upheave the level clouds like a stormy sea, how each one hurls a shaft of fire and a column of cloud together into the twilight; and they turn their wan and sunken faces to follow the flight of the eagles that wheel in the sky and look from their supreme height down through the wreathing mists, down to earth.
“Put an end to war?” say the watchers. “Forbid the Storm!”
Cleansed from the passions of party and faction, liberated from prejudice and infatuation and the tyranny of tradition, these watchers on the threshold of another world are vaguely conscious of the simplicity of the present and the yawning possibilities of the future.
The man at the end of the rank cries, “I can see crawling things down there” — “Yes, as though they were alive” — “Some sort of plant, perhaps” — “Some kind of men” —
And there amid the baleful glimmers of the storm, below the dark disorder of the clouds that extend and unfurl over the earth like evil spirits, they seem to see a great livid plain unrolled, which to their seeing is made of mud and water, while figures appear and fast fix themselves to the surface of it, all blinded and borne down with filth, like the dreadful castaways of shipwreck. And it seems to them that these are soldiers.
The streaming plain, seamed and seared with long parallel canals and scooped into water-holes, is an immensity, and these castaways who strive to exhume themselves from it are legion. But the thirty million slaves, hurled upon one another in the mud of war by guilt and error, uplift their human faces and reveal at last a bourgeoning Will. The future is in the hands of these slaves, and it is clearly certain that the alliance to be cemented some day by those whose number and whose misery alike are infinite will transform the old world.
Voice of Russia
February 28, 2013
The US built Al-Qaeda and Osama’s encampments – exclusive interview Kathy Kelly
In Afghanistan any 15-30 year-old-male is a target for US “elimination”, activists were arrested and sent to prison in the US for attempting to deliver a letter to Whiteman Air Force Base, where drone operations are conducted, stating why the United Nations believes drone are illegal, war and killing people is profitable for war-profiteers and the US government knew about war crimes and the stealing of US weapons by former Blackwater-XE Academy but looks the other way. All of these matters and more were discussed in an interview with three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee Kathy Kelly, the co-coordinator for Voices for Creative Non-Violence.
Robles: Do most Americans know, or is the “man-in-the-street” in the United States right now, are they aware of the fact that al-Qaeda and the Taliban, and even Osama bin Laden, they got their start in a large part thanks to the United States when they were fighting against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan? Do Americans know that?
Kelly: Well, if they do it’s not because they heard it on the mainstream media; they would have had to do some investigating. One of the reasons why initially the United States knew where to bomb potential encampments for Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan was because the United States built them.
Robles: Recently there was this white paper came out justifying drone attacks on US citizens and basically it says: “…anyone who is a senior…A US citizen who is a senior al-Qaeda operative or associate…”, back to al-Qaeda: how many American senior operatives of al-Qaeda do you know in the world, or have you ever heard of, or known about?
Kelly: You know there’re some real tragedies associated with that. There was a 16-year-old boy who had gone to a conference in Pakistan and at the conference they had given the youngsters cameras and said: “Try to – because we can’t get journalists into North and South Waziristan, we can’t document what’s happening but maybe you can, and then send the footage out.”
And he was targeted for assassination and killed. He wasn’t an American but al-Awlaki of course was, and this means that people with no due process, with no judge, jury, no trial, sometimes no charges whatsoever, people are targeted for assassination.
They actually say that if you are a young man between the ages of 15 and 30, you potentially could be a figure that the United States could eliminate, without any consultation. The president has a Tuesday morning meeting with about 100 people sometimes, on a conference call, and then they draw up their list.
Robles: Medea Benjamin told me that’s called Terror Tuesdays, is that correct?
Kelly: Yes. She has done such a wonderful job. I hope people will read her book. And of course she stays on top of these issues.
There are many people all across the country right now who are protesting drone warfare. Our co-coordinator Brian Terrell is serving a six-month prison sentence because he crossed the line at the Whiteman Air Force Base where they are operating drones. And he just wanted to deliver a letter with Mark Kenney who served four months in prison for the same action, and Ron Faust who was given five years probation. They had a letter showing the Air Force, how it is that the United Nations believes that the usage of drones is a violation of international law.
Robles: Before we started the interview you mentioned some peace volunteers in Afghanistan. Can you tell our listeners a little bit about them and what they’re doing? And some of the things you are doing on your trips to Afghanistan?
Kelly: Well, a group of youngsters have decided that they want to live without wars. They are not interested in revenge and retaliation, even though some of them lost their fathers, their brothers, uncles. Even though they’ve been among those displaced by the war.
Young Abdullah, when he was just a toddler had to be held over an open flame so that they could thaw out his body when they lived in a wretched refugee camp.
But these kids – I shouldn’t say kids – these young men and women have decided that it is in their best interests by far to try to overcome ethnic divisions. So, the young men living together inter-ethnically and every morning they welcome seamstresses and students from different tribes and backgrounds and ethnic groups to come into their home, and some are heading to an English class and some are part of seamstress cooperative. And they delivered 2,000 very heavy quilts (they’re called duvets) to the neediest of families, and they fanned out up the mountainside and into the refugee camps to find out, where these duvets would most be needed.
The women seamstresses made them: they came every day and collected materials and then they’d send their little kids with wheelbarrows bringing back the finished duvets. And it is a very astounding project to me.
All the duvets were delivered free of charge and the women were paid a meager salary. And it was international, through Voices’ outreach, that paid for the materials and for this meager salary.
So we see small microcosmic examples of people wanting to work together to alleviate suffering, to build a better world. I find it so hopeful when I go to Afghanistan, but I’ll tell you it’s also really cold, and the harsh winters are hard even if you are in a room with a wood-burning or coal-burning stove, and people have respiratory diseases all across the country.
The conditions are very, very hard because the infrastructure is so awful. I mean the electricity goes out and your water might be dependent on a well linked to the electricity, and then you are without water. And you know, that’s how people get cholera; they can’t flush down their own wastes.
Robles: Who is causing all this suffering in your opinion?
Kelly: Well, I do want to remind us that the United States has been spending $2 billion a week, much of it lining the pockets of corrupt warlords. $2 billion a week on its military presence, while right across the street from some of the military bases there are sprawling refugee camps.
So, I think any time the US public wages a war of choice and chooses as its target civilians who are living in one of the poorest countries in the world, then I think we have to do with the cause of a great deal of suffering. We may not know it, but we are not innocent.
Robles: $2 billion a week. How many years has it been, over 12 years now? You’d think that every single Afghan person would be living in a mansion driving a Bentley for that much money.
Kelly: Yes, of course there are people who have ammassed huge fortunes, and before we point fingers at Afghans who have, through corruption amassed fortunes, we should look at the war profiteers and major US companies in the United States and the universities that take their contracts and the faith-based communities that look the other way and the media people that refuse to tell the story. So, there is plenty of blame to go around, and there are plenty of other countries that have fought their wars within Afghanistan.
Pakistan and Iran are fighting proxy wars as we speak today, and in many ways there are Cold War competitions going on between the United States and China, the United States and Russia, and all of those could be solved through negotiation and dialogue and coming to our senses, but instead people like to continue these wars because there is profitability in killing people.
Robles: You talked about war profiteers. Can you tell us a little bit, because we are almost out of time, about the former Blackwater who was then XE, and are now called Academy I believe?
Kelly: This is a group of mercenaries. They are people who have contracted themselves out at great profit. I mean, the going rate for the high-end security contractors is a salary of $129,000 a year, first $89,000 of it tax free. And uh, they’re adapted Special Forces Operations, and Academy, the new Blackwater incarnation I suppose, is building Camp Integrity on 10 acres of land just outside of Kabul which will train people in Special Forces Operations.
They got the contract from the United States government, even though the US Government certainly knew that their antecedents in Blackwater had been convicted of killing Afghan civilians and also allegedly killing Iraqi civilians, in Tahrir Square and also of stealing weapons from the United States military, but they must have fantastic inner connections to keep getting these contracts.
Robles: Before they changed their name to XE they were being investigated for war crimes in Iraq. What percentage would you say there are of private mercenaries and contractors in Afghanistan? And are those counted in any way when the US government talks about a drawdown or a withdrawal of forces?
Kelly: You know, it is so hard to learn that information. I honestly don’t know. You don’t see Westerners at all in the neighborhood where I am, when I’m moving around the city. It’s odd because when you are in the airports you see plenty of Westerners and most of them seem to be connected to some kind of military or security group. But I don’t have any numbers.
I think that also the CIA must have many, many operatives and they don’t have to give that kind of information out, but it is a good thing to keep exploring and trying to better understand. At one point there were as many security contractors in Iraq as there were US military, and the same could be true for Afghanistan.
Robles: Last point, this training base they are building, I was going to ask, is this supposedly to train Afghan peacekeeping forces or Afghan security services?
Kelly: I certainly wouldn’t call it peacekeeping. I think that would be euphemistic.
Robles: Yeah sure!
Kelly: The different versions of Afghan armed troops are staggering in their number; there is the Afghan local police and the Afghan National Security Force, you’ve got special operations now being trained amongst quite a few different military branches. So, it is not certain that the more armaments, the more weapons that flow into the country the more rage that is being felt between different ethnic groups, the more of a prescription for civil war there is, and so it is very alarming to see more sophisticated weaponry coming in and people being trained, to train their weapons on their own people.
Robles: Ok, thank you very Kathy. Unfortunately we are out of time. I really appreciate you speaking with me.
Kelly: Thank you!
This is John Robles you were listening to an interview with Kathy Kelly the co-coordinator for Voices for Creative Nonviolence. Thanks for listening, and I wish you the best.
Voice of Russia
February 28, 2013
‘I salute the former Soviet Union’ – interview with Dr. Zalmay Gulzad
The former Soviet Union built everything in Afghanistan including the bases which the U.S. is now occupying. The United States is supporting radical Islamic groups, including Chechen terrorists, to destabilize countries they are targetting. Syria is the most progressive secular country in the Muslim world yet is being attacked by the West and all of the U.S. actions are back-firing on them; they believe that quick victory is the proper route. They are worng. All of theses issues were discussed in an interview with Dr. Zalmay Gulzad, an Afghan native who teaches political science at Harold Washington College in Chicago.
Gulzad: The point is that what the United States is doing and NATO is doing: they want to prolong this war with the collaboration of the Pakistani army. The very government in Pakistan is a joke, it’s silly, is nothing. The decisions are made by the military; the military is with the United States.
Robles: What are the reasons, I mean, why does the US want to be in Afghanistan and in your opinion, resources or what?
Gulzad: It is very important geopolitically and I will tell you why. Afghanistan is now very poor and I salute the Soviet people because the Soviet Union (the former Soviet Union) because Afghanistan has so many resources and now they have revealed how many resources they have. The Soviet Union did not take any of it. They did not take advantage of it, because we have petroleum, we have copper, we have so many things now.
They gave the biggest copper mine to the Chinese now, and in central Afghanistan they have steel and all that kind of stuff.
So anyway, the reason that United States wants to prolong this war and stay there is because, first of all, we have a 150-mile border with China. Then we are very close to Russia, if you pass Tajikistan, it’s Russia, and then we have Iran, then we have the Persian Gulf, so Afghanistan is a very important.
Now I’ll tell you that these bases that United States is using today which were made by the Soviet Union. One in the north of Afghanistan is an American base now. Shindand, the Soviet Union built it, it is bordering with Iran and Pakistan. Then Kandahar, then you have Bagram, which is north of Kabul, now they are building a base almost everywhere including Badakhshan. Badakhshan is not too far from Tajikistan and the Chinese border.
And also the United States is supporting the Uyghur Muslim group and Tajiks in Xinjiang Province, which is bordering Afghanistan. They are making trouble for the Chinese Muslims. And also the United States is supporting the Chechen group in Russia.
Robles: Which group did you say in Russia?
Gulzad: In Russia, the Chechen group.
Gulzad: And also in China they are supporting Uyghur and Tadjiks.
Robles: I think they would support any group that will destabilize or weaken any country that they want to attack, I think.
Gulzad: Absolutely. My point is that when they are saying that the Cold War is over, they were anti-communists. What the hell? I mean today Russia is not a Communist country.
Robles: No, we are not.
Gulzad: But the point is that United States has a phobia and they want to be the imperialist power. What they are doing with the world today, my God!!
I always discuss with my colleagues here that: Okay, how many countries did the Soviet Union invade? How many countries has the United States invaded in our lifetime? How many wars? Just recently: Panama, Nicaragua, Afghanistan, Iraq, for no reason, for no reason.
Robles: Iraq, Iran, the list goes on and on.
Gulzad: In Syria, they want to know, why doesn’t the United States want to – if they are such champions of human rights and democracy – why don’t they say anything about Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, all these kingdoms?
Gulzad: Why Syria? Syria is a more secular, more progressive country.
Robles: I don’t understand… Okay Syria; they were just attacked, about 50 people, this was yesterday, 53 people are said to have been dead by an al-Qaeda group.
Israel is bombing Syria, and the United States, so we have Israel, al-Qaeda and the United States working together (Working together right?) to destroy Syria. Doesn’t that seem strange?
Gulzad: Absolutely. And how it’s backfiring!! Let me tell you something. Just a few months ago I gave an interview on American television here, on the so-called Arab Spring. So what’s happened? I told them, the United States is not supporting the progressive group, intellectuals. They don’t have to be left group but just regular progressive, secular groups.
What they did, they supported the most radical Islamist group, the problem was Mubarak, because they were sick and tired of Mubarak. They wanted to find a new puppet. What happened is it backfired. Guess what? Who won? The Islamic fundamentalists.
In Libya they did the same thing because they are too stupid here because they think that quick victory will bring them happiness and glory. So, what they did in Libya. they did the same thing. Guess who took over? Islamic fundamentalists.
This is what happened in Tunisia: Islamic fundamentalists.
Right now, yesterday, the Congress of the United States decided to give millions of dollars to the radicals of Syria. They are not giving it to intellectuals, to secular groups, though they claim that they are fighting for democracy and secular regimes. But they are giving it to them because they want to get overthrough…
A lot of this is backfiring, so thre, four countries backfired on them. And then after Syria, mark my words for it, it is Iran. It’s not that I love Iran, Iran regime is a fascist regime, but my point is that the United States will go there because if you look from Morocco to Iran, to Afghanistan, to India and everything, guess what? All of them are pro-American except Iran and Syria. These two places are not puppets.
And the expansion of NATO, against who? Now the Warsaw Pact is not there! Against who? Why do you expand this? You took Saakashvili from Chicago. Do you know Saakashvili is from Chicago, he was a lawyer here, they picked him up and made him the president of Georgia, and now they find another puppet. Do you know that Karzai’s brother had a restaurant in Chicago? They picked him up from Chicago and gave him the same thing.
Robles: Bashar Assad was a dentist in London. I couldn’t understand why they went against him.
Gulzad: It is amazing, isn’t it? If you look at Lithuania, so many places, look at Ukraine, the guy who was the former president of Ukraine, his wife was from the United States, from Chicago.
Robles: I’ve talked to many people and it seems like most of the world is being controlled by some part of Chicago for some reason.
Gulzad: Chicago is the mafia city. It is just amazing.
Robles: Now listen, here is a hypothetical that I don’t think anyone has ever talked about, but… You say the plan is backfiring. We see, everybody sees: ok, they are funding these terrorists, they are promoting terrorism actually. They are creating more terrorists. They are financing radical-Islamic-violent-people, right?
Robles: Is it possible that that is what they want?
Gulzad: Well, they want to destabilize their enemy. The only way you can weaken a country and society is with a civil war, and how you do it? Like for example in China, you promote Tibet, you promote the idea of Islamist Uyghur and Tajiks, it’s one problem.
You go to Russia, make Russia very busy with the terrorists through Georgia, which Sakashvili was helping. From Georgia you head then to Dagestan, and the Chechen area and you could create problems for Russia. That is the only way, see?
And then you make excuses that I am staying in Afghanistan because the Taliban are still in power and al-Qaeda is still alive.
Robles: That is what I am talking about. And then they can continue the endless War on Terror because they keep creating more and more terrorists themselves.
Gulzad: You know there is a theory, the weak countries in the world, what they do is they are diverting attention from the inside misery of the people, from internal forces because inside it is empty and miserable and worse economy, so what they do they tell the people that outside is going to…
That’s the history of United States, think about it. Castro is going to attack Florida. The Soviet Union is going to come and get us. The Russians are coming. Okay? Then Saddam Hussein is going to come and invade the United States. Then they created this man, this stupid man with a beard called Osama, Bin Laden, okay?
So, what they did, they made Americans wave the flag! “We are Americans!” And the became very patriotic and all this. So, they continue finding these external unbelievable forces.
And their motive is this: as I said before and just recently I gave another interview, that what they want to do is they want to stay in Afghanistan. They want to stay in Iraq. Permanently. They will stay in Afghanistan because of Russia, because of China, because of the BRICs: China, India, and Russia, in this part of the world.
Plus they don’t like Iran, so they want to destabilize Iran through Afghanistan. These are all excuses.
Where are these terrorists? If you want to finish this thing, tomorrow you tell Pakistan that: “You will not get a penny.” Pakistan is a very poor country, and it is all over, give me these terrorist groups, one by one.
You were listening to an interview with Dr. Zalmay Gulzad, a Professor at Harold Washington College in Chicago. Thanks for listening, and as always I wish you the best.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
February 27, 2013
NATO Secretary General holds talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen held talks with the new US Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday 27 February in Rome in the margins of a Transatlantic Dinner on global issues. “Today we discussed many key issues on NATO’s agenda. These include the progress of our mission in Afghanistan, maintaining NATO’s robust partnerships, and a fair burden-sharing in our Alliance,” the Secretary General said.
Mr. Fogh Rasmussen said he was delighted that Secretary Kerry chose Europe for his first official trip. “We have often met in Washington, so I’m delighted that he’s chosen Europe for his first trip abroad. And I’m looking forward to working with him closely in the future,” he said.
The bilateral meeting took place just ahead of a “Dinner in Transatlantic Format” hosted by the Italian Foreign Minister, Giulio Terzi, which included foreign ministers from NATO and European Union nations, as well as the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton.
The Secretary General thanked the Italian Foreign Minister for hosting the event. “We face many challenges and we have a lot of work to do,” said Mr. Fogh Rasmussen. “Europe and North America are separated by an ocean but are united by core values and interests because our partnership is vital for our own security and the security of the world.”
Estonian Public Broadcasting
February 28, 2013
Paet and Kerry Talk Air Bases, Cyber Defense
In his first meeting with newly-appointed US Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday, Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet raised a range of bilateral issues from development aid cooperation to defense.
The Rome meeting, in which the foreign ministers of Latvia and Lithuania also took part, was undertaken as part of Kerry’s 11-day tour of Europe and the Middle East – his first junket to the region since taking office on February 1.
During the meeting, Paet expressed Estonia’s desire to continue defense cooperation with the US, both bilaterally and within the framework of NATO. Speaking about NATO’s Baltic air policing mission, Paet suggested that one of its rotations be conducted from Estonia’s Ämari air base starting from 2015, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Since it began in 2004, the mission has been conducted from Lithuania.
Speaking on Afghanistan, Paet said that the goal of handing over security responsibility to local troops by the middle of this year was realistic, as they already conduct 80 percent of the operations. He added that Estonia has decided to increase development aid to Afghanistan and send more civilian experts for police and NATO training.
Paet told his US counterpart that Estonia was interested in continuing cooperation on cyber defense, and suggested that the countries put down their plans for bilateral cooperation on cyber development in a joint declaration.
The Estonian foreign minister also noted the successful joint development cooperation projects that the countries had undertaken in Belarus and Moldova, and suggested that such projects be extended to Central Asia.
Paet invited Kerry to take part in a meeting of the Internet Freedom Coalition – a group devoted to keeping the internet free of government interference – to take place in Tallinn in 2014.
February 28, 2013
AKEL wastes no time in slamming PfP proposal
By Elias Hazou
“Our people know all too well that NATO and its arms, like the Partnership for Peace, promote anything but peace. Instead, as events themselves have demonstrated, NATO is responsible for waging unjust wars, promoting juntas and dictatorships, and bringing death and bloodshed across the planet.”
Cyprus is the only EU member state [indeed the only European state except for micro-states] that is neither a NATO member state nor a member of PfP.
…AKEL yesterday censured President-elect Nicos Anastasiades for his stated intent to apply for Cypriot membership of the NATO-affiliated Partnership for Peace.
A party spokesman warned such a move would backfire on the divided island.
It was the first skirmish between the soon-to-be opposition AKEL and the Anastasiades government which takes power in a few days.
In announcing plans to join the Partnership for Peace (PfP), Anastasiades has manifested a major foreign policy shift from the outgoing administration of President Christofias.
AKEL is strongly opposed to any links with NATO, holding it responsible for what it says was a conspiracy to split the island in 1974.
Through its spokesman, AKEL reiterated yesterday that joining the PfP would constitute a major strategic and diplomatic blunder.
The move would cast doubt on the Greek Cypriot side’s commitment to demilitarising the island subsequent to a political settlement, Giorgos Loucaides said.
In addition to undermining Cyprus’ credibility, he said, the move would play into the hands of Turkish diplomacy by taking the spotlight off Ankara.
Loucaides dismissed the notion that Cyprus was being blamed for its absence from the PfP programme, which is said to be causing problems in EU-NATO defence relations.
“We would actually be scoring an own goal because, by joining, the pressure would be taken off Turkey and shifted onto Cyprus,” he argued.
“Our people know all too well that NATO and its arms, like the Partnership for Peace, promote anything but peace. Instead, as events themselves have demonstrated, NATO is responsible for waging unjust wars, promoting juntas and dictatorships, and bringing death and bloodshed across the planet,” said Loucaides.
The matter should be debated at the National Council before any decision was made, he urged.
Anastasiades’ intentions, said Loucaides, served to expose DISY’s dogmatic persistence to “deliver Cyprus into the US-NATO tentacles.”
There was no immediate response from the DISY camp.
PfP is a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) programme aimed at creating cooperation between NATO and other states in Europe and the former Soviet Union; 22 states are members.
Cyprus is the only EU member state that is neither a NATO member state nor a member of PfP.
In February 2011 parliament voted to apply for membership in the programme, but President Christofias vetoed the resolution.
The Cyprus Center of Studies, a foreign policy and strategy think tank, favours joining the programme, and has compiled an extensive report on the subject.
Their report concluded that the cons of joining PfP were “virtually nil,” said Christos Iacovou, the think tank’s director.
On the other hand, a major drawback of not joining, he said, is that Cyprus is not eligible to receive classified information as part of the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP).
Iacovou dismissed also the notion that joining the PfP would drag the island into NATO-led military operations.
Neutral states such as Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Ireland and Finland are all members of PfP, but have no intention of joining NATO, he said. [All have sent troops to Afghanistan]
What’s more, most of the former Warsaw Pact nations (including Russia) are now members.
From After the Bombs (1979)
Translated by Asa Zatz
As soon as the bombing ended a new government was in. The distinguished man of arms, Colonel Castle Cannons, was in the Big Chair. The great colonel had been lifted into power by the first explosion right after he completed the long marathon from Fort Leavenworth in the wheatfield state of Kansas, covering the full distance in purple trunks and checkered socks. Upon reaching the palace he found the Big Chair adrift. Not losing a beat he jumped into it, shouting “If you can’t take the heat, you won’t hold your seat.” He settled back, comfortably, holes in the socks and all. After recovering his breath, he immediately ascended to the presidential balcony to explain to the people why bombing was necessary for the country’s progress. The days went by and he continued preaching against the horrors posed by the enemies of democracy. He delivered his sermons from dusk till dawn with a two-hour break between twelve and two.
The bombs. The bombs have stopped.
He already knew that. He knew what bombs were. His mother had shown him. Dropping gently from the sky like feathers and about the size of a thumb. And she was right. They had stopped. He hadn’t seen any for days now. Maybe months. Maybe even years. Did it make any difference? He couldn’t remember the last time he’d seen one. But for sure, for sure, not this day. No. If it had been this day he wouldn’t have been able to come out. It had to have been some other day. Yes. The bombs had stopped. His mother had said the very same thing, now he remembered. The bombs had stopped.
His mother had told him about streets. Streets were where the houses didn’t grow. He was walking on one, looking for the fountain. He wanted to tell the little fountain his name. He knew his name. That was something else his mother had told him. His name was Máximo Sánchez. And if anyone said his name he knew they were talking to him. That’s how easy it was. He knew how old he was, too. He knew so much already! He was nearly five. Four and a half, actually, but he felt older when he said nearly five…Everything had its own name. He had to learn the names of a lot of things, especially now that he could go outside. To the street. Street was what they called where he was now. It was narrow and dark and zigzagged between the ruins of the houses. And there were bodies everywhere. They didn’t move. They were called corpses. And his mother had told him not to touch them. You got sick if you touched them. They were full of worms and worms were bad. He had asked his mother if he was full of worms, too, but she said only corpses. Poor little corpses! It was too bad they were dead. He couldn’t play with them…
Trend News Agency
February 27, 2013
Cooperation with NATO discussed in Kazakhstan
Steppe Eagle…exercises are annually held on Kazakh territory each year with the participation of Kazakh servicemen and representatives of foreign countries within the Individual Partnership Action Plan between Kazakhstan and NATO. In September 2012, the exercises were carried out in the spirit of the Partnership for Peace programme. Units of the Kazakh, U.S, British and Tajik Armed Forces as well as representatives from Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, France, Ukraine and Switzerland took part. [Kazakhstan is the only nation outside Europe, with the South Caucasus included, with a NATO Individual Partnership Action Plan.]
Astana: Kazakh Defence Minister Adilbek Dzhaksybekov has today met with Latvian Ambassador Juris Maklakovs on the occasion of the Latvian embassy obtaining the functions of the NATO Contact Point Embassy in Kazakhstan, the Defence Ministry said on Wednesday.
‘The sides discussed the prospects of bilateral cooperation within the Partnership for Peace programme’, a statement said.
In this case emphasis was made on the development of the peacekeeping potential of the Kazakh Armed Forces.
The cooperation between the Kazakh Defence Ministry and NATO within the Partnership for Peace programme is aimed at developing a national peace-keeping potential, participation in joint training and exchange of experience in planning, implementation and comprehensive support for peacekeeping operations.
NATO contact embassies are not diplomatic missions, but play an important role in spreading information, its goals and directions of policy. Contact embassies also help in organising visits of the Secretary General, members of the International Secretariat and other NATO members to the country.
Steppe Eagle peacekeeping exercises are annually held on Kazakh territory each year with the participation of Kazakh servicemen and representatives of foreign countries within the Individual Partnership Action Plan between Kazakhstan and NATO. In September 2012, the exercises were carried out in the spirit of the Partnership for Peace programme. Units of the Kazakh, U.S, British and Tajik Armed Forces as well as representatives from Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, France, Ukraine and Switzerland took part.
The Partnership for Peace training centre of the Military Institute of Land Forces (KAZTSENT) was established to train Kazakh servicemen to NATO standards and procedures.
In 2008 KAZTSENT was recognised as the 19th Partnership Training and Education Centre.
More than 30 courses and workshops have been held on the basis of KAZTSENT with the participation of Kazakh servicemen, NATO member states and partners, including the courses ‘Military terminology of the English language in multinational operations’ and ‘NATO staff procedures’.
The course ‘Familiarising with Central Asia and Afghanistan’ was successfully held with representatives of NATO international headquarters, the NATO School, NATO member states and partners, as well as representatives of the Defence Ministry of the Republic of Korea in 2012.
Russian Information Agency Novosti
Febuary 27, 2013
Strategic Balance Being Disrupted – Putin
MOSCOW: Systematic attempts are being made to undermine the existing strategic balance of forces, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday at a meeting with senior military staff at the Russian Defense Ministry.
“Systematic attempts are being made from the outside to disrupt the strategic balance in this or that manner. In fact, the second stage of the US global missile defense system is being launched, and the possibilities for further NATO eastward expansion are being explored,” Putin said.
“The danger of the militarization of the Arctic also persists,” he added.
Those challenges affect Russia’s national interests and determine the priorities of its foreign policy, Putin said.
Those priorities include Eurasian integration, expanding the single economic space and possibly turning it into an economic union, strengthening ties with Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) partners and the BRICS group of emerging economies, and boosting the military capabilities of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).
Moscow has consistently opposed NATO’s US-led missile defense program for Europe, claiming it undermines Russia’s nuclear deterrent. NATO maintains the program is aimed at emerging nuclear weapon states such as Iran and North Korea.
February 27, 2013
Russia to build up defenses proportionately to threats – Putin
MOSCOW: Russia will keep building up its defense capacity proportionately to the forecast threats, Russian President Vladimir Putin told the Ministry of Defense board on Wednesday.
Instability zones are multiplying and expanding around the world. Armed conflicts continue unabated in the Middle East and in Central Asia. The risk of radicalism and chaos spilling over into regions neighboring Russia is increasing, Putin warned.
“At the same time we regularly see attempts at undermining the strategic balance. The US has launched the second phase of building a global missile defense system; NATO is probing into the possibility of its further expansion to the East. Some countries are pursuing policies aimed at militarization of the Arctic,” Putin said.
“All of the above-mentioned challenges directly affect Russia’s national interests and determine our priorities,” he said.
Putin pointed to such national priorities as close integration in Eurasia, stronger common economic space and transition to creating a future Eurasian Economic Union. He also mentioned deeper partnership within the SCO and BRICS, promotion of genuine multi-polarity and mechanisms of collective, allied response to likely challenges to regional security, including the OSCE. “In a word, Russia will be building up its defense potential proportionately to the expected threats,” Putin concluded.