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Afghan War: Petraeus Expands U.S. Military Presence Throughout Eurasia

Stop NATO
July 4, 2010

Afghan War: Petraeus Expands U.S. Military Presence Throughout Eurasia
Rick Rozoff

On July 4 General David Petraeus assumed command of 142,000 U.S. and NATO troops in a ceremony in the Afghan capital of Kabul. He succeeded the disgraced and soon to be retired General Stanley McChrystal as chief of all foreign troops in Afghanistan, those serving under U.S. Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A)/Operation Enduring Freedom and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

He now commands military units from 46 official troop contributing nations and others from several additional countries not officially designated as such but with forces in or that will soon be deployed to Afghanistan, such as Egypt, Jordan and Colombia. Neither the Carthaginian commander Hannibal during the Second Punic War nor Napoleon Bonaparte in the wars that bore his name commanded troops speaking as many diverse tongues.

That Petraeus took charge of soldiers from fifty nations occupying a conquered country on his own country’s Independence Day has gone without commentary, either ironic or indignant. In 1775 American colonists began an eight-year war against foreign troops – those of Britain and some 30,000 German auxiliaries, the latter a quarter of all forces serving under English command in North America. Currently the three nations providing the most troops for the nearly nine-year-old and increasingly deadly war in Afghanistan are the U.S. (almost 100,000), Britain (9,500) and Germany (4,500).

Petraeus’s remarks on the occasion of accepting his new dual command contained the standard U.S. and NATO characterization of their war in Afghanistan as aimed exclusively against armed extremists, in particular those portrayed as fighters from other countries. A representative quote states “al-Qaeda and its network of extremist allies will not be allowed to once again establish sanctuaries in Afghanistan.” Two hundred and thirty-five years ago the government of King George III may well have spoken in a similar vein concerning the likes of Johann de Kalb, Thaddeus Kosciuszko, Casimir Pulaski, Friedrich Von Steuben and the Marquis de Lafayette illegally entering British territories along the Atlantic Seaboard and waging warfare against the Crown’s troops.

Petraeus arrived in Kabul on July 2, direct from Belgium where he had addressed NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the 28 member states’ permanent representatives in the North Atlantic Council and representatives of 46 ISAF contributors at NATO Headquarters in Brussels and Admiral James Stavridis, Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), General Egon Ramms, Commander Joint Force Command Brunssum, and other senior military staff at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe near Mons. (Two days later at NATO headquarters in Kabul he had two flags bestowed on him, “one for the U.S. and the other for NATO.”) [1]

NATO chief Rasmussen was in Lisbon, Portugal the day Petraeus left Belgium for Afghanistan, in part to prepare for the November summit of the world’s only military bloc there in November, where NATO will adopt its new, 21st century, Strategic Concept and endorse plans for an integrated interceptor missile grid to cover almost the entire European continent in conjunction with, and under the control of, the U.S.

In reference to General Petraeus taking up his new duties, Rasmussen stated at a press conference with Portuguese Foreign Minister Luis Amado that “It has been a change of command but it will not be a change of strategy.”

A week after Stanley McChrystal’s resignation as head of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan [2], an ephemeral scandal that disappeared as quickly, which is to say instantaneously, as it developed, the U.S. Senate voted as it customarily does in matters of foreign policy – unanimously – and in a 99-0 vote confirmed Petraeus as the new commander of the world’s longest and largest-scale war.

He told Senate members on June 30 that “My sense is that the tough fighting will continue; indeed, it may get more intense in the next few months.”

A few days earlier he said of President Barack Obama’s proposed date for beginning the withdrawal of American and NATO troops from Afghanistan that the meaning of that pledge by the president, Petraeus’ commander-in-chief, was “one of urgency – not that July 2011 is when we race for the exits, reach for the light switch and flip it off.” Last December Petraeus asserted that there was no plan for a “rush to the exits” and that there “could be tens of thousands of American troops in Afghanistan for several years.” [3]

In May he spoke at an Armed Forces Day dinner in Louisville, Kentucky – on a day that Afghan President Hamid Karzai was visiting the same state – and insisted that “the US must continue to send troops to Afghanistan….” [4]

To indicate how thoroughly the Pentagon and NATO are inextricably enmeshed in not only the Afghan campaign but in a far broader and deeper partnership, a few days before Petraeus, speaking of his then-role as chief of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), said that he has striven to “operationalize” U.S.-NATO military integration at CENTCOM “where up to 60 representatives of coalition partner countries serve. In addition, officers from the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia act as representatives of CentCom, increasing further the need to share sensitive information.” [5]

Afghanistan falls within CENTCOM’s area of responsibility and the war in that country is a mechanism for extending the Pentagon’s military contacts, deployments, acquisition of bases and general warfighting interoperability with scores of nations both within and outside CENTCOM’s formal ambit.

In April, three months before taking up his Afghan war post, Petraeus was in Poland – covered by U.S. European Command (EUCOM) – to meet with the nation’s Chief of the General Staff, General Franciszek Gagor, discuss the war that has now cost the lives of nineteen Polish soldiers, and disclose that “in a few months a 800-1,000 strong U.S. battalion would reinforce Poland’s ISAF forces in the Afghan province of Ghazni.

“Petraeus said that the U.S. troops would be placed under the Polish commander who is responsible for the province.” [6]

He also met with Polish Defense Minister Bogdan Klich and President Lech Kaczynski as well as delivering a lecture at the National Defence Academy. Kaczynski, who would perish in an airplane crash three days later, presented Petraeus with the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland and the Iraq Star. [7]

Other new NATO members in Eastern Europe are equally involved, with the Pentagon employing seven new military bases in Bulgaria and Romania to train Stryker brigades and airborne troops for the war in Afghanistan. [8]

As commander of CENTCOM and superior to General McChrystal in Afghanistan, Petraeus methodically laid the groundwork for expanding the scope of the greater Afghan war throughout his command’s broad geographical reach, the heart of what has been deemed the broader Middle East – from Egypt in the West to Kazakhstan in the East, taking in Iraq and the rest of the Persian Gulf region, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Yemen, and all of Central and much of South Asia.

On January 2 of this year he traveled to Yemen and met with President Ali Abdullah Saleh after the Christmas Day airline bomb scare outside Detroit, though Petraeus had also been in Yemen the preceding summer. Pentagon assistance to the Yemeni government, administered under what is described as a counter-terrorism program, had grown from $4.6 million in fiscal 2006 to $67 million in fiscal 2009.

While in Iraq the day before his departure for Yemen in January, Petraeus stated, “We have, it’s well known, about $70 million in security assistance last year. That will more than double this coming year.” [9]

At the time leading U.S. officials and those of its NATO allies strained to link their counterinsurgency wars – overt and otherwise – in the Horn of Africa and Gulf of Aden regions as extensions of the Global War on Terror from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Yemen and Somalia. Then British Prime Minister Gordon Brown even affirmed that “The weakness of al Qaeda in Pakistan has forced them out of Pakistan and into Yemen and Somalia.” [10]

In May the New York Times revealed that last September Petraeus had authorized covert special forces operations under a directive called the Joint Unconventional Warfare Task Force Execute Order.

A United Press International feature last month indicated part of the order’s designs:

“The recent disclosure that the U.S. military is expanding its covert operations in the Middle East, Central Asia and the Horn of Africa is widely seen as a dangerous precedent, with Iran as one of the main targets….Officials stressed that the directive…permits operations that could pave the way toward possible military attacks against Iran if the confrontation over Tehran’s nuclear program worsens.” [11]

This March the U.S. Defense Department’s website featured an article entitled “Centcom Looks Beyond Iraq, Afghanistan, Petraeus Says” in which, in addition to discussing counterinsurgency operations in Pakistan and Yemen, “Petraeus told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the United States must remain vigilant in overseeing broader security challenges throughout the region.

“Petraeus called Iran the ‘primary state-level threat’ in the Middle East. He told the panel that Iran undermines security throughout the region in its efforts to gain nuclear weapons, which threatens a broader arms race, and uses its paramilitary force to influence Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Gaza, Afghanistan and the Gulf region.” [12]

Two months before he announced the U.S. was maintaining several Aegis class warships in the Persian Gulf, ships equipped with advanced missile radar and Standard Missile-3 interceptor missiles. “The U.S. positioned eight Patriot missile batteries in the Middle East and Aegis ballistic missile cruisers in the Persian Gulf, Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. Central Command leader, told the Institute for the Study of War on Jan. 22.” [13]

The Patriot Advanced Capability-3 theater missile interceptors are to be deployed to Iran’s Persian Gulf neighbor states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

In early March Petraeus was in what is now crisis-stricken Kyrgyzstan, less than a month before President Kurmanbek Bakiyev was overthrown in a bloody uprising [14]. He had arrived in Kyrgyzstan on March 10, one day after “the U.S. embassy said [a] $5.5 million anti-terrorist center would be built in Batken in southern Kyrgyzstan – where Russian and Kyrgyz officials had earlier said Moscow might consider building a similar military facility.” [15] It would appear that Petraeus and the Pentagon once more beat Russia to the punch.

He met with Bakiyev (who would be forced into exile early the next month) “to discuss bilateral cooperation and the situation in Afghanistan.” [16] The U.S. has used an air base at the Manas International Airport near the nation’s capital since 2001 for moving troops in and out of Afghanistan, recently at a rate of 55,000 a month.

A political analyst based in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek, Aleksandr Knyazev, was quoted by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty during Petraeus’ visit on the repercussions of the Pentagon constructing a counterinsurgency/special forces base in the country: “Such a demonstrative act by the Kyrgyz side to agree…to (build a U.S.-funded counterterrorism center) is like throwing down a challenge to Russia and China.”

The feature from which the above comment is borrowed added:

“The Kyrgyz plan to set up a U.S.-funded training center in Batken might upset Russia, as the Russian-dominated Collective Security Treaty Organization announced its intention last year to build a military base in southern Kyrgyzstan.

“Kyrgyzstan had been under pressure by Russia and China to close the U.S. air base. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a regional security treaty dominated by Russia and China, has called on the United States to close its military bases in Central Asia.

“According to the U.S. Embassy in Bishkek, Washington has committed $5.5 million toward the completion of the counterterrorism center.” [17]

Petraeus also visited Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in early April and immediately after his return Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev met with President Barack Obama in Washington. Nazarbayev announced that he had granted the Pentagon the right to fly troops and military equipment over his nation for the expanding war in Afghanistan. According to Michael McFaul, Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and Senior Director of Russian and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council, “the agreement will allow troops to fly directly from the United States over the North Pole to the region.” [18]

In early June a report titled “Pentagon Looks to Plant New Facilities in Central Asia” disclosed that the U.S. is “preparing to embark on a mini-building boom in Central Asia” and “the US military wants to be involved in strategic construction projects in all five Central Asian states, including Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.” [19]

In what was described as the major component of the project, the aforementioned training center in Kyrgyzstan, the report also stated, “The facility was originally intended to be built in Batken. But now it appears that it will be situated in Osh.” [20]

Three days after the above excerpts appeared online the city of Osh erupted into violence, a deadly conflict between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks which cost hundreds of lives and led to hundreds of thousands of Uzbeks being displaced.

An account of an announcement reported to have been posted on the U.S. government’s Federal Business Opportunities website in the middle of this May included this quote: “We anticipate two different projects in Kyrgyzstan. Both are estimated to be in the $5 million to $10 million dollar range.”

The posting “added that up to $5 million each was earmarked for Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. It also listed two separate proposals for Tajikistan, one valued at up to $5 million, the other worth up to $10 million.” [21]

The U.S. military was evicted from the Uzbek air base at Karshi-Khanabad in November of 2005 and neither troops nor planes have returned since. But this April General Petraeus visited Uzbekistan, met with President Islam Karimov, and “the sides exchanged opinions on the issues of further development of Uzbek-US cooperation and other areas of mutual interest.” [22] American troops and pilots may soon join their German NATO allies operating from the air base at Termez near the Uzbek-Afghan border.

On June 25 Western news agencies reported that Ken Gross, the American ambassador to Tajikistan, where a French-dominated NATO operation has been run since early 2002 at the Dushanbe Airport but where to date no U.S. forces have been stationed, revealed that the Pentagon is to “build a facility for training local troops” to be opened next year. The American envoy said that “The plan [includes] almost $10 million to build this national training centre for the Tajik armed forces.” [23]

An Agence France-Presse report added that “The United States has in past years built training facilities, financed military programs and established airbases in a handful of strategic ex-Soviet republics in Central Asia….These include Georgia and Azerbaijan in the Caucasus as well as Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia.” [24]

Petraeus’s visits to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan in April followed up on trips to the same three Central Asian nations last August, to Tajikistan in October and to Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan in January of last year.

What his visits have focused on and in large part accomplished is to secure transit rights and, as has been seen above, a military foothold in the former Soviet republics in Central Asia. Starting in earnest with his tour of Central Asia in January of 2009, Petraeus has solidified what is known as a Northern Distribution Network for the Afghan war, a three-prong project that takes in a majority of the fifteen nations that formerly constituted the Soviet Union and that circumvents Pakistan, hitherto the main land route for U.S. and NATO supplies into Afghanistan but one which is more endangered by attacks with each passing day.

The first route starts in Latvia on the Baltic Sea and proceeds overland through Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Last month “NATO marked a new first in its Afghan campaign…as officials announced that the alliance had sent supplies by rail to its troops via Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan for the first time….”

“The first trial shipment of the NATO train departed Riga, Latvia on May 14 and arrived in Afghanistan on June 9….” [25]

The second starts at the Georgian Black Sea port cities of Poti and Batumi and moves south and east to Azerbaijan, then across the Caspian Sea to Kazakhstan, from there to Uzbekistan and then to Afghanistan. A third option bypasses Uzbekistan by going, as the first does, from Latvia through Russia to Kazakhstan, but then from the last country through Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to Afghanistan.

As commander of Central Command Petraeus oversaw a proxy war on the Arabian Peninsula [26] in Yemen and in conjunction with NATO engineered the military buildup against Iran in the Persian Gulf. [27]

He also to varying degrees pulled the Central Asian nations of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan deeper into the Afghan war nexus. Even nations outside of Central Command’s area of operations – Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Latvia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and now Russia – are part of the network. Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Ukraine have troop contingents serving under NATO in Afghanistan, with Moldova likely to provide troops soon. Of the fifteen former Soviet republics, then, only Belarus would remain completely aloof from the war.

While speaking outside NATO headquarters in Kabul on July 4, General Petraeus stated “We are in this to win.” Only four days before, the deadliest month of the war for NATO forces ended and with it the lives of over a hundred foreign soldiers.

Petraeus’s 150,000 U.S. and NATO troops are not going to turn the tide in America’s longest, and NATO’s first ground, war. Nor will the conflict be shortened by pulling more nations, with almost a third of the world’s already embroiled, into the Afghan vortex.

1) Associated Press, July 4, 2010
2) West’s Afghan Debacle: Commander Dismissed As War Deaths Reach Record Level
Stop NATO, June 25, 2010

http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2010/06/25/wests-afghan-debacle-commander-dismissed-as-war-deaths-reach-record-level

3) New York Times, December 7, 2009
Nobel Committee Celebrates War As Peace
Stop NATO, December 8, 2009

http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2009/12/08/nobel-committee-celebrates-war-as-peace%5D

4) KEYC TV, May 15, 2010
5) Air Force Times, May 12, 2010
6) Xinhua News Agency, April 7, 2010
7) Ibid
8) U.S. And NATO Accelerate Military Build-Up In Black Sea Region
Stop NATO, May 20, 2010

http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2010/05/20/u-s-and-nato-accelerate-military-build-up-in-black-sea-region

9) Reuters, January 1, 2010
10) Agence France-Presse, January 4, 2010
U.S., NATO Expand Afghan War To Horn Of Africa And Indian Ocean
Stop NATO, January 8, 2010

http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2010/01/08/u-s-nato-expand-afghan-war-to-horn-of-africa-and-indian-ocean-2

11) United Press International, June 3, 2010
12) U.S. Department of Defense
American Forces Press Service
March 16, 2010
13) Stars and Stripes, February 3, 2010
U.S. Extends Missile Buildup From Poland And Taiwan To Persian Gulf
Stop NATO, February 3, 2010

http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2010/02/03/u-s-extends-missile-buildup-from-poland-and-taiwan-to-persian-gu

14) Kyrgyzstan And The Battle For Central Asia
Stop NATO, April 7, 2010

http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2010/04/08/kyrgyzstan-and-the-battle-for-central-asia

15) Reuters, March 9, 2010
16) Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, March 10, 2010
17) Ibid
18) Washington Post, April 12, 2010
Kazakhstan: U.S., NATO Seek Military Outpost Between Russia And China
Stop NATO, April 14, 2010

http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2010/04/15/kazakhstan-u-s-nato-seek-military-outpost-between-russia-and-china/

19) EurasiaNet, June 8, 2010
20) Ibid
21) Ibid
22) UzReport, April 7, 2010
23) Agence France-Presse, June 25, 2010
24) Ibid
25) Deutsche Presse-Agentur, June 11, 2010
26) Yemen: Pentagon’s War On The Arabian Peninsula
Stop NATO, December 15, 2009

http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2009/12/15/yemen-pentagons-war-on-the-arabian-peninsula

27) NATO’s Role In The Military Encirclement Of Iran
Stop NATO, February 10, 2010

http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2010/02/10/natos-role-in-the-military-encirclement-of-iran

Pentagon Chief In Azerbaijan: Afghan War Arc Stretches To Caspian And Caucasus

June 8, 2010 3 comments

Stop NATO
June 8, 2010

Pentagon Chief In Azerbaijan: Afghan War Arc Stretches To Caspian And Caucasus
Rick Rozoff

U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates arrived in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, on June 6, meeting with President Ilham Aliyev on that day and on the following with Defense Minister Colonel General Safar Abiyev.

Gates was the first cabinet-level American official to visit the strategically positioned nation – located in the South Caucasus with Russia to its north, Iran to its south and the Caspian Sea to its east – in five years and the first U.S. defense chief to visit since Donald Rumsfeld did in 2005.

When Gates’ predecessor was last in Azerbaijan his mission centered on “the transportation of Caspian oil and the security of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline” as the chief element of U.S. trans-Eurasian oil and natural gas plans “which [are] directly connected with Mr Rumsfeld’s department” [1] to bring Caspian Sea hydrocarbons into Europe while bypassing Russia and Iran, both of which adjoin Azerbaijan.

Rumsfeld’s visit of five years ago also focused on a related initiative, the Caspian Guard project the Pentagon launched in 2003. “Guaranteeing security to the pipeline…will be the prime goal of the Caspian Guard. The Caspian Guard will represent a network of police detachments and special military units in the Caspian region.” [2]

At the time Rumsfeld’s Defense Department planned to allot over $100 million for the Caspian Guard to operate at both ends of the inland sea – Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan – and to be based in Stuttgart, Germany where the Pentagon’s new Africa Command is now based. In fact U.S. European Command was simultaneously elaborating plans for the Caspian Guard and a complementary Gulf of Guinea Guard in oil-rich western Africa to secure control over the 21st century’s main new sources of energy supplies. [3]

Gates arrived in Azerbaijan the day after the ninth annual Asian security summit organized by the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Singapore and before his attendance at the NATO defense chiefs meeting in Brussels on the 10th and 11th.

He had intended to visit Beijing following the conference in Singapore, but his overtures in that direction were rebuffed by the Chinese government, presumably because of Washington’s confirmation this January of plans to complete a $6.5 billion arms transaction with Taiwan, one whose latest installment includes 200 Patriot Advanced Capability-3 anti-ballistic missiles.

That Baku replaced Beijing on the Pentagon chief’s way to the NATO meeting indicates the importance that the comparatively small nation – with a population of under nine million while China’s is over 1.3 billion – has in American global geostrategic plans.

U.S. media reports highlighted efforts to mend fences with Azerbaijan after joint military exercises scheduled in the nation for last month were abruptly cancelled – evidently by the host country as a sign of dissatisfaction with Washington’s moves to take a more balanced approach toward Azerbaijan’s regional rival Armenia in a bid to lure all the nations of the South Caucasus into the U.S. and NATO orbit. Last December the Armenian government approved the deployment of troops to serve under NATO command in the Afghan war theater along with those of their Caucasus neighbors Azerbaijan and Georgia.

Received opinion has it that the U.S. intends to incorporate all three nations into NATO simultaneously. Armenia and Azerbaijan have NATO Individual Partnership Action Plans and Georgia a special, even more advanced, Annual National Programme.

The cancelled exercises were to have built upon last year’s Regional Response 2009 in Azerbaijan, a NATO Partnership for Peace operation to advance the North Atlantic military bloc’s Individual Partnership Action Plan with the nation.

To demonstrate that Rumsfeld’s Caspian Guard plans are still alive, during his visit to Azerbaijan Secretary Gates discussed bilateral military ties, particularly “further U.S. help with maritime security in the Caspian Sea.”

In his own words, “We already help them there with several tens of millions of dollars, boats, radars and capabilities.” [4]

According to the Pentagon’s website, “More military exercises and intelligence sharing also came up during the meetings,” Gates added, “and the discussions also touched on Iran and Russia,” with the American defense secretary saying of his hosts, “These guys clearly live in a rough neighborhood.” [5]

Georgia borders Russia and Armenia borders Iran, but Azerbaijan alone abuts both. The same defense minister Gates met with on June 7, Colonel General Safar Abiyev, not long ago addressed the head of state Gates met with the day before and said: “Our armed forces are able to annihilate targets in all the territory of Armenia. Mr. President, I notify you that the Azerbaijani Armed Forces are able to hit any target in the territory of Armenia.” [6]

Gates’ main concentration – or at least that of most immediate importance – was on the expanding war in South Asia, where he will soon have 100,000 U.S. troops serving with another 50,000 NATO forces.

Western and local reports have recently divulged that 25 percent of U.S. and NATO supplies and equipment for the Afghan war pass through what is referred to as the Caucasus Spur – Azerbaijan and Georgia – and that “100,000 troops have flown through Azerbaijani airspace in the past year en route to Afghanistan.” [7]

More specifically, “Tens of thousands of cargo aircraft have flown over Azerbaijan for the Afghan war, with planes ferrying 100,000 US and allied troops and personnel through the country’s airspace last year, Pentagon officials said.” [8]

With the recent turmoil in Kyrgyzstan hampering the transit of troops and equipment through the Central Asian country where hundreds of thousands of U.S. and NATO forces have passed directly to Afghanistan, Azerbaijan (in addition to Kazakhstan [9]) will play an even more pivotal role as the battle for Afghanistan’s Kandahar Province begins.

While in Baku, Gates delivered a personal letter from President Barack Obama to his Azerbaijani counterpart, Ilham Aliyev. As the local press described it, “Gates, the most senior U.S. official to visit Azerbaijan since Obama took office last year, hand delivered the letter to Aliyev to make clear ‘we have a relationship going forward,’ a senior defense official said….” [10]

Obama commended his opposite number for doubling the amount of troops deployed to Afghanistan and providing the use of his nation’s land (for supply trucks) and air space, especially ahead of the next surge of 30,000 U.S. troops.

An Azeri news agency reminded its readers that “Azerbaijan is also a major oil producer and a key hub on a route for Central Asia and Caspian Sea energy to Europe bypassing Russia to the north and Iran to the south,” while quoting the following from Obama’s letter: “Azerbaijan’s leadership in the development for a Southern Corridor for energy has also increased regional prosperity and enhanced global energy security.” [11]

Gates told Azerbaijan’s defense minister that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would also be visiting the nation shortly.

Last month an Azerbaijani delegation visited Afghanistan to meet with the nation’s defense minister and NATO International Security Assistance Force commanders, during which “the education of Afghan national policemen, soldiers and officers in Azerbaijan” was discussed. [12] In early May U.S. military officers arrived in Baku to “hold seminars related to the tasks of operational officers at the battalion and brigade [levels]. [13] The month before Azerbaijani troops began “a communication course in San Antonio, USA from April 21 to December 15.” [14]

In April Robert Simmons, the NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia and NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Security Cooperation and Partnership [15], was in Baku to promote Azerbaijan’s Individual Partnership Action Plan. In the same month it was announced that the bloc’s chief, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, is to visit this summer.

Since January of 2009 Romania has been the NATO Contact Point Embassy in Azerbaijan and its ambassador to the country, Nicolae Ureche, the Brussels-based military bloc’s main liaison there. In early May he opened a conference in Baku titled NATO’s Role in Ensuring Security and Stability in Europe and in the Strategic Arena, dedicated to NATO 61st anniversary and the 16th of Azerbaijan joining the bloc’s Partnership for Peace program.

The preceding month the Romanian envoy gave a speech in Baku in which he stated that “In connection with the 61st anniversary of NATO, the NATO Institute of Cooperation and embassies of the NATO member-states accredited in Azerbaijan have declared April NATO Month in Azerbaijan.” [16] During his presentation Ureche “especially emphasized NATO’s attention to energy security.” [17] A week before he said, “We…welcome Azerbaijan’s role in ensuring global energy security.” [18]

That sentiment was echoed last week when Special Envoy of the United States Secretary of State for Eurasian Energy Richard Morningstar spoke at the 17th International Caspian Oil and Gas Exhibition and Conference held in the capital of Azerbaijan and confirmed that Washington “support[s] the diversification of energy exports from the countries of the Caucasus and Central Asia” and – American that he is – presumed to speak on behalf of Europe’s energy security, endorsing the anti-Russian Southern Corridor to transport natural gas and oil from the Caspian Sea Basin and the Middle East to Europe. [19]

The preceding month Morningstar’s fellow Foggy Bottom denizen, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Tina Kaidanow, was in Azerbaijan. While there her message to the nation’s leaders was: “The United States considers Azerbaijan an essential partner. Our interests overlap in many areas, from collaborating on strengthening energy security via the Southern Corridor gas and oil projects to our work together countering terrorism and extremism. We appreciate Azerbaijan’s contributions to regional and global security, from Kosovo to Iraq to Afghanistan.” [20] Kaidanow took over her current post last August from Matthew Bryza, arguably a contender for Washington’s main point man in the former Soviet Union over the past two decades. His resume includes:

- Being attached to the U.S. embassy in Poland from 1989-1991 as contact person for Solidarnosc

- Serving at the U.S. embassy in Russia during the equally key transitional years of 1995-1997 with his main assignments being the Russian parliament, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and the North Caucasus, especially then tense Dagestan

- Special advisor to Richard Morningstar (the current Special Envoy of the United States Secretary of State for Eurasian Energy) from 1997-1998, who at the time was Special Advisor to the President and Secretary of State on Assistance to the New Independent States of the Former Soviet Union

- Deputy to the Special Advisor to the President and Secretary of State on Caspian Basin Energy Diplomacy from July 1998 to March 2001

- In 2001 he occupied the post of the National Security Council’s Director for Europe and Eurasia with emphasis on the Caucasus, Central Asia and Caspian Sea energy

- Became Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs in 2005

Last month the White House nominated Bryza as U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan.

His appointment indicates the importance Washington assigns to the nation.

In March of this year Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg spoke of U.S.-Azerbaijan cooperation, mentioning in particular the “involvement of Azerbaijan in NATO’s Partnership for Peace program, bilateral military ties in the context of Caspian energy and Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline security, and the participation of Azerbaijan in the US-led military missions in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq.” [21]

A Russian report on his comments added, “US companies are actively involved in the development of Caspian hydrocarbons in offshore Azerbaijani oilfields, and the US government actively supported the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline as the primary route of transportation for Caspian oil.” [22]

In the same month the Congressional Azerbaijan Caucus in Washington sent a letter to President Obama “reflecting the importance of Azerbaijan-US relations.”

It included these items:

“Azerbaijan has opened Caspian energy resources to development by U.S companies and has emerged as a key player for global energy security. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline project, supported by both the Clinton and George W. Bush Administrations…has become the main artery delivering Caspian Sea hydrocarbons to the US and our partners in Europe.”

“Notably, in 2009 Azerbaijan provided nearly one quarter of all crude oil supplies to Israel and is considered a leading potential natural gas provider for the U.S supported Nabucco pipeline.”

“Azerbaijan was among the first to offer strong support and assistance to the United States. Azerbaijan participated in operations in Kosovo and Iraq and is actively engaged in Afghanistan, having recently doubled its military presence there.”

“Azerbaijan has extended important over-flight clearances for US and NATO flights to support ISAF and has regularly provided landing and refueling operations at its airports for US and NATO forces.” [23]

With Turkey increasingly adopting an independent foreign policy orientation not to Washington’s liking; with the nearly nine-year-old war in Afghanistan reaching its apex; with the U.S. and its NATO allies ramping up pressure on Iran in Azerbaijan’s “rough neighborhood”; and with the U.S. pursuing global interceptor missile plans that may include evicting the Russian military from the Gabala radar station in the north of the country, Azerbaijan is assuming a greater strategic significance with each passing day.

That is why U.S. Defense Secretary Gates was there on June 6 and 7. It will not be his last visit.

Related articles:

West’s Afghan War And Drive Into Caspian Sea Basin

http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2009/08/31/wests-afghan-war-and-drive-into-caspian-sea-basin

Azerbaijan And The Caspian: NATO’s War For The World’s Heartland

http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2009/08/31/azerbaijan-and-the-caspian-natos-war-for-the-worlds-heartland

Eurasian Crossroads: The Caucasus In U.S.-NATO War Plans

http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2009/08/28/118

1) Armenian News Network, May 10, 2005
2) Ibid
3) Global Energy War: Washington’s New Kissinger’s African Plans
Stop NATO, January 22, 2009

http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2009/08/26/global-energy-war-washingtons-new-kissingers-african-plans

4) U.S. Department of Defense
American Forces Press Service
June 7, 2010
5) Ibid
6) Azeri Press Agency, April 24, 2010
7) Trend News Agency, June 7, 2010
8) Agence France-Presse, June 6, 2010
9) Kazakhstan: U.S., NATO Seek Military Outpost Between Russia And China
Stop NATO, April 14, 2010

http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2010/04/15/kazakhstan-u-s-nato-seek-military-outpost-between-russia-and-ch

10) Azeri Press Agency, June 7, 2010
11) Ibid
12) Azertag, May 20, 2010
13) ANS News, May 3, 2010
14) Azeri Press Agency, April 19, 2010
15) Mr. Simmons’ Mission: NATO Bases From Balkans To Chinese Border
Stop NATO, March 4, 2009

http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2009/08/27/mr-simmons-mission-nato-bases-from-balkans-to-chinese-border

16) Trend News Agency, April 8, 2010
17) Azeri Press Agency, April 8, 2010
18) Interfax-Azerbaijan, Azeri Press Agency, April 1, 2010
19) Trend News Agency, June 2, 2010
20) Azeri Press Agency, May 12, 2010
21) Itar-Tass, March 30, 2010
22) Ibid
23) Azeri Press Agency, March 30, 2010

Eastern Partnership: The West’s Final Assault On the Former Soviet Union

August 26, 2009 1 comment

Stop NATO
February 13, 2009

Eastern Partnership: The West’s Final Assault On the Former Soviet Union
Rick Rozoff

At a meeting of the European Union’s General Affairs and External Relations Council in Brussels on May 26 of last year, Poland, seconded by Sweden, first proposed what has come to be known as the Eastern Partnership, a program to “integrate” all the European and South Caucasus former Soviet nations – except for Russia – not already in the EU and NATO; that is, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

The above are half of the former Soviet republics in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) established as a sop to Russia immediately after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 and in theory to be a post-Soviet equivalent of the then-European Community, now European Union. (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania never joined and both were absorbed into the European Union and NATO in 2004.)

The Eastern Partnership has since last May been presented as an innocuous enough proposal containing a mission statement to promote “a substantial upgrading of the level of political engagement, including the prospect of a new generation of Association Agreements, far-reaching integration into the EU economy, easier travel to the EU for citizens providing that security requirements are met, enhanced energy security arrangements benefitting all concerned, and increased financial assistance.” [1]

The key phrases, though, are “upgrading of the level of political engagement” and “enhanced energy security arrangements.”

What the Eastern Partnership is designed to accomplish is to complete the destruction of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) comprised of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and the only post-Soviet multinational security structure, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), as well as to abort the formalization of the Belarus-Russia Union State.

Which is to say, to isolate Russia from six of the other eleven CIS states, with the remaining five, in Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan), simultaneously targeted by a complementary EU initiative.

The ultimate intent of the Eastern Partnership is to wean away all the other ex-Soviet states from economic, trade, political, security and military ties with Russia and to integrate them into broader so-called Euro-Atlantic structures from the European Union itself initially to NATO ultimately.

Coming out of last year’s NATO summit in Romania the increased political, security and military integration – one is tempted to say merger – of the EU and NATO, trumpeted by France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy and Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, warmly embraced by the Bush administration and since affirmed most strongly by British Foreign Minister David Miliband at the recent Munich Security Conference, is the yet further consolidation of the longstanding EU-NATO “soft power, hard power” division of labor mutually agreed upon.

“[T]he Partnership would demonstrate the ‘power of soft power’ and acknowledge that the conflict in Georgia in August had influenced the decision to launch the Partnership.” [2]

The Eastern Partnership was first proposed in May of 2008 as mentioned earlier, but the impetus to endorse it at a meeting of leaders last December was the “soft power” response by the EU to complement NATO’s establishment of the NATO-Georgia Commission a month after Georgia’s invasion of South Ossetia triggered last summer’s Caucasus war.

The EU will provide the “diplomatic” persuasion and the economic subsidies as NATO and its individual member states (in almost every instance in Europe the same as the EU’s) continue to supply Georgia with advanced offensive arms, surveillance systems, military training and permanent advisers.

As a further indication of what the EU’s true objective is, Belarus has been added to the other five only with the proviso it will be accepted “if it accepts a democracy improvement plan.” [3]

The same has not been openly stated regarding Armenia, but for two critical reasons it is in the same category as Belarus, all pabulum concerning democracy notwithstanding. (If democracy in any acceptation of the term was a precondition, then the U.S.-installed despot and megalomaniac Mikheil Saakashvili and the hereditary president-for-life dynasty of the Aliev family would disqualify Georgia and Azerbaijan, respectively.)

Armenia and Belarus are both in the second tier of Eastern Partnership candidates and will require a good deal of “improvement” before being absorbed into the West’s new “soft power” drive to the east.

Neither is part of the GUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova) anti-CIS bloc set up in 1997 through the joint efforts of the Clinton administration and its secretary of state Madeleine Albright and its European Union allies in Strasbourg.

Both are members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) with Russia and four Central Asian nations (all except for Turkmenistan), which has in recent years taken on a more overt military mutual defense nature.

The deadly “Daffodil Revolution” in Armenia a year ago and the attempted “Denim Revolution” in Belarus two years before having failed to replicate their predecessors and prototypes in Georgia in 2003, Ukraine in 2004 and Kyrgyzstan in 2005, other means were required to “reorient” the two nations from their close state-to-state and security relations with Russia.

Hence the need for the Eastern Partnership.

The role of GUAM, whose members are both identified by the EU as the preferred four in the Partnership and who collectively comprise two-thirds, indeed the foundation, of it, will be taken up in depth later on.

As will the simultaneous and complementary Brussels program aimed at Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, itself mirroring U.S. and NATO military and energy plans for Central Asia.

The day after Poland and Sweden first proposed the initiative in May of last year, the British newspaper The Telegraph, under the headline “Poland takes on Russia with ‘Eastern Partnership’ proposal,” wrote that “Poland will take on its mighty neighbour Russia today when it proposes that the European Union extends its influence deep into the former Soviet Union by establishing an ‘Eastern Partnership'” and more markedly that “The Eastern Partnership would be particularly galling for the Kremlin if its aspiration to include Belarus is achieved.” [4]

Ahead of last December’s EU summit where the plans were formalized for the implementation of the Eastern Partnership project at the summit of EU heads of state in March of 2009, the following commentary appeared in a Georgian paper:

“[T]his latest EU action could entail another consequence, one that few appear to be thinking about now.

“In the early 1990s, the United States took the lead in pushing the idea that EU membership for East European countries could serve as either a surrogate or a stepping stone to NATO membership.

“If that idea should resurface, and some of its authors will be returning to office with the incoming Obama Administration in Washington, it would change both the EU and NATO and equally would change how Moscow would deal with Brussels, thus introducing yet another complication in East-West relations.” [5]

With the Czech Republic poised to take over the presidency of the EU in two days, The Telegraph of Britain accurately characterized not only the subversive but the provocative nature of the Eastern Partnership by indicating that “The Czech Republic, which will become the first former Warsaw Pact country to hold the presidency, has made a priority of a scheme to establish closer ties with former Soviet states, irrespective of Russian concerns of encroachment close to its borders.”

It further stated that Czech Foreign Minister Karol Schwarzenberg, coincidentally or otherwise a staunch supporter of U.S. missile radar plans for his country, “stressed that the EU’s relations with the former Soviet states were its own affair and that Russia should not interfere.” [6]

To insure that the point wasn’t missed in Moscow, Schwarzenberg thundered that Russia should abandon any illusions it might entertain concerning “some privileged interests abroad” and, throwing down the gauntlet altogether, “in such cases a red line must be established beyond which the EU must not make concessions.” [7]

The Czech foreign minister evinced a curious sense of geography in his use of the word abroad, as Russia borders Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia and Ukraine and is only one nation removed from Armenia and Moldova, whereas his own government is pressing for the deployment of missile radar facilities and troops from the other side of the world and has troops stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

As though in anticipation of Schwarzenberg’s diktat, two weeks earlier Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned “[W]e cannot agree when attempts are being made to pass off the historically conditioned mutually privileged relations between the states in the former Soviet expanse as a ‘sphere of influence,'” adding “If you accept that logic, then under this definition fall the European Neighborhood Policy, Eastern Partnership and many other EU (let alone NATO) projects, on which the decisions are taken without the participation of Russia or countries to which they apply.” [8]

Two days ago the last American ambassador to the Soviet Union [1987-1991], Jack Matlock, “explained Russian motivations and highlighted what he considered to be American hypocrisy in geopolitical affairs. While America has claimed nearly monopolistic power in the Western Hemisphere for 200 years, Matlock said, it has increasingly denied Russia its own regional sphere of influence since the fall of the Soviet Union.

“The West has been picking and choosing which principles to uphold.” [9]

To backtrack, a month after the initial proposal for the establishment of the Eastern Partnership in May of 2008 Polish Foreign Minister Radoslav Sikorski called the Partnership “the practical and ideological continuation of the European Neighbourhood Policy,” which should become a supplement to the Mediterranean Union…. [10]

Sikorski was alluding to the Mediterranean Union project of French president Nicolas Sarkozy, which in July 13, 2008 was renamed the Union for the Mediterranean, the southern wing of the European Union’s “push east and south” (U.S. State Department phrase for its own emphasis in and from Europe), the eastern complement of which is, of course, the Eastern Partnership.

A summit of EU leaders in Brussels in the same month, June of 2008, further pursued the initiative and the “Eastern Partnership…Polish- Swedish proposition of deepening cooperation with Eastern European countries” was discussed. [11]

The above advancement of the project evoked these comments from a Caucasus news source:

“Moscow itself understood that the main aim of the initiative was to save the above-mentioned countries from the influence of Russia” and “According to the EU Commissioner for Foreign Relations and Neighborhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner at least one billion euro per year will be allocated for the Black Sea Synergy project.” [12]

The Black Sea Synergy project is synergy not as in the word whose adjective form is synergistic but as in syn + energy. Of the six nations targeted for the Eastern Partnership two, Georgia and Ukraine, are on the Black Sea and one, Azerbaijan, is a Caspian Sea littoral state.

The Eastern Partnership is designed among several other purposes to complement the Union of the Mediterranean and to augment the Black Sea Synergy program as an integral and advanced component of the West’s campaign to dominate world energy supplies and transit and to provide the civilian supplement to NATO’s expansion throughout Eurasia, the Mediterranean, Africa and the Middle East.

The website of the European Commission, the executive branch of the EU, on a page dedicated to Black Sea Synergy includes these comments:

“The Black Sea region, which includes Bulgaria and Romania, occupies a strategic position between Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East. The European Union intends to support regional commitments tending to increase mutual confidence and remove obstacles to the stability, security and prosperity of the countries in this region.”

“Black Sea Synergy is a cooperation initiative that proposes a new dynamic for the region, its countries and their citizens. Regional cooperation could provide additional value to initiatives in areas of common interest and serve as a bridge to help strengthen relations with neighbouring countries and regions (Caspian Sea, Central Asia, South-eastern Europe).”

And, which will bring the issue back to GUAM and the prospects for further armed confrontations after the model of last August’s war in the Caucasus:

“The EC advocates a more active role in addressing frozen conflicts (Transnistria, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Nagorno-Karabakh).” [13]

GUAM was set up by the West in 1997 to accomplish several strategic objectives: As a Trojan Horse within the Commonwealth of Independent States – until Georgia withdrew after the war last August all four GUAM member states were in the CIS – it was intended to undermine and ultimately dissolve the community, eventually luring other CIS states away from it. The inclusion of Armenia and Belarus in the Eastern Partnership is an example of this strategy.

Incorporating the four ex-Soviet states into a trans-Eurasian strategic energy and military transit corridor from the Black Sea through the Caspian Sea Basin to Central and South Asia. The addition of Uzbekistan in 1999 extended the range of the bloc, although Uzbekistan would withdraw in 2005.

The GUAM states are involved in all four of the so-called frozen conflicts in the former Soviet Union: Georgia with Abkhazia and South Ossetia; Azerbaijan with Nagorno-Karabakh; Moldova with Transdniester (Pridnestrovie).

In fact there are several other unresolved territorial disputes in the GUAM states including Adjaria (suppressed and occupied by Georgia in 2004 after a show of force by Saakashvili’s American-trained and -equipped army, the first example of the “peaceful resolution of a frozen conflict”) and the ethnic Armenian inhabited area of Samtskhe-Javakheti/Javakhk in Georgia; Gaugazia in Moldova; and the Crimea and potentially even the Donetsk region in Ukraine.

The four frozen conflicts proper – Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, South Ossetia and Transdniester – are illustrative of the cataclysmic consequences of the precipitate breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. All four former autonomous republics seceded from the respective ex-Soviet Socialist Federal Republics they had belonged to, in all cases also entailing armed conflict and loss of life.

The four, and the other potential conflict areas mentioned above, for example Crimea in Ukraine, part of Russia for centuries until being ceded to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1954, had belonged to the three federal republics they did until 1991 only within the context of the broader Soviet framework; once the latter ceased to exist, so too did the rationale for the autonomous republics remaining within new states that had never before existed as nations – Moldova and Ukraine – or, if so, not for centuries except for a three year period during the Russian civil war with Georgia from 1918–1921 and a two year interlude with Azerbaijan from 1918–1920.

The U.S. and its NATO allies are past masters at fishing in troubled waters and in troubling the waters the better to fish in them, and the frozen conflicts in the former Soviet Union allow the West to impede integration processes within the Commonwealth of Independent States, develop close military ties to the nations involved with them and increasingly to intervene in post-Soviet territory under the auspices of peacekeeping operations whether through the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the European Union or, the ultimate objective, NATO.

Most dangerously, the U.S. and all its NATO allies have refused to ratify the 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) arms treaty – which has only been approved by Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine (as successor states to the former Soviet Union) – and have justified their non-ratification by linking it to the withdrawal of small Russian peacekeeper contingents – mandated by the Commonwealth of Independent States and in at least one instance the United Nations – from Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Transdniester.

In the eighteen year interim since the treaty was negotiated until now numerous new nations have been created in Europe – Bosnia, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia (and of course the pseudo-state of Kosovo) and in the South Caucasus Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia – which are not signatories to the CFE and which then could have American and NATO forces and arms stationed on their territories without any provisions made for Russia and the three other nations that have ratified the treaty to monitor them.

Such deployments are not limited to conventional weaponry.

At the 2006 summit in Kiev, Ukraine GUAM expanded its name to GUAM -Organization for Democracy and Economic Development, declared itself an international organization and announced the creation of a joint military (alleged peacekeeping) force.

The summit also laid out in more detail and candor why the U.S. and its allies created and fostered GUAM, whose expanded format is the Eastern Partnership, to begin with:

“The creation of the bloc is a bold step in promoting energy supply routes linking the Caspian Sea basin and consumers in the E.U. allowing to reduce heavy dependence on Russian energy.

“One of the main projects to be promoted is launching supplies of Caspian Sea crude oil from Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan via Georgian and Ukrainian pipelines to markets in Europe….[T]he plan also calls for extending the Odessa-Brody pipeline to Plock in Poland, which is already hooked up with a major oil terminal and an oil refinery in Gdansk.” [14]

The same report contains this important detail: “[T]he situation changed last year when Yushchenko, a pro-Western leader, had been inaugurated to the presidency in Ukraine and had pledged to replace Russian shipments with Caspian supplies. The pipeline would bypass Russia on the way to Ukraine and to the E.U….” [15]

A Russian commentary of late last autumn reflected the last paragraph’s allusion to the role of putative “color revolutions” in strengthening GUAM’s subservience to Western interests by remarking that the group “was created with a broad list of functions to combat Russian influence in the region, but remained largely unused, before the Orange Revolution in Ukraine and Mikhail Saakashvili’s coming to power in Georgia.” [16]

The following year at its summit in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, a GUAM-U.S., GUAM-Japan, GUAM-Visegrad Four (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia), GUAM-Baltic and other new partnerships were launched.

In November of 2007 the U.S. hosted a meeting of GUAM states national coordinators in Washington where “A special topic of the discussions was the assessment of the potential of Caspian Sea networks in the consolidation of the GUAM states’ energy security and the present-day shape of the Nabucco Project.” [17] The latter is a proposed tran-Caspian natural gas project promoted by the West to squeeze Russia out of the European energy market.

At the 2008 GUAM summit in Batumi, the capital of Georgian-subjugated Adjaria, “The sides [chartered a] course for the development of regional cooperation as a part of the European and Asian integration processes, and for strengthening partnership relations with the US, Poland, Japan and other states as well as international organizations.

“The declaration expressed concern over the protracted conflicts [and] aggressive separatism…and underlined the importance of the international community’s support for the settlement of the conflicts.” [18]

David Merkel, Assistant to the U.S. Secretary of State, “said GUAM unites the Caspian and Black Sea regions and can fulfill the function of connecting Central Asia with the Near East.” [19]

The Georgian Energy Minister, Aleksandre Khetaguri, extended the reach of GUAM-centered energy projects to the Baltic Sea in adding “We have discussed the question of an Odessa–Brody–Gdansk pipeline, which will allow the oil from the Caspian countries to be transported first to Ukraine and then to other parts of Eastern Europe.” [20]
…..
The turning point in the West’s resolve to back its GUAM, and now Eastern Partnership, clients to definitively “solve” the issue of the frozen conflicts came at the NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania in April of last year.

All twenty six Alliance members affirmed that Georgia and Ukraine, the most pro-American and pro-NATO of the four GUAM and six Eastern Partnership states, were on an irreversible road to full NATO accession but baulked at granting them a Membership Action Plan, the final stage to complete integration.

Two central barriers to a nation joining NATO are unresolved conflicts in and foreign (that is, non-NATO nations’) bases on their territories.

Georgia still laid claim to Abkhazia and and South Ossetia and Ukraine still hosted the Russian Sixth Fleet at Sevastopol in the Crimea.

Far from being the rebuff to Georgia and Ukraine and to their American sponsor the non-granting of Membership Action Plans to the two candidates appeared to some, Georgia and Ukraine were both given not only a green light to resolve these issues but in fact were directed if not ordered to do so.

At the beginning of last August Georgian shelling killed six people, including a Russian peacekeeper, and wounded twelve on the outskirts of the South Ossetian capital and on August 7 Georgia’s American-armed and -trained military forces crossed the border and laid waste to much of the capital.

The assault, coming only days after the Pentagon had completed a two week military drill, Exercise Immediate Response 2008, under the sponsorship of NATO’s Partnership for Peace program with troops from Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Ukraine, weeks after Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had visited the Georgian capital and hours after Georgia’s Saakashvili had proclaimed a unilateral ceasefire, led to direct military hostility between Russia and the preeminent client of the U.S.

During the same interim after the NATO summit Ukrainian authorities escalated their demands that the lease for the Russian Sixth Fleet not be renewed.

Weeks after the Caucasus war ended, the EU convened an extraordinary summit “devoted to the situation in Georgia” at which it adopted a resolution stating that “it is more necessary than ever to support regional cooperation and step up its relations with its eastern neighbours, in particular through its neighbourhood policy, the development of the Black Sea Synergy initiative and an Eastern Partnership.” [21]

Shortly thereafter Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk revealed the true dimensions of the Eastern Partnership when he said that, “Developments of the past months, especially the crisis in the Caucasus, have shown the farsightedness of the Swedish and Polish initiative – a proposal for
the entire European Union with a global dimension….” [22]

The above occurred as the U.S. sent a flotilla of warships to Georgian ports on, and NATO boosted its naval presence in, the Black Sea.

In the middle of last November an energy summit was held in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku and attended by the presidents of Ukraine, Turkey, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Romania and Georgia and other heads of states.

American expatriate and current Lithuanian president Valdas Adamkus said that “The number of letters in the word ‘GUAM’ should be increased: it would consolidate both the organization and the participating countries,” explaining “[W]e are working towards strengthening the GUAM organization, expanding contacts between the countries of the Baltic, Black and Caspian Sea regions, and making cooperation in the energy field more intense.” [23]

Adamkus’ statements were supported in a Western press report of the same day:

“The plan [elaborated at the summit] emphasised developing a ‘southern gas corridor” to transport supplies from the Caspian Sea and Middle East regions, bypassing Russia, as well as an energy ring linking Europe and southern Mediterranean countries.” [24]

The meeting was overseen by U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman and special envoy of the American president for Eurasian energy issues Boyden Gray.

The main focus was on the Caspian-Black Sea-Baltic, Odessa-Brody-Gdansk oil pipeline project but also included as the Agence France-Presse dispatch earlier alluded to the Nabucco natural gas mega-project which is to take in North African and Persian Gulf as well as Caspian energy resources and transit lines.

While at the summit, U.S. Energy Secretary Bodman effused that the “Baku Energy Summit is the continuation of ‘The Contract of Century’ signed in 1994,” an allusion to the contract signed between American and Western companies and Azerbaijan in that year which laid the foundation for the subsequent trans-Eurasian Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipelines as well as the Nabucco project.

Those three energy undertakings, unprecedented in scope and political capital expended, are to be expanded with the new Eastern Partnership.
….
In late November of last year the EU issued a draft communique on the Eastern Partnership which stated, inter alia, “On the energy front, Memorandums of Understanding are to help guarantee EU energy security, leading to ‘joint management, and even ownership of pipelines by companies of supplier, transit and consumer countries,'” as well as noting “EU ‘concern’ over energy infrastructure in conflict zones, such as a Russia-Balkans gas pipeline running through the disputed Moldovan region of Transdniestria.” [25]

A European Commission report of a few days later included the demand that “The EU must significantly boost relations with Ukraine and five other ex-Soviet republics and make easing Moscow’s sway over them a priority.

The report says the EU must seek “diversification of energy routes by enabling the ex-Soviet nations to build new and better connected pipelines and oil and gas storage facilities.

“The EU wants to see a gas pipeline from the Caucasus fully skirting Russia.” [26]

As mentioned above the EU signed the draft communique on the Eastern Partnership in December of last year with the intent of pulling “the EU’s six post-Soviet neighbors closer to the West by recognizing their ‘European aspirations’ and creating a new European Economic Area….” [27], the process having been “Accelerated partly because of the summer 2008 conflict in the Caucasus….” [28]

On December 12 the heads of state of all 27 EU members approved the establishment of the Eastern Partnership.

Twelve days later the EU special representative to the South Caucasus, Peter Semneby, added, “This program was elaborated in the light of the recent developments in the region, the war in Georgia, as well as the concerns of the South Caucasus countries on security issues….” [29]

On December 19 Washington signed a United States-Ukraine Charter on Strategic Partnership with its compliant client in Kiev, Viktor Yushchenko, and within a week the Ukraine-Russia gas dispute began, plunging much of Europe into a crisis and renewing Western calls for – as was to be expected – energy routes circumventing Russia.

On February 10 of this year Deputy Prime Minister for EU Affairs for the Czech Republic, which assumed the EU presidency on the first of the year, Alexandr Vondra, announced that he expected the Eastern Partnership to be formally inaugurated on May 7 in Prague at the EU summit to be held there.

Dispensing with the standard verbs like assisting and aiding, he added another one – stabilizing.

“The recent gas crisis has not only its technical but also political  implications. The crisis highlighted how important it is for the EU to assume responsibility for the stabilisation of its eastern neighbours and to pay them more political and financial attention.” [30]

The report from which the preceding quote is taken fleshed out the strategy in more detail:

“The Eastern Partnership summit is to be followed by a meeting of the countries that are connected with the ‘southern energy corridor’ that links the Caspian region with world markets, bypassing Russia….[T]he meeting will probably take place on the same day as the Eastern Partnership summit.” [31]

To further tie together the West’s plans to penetrate and assimilate all of former Soviet territory, the following day it was reported that “Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek will go to Central Asia on Thursday to have talks on the Eastern Partnership and possible gas supplies for the European Union that would reduce the EU’s dependency on Russian gas” and that “During his two-day visit, Topolanek will have talks with top politicians of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, ” and, lastly, “Topolanek will negotiate in Central Asia on behalf of the EU as the Czech Republic has been EU president since January.” [32]

And to further confirm the predetermined and integrated approach toward all non-Russian Commonwealth of Independent States nations, last December a Central Asian news sources revealed:

“The European Union launched, on 28 November, a rule of law initiative for Central Asia – one of the key elements of its strategy for a new partnership with five Central Asian countries adopted in May 2007.

“The initiative provides for support for Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan….” [33]

Exploiting the issue of alleged European energy security, a campaign first addressed in a major manner by NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer at the Alliance’s 2006 summit in Riga, Latvia, the real intent of the Eastern Partnership is to subordinate eleven of the twelve former Soviet states not already in the EU (and NATO) to Brussels…and Washington.

By adding Belarus, either through cooptation or “regime change,” to the Western column Russia will lose its only buffer against NATO in Europe and the only substantive early warning missile surveillance and air defenses it has outside its own borders.

By adding Armenia Russia will effectively be driven out of the South Caucasus.

With the absorption of the five Central Asian nations, Russia would lose all influence throughout the entire former Soviet space except for its own territory.

1) European Union press release, December 3, 2008
2) PanArmenian.net, December 11, 2008
3) PanArmenian. net, December 12, 2008
4) Daily Telegraph, May 26, 2008
5) Georgian Daily, December 8, 2008
6) Daily Telegraph, December 30, 2008
7) Black Sea Press [Georgia], December 30, 2008
8) Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, December 15, 2008
9) Yale Daily News, February 12, 2009
10) Infotag [Moldova], June 26, 2008
11) Polish Radio, June 20, 2008
12) Azeri Press Agency, June 30, 2008
13) Europa, June 3, 2009
14) Ukrainian Journal, May 23, 2006
15) Ibid
16) Russia Today, November 7, 2009
17) Infotag, November 2, 2007
18) Azeri Press Agency, July 2, 2008
19) Georgian Public Broadcasting, July 1, 2008
20) The Messenger [Georgia], July 1, 2008
21) ForUm [Ukraine], September 2, 2008
22) UNIAN [Ukraine], September 18, 2008
23) Today.AZ [Azerbaijan], November 14, 2008
24) Agence France-Presse, November 14, 2008
25) Azeri Press Agency, November 25, 2008
26) Associated Press, November 30, 2008
27) PanArmenian. net, December 3, 2008
28) Sofia Echo, December 3, 2008
29) Today.AZ, December 24, 2008
30) Czech News Agency, February 10, 2009
31) Ibid
32) Czech News Agency, February 11, 2009
33) UzReport [Uzbekistan], December 19, 2008

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