Archive for September, 2009

Dangerous Missile Battle In Space Over Europe: Fifth Act In U.S. Missile Shield Drama

September 29, 2009 2 comments

September 29, 2009

Dangerous Missile Battle In Space Over Europe:
Fifth Act In U.S. Missile Shield Drama
Rick Rozoff

Wars have brought untold horrors upon Europe over the centuries, especially the two world wars of the last one. Until now, though, the continent has been spared the ultimate cataclysm of a missile war.

Though twenty years after the end of the Cold War recent news articles contain reports that would have been shocking even during the depths of the East-West conflict in Europe that followed World War II.

A dispatch quoting a Finnish defense official two days ago bore the title “US could launch missiles from the Baltic Sea” and a U.S. armed forces website yesterday spoke in reference to proposed missile shield plans of “a big, complex, dangerous battle in the space over Europe.”

On September 28 a feature called “BMD fleet plans Europe defense mission” appeared in the Navy Times which reported that “Ballistic-missile defense warships have become the keystone in a new national strategy….Rather than field sensors and missiles on the ground in Poland and the Czech Republic, the U.S. will first maintain a presence of at least two or three Aegis BMD ships in the waters around Europe, starting in 2011.” [1]

This development is in keeping with U.S Pentagon chief Robert Gates’ presentation of September 17 in which, confirming President Obama’s announcement to replace and supplement his predecessor’s project of placing ten ground-based interceptor missiles in Poland and a complementary radar installation in the Czech Republic, he laid out a three-step strategy to enhance (his word) U.S. missile shield plans in Europe.

In a Defense Department briefing with Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General James Cartwright, Gates explained the logic behind the shift.

“Over the last few years, we have made great strides with missile defense, particularly in our ability to counter short-and-medium-range missiles. We now have proven capabilities to intercept these ballistic missiles with land-and-sea-based interceptors supported by much-improved sensors.

“These capabilities offer a variety of options to detect, track and shoot down enemy missiles. This allows us to deploy a distributive sensor network rather than a single fixed site, like the kind slated for the Czech Republic, enabling greater survivability and adaptability.” [2]

That is, as Russian officials have over the past two years openly stated that the stationary missile radar facility intended for the Czech Republic and silo-based missiles planned for Poland would be targeted by their own missiles if the U.S. went ahead with the deployments, mobile and rapidly deployable alternatives would have, in Gates’ terms, “greater survivability and adaptability.”

Land-based facilities are easy to monitor and, if the suspicion arose that they would be part of an imminent first strike attack, neutralize.

Sea-based, air-based and space-based surveillance and missile deployments would be harder – if not impossible – to track and to take out.

Referring to the hitherto exclusively ship-based Standard Missile-3 (SM-3), which nineteen months ago proved capable of shooting down a satellite in space, Gates offered further details:

“We have…improved the Standard Missile 3, the SM-3, which has had eight successful flight tests since 2007. These tests have amply demonstrated the SM-3’s capability and have given us greater confidence in the system and its future….In the initial stage, we will deploy Aegis ships equipped with SM-3 interceptors, which provide the flexibility to move interceptors from one region to another if needed.”

The second stage of the Pentagon’s updated European missile shield program will entail the basing of “upgraded, land-based SM-3s.”

“Consultations have begun with allies, starting with Poland and the Czech Republic, about hosting a land-based version of the SM-3 and other components of the system,” Gates revealed.

In language that progressively reflected what sounds like plans to withstand a first – or second strike – in Europe’s first missile war, Gates added, “Over time, this architecture is designed to continually incorporate new and more effective technologies, as well as more interceptors, expanding the range of coverage, improving our ability to knock down multiple targets and increasing the survivability of the overall system.

“This approach also provides us with greater flexibility to adapt to developing threats and evolving technologies….”

The threat repeatedly invoked by the Pentagon chief was, of course, Iran. The inverted logic of the earlier George W. Bush administration program, of which Gates himself was a major architect, ran something like this: Missiles in Poland and an X-band long-range radar installation in the Czech Republic would protect the continental United States from Iranian intercontinental ballistic missiles, which the nation neither possesses nor, as both Gates and Obama themselves conceded on September 17, was likely to in the foreseeable future.

But once the U.S. went ahead with the deployments Iran could target both sites with medium-range missiles, the argument continued. So America pledged to station 96 Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missiles in batteries manned by U.S. soldiers who would be based in Poland for the first time.

Thus Poland and the Czech Republic were transformed from sites for missile shield deployments to allegedly protect the U.S. to potential targets that needed to be protected by…the U.S.

The Patriot missiles in Poland, which are still slated to be sent and activated there, can no longer be presented as protecting American ground-based interceptor missiles in that nation, as that plan was officially scrapped twelve days ago. So why are they going to be deployed in spite of that?

The Patriot deployment was never intended to defend Poland against Iranian attacks, but to counter Russian plans to station mobile short-range missiles in its non-contiguous territory of Kaliningrad, which borders Poland, in response to what Russia necessarily viewed as a threat to its strategic missile forces. Bluntly put, U.S. ground-based missiles in Poland could be part of a system to destroy whatever long-range missiles Russia had left after a U.S. and NATO first strike.

As adviser to Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, Slawomir Nowak, was quoted on September 24 as admitting, “We were never really threatened by a long-range missile attack from Iran.” [3]

Six days afterward Poland’s Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski confirmed that 96 Patriot missiles will be deployed in his nation as scheduled and, moreover, will be armed.

As their deployment can no longer exploit the pretext of defending U.S. long-range missile sites from imaginary Iranian “preemptive” attacks, its purpose is demonstrated to be what missile shield opponents have always asserted it was: To “protect” Poland from Russia.

The Polish newspaper that first revealed the shift in U.S. missile designs in Europe weeks before the event, the Gazeta Wyborcza, reported on September 25 some details of the new system as it will affect Poland:

“The concept would include a stationary rocket battery and possibly a number of mobile interceptor launchers. This might be a supplement to the envisaged American system of SM-3 naval based anti-rockets. Polish military experts say that equally important would be US military presence in Poland, which would provide an additional security guarantee.” [4]

What mobile missile launchers ready for practically overnight deployment to Russia’s neighbor might look like was indicated at last month’s annual Space and Missile Defense Conference held by the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency in Huntsville, Alabama where the prototype of a nearly 50,000-pound “two-stage interceptor designed to be globally deployable within 24 hours” [5] to be stationed as needed at NATO bases throughout Europe was presented by the arms manufacturer eager to produce it, Chicago-based Boeing Company.

In his September 17th briefing at the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Gates also announced plans to “deploy new sensors and interceptors, in northern and southern Europe.” He tactfully did not specify where in the north and south of the continent the “capabilities…to detect, track and shoot down enemy missiles” would be placed, but their likely destinations are not hard to determine.

The former head of the Russian Strategic Missile Force, General Viktor Yesin, commented last week on one probability:

“Now we only need to be sure that the U.S. plans with regard to strengthening the ABM capability will not create a situation where warships armed with such systems will be moved from the North and Mediterranean seas to the Black Sea, which would pose a threat to Russia’s strategic nuclear forces.” [6]

An analyst from the same country, Sergei Roy, gave vent to similar apprehensions in a roundtable discussion in Russia Profile on September 25:

“If anything, that episode [projected U.S. radar in the Czech Republic to be aimed at Russia and not Iran], like so many others in recent history, should teach Russians to view any U.S. move in ABM defense (as in any other ‘defense’ area) with sober caution rather than credulous enthusiasm. My first idea on hearing of Obama opting for sea-based Standard-3 anti-missiles instead of those in Poland was: ‘hey, which sea?’ If it’s the Mediterranean and the North Sea, that’s OK, but what about the Black Sea or, God forbid, the Baltic? Those missiles will be much closer to Russia, while still in international waters or those of Ukraine or Georgia (why not Estonia’s, then?), and who will give a written guarantee that they are strictly anti-missile missiles? What about those early warning radar stations? Will they be based in Israel and Turkey – or in Georgia and/or Ukraine?” [7]

The Gazeta Wyborcza last month broke the news that the Pentagon intended to shift major missile shield emphasis to the Balkans, Israel and Turkey. Subsequent reports have focused on the South Caucasus nations of Georgia and Azerbaijan as locations for the extension of missile interception networks closer to Iran and to Russia’s southern border.

The Navy Times report cited at the beginning of this piece discussed the transfer of missile shield hardware and priority to the Balkans, the Black Sea region and the Middle East and mentioned as an example the USS Stout, an Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer. Last summer the ship had been deployed for naval maneuvers in the Eastern Mediterranean with Israel and Turkey [Operation Reliant Mermaid] and then moved into the Black Sea in its first deployment as part of the Pentagon’s Aegis sea-based interceptor missile system. The USS Stout visited NATO members Bulgaria and Romania and NATO candidate nation Georgia while on the Black Sea mission. While visiting the third country it participated in a joint military exercise with its host’s navy directly south of Abkhazia, which could be the site of a fresh Caucasus war at any moment.

At least as far back as February of 2008, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency director of the time, Lieutenant General Henry Obering, spoke of adding a third interceptor missile component to those intended for Poland and the Czech Republic, saying that “The powerful, ‘forward based’ radar system would go in southeastern Europe, possibly in Turkey, the Caucasus or the Caspian Sea region….” [8]

So the expansion of the American and NATO missile interception system along a new trajectory that starts in the Balkans and progresses along Russia’s southern border and eastward towards China’s is nothing new.

The implementation of it currently being witnessed is new. And dangerous. Innovations in the interceptor missile system devised by the Pentagon will place greater emphasis on “ballistic-missile defense warships” to be deployed and moved around “in the waters around Europe.” [9]

“Europe there will be a need for more, modernized cruisers capable of firing the SM-3 and more advanced missiles to come. This might have an effect on the ultimate Navy build program.” [10]

As one American missile expert phrased it, the commanders of such vessels have been put “on a par with [ballistic-missile submarine] commanders.”

The Pentagon’s project of stationing as many as 100 SM-s, initially, on ships off the coasts of European nations and on their territory could lead to a situation in which “a BMD captain could be responsible for a big, complex, dangerous battle in the space over Europe, needing to fire dozens of missiles to try to destroy dozens of attackers.” [11]

The immediate reference was to Iran, again, but with implications for Russia as missile killer ship deployments in the Baltic and Black Seas would not be limited to or even primarily directed at Iran.

In a September 27 news article from an Icelandic source called “US could launch missiles from the Baltic Sea” spokesperson for the Department of Strategic and Defence Studies at Finland’s National Defence University, Commander Juha-Antero Puistola, stated “If the idea is to create this type of mobile platform, then some of the ships can well be placed in the Baltic. The Aegis cruisers have always been moved wherever needed.” [12]

On the following day Russian ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin stated that the U.S. “missile defense program is becoming less predictable with missile shield elements deployed in the Arctic as the worst-case scenario….” [13]

An earlier article in this series – U.S. Missile Shield Plans: Retreat Or Advance? – pointed out that “The major drawback [for the U.S.] of ground-based missiles in Poland is that they would be fixed-site deployments. For several years now Russia has warned that it was prepared to base Iskander theater ballistic missiles in its Kaliningrad region, which borders Poland, should Washington deploy its missiles to that nation.” [14]

Rogozin shared that perspective in acknowledging “We knew for sure that there would be ten interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar in Czech Republic, and that we wpuld have our Iskander [missiles] in the Kaliningrad Region…now the U.S. missile elements are to be based on U.S. cruisers, and you can never tell where they will be tomorrow.” [15]

Why he has been so tardy in realizing the threat of U.S. ship- and submarine-based missile and anti-missile plans in the Arctic Ocean is puzzling, as the National Security Presidential Directive of January 9, 2009 made no attempt to disguise the White House’s and the Pentagon’s intentions in that respect. Toward the beginning of the document it is stated:

“The United States has broad and fundamental national security interests in the Arctic region and is prepared to operate either independently or in conjunction with other states to safeguard these interests. These interests include such matters as missile defense and early warning; deployment of sea and air systems for strategic sealift, strategic deterrence, maritime presence, and maritime security operations; and ensuring freedom of navigation and overflight.” [16]

NATO held its first-ever top-level meeting – attended by its secretary general, its two top military commanders and the chairman of its Military Committee – on the Arctic seventeen days after the U.S. National Security Directive was released and also broadcast in no equivocal terms interest in expanding its presence into what it called the High North.

A plan that was outlined yesterday by Rogozin as follows:

“The ice would retreat, it would melt, which means that NATO would definitely be present in the Arctic. They have been planning it for a long time, and under very bad circumstances the U.S. strategic missile defense would arrive there on board these ships.” [17]

An insightful and penetrating commentary appeared in The Nation of Pakistan on September 26 which linked U.S. President Obama’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly on September 23 with his statements on missile defense six days earlier.

The author, Shireen M. Mazari, wrote that “many of us have been living with these periodic highs at the declaratory level on the issue of nuclear arms control and disarmament – till we realize they are merely a rhetorical facade to hide away the growing nuclear arsenals of the nuclear weapon states.”

And if White House pledges to reduce or even eliminate nuclear weapons sound something less than sincere – Ronald Reagan’s 1983 Star Wars speech included a proclaimed commitment “to lower the level of all arms, and particularly nuclear arms” – than so do American pronouncements that the nation’s global missile interception system will eliminate or even diminish the threat of dangerous and perhaps catastrophic confrontations.

The Pakistani writer added:

“So there will be no BMD [Ballistic Missile Defense] placements in Poland and the Czech Republic but there will be BMD systems placed on highly mobile sea platforms to counter a largely imagined threat to Europe and the US from Iran.

“Of course, these ships can be moved easily from the Mediterranean to the Gulf or Indian Ocean so Pakistan would also come into this BMD target loop – again with India being helped in the development and acquisition of BMD as part of its strategic military alliance with the US.

“BMD has also undermined deterrence which was sustained through mutual vulnerabilities.

“Now BMD has focused attention on nuclear war fighting, thereby increasing the danger of nuclear weapons being used in war.

“Unfortunately, while Obama may call for nuclear disarmament, his policy on BMD betrays this rhetoric.” [18]

The preceding paragraphs are as terse yet comprehensive a summation as can be found of the threat the U.S.’s new flexible, mobile and technologically advanced international missile shield strategy presents for raising rather than lowering world tensions, for dropping the threshold of a U.S. and allied missile war being launched because of the perceived invulnerability of the aggressor and, the ultimate worst-case scenario, for nuclear war whether intended or not. A nuclear war which would transform Europe and much of the rest of the world into a gigantic necropolis.

1) Navy Times, September 28, 2009
2) U.S. Department of Defense, September 17, 2009
3) Reuters, September 24, 2009
4) Polish Radio, September 25, 2009
5) Reuters, August 20, 2009
6) Izvestia, September 22, 2009
7) Russia Profile, September 25, 2009
8) Reuters, February 12, 2008
9) Navy Times, September 28, 2009
10) Defense Procurement News, September 18, 2009
11) Navy Times, September 28, 2009
12) Ice News, September 27, 2009
13) Russian Information Agency Novosti, September 28, 2009
14) Stop NATO, September 17, 2009
15) Russian Information Agency Novosti, September 28, 2009
17) Russian Information Agency Novosti, September 28, 2009
18) Shireen M. Mazari, The facade of nuclear disarmament
The Nation, September 26, 2009

Categories: Uncategorized

U.S. Missile Shield System Deployments: Larger, Sooner, Broader

September 27, 2009 Leave a comment

September 27, 2009

U.S. Missile Shield System Deployments: Larger, Sooner, Broader
Rick Rozoff

Synchronized announcements on September 17 by President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates that the U.S. was abandoning plans to station interceptor missiles in Poland and a forward-based missile radar site in the Czech Republic are now ten days ago and information surfacing in the interim indicates that its new plans are more far-reaching than their predecessor.

Two days after the statements by the American president and defense chief the latter, Pentagon head Robert Gates, was granted a column in the New York Times.

The most representative segment of Gates’ comments is arguably this:

“I have been a strong supporter of missile defense ever since President Ronald Reagan first proposed it in 1983. But I want to have real capacity as soon as possible, and to take maximum advantage of new technologies….American missile defense on the continent will continue, and not just in Central Europe, the most likely location for future SM-3 sites, but, we hope, in other NATO countries as well….We are strengthening – not scrapping – missile defense in Europe.” [1]

Remarking that the earlier-envisioned system in Poland and the Czech Republic would not have been operative until 2015 and that opposition among both nations’ parliamentarians would have delayed the process at least another two years, Gates evinced both impatience with and far grander designs for the European wing of the U.S.’s global missile shield program by asserting, “President Obama…decided to discard that plan in favor of a vastly more suitable approach. In the first phase, to be completed by 2011, we will deploy proven, sea-based SM-3 interceptor missiles – weapons that are growing in capability….”

The new deployments, which will be examined in depth later, are to be more mobile and less capable of being anticipated and defended against; will be implemented, according to Gates’ own schedule, at least eight years ahead of the prior plan’s timeline; and will extend worldwide missile interceptor networks into far broader swathes of Eurasia, the Middle East and ultimately the planet as a whole.

Even in the first phase of the adapted – advanced – system that Gates first described on September 17, more developed technologies are to supplant what are already outdated ones that would have been applied to the Polish and Czech deployments. “[A] fixed radar site like the one previously envisioned for the Czech Republic would be far less adaptable than the airborne, space- and ground-based sensors we now plan to use.”

The new system, in addition to being more effective and quickly operationalized, will be much grander in scope and will include several times as many missiles as those intended for Poland, although that nation will still host different variants of medium-range interceptor missiles and, as Gates states below, will still eventually station long-range ground-based missiles.

“The second phase, which will become operational around 2015, will involve putting upgraded SM-3s [Standard Missile-3s] on the ground in Southern and Central Europe. All told, every phase of this plan will include scores of SM-3 missiles, as opposed to the old plan of just 10 ground-based interceptors….[O]ur military will continue research and development on a two-stage ground-based interceptor, the kind that was planned to be put in Poland, as a back-up.”

Scores means some multiple of twenty and one of America’s top military commanders has mentioned 100 as a starting point, as will be seen later.

SM-3s are the missiles employed by the U.S.’s Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System, which is a sea-based anti-ballistic missile interception program designed to be based off the coasts of targeted nations as needed to render ineffective those nations’ missile launch capabilities, both offensive and defensive.

They are also an integral component of the Pentagon’s Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), a U.S.-led 90-nation international naval surveillance and interdiction project inaugurated by John Bolton in 2003 ostensibly to “interdict weapons of mass destruction” by confronting non-PSI nations’ vessels anywhere in the world.

SM-3s are also to be a staple item for America’s “thousand-ship navy,” first proposed by the then U.S. Navy’s Chief of Naval Operations Michael Mullen, now chairman of the armed forces Joint Chiefs of Staff.

In 2005 Mullen addressed the Seventeenth International Seapower Symposium at the Naval War College, in Newport, Rhode Island and said “the United States Navy cannot, by itself, preserve the freedom and security of the entire maritime domain. It must count on assistance from like-minded nations interested in using the sea for lawful purposes and precluding its use for others that threaten national, regional, or global security.” [2]

A detailed analysis of the Proliferation Security Initiative and the 1,000-Ship Navy is contained in an earlier article in this series, Proliferation Security Initiative And U.S. 1,000-Ship Navy: Control Of World’s Oceans, Prelude To War. [3]

As part of these plans for a U.S.-dominated worldwide navy with missile interception at its core, the United States has already recruited NATO and Asian NATO allies like Norway, Spain, Japan and South Korea into the Aegis combat system with its SM-3 missile shield capacity. India is slated to be the next partner.

Robert Gates also mentioned the application of SM-3s for ground use and the Pentagon will now base them both on land and more extensively at sea.

It was an SM-3 fired from an Aegis class cruiser, USS Lake Erie, that destroyed a satellite in outer space in February of 2008, to provide an indication of what its next phase mission will be.

The updated missile system plan for Europe is also to be more fully integrated with America’s allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to provide an impenetrable layered shield throughout all of Europe and North America as well as moving into the Middle East, the Caucasus and beyond in the imminent future.

Voice of America confirmed this development on September 22 by revealing “The U.S. believes the plan will reinforce and strengthen ongoing NATO efforts on missile defense, most recently approved by Heads of State and Government at their April 2009 summit, and is fully supportive of previous summit decisions to pursue a NATO-wide multi-layered ballistic missile defense architecture.” [4]

NATO remains committed not only to the advancement of a continent-wide missile shield but to the basing of U.S. nuclear weapons in all corners of Europe and their first use, even against non-nuclear powers.

In the midst of otherwise conciliatory comments last week, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev stated “[W]e should not forget that NATO is…a military bloc, and its missiles are targeted against Russia. We do not feel excited about the fact that more and more nations are joining NATO, that it is expanding further and getting closer to our borders; we do not like it and we do not conceal our sentiments.” [5]

The following day the chief of the Russian General Staff, General Nikolai Makarov, announced that his nation might still be compelled to base Iskander missiles in the nation’s Kaliningrad enclave to counter U.S. missile plans in Poland (and perhaps later in the Baltic states) and warned that the Pentagon “will develop the missile defense network, but it will be sea-based.” [6]

To confirm Makarov’s contention, on September 24 Vice Admiral Richard Gallagher, deputy commander of the Pentagon’s European Command [EUCOM], which shares a top commander and in other ways overlaps with NATO, spoke of the new U.S. missile shield system and characterized it as possessing “The intent…to use sea-based defence which, of course, has great flexibility as those ships can be moved to many different locations which gives us very good…ability to employ.” Speaking on behalf of the bloc the U.S. dominates, he added that NATO “has not abandoned the missile defence discussions” and “from the U.S. perspective, you have not seen a change in desires to protect the region and to work in conjunction with NATO as well”. [7]

Gallagher was speaking on the sidelines of a conference in Montenegro of the U.S.-Adriatic Charter, an initiative first launched by then Secretary of State Colin Powell in 2002 to militarily integrate and absorb all the nations of former Yugoslavia and the entire Southern Balkans.

Although he formally disavowed plans first leaked by the Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza in late August for the Pentagon to shift its missile shield focus from Poland and the Czech Republic to the Balkans as well as to Israel and Turkey, Gallagher was officiating over a meeting to complete NATO’s incorporation of an area that will be a choice location for American and NATO missile system deployments in the near future.

The Adriatic Charter’s first accomplishment is to have added Albania and Croatia as NATO’s 27th and 28th full members earlier this year and it is now grooming Macedonia, Bosnia and Montenegro – the world’s newest nation – to follow suit. Serbia and Kosovo are next in line. Kosovo, not recognized by over two-thirds of the world’s nations and as such not subject to international treaties and constraints, would be an ideal site for U.S. and NATO military deployments of all sorts, including missiles and radar.

It’s worth recalling that Vice Admiral Gallagher, as deputy commander of EUCOM, is not a NATO but a Pentagon official, yet is instrumental in recruiting several of the European nations not already Alliance members into the bloc. His superior, Admiral James Stavridis, who is both head of U.S. European Command and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, was also present at the conference in Montenegro. All five Adriatic Charter states – Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia and Montenegro – have provided NATO with troops for the war in Afghanistan.

Other top American military commanders have also corroborated the claims by President Obama and defense chief Gates that the U.S., far from retreating from missile shield plans, is escalating them in range, depth and effectiveness.

The director of the Missile Defense Agency, Lieutenant General Patrick O’Reilly, recently stated that “We are not scrapping missile defense. Rather, we are strengthening it and delivering more capability sooner.” O’Reilly is in charge of the Pentagon command that is most immediately in charge of developing the global missile shield and his words carry corresponding weight. Note that his expression that the Pentagon is not scrapping but strengthening interceptor missile plans is identical to that used by his chief, Defense Secretary Gates, in the latter’s New York Times column.

Speaking before the Senate Armed Services Committee on September 24, “O’Reilly said the old system would only have the capacity to shoot down five missiles, estimating two interceptors would be fired at each missile threat. He said the newer system would have much more capacity. The missile interceptor ships alone are capable of shooting down about 100 missiles.” [8]

His briefing also included the observation that “The new architecture keeps plans for a radar station in Southeastern Europe, but would also track radar by satellite and ships. Land-based missiles would be deployed at two sites, one in northern Europe and another in southern Europe.

“Placing one of these sites in Poland remains an option….” [9]

Undersecretary of Defense Michele Flournoy also testified before the committee and echoing previous statements by Robert Gates and others said, “This is not about Russia. It’s never been about Russia.” She added, “the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was ‘very supportive.'”

Flournoy touted the role of SM-3s for use on board ships and on land alike, stating “This means greater geographic flexibility, greater survivability and greater scalability in response to an evolving threat. That’s exactly what we mean by a phased, adaptive approach.” [10]

O’Reilly concurred, hailing the interceptor missile as “a very capable weapon due to its high acceleration, burn velocity and its proven track record” which provides an “ability to rapidly increase to over 80 interceptors at any one launch site.” [11]

Flournoy, O’Reilly and other panelists, including Marine General James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, “provided several advantages of the new system. It would begin protecting European allies in 2011, roughly six years sooner than the old system, and its missiles, costing $10 million each, are much cheaper than those planned for the old system, which cost about $70 million.” [12]

On September 25 a column appeared in the Washington Post titled “Reagan’s Missile Defense Triumph” by Andrew Nagorski, vice president and director of public policy at the EastWest Institute in New York.

The feature celebrates U.S. global missile shield plans, particularly the innovations announced during the past ten days, as a realization of former President Ronald Reagan’s infamous Strategic Defense Initiative, popularly known as Star Wars.

The author wrote that “on a…fundamental level…Reagan would recognize that the announcement represents a watershed moment in American politics. It signals that, for the first time since Reagan made his ‘Star Wars’ speech in 1983 spelling out his vision of a missile shield…both political parties have accepted his notion that the country needs an effective missile defense system. The debate is no longer focused on whether to build such a system but on what kind of system will do the job better job….” [13]

Further endorsing the new system and exposing claims that it represents either a retreat from the scope of the earlier version or a concession to Russia, the writer added:

“[T]he president has argued that his plan will produce ‘stronger, smarter, swifter’ missile defense than the Bush alternative. In other words, the Obama administration’s line, as spelled out by the president, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and others, is unambiguous when it comes to embracing missile defense as a necessary component of the U.S. arsenal.” [14]

A pro-missile defense analyst based in Central Asia recently expressed a similar perspective, writing that “The US policy reversal has…come as a result of the considerable progress made by the Pentagon in missile technology, especially in technical improvements to systems using interceptors, land, sea, air and space-based sensors.”

He also provided an insight into the true purpose of the U.S.-led global missile interception system:

“[A]n anti-missile shield on Poland’s and the Czech Republic’s territories – and anti-missile radars on Georgia’s territory – would have decreased the nuclear capabilities of those countries already possessing nuclear weapons. The Pentagon’s goal was precisely to downgrade the nuclear potentials of individual countries….

“It was clear that Washington’s proposal for building an anti-missile system in Europe was intended to be the last nail in the coffin of the ABM Treaty and bring Russia to its knees in the military sector.” [15]

A Russian analyst, Viktoria Panova, recently wrote something to the same effect, comparing the current American missile subterfuge to the period of the genesis of missile shield plans, that of the Reagan and first Bush era:

“America can push Russia either on Iran or another issue of concern, so it’s very similar to what it was during the last days of the Soviet Union when America was playing with the ABM system being developed.

“Then, using that ‘threat’ as an instrument, the US managed to alter the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty that Russia was pushing for into a more favorable one for America.” [16]

The Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty was signed in 1972 by the U.S.’s Richard Nixon and the Soviet Union’s Leonid Brezhnev, and the George W. Bush administration unilaterally withdrew from it in 2002. The first threat to the treaty, though, was the Reagan administration’s Strategic Defense Initiative.

The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I) expires this December 5. “The United States plans to let a landmark nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia expire in 2009 and replace it with a less formal agreement that eliminates strict verification requirements and weapons limits, a senior US official says.” [17]

In both instances U.S. missile shield – and space war – policies are designed among other purposes to place Russia at a strategic disadvantage in regards to negotiations over nuclear weapons and delivery systems.

To compound the threat, the U.S. hasn’t even renounced plans for missile deployments in Poland, as Missile Defense Agency chief O’Reilly informed the U.S. Senate on September 24.

On September 18 Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski – former resident fellow of the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, executive director of the New Atlantic Initiative and adviser to Rupert Murdoch and husband of American journalist Anne Applebaum – said that the 100 Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missiles the Pentagon still plans to station in his country will be combat ready. Sikorski affirmed that “Poland has been promised by the U.S. that it will go ahead with the deployment of a Patriot battery in Poland and that the missiles will be armed.” [18]

Six days later Slawomir Nowak, adviser to Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, announced that the U.S. could task his nation to base short- to medium-range missiles as part of “its new, flexible missile system.”

Nowak was quoted as saying, “If this system becomes a reality it would actually be better for us than the original missile shield programme.” [19]

Polish Radio announced that “Washington may ask Poland eventually to host SM-3 anti-ballistic missiles, currently being manufactured by Lockheed-Martin.” [20]

Nowak confirmed the information, saying: “We are familiar with the SM-3 system and the Americans have assured us that Poland is one of the countries where they want to place this system.” He also offered an ex post facto refutation of the American missile shield rationale by stating “We were never really threatened by a long-range missile attack from Iran.” [21]

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was even more blunt in a column she wrote for the Financial Times a few days before.

She reiterated comparable claims by President Obama and Defense Secretary Gates in writing, “We are enhancing our capacity to protect our interests and our allies. We are not walking away from our allies but are deploying a system that enhances allied security, advances our cooperation with NATO, and actually placing more resources in more countries.”

Clinton mentioned in particular American military commitments to fellow NATO states, especially Poland and the Czech Republic, and as Obama had done on September 17 invoked NATO’s Article 5 military assistance clause, fraught as it is with the prospect of nuclear confrontation and even war.

“An attack on London or Warsaw is an attack on New York or Washington. NATO demonstrated this commitment after the September 11 terrorist attacks.” [22]

Western media accounts over the past ten days have been replete with a steady refrain that Czechs and Poles feel “betrayed” by the new U.S. missile plans.

Such claims are easily enough refuted by surveys demonstrating that 70 percent of Czechs and 55 percent of Poles were opposed to the deployment of third position missile shield installations on their soil.

But to the West the only Czechs and Poles whose opinions are worth considering are U.S.-trained subordinates, like Poland’s Sikorski, at the beck and call of their masters in Washington and Brussels.

Residents of the Polish village of Redzikowo where the Pentagon was to place ten ground-based missiles were exuberant over the news that their homes might not be turned into ground zero in Europe’s first missile exchange.

“Mariusz Chmiel, head of the rural district that includes Redzikowo, was a long-time opponent of the shield who celebrated the US decision with champagne. ‘I was against this shield from the very beginning,’ Chmiel said. ‘I was very happy. It means our residents can continue to feel safe.'”

However, his sense of relief may prove short-lived as “Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said the US had assured Poland that armed Patriot missiles will still be located on Polish territory and will ‘likely’ be located in Redzikowo.” [23]

Matters are no better in the Czech Republic, which will also not be granted much of a reprieve. A local news source reminded its readers that “Clinton said on Friday the Czech Republic and Poland are major candidates for hosting new mobile anti-missiles that the United States plans to deploy in Europe instead of the originally planned bases.”

It added that “Czech Defence Minister Martin Bartak said after his talks with U.S. National Security Council chief James Jones on Friday that Prague will discuss with Washington participation in the new form of the anti-missile system by the year’s end.” [24]

National Security Adviser Jones, a retired four-star Marine general, was top military commander of NATO in Europe and the Pentagon’s European Command from 2003-2007 during the initial crafting of Star Wars plans for Eastern Europe.

Recently the Polish Gazeta Wyborcza, the same newspaper that broke the story on American plans to shift its missile shield deployments to the Balkans and the Middle East a month ago, cited Polish diplomatic officials in claiming “After the White House announced shelving a planned missile shield in Eastern Europe, Washington is planning to establish missile bases in Poland.” [25]

The same source wrote that “Andrzej Kremer, Poland’s deputy foreign minister, was due to travel to Washington on Monday to discuss the plan….Washington’s permanent Polish base is due to be established at Redzikowo, near the Baltic coast….” [26]

It is not only Russia’s northwest border that will be affected, though.

A Georgian website recently ran a feature called “Controversy: anti-missile systems in the Caucasus” which included:

“Although it has not yet been specified whether they [missile shield components] will be put somewhere in the Black Sea, Turkey or another country the Caucasus was directly mentioned as a possible site for these systems, the only possible location specifically given by [a] US official at a recent press conference on the subject….The Georgian administration has welcomed the US decision.” [27]

The deployment of U.S. interceptor missile shield installations in Georgia, on Russia’s southern border, would be exacerbated if, as an Armenian news sources claimed on September 24, “[T]he Pentagon is drafting an agreement with Georgia. Under the agreement the United States is to deploy two land force and one naval base in Georgia before 2015. The construction is to start in 2014, to be completed the following year. Thus, the Pentagon plans to deploy 25,000 troops in Georgia.” [28]

Last week a conference was held on Georgia’s neighbor to the east, Azerbaijan, in Washington, DC.

The Conference on Strategic Cooperation Between the U.S. and Azerbaijan: New Bilateral and Regional Criteria held in Washington included an address by David Kramer, former U.S. Undersecretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor and fellow of the German Marshall Fund, in which he spoke of the use of Azerbaijan’s “Gabala radar station for missile defense.” [29]

An Azerbaijani website published this report on September 22:

“The plan to scrap missile defence in Eastern Europe could shift the geostrategic balance of power in the Caucasus….[M]issile defence has not been scrapped, as critics claim. Indeed, missiles are still going to be deployed in Europe, as well as at sea, and will actually be deployed earlier than under the Bush-era plan.

“Georgia…hopes the hunt for more effective bases for missile defence may increase its importance.

“This is because the Caucasus has emerged as one of the most important possible locations for a revamped missile defence plan. Situated on a direct path between Iran and Europe, the region has been discussed as a possible host site for early-warning systems and missiles for years.” [30]

In a recent article, analyst Rakesh Krishnan Simha quoted Konstantin Sivkov, Vice President of the Moscow-based Academy of Geopolitical Problems, on the change in U.S. missile shield designs:

“By temporarily dropping its missile shield, the US is just trying to sell a dead cat for good money. But it’s not a breakthrough that gives the US and NATO the right to demand military and technical concessions from Russia. One of the new radars and naval missile components could be set up in the Caucasus, anyway. Georgia has already agreed to host the radar.” [31]

On September 22 A. Wess Mitchell, Director of Research at the Center for European Policy Analysis, was interviewed by the Trend News Agency of Azerbaijan about new U.S. missile shield intentions. “At present, the emphasis appears to be on the Balkans, Turkey and Israel.”

The news site quoted another expert stating “Concerning Israel, the US has already installed a powerful missile defense radar in the Negev desert, so it might be considered a possibility to transfer the defense shield to Israel” and, citing Ephraim Kam, Deputy Head of the Institute for National Security Studies of Israel, revealed that “The U.S. can deploy the MDS [Missile Defense Shield] in Israel, but it is a possibility not linked necessarily to the abandoning of its missile system deployment in Eastern Europe or Central Europe.” [32]

The Israeli daily Haaretz wrote on September 20 that the Israeli Defense Forces and the U.S. military were to include missile defense maneuvers in the course of their biennial Juniper Cobra war games next month. “[T]he drill is also part of U.S. President Barack Obama’s new missile defense plan, under which the Pentagon will initially deploy ships with missile interceptors instead of stationing missile defense systems in Eastern Europe….The report came shortly before Defense Minister Ehud Barak was to leave for the United States, where he was to meet with his counterpart, Robert Gates.” [33]

Another Israeli newspaper characterized the development like this:

“Israel and the US are preparing for an upcoming joint military exercise, dubbed Juniper Cobra – which will include the largest exercise yet between the IDF and the US Military’s European Command (EUCOM) and the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA).” [34]

A Washington Post article of last week entitled “Israel Finds Strength in Its Missile Defenses: Advanced System Could Alter Strategic Decisions in Region” offered more details on interceptor plans for the Middle East, ones underway long before Washington’s September 17 revelations.

“Israel and the United States [will conduct] a joint, biennial missile defense exercise, called Juniper Cobra, to work on integrating the weapons, radars and other systems of the two countries.

“Israel, for example, has the advanced U.S. X-Band radar stationed in the Negev desert. Israeli defense industry officials say the country also has almost real-time access to some U.S. satellite data, an important part of its early-warning system.” [35]

The Middle East, the Balkans, the South Caucasus and the Baltic Sea region aren’t alone in being intended sites for the expansion of American global missile shield deployments.

The Korea Times of September 22 confirmed that the plans are indeed international in reporting that “a local news report that the U.S. administration of President Barack Obama may ask South Korea to join the missile shield initiative despite its recent modification of the BMD [Ballistic Missile Defense] plan.

“The report cited a report written by the Missile Defense Agency affiliated with the U.S. Department of Defense, describing South Korea as one of the nations to potentially join the BMD effort.

“The report categorized South Korea, Bahrain, France, Germany, India, Qatar and some other nations as the ‘nations expressing interest in missile defense.'” [36]

For anyone hoping that the threat of unilateral actions by the West to make itself resistant to missile attacks, conventional and nuclear, while rendering the rest of the world defenseless and thus fair game for first strikes was diminishing, this report should clarify matters.

On September 25 NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) launched a rocket carrying two experimental missile-tracking satellites for the Missile Defense Agency.

Reports that the White House was effectively merging what is technically the civilian NASA with the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency for missile interception and space war purposes have circulated since the current American president’s election victory last November. The process now appears well underway.

A local Florida news source wrote beforehand of the launch that “If the satellites work, it would mean the U.S. would be able to launch dozens of similar satellites….” [37]

A Florida television station reported that the satellites are part of the Space Tracking and Surveillance System [STSS], “a $1.5 billion project” that “will be used by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency to test the ‘birth to death’ tracking of missiles from launch to re-entry.” [38]

Northrop Grumman’s STSS program manager, Gabe Watson, was quoted on the day of the launch claiming “We can track missiles in every stage of flight, from launch to intercept, and do hit assessment as well. If the MDA [Missile Defense Agency] wants to intercept missiles in the ascent phase, they will need additional data that [current missile warning satellites] don’t provide.” [39]

To tie together two threads in the U.S.’s new generation missile shield program, it was reported that “The STSS satellites follow NASA’s launch of another missile defense satellite – the STSS Advanced Technology Risk Reduction spacecraft – in early May.

“They may also play a role in two other tests with other defense systems such as the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system….” [40]

Former plans for interceptor missile facilities in Poland and the Czech Republic, employing as they were to have antiquated technology, have been superseded by new projects that will encompass broader regions of the world and will coordinate deployments on land, at sea, in the air and in space.

1) New York Times, September 19, 2009
2) Cited in Naval War College Review, Autumn 2007
3) Proliferation Security Initiative And U.S. 1,000-Ship Navy: Control
Of World’s Oceans, Prelude To War
Stop NATO, January 29, 2009
4) Voice of America News, September 22, 2009
5) Itar-Tass, September 20, 2009
6) Trend News Agency, September 21, 2009
7) Reuters, September 24, 2009
8) Courthouse News Service, September 24, 2009
9) Ibid
10) U.S. Department of Defense, American Forces Press Service,
September 24, 2009
11) Ibid
12) Courthouse News Service, September 24, 2009
13) Washington Post, September 25, 2009
14) Ibid
15) Richard Rousseau, Why Obama Needs Missile Defences in Europe
Georgian Times, September 21, 2009
16) Russia Today, September 20, 2009
17) Reuters, May 23, 2007
18) Xinhua News Agency, September 18, 2009
19) Polish Radio, September 24, 2009
20) Ibid
21) Reuters, September 24, 2009
22) Quoted by Radio Poland, September 21, 2009
23) Deutsche Presse-Agentur, September 18, 2009
24) Czech News Agency, September 20, 2009
25) Press TV, September 25, 2009
26) Ibid
27) The Messenger, September 22, 2009
28), September 24, 2009
29) Today.AZ, September 21, 2009
30) Alexander Jackson, The Missile Defence Shift: Implications for the
Caucasian Review of International Affairs/Azeri Press Agency,
September 22, 2009
31) Rakesh Krishnan Simha, Missile Impossible: How the Russians View
America’s AMD Backdown
OpEd News, September 23, 2009
32) Trend News Agency, September 22, 2009
33) Haaretz, September 20, 2009
34) Jerusalem Post, September 7, 2009
35) Washington Post, September 19, 2009
36) Korea Times, September 22, 2009
37), September 23, 2009
38) Central Florida News 13, September 23, 2009
39), September 25, 2009
40) Ibid

Categories: Uncategorized

U.S., NATO Poised For Most Massive War In Afghanistan’s History

September 24, 2009 Leave a comment

September 24, 2009

U.S., NATO Poised For Most Massive War In Afghanistan’s History
Rick Rozoff

Over the past week U.S. newspapers and television networks have been abuzz with reports that Washington and its NATO allies are planning an unprecedented increase of troops for the war in Afghanistan, even in addition to the 17,000 new American and several thousand NATO forces that have been committed to the war so far this year.

The number, based on as yet unsubstantiated reports of what U.S. and NATO commander Stanley McChrystal and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen have demanded of the White House, range from 10,000 to 45,000.

Fox News has cited figures as high as 45,000 more American soldiers and ABC News as many as 40,000. On September 15 the Christian Science Monitor wrote of “perhaps as many as 45,000.”

The similarity of the estimates indicate that a number has been agreed upon and America’s obedient media is preparing domestic audiences for the possibility of the largest escalation of foreign armed forces in Afghanistan’s history. Only seven years ago the United States had 5,000 troops in the country, but was scheduled to have 68,000 by December even before the reports of new deployments surfaced.

An additional 45,000 troops would bring the U.S. total to 113,000. There are also 35,000 troops from some 50 other nations serving under NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in the nation, which would raise combined troop strength under McChrystal’s command to 148,000 if the larger number of rumored increases materializes.

As the former Soviet Union withdrew its soldiers from Afghanistan twenty years ago the New York Times reported “At the height of the Soviet commitment, according to Western intelligence estimates, there were 115,000 troops deployed.” [1]

Nearly 150,000 U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan would represent the largest foreign military presence ever in the land.

Rather than addressing this historic watershed, the American media is full of innuendos and “privileged” speculation on who has leaked the information and why, as to commercial news operations the tawdry world of Byzantine intrigues among and between American politicians, generals and the Fourth Estate is of more importance that the lengthiest and largest war in the world.

One that has been estimated by the chief of the British armed forces and other leading Western officials to last decades and that has already been extended into Pakistan, a nation with a population almost six times that of Afghanistan and in possession of nuclear weapons.

Two weeks ago the Dutch media reported that during a visit to the Netherlands “General Stanley McChrystal [said] he is considering the possibility of merging…Operation Enduring Freedom with NATO’s ISAF force.” [2] That is, not only would he continue to command all U.S. and NATO troops, but the two commands would be melded into one.

The call for up to 45,000 more American troops was first adumbrated in mid-September by U.S. armed forces chief Michael Mullen, with the Associated Press stating “The top U.S. military officer says that winning in Afghanistan will probably mean sending more troops.” [3]

Four days later, September 19, Reuters reported that “The commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan has drawn up a long-awaited and detailed request for additional troops but has not yet sent it to Washington, a spokesman said on Saturday.

“He said General Stanley McChrystal completed the document this week, setting out exactly how many U.S. and NATO troops, Afghan security force members and
civilians he thinks he needs.” [4]

The Pentagon spokesman mentioned above, Lieutenant-Colonel Tadd Sholtis, said, “We’re working with Washington as well as the other NATO participants about how it’s best to submit this,” refusing to divulge any details. [5]

Two days later the Washington Post published a 66-page “redacted” version of General McChrystal’s Commander’s Initial Assessment which began with this background information:

“On 26 June, 2009, the United States Secretary of Defense directed Commander, United States Central Command (CDRUSCENTCOM), to provide a multidisciplinary assessment of the situation in Afghanistan. On 02 July, 2009, Commander, NATO International Security Assistance Force (COMISAF) / U.S. Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A), received direction from CDRUSCENTCOM to complete the overall review.

“On 01 July, 2009, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe and NATO Secretary General also issued a similar directive.

“COMISAF [Commander, NATO International Security Assistance Force] subsequently issued an order to the ISAF staff and component commands to conduct a comprehensive review to assess the overall situation, review plans and ongoing efforts, and identify revisions to operational, tactical and strategic guidance.”

The main focus of the report, not surprising given McChrystal’s previous role as head of the Joint Special Operations Command, the Pentagon’s preeminent special operations unit, in Iraq, is concentrated and intensified counterinsurgency war.

It includes the demand that “NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) requires a new strategy….This new strategy must also be properly resourced and executed through an integrated civilian-military counterinsurgency campaign….This is a different kind of fight. We must conduct classic counterinsurgency operations in an environment that is uniquely complex….Success demands a comprehensive counterinsurgency (COIN) campaign.”

McChrystal’s evaluation also indicates that the war will not only escalate within Afghanistan but will also be stepped up inside Pakistan and may even target Iran.

“Afghanistan’s insurgency is clearly supported from Pakistan. Senior leaders of the major Afghan insurgent groups are based in Pakistan, are linked with al Qaeda and other violent extremist groups, and are reportedly aided by some elements of Pakistan’s ISI [Inter-Services Intelligence].

“Iranian Qods Force [part of the nation’s army] is reportedly training fighters for certain Taliban groups and providing other forms of military assistance to insurgents. Iran’s current policies and actions do not pose a short-term threat to the mission, but Iran has the capability to threaten the mission in the future.”

That the ISI has had links to armed extremists is no revelation. The Pentagon and the CIA worked hand-in-glove with it from 1979 onward to subvert successive governments in Afghanistan. That Iran is “training fighters for certain Taliban groups” is a provocational fabrication.

As to who is responsible for the thirty-year disaster that is Afghanistan, McChrystal’s assessment contains a sentence that may get past most readers. It is this:

“The major insurgent groups in order of their threat to the mission are: the Quetta Shura Taliban (05T), the Haqqani Network (HQN), and the Hezb-e Islami Gulbuddin (HiG).”

The last-named is the guerrilla force of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the largest recipient of hundreds of millions (perhaps billions) of U.S. dollars provided by the CIA to the Peshawar Seven Mujahideen bloc fighting the Soviet-backed government of Afghanistan from 1978-1992.

Throughout the 1980s the CIA official in large part tasked to assist the Mujahideen with funds, arms and training was Robert Gates, now U.S. Secretary of Defense.

Last December BBC News reported:

“In his book, From the Shadows, published in 1996, Mr Gates defended the role of the CIA in undertaking covert action which, he argued, helped to win the Cold War.

“In a speech in 1999, Mr Gates said that its most important role was in Afghanistan.

“‘CIA had important successes in covert action. Perhaps the most consequential of all was Afghanistan where CIA, with its management, funnelled billions of dollars in supplies and weapons to the mujahideen, and the resistance was thus able to fight the vaunted Soviet army to a standoff and eventually force a political decision to withdraw,’ he said.” [6]

Now according to McChrystal the same Gulbuddin Hekmatyar who was cultivated and sponsored by McChrystal’s current boss, Gates, is in charge of one of the three groups the Pentagon and NATO are waging ever-escalating counterinsurgency operations in South Asia against.

To make matters even more intriguing, former British foreign secretary Robin Cook – as loyal a pro-American Atlanticist as exists – conceded in the Guardian on July 8, 2005 that “Bin Laden was…a product of a monumental miscalculation by western security agencies. Throughout the 80s he was armed by the CIA and funded by the Saudis to wage jihad against the Russian occupation of Afghanistan. Al-Qaida, literally ‘the database’, was originally the computer file of the thousands of mujahideen who were recruited and trained with help from the CIA to defeat the Russians.”

Russian analyst and vice president of the Center for Political Technologies Sergey Mikheev was quoted in early September as contending that “Afghanistan is a stage in the division of the world after the bipolar system failed. They [U.S. and NATO] wanted to consolidate their grip on Eurasia…and deployed a lot of troops there. The Taliban card was played, although nobody had been interested in the Taliban before.” [7]

Pentagon chief Gates’ 27 years in the CIA, including his tenure as director of the agency from 1991-1993, is being brought to bear on the Afghan war according to the Los Angeles Times of September 19, 2009, which revealed that “The CIA is deploying teams of spies, analysts and paramilitary operatives to Afghanistan, part of a broad intelligence ‘surge’ that will make its station there among the largest in the agency’s history, U.S. officials say.

“When complete, the CIA’s presence in the country is expected to rival the size of its massive stations in Iraq and Vietnam at the height of those wars. Precise numbers are classified, but one U.S. official said the agency already has nearly 700 employees in Afghanistan.

“The intelligence expansion goes beyond the CIA to involve every major spy service, officials said, including the National Security Agency, which intercepts calls and e-mails, as well as the Defense Intelligence Agency, which tracks military threats.”

U.S. and NATO Commander McChrystal will put the CIA to immediate use in his plans for an all-out counterinsurgency campaign. The Los Angeles Times article added:

“McChrystal is expected to expand the use of teams that combine CIA operatives with special operations soldiers. In Iraq, where he oversaw the special operations forces from 2003 to 2008, McChrystal used such teams to speed up the cycle of gathering intelligence and carrying out raids aimed at killing or capturing insurgents.

“The CIA is also carrying out an escalating campaign of unmanned Predator missile strikes on Al Qaeda and insurgent strongholds in Pakistan. The number of strikes so far this year, 37, already exceeds the 2008 total, according to data compiled by the Long War Journal website, which tracks Predator strikes in Pakistan.”

Indeed, on September 13 it was reported that “Two NATO fighter jets reportedly flew inside Pakistan’s airspace for nearly two hours on Saturday.

“The airspace violation took place in different parts of the Khyber Agency bordering the Afghan border.” [8]

Two days later “NATO fighter jets in Afghanistan…violated Pakistani airspace and dropped bombs on the country’s northwest region.

“NATO warplanes bombed the South Waziristan tribal region….Moreover, CIA operated spy drone planes continued low-altitude flights in several towns of the Waziristan region.” [9]

The dramatic upsurge in CIA deployments in South Asia won’t be limited to Afghanistan. Neighboring Pakistan will be further overrun by U.S. intelligence operatives also.

On September 12 a petition was filed in the Supreme Court of Pakistan contesting the announced expansion of the U.S. embassy in the nation’s capital.

“Pakistani media have been reporting that the United States plans to deploy a large number of marines with the plan to expand its embassy in Islamabad.” [10]

The challenge was organized by Barrister Zafarullah Khan, who “said that Saudi Arabia was also trying to get 700,000 acres (283,400 hectares) of land in the country.”

He was quoted on the day of the presentation of the petition as warning “Giving away Pakistani land to U.S. and Arab countries in this fashion is a threat for the stability and sovereignty of the country” and “further added that the purpose of giving the land to U.S. embassy was to establish an American military base…there.

“He maintained that such a big land was enough even to construct a military airport.” [11]

Intelligence personnel and special forces are being matched by military equipment in the intensification of the West’s war in South Asia.

On September 10 Reuters revealed in an article titled “U.S. eyes military equipment in Iraq for Pakistan” that “The Pentagon has proposed transferring U.S. military equipment from Iraq to Pakistani security forces to help Islamabad step up its offensive against the Taliban….”

A U.S. armed forces publication a few days afterward wrote that “U.S. hardware is moving out of Iraq by the ton, much of it going straight to the overstretched forces in increasingly volatile Afghanistan” and “The U.S. military has already started moving an estimated 1.5 million pieces of equipment – everything from batteries to tanks – by ground, rail and air either to Afghanistan for immediate use….” [12]

In the middle of this month “U.S. military leaders infused Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s ideas of how to win the war in Afghanistan” by conducting a large-scale counterinsurgency exercise in Grafenwoehr, Germany.

“Dozens of Pashtun speakers joined more than 6,500 U.S. troops and civilians in an exercise for the Afghanistan-bound 173rd Airborne Brigade and Iraq-bound 12th Combat Aviation Brigade. It was the largest such exercise ever held by the U.S. military outside of the United States….” [13]

The Pentagon and NATO have their work cut out for them.

“A security map by the London-based International Council on Security and Development (ICOS) showed a deepening security crisis with substantial Taliban activity in at least 97 percent of the war-ravaged country.

“The Council added that the militants now have a permanent presence in 80 percent of the country.” [14]

The United States is not alone in sinking deeper into the Afghan morass.

On September 14 U.S. ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder, in celebrating the “resilience and deep-seated support from our allies for what is happening in Afghanistan,” was equally enthusiastic in proclaiming “Over 40 percent of the body bags that leave Afghanistan do not go to the U.S. They go to other countries….” [15]

Daalder also gave the lie to earlier claims that NATO troop increases leading up to last month’s presidential election were temporary in nature by acknowledging that “Many of the extra troops that NATO countries sent to Afghanistan for the August presidential elections would stay on.” [16]

Leading up to the Washington Post’s publication of the McChrystal assessment, NATO’s Military Committee held a two-day conference in Lisbon, Portugal which was attended by McChrystal and NATO’s two Strategic Commanders, Admiral James Stavridis (Supreme Allied Commander Europe) and General Stéphane Abrial (Supreme Allied Commander Transformation) which “focused mainly on the operation in Afghanistan and on the New Strategic Concept.” [17]

The 28 NATO defense chiefs present laid a wreath to the Alliance’s first war dead, those killed in Afghanistan.

Earlier this month the Washington Post reported that “The U.S. military and NATO are launching a major overhaul of the way they recruit, train and equip Afghanistan’s security forces,” an announcement that came “in advance of expected recommendations by Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal.” [18]

The article quoted Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee:

“We’re going to need many more trainers, hopefully including a much larger number of NATO trainers. We’re going to need a surge of equipment that is coming out of Iraq and, instead of coming home, a great deal of it should be going to Afghanistan instead.” [19]

According to the same report, this month NATO “will establish a new command led by a three-star military officer to oversee recruiting and generating Afghan forces.

“The goal is to ‘bring more coherence’ to uncoordinated efforts by NATO contingents in Afghanistan while underscoring that the mission ‘is not just
America’s challenge’…” [20]

Contributing to its quota of body bags, NATO has experienced losses in Afghanistan that have reached record levels. “According to the icasualties website, 363 foreign soldiers have died in Afghanistan so far this year, compared to 294 for all of 2008.” [21]

In September Britain has lost its 216th soldier in the nearly eight-year war. Canada lost its 131st. Denmark its 25th. Italy its 20th. Poland, where a recent poll showed 81 percent support for immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan, its 12th.

Russian ambassador to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov, who had been in the nation in the 1980s, was cited by Associated Press on September 12 as saying that in 2002 the U.S. had 5,000 troops in the nation and “Taliban controlled just a small corner of the country’s southeast.”

“Now we have Taliban fighting in the peaceful Kunduz and Baghlan (provinces) with your (NATO’s) 100,000 troops. And if this trend is the rule, if you bring 200,000 soldiers here, all of Afghanistan will be under the Taliban.”

Associated Press also cited Kabulov’s concern that “the U.S. and its allies are competing with Russia for influence in the energy-rich region….Afghanistan remains a strategic prize because of its location near the gas and oil fields of Iran, the Caspian Sea, Central Asia and the Persian Gulf.”

He also said “Russia has questions about NATO’s intentions in Afghanistan, which…lies outside of the alliance’s ‘political domain'” and “Moscow is concerned that NATO is building permanent bases in the region.”

The concerns are legitimate in light of this month’s latest quadrennial report by the Pentagon on security threats which “put emerging superpower China and former Cold War foe Russia alongside Iran and North Korea on a list of the four main nations challenging American interests.” [22]

At the same time a U.S. military newspaper reported on statements by Pentagon chief Robert Gates:

“Gates said the roughly $6.5 billion he has proposed to upgrade the [Air Force] fleet assures U.S. domination of the skies for decades.

“By the time China produces its first – 5th generation – fighter, he said, the U.S. will have more than 1,000 F-22s and F-35s. And while the U.S. conducted 35,000 refueling missions last year, Russia performed about 30.

“The secretary also highlighted new efforts to support robust space and cyber commands, as well as the new Global Strike Command that oversees the nuclear
arsenal.” [23]

To add to Russian and Chinese apprehensions about NATO’s role in South and Central Asia, ten days ago the U.S. ambassador to Kazakhstan, which borders Russia and China, “offered to Kazakhstan to take part in the peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan.”

At the opening ceremony of the NATO Steppe Eagle-2009 military exercises in that nation Richard Hoagland said “Kazakhstan may again become part of the international NATO peacekeeping force in Afghanistan.” [24]

Radio Free Europe reported on September 16 that NATO was to sign new agreements with Kyrgyzstan, which also borders China, for the use of the Manas Air Base that as many as 200,000 U.S. and NATO troops have passed through since the beginning of the Afghan war.

On the same day NATO’ plans for expanding transit routes through the South Caucasus and the Caspian Sea region were described. “[T]he air corridor through Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan is the most feasible.

“This route will be best suited if ISAF transport planes fly directly to Baku from Turkey or any other NATO member….Moreover, it [Azerbaijan] is not a CSTO [Collective Security Treaty Organization] member, which allows Azerbaijan more freedom for maneuver in the region when dealing with NATO.” [25]

Just as troops serving under NATO command in the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan now include those from almost fifty countries on five continents, so the broadening scope of the war is absorbing vaster tracts of Eurasia and the Middle East.

America’s longest armed conflict since that in Indochina and NATO’s first ground war threatens to not only remain the world’s most dangerous conflagration but also one that plunges the 21st Century into a war without end.

1) New York Times, February 16, 1989
2) Radio Netherlands, September 12, 2009
3) Associated Press, September 15, 2009
4) Reuters, September 19, 2009
5) Ibid
6) BBC News, December 1, 2008
7) Russia Today, September 7, 2009
8) Asian News International, September 13, 2009
9) Press TV, September 15, 2009
10) Xinhua News, September 12, 2009
11) Ibid
12) Stars and Stripes, September 19, 2009
13) Stars and Stripes, September 13, 2009
14) Trend News Agency, September 11, 2009
15) Reuters, September 14, 2009
16) Ibid
17) NATO, September 20, 2009
18) Washington Post, September 12, 2009
19) Ibid
20) Ibid
21) Agence France-Presse, September 22, 2009
22) Agence France-Presse, September 15, 2009
23) Stars and Stripes, September 16, 2009
24) Interfax, September 14, 2009
25) Jamestown Foundation, Eurasia Daily Monitor, September 16, 2009

Categories: Uncategorized

West Using Its Military Might To Control World Energy Resources

September 22, 2009 1 comment

September 22, 2009

West Using Its Military Might To Control World Energy Resources:
Pentagon’s Global Mission To Secure Oil And Gas Supplies
Rick Rozoff

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s 2009 Year Book documented that international military expenditures for 2008 reached $1.464 trillion. The denomination in dollars is germane as the United States accounted for 41.5 percent of the world total.

Earlier this month the Congressional Research Service in the U.S. reported that American weapons sales abroad reached $37.8 billion, or 68.4 percent of all global arms transactions. The next largest weapons supplier was Italy at $3.7 billion, less than one-tenth the U.S. amount. Russia was third at $3.5 billion. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, however, asserted that Germany had superseded Britain and France and become the world’s third largest weapons exporter.

Western nations in general and the U.S. overwhelmingly among them dominate the global arms market.

21st century weaponry is daily more technologically advanced, more linked with computer networks and satellite communications, and progressively approaching a blurring of conventional and strategic, terrestrial and space-based capabilities.

And in the U.S. and allied nations the notion of so-called preemptive warfare has advanced precariously to include cyber and satellite attacks that can cripple a targeted nation’s communications, control and air defense centers, thus rendering it both helpless and toothless: Not able to fend off attacks and unable to retaliate against or even forestall them with a secure deterrent force.

The vast preponderance of American and other NATO states’ arms are sold to nations neither in North America and Europe nor on their peripheries.

They are sold to nations like Saudi Arabia, India, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Australia, Egypt, Taiwan, South Korea, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Colombia, Kuwait, the Philippines, Morocco and other Western client states and military outposts far removed from the much-vaunted Euro-Atlantic space.

The weapons along with the military technicians, trainers and advisers that inevitably accompany them are spread throughout nations in geostrategically vital areas of the world, near large oil and natural gas reserves and astride key shipping lanes and choke points. In many instances Western-fueled arms buildups are accelerating in nations bordering Russia, China, Iran and Venezuela. Geopolitics in its most transparent, cynical and brutal manifestation.

The growing sales of Western arms in the Persian Gulf, the South Caucasus, South America (Chile and Colombia most pronouncedly), Africa, Far East Asia and the South Pacific (Australia in the first instance) are an integral element of American and general Western plans to gain access to and domination over world energy resources.

The campaign is not limited to efforts to muscle into nations and regions rich in oil and natural gas (and uranium), nor to employing fair means or foul, peaceful or otherwise, to seize the commanding heights of the international energy market.

The overarching objective is to control the ownership, transport and consumption of energy worldwide. To determine who receives oil and natural gas, through which routes and at which prices. And to dictate what the political and military quid pro quo will be for being invited to join a U.S.-dominated international energy transportation and accessibility network.

Those who are allowed to exploit, sell and transit hydrocarbons to the Western and ultimately world market are levied for a handsome share of their energy-derived revenues for unprecedented acquisition of arms and for the stationing of U.S. and other NATO states’ military forces on their soil. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Azerbaijan and Georgia are salient examples. The last two-named nations have increased their military budgets by well over 1,000 percent in the first case and by over 3,000 percent in the second in the span of a few years.

A United Press International report of August 25, 2009 estimated that Middle Eastern nations would purchase $100 billion worth of arms over the next five years, with the lion’s share going to the oil-rich Western client states of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Iraq.

There are six major areas in the world that the United States and its allies have targeted in history’s largest scramble for hydrocarbons and, it’s important to remember, against a recent backdrop of diminishing energy consumption, plunging prices and both the discovery and presumption of oil and natural gas reserves hitherto unexploited.

They are the Persian Gulf, the southern rim of the Caribbean Basin, the Gulf of Guinea off the coast of Western Africa, the Caspian Sea, the Arctic Circle, and the Antarctic Ocean and adjoining parts of the South Atlantic Ocean.

The first two were the private preserves of Washington and Western Europe until the Iranian revolution of 1979 in the first example and in the second the election of Hugo Chavez as president of Venezuela in 1998 and subsequent developments in that country and in nearby Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua and El Salvador.

South American oil and gas are no longer available to Washington on its own terms. Though Venezuelan and Ecuadoran officials have voiced the suspicion that the U.S. has recently acquired the use of seven new military bases in neighboring Colombia in part to seize the region’s energy resources.

The U.S. belatedly compensated for the loss of Iran after the overthrow of its proxy, Shah Reza Pahlavi, thirty years ago by invading neighboring Iraq in 2003.

The announcement of the Carter Doctrine in January of 1980, which bluntly affirmed that the U.S. would wage war for control of Persian Gulf energy resources and by extension those in other parts of the world, codified then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s threat five years earlier to go to war over oil after the Arab petroleum boycott of 1973-1974.

President Carter’s State of the Union address in 1980 included the following comments:

“This situation demands careful thought, steady nerves, and resolute action, not only for this year but for many years to come. It demands collective efforts to meet this new threat to security in the Persian Gulf and in Southwest Asia. It demands the participation of all those who rely on oil from the Middle East….Let our position be absolutely clear: An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.”

The reference to an outside force at the time was the Soviet Union, much nearer the Persian Gulf than the United States. It was later used against a nation in the Gulf, Iraq in 1991, and now is aimed at Iran, another Persian Gulf country.

With the breakup of the Soviet Union in the same year that the U.S. and its NATO and Gulf allies first applied the Carter Doctrine, 1991, areas that for several decades had been off-limits to the West now became open frontiers for a new oil rush. The Black Sea and Caspian Sea regions most immediately.

The Gulf of Guinea, where America is planning to soon import 25 percent of all its oil – high-grade crude shipped straight across the Atlantic Ocean on tankers – is the center of plans going back to the beginning of this century for what is now Africa Command (AFRICOM), the U.S.’s first new regional command since Central Command (CENTCOM), which itself was set up in 1983 as an upgrade of the Carter administration’s Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force in the Middle East, and the NATO Response Force.

In addition to securing West African oil, U.S. and NATO military expansion in the region also aims at denying it to nations like China and Russia. The practice of acquiring oil wells abroad and of denying them to competitors played no small role in triggering the two world wars of the last century.

The Arctic oil and natural gas bonanza is arguably among the main world developments of the new millennium and an analogous situation obtains in the Antarctic and South Atlantic Oceans.

Three news reports of the past week, one American and two Russian, provide an idea of the magnitude of what is at stake.

On September 17 United Press International ran a feature called “Amid Africa’s oil boom, U.S. binds ties” which included these observations:

“Potentially major oil strikes announced by an American-led consortium and a British company in West Africa have bolstered the region’s reputation as the world’s hottest energy zone.

“It has also become the focus of the U.S. military’s global mission to protect America’s energy supplies….”

The “U.S. military’s global mission to protect America’s energy supplies” is a phrase that warrants being pondered deliberately and within historical perspective. Even the bellicose brusqueness of Kissinger’s war-for-oil advocacy and the Carter Doctrine pale in comparison to the strategic scope of what is now underway.

The same article added these details, pertaining to both ends of the African continent:

“The Texas-based Anadarko Petroleum Corp. said Wednesday its deepwater Venus 1B well off the coast of Sierra Leone had hit paydirt and formed one of two ‘bookends’ 700 miles apart across two prospective basins that extend into waters controlled by Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana.

“These could each contain 150 million to 1 billion barrels of oil, according to Anadarko’s CEO Al Walker.

“One of Anadarko’s consortium partners, Tullow Oil of Britain, which has a vast array of licenses in Africa, recently announced a new potentially important discovery in its Ngassa field in Uganda.”

The United Press International report sums up the situation in a single effective sentence: “In the scramble for new oil reserves as the planet’s older fields become depleted, the U.S. military has become a predominant force in U.S.-African relations.”

A billion barrels of oil is not an insignificant figure, yet far more is being fought over in an area where there is a serious rival with one of the world’s two major nuclear arsenals and strategic nuclear triads.

The Voice of Russia on September 15 revealed that “British Petroleum, Europe’s second largest oil company, estimates that the Arctic Ocean may hold around 200 billion barrels of oil resources, about a half of the world’s prospective hydrocarbons. This is the main reason behind a sharp surge of interest in the Arctic ‘oil pie.'”

According to a recent estimate by the Oil and Gas Journal, the world’s largest petroleum exporter, Saudi Arabia, possesses approximately 267 billion barrels of proven oil reserves. The Arctic Ocean, whose reserves have yet to be explored in any thorough manner, may be home to even more.

In May the U.S. Geological Survey released the results of a study on the Arctic which estimated that 30 percent of the world’s undiscovered natural gas reserves and 13 percent of its oil may be in the Arctic Circle.

If the British Petroleum figure cited above is closer to the truth, the U.S. Geological Survey estimate is woefully conservative.

With the melting of the Arctic polar ice cap and the navigability of the Northwest Passage for the first time in recorded history opening up the area for energy exploitation, the U.S. released National Security Presidential Directive 66 on January 12, 2009, which contained these claims:

“The United States has broad and fundamental national security interests in the Arctic region and is prepared to operate either independently or in conjunction with other states to safeguard these interests. These interests include such matters as missile defense and early warning; deployment of sea and air systems for strategic sealift, strategic deterrence, maritime presence, and maritime security operations; and ensuring freedom of navigation and overflight.”

Sixteen days later NATO abruptly convened a two-day Seminar on Security Prospects in the High North in Iceland and then Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer’s comments included:

“[T]he High North is going to require even more of the Alliance’s attention in the coming years.

“As the ice-cap decreases, the possibility increases of extracting the High North’s mineral wealth and energy deposits.

“At our Summit in Bucharest last year, we agreed a number of guiding principles for NATO’s role in energy security….”

Alluding to the fact that of the five formal claimants to Arctic territory – Russia, the United States, Canada, Denmark and Norway – only the first is not a member of the bloc, Scheffer said, “NATO provides a forum where four of the Arctic coastal states can inform, discuss, and share, any concerns that they may have. And this leads me directly onto the next issue, which is military activity in the region.

“Clearly, the High North is a region that is of strategic interest to the Alliance.”

On September 16 the Voice of Russia featured an article on Antarctica which reported that “British geologists have discovered a wide array of oil and gas fields in the Falkland Islands….Edinburgh-based British Geological Survey Agency…experts insisted that as much as 60 billion barrels may be recoverable on the shelf. If these estimates prove right that may well rival the world’s oil-rich nations, not least Libya and Nigeria.

“The late 1970s saw breaking news about a spate of lucrative oil and gas fields in the Falkland Islands – deposits that experts insisted were 13 times as much as those in the North Sea at the time.

“Many believe that the 1982 war between Britain and Argentina with almost 1,000 servicemen killed in the hostilities was all about oil and gas fields in the South Atlantic.”

On May 11 of this year Britain submitted a claim to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf for one million square kilometers in the South Atlantic reaching into the Antarctic Ocean.

As early as October 23, 2007 The Scotsman reported that “the value of the oil under the sea in the region is understood to be immense. Seismic tests suggest there could be about 60 billion barrels of oil under the ocean floor.”

Britain is two hemispheres, the west and south, away from the Falklands/Malvinas Islands, which lie off the southeastern coast of Argentina.

The Russia source quoted earlier warned:

“Given London’s unwillingness to try to arrive at a political accommodation with Buenos Aires, a UN special commission will surely have tougher times ahead as far as its final decision on the continental shelf goes. And it is only to be hoped that Britain will be wise enough not to turn the Falkland Islands into another regional hot spot.”

In April of last year the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, through some combination of select compliance and procedural negligence if not complicity, granted Australia – Britain’s, the U.S.’s and increasingly NATO’s main outpost in the South Pacific – 2.5 million more square kilometers in the Antarctic Ocean so that the nation’s territory, in the words of Resources Minister Martin Ferguson as quoted by Agence France-Presse on April 21, 2008, “expanded by an area five times the size of France,” which could “potentially provide a ‘bonanza’ in underwater oil and gas reserves.”

The expansion of Australia’s seabed borders included the Kerguelen Plateau around the Heard and McDonald Islands, which extend southwards into Antarctica. As such Australia became the first nation to be granted exclusive property rights in the ocean.

In the Caspian Sea Basin and its neighborhood, which takes in the Afghanistan-Pakistan war theater and the turbulent and explosive Caucasus, Azerbaijan last week marked the fifteenth anniversary of what was called the Contract of the Century in 1994, engineered by the United States and Britain to open up the Caspian region to Western energy companies.

In the interim several oil and natural gas transit projects – the Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan oil and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum and Nabucco natural gas pipelines – have been launched.

The intent of all of them is to prevent Iran from exporting hydrocarbons to Europe and to expel Russia entirely from its previous contracts to provide Europe with natural gas and Caspian oil. Russia currently supplies the European Union with 30 percent of its gas, but the West – the U.S. and its EU allies – is well on its way to replacing Russian oil and gas with supplies from Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan via Azerbaijan and from Iraq and North Africa through Turkey where all of the three pipelines mentioned above end.

Plans for what has accurately been called a Peace Pipeline from Iran through Pakistan and to India and China were heavy-handedly quashed by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her successor.

Caspian energy supplies are only to flow west to Europe and east to Asia by routes under Western control if the U.S. and its partners have their way.

The Trend News Agency of Azerbaijan on September 16 reproduced parts of a letter from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose husband had begun the process with the Contract of the Century, to President Ilham Aliyev from which the following is excerpted:

“The development of the Azeri-Chiraq-Gunashli offshore oilfields, and the
subsequent formation of the Azerbaijan International Operating Company (AIOC), was a landmark event in international oil and gas development, as well as a great success for international energy diplomacy.

“Promotion of international energy security remains critical for the Eurasia region. In this regard, the July 13 signing of the Nabucco inter-governmental agreement was a major milestone in our joint efforts to open the Southern Corridor, which will bring Caspian gas to Europe.

“We hope that Azerbaijan, Turkey, and other interested countries will be able to build on this momentum and agree on those remaining issues needed to make the southern corridor [Nabucco] a reality.

“Azerbaijan is on the threshold of a new and even more promising phase of energy development, and we look forward to continuing to work with you and other leaders in the region to develop new oil and gas resources and new routes to bring those resources to market.”

New routes mean any other than Russian ones.

The Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan oil pipeline is to branch out through Ukraine – where the reverse flow of Russian oil has been cut off – and from there to Poland and the Baltic Sea city of Gdansk.

The Russian South Stream project to transport natural gas from Russia to Greece and the Balkans and then to Central Europe is being undermined by the Nabucco pipeline. The Nord Stream pipeline planned to deliver Russian gas to Germany through the Baltic Sea is also under assault, with pro-Western figures in Poland, the Baltic States and Finland accusing it of being a security and even a military threat.

Never before in history have all parts of the world been so intensely fought over simultaneously as they are currently.

Nothing less than uncontested, irreversible global domination is what is being sought by the West – the United States and its NATO, Asia-Pacific and Middle Eastern allies and clients.

Possession of energy supplies and control of their destinations and transit routes are an essential part of that strategy and will be enforced through a military machine that has penetrated most of the world and is still expanding.


Related articles

Global Energy War: Washington’s New Kissinger’s African Plans

NATO’s, Pentagon’s New Strategic Battleground: The Arctic

NATO In Persian Gulf: From Third World War To Istanbul

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

Cold War Origins Of The Somalia Crisis And Control Of The Indian Ocean

Scramble For World Resources: Battle For Antarctica

NATO Of The South: Chile, South Africa, Australia, Antarctica

West’s Afghan War And Drive Into Caspian Sea Basin

AFRICOM: Pentagon Prepares Direct Military Intervention In Africa

Categories: Uncategorized

Black Sea, Caucasus: U.S. Moves Missile Shield South And East

September 19, 2009 1 comment

September 19, 2009

Black Sea, Caucasus: U.S. Moves Missile Shield South And East
Rick Rozoff

Since the surprise news from the White House and the Pentagon on September 17 that the United States was relinquishing plans to deploy ground-based interceptor missiles to Poland and a missile radar installation to the Czech Republic speculation has been rife on two scores.

First, was this move a sincere effort to “reset” relations with Russia, possibly part of a trade-off for Russian transit and logistical support for the American and NATO war in South Asia and for Moscow agreeing to tougher measures – sanctions at any rate – against Iran?

Deutsche Welle ran a feature shortly after U.S. President Barack Obama’s and Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ announcements on Thursday which included an interview with Dr. Karl-Heinz Kamp, the research director at the NATO Defense College in Rome, in which he described the seeming U.S. about-face as follows:

“This is not a withdrawal from the idea of missile defense…as the US even has a law that obliges each president to pursue missile defense as long as the technical capabilities exist and the US can absorb the bearable costs.” [1]

In expressing a suspicion that many of his readers must have shared concerning simultaneous American claims that Iranian missile capabilities were less and not more developed than reported earlier and that the nation yet represented a growing threat, Kamp added:

“This decision will be very hard for some to understand. On the one hand, you have the Obama administration saying that Iran is not as much of a threat as before, and therefore there is no need for the defense shield. On the other, the official White House line is that Iran is still actively pursuing its nuclear program and is not willing to abandon this….[T]he US hopes that by removing the shield, it can persuade Russia to take a stronger anti-Iran stance. But there are risks here. No one is sure that Russia will respond by supporting US pressure on Iran and secondly, whether Iran would take any notice even if it did.” [2]

The conclusion one has to draw is the simple truth – that Iran never presented a threat of launching long-range missiles at the United States, Washington’s rationale for the Polish and Czech deployments.

Yet President Obama began his statement on Thursday by endorsing George W. Bush’s characterization of Iran as the very danger that supposedly necessitated the third position missile shield deployments in Poland and the Czech Republic negotiated by the Bush administration while he, Obama, went on to abrogate those very agreements.

The second question that began to surface after Obama’s and Gates’ comments was one to the effect of “And now what trick does Washington have up its sleeve?”

The first issue is the easier to contend with: Either the U.S. was compelled to – backhandedly – admit the falsity of its Iranian threat claim or it still intends to escalate pressure against Iran, including direct military measures.

The latter is closer to the truth and leads quickly to the second issue. What is Washington planning to do with the western flank of its global interceptor missile system?

Pentagon chief Gates immediately revealed part of the new picture in prefacing his comments with “Those who say we are scrapping missile defense in Europe are either misinformed or misrepresenting the reality of what we are doing.” He then laid out a three-phase strategy which included:

1. Deploying advanced sensors and interceptor missiles in both northern and southern Europe. Gates didn’t specify which nations would host them, but Scandinavian and Balkans states seem likely candidates. The stationing of missile surveillance facilities and interceptor missiles on both ends of the European continent would represent a qualitative escalation of his earlier plans for ten missiles in Poland and one X-band radar in the Czech Republic even if the missiles in question are of shorter range.

2. Enhanced use of Aegis class warships with SM-3 (Standard Missile-3) interceptor missiles which the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has in recent months advanced considerably. Next month the MDA plans the first test of an SM-3 against a ballistic missile.

Reports are that the Pentagon is to begin the deployment of missile-killing warships in the Mediterranean and North Seas. The Norwegian, Barents, Baltic and Black Seas may not be far behind.

3) The adaptation of SM-3s for ground use. In Gates’ words, “fielded, upgraded, land-based SM-3s.” He mentioned that the Czech Republic and Poland were possible sites for such deployments.

A major Polish daily newspaper revealed late last month that possible locations for U.S. missile shield components would be Israel, Turkey and the Balkans.

Associated Press on September 18 delivered a confirmation of the Polish report by linking it with the previous day’s development in two successive sentences:

“Turkey’s military says it is planning to spend $1 billion (euro680 million) on four long-range missile defense systems.

“Friday’s announcement comes a day after U.S. President Barack Obama canceled a long-planned missile shield for Eastern Europe, replacing a Bush-era project that was opposed by Russia with a plan he contended would better defend against Iranian missiles.” [3]

A news agency in Azerbaijan quoted a political expert, Zardusht Alizade, “commenting on media reports that the U.S. will deploy a new missile defense system in the Caucasus,” as saying “The United States may consider the joint use of the Gabala radar station” in his nation. [4]

The radar base is currently operated by Russia and that nation offered its joint use to the U.S. two years ago only to have the invitation spurned. Washington may plan to gain sole use of the Gabala base as Azerbaijan has been transformed into little better than a U.S. and NATO military client state since the break-up of the Soviet Union and more so with each passing year.

An American news source wrote on September 18 that “the new plan might include deploying an X-band radar to the Caucasus – the region sandwiched between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea….

“It’s easy to speculate about which countries in the region could potentially host an X-band radar. The United States has close military ties with Georgia. And neighboring Azerbaijan, which shares a border with Iran, has received U.S. funding for the construction of radar installations.” [5]

The author of the article, Nathan Hodge, said that he had been told by U.S. Missile Defense Agency spokesman Rick Lehner three years ago that the South Caucasus would prove a “good location for a small X-band radar to provide tracking and discrimination of missiles launched from Iran.”

He added that the probable model would be “an AN/TPY-2, the transportable X-band radar developed for the Army’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system.” An AN/TPY-2 [Army Navy/Transportable Radar Surveillance] installation was deployed by the Pentagon to Israel last autumn, one which has a range of 2,900 miles. A comparable capacity in Azerbaijan, Georgia or both could conduct missile and other forms of surveillance far beyond Iran.

EurasiaNet, a news source operated by the Open Society Institute concentrating on the Caucasus and Central Asia, featured a report called “Eurasia Security: New US Anti-Missile Vision Has Heavy Emphasis On The Caucasus.”

It stated that “Moscow’s muted contentment over the about-face in US missile defense plans in Europe may not last long. The Pentagon…is considering moving anti-missile radar systems from Russia’s European front yard to its backyard, the Caucasus.” [6]

General James Cartwright, vice-chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, was quoted in the feature on a proposed missile surveillance deployment, saying “It’s probably more likely to be in the Caucasus that we would base [the radar], because it’s to get the early tracks.” [7]

The article offered more specifics: “US defense officials have not specified the radar’s new proposed location, but some Georgian and Russian officials and commentators have been quick to suggest that the Pentagon has Georgia in mind. These analysts said that if the United States is thinking about the South Caucasus, Georgia would be the best place for the radar deployment.”

On the day before the piece appeared Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karassin expressed concerns about the U.S. and its NATO allies remilitarizing Georgia, a provocation pregnant with “developing a dynamic of its own because a temptation to make a blitzkrieg appears when the military biceps are being pumped and drilling goes on in the units of the Armed Forces and special assignment troops.”

He added, “Russia will insist on radical international measures to stop supplies of weaponry to Georgia and to make sure that the exercising of crack troops there, which is allegedly aimed at enabling them to join the international security forces in Afghanistan, becomes predictable and limited.” [8]

The reference to crack troops relates to U.S. Marines recently dispatched to the nation, combat veterans of the Afghan and Iraqi wars, to train Georgian soldiers.

The EurasiaNet report also quoted Georgian member of parliament Davit Darchiashvili: “The US decision dovetails with our [security] needs. So long as the radar is stationed in the Caucasus, Georgian security needs would likely be met.

“This is the most important thing….[I]t is not of crucial significance as to where and how these defense systems will be deployed.” [9]

It also cites Russian military analyst Vladislav Shurygin remarking the self-evident fact that such radar in Georgia would be used against Russia, with him stating “We should not have any illusions about the US plans.”

Also on September 18 a Bulgarian news site wrote that “Bulgaria is one of the possible locations for the deployment of America’s new interceptor missiles in Europe.”

In regard to THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) and other missile shield elements, the same source quotes former chief of staff of the Russian Strategic Missile Force Viktor Esin as warning “Since Poland was willing to host the larger interceptor missiles as part of the Bush plan, it presumably might accept the smaller ones. And even if Poland and the Czech Republic do not, other former Warsaw Pact countries, such as Romania or Bulgaria, might.” [10]

The Czech Republic is two nations removed from Russia. Poland also doesn’t border mainland Russia. But Azerbaijan does. And so does Georgia. Other nations abutting Russia are already incorporated into the global interceptor missile shield (Norway), have been mentioned by the Missile Defense Agency as a future partner (Ukraine) and are probable participants in the making (Estonia, Latvia and Finland.) Bulgaria and Romania are across the Black Sea from Russia and Turkey is too. The containment of Iran is increasingly looking like the encirclement of Russia.

The quote “Moscow’s muted contentment over the about-face in US missile defense plans in Europe may not last long” may be a grave understatement.

1) Deutsche Welle, September 17, 2009
2) Ibid
3) Associated Press, September 18, 2009
4) Today.AZ, September 18, 2009
5) Wired, September 18, 2009
6) EurasiaNet, September 18, 2009
7) Ibid
8) Itar-Tass, September 18, 2009
9) EurasiaNet, September 18, 2009
10) Standart News, September 18, 2009

Categories: Uncategorized

U.S. Missile Shield Plans: Retreat Or Advance?

September 18, 2009 1 comment

September 17, 2009

U.S. Missile Shield Plans: Retreat Or Advance?
Rick Rozoff

On September 17 the White House and the Pentagon, Barack Obama and Robert Gates, announced that after a sixty-day review of the project the U.S. is going to abandon plans to station ten ground-based interceptor missiles in Poland and a forward-based X-band missile radar installation in the Czech Republic.

The deployments were negotiated with both prospective host countries by the preceding George W. Bush administration under the guise of protecting the United States from alleged long-range missile attacks by what were described as rogue states: Iran and North Korea.

Interceptor missiles in Poland would only be of use in protecting the U.S. if Iran possessed intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of being fired over the Arctic Ocean. No serious person has ever suggested Iran has such a capability or ever will.

But Russian ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin remarked last November that U.S. missiles in Poland could hit his nation’s capital of Moscow in four minutes, as NATO warplanes that have patrolled the skies over the Baltic Sea since 2004 could reach Russia’s second largest city, St. Petersburg, in five minutes.

Leading Russian officials, political and military, have unanimously accused Washington of targeting their own nation and its strategic missile forces rather than Iran with its third position missile shield plans.

Surveys have consistently demonstrated that a majority of Poles oppose the stationing of American missiles and the troops that would accompany them in their nation. Polls in the Czech Republic show over two-thirds opposition to the basing of interceptor missile radar in that country.

Much of the world, then, was relieved to read the news that the U.S. was reversing course and renouncing designs to base missile shield facilities in Eastern Europe.

What Washington has stated, though, is not so straightforward.

President Obama’s statement began with “President Bush was right that Iran’s ballistic missile program poses a significant threat. And that’s why I’m committed to deploying strong missile defense systems which are adaptable to the threats of the 21st century.”

The second sentence confirms the position on so-called missile defense that his administration has repeatedly and unswervingly voiced since coming to power in January: A global interceptor missile system will be deployed when and exactly where it is proven to be most capable of achieving its purpose and in the most cost-effective manner. In American vernacular, the White House and the Pentagon want more bang for the buck.

The underlying motive for a universal interceptor missile system – based on land, at sea, in the air and in space – is to secure uncontested American international military superiority by making itself and key allies impenetrable to retaliation by nations like Russia and China.

Obama also said, “I have approved the unanimous recommendations of my Secretary of Defense and my Joint Chiefs of Staff to strengthen America’s defenses against ballistic missile attack. This new approach will provide capabilities sooner, build on proven systems, and offer greater defenses against the threat of missile attack than the 2007 European missile defense program.”

There is nothing equivocal about that pledge. Obama is promising a missile shield system not only more effective but more ambitious than the one he has rejected.

The major drawback of ground-based missiles in Poland is that they would be fixed-site deployments. For several years now Russia has warned that it was prepared to base Iskander theater ballistic missiles in its Kaliningrad region, which borders Poland, should Washington deploy its missiles to that nation.

Obama and his defense secretary Robert Gates have suggested a more mobile, less detectable system that cannot be as easily monitored and if need be neutralized.

The American president boasted that “we have made specific and proven advances in our missile defense technology, particularly with regard to land- and sea-based interceptors and the sensors that support them. Our new approach will, therefore, deploy technologies that are proven [and] do so sooner than the previous program.” That is, he proposed an alternative that in no manner indicates a retreat from his predecessor’s plan.

Perhaps quite the contrary, as he announced a “new missile defense architecture in Europe [that] will provide stronger, smarter, and swifter defenses of American forces and America’s allies. It is more comprehensive than the previous program; it deploys capabilities that are proven and cost-effective; and it sustains and builds upon our commitment to protect the U.S. homeland against long-range ballistic missile threats; and it ensures and enhances the protection of all our NATO allies.”

The last eleven words are key to understanding why the U.S. is preparing to abandon bilateral arrangements with Poland and the Czech Republic. The shift in policy is one of emphasis and not essence and portends the expansion and not the constriction of missile deployment plans in Europe.

The following words of Obama’s clarify the situation yet further:

“This approach is also consistent with NATO missile – NATO’s missile defense efforts and provides opportunities for enhanced international collaboration going forward. We will continue to work cooperatively with our close friends and allies, the Czech Republic and Poland….Together we are committed to a broad range of cooperative efforts to strengthen our collective defense, and we are bound by the solemn commitment of NATO’s Article V that an attack on one is an attack on all.”

To invoke NATO’s Article 5 is to speak of war. The North Atlantic Treaty founding document of 1949 describes it as follows:

“The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.”

The reference to United Nations Article 51 was a Cold War concession to the norms of international law, one which NATO cast off in 1999 with its war against Yugoslavia.

Article 5 was first employed after September 11, 2001 and used for the invasion of Afghanistan and military operations throughout the Mediterranean Sea and the Horn of Africa, all of which continue to this day, eight years later, and in the first and third cases have been escalated dramatically over the past year.

For the last two years leading American elected officials have clamored for the application of Article 5 in defense of Estonia against alleged cyber attacks and even non-NATO members like Georgia and Israel. With Georgia, the calls were made during and after the five-day war with Russia it provoked in August of 2008.

Estonia and Georgia cannot even pretend to be threatened by Iran much less North Korea and Syria, so Obama’s mention of NATO’s Article 5 pertains to another nation. Russia.

A major Russian news site responded to the news of September 17 with this observation:

“As expected, when President Obama spoke to the press on Thursday evening Moscow time, he did not speak about shelving or abandoning anything, but adopting a ‘new missile defense program,’ based on ‘proven and cost effective technology’ that will ‘better counter the current threat.’ It was, he said, ‘more extensive’ than the previous program involving the Czech Republic and Poland.” [1]

The same source quoted an analyst at the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, Oksana Antonenko, as saying the former plans for the Czech Republic and Poland “wouldn’t cover the whole territory of Europe, and even from the American point of view the location was not ideal.” Instead, deployments would be focused closer to Iran: “Israel, or possibly Turkey…these are areas where missile systems with existing capabilities would make more sense.” [2]

Previous articles in this series have examined Washington’s plans to extend its global interceptor missile system into Israel, Turkey and the Balkans. [3]

And the South Caucasus. Another Russian news site quoted Dmitry Polikanov, an analyst at Russia’s Center for Political Studies: “I assume that if further statements by the US administration are made – like the movement of sea-based systems closer to Iranian territory, or like the statement that was made about the possible deployment of a missile defense system in the Caucasus – this of course can cause some concerns for Moscow.” [4]

Obama’s Pentagon chief Robert Gates, inherited from the Bush administration, stated on September 17 that “Those who say we are scrapping missile defense in Europe are either misinformed or misrepresenting the reality of what we are doing.”

Gates asserted that the new system “provides a better missile defense capability…than the program I recommended almost three years ago.” [5]

The Defense Secretary, then, has not indicated a change of course but rather a more sophisticated version of his previous plans.

He further stated that “We have now the opportunity to deploy new sensors and interceptors in northern and southern Europe that near term can provide missile defense coverage against more immediate threats from Iran or others.”

Or others.

He specified the deployment of Aegis class warships equipped with SM-3 [Standard Missile-3] interceptors which “provide the flexibility to move interceptors from one region to another if needed.” [6]

The U.S. currently has fifteen destroyers and three cruisers equipped with the Aegis combat system and has incorporated Norway, Spain, Australia, Japan and South Korea into what is developing as a worldwide, sea-based, rapid deployable missile shield structure. The USS Lake Erie, an Aegis class guided-missile cruiser, shot down an American satellite in space in February of 2008 with an SM-3 missile in what some in Russia saw as the opening salvo in American plans for war in space.

Gates further laid out his plans for the next generation Star Wars system in stating, “The second phase, about 2015, will involve fielded, upgraded, land-based SM-3s.”

Lest anyone believe that Washington’s new plans are an abandonment rather than a refinement of previous ones with Poland and the Czech Republic, Gates was obliging enough to reveal that the Pentagon has already opened negotiations with the two nations “about hosting a land-based version of the SM-3 and other components of the system.” [7]

Nothing has been said about reversing U.S. designs to deploy 96 Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missiles in Poland, ones “accurate enough to select, target, and home in on the warhead portion of an inbound ballistic missile.” [8]

In fact all indications are that more PAC-3s are headed to Europe to be integrated into a multi-layered NATO missile shield grid to cover the entire continent.

On the same day that Obama and Gates made their pronouncements, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said, “It is my clear impression that the American plans on missile defense will involve NATO as such to a higher degree in the future concerning the establishment of missile defense. I highly appreciate that. I think it is in full accordance with the principle
of solidarity within the alliance and the indivisibility of security in Europe.” Rasmussen gave particular attention to “our eastern allies within the NATO alliance.” [9]

Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kohout said that although the U.S. will not locate the X-band missile radar in his country that it originally intended to, “the Czech Republic will be able to join the new system that the USA wants to create within NATO,” a new system that is “to be more flexible, more efficient and cheaper” and “is to protect the whole of Europe.” [10]

As to what aspects the new system could include, former chief of the Russian General Staff Leonid Ivanov was cited as speculating “the U.S. could use military satellites and aircraft carrying laser weapons instead of the radar and interceptor missile base.” [11]

Previous articles in this series have dealt with the Pentagon’s Airborne Laser (ABL) missile interception program as well as all other facets of global and spaced-based missile shield components [12]. In August the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency announced that it had successfully deployed a modified Boeing 747-400F prototype airplane with laser weapons and that it “found, tracked, engaged and simulated an intercept with a missile seconds after liftoff. It was the first time the Agency used an ‘instrumented’ missile to confirm the laser works as expected. Next up this fall will be the first live attempt to bring down a ballistic missile….” [13]

Shortly after the test described above, the Wall Street Journal applauded it in these terms:

“Along with space-based weapons, the Airborne Laser is the next defense frontier. The modified Boeing 747 is supposed to send an intense beam of light over hundreds of miles to destroy missiles in the ‘boost phase,’ before they can release decoys and at a point in their trajectory when they would fall back down on enemy territory….The laser complements the sea- and ground-based missile defenses that keep proving themselves in tests.

“Never has Ronald Reagan’s dream of layered missile defenses – Star Wars, for short – been as…close, at least technologically, to becoming realized.” [14]

The Missile Defense Agency conducted a Space and Missile Defense Conference from August 17-20 of this year and during the proceedings the Boeing Company’s vice president and general manager for missile defense Greg Hyslop presented a design for a “47,500-pound interceptor that could be flown to NATO bases as needed on Boeing-built C-17 cargo planes, erected quickly on a 60-foot trailer stand and taken home when judged safe to do so.” One that would be “globally deployable within 24 hours….” [15]

A nearly 50,000-pound mobile interceptor missile launcher deployable within hours, along with laser weapons and SM-3s, would fit in nicely with plans for a joint U.S.-NATO layered missile shield to take in the entire European continent except for Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. Though former director of the Missile Defense Agency Lieutenant General Henry Obering also mentioned Ukraine for inclusion in the system during his tenure at the agency.

When U.S. President Barack Obama, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kohout – seemingly in unison and at practically the same time – spoke of enhanced missile shield cooperation between Washington and Brussels, the foundation of what such a system would entail is indicated by the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS).

MEADS is a joint U.S.-German-Italian-NATO theater interceptor missile program to upgrade current Patriot and Nike Hercules systems in Europe under NATO command and “will provide capabilities beyond any other fielded or planned air and missile defense system. It will be easily deployed to a theater of operation.” [16] It includes forward-based X-band radar, 360 degree surveillance radar, missile launchers and next-generation Patriot interceptor missiles.

“MEADS is interoperable with other defense systems….It can work in association with other missile defense systems, including the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system and the Aegis sea-based missile defense systems….MEADS…may be able to make a material contribution the Active Layered Theater Ballistic Missile Defense system that NATO planners are currently designing.” [17]

Foreshadowing the news of September 17, last month the White House requested almost $600 million in funding for MEADS for next year and “Congress is on track to support the Administration’s request.” [18]

The Times of London responded to the news about Poland and the Czech Republic with a feature detailing the advancement of the Star Wars program since Ronald Reagan first announced it in 1983. It mentioned, inter alia, Aegis class warships “fitted with Standard [SM-3] missiles that are capable of intercepting enemy rockets, just like the systems based at Fort Greely in Alaska and at Vandenberg airbase in California” and “an airborne laser…that can destroy ballistic missiles by heating them until they fail structurally,” and situated these 21st Century innovations within a broader perspective:

“[T]he Americans have been installing [worldwide missile-tracking radar facilities] in locations around the globe: notably, upgrading the radar early-warning site at RAF Fylingdales in North Yorkshire and deploying X-band radar in Japan and Israel.” [19]

To which should be added the U.S. missile-tracking base in Vardo, Norway, forty miles from the Russian border, and a comparable facility at the Thule Air Base in Greenland.

The news about the cancellation of plans for deploying a missile radar base in the Czech Republic was hailed by the No To Bases organization, the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSCM) and the Czech Social Democratic Party (CSSD), all opponents of the project.

But the Czech Social Democrats, who currently have 32% support in the polls and are poised to win next year’s federal elections, differ from other radar opponents in that they have no objection to missile shield components in their country per se but instead are in favor of bringing the Czech Republic into a continent-wide NATO system rather than into a bilateral U.S.-Czech one.

Obama’s and Gates’ statements should satisfy that preference, one which prefigures a wider and permanent interceptor missile system that takes in most all of Europe and North America. If that scenario continues to materialize the relief and enthusiasm that greeted September 17th’s news in many parts of the world may prove to be short-lived.

1) Russian Information Agency Novosti, September 17, 2009
2) Ibid
3) U.S. Expands Global Missile Shield Into Middle East, Balkans
Stop NATO, September 11, 2009
Balkans Revisited: U.S., NATO Expand Military Role In Southeastern Europe
Stop NATO, September 14, 2009
4) Russia Today, September 17, 2009
5) New York Times, September 17, 2009
6) Russia Today, September 17, 2009
7) Ibid
8) Wikipedia
9) Reuters, September 17, 2009
10) Czech News Agency, September 17, 2009
11) Russian Information Agency Novosti, September 17, 2009
12) Pentagon Intensifies Plans For Global Military Supremacy: U.S., NATO Could
Deploy Mobile Missiles Launchers To Europe
Stop NATO, August 22, 2009
U.S. Accelerates First Strike Global Missile Shield System
Stop NATO, August 19, 2009
Militarization Of Space: Threat Of Nuclear War On Earth
Stop NATO, June 18, 2009
21st Century Star Wars And NATO’s 60th Anniversary
Stop NATO, January 15, 2009
13) Wall Street Journal, August 14, 2009
14) Wall Street Journal, August 14, 2009
15) Reuters, August 20, 2009
16) Wikipedia
17) Heritage Foundation, August 17, 2009
18) Ibid
19) The Times, September 17, 2009

Categories: Uncategorized

Black Sea Crisis Deepens As Threat To Iran Grows

September 16, 2009 Leave a comment

September 16, 2009

Black Sea Crisis Deepens As Threat To Iran Grows
Rick Rozoff

Tensions are mounting in the Black Sea with the threat of another conflict between U.S. and NATO client state Georgia and Russia as Washington is manifesting plans for possible military strikes against Iran in both word and deed.

Referring to Georgia having recently impounded several vessels off the Black Sea coast of Abkhazia, reportedly 23 in total this year, the New York Times wrote on September 9 that “Rising tensions between Russia and Georgia over shipping rights to a breakaway Georgian region have opened a potential new theater for conflict between the countries, a little more than a year after they went to war.” [1]

Abkhazian President Sergei Bagapsh ordered his nation’s navy to respond to Georgia’s forceful seizure of civilian ships in neutral waters, calling such actions what they are – piracy – by confronting and if need be sinking Georgian navy and coast guard vessels. The Georgian and navy and coast guard are trained by the United States and NATO.

The spokesman of the Russian Foreign Ministry addressed the dangers inherent in Georgia’s latest provocations by warning “They risk aggravating the military and political situation in the region and could result in serious armed incidents.” [2]

On September 15 Russia announced that its “border guards will detain all vessels that violate Abkhazia’s maritime border….” [3]

Russia would be not only entitled but obligated to provide such assistance to neighboring Abkhazia as “Under mutual assistance treaties signed last November, Russia pledged to help Abkhazia and South Ossetia protect their borders, and the signatories granted each other the right to set up military bases in their respective territories.” [4]

In attempting to enforce a naval blockade – the International Criminal Court plans to include blockades against coasts and ports in its list of acts of war this year [5] – against Abkhazia, the current Georgian regime of Mikheil Saakashvili is fully aware that Russia is compelled by treaty and national interests alike to respond. Having been roundly defeated in its last skirmish with Russia, the five-day war in August of last year, Tbilisi would never risk actions like its current ones without a guarantee of backing from the U.S. and NATO.

Days after last year’s war ended then U.S. Senator and now Vice President Joseph Biden flew into the Georgian capital to pledge $1 billion in assistance to the nation, making Georgia the third largest recipient of American foreign aid after Egypt and Israel.

U.S. and NATO warships poured into the Black Sea in August of 2008 and American ships visited the Georgia port cities of Batumi and Poti to deliver what Washington described as civilian aid but which Russian sources suspected contained replacements for military equipment lost in the conflict.

Less than a month after the war ended NATO sent a delegation to Georgia to “evaluate damage to military infrastructure following a five-day war between Moscow and Tbilisi….” [6]

In December a meeting of NATO foreign ministers agreed upon a special Annual National Program for Georgia and in the same month Washington announced the creation of the United States-Georgia Charter on Strategic Partnership.

In the past week a top-level delegation of NATO defense and logistics experts visited Georgia on September 9 “to promote the development of the Georgian Armed Forces” [7] and on September 14 high-ranking officials of the U.S. George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies arrived at the headquarters of the Georgian Ministry of Defense “to review issues of interdepartmental coordination in the course of security sector management and national security revision.” [8]

The ongoing military integration of Georgia and neighboring Azerbaijan, which also borders Iran – Washington’s Georgetown University is holding a conference on Strategic Partnership between U.S. and Azerbaijan: Bilateral and Regional Criteria on September 18 – by the Pentagon and NATO is integrally connected with general military plans in the Black Sea and the Caucasus regions as a whole and, even more ominously, with joint war plans against Iran.

As early as January of 2007 reports on that score surfaced in Bulgarian and Romanian news sources. Novinite (Sofia News Agency) reported that the Pentagon “could be using its two air force bases in Bulgaria and one on Romania’s Black Sea coast to launch an attack on Iran….” [9]

The bases are the Bezmer and Graf Ignitievo airbases in Bulgaria and the Mihail Kogalniceanu counterpart near the Romanian city of Constanza on the Black Sea.

The Pentagon has seven new bases altogether in Bulgaria and Romania and in addition to stationing warplanes – F-15s, F-16s and A-10 Thunderbolts – has 3,000-5,000 troops deployed in the two nations at any given time, and Washington established its Joint Task Force-East (JTF-East) permanent headquarters at the Mihail Kogalniceanu airbase in Romania.

A U.S. government website provides these details about Joint Task Force-East:

“All U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force training operations in Romania and Bulgaria will fall under the command of JTF–East, which in turn is under the command of USEUCOM [United States European Command]. Physically located in Romania and Bulgaria, JTF East will include a small permanent headquarters (in Romania) consisting of approximately 100-300 personnel who will oversee rotations of U.S. Army brigade-sized units and U.S. Air Force Weapons Training Deployments (WTD). Access to Romanian and Bulgarian air and ground training facilities will provide JTF-East forces the opportunity to train and interact with military forces throughout the entire 92-country USEUCOM area of responsibility. U.S. Army Europe (USAREUR) and U.S Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) are actively involved in establishing JTF-East.” [10]

The four military bases in Romania and three in Bulgaria that the Pentagon and NATO have gained indefinite access to since the two nations were incorporated into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 2004 allow for full spectrum operations: Infantry deployments in the area and downrange to Afghanistan and Iraq, runways for bombers and fighter jets, docking facilities for American and NATO warships including Aegis class interceptor missile vessels, training grounds for Western special forces and for foreign armed forces being integrated into NATO.

Added to bases and troops provided by Turkey and Georgia – and in the future Ukraine – the Bulgarian and Romanian sites are an integral component of plans by the U.S. and its allies to transform the Black Sea into NATO territory with only the Russian coastline not controlled by the Alliance. And that of newly independent Abkhazia, which makes control of that country so vital.

Last week the Romanian defense ministry announced the intention to acquire between 48 and 54 new generation fighter jets – American F-16s and F-35s have been mentioned – as part of “a new strategy for buying multi-role aircraft, which means to first buy aircraft to make the transition to fifth generation equipment, over the coming 10-12 years.” [11]

With the recent change in government in the former Soviet republic of Moldova – the aftermath of this April’s violent “Twitter Revolution” – the new parliamentary speaker, Mihai Ghimpu, has openly spoken of the nation merging with, which is to say being absorbed by, neighboring Romania. Transdniester [the Pridnestrovian Moldovan Republic] broke away from Moldova in 1990 exactly because of the threat of being pulled into Romania and fighting ensued which cost the lives of some 1,500 persons.

Romania is now a member of NATO and should civil war erupt in Moldova and/or fighting flare up between Moldova and Transdniester and Romania sends troops – all but a certainty – NATO can activate its Article 5 military clause to intervene. There are 1,200 Russian peacekeepers in Transdniester.

Transdniester’s neighbor to its east is Ukraine, linked with Moldova through the U.S.-concocted GUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova) bloc, which has been collaborating in enforcing a land blockade against Transdniester. Ukraine’s President Viktor Yushchenko, whose poll ratings are currently in the low single digits, is hellbent on dragging his nation into NATO against overwhelming domestic opposition and can be counted on to attack Transdniester from the eastern end if a conflict breaks out.

A Moldovan news source last week quoted an opposition leader issuing this dire warning:

“Moldova’s ethnic minorities are categorically against unification with Romania.

“If we, those who are not ethnic Moldovans, will have to defend Moldova’s statehood, then we will find powerful allies outside Moldova, including in Russia. Along with it, Ukraine, Turkey and Bulgaria would be involved in this fighting. Last year we all witnessed how Russia defended the interests of its nationals in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Why does somebody believe that in case of a civil war in Moldova Russia will simply watch how its nationals are dying? Our task is to prevent such developments.” [12]

Indeed, the entire Black Sea and Caucasus regions could go up in flames if Western proxies in GUAM attack any of the so-called frozen conflict nations – Abkhazia and South Ossetia by Georgia, Nagorno Karabakh by Azerbaijan and Transdniester by Moldova and Ukraine. A likely possibility is that all four would be attacked simultaneously and in unison.

An opportunity for that happening would be a concentrated attack on Iran, which borders Azerbaijan and Armenia. The latter, being the protector of Nagorno Karabakh, would immediately become a belligerent if Azerbaijan began military hostilities against Karabakh.

On September 15 news stories revealed that the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, DC, founded in 2007 by former Senate Majority Leaders Howard Baker, Tom Daschle, Bob Dole and George Mitchell, had released a report which in part stated, “If biting sanctions do not persuade the Islamic Republic to demonstrate sincerity in negotiations and give up its enrichment activities, the White House will have to begin serious consideration of the option of a U.S.-led military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities.” [13]

The report was authored by Charles Robb, a former Democratic senator from Virginia, Daniel Coats, former Republican senator from Indiana, and retired General Charles Wald, a former deputy commander of the U.S. European Command.

Iran is to be given 60 days to in essence abandon its civilian nuclear power program and if it doesn’t capitulate the Obama administration should “prepare overtly for any military option” which would include “deploying an additional aircraft carrier battle group to the waters off Iran and conducting joint exercises with U.S. allies.” [14]

The main Iranian nuclear reactor is being constructed at Bushehr and would be a main target of any U.S. and Israeli bombing and missile attacks. As of 2006 there were 3,700 Russian experts and technicians – and their families – living in the environs of the facility.

It has been assumed for the past eight years that a military attack on Iran would be launched by the United States from aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf and by long-range Israeli bombers flying over Iraq and Turkey.

During that period the U.S. and its NATO allies have also acquired access to airbases in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan (in Baluchistan, bordering Iran), Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in addition to those they already have in Turkey.

Washington and Brussels have also expanded their military presence into Bulgaria, Georgia and Romania on the Black Sea and into Azerbaijan on the Caspian Sea bordering northeastern Iran.

Plans for massive military aggression against Iran, then, might include air and missile strikes from locations much nearer the nation than previously suspected.

The American Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced plans last week to supply Turkey, the only NATO member state bordering Iran, with almost $8 billion dollars worth of theater interceptor missiles, of the upgraded and longer-range PAC-3 (Patriot Advance Capability-3) model. The project includes delivering almost 300 Patriots for deployment at twelve command posts inside Turkey.

In June the Turkish government confirmed that NATO AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) planes would be deployed in its Konya province.

The last time AWACS and Patriot missiles were sent to Turkey was in late 2002 and early 2003 in preparation for the invasion of Iraq.

On September 15 the newspaper of the U.S. armed forces, Stars and Stripes, ran an article titled “U.S., Israeli forces to test missile defense while Iran simmers,” which included these details on the biennial Juniper Cobra war games:

“Some 1,000 U.S. European Command troops will soon deploy to Israel for a large-scale missile defense exercise with Israeli forces.

“This year’s Juniper Cobra comes at a time of continued concern about Iran’s nuclear program, which will be the subject of talks in October.

“The U.S. troops, from all four branches of service, will work alongside an equal number of Israel Defense Force personnel, taking part in computer-simulated war games….Juniper Cobra will test a variety of air and missile defense technology during next month’s exercise, including the U.S.-controlled X-Band.” [15]

The same feature documented that this month’s exercise is the culmination of months of buildup.

“In April, about 100 Europe-based personnel took part in a missile defense exercise that for the first time incorporated a U.S.-owned radar system, which was deployed to the country in October 2008. The U.S. X-Band radar is intended to give Israel early warning in the event of a missile launch from Iran.

“For nearly a year, a mix of troops and U.S. Defense Department contractors have been managing the day-to-day operation of the X-Band, which is situated at Nevatim air base in the Negev Desert.” [16]

The same publication revealed two days earlier that the Pentagon conducted a large-scale counterinsurgency exercise with the 173rd Airborne Brigade and the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade last week in Germany, “the largest such exercise ever held by the U.S. military outside of the United States….” [17] The two units are scheduled for deployment to Afghanistan and Iraq, respectively, but could be diverted to Iran, which has borders with both nations, should need arise.

What the role of Black Sea NATO states and clients could be in a multinational, multi-vectored assault on Iran was indicated in the aftermath of last year’s Georgian-Russian war.

At a news conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels a year ago, Russian ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin “said that Russian intelligence had obtained information indicating that the Georgian military infrastructure could be used for logistical support of U.S. troops if they launched an attack on Iran.” [18]

Rogozin was further quoted as saying, “What NATO is doing now in Georgia is restoring its ability to monitor its airspace, in other words restoring the whole locator system and an anti-missile defence system which were destroyed by Russian artillery.

“[The restoration of surveillance systems and airbases in Georgia is being] done for logistic support of some air operations either of the Alliance as a whole or of the United States in particular in this region. The swift reconstruction of the airfields and all the systems proves that some air operation is being planned against another country which is located not far from Georgia….” [19]

Early last October Nikolai Patrushev, Secretary of the Russian Security Council “described the U.S. and NATO policy of increasing their military presence in Eastern Europe as seeking strategic military superiority over Russia.

“The official added that the United States would need allies in the region if the country decided to attack Iran.” [20]

Patrushev stated, “If it decides to carry out missile and bomb attacks against Iran, the US will need loyal allies. And if Georgia is involved in this war, this will pose additional threats to Russia’s national security.” [21]

Later last October an Azerbaijani website reported that 100 Iranian Air Force jets were exercising near the nation’s border and that “military sources from the United States reported that territories in Azerbaijan and in Georgia may be used for attacking Iran….” [22]

Writing in The Hindu the same month Indian journalist Atul Aneja wrote of the effects of the Georgian-Russian war of the preceding August and offered this information:

“Russia’s military assertion in Georgia and a show of strength in parts of West Asia [Middle East], combined with domestic political and economic preoccupations in Washington, appear to have forestalled the chances of an immediate strike against Iran.

“Following Russia’s movement into South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev acknowledged that Moscow was aware that serious plans to attack Iran had been laid out. ‘We know that certain players are planning an attack against Iran. But we oppose any unilateral step and [a] military solution to the nuclear crisis.’

“Russia seized control of two airfields in Georgia from where air strikes against Iran were being planned. The Russian forces also apparently recovered weapons and Israeli spy drones that would have been useful for the surveillance of possible Iranian targets.” [23]

The same newspaper, in quoting Dmitry Rogozin asserting that Russian military intelligence had captured documents proving Washington had launched “active military preparations on Georgia’s territory” for air strikes against Iran, added information on Israeli involvement:

“Israel had supplied Georgia with sophisticated Hermes 450 UAV spy drones, multiple rocket launchers and other military equipment that Georgia, as well as modernised Georgia’s Soviet-made tanks that were used in the attack against South Ossetia. Israeli instructors had also helped train Georgia troops.” [24]

Rather than viewing the wars of the past decade – against Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq – and the concomitant expansion of U.S. and NATO military presence inside all three countries and in several others on their peripheries as an unrelated series of events, the trend must be seen for what it is: A consistent and calculated strategy of employing each successive war zone as a launching pad for new aggression.

The Pentagon has major military bases in Kosovo, in Afghanistan and in Iraq that it never intends to abandon. The U.S. and its NATO allies have bases in Bulgaria, Romania, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kuwait, Bahrain (where the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet is headquartered) and other nations in the vicinity of the last ten years’ wars which can be used for the next ten – or twenty or thirty – years’ wars.

1) New York Times, September 9, 2009
2) Ibid
3) Russian Information Agency Novosti, September 15, 2009
4) Ibid
5) Wikipedia
6) Agence France-Presse, September 8, 2009
7) Trend News Agency, September 9, 2009
8) Georgia Ministry of Defence, September 14, 2009
9) Turkish Daily News, January 30, 2007
10) U.S. Department of State
11) The Financiarul, September 9, 2009
12) Infotag, September 11, 2009
13) Bloomberg News, September 15, 2009
14) Ibid
15) Stars and Stripes, September 15, 2009
16) Ibid
17) Stars and Stripes, September 13, 2009
18) Russian Information Agency Novosti, September 17, 2008
19) Russia Today, September 17, 2008
20) Russian Information Agency Novosti, October 1, 2008
21) Fars News Agency, October 2, 2008
22) Today.AZ, October 20, 2008
23) The Hindu, October 13, 2008
24) The Hindu, September 19, 2008

Categories: Uncategorized

Balkans Revisited: U.S., NATO Expand Military Role In Southeastern Europe

September 14, 2009 1 comment

September 14, 2009

Balkans Revisited: U.S., NATO Expand Military Role In Southeastern Europe
Rick Rozoff

On September 11 a Balkans news source cited the chairman of the South East Europe Center at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington, DC, John Sitilides, as claiming that “Although the United States is not focused on the Balkans as it was in the 1990s, the challenges in this region are still reviewed at a very high level in Washington.” [1]

Sitilides founded and was executive director of the Western Policy Center in the U.S.’s capital in 1998 which specialized “in U.S. foreign and security policies in the eastern Mediterranean, Balkan and Black Sea regions,” before merging it with the Woodrow Wilson Center and is a “regular speaker on foreign policy at the Pentagon’s National Defense University and the National Foreign Affairs Training Center.” [2]

In the news story mentioned above he stated “The recent visit to the Balkans of the US Vice President Joe Biden was a signal that although the region is not the subject of the President’s constant attention, the challenges in this region are still reviewed at a very high level.” [3]

Biden visited the Balkans this past May and was the highest ranking American official to travel to Kosovo since its unilateral declaration of independence in February of 2008. While in the capital of the breakaway Serbian province he insisted on the “absolutely irreversible” nature of Kosovo’s secession – nineteen months afterward still not recognized by 130 of the world’s 192 nations – and highlighted that “The success of an independent Kosovo is a priority for our administration.” [4]

While still in the U.S. Senate Biden played a major role in fostering the break-up of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and in promoting its former republics’ integration into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Over the past six years most every nation in the Balkans was ordered to provide troops for the war in Iraq as a precondition for future NATO membership and currently every single nation in the peninsula except for Serbia – Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania and Slovenia – has troops serving under NATO command in Afghanistan or, in the case of Montenegro, soon will have.

Many of the above nations also now have U.S. military bases stationed on their soil and most if not all have signed a status of forces agreement (SOFA) to host American and NATO troops.

After NATO’s first military operations in its history – Operation Deliberate Force in Bosnia in 1995 and Operation Allied Force against Yugoslavia in 1999 – and its deployment of troops to Macedonia in the beginning of this decade with Operation Essential Harvest in 2000 and Operation Amber Fox the following year, the attention of Alliance members and the bloc collectively shifted to the so-called Broader Middle East and the wars they launched in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Even during that interim, though, Washington and Brussels have exploited the Balkans for training, transit and troops for both the Afghan and Iraqi campaigns. The Pentagon has acquired the permanent use of seven military bases in Bulgaria and Romania since both nations were granted full NATO membership in 2004 and those installations have been linked with the U.S. and NATO base in Incirlik, Turkey for the West’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and for surrogate conflicts in the Black Sea like the Georgian-Russian war in August of 2008.

The Balkans are slated to play an even more prominent role in the West’s drives east and south into former Soviet space, including the Caucasus and Central Asia, and into South Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

The area, Southeastern Europe, is now also targeted for the latest extension of American and NATO global interceptor missile plans. [5]

Former Yugoslavia has become a training ground for the Pentagon and NATO to integrate the armed forces of Balkans, former Soviet, Scandinavian, Middle Eastern and African NATO partners involved in the Partnership for Peace, Mediterranean Dialogue and Istanbul Cooperation Initiative programs.

As of September 13 multinational NATO exercises were occurring simultaneously in the former Yugoslav republics of Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia.

On September 3 NATO launched the two-week Combined Endeavor 2009 exercises to be held in three locations in Bosnia with the participation of sixteen NATO nations and the host country.

Bosnian Army Brigadier-General Dragan Vukovic was quoted as saying “the exercise [is] a great opportunity for the Bosnian Armed Forces to show their preparedness and readiness to become a full member of NATO.” [6]

A week later the 18-day Jackal Stone 2009 exercise began in neighboring Croatia which includes 1,500 soldiers from 10 countries – Albania, Croatia, Hungary, Lithuania, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Ukraine and the U.S. – and “Croatian Air Force and Air Defence helicopters, US Air Force aircraft, US Army helicopters and a US Navy Destroyer.” [7]

A Croatian newspaper announced that “The main objective of the exercise is to foster cooperation among the armed forces of participating countries in…strengthening regional security and stability….” [8]

An article called “Armies of 15 Countries in Serbia” provided details of the four-day MEDCEUR (Medical Central and Eastern Europe Exercise) NATO training in Serbia which ended on September 13 and which included the “participation of soldiers from 15 Central and Eastern European states.” [9]

In truth the exercise’s ambit reached further than Central and Eastern Europe into the South Caucasus. The participating NATO members and partners were Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Germany, Georgia, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Norway, Ukraine and the U.S.

Serbian Defence Minister Dragan Sutanovac, whose subservience to NATO warrants a treason charge, said that “This is the largest military exercise of this type in the world, whose organisation and planning lasted for a year. This is a major promotion for our defence system.” [10]

The country’s Defense Ministry stated “The participation in the exercise is of exceptional importance when it comes to following the innovations introduced in medical support in line with NATO standards, above all in the areas of support of battle and natural disasters operations” [11]

The exercise is sponsored by the Pentagon’s European Command and was held for the first time in Serbia this year.

This was occurring as NATO and most of its members states are completing the severing of Kosovo from Serbia. In the middle of the NATO exercise in Serbia the European Union’s EULEX (European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo) mission engineered a customs agreement between Kosovo and Serbia, thus recognizing the border between the two as an international one. That is, further formalizing Kosovo’s independence.

Referring to United Nations Resolution 1244 of 1999 which recognizes Kosovo as part of Serbia, on September 12 EU representative to Kosovo Pieter Feith said, “EULEX is not status-neutral. It operates under the UN umbrella, which is status neutral, but that does not make EULEX status-neutral. The reality is that EULEX is supported by 27 EU member states, of which five have not recognized Kosovo, but they are still EU member states.”

Serbian news sources wrote of the EU’s role in supporting Kosovo separatism that “America is satisfied with EULEX’s participation and welcomes this mission because of fulfillment of its mandate that has been approved by Kosovo authorities….” [12]

The preceding day the Russian ambassador to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) lodged a complaint against that organization for terminating an operation to protect the rights of Serbian, Roma, Goran and other persecuted Kosovo ethnic communities’ rights and said, “Such steps, sanctioned by no one, are unilateral, and they affect the overall activity under the mandate of that mission.” [13]

Eight days before the spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Andrei Nesterenko, “assessed that there is still a considerable potential for conflict in Kosovo and expressed the expectation that the international community will act impartially, preventing new anti-Serb provocations.” [14]

Now the Western military bloc that mercilessly bombed Serbia for 78 days in 1999 and has wrested Kosovo from it is holding drills on Serbian territory.

North of former Yugoslavia on the Black Sea, last week Romanian Defense Minister Mihai Stanisoara announced that his nation would scrap Russian MiG 21 Lancers in its air force’s inventory – as part of NATO demands for so-called weapons interoperability – and planned to acquire 48-54 fighters jets, most likely U.S. F-16 multirole fighter jets or F-35 fifth generation stealth warplanes. [15]

Also earlier this month the American guided-missile destroyer USS Stout returned from a deployment in the Black Sea where it visited ports in Romania, Bulgaria and Georgia, in the last case near the coast of Abkhazia, about which more shortly.

The destroyer, which also participated in naval exercises with Israel and Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean, was on its first deployment as part of the Pentagon’s Aegis sea-based interceptor missile system. [16]

Across the Black Sea from Romania, Reuters announced on September 11 that the U.S. plans a $7.8 billion dollar deal with Turkey to supply it with Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) interceptor missiles. The PAC-3 is a substantially upgraded version of the Patriots that were sent to Israel on the eve of the 1991 war against Iraq and to Turkey ahead of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. The pattern inescapably suggests an imminent replay of the first two attacks in the Persian Gulf, this time against Iran.

In revealing plans to provide advanced theater interceptor missiles to Turkey, the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a release:

“It is vital to the U.S. national interest to assist our North Atlantic Treaty Organization ally in developing and maintaining a strong and ready self-defense capability that will contribute to an acceptable military balance in the area.” [17]

Reuters added this background information:

“Turkey’s geostrategic importance for the United States depends partly on Incirlik Air Base, located near Adana in southeast Turkey. KC-135 refueling planes operating out of Incirlik have delivered more than 35 million gallons of fuel to U.S. warplanes on missions in Iraq and Afghanistan….” [18]

A later report added specifics – “the deal will include delivery of nearly 290 Patriot missiles and includes 72 PAC-3 models along with communications gear needed to establish an integrated air-defense system for more than a dozen command posts” – and also quoted from the Defense Security Cooperation Agency statement:

“Turkey will use the PAC-3 missiles to improve its missile defense capability, strengthen its homeland defense, and deter regional threats.” [19]

The Turkish Hurriyet newspaper ran a feature on the topic on September 13 which casts the Patriot deployment within a far broader context, stating that “Washington also does not rule out the military option or plans to deploy a missile-defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic, which have created serious tension between Russia and the United States in the past. Earlier this month, a top defense lobbyist said the negotiations are continuing over U.S. plans to deploy a missile-defense shield in Turkey, a possibility floated last week by a Polish newspaper.”

The article quoted a Turkish Iranian expert, Arif Keskin, as saying “[A]ny American missile could only be placed in Turkey if NATO gives a green light for the program” and warning that “if Turkey agrees to open its soil to the missile shield program, it would worsen its relations with not only Iran, but also Syria and Russia.”

The same source quoted another analyst issuing a second alarm: “For Turkey’s part, purchasing the Patriot missiles mean engaging in a conflict with Iran.” [20]

Turkey is the only NATO member which borders Iran.

The recent trajectory of the American guided-missile destroyer Stout examined earlier, from the Eastern Mediterranean to the Black Sea, indicates Pentagon and NATO designs on the geopolitically vital arc that begins in the Balkans, dips south to the Middle East and proceeds back north to the Caucasus.

A Reuters dispatch titled “In restive Mediterranean, U.S. ship eyes risk of missile war” reported on the USS Higgins destroyer which had docked last week in Israel and included these specifics:

The USS Higgens is “one of 18 American ships deployed globally with
Aegis interceptor systems capable of blowing up ballistic missiles above the atmosphere. For Israel, where Higgins docked this week, Aegis is an especially close asset.

“Israel already hosts a U.S. strategic radar, X-band, and its Arrow II missile interceptor, which is partly underwritten by Washington, is inter-operable with Aegis.” [21]

The story situated the above within wider geostrategic plans by the U.S. and its allies:

“According to a regional map issued last month by the U.S. Missile Defence Agency, a Mediterranean-based Aegis could cover southern Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, the Palestinian territories and north Egypt in the event of a missile war.

“Raytheon says the ‘ashore’ SM-3 [Standard Missile-3], due out in 2013, may also be considered by the Pentagon for Europe, where it could play a role with or without a missile defence deployment that former U.S. President George W. Bush had proposed in Poland and the Czech Republic and which has been fiercely opposed by Russia.” [22]

Last week it was reported that Turkey, Israel and Azerbaijan “will launch the joint manufacturing of armored combat vehicles,” according to an Azerbaijani government source, and that “Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defense Industry seeks to build tracked fighting vehicles, self-propelled bridges and armored military trucks on the body of T-54 and T-55 tanks which were decommissioned from the national army’s arsenal.” [23]

The following day the Vice-Speaker of Azerbaijan`s Parliament Ziyafat Asgarov, in speaking of the almost twenty-year-old conflict with Armenia over Nagorno Karabakh, one which could trigger an all-out war at any moment, said that “We would like NATO to demonstrate its resolute position regarding this issue.” [24]

A week earlier the nation’s Defense Ministry spokesman Eldar Sabiroglu had menacingly reitererated his government’s position on Karabakh, one of four “frozen conflicts” in the Soviet Union:

“We are hoping for results while political negotiations continue. Otherwise our army will fulfill its function [to free the land] at a moment when our state finds it necessary.

“No one should doubt that. I am saying this taking into account the equipment of our military units with modern types of weapons and the high level of our troops’ combat preparedness.” [25]

Shortly thereafter Frank Boland, the head of the Force Planning Department of the NATO Defence Policy and Planning Division, led a delegation of Alliance experts to Georgia to assess the nation’s military preparedness after its defeat in the war with Russia a year ago August and “to promote the development of the Georgian Armed Forces,” according to the nation’s Defense Ministry. [26]

“The goal of the visit is to evaluate the accomplishments of the Planning and Review Process (PARP) and obligations under the Annual National Plan (ANP), undertaken by the Ministry of Defence of Georgia.” [27]

Shortly before the NATO delegation arrived, the U.S. client regime of Mikheil Saakashvili seized vessels in the Black Sea headed to Abkhazia. On September 2 Abkhazian President Sergei Bagapsh “ordered the Republican Naval Forces to destroy all Georgian ships violating Abkhazian territorial waters” [28] after Georgia had impounded 23 vessels in neutral waters so far this year.

The very next day the Pentagon’s European Command reported of the recent deployment of Marines to Georgia that “the Marine Corps has committed its finest Marines to help train the 31st Battalion. All have deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, many for multiple tours.” [29]

The same day Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko reacted to the U.S.-trained Georgian navy’s and coast guard’s actions against Abkhazia by warning that “Aside from interrupting international maritime shipping, these actions of the Georgian leadership are an attempt to impose a blockade of the Abkhazian coast, which could lead to the deterioration of the situation in the region and new military conflicts.” [30]

The military expansion and aggression begun by the U.S. and NATO in the Balkans fourteen years has not only continued unabated but has widened its area of operations to take in the former Soviet Union, the Broader Middle East from the Atlantic Coast of Africa to the Chinese border, and Northeast Africa.

Unless it is stopped the rest of the world confronts the same fate.

1) Makfax, September 11, 2009
2) Woodrow Wilson Center
3) Makfax, September 11, 2009
4) BBC News, May 21, 2009
5) U.S. Expands Global Missile Shield Into Middle East, Balkans
Stop NATO, September 11, 2009
6) Xinhua News Agency, September 4, 2009
7) Croatian Times, September 11, 2009
8) Ibid
9) Balkan Insight, September 10, 2009
10) Ibid
11) Makfax, August 31, 2009
12) Beta News Agency/Tanjug News Agency, September 12, 2009
13) FoNet, September 11, 2009
14) Radio Serbia, September 3, 2009
15) The Financiarul, September 9, 2009
16) Virginian-Pilot, September 5, 2009
17) Reuters, September 11, 2009
18) Ibid
19) Bloomberg News, September 12, 2009
20) Hurriyet, September 13, 2009
21) Reuters, September 8, 2009
22) Ibid
23) Azeri Press Agency, September 9, 2009
24) Azertag, September 11, 2009
25) Interfax, September 4, 2009
26) Trend News Agency, September 9, 2009
27) Ministry of Defence, September 9, 2009
28) Voice of Russia, September 4, 2009
29) Civil Georgia, September 3, 2009
30) Russian Information Agency Novosti, September 3, 2009

Categories: Uncategorized

U.S. Expands Global Missile Shield Into Middle East, Balkans

September 11, 2009 Leave a comment

September 11, 2009

U.S. Expands Global Missile Shield Into Middle East, Balkans
Rick Rozoff

Toward the latter half of last month the Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza, “citing officials and lobbyists in Washington,” revealed that the Pentagon would reevaluate planned interceptor missile deployments in Poland and a complementary missile radar site in the Czech Republic and instead shift global missile shield plans to Israel, Turkey and the Balkans. [1]

“Washington is now looking for alternative locations including in the Balkans, Israel and Turkey….” [2]

The news came a week after it was reported that at the annual Space and Missile Defense Conference hosted by the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency in Huntsville, Alabama the Chicago-based Boeing Company offered to construct a “47,500-pound interceptor that could be flown to NATO bases as needed on Boeing-built C-17 cargo planes,” a “two-stage interceptor designed to be globally deployable within 24 hours….” [3]

This initiative, much as with the reports of plans to expand the American worldwide interceptor missile system to the Middle East and Southeastern Europe, has been presented as a way of alleviating Russian concerns over anti-missile components being deployed near its borders. But on the same day that Boeing announced the project for a rapid deployable missile launcher for NATO bases in Europe the First Deputy Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic, Tomas Pojar, was quoted as asserting that a “possible U.S. mobile anti-missile shield does not threaten the U.S. plans to build a radar base on Czech soil because the system is to be a combination of fixed and mobile elements.” [4]

That is, what is being presented in both instances as substitutes for U.S. and NATO missile shield deployments in Eastern Europe may in fact be added to rather than replace plans for Poland and the Czech Republic.

On September 11 the new Czech envoy to NATO, Martin Povejsil, reiterated that Washington’s plans to forge ahead with the missile system deployments in his nation and in Poland will proceed unhampered, stating “NATO still expects the U.S. system to be the core of its missile-defence structures that have been worked on.” [5]

On the day after the Polish newspaper revealed that American interceptor missile system deployments could be extended to Israel, Turkey and the Balkans, U.S. State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley said Washington’s review of the missile defense strategy “is ongoing and has not reached completion yet.”

Similarly, “Missile Defense Agency [Director] Patrick O’Reilly also denied the report of Polish newspapers. He supported the proposal to install SM-3 missile systems in Turkey and the Balkans.” [6]

The SM-3 – Standard Missile 3 – is a ship-based anti-ballistic missile used by the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System, and was used by the Pentagon to destroy an American satellite in orbit in February 2008 in what was seen by some observers, especially in Russia, as an experiment for future space warfare.

So the surfacing of reports that the U.S. may base missile shield facilities south and east of the Czech Republic and Poland is more likely indicative of yet another plan to expand the global system – already in place and being worked on in Alaska, Japan, Australia, Taiwan, Norway, Britain, Greenland and Israel – into areas previously off-limits to such deployments and not necessarily an abandonment of American missile and troop deployments in Poland and a missile radar site in the Czech Republic.

In confirmation of this scenario, U.S. National Security Adviser and former U.S. European Command and NATO top military chief James Jones told Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski on September 1 that “The United States is assuring Poland that it has not made a decision on where to deploy a European missile defense system but will keep Warsaw informed,” and pledged “the United States’ firm and unwavering commitment to Poland’s security and defense.” [7]

To demonstrate how close the Pentagon is to completing plans for an international interceptor missile system that can be used for blackmailing other nations into submission and laying the groundwork for a “winnable” war against major powers like Russia and China – by being able to neutralize missiles surviving a first strike and so an adversary’s ability to retaliate – the new head of the Missile Defense Agency, U.S. Army Lieutenant General Patrick O’Reilly, recently boasted that his agency’s missile interceptions have proven 86% successful and that “The Defense Department recently committed an additional $900 million toward fielding the Army’s theater high-altitude-area defense mobile missile defense system. The agency has finished seven of eight required tests of the system.” O’Reilly added that he “expects to see it in the field next year.” [8]

The tests he referred to employed Aegis class warships equipped with SM-3s, meaning destroyers and cruisers that can be deployed to any part of the planet in conjunction with land-based and sea-based X-band radar (SBX). The Missile Defense Agency has on several occasions deployed a 28-story SBX to Adak, Alaska, at the western-most end of the Aleutian island chain in the Bering Sea off Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula.

The U.S. National Security Presidential Directive and Homeland Security Presidential Directive [9] of January 9, 2009 explicitly mentions using the Arctic Ocean for so-called missile defense purposes, which means against Russia’s northern territories, in conjunction with facilities in Alaska and Greenland.

Missile shield radar bases in Britain and Norway and projected missile deployments in Poland and an X-band radar site in the Czech Republic will cover Russia’s west, and comparable sites in Alaska and Japan will confront Russia (as well as China) to its east.

To date the only quadrant uncovered is Russia’s south.

And that is where proposed missile shield deployments in Turkey, Israel and the Balkans come into play.

Last autumn the United States began the stationing of its Army Navy/Transportable Radar Surveillance (AN/TPY-2), formerly the Forward Based X-Band Transportable [FBX-T] Radar, to Israel. The AN/TPY-2 is part of the U.S. Army’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor missile system, one intermediate between the ground-based interceptor missiles planned for Poland and the recently developed PAC-3 Patriot theater missile defense, “one of the most comprehensive upgrade programs ever undertaken on an American weapon system.” [10]

The AN/TPY-2 “operates in the X-band frequency, and is capable of tracking and identifying small objects at long distance and at very high altitude, including space” and is a “high-power, transportable X-Band radar…designed to detect, track and discriminate ballistic missile threats.” [11]

“The radar in Israel can be only the beginning of the development of the American anti-missile defense systems in the country,” said a leading Russian analyst, Pavel Felgengauer, last September. [12]

In July of 2008 the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, and his Israeli counterpart Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi approved the deployment and it was later confirmed by Pentagon chief Robert Gates and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, “marking the first permanent U.S. military presence on Israeli soil.” [13]

A year ago September the U.S. Senate passed an amendment allocating $89 million for the project. At the time Fox New reported that “About 120 American technicians and security guards will be stationed in Israel’s southern Negev Desert to oversee the operation, the first time in the country’s 60-year history that they’ve allowed a foreign military presence to be based here.” [14]

An Iranian news story shortly thereafter characterized the purpose and importance of the deployment by saying “The…most plausible scenario is that the U.S. intends to add one more strategic military base to the hundreds it operates around the world to contain and intimidate independent countries like Iran, Syria, and Lebanon.” [15]

Iran, Lebanon and Syria don’t possess nuclear weapons or even long-range missiles that can deliver conventional warheads.

Yet the Jerusalem Post wrote in November of 2008 that the X-band missile radar in Israel has a range of 4,300 kilometers (2,900 miles) and “is reported to be capable of tracking targets the size of a baseball from distances of close” to that range. The South Caucasus is only some 1,200 kilometers from Israel and the distance from Tel Aviv to Moscow is 2,641 kilometers. The U.S. missile radar in Israel, then, can monitor most of Southern and Western Russia.

American-Israel missile radar and surveillance is being integrated with NATO-Israeli operations. A report of last December detailed: “Israel has reportedly provided NATO with intelligence on Iran amid US efforts to portray the country’s military achievements as a threat.

“Israeli diplomats said Sunday that Israel has contributed to the formation of two intelligence reports prepared by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on ‘missile development’ and ‘the nuclear arms race in the Middle East.'” [16]

Before retiring as secretary general of NATO Jaap de Hoop Scheffer visited Israel this January and while there remarked that “Israel has been the first country to finalize with NATO, in October 2006, a very detailed individual cooperation program, which had been revised and upgraded last November.” [17]

In the same month the Israeli newspaper Haaretz provided more details on the increased cooperation between NATO and Israel in reporting that the latter was assigning a warship for NATO’s almost eight-year-old Operation Active Endeavor naval surveillance and interdiction operation in the Mediterranean.

“The request is another example of the increasing cooperation between Israel and NATO. Last week, Israeli Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi participated in a meeting of army heads at the organization’s Brussels headquarters.

“[A] liaison officer from the Israeli Navy has also been stationed at the NATO base in Naples, Italy….NATO ships arrived for maneuvers and visits at the ports of Haifa in April 2008 and Eilat April and October 2007. AWACs early warning planes used by the organization landed at an Israel Air Force base in Lod a year ago.” [18]

The September 7 edition of the Jerusalem Post in a feature called “IDF preparing for US missile systems” announced that the Pentagon and the Israeli Defense Forces are to conduct their regular joint Juniper Cobra military exercises next month and that this year’s drills, “the most complex and extensive to date,” will include “the newly-developed Arrow 2 as well as America’s THAAD (Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense) and the ship-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System.” [19]

The Arrow 2 is a theater anti-ballistic missile funded and produced in unison by the U.S. and Israel.

The Jerusalem Post article added that “The Defense Ministry is preparing for the possibility that the United States will decide to leave missile defense systems in Israel following a joint missile defense exercise the two countries will hold next month,” and that “the possibility is strong…particularly in light of reports that the Pentagon was conducting a review of its European missile shield and was leaning towards deploying the systems in Turkey.

“According to various European news reports, Turkey, Israel and the Balkans are under evaluation as alternative sites for the systems…..” [20]

The already existing American missile tracking facility is in the Negev Desert near Dimona where Israel is presumed to store its nuclear weapons.

Almost a year ago a major Russian news source reported that “Lt. Gen. Henry Obering, [then] director of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), has said more than once that Turkey, Georgia and even Ukraine could be future locations for ballistic missile defense systems.

“[T]he Pentagon will most likely choose Turkey or, some Western analysts say, Israel or Japan.” [21]

A Turkish report of March of 2008 had already indicated what the Pentagon was planning: “Last March Pentagon chief Robert Gates visited Turkey to hold consultations on missile shield plans.

“A powerful, ‘forward based’ X-band radar station could go in southeastern Europe, possibly in Turkey, the Caucasus or the Caspian Sea region, Lt. Gen. Henry Obering, head of the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency, told a defense conference in Washington on Feb. 12.” [22]

In May of 2008 a Russian newspaper revealed that “the United States may deploy a high-frequency X-band radar in Georgia.” [23]

More recently, last November the Turkish daily Hurriyet wrote that “Israel and the United States have…declared their desire to establish a one-billion-dollar missile system in Turkey.” [24]

The deployment of advanced missile tracking and interceptor missile facilities in Israel and Turkey along with others in the South Caucasus – the Gabala radar station in Azerbaijan, currently used by Russia but coveted by Washington, is another possible addition – would nearly complete the stationing of a missile shield ring around Russia.

The third site of the expansion of U.S. and NATO missile interception plans is the Balkans.

Russian political analyst Pyotr Iskenderov wrote on September 3 that a possible location for such a deployment could be in the international no man’s land that is Kosovo.

“In spring of 2009, Albanian Prime-Minister Sali Berisha proposed to the US to locate an anti-missile system in his country if US-Polish talks failed. In Serbia Defense Minister Dragan Sutanovac, who is close to Serbian president Boris Tadic, made scandalous statements in favor of Serbia’s entry to NATO. In this respect the location of a US military base in Serbia could be regarded as a compensation to Belgrade for losing Kosovo. This will also help to drive Russia away from Serbia.” [25]

Iskenderov theorized that American missiles could be stationed in Camp Bondsteel, the largest overseas U.S. military installation built since the war in Vietnam. The author, in reference to the use of the base for so-called “extraordinary renditions,” said “the main object of the military infrastructure of Kosovo will be the US base of Camp Bondsteel, which is subordinate neither to NATO, nor the UN nor the EU….Here we should recall an unsavory role of Kosovo in the scandal liked with the secret jails of the CIA in Europe.

“If earlier the US managed to hide one of their CIA secret prisons in Kosovo, then it won’t be a problem to install radar and interceptor missiles in Camp Bondsteel.” [26]

Early this month the U.S. guided-missile destroyer Stout arrived home after a mission in the Black Sea and visits to Georgia, Bulgaria and Romania. It also engaged in naval maneuvers with Israel and Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean in August. Regarding the Black Sea operation, a local American newspaper wrote, “This was the ship’s first deployment with the ballistic missile defense system – a technology designed to track and destroy missiles that can travel more than 600 miles….” [27]

The extension of American global missile shield designs into the Middle East and Southeastern Europe is an integral part of global geostrategic plans which were summarized concisely and penetratingly by a Bangladeshi writer last November:

“The current NMD [National Missile Defense] project involves using radars in Alaska and California in the US and at Fylingdales in the UK, and in Greenland. The latest plan of deploying a radar base in the Czech Republic is basically relocating the existing radar base at the Kwajalein Atoll [in the] Marshall Islands. Besides, the US plans to install 10 more interceptors in silos in Poland.

“Even after 1991, [the U.S.] did not go for closing down its military bases scattered around the world, but rather continued expanding the network in many strategic positions.

“In Eastern Europe it basically filled the vacuum created by the end of the Warsaw Pact.

“Moreover, Central Asia, a very crucial passageway in the global oil supply chain, also came under the purview of US dominance. These deliberate moves created lots of irritation among regional powers like Russia and China.

“Surely the proposed radar base in the Czech Republic and missile interceptors in Poland are not to protect the US from Iran or North Korea’s missiles but are to ensure the US plan to establish and exercise stringent control over the world using its prevailing 725 military bases.” [28]

1) Agence France-Presse, August 27, 2009
2) United Press International, August 27, 2009
3) Reuters, August 20, 2009
4) Czech News Agency, August 20, 2009
5) Czech News Agency, September 11, 2009
6) Azeri Press Agency, August 28, 2009
7) Associated Press, September 2, 2009
8) Chosun Ilbo, September 3, 2009
9) National Security Presidential Directive and Homeland Security
Presidential Directive
10) Wikipedia
11) Global Security, September 3, 2009
12) Trend News Agency, September 13, 2008
13) Defense News, September 27, 2008
14) Fox News, November 10, 2008
15) Tehran Times, October 14, 2008′
16) Press TV, December 7, 2008
17) Haaretz, January 10, 2009
18) Haaretz, November 27, 2008
19) Jerusalem Post, September 7, 2009
20) Ibid
21) Russian Information Agency Novosti, September 12, 2008
22) Turkish Daily News, March 12, 2008
23) Nezavisimaya Gazeta, May 14, 2008
24) Hurriyet, November 22, 2008
25) Strategic Culture Foundation, September 4, 2009
26) Ibid
27) Virginian-Pilot, September 5, 2009
28) Sultan Mohammed Zakaria, Global hegemony and the victims
Daily Star, November 1, 2008

Categories: Uncategorized

Broader Strategy: West’s Afghan War Targets Russia, China, Iran

September 8, 2009 2 comments

September 8, 2009

Broader Strategy: West’s Afghan War Targets Russia, China, Iran
Rick Rozoff

The United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization are expanding their nearly eight-year war in Afghanistan both in scope, with deadly drone missile attacks inside Pakistan, and in intensity, with daily reports of more NATO states’ troops slated for deployment and calls for as many as 45,000 American troops in addition to the 68,000 already in the nation and scheduled to be there shortly.

The NATO bombing in Kunduz province on September 4 may well prove to be the worst atrocity yet perpetrated by Western forces against Afghan civilians and close to 20 U.S and NATO troops have been killed so far this month, with over 300 dead this year compared to 294 for all of 2008.

The scale and gravity of the conflict can no longer be denied even by Western media and government officials and the war in South Asia occupies the center stage of world attention for the first time in almost eight years.

The various rationales used by Washington and Brussels to launch, to continue and to escalate the war – short-lived and successive, forgotten and reinvented, transparently insincere and frequently mutually exclusive – have been exposed as fraudulent and none of the identified objectives have been achieved or are likely ever to be so. Osama bin Laden and Omar Mullah have not been captured or killed. Taliban is stronger than at any time since their overthrow eight years ago last month, even – though the name Taliban seems to mean fairly much whatever the West intends it to at any given moment – gaining hitherto unimagined control over the country’s northern provinces.

Opium cultivation and exports, virtually non-existent at the time of the 2001 invasion, are now at record levels, with Afghanistan the world’s largest narcotics producer and exporter.

The Afghan-Pakistani border has not been secured and NATO supply convoys are regularly seized and set on fire on the Pakistani side. Pakistani military offensives have killed hundreds if not thousands on the other side of the border and have displaced over two million civilians in the Swat District and adjoining areas of the North-West Frontier Province.

Yet far from acknowledging that the war, America’s longest since the debacle in Vietnam and NATO’s first ground war and first conflict in Asia, has been a signal failure, U.S. and NATO leaders are clamoring for more troops in addition to the 100,000 already on the ground in Afghanistan and are preparing the public in the fifty nations contributing to that number for a war that will last decades. And still without the guarantee of a successful resolution.

But the West’s South Asian war is a fiasco only if judged by what Washington and Brussels have claimed their objectives were and are. Viewed from a broader geopolitical and strategic military perspective matters may be otherwise.

On September 7 a Russian analyst, Sergey Mikheev, was quoted as saying that the major purpose of the Pentagon moving into Afghanistan and of NATO waging its first war outside of Europe was to exert influence on and domination over a vast region of South and Central Asia that has brought Western military forces – troops, warplanes, surveillance capabilities – to the borders of China, Iran and Russia.

Mikheev claims that “Afghanistan is a stage in the division of the world after the bipolar system failed” and the U.S. and NATO “wanted to consolidate their grip on Eurasia…and deployed a lot of troops there,” adding that as a pretext for doing so “The Taliban card was played, although nobody had been interested in the Taliban before.” [1]

A compatriot of the writer, Andrei Konurov, earlier this month agreed with the contention that Taliban was and remains more excuse for than cause of the United States and its NATO allies deploying troops and taking over air and other bases in Afghanistan and the Central Asian nations of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. In the case of Kyrgyzstan alone, there were estimates at the beginning of this year that as many as 200,000 U.S. and NATO troops have transited through the Manas air base en route to Afghanistan.

Konurov argued that “With Washington’s non-intervention if not downright encouragement, the Talibs are destabilizing Central Asia and the Uyghur regions of China as well as seeking inroads into Iran. This is the explanation behind the recent upheaval of Uyghur separatism and to an extent behind the activity of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.” [2]

It must be kept in mind, however, that for the West the term of opprobrium Talib is elastic and can at will be applied to any ethnic Pushtun opponent of Western military occupation and, as was demonstrated with the NATO air strike massacre last Friday, after the fact to anyone killed by Western forces as in multi-ethnic Kunduz province.

The last-cited author also stated, again contrary to received opinion in the West, that “the best option for the US is Afghanistan having no serious central authority whatsoever and a government in Kabul totally dependent on Washington. The inability of such a government to control most of Afghanistan’s territory would not be regarded as a major problem by the US as in fact Washington would in certain ways be able to additionally take advantage of the situation.” [3]

An Afghanistan that was at peace and stabilized would then be a decided disadvantage for plans to maintain and widen Western military positioning at the crossroads where Russian, Chinese, Iranian, Pakistani and Indian interests meet.

The Russian writer mentions that Washington and its NATO allies have employed the putative campaign against al-Qaeda – and now Taliban as well as the drug trade – to secure, seize and upgrade 19 military bases in Afghanistan and Central Asia, including what can become strategic air bases like former Soviet ones in Bagram, Shindand, Herat, Farah, Kandahar and Jalalabad in Afghanistan. The analyst pointed out that “The system of bases makes it possible for the US to exert military pressure on Russia, China, and Iran.”

It suffices to recall that during the 1980s current U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates was the CIA official in charge of the agency’s largest-ever covert campaign, Operation Cyclone, to arm and train Afghan extremists in military camps in Pakistan for attacks inside Afghanistan. A “porous border” was not his concern at the time.

Konurov ended his article with an admonition:

“There is permanent consensus in the ranks of the US establishment that the US presence in Afghanistan must continue.

“Russia should not and evidently will not watch idly the developments at the southern periphery of post-Soviet space.” [4]

Iran’s top military commander, Yahya Rahim-Safavi, was quoted in his nation’s media on September 7 offering a comparable analysis and issuing a similar warning. Saying that “The recent security pact between US and NATO and Afghanistan showed the United States has no plan to leave the region,” he observed that “Russia worries about the US presence in Central Asia and China has concerns about US interference in its two main Muslim provinces bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan.” [5]

To indicate that the range of the Western military threat extended beyond Central Asia and its borders with Russia and China, he also said the “presence of more than 200,000 foreign forces in the region particularly in South-West Asia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Middle East, the expansion of their bases, the sale of billions of dollars of military equipments to Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and looting their oil resources are the root cause of insecurity in South-West Asia, the Persian Gulf region and Iran,” and noted that “US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf had been a cause for concern for Russia, China and Iran.” [6]

The Iranian concern is hardly unwarranted. The August 31 edition of the Jerusalem Post revealed that “NATO’s interest in Iran has dramatically increased in recent months” and “In December 2006, Israeli Military Intelligence hosted the first of its kind international conference on global terrorism and intelligence, after which Israel and NATO established an intelligence-sharing mechanism.”

The same article quoted an unnamed senior Israeli official as adding, “NATO talks about Iran and the way it affects force structure and building.” [7]

Six days earlier an American news agency released a report titled “Middle East arms buys top $100 billion” which said “Middle Eastern countries are expected to spend more than $100 billion over the next five years” the result of “unprecedented packages…unveiled by President George W. Bush in January 2008 to counter Iran….” [8]

The major recipients of American arms will be three nations in the Persian Gulf – Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Iraq – as well as Israel.

Other Gulf states are among those to participate in this unparalleled arms buildup in Iran’s neighborhood. “The core of this arms-buying spree will undoubtedly be the $20 billion U.S. package of weapons systems over 10 years for the six states of the Gulf Cooperation Council – Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E. [United Arab Emirates], Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain.” [9]

A week ago Nicola de Santis, NATO’s head of the Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative Countries Section in the NATO Public Diplomacy Division, visited the United Arab Emirates and met with the nation’s foreign minister, Anwar Mohammed Gargash.

“Prospects of UAE-NATO cooperation” and “NATO’s Istanbul Cooperation Initiative” were the main topics of discussion. [10]

The Istanbul Cooperation Initiative was formed at the NATO summit in Turkey in 2004 to upgrade the status of the Mediterranean Dialogue – the Alliance’s military partnerships with Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, Mauritania and Algeria – to that of the Partnership for Peace. The latter was used to prepare twelve nations for full NATO accession over the last ten years.

The second component of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative concerns formal and ongoing NATO military ties with the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council: The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain (where the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet is headquartered), Kuwait, Oman and Qatar.

In May of this year France opened its first foreign military base in half a century in the United Arab Emirates.

In addition to U.S. and NATO military forces and bases in nations bordering Iran – Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey, Pakistan and increasingly Azerbaijan – the Persian Gulf is now becoming a Pentagon and NATO lake.

China is also being encroached upon from several directions simultaneously.

After the visit of the Pentagon’s Central Command chief General David Petraeus to the region in late August, Kyrgyzstan, which borders China, relented and agreed to the resumption of U.S. military transit for the Afghan war.

Tajikistan, which also abuts China, hosts French warplanes which are to be redeployed to Afghanistan this month.

Mongolia, resting between China and Russia, hosts regular Khaan Quest military exercises with the U.S. and has now pledged troops for NATO’s Afghan war.

Kazakhstan, with Russia to its north and China to its southeast, has offered the U.S. and NATO increased transit and other assistance for the Afghan war, with rumors of troop commitments also in the air, and is currently hosting NATO’s 20-nation Zhetysu 2009 exercise.

Late last month China appealed to Washington to halt military surveillance operations in its coastal waters, with its Defense Ministry saying “The constant US air and sea surveillance and survey operations in China’s exclusive economic zone is the root cause of problems between the navies and air forces of China and the US.” [11]

A spokeswoman for the American embassy in Beijing responded by saying, “The United States exercises its freedom of navigation of the seas under international law….This policy has not changed.” [12]

The war in Afghanistan was launched four months after Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan formed the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a regional security and economic alliance with a military component. Now the Pentagon and NATO have bases in the last three nations and military cooperation agreements with Kazakhstan.

In 2005 India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as observer states. Now all but Iran are being pulled into the U.S.-NATO orbit. No small part of the West’s plans in South and Central Asia is to neutralize and destroy the SCO as well as the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), founded in 2002 by Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Armenia and Belarus.

Uzbekistan joined in 2006 but after General Petraeus’s visit to the country last month it appears ready to leave the organization. Belarus, Russia’s only buffer along its entire Western border, may not be far behind.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 the U.S. and NATO immediately moved on Central Asia, and the war in Afghanistan has provided them with the opportunity to gain domination over all of South as well as Central Asia and to undermine and threaten the existence of the only regional security bodies – the SCO and CSTO – which could counteract the West’s drive for control of Eurasia.

1) Russia Today, September 7, 2009
2) Strategic Culture Foundation, September 3, 2009
3) Ibid
4) Ibid
5) Press TV, September 7, 2009
6) Ibid
7) Jerusalem Post, August 31, 2009
8) United Press International, August 25, 2009
9) Ibid
10) Emirates News Agency, September 1, 2009
11) Agence France-Presse, August 27, 2009
12) Ibid

Categories: Uncategorized

Following Afghan Election, NATO Intensifies Deployments, Carnage

September 6, 2009 Leave a comment

September 6, 2009

Following Afghan Election, NATO Intensifies Deployments, Carnage
Rick Rozoff

After NATO pledged 5,000 more troops for the war in Afghanistan at its sixtieth anniversary summit In Strasbourg, France and Kehl, Germany this April, U.S. President Barack Obama hailed the commitment as representing “a strong down payment on the future of our mission in Afghanistan and on the future of NATO.”

The Alliance offer was in addition to Obama’s own vow to deploy 21,000 more American forces to the war-wracked nation where the U.S. is waging its longest war since that in Vietnam and NATO is fighting the first ground and first Asian war in its history. A conflict that will enter its ninth calendar year next month.

Not, never, willing to acknowledge that the Afghan war is in fact a war, Washington and Brussels from the time of the summit until now have attempted to justify their troop buildups in South Asia as motivated primarily by insuring that the second presidential election in Afghanistan since the joint U.S.-NATO invasion of 2001 proceeded uninterrupted. A ruthless counterinsurgency and bombing campaign was thus portrayed as another war for democracy.

The election occurred on August 20, seventeen days ago, and the results are to date inconclusive, with incumbent president Hamid Karzai in the lead with less than 50% of the vote and former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah with enough votes to force a run-off election.

A second round of elections will provide the pretext for NATO and the Pentagon to maintain current inflated troop numbers in the country, deployments that were announced by the contributing nations’ governments as short-term ones specifically designated for August’s election.

All that has occurred in the past two and a half weeks, however, belies claims by the U.S. and its NATO allies that anything other than an escalating, expanding and protracted war in South Asia is intended.

On September 4 German troops in Afghanistan’s Kunduz province, who have been conducting Germany’s first deadly combat operations since the defeat of the Nazi regime in 1945, called in NATO air strikes against villages near their base.

Western media reports initially attempted to present what transpired as a bombing of alleged Taliban fighters who had commandeered NATO fuel tankers, killing scores of them.

However, the nation’s largest news service, Pajhwok News Agency, dispatched a reporter to the scene who interviewed villagers near the sight of the bomb attack.

On September 5 he reported that “Residents of the Chahar Dara district in northern Kunduz province say more than 150 civilians were killed and 20 others wounded in Friday’s air strike by NATO-led forces.”

The reporter, Abdul Matin Sarfaraz, added: “Inhabitants of the area told Pajhwok Afghan News all those killed in the bombardment were civilians and there were no Taliban at the site at the time the attack took place. Fighters had left the scene after they asked the people to take fuel for free.” [1]

A local village elder was cited by the same news source as claiming “chemical bombs were dropped on the villagers. The clothes of his nephews were not damaged but their bodies were badly charred….”

The Pajhwok Afghan News correspondent added, “A 50-year-old woman bitterly cried while standing in front of her ruined house.

“She said her three sons, husband and a grandson perished in the bombardment. Locals showed this reporter as many as 50 graves of civilian victims.” [2]

The following day memorial services were held for the victims in twelve villages in the province.

The carnage is of a level that, if the figure of 150 civilians killed is accurate, it may be the worst bombing tally ever for Afghan civilians in one day, surpassing the 140 civilians killed in a U.S. bombing raid in Farah province this past May.

Malaysian-based political analyst Kazi Mahmood wrote that “The killing of civilians is common in Afghanistan. From soldiers who are so frightened of being killed that they just open fire on anyone who moves when they patrol Afghan streets or villages, to the NATO-US drones and aircraft that bomb villages, houses, weddings and other parties in order to subjugate the Afghans to their rule.” [3]

The eight-year war has intensified in scope, in brutality, in callous disregard of human life throughout Afghanistan and during the past year into neighboring Pakistan. On August 27 a U.S. drone missile attack was launched into Pakistan’s South Waziristan. A subcontinent news report at the time provided these details:

“At least eight people were killed and several others injured in a US drone strike in South Waziristan’s Kani Goram area on Thursday.

“According to sources, three missiles were fired from unmanned Predator aircraft targeting a house in the region killing eight people on the spot besides injuring many others.” [4]

Six days earlier the U.S. perpetrated an even more deadly attack in a part of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas [FATA] bordering the later target, this time North Waziristan. As is becoming typical, the missile strike was delivered on the Muslim day of worship on three houses in a small village, killing nineteen people.

“The attack, thought to come from an unmanned U.S. drone, occurred on Friday morning in a village in North Waziristan, an area on Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan….[O]fficials, who cannot be named because they are not authorized to speak to media, said children were among the dead.” [5]

Residents of the capital of North Waziristan, Miran Shan, “heard a huge noise which shattered windows in the town.” [6]

By late last month the U.S. and NATO had launched at least 35 missile strikes inside Pakistan that have killed 350 people in a year’s span.

All of the above-described attacks occurred after the August 20 Afghan presidential election.

An analysis featured on the website of China’s Xinhua News Agency on September 4 entitled “‘Obama’s war'” has no end in sight” reminded readers that Western contentions that the war in Afghanistan is a “humanitarian” endeavor to reconstruct the battered nation and to conduct demonstration elections is contradicted by where American priorities have been placed.

“The United States has so far spent 223 billion U.S. dollars in its military efforts in Afghanistan” while non-military aid was only at “9.3 billion dollars last year.” [7]

The author of the Xinhua commentary, Yang Qingchuan, indicates why his piece was given the title it was by writing:

“Obama has already planned to increase troops in Afghanistan to 68,000 this year.

“But military analyst Frederick Kagan said that number is not enough to achieve his objective.

“U.S. Army doctrine says that to effectively protect a local population in an insurgency, it requires one soldier for every 50 civilians. In Afghanistan, it means 320,000 troops are needed.” [8]

He also asserted that White House spokesman Robert Gibbs has repeatedly used the word “under-resourced” in reference to the war in Afghanistan and quotes Gibbs as saying:

“For many years, our effort in Afghanistan has been under-resourced politically, military and economically.” [9]

Almost eight full years into the 45-nation U.S. and NATO war in South Asia, the author recalls, attacks on American and NATO troops have quadrupled in the past two years with last month being the deadliest yet for both while the American-installed government in Kabul cannot claim to control more than a third of the country.

Far from heralding progress even from the Western military perspective, all recent developments indicate a war that will cost far more lives, those of invading forces but particularly of Afghans, and that will continue for not only years but decades.

A Reuters dispatch of September 3, “Gates opens door to possible Afghan troop increase,” reports that Pentagon chief Robert Gates, “A former CIA chief who helped mujahideen rebels drive the Soviets from Afghanistan,” was, two weeks after the presidential election, “open to sending additional troops.”

The same story reports that Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, special adviser to the commander of all the more than 100,000 American and NATO soldiers in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal, “said last month that between 15,000 and 45,000 new U.S. combat troops – the equivalent of three to nine brigades – may have to be sent to Afghanistan above the 21,000 additional forces that Obama approved earlier this year.” [10]

At the end of August McChrystal himself “delivered a classified assessment that is widely seen as the groundwork for a fresh request to add more American forces next” and Tony Blankley of the Heritage Foundation wrote in the Washington Times that “McChrystal is probably going to ask for 20,000 to 40,000 more American troops.” [11]

American troop strength is already slated to reach 68,000 shortly and another 40,000 soldiers on top of that would mean 108,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. With Anthony Cordesman’s larger figure the total is 113,000.

Toward the end of last month the American Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, met with the top U.S. and NATO military commanders in northern, southern, eastern and western Afghanistan and “NATO military commanders told U.S. President Barack Obama’s envoy…that they needed more troops and other resources to beat back a resurgent Taliban, particularly in eastern Afghanistan near the Pakistan border,” as “U.S. officials increasingly see the fight against the Taliban as a ‘single battlefield’ that runs from Afghanistan into the tribal areas of Pakistan.” [12]

At roughly the same time the chief of the Pentagon’s Central Command (CENTCOM) General David Petraeus, also indicating that the war won’t end anytime soon, announced that he “plans to open an in-house intelligence organization at U.S. Central Command this week that will train military officers, covert agents and analysts who agree to focus on Afghanistan and Pakistan for up to a decade.” [13]

Ending the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan may not at all be what the U.S. and NATO plan.

Russian analyst Andrei Konurov wrote on September 3 that Washington and Brussels have far broader geostrategic objectives in South and Central Asia, throughout Eurasia and ultimately the world, to abandon the positions that the war in South Asia has provided them.

In particular he observed that “The US has deployed 19 military bases in Afghanistan and Central Asian countries since the war began in October, 2001.

“These bases function autonomously from the surrounding space, are networked by airlifts, and get supplies from outside of Afghanistan, also mostly by air. The system of bases makes it possible for the US to exert military pressure on Russia, China, and Iran.” [14]

The portents for the writer’s own nation, he details, are ominous.

“As for Russia, this is a manifestation of a long-term US geopolitical strategy aimed at separating Russia from seas and locking it up in the Eurasian inland.

“More advanced phases of the strategy envision the US advancement deep into Eurasia, gaining positions in it that would weaken Russia’s control over its territory, and – eventually – the elimination of the Russian statehood in Siberia and the Far East. Considering that in any war the US mainly relies on its air force, the above strategy can be implemented with the help of a network of isolated bases and does not require control over the entire territory of Afghanistan.” [15]

The above scenario was given credence when CENTCOM’s General Petraeus visited the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan last month. The first two nations border China and Kazakhstan borders both China and Russia. He secured transit and other rights from Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan – both members with Russia of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and with Russia and China of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

While he was in Uzbekistan, also both a CSTO and SCO member state, “The U.S. and Uzbek ministries of defense…signed an agreement on military cooperation, including training and educational exchanges.” [16]

As Petraeus was securing the use of military bases in nations bordering Russia and China, the Press Trust of India reported that “India and the US are going to hold their largest-ever exercise involving armoured elements in the first week of October….

“This would be the second Indo-US military training exercise in the year after the first one took place in Belgaum in January this year.” [17]

A news story of the day before reported that “India’s Ministry of Defense report shows India’s emergence as the world’s biggest arms importing country, spending more than 6 billion U.S. dollars on arms almost every year” and “On August 15, two U.S. Boeing F-18E/F fighters conducted a test flight at an Air Force base in Bangalore, southern India.” [18]

The war in South Asia has not only pulled all five Central Asian states into its orbit but has served as the basis for Washington incorporating the world’s second most populous nation into what for the past half decade has been referred to as Asian NATO.

NATO member states and Partnership for Peace candidates are also being called upon for more troops, warplanes and artillery and the Afghan war continues to be the training ground for the creation of a NATO-led international expeditionary military force.

Late in August NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen was in the Baltics and after meeting with Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite made comments characterized by a German news agency as “NATO [is] to stay in Afghanistan despite record casualties.” [19]

The Alliance’s chief paid a visit to Turkey on August 27 during which he demanded and received a pledge for a doubling of Turkish troops for the Afghan war. Shortly afterward “NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he won’t rule out the need for more troops in Afghanistan.” [20]

On September 4 Rasmussen also pushed to integrate the EU more comprehensively into the Alliance’s war by demanding “NATO and the European Union must work together more closely in Afghanistan.” [21]

In Kunduz, German troops have, in addition to calling in the September 4 bombing raid that killed 150 Afghans, been engaged in deadly combat for the first time since the Nazi Wehrmacht’s campaigns of 1939-1945.

“The area around Kunduz has become increasingly dangerous for the approximately 4,000-strong German troop contingent stationed there. In recent weeks, insurgents have repeatedly ambushed patrols and engaged German soldiers in hours-long firefights.” [22]

The German Bundestag has only authorized a maximum of 3,500 troops to Afghanistan, but Berlin has already found a way to circumvent that limit for NATO’s intensified war in Afghanistan.

On September 4 four German soldiers were wounded in a bomb attack on their base in Kunduz, a day after their commanders ordered the deadly NATO air strike.

Early this month French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner pledged to keep his nation’s almost 3,000 troops in Afghanistan long past the August 20 election and “ruled out the departure of troops”, saying “foreign militaries will not leave Afghanistan….” [23]

On the same day French Defense Minister Herve Morin announced “The French Army will buy 332 more armored vehicles for infantry combat (VBCI) to bring the total ordered number to 630” and that “Part of the combat vehicles ordered by the ministry may be deployed in Afghanistan to enforce the French force there” and to be added to Tiger attack helicopters and Caesar long-range self-propelled artillery already deployed there.

A description of what France is adding to its Afghan arsenal was given by the same news source: “The VBCI combat vehicle can hold a combat crew of 11 persons, with a full load of 30 tons and a maximum speed of 100 kilometers an hour.” [24]

On September 4 a French soldier was killed and nine seriously wounded in an improvised bomb attack north of the Afghan capital, bringing the nation’s death toll to 30.

In announcing last July that he was preparing more troops for the war in Afghanistan, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero stated “It’s not so much a question of what Obama can do for us, but what we can do for Obama.”

Earlier, at the end of last year, the Spanish Cortes lifted a 3,000-troop limit for Afghanistan. This past Friday the nation’s defense minister pledged more troops for the war, and on the following day Prime Minister Zapatero said that 200 additional troops have been assigned for deployment. The 200 will be in addition to 1,000 permanently stationed there and another 450 sent “to boost security for elections held on Aug. 20” [25], although “Zapatero said last month in an interview with The New York Times that those additional troops could remain in the Asian nation after the elections” [26], making in all 1,650. Spain has lost 87 soldiers in incidents related to the Afghan War.

The comments by the Spanish prime and defense ministers came days after their nation’s troops engaged in a deadly firefight on September 3, claiming to have killed thirteen attackers.

The day before the Afghan presidential election the Deputy Chief of the Polish General Staff, General Mieczyslaw Stachowiak, said his nation “intends to spend 1 billion zloty (up to 300 mln euros) on new equipment for Polish troops based in Afghanistan.

“The so-called Afghan Package includes five new helicopters, 60 MRAP [Mine Resistant Ambush Protected] vehicles and two mid-range unmanned surveillance planes. Polish soldiers are to have a total of 11 helicopters at their disposal.” [27]

On September 2 Defense Minister Bogdan Klich, after meeting with top NATO and U.S. commander Stanley McChrystal, paid an unannounced visit to the base in Ghazni where 2,000 Polish troops are stationed to “inform Polish commanders of a new government plan to upgrade equipment for the mission – the so-called ‘Afghan Package'” consisting of some $450 million worth of new weapons. “Polish soldiers serving in Afghanistan will receive mortars, sights, large caliber rifles. Next year will see the purchase of two new helicopters while the ones currently in service are to be modernized.” [28]

On September 5 the Polish Defence Ministry revealed that one of its soldiers was killed and five injured in a bomb attack in Ghazni. Poland has now lost 11 troops in the war.

In late August the British prime minister’s official website announced the deployment of more attack helicopters and armored vehicles to the Afghan war front and Prime Minister Gordon Brown himself gave “a strong indication that more British troops will be sent to Afghanistan” while on an emergency trip to the country. [29]

Increased British troop strength could soon push the nation’s numbers to over 10,000. On September 3 the Ministry of Defence confirmed the death of the 211th soldier in Afghanistan, the highest British military death toll since the wars in Korea and Malaya in the 1950s.

On the same day that Britain suffered its latest fatality, three Dutch soldiers were wounded in a roadside bomb attack in Uruzgan province.

Late last month Czech Defense Minister Martin Bartak said that he was prepared to extend the deployment of “the crack 601st special forces unit” and add other troops to an Afghan deployment that shows no prospect of ever ending. [30]

The Finnish press reported on September 1 that Washington was pressuring the nation, which has already doubled its troops in Afghanistan and fought in its first deadly combat since World War II, for more soldiers. Finnish Defense Ministry spokesman Jyrki Iivonen told a local news agency that “the United States issues these requests on an almost monthly basis.” [31]

Finland’s neighbor Sweden now has 450 troops in Northern Afghanistan, where the two Scandinavian nations are in charge of NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) operations in four provinces.

In late August a U.S. Air Force website published a story called “AGOS helps NATO train Estonian, Swedish troops for deployment” which detailed that the U.S. Air Forces in Europe Air Ground Operations School [AGOS] and the International Security Assistance Force Cell at the NATO Allied Air Component Command Headquarters at Ramstein, Germany jointly trained Estonian and Swedish military personnel as forward air controllers, which “known to the U.S. military as joint terminal attack controllers, are responsible for calling in air strikes during close air support operations.” [32]

In the Caucasus it was revealed last week that “NATO and Azerbaijan are discussing the possibility of using the country’s air space by the alliance’s contingents to reach Afghanistan.”

An unnamed NATO official was quoted as adding “We are holding talks [about using the air space] with several countries including Azerbaijan.” [33] The other countries may well include Georgia and Turkmenistan.

The commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, General James Conway, was in neighboring Georgia on August 21 to inaugurate the training of Georgian troops for counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan.

Last week Bulgarian servicemen trained in Macedonia for deployment to Afghanistan, as the Balkans continues to serve as a NATO recruitment base for wars abroad.

Washington and Brussels have stepped up pressure on NATO’s Contract Country military partners – Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea – to reinforce, redeploy and deploy for the first time troops to Afghanistan.

U.S. Green Beret-trained Colombian special forces are heading to the nation to serve under NATO command. Their arrival will signify a new benchmark: Troops from five continents and the Middle East will be part of NATO’s Afghan war.

The main victims of the invasion and the increasingly deadly war in Afghanistan are and will remain Afghans.

But last month marked the deadliest month ever for both the United States and NATO in their joint war that will begin its ninth year in October.

A CNN poll released on September 1 showed that 57% of Americans surveyed now oppose the war in Afghanistan, the highest figure ever, up from 54% in July and 46% in April.

It is unlikely that there is a single NATO nation in which a majority of the population doesn’t share this sentiment. The bloc routinely refers to itself as an alliance of democracies. There is nothing democratic about waging a war of aggression against an all but defenseless people in South Asia while the citizens of even the aggressor states oppose it.

1) Pajhwok Afghan News, September 5, 2009
2) Ibid
3) World Future Online, September 4, 2009
4) Asian News International, August 27, 2009
5) CNN International, August 23, 2009
6) Agence France-Presse, August 21, 2009
7) Xinhua News Agency September 4, 2009
8) Ibid
9) Ibid
10) Reuters, September 3, 2009
11) Russia Today, September 1, 2009
12) Reuters, August 23, 2009
13) Washington Times, August 24, 2009
14) Strategic Culture Foundation, September 3, 2009
15) Ibid
16) Russian Information Agency Novosti, August 20, 2009
17) Press Trust of India, August 21, 2009
18) People’s Daily, August 20, 2009
19) Deutsche Presse-Agentur, August 25, 2009
20) Bloomberg News, August 31, 2009
21) Reuters, September 4, 2009
22) Deutsche Welle, September 5, 2009
23) Press TV, September 3, 2009
24) Xinhua News Agency, September 3, 2009
25) Reuters, September 5, 2009
26) EFE News, September 1, 2009
27) Polish Radio, August 19, 2009
28) Polish Radio, September 2, 2009
29) Trend News Agency, August 29, 2009
30) Czech News Agency, August 30, 2009
31) NewsRoom Finland, September 1, 2009
32) United States Air Forces in Europe, August 25, 2009
33) Interfax-Azerbaijan, August 31, 2009

Categories: Uncategorized

U.S. Marines In The Caucasus As West Widens Afghan War

September 4, 2009 Leave a comment

September 3, 2009

U.S. Marines In The Caucasus As West Widens Afghan War
Rick Rozoff

On August 21 the chief of the U.S. Marine Corps, General James Conway, arrived in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi to begin the training of his host country’s military for deployment to the Afghan war theater under the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

“During the meeting the sides discussed a broad spectrum of Georgian-U.S bilateral relations and the situation in Georgia’s occupied territory.” [1] Occupied territory(ies) meant Abkhazia and South Ossetia, now independent nations with Russian troops stationed in both.

Conway met with Georgian Defense Minister Davit (Vasil) Sikharulidze, who on the same day gave an interview to the Associated Press in which he said that the training provided by the U.S. Marine Corps could be employed, in addition to counterinsurgency operations in South Asia, in his country’s “very difficult security environment.”

Associated Press reported that “Asked if he was referring to the possibility of another war with Russia, he said, ‘In general, yes.'”

The Georgian defense chief added, “This experience will be important for the Georgian armed forces itself — for the level of training.” [2]

Sikharulidze was forced to retract his comments within hours of their utterance, and not because they weren’t true but because they were all too accurate. The Pentagon was not eager to have this cat be let out of the bag.

Three days later American military instructors arrived in Georgia on the heels of the visit of Marine Commandant Conway, whose previous campaigns included the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the first assault on Fallujah in that nation in 2004.

Three days after that Georgian Defense Minister Sikharulidze – former ambassador to the United States, head of the NATO division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia and deputy head of the Georgian Mission of NATO in Brussels – who was appointed to the post last year by the country’s mercurial leader Mikheil Saakashvili after the disastrous war with Russia last August, was sacked by the same. “Saakashvili criticized [Sikharulidze] for not doing enough to prepare the military ‘to stop an aggressive and dangerous enemy’ in possible future conflicts.” [3]

Whatever led to the defense minister’s dismissal and replacement by 28-year-old Bachana (Bacho) Akhalaia it wasn’t due to his bellicose intentions towards Russia. In announcing the transition Saakahshvili said, “We need a tougher approach. Bacho Akhalaia is the right man for the job” [4]

Immediately after being named new defense chief Akhalaia identified “three priorities of the defense Ministry: ensuring peace, modernization of the army, and NATO integration.”

In his own words he said: “Modernization envisages the improvement of the Georgian army’s weapons and equipment, as well as the training of soldiers and officers. And NATO integration remains our only way. Georgia should have an army that will not be a burden on NATO, but will strengthen it.” [5]

The Civil Georgia website reported on September 1 that the U.S. Marines in the nation had launched “intensive training” which would “focus on skill sets necessary for Georgian forces to operate in a counterinsurgency environment….”

The same report divulged that “A similar training program was conducted by U.S. military instructors for the Georgian military ahead of their deployment in Iraq. Georgia withdrew about 2,000 of its troops from Iraq during last year’s war with Russia.” [6]

The 2,000 U.S.-trained Georgia troops in question constituted the third largest foreign deployment in Iraq last year with only America and Britain providing more occupation forces. They were also stationed near the Iranian border. When Georgia’s invasion of South Ossetia last August 7-8 triggered a five-day war with Russia, the Pentagon transported the Georgian soldiers in Iraq back home for combat in the South Caucasus had the conflict not ended on August 12.

The U.S. Defense Department’s training and arming of the Georgian military started long before the deployment to Iraq and that underway for Afghanistan.

In April of 2002 the Pentagon instituted the Georgia Train and Equip Program (GTEP) under the broader Operation Enduring Freedom “Global War on Terror” campaign whose main target was Afghanistan. For the first nine months the GTEP was run by U.S. Army Special Forces – Green Berets – assigned to Special Operations Command Europe. In December of 2002 the program was passed on from the Green Berets to the U.S. Marine Corps.

Later the Pentagon created a Georgian Sustainment & Stability Operations Program (GSSOP) under the aegis of the Defense Department’s European Command, whose top military commander is also NATO Supreme Allied Commander. This program concentrated on training Georgia’s officer staff as well as soldiers for eventual deployment to Iraq, NATO integration and armed assaults against Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The GSSOP succeeded in all three of its objectives, though not to the degree intended in the third category.

The redeployment of U.S. Marines to Georgia, then, is indicative of a continuous effort by the Pentagon ranging over more than seven years to prepare the Georgian armed forces – an American and NATO proxy army – for wars abroad and in the South Caucasus alike.

On August 31 the latest mission began: “The ISAF program to train the Georgian military for implementing international missions in Afghanistan started at the National Training Center of the Armed Forces of Georgia in Krtsanisi on August 31. The 31st infantry battalion of the Georgian Armed Forces will pass a six-month intensive training to participate in NATO operations within ISAF, led by an expeditionary brigade of U.S. Marines….” [7]

On September 2 the newly appointed Georgian Defense Minister Bacho Akhalaia summoned (or was summoned by) the ambassadors of NATO countries in Georgia and he reiterated his triad of priorities. “The minister presented during the meeting the key challenges of the Ministry and discussed the priorities, such as peace, modernization and NATO integration.” [8]

The same day a delegation of the German Bundeswehr arrived in the country and, visiting the Defense Ministry, discussed information technology. “The purpose of the visit is to integrate an informational codification system of the Georgian MoD with the NATO general system,” an initiative “implemented within the framework of the Bilateral Cooperation Plan [of] 2009 between Georgia and the Federal Republic of Germany.” [9]

During the same time it was announced that the American Marine Corps was sending a delegation to Georgia’s neighbor in the South Caucasus, Azerbaijan, which has also recently been levied for more troops for the U.S.’s and NATO’s war in Afghanistan.

From September 14-18 U.S. Marines will “examine the training of the Azerbaijan Marine Corps” and “according to the bilateral military cooperation program signed between Azerbaijan and the United States, U.S. navy experts will assess the skills of the Azerbaijani naval special forces….” [10]

Another Azerbaijani news source added, “After getting familiar with the combat activities of the marine battalions of the Azerbaijani Naval Forces, they will make their own recommendations.” [11]

Azerbaijan’s navy is deployed in the Caspian Sea which is also bordered by Iran and Russia.

A week before, September 7-9, the nation’s Defense Ministry will conduct a meeting of the Coordination Group on Azerbaijan’s Strategic Defense Outline and it announced that on the same precise dates as the visit of the U.S. Marine delegation “A working meeting on creating the Strategic Defense Outline and supporting the preparation of the final document will be held in Baku on September 14-18 with the participation of experts from the US and other countries.” [12]

On August 1 the nation’s press revealed that “NATO and Azerbaijan are discussing the possibility of using the country’s air space by the alliance’s contingents to reach Afghanistan.

“‘We are holding talks [about using the air space] with several countries including Azerbaijan,’ said a NATO official, who asked to remain anonymous.” [13]

The third nation in the South Caucasus, Armenia, is also part of plans by NATO to further integrate the strategically vital region and it too has been recruited for the Alliance’s expanding war in South Asia.

On August 21 the Armenian ambassador to NATO, Samvel Mkrtchyan, met with the bloc’s new Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and “said that Armenia is inclined to develop partnership ties with NATO” [14] and “Armenian servicemen will join the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan shortly.” [15]

The expansion of the Afghanistan-Pakistan war by Washington and NATO is pulling in regional states and increasingly vast tracts of Eurasia.

Last month General David Petraeus, Commander of the United States Central Command (CENTCOM), which is prosecuting the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, visited the former Soviet Central Asian republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. While in Kazakhstan, which shares borders with Russia and China, Petraeus met with his counterpart, Kazakh Minister of Defense Adilbek Zhaksybekov, and “discussions centered around building on the already strong strategic partnership that exists between Kazakhstan and the United States.” [16]

He also inspected the U.S. and NATO base at Manas in Kyrgyzstan, which had been closed to the Pentagon and its Alliance allies earlier this year, but the use of which was again secured by Petraeus in August.

On September 5 NATO is to begin a week-long multinational emergency management exercise in Kazakhstan which will include forces from the United States, Germany, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Armenia, Finland, Britain, Spain, Sweden, Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Ukraine. That is, a 20-nation exercise in Central Asia whose participants include six former Soviet republics and two former Yugoslav states.

In late August the Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the British Armed Forces led a delegation to Turkmenistan to discuss bilateral military cooperation.

The Afghan war is the center of a Western military operation that is broadening into wider and wider circles throughout Eurasia and in varying degrees taking in dozens of nations from the Chinese border and the Indian Ocean to the Black Sea and the Adriatic Sea. Nations being absorbed into this military transit, overflight, and troop recruitment and training network include all those in Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) and the South Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia), the Black Sea region (Georgia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine) and the Southern Balkans (Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia) in addition to Afghanistan and Pakistan. With the exception of the Central Asian states (so far), all of those nations mentioned above have sent troops to the war theater or soon will, Serbia alone possibly excepted.

Kuwait and Iraq are also used to transfer troops and equipment to the Afghan war zone.

The above nations include several that border Russia, China, Iran and Syria, four of a small handful of states in the world not subservient to the U.S. and its NATO and Asian NATO allies.

On August 30 it was reported that Bulgarian troops scheduled for deployment to Afghanistan are to train in neighboring Macedonia as part of “Bulgarian-Macedonian-American training in the framework of the Bulgarian-American” joint arrangement for use of the military base in Novo Selo in Bulgaria. [17] At roughly the same time U.S. National Guard troops were in Macedonia training the nation’s special forces is exercises that were described as “enriching and building the battle skills of both armies.” [18]

While U.S. and Bulgarian military personnel were training in Macedonia for NATO deployments to Afghanistan and elsewhere, Macedonian troops were participating in an exercise in Serbia “involving medical units…with the participation of officers and units of NATO forces and Partnership for Peace members states.” [19]

In the second half of last month American servicemen in the Joint Task Force-East, which is now based in Romania, trained with Bulgarian and Romanian opposite numbers “to build interoperability capabilities and develop relationships with other militaries in regional security cooperation.”

Drills were held in both Eastern European nations and “More than 3,800 Romanian, Bulgarian, U.S. troops and civilians [participated] in the three-month exercise.” [20]

The Pentagon and NATO have acquired seven new military bases in Bulgaria and Romania in recent years, including air bases for the transit of troops and weapons to Georgia and Afghanistan as well as for potential bombing runs against other nations such as Iran.

Last month a Bulgarian news source reported that the Pentagon “will invest in infrastructure and construction projects with a combined price tag of $45 million for their Bulgarian bases” in addition to budgeting $61.15 million a year ago for “construction works at its training area in Novo Selo.” [21]

Bulgaria and Romania face the western Black Sea across from Georgia and Abkhazia and offer the U.S. naval and air bases for current and future armed conflicts to the east and the south from the Caucasus to South Asia, the Persian Gulf to Northeast Africa.

Regarding Southeastern Europe in general, the new NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen last week identified the Balkans as a “top priority” and “said that his task is to get all of the Balkan countries into the Euro-Atlantic structure in the coming years.” [22]

In late August the U.S.’s European Command held a 40-nation exercise in Bosnia, Combined Endeavour 2009, to further integrate nations from the region and beyond into NATO. The chief military commander of NATO forces in Bosnia, Italian General Sabato Errico, said of the exercise that it was conducted “in the spirit of Partnership for Peace” and that “this exercise offers an excellent opportunity to focus on one of the key elements of the Partnership and the Alliance: interoperability. Allies and partners who participate in NATO-led collective security operations must be able to work together and to communicate effectively – exercises such as Combined Endeavour allow us to practice this.” [23]

Last week NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen visited Turkey and pressured his host to provide more troops for the Alliance’s war in Afghanistan, stating that the bloc’s deployment there would last “as long as it takes.” [24]

On the same day Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced that his country would be more than doubling its troops in Afghanistan from 795 to 1,600. At a joint press conference with NATO’s Rasmusssen, Davutoglu added, “We are appealing to NATO countries to take measures against the PKK,” alluding to the counterinsurgency war against the Kurdistan Workers Party. [25]


The war in Afghanistan is developing in intensity and in range, in depth and in width. The August 29 edition of the British newspaper The Independent reported that the top military commander of American and NATO troops in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, will demand 20,000 more Western soldiers for the war. That is, after last month’s elections, the excuse for what were presented as temporary U.S. and NATO buildups over the past several months. Other estimates range as high as 40,000 additional forces. [26]

The new Chief of the General Staff of the British Army, General David Richards, last year said “he wanted to see a surge of up to 30,000 troops in Afghanistan, including 5,000 more British soldiers” [27] and is now in a position to deliver on his demand.

Central Command Chief General Petraeus last month announced plans to launch an intelligence training center to be coordinated “with the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the (NATO) International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, and Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe” that will “train military officers, covert agents and analysts who agree to focus on Afghanistan and Pakistan for up to a decade.” [28]

Late last month it was announced that the Pentagon was reassigning its 3rd Special Forces Group (U.S. Army Special Forces), which has been deployed to sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean, and now the “3rd Special Forces Group will be responsible for Afghanistan and Pakistan under a realignment of where the Army’s Special Forces groups operate.”

Moreover, “The 3rd Group’s new area of orientation will include the eastern and northern Middle East, which includes Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.” [29]

U.S. Marines and Green Berets have become regular fixtures in the Balkans, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Iraq, Kuwait and the Horn of Africa over the past decade. With the widening of the Afghan war they are soon to take up permanent residence in the capital of Pakistan, in the Caucasus, in the Black Sea region and the Caspian Sea Basin among other locales.

1) Trend News Agency, August 24, 2009
2) Associated Press, August 21, 2009
3) Bloomberg News, August 27, 2009
4) Ibid
5) Interfax, August 28, 2009
6) Civil Georgia, September 1, 2009
7) Trend News Agency, August 31, 2009
8) Georgia Ministry of Defence, September 2, 2009
9) Georgia Ministry of Defence, September 2, 2009
10) Azeri Press Agency, September 1, 2009
11) Trend News Agency, September 1, 2009
12) Azeri Press Agency, September 1, 2009
13) Interfax-Azerbaijan, August 31, 2009
14), August 24, 2009
15), August 24, 2009
16) Partnership for Peace Information Management System, August 24, 2009
17) Focus News Agency, August 30, 2009
18) Makfax, August 26, 2009
19) Makfax, August 31, 2009
20) United States European Command, August 21, 2009
21), August 22, 2009
22) Tanjug News Agency, August 28, 2009
23) Southeast European Times, August 24, 2009
24) Deutsche Welle, August 28, 2009
25) Trend News Agency, August 28, 2009
26) Russia Today, September 1, 2009
27) Trend News Agency, August 28, 2009
28) Washington Times, August 24, 2009
29) Fayetteville Observer, August 27, 2009

Categories: Uncategorized

AFRICOM: Pentagon Prepares Direct Military Intervention In Africa

September 2, 2009 Leave a comment

August 24, 2009

AFRICOM: Pentagon Prepares Direct Military Intervention In Africa
by Rick Rozoff

The 2009 World Population Data Sheet published by the Washington, D.C.-based Population Reference Bureau states that the population of the African continent has surpassed one billion. Africans now account for over a seventh of the human race

Africa’s 54 nations are 28% of the 192 countries in the world.

The size and location of the continent along with its human and natural resources – oil, natural gas, gold, diamonds, uranium, cobalt, chromium, platinum, timber, cotton, food products – make it an increasingly important part of a world that is daily becoming more integrated and interdependent.

Africa is also the last continent to free itself from colonial domination. South America broke free of Spanish and Portuguese control in the beginning of the 1800s (leaving only the three Guianas – British, Dutch and French – still colonized) and the post-World War II decolonization of Asia that started with former British East India in 1947 was almost complete by the late 1950s.

Sub-Saharan Africa was not to liberate most of its territory from Belgian, British, French, Spanish and Portuguese colonial masters until the 1960s and 1970s. And the former owners were reluctant to cede newly created African nations any more than nominal independence and the ability to choose their own internal socio-economic orientation and foreign policy alignment.

In the two decades of the African independence struggle the continent was marred by Western-backed coups d’etat and assassinations of liberation leaders which included those against Patrice Lumumba in the former Belgian Congo in 1961, Ben Barka in Morocco in 1965, Kwame Nkrumah in Ghana in 1966, Eduardo Mondlane in Mozambique in 1969, Amilcar Cabral in Guinea-Bissau in 1973 and Marien Ngouabi in the Republic of the Congo (Brazzaville) in 1977.

In his latest Anti-Empire Report veteran political analyst William Blum wrote, “the next time you hear that Africa can’t produce good leaders, people who are committed to the welfare of the masses of their people, think of Nkrumah and his fate. And think of Patrice Lumumba, overthrown in the Congo 1960-61 with the help of the United States; Agostinho Neto of Angola, against whom Washington waged war in the 1970s, making it impossible for him to institute progressive changes; Samora Machel of Mozambique against whom the CIA supported a counter-revolution in the 1970s-80s period; and Nelson Mandela of South Africa (now married to Machel’s widow), who spent 28 years in prison thanks to the CIA.” [1]

Some of Blum’s references are to a series of proxy wars supported by the United States and its NATO allies and in some instances apartheid South Africa and the Mobutu Sese Seko regime in Zaire in the mid-1970s and the 1980s, such as arming and training the National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA) and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), the unspeakably brutal Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO), and Eritrean and Tigrayan armed separatists in Ethiopia as well as backing the Somali invasion of the Ogaden Desert in that country in 1977.

Over the past five years French troops and bombers have waged deadly attacks inside Cote d’Ivoire, Chad and the Central African Republic either in support of or against rebels, always in furtherance of France’s own geopolitical objectives. In the second application of the so-called Blair Doctrine, in 2000 Britain sent troops to its former colony of Sierra Leone and has de facto recolonized the nation, taking control of its military and internal security forces.

In the post-World War II period direct U.S. military actions have to date been limited to the deadly 1986 air strikes against Libya in April of 1986, Operation El Dorado Canyon, and equally deadly actions in and against Somalia from 1993 to the present day.

While conducting wars, bombings, military interventions and invasions in Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia, the Middle East and recently Southeastern Europe over the past half century, the Pentagon has left the African continent comparatively unscathed. That is going to change after the establishment of the United States Africa Command on October 1 of 2007 and its activation a year later.

The U.S. has intensified military involvement in Africa over the past seven years with such projects as the Pan Sahel Initiative (PSI), launched by the State Department but which deployed American Army Special Forces with the Special Operations Command Europe to Mali and Mauritania among other locations. U.S. military personnel are still engaged in the counterinsurgency wars in Mali and Niger against Tuareg rebels.

The Pan Sahel Initiative was succeeded by the Trans-Saharan Counterterrorism Initiative (TSCTI) in late 2004 which has American military personnel assigned to eleven African nations: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal.

The Trans-Saharan Counterterrorism Initiative was formally launched in June of 2005 with the deployment of 1,000 American troops, among them Green Berets, in Operation Flintlock 05 in North and West Africa to engage with counterparts from seven nations: Algeria, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Tunisia.

Until their transfer to the Africa Command (AFRICOM) all 53 nations on the continent except for those in the Horn of Africa (assigned to Central Command) and the island nations of Madagascar and the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean (handled by Pacific Command) were within the area of responsibility of the European Command (EUCOM), whose top commander is simultaneously the Supreme Allied Commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

As such the past two EUCOM and NATO commanders, Marine General James Jones (2003-2006) and Army General Bantz John Craddock (2006-June, 2009), were the most instrumental in setting up AFRICOM.

Jones is now U.S. National Security Advisor and at this February’s Munich Security Conference opened his speech with “As the most recent National Security Advisor of the United States, I take my daily orders from Dr. [Henry] Kissinger.” [2]

In 2008, while serving as State Department special envoy for Middle East security and chairman of the Atlantic Council of the United States, Jones said, “[A]s commander of NATO, I worried early in the mornings about how to protect energy facilities and supply chain routes as far away as Africa, the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea.” [3]

Shortly before stepping down from his military posts with NATO and the Pentagon “NATO’s top commander of operations, U.S. General James Jones, has said he sees a potential role for the alliance in protecting key shipping lanes such as those around the Black Sea and oil supply routes from Africa to Europe.” [4]

Three years ago a Pentagon website documented that “Officials at U.S. European Command spend between 65 to 70 percent of their time on African issues, [James] Jones said….Establishing such a group [military task force in West Africa] could also send a message to U.S. companies ‘that investing in many parts of Africa is a good idea,’ the general said.” [5)

During the final months of his dual tenure as NATO’s and EUCOM’s top military commander, Jones transitioned Africa from EUCOM’s to AFRICOM’s control while also expanding the role of NATO on the continent.

In June of 2006 the Alliance launched its global Rapid Response Force with its first large-scale military exercises off the coast of the former Portuguese possession of Cape Verde, in the Atlantic Ocean west of Senegal.

U.S press reports of the time offered these details:

“Hundreds of elite North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) troops backed by fighter planes and warships will storm a tiny volcanic island off Africa’s Atlantic coast this week in what the Western alliance hopes will prove a potent demonstration of its ability to project power around the world.” [6]

“Seven thousand NATO troops conducted war games on the Atlantic Ocean island of Cape Verde on Thursday in the latest sign of the alliance’s growing interest in playing a role in Africa.

“The land, air and sea exercises were NATO’s first major deployment in Africa and designed to show the former Cold War giant can launch far-flung military operations at short notice.

“‘You are seeing the new NATO, the one that has the ability to project stability,’ said NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told a news conference after NATO troops stormed a beach on one of the islands on the archipelago in a mock assault on a fictitious terrorist camp.

“NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe James Jones, the alliance soldier in charge of NATO operations, said he hoped the two-week Cape Verde exercises would help break down negative images about NATO in Africa and elsewhere.” [7]

NATO’s first operation in Africa had occurred a year earlier in May of 2005 when the bloc transported African Union troops to the Darfur region of Sudan, at the crossroads of a war-riven region composed of the Central African Republic, Chad and Sudan.

The Alliance has since deployed warships to the Horn of Africa and the Gulf of Aden, last year with Operation Allied Protector, and this August 17 NATO announced that it was dispatching British, Greek, Italian, Turkish and U.S. warships to the area for a new mission, Operation Ocean Shield. These operations don’t consist of mere surveillance and escort roles but include regular forced boardings, sniper attacks and other uses of armed and often lethal force.

On August 22 a Netherlands contingent of the complementary European Union naval force off Somalia used an attack helicopter against a vessel in the area which subsequently was taken over by troops from a Norwegian warship.

Over three years before, now U.S. National Security Adviser and then NATO chief military commander James Jones addressing what was his major “national security” concern at the time, “raised the prospect of NATO taking a role to counter piracy off the coast of the Horn of Africa and the Gulf of Guinea, especially when it threatens energy supply routes to Western nations.” [8]

A month later both he and NATO’s then top civilian leader, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, reiterated the above commitment.

“NATOs’ [commanders] are ready to use warships to ensure the security of offshore oil and gas transportation routes from Western Africa, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, NATO’s Secretary General, reportedly said speaking at a session of the foreign committee of PACE [Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe].

“On April 30 General James Jones, commander-in-chief of NATO in Europe, reportedly said NATO was going to draw up a plan for ensuring the security of oil and gas industry facilities.

“In this respect the bloc is willing to ensure security in unstable regions where oil and gas are produced and transported.” [9]

Two months earlier a U.S. Defense Department news source reported this from Jones:

“U.S. Naval Forces Europe, (the command’s) lead component in this initiative, has developed a robust maritime security strategy and regional 10-year campaign plan for the Gulf of Guinea region.

“Africa’s vast potential makes African stability a near-term global strategic imperative.” [10]

Jones “raised the prospect of NATO taking a role to counter piracy off the coast of the Horn of Africa and the Gulf of Guinea, especially when it threatens energy supply routes to Western nations” in April of 2006 and the Pentagon and NATO have followed through on his pledge and exactly in those two opposite ends of Africa.

At article a few days ago by Daniel Volman, director of the African Security Research Project in Washington, DC, called “Africa: U.S. Military Holds War Games on Nigeria, Somalia” provided details on how far plans by James Jones and the Pentagon have progressed over the past three years.

Working with what sketchy information that had been made public about Unified Quest 2008, last year’s rendition of what the U.S. Army website described in an article of this year under the title of and as “Army war games for future conflicts” [11], conducted by the United States Army War College, Volman’s article included this information:

“In addition to U.S. military officers and intelligence officers, Unified Quest 2008 brought together participants from the State Department and other U.S. government agencies, academics, journalists, and foreign military officers (including military representatives from several NATO countries, Australia, and Israel), along with the private military contractors who helped run the war games: the Rand Corporation and Booz-Allen.

“The list of options for the Nigeria scenario ranged from diplomatic pressure to military action, with or without the aid of European and African nations. One participant, U.S. Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Mark Stanovich, drew up a plan that called for the deployment of thousands of U.S. troops within 60 days….

“Among scenarios examined during the game were the possibility of direct American military intervention involving some 20,000 U.S. troops in order to ’secure the oil,’ and the question of how to handle possible splits between factions within the Nigerian government. The game ended without military intervention because one of the rival factions executed a successful coup and formed a new government that sought stability.

“[W]hen General Ward [AFRICOM commander] appeared before the House Armed Services Committee on March 13, 2008, he cited America’s growing dependence on African oil as a priority issue for Africom and went on to proclaim that combating terrorism would be ‘Africom’s number one theater-wide goal.’ He barely mentioned development, humanitarian aid, peacekeeping or conflict resolution. [12]

In addition to nations already shelled, targeted and threatened like Somalia, Sudan, Zimbabwe and Eritrea, even long-time and staunch U.S. military allies like Nigeria are not beyond the reach of hostile Pentagon actions. Nigeria is the main power in the fifteen-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which over the past nine years has deployed troops to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire on the request of the West, but that loyalty will not protect it when its own moment arrives.

The U.S. has employed other countries as regional military proxies – Ethiopia and Djibouti in Northeast Africa, Rwanda in Central Africa, Kenya in both – and has designs on South Africa, Senegal and Liberia for similar purposes.

Since its establishment in October of 2007 AFRICOM has lost little time in marking out the Pentagon’s new continent.

Even prior to its formal activation the Pentagon conducted the Africa Endeavor 2008 23-nation military exercise with forces from Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sweden, Uganda, the U.S. and Zambia as well as representatives from ECOWAS and the African Union. [13]

The operation was held under the auspices of the U.S. European Command at the time as AFRICOM wasn’t activated until October of that year but it included the participation of the then fledgling AFRICOM and U.S. Marine Forces Europe (MARFOREUR), U.S. Air Forces in Europe and the Marine Headquarters, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa [14], but “Next year’s exercise will be sponsored by U.S. Africa Command.” [15]

This January the U.S. Department of Defense announced that “The U.S. Army Southern European Task Force [SETAF] officially has assumed its new role as the Army component for U.S. Africa Command.”

The Pentagon web site from which the above quote is taken also provided this background information and portents of the future:

“Since the 1990s, SETAF has worked with African nations to conduct military training and provide humanitarian relief in countries such as Liberia, Rwanda, Uganda, Congo and the former Zaire. [Congo is the former Zaire, as Zaire was the former Belgian Congo]

“In the coming years, SETAF, operating as U.S. Army Africa, will continue to grow and build capacity to meet the requirements needed to coordinate all U.S. Army activities in Africa.

“[U.S. Army Africa] is not an episodic, flash in the pan, noncombative evacuation operation.” [16]

In the same month, demonstrating another new AFRICOM component and the continent-wide reach of the American military and its recently acquired client states, it was reported that “Air Force C-17s will soon begin airlifting special equipment for Rwandan Peacekeepers in the Darfur region of Sudan, marking the kickoff of the first major operation engineered by U.S. Africa Command’s air component, Seventeenth Air Force, also known as U.S. Air Forces Africa.” [17]

This May the newspaper of the American Armed Forces, Stars and Stripes, carried a feature on joint U.S.-British training of the Rwandan army, one which bears a large part of the blame for the deaths of over five million Congolese since 1998: The biggest loss of life in a nation related to armed conflict since tens of millions of Chinese and Soviets were killed during World War II.

Rwandan and Ugandan troops invaded Congo in 1998 and triggered ongoing cross-border fighting which persists to this day. Rwanda and Uganda are both U.S. and British military client states.

The Stars and Stripes feature detailed that American instructors “are currently working with a team from the British army to train instructors with the Rwandan army. Those instructors will then train their own troops — many of whom will serve as peacekeepers in places such as Sudan.” [18]

It quoted a British officer, Maj. Charles Malet, who “leads a contingent of British forces based in Kenya,” as saying “We’ve been producing short-term training in this part of the world for a long, long time. [U.S. Africa Command] has stood [up]. It’s great to link up and provide a sort of introduction.” [19]

The training of the Rwandan armed forces by the United States and its NATO allies has less to do with Darfur than it does with devastated Congo.

In November of 2008 the United Nations reported that “Rwandan forces fired tank shells and other heavy artillery across the border at Congolese troops during fighting” [20] which began when former Congolese general Laurent Nkunda staged an armed rebellion in the east of the country which led to the displacement of 200,000 civilians.

The BBC revealed at the time that “journalists report that some of Laurent Nkunda’s rebel fighters are in the pay of the Rwandan army.

“This has renewed fears that the fighting will see a re-run of the five-year Congolese war, which involved nine nations, before it ended in 2003.” [21]

The British Financial Times conducted interviews with “former rebels and observers on the ground” who said that “the uprising – led by Laurent Nkunda, the renegade former Congolese general – relies heavily on recruitment in Rwanda and former or even active Rwandan soldiers.”

Referring to Rwandan President Paul Kagame, the report added, “Mr Nkunda and Rwanda’s government, military and business elite share a history….Mr Nkunda, a Congolese Tutsi, was an intelligence officer in the guerrilla army that Mr Kagame, a Rwandan Tutsi, used to…seize power.

“Mr Kagame launched invasions of Congo in 1996 and 1998 and supported uprisings….” [22]

The following month a U.S. congressional delegation “traveled to Rwanda and Ethiopia to meet with U.S. ambassadors, AFRICOM officials and various ministers of each country, including Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and Rwanda Foreign Minister Charles Murigande.” [23]

Ethiopia invaded Somalia on America’s behest three years ago and Rwanda’s repeated incursions into Congo could not have occurred without a green light from Washington.

As a Ugandan commentary at the time of the latest attack on Congo from Rwanda stated, “London, New York and Paris are among the top consumers of minerals from Congo. They lecture humanity on the need to uphold human rights and the sanctity of property rights whilst their thirst for strategic minerals unleashes terror on innocent women and children in Eastern Congo.” [24]

Last week an AFRICOM spokesman announced that “The United States military will be sending experts to the war-torn eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo this week.” The initial deployment will be small, he added, but “more may follow….” [25] AFRICOM would be better advised to monitor the activities of the Rwandan military it trains and arms.

Also last week the Pentagon stated it was deploying “unmanned reconnaissance aircraft in the skies above the Seychelles archipelago” in the Indian Ocean near Madagascar and AFRICOM commander General William Ward said, “We have the recent arrival of our P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft that will aid in conducting the surveillance of Seychelles territorial waters and as we look into the future, (we will) bring unmanned surveillance vehicles.” [26]

Two days later Ward said “that the rise of radical Islamist militant group al-Shabab in Somalia makes East Africa a central focus of the U.S. military on the continent.”

Voice of America added:

“General William Ward has pledged continued support to Somalia’s transitional federal government….He made his remarks during a visit to Nairobi, Kenya, which is a key U.S. ally in region.” [27]

Until last October Africa was the only continent other than Australia and Antarctica without a U.S. military command. The fact that one has now been established indicates that Africa has achieved heightened importance for the Pentagon and its Western military allies.

An analysis of why Africa is a major focus of attention and why now rather than earlier was provided by U.S.-based writer Paul I. Adujie in the New Liberian on August 21:

“America’s Africa Command, in conceptual terms and actual implementation, is not intended to serve Africa’s best interests. It just happens that Africa has grown in geopolitical and geo-economic importance to America and her allies. Africa has been there all along.

“There were, for instance, reports of how the American military, acting supposedly in partnership or cooperation with the Nigerian military, literally took over Nigerian Defense Headquarters….

“It is probably important to mention that the United States already operates at least three other commands, namely, the European Command (EUCOM), Central Command (CENTCOM) and Pacific Command (PACOM), therefore the Africa Command or (AFRICOM) will be the fourth leg of US military global spread.

“America’s Africa Command is…machinery for Western governments to pursue their vaunted economic, political and hegemonic hemispheric influence at the expense of Africans as well as a backdoor through which Westerners can outmaneuver rivals such as China and perhaps Russia in addition.” [28]

1) The Anti-Empire Report, August 4th, 2009
2) Real Clear Politics, February 8, 2009
3) Agence France-Presse, November 30, 2008
4) Reuters, November 27, 2006
5) U.S. Department of Defense, August 18, 2006
6) Associated Press, June 21, 2006
7) Reuters, June 22, 2006
8) Associated Press, April 24, 2006
9) Trend News Agency, May 3, 2006
10) U.S. Department of Defense, March 8, 2006
11), May 6, 2009
12), August 14, 2009
13) United States European Command, July 29, 2008
14) United States European Command, July 16, 2008
15) United States European Command, July 29, 2008
16) U.S. Department of Defense, American Forces Press Service, January 28, 2009
17) U.S. Air Forces in Europe, January 9, 2009
18) Stars And Stripes, May 24, 2009
19) Ibid
20) Associated Press, November 3, 2008
21) BBC News, November 13, 2008
22) Financial Times, November 11, 2008
23) Times-Journal, December 8, 2008
24) Sunday Monitor (Uganda), November 9, 2008
25) Daily Nation (Kenya), August 18, 2009
26) Reuters, August 19, 2009
27) Voice of America News, August 21, 2009
28) New Liberian, August 21, 2009

Categories: Uncategorized

Pentagon Intensifies Plans For Global Military Supremacy: U.S., NATO Could Deploy Mobile Missiles Launchers To Europe

September 2, 2009 Leave a comment

August 22, 2009

Pentagon Intensifies Plans For Global Military Supremacy:
U.S., NATO Could Deploy Mobile Missiles Launchers To Europe
Rick Rozoff

From August 17-20 the annual U.S. Space and Missile Defense Conference was conducted in Huntsville, Alabama, which hosts the headquarters of the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency (MDA).

Among the over 2,000 participants were the Missile Defense Agency’s new director, Army Lieutenant General Patrick O’Reilly, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine General James Cartwright, commander of the Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command Army Lieutenant General Kevin Campbell and NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) Administrator Charles Bolden Jr.

There were also 230 exhibitors present, among them the nation’s major arms manufacturers with an emphasis on those weapons companies specializing in global missile shield and space war projects. The presence of the head of NASA indicated that the distinction between the military and civilian uses of space is rapidly disappearing. As the Bloomberg news agency reported on the second day of this year, “President-elect Barack Obama will probably tear down long-standing barriers between the U.S.’s civilian and military space programs to speed up a mission to the moon amid the prospect of a new space race with China” and “Obama’s transition team is considering a collaboration between the Defense Department and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration….” [1] The recently appointed NASA chief, Bolden, is a retired Marine Corps general.

47,500-Pound Missile Launcher Headed To NATO Bases In Europe?

A Reuters dispatch of August 20 on the Huntsville Space and Missile Defense Conference reported that the Boeing Company’s vice president and general manager for missile defense, Greg Hyslop, announced to the conference that his company “is eyeing a 47,500-pound interceptor that could be flown to NATO bases as needed on Boeing-built C-17 cargo planes, erected quickly on a 60-foot trailer stand and taken home when judged safe to do so.”

Boeing displayed a scale-model version of a mobile “two-stage interceptor designed to be globally deployable within 24 hours….” [2]

The company executive made an allusion to the fixed-site ground-based interceptor deployment planned for Poland as being politically risky – the majority of Poles oppose it if their government doesn’t and Russian officials have persistently pledged to take countermeasures if the U.S. goes ahead with the project – and the above-cited Reuters report endorses the mobile interceptor proposal by claiming it could “blunt Russian fears of possible U.S. fixed missile-defense sites in Europe.” [3]

How substituting a mobile missile launcher “globally deployable within 24 hours” for ten missiles permanently stationed in Poland at a location known to Russia would assuage the latter’s concerns over its deterrence and retaliation capabilities being neutralized in the event of a U.S. and NATO first strike was not explained by either the Boeing official or Reuters.

Later in the same day the First Deputy Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic Tomas Pojar gave the lie to the Boeing subterfuge by insisting that a “possible U.S. mobile anti-missile shield does not threaten the U.S. plans to build a radar base on Czech soil because the system is to be a combination of fixed and mobile elements” and that “The whole system will always function based on the combination of fixed and mobile elements (including many radars) that will complement one another. It is not possible otherwise.” [4]

Missile Defense: Ruse And Reality

As regards the incontestable fact that American and NATO plans for the deployment of interceptor missiles and complementary radar facilities in Europe are not and could not be designed to protect the United States and Western Europe from imaginary Iranian intercontinental ballistic missiles and equally non-existent nuclear warheads, even the vice chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff General James Cartwright was forced to concede the point at the space and missile defense conference this week.

In relation to the U.S.’s “capability to take on 15 inbound intercontinental ballistic missiles simultaneously using the 30 GBI’s [ground-based interceptors] being placed in silos at Fort Greely, Alaska, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California,” Cartwright in a moment of rare candor stated, “That’s a heck of a lot more than a rogue nation could fire.” [5]

To demonstrate that interceptor missiles and associated radar components of a worldwide Star Wars system – the current U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is an outgrowth of the Ronald Reagan administration’s 1983 Strategic Defense Initiative and since 2002 has been the successor organization to the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization launched in 1993 – are intended for incorporation into a far wider-ranging project than what they are publicly acknowledged to be used for, at this week’s conference in Alabama MDA’s director Lieutenant General Patrick O’Reilly addressed one of the space facets of his agency’s plans and spoke of the inauguration of the Space Tracking and Surveillance System (STSS) which will include two demonstration satellites to be launched next month. [6]

And in respect to the ground-based components of U.S. and NATO missile shield deployments in Eastern Europe, plans for their stationing have never been disavowed by American officials, neither President Barack Obama nor Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The only reservations expressed in Washington about positioning missiles and missile radar precariously close to Russia’s borders are the proven viability and cost effectiveness of such deployments.

Broadening The Scope Of U.S.-NATO Missile Shield Plans

On July 30th Assistant Secretary of Defense Alexander Vershbow told U.S. congressmen “The site in Poland and the radar in the Czech Republic are among the options that are being considered, together with other options that might be able to perform the mission as well” and Associated Press on that date wrote that “Vershbow said the missile defense review will look at a range of options, but will not take Russia’s objection into account.” [7]

The “other options” all along have been a broader and not narrower undertaking, that of integrating American missile shield sites into a continent-wide system with NATO.

The recent recommendation of a mobile, rapid deployable interceptor missile model may well be what is intended, again to reinforce rather than supplant bilateral arrangements between the U.S. and Poland and the Czech Republic.

Almost thirty years ago to the day Washington first proposed a mobile missile initiative that if implemented might have proven to be one of the most dangerous moves in the 45-year Cold War.

MX: Washington’s First Project For Mobile Missile Launchers

In a speech on September 7, 1979 U.S. President Jimmy Carter, indicating a qualitative escalation of strategic deployments in the second half of his term that would pave the way for further aggressive actions by his successor Ronald Reagan, announced that:

“My administration is now embarked on a program to modernize and to improve the ability of our entire strategic triad, all three systems, to survive any attack. Our bomber force is being strengthened with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. Our strategic submarine force is being upgraded by Trident submarines and Trident missiles. However, as a result of increasing accuracy of strategic systems, fixed land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles or ICBM’s located in silos, such as our Minuteman, are becoming vulnerable to attack. A mobile ICBM system will greatly reduce this vulnerability.”

He was referring to the MX missile system and described it in outline as one that would “consist of 200 missile transporters or launchers, each capable of rapid movement on a special roadway connecting approximately 23 horizontal shelters.”

The full scale of the project was to have included a circular railroad track on which more than 200 missiles would be rotated into 4,600 shelters along the circumference in Utah and Nevada.

During the delicate and often hair-trigger days of the Cold War when peace and the survival of the planet and its inhabitants depended not only on mutual trust but on each side – the U.S. and the Soviet Union – being able to know what the other possessed and where it possessed it, especially launchers for intercontinental ballistic missiles equipped with nuclear warheads, Carter’s MX missile adventurism, had it implemented, may have brought the world closer to the brink of nuclear annihilation than it had ever been before.

For although Carter and his grey eminence, the ruthless geopolitician and pathological Russophobe Zbigniew Brzezinski, employed the artifice of defending the U.S. against an alleged Soviet first strike threat, in fact they intended to confront the USSR. with almost 5,000 new sites to target. The current total Russian strategic arsenal is exactly that number.

The 1979 SALT (Strategic Arms Limitation Talks) called for both sides to reduce their delivery vehicles (ICBM silos, submarine missile-launch tubes and strategic bombers) to 2,250. That number is less than half of the missile shelters the MX project would have constructed.

The MX system and complementary nuclear weapons initiatives with NATO in Europe were intended to accomplish one or both of two objectives: To be able to win (whatever that verb could mean in the most horrifying of all contexts) a nuclear war and to force the Soviet Union to spend itself into bankruptcy, the dual goal that was pursued even more assertively by Carter’s replacement Ronald Reagan and his Strategic Defense Initiative (Star Wars) project begun in 1983. (Reagan would transform the MX project into what only his administration could call the Peacekeeper fixed-site missile, each carrying 10 re-entry vehicles armed with 300-kiloton warheads.)

1979: NATO’s Expanded Nuclear Deployments In Europe

The month after Carter announced his commitment to the MX missile program, in October of 1979 NATO adopted a resolution that recommended modernization of NATO’s long-range theater-nuclear forces. 108 Pershing II missile and 464 ground-launched cruise missile launchers were to be deployed in Western Europe “To enhance the deterrence posture of NATO and to provide for a contingency in which the actual use of NATO’s nuclear-capable systems might become necessary….” [8]

The beginning of the Soviet Union’s deployment of SS-20 medium-range missiles was the justification for the stationing of an additional 572 nuclear warheads in Europe. How serious a threat Soviet missile attacks on Western Europe, much less the United States, were was demonstrated twelve years later when the nation unilaterally dissolved itself.

In December a meeting of NATO defense and foreign ministers formalized the plans and NATO Secretary General Joseph Luns revealed that the Pershing IIs and nuclear cruise missiles would be based in the Federal Republic of Germany, Italy, Britain and possibly Belgium and the Netherlands.

In June of 1980 the NATO Nuclear Planning Group met in Norway and “Following a briefing by the United States Secretary of Defence [Harold Brown], Ministers discussed strategic policy and planning concerning central strategic and theatre nuclear forces in support of the Alliance. Against this background, Ministers noted the continuing importance of improving the effectiveness of the full spectrum of Alliance forces, i.e. conventional, theatre nuclear and strategic nuclear forces, and of maintaining the essential linkage between these elements of the NATO triad.” [9]

One of the chief purposes of the founding of NATO in April of 1949 – months before the Soviet Union tested its first atomic bomb in August of that year – was to allow the U.S. to station some of the nuclear weapons of which it had a monopoly in Europe. Although Washington’s arsenal of nuclear warheads in Europe was drastically reduced after the end of the Cold War, American nuclear weapons remain on the continent, by some estimates several hundred.

NATO’s Supreme Guarantee: Strategic Nuclear Forces

NATO’s Strategic Concept adopted in 1999 states that “The supreme guarantee of the security of the Allies is provided by the strategic nuclear forces of the Alliance, particularly those of the United States….Nuclear forces based in Europe and committed to NATO provide an essential political and military link between the European and the North American members of the Alliance. The Alliance will therefore maintain adequate nuclear forces in Europe.”

A new version is being crafted currently, with former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright heading up the group preparing it. In announcing the launching of that initiative, NATO reiterated that “The Strategic Concept is the authoritative statement of the Alliance’s objectives and provides the highest level of guidance on the political and military means to be used in achieving them.” [10]

Each summit and several ministerial and Military Committee meetings over the past decade have reaffirmed the Alliance’s dedication to the deployment and use of nuclear weapons in Europe.

As one of Turkey’s main daily newspapers, Zaman, said this July 31, “NATO rules allow for the possible use of nuclear weapons against targets in Russia or countries in the Middle East such as Syria and Iran….” [11]

A Time magazine report last year claimed that “The U.S. keeps an estimated 350 thermonuclear bombs in six NATO countries. In four of those — Belgium, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands — the weapons are stored at the host nation’s air bases, where they are guarded by specially trained U.S. military personnel.” [12]

When Boeing announced that it is prepared to assist in moving a nearly 50,000-pound mobile missile launcher – deployable internationally within 24 hours – to various NATO bases in Europe, it’s important to recall that many of those bases house nuclear warheads.

Pentagon’s, NATO’s New Bases In Eastern Europe: Threat To Russia

Were an interceptor missile – launched from a fixed site in Poland or from a proposed mobile missile launcher most anywhere in Europe – to approach Russia’s border by accident or design, the effect would be the same as that warned of by Russian military officials when the George W. Bush administration announced plans to equip ICBMs with conventional warheads.

No one in Moscow would have the luxury of waiting to see if a mushroom cloud blossomed over the Russian capital. The nation’s political and military leaders would do what their counterparts in any other nation, the U.S. most assuredly, would do. They would assume the worst and respond accordingly. That is, they would retaliate with strategic forces.

There are no NATO bases per se although there are bases in several European nations from Britain to Turkey that have been used by the bloc over for decades, and nowadays military bases in most every part of Europe are at the disposal of NATO collectively and the U.S. individually. Over the past ten years numerous new ones have become available in Eastern Europe, particularly in nations that border the Baltic and Black Seas, as does Russia in both cases.

American and NATO missile shield plans for Europe, inextricably connected as they are with a global interceptor missile network and the militarization of space, don’t exist in a strategic vacuum.

Verification Safeguards, Weapons Limitations: U.S. To Let START Die Russia Fears Nuclear First Strike

This year has marked several parallel moves by the West to achieve worldwide military – including nuclear – supremacy, especially ahead of the expiration of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I) this December 5.

Two years ago Reuters reported that “The United States plans to let a landmark nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia expire in 2009 and replace it with a less formal agreement that eliminates strict verification requirements and weapons limits, a senior US official says.”

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Paula DeSutter is quoted as asserting that the major provisions of the treaty “are no longer necessary. We don’t believe we’re in a place where we need have to have the detailed lists (of weapons) and verification measures.” [13]

A Russian commentary of last December made the connection between the lack of a replacement for the START agreement and Washington’s missile shield designs and warned that “Lack of such agreement and deployment of a U.S. missile defense system may undermine strategic parity between the Russian Federation and the U.S. The potential enemy’s considerable superiority in the number of warheads is greatly increasing the risk of a disarming first strike, and the surviving missiles may not be enough to penetrate missile defenses and inflict unacceptable damage on the aggressor.” [14]

This March the Council on Foreign Relations conducted an interview with Russian defense analyst Pavel Felgenhauer (who is of a decidedly pro-Western bent) in which he said that Russia believes “that nuclear missiles will be deployed in Poland near Russia and these nuclear missiles will have also a first-strike capability and could hit Moscow before [Russia’s response] could get airborne, so this is going to actually be seen not so much as missile defense as a deployment of first-strike capability.

“The Russian military has been telling its political leaders that this missile plan is actually not what the Americans say it is. The Russian military says that these missiles will be nuclear armed because the Russian military doesn’t believe that non-nuclear defensive missiles are possible.” [15]

Prompt Global Strike: Missiles To Strike Anywhere On Earth In 35 Minutes

Regarding another U.S. plan to upset global military parity and further endanger world peace – the Prompt Global Strike initiative approved by Congress two years ago – it has been characterized as being able to “provide the US with the capability to strike virtually anywhere on the face of the earth within 60 minutes.

“Experts warn this could unleash a new spiral of the arms race and [is] fraught with unpredictable consequences.

“The Americans’ action is seen as a threat to everyone.

“They can take any potential enemy, Russia included, in their crosshairs and if treaties like START 1 and others are not extended, there will be no more curbs left…to prevent the development of new deadly weapons all leading to a new round of the arms race.” [16]

Another warning concerning Prompt Global Strike was issued by a Russian source two years ago: “The programme has been prompted by a US new strategy in the making, a strategy that proceeds from building a potential for delivering a first strike involving non-nuclear arms anywhere in the world within just one hour’s time.

“Two projects are due to be carried out within the programme.

“The first has to do with arming Trident sea-based missiles with conventional charges, while the second is about building a new super speed cruise missile.” [17]

Shortly afterward a major British newspaper in an article titled “US plans new space weapons against China” revealed that “Congress awarded $150 million for the Falcon project [hypersonic technology vehicle] and its associated prompt global strike programme. A defence industry source said it was likely that hundreds of millions more were being spent on space warfare ‘away from the public view.’

“The ‘global strike’ platform would give America the ‘forward presence it requires around the world without the need for bases outside the US.

“The Pentagon is spending billions of dollars on new forms of space warfare to counter the growing risk of missile attack from rogue states and the ‘satellite killer’ capabilities of China.” [18]

Prompt Global Strike includes two main weapons, a conventional strike missile and an advanced hypersonic weapon, “a high-speed, missile-launched vehicle that could hit targets anywhere on Earth within 35 minutes.” [19]

Another Russian alarm was sounded at about the same time, one whose operative word is orbital: “Despite the obvious threat to civilization the United States may soon acquire orbital weapons under the Prompt Global Strike plan. They will give it the capacity to deal a conventional strike virtually anywhere in the world within an hour.” [20]

This year has been a portentous one so far in several other regards when it comes to the Pentagon’s plans for uncontested global military domination.

U.S. Navy Launches Missile Defense Command, Air Force Consolidates Nuclear Global Strike Command, Air Force Space Command Establishes Cyberwarfare Unit, MDA Boosts Laser Warfare Capacity

On April 30 the U.S. Navy established an Air and Missile Defense Command. Speaking on the occasion at the Naval Support Facility in Dahlgren, Virginia, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet Adm. Robert F. Willard said, “We’re on a quest to field a naval capability that is equally adept servicing national missile defense of the United States, regional missile defense for our allies and friends abroad and theater defense for our forward fighting forces.” [21]

The Aegis combat system which has equipped the U.S. and its allies (to date Norway, Spain, Australia, Japan and South Korea) with sea-based interceptor radar and missiles is administered by the U.S. Navy.

On August 7 the U.S. Air Force launched a Global Strike Command which combines all American ICBMs and nuclear-capable bombers, which includes new generation super-stealth warplanes capable of evading the radar and penetrating the air defenses of countries targeted for devastating first strikes.

Eleven days later, August 18, the U.S. Air Force Space Command “activated a new unit…to better organize space and cyberspace capabilities”

To illustrate what purposes space and cyberspace are to play in future warfighting plans, the Space Command’s top military officer, Gen. C. Robert Kehler, said of his command that it “is committed to organizing and equipping the 24th Air Force so it can be a premiere organization dedicated to supporting combatant commanders.” [22]

The United States Army Space and Missile Defense Command has boosted activity on its High Energy Laser Systems Test Facility at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico and on August 10 the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency employed a modified Boeing 747 passenger airliner to conduct the most advanced test yet of its Airborne Laser missile defense system and the Missile Defense Agency announced plans to next use the weapon against intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) during their boost phase.

MEADS: NATO And Pentagon To Cover Europe With Layered Missile Shield

Returning to Europe and so-called missile defense, the Obama administration has requested almost $600 million in funding for the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) for next year and “Congress is on track to support the Administration’s request.” [23] MEADS is a joint U.S.-German-Italian-NATO theater interceptor missile program to upgrade current Patriot and Nike Hercules systems in Europe under NATO management and “will provide capabilities beyond any other fielded or planned air and missile defense system. It will be easily deployed to a theater of operation.” [24]

“The U.S. provides 58 percent of funding with Germany offering 25 percent and Italy and other NATO members contributing 17 percent. MEADS is designed to provide air defense from ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and aircraft.” [25]

MEADS is to consist of:

•A sophisticated X-band radar;
•A surveillance radar with 360 degree coverage;
•A tactical operations center;
•Launchers; and
•The next-generation Patriot interceptor. [26]

The upgraded Patriot is the new Lockheed Martin “hit-to-kill” PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement interceptor, one which exceeds the range and accuracy of the PAC-3 which itself covers seven times the area of the original Patriot and has double the striking distance.

An advocate of MEADS, the U.S. Heritage Foundation think tank, offered this evaluation of its geopolitical as well as technical aspects.

“MEADS International, the joint venture executing the contract, announced on August 5 that the system had completed is component-level critical design reviews and that MEADS will begin system-level reviews.

“If the U.S. moves forward with the systems for the Czech Republic and Poland, however, it is reasonable to demand that the Germans and Italians express support for the fielding of the long-range missile defenses for U.S. and Europe….MEADS will provide a transportable missile and air defense capability. This means the system will be able to accompany expeditionary ground forces to wherever they are deployed and protect these forces against air and missile attacks. Thus, MEADS will be a critical element of alliance force projection capabilities.

“MEADS is interoperable with other defense systems. MEADS is not a standalone system. It can work in association with other missile defense systems, including the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system and the Aegis sea-based missile defense systems….MEADS, as with the longer-range defenses that should be fielded in the Czech Republic and Poland, may be able to make a material contribution the Active Layered Theater Ballistic Missile Defense system that NATO planners are currently designing.” [27]

Any hopes that a new post-Cold War order, a new century or a new American administration would herald a more peaceful and less dangerous world are being gravely challenged.


1) Bloomberg News, January 2, 2009
2) Reuters, August 20, 2009
3) Ibid
4) Czech News Agency, August 20, 2009
5) Reuters, August 20, 2009
6) Aviation Week, August 20, 2009
7) Associated Press, July 30, 2009
8) Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 457,
No. 1, 78-87 (1981)
9) NATO Nuclear Planning Group, June 3-4, 1980
10) North Atlantic Treaty Organization, July 8, 2009
11) Zaman, July 31, 2009
12) Time, June 19, 2008
13) Reuters, May 23, 2007
14) Russian Information Agency Novosti, December 12, 2008
15) Council on Foreign Relations, March 18, 2009
16) Voice of Russia, September 12, 2007
17) Voice of Russia, August 7, 2007
18) Daily Telegraph, November 14, 2007
19) Washington Times, November 27, 2009
20) Russian Information Agency Novosti,
November 20, 2007
21) United States Navy, April 30, 2009
22) U.S. Department of Defense, American Forces Press Service, August 19, 2009
23) Heritage Foundation, August 17, 2009
24) Wikipedia
25) Aviation Week, August 20, 2009
26) Heritage Foundation, August 17, 2009
27) Ibid

Categories: Uncategorized

U.S. Accelerates First Strike Global Missile Shield System

September 2, 2009 2 comments

August 19, 2009

U.S. Accelerates First Strike Global Missile Shield System
Rick Rozoff

On August 13th the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and Chicago-based Boeing International announced a test of their joint Airborne Laser (ABL) missile defense system, which “successfully tracked and hit the mark earlier this month during its first in-flight test against an instrumented target missile.” [1]

Employing a modified Boeing 747-400F prototype airplane, on August 10 the Missile Defense Agency had the adapted commercial airliner use infrared sensors against a missile launched from San Nicolas Island, California and “found, tracked, engaged and simulated an intercept with a missile seconds after liftoff. It was the first time the Agency used an ‘instrumented’ missile to confirm the laser works as expected. Next up this fall will be the first live attempt to bring down a ballistic missile….” [2]

A newspaper from Alabama, the state where the MDA headquarters is based, mentioned that “The news came today [August 13], just a few days before the 12th annual Space and Missile Defense Conference opens next week in Huntsville.” [3]

The Wall Street Journal waxed enthusiastic about the advanced missile interceptor test, stating that “Along with space-based weapons, the Airborne Laser is the next defense frontier. The modified Boeing 747 is supposed to send an intense beam of light over hundreds of miles to destroy missiles in the ‘boost phase,’ before they can release decoys and at a point in their trajectory when they would fall back down on enemy territory….The laser complements the sea- and ground-based missile defenses that keep proving themselves in tests.

“Never has Ronald Reagan’s dream of layered missile defenses – Star Wars, for short – been as….close, at least technologically, to becoming realized.” [4]

The Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet was launched as a civilian airliner in 1970 and versions of the plane are in use throughout the world, especially in the Middle East. There is no technical reason why 747 commercial airliners cannot be similarly configured to carry Airborne Laser weapons and track and destroy ballistic missiles while camouflaged as strictly civilian passenger planes.

The MDA has revealed that it plans to upgrade Airborne Laser weapons for use against intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) during their boost phase, thereby giving them a strategic character.

As an increasingly vital component of U.S. and allied worldwide, integrated missile interceptor systems, which as will be seen may advance to more than intercepting other nation’s missiles and be capable of destroying them in their silos and launching pads before being fired, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency said of its latest Airborne Laser operation that “this test marks the third successful ABL missile engagement in just over two months and the first time laser performance data was collected at the target missile. Plans call for ABL to engage progressively more difficult targets in coming months, culminating with a lethal demonstration against a boosting threat-representative ballistic missile target later this year.” [5]

The ABL is slated to play a progressively more important role in an expanding network of international 21st century Star Wars and space war projects and deployments which includes short- to medium-range theater missile defense of the Patriot variety, with the latter recently upgraded to the Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC-3) Missile.

Last October the German Air Force conducted a PAC-3 Missile test at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico and a news report at the time contained this description of the low-end range of U.S. and allied nations’ layered interceptor missile plans: “The Patriot air defence system is a long-range, high to medium altitude missile system and Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor on the PAC-3 Missile Segment upgrade. The PAC-3 Missile will increase the Patriot’s firepower from an output of four to 16.” [6]

This February U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton confirmed Washington’s plans to deploy a Patriot missile battery in Poland, not far from Russia’s Kaliningrad enclave, with a garrison of at least 100 troops to man it in addition to plans to base 10 interceptor missiles in the country.

On August 17 Japan announced that it was going to station American Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) surface-to-air interceptor missiles at all six of its anti-aircraft facilities. Patriots were deployed to Israel on the eve of the Operation Desert Storm war against Iraq in 1991 and again, with NATO invoking its Article 5 military assistance provision, to Turkey in 2003 before the Operation Iraqi Freedom invasion. They are intended to prevent retaliation against aggressive military operations.

The global and more than global – exoatmospheric, space – system also includes Ground-Based Interceptor (GBI), Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD), Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV), Aegis combat system (destroyers carrying interceptor radar and missiles) and Forward Based X-Band Radars (FBXB) components.

Disarmament advocates and top Russian officials alike have warned for years that the missile interceptor and related space war programs are not, as claimed by the Pentagon and its military allies in Europe and the Asia-Pacific, aimed at so-called rogue states but have a far more dangerous purpose.

In June Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Chinese President Hu Jintao announced that their two nations were drafting a joint treaty to ban the deployment of weapons in outer space and to present it to the United Nations General Assembly.

Regarding the true intent of missile interceptor plans both on earth and in space, a recent news item detailed that “The White House says the plan is aimed at countering what it terms as ‘threats’ from countries such as Iran, which has no existing or planned missiles which can reach the US. The Kremlin, meanwhile, believes that the real aim of the system is to neutralize Russia’s nuclear deterrent and therefore sees it as a threat to Russia’s national security.” [7]

An influential Russian news source stated: “[T]he strategic importance of these interceptor missiles would increase were the U.S. to deliver a first nuclear strike against Russia.

“In this scenario, interceptor missiles would have to take on the limited number of missiles surviving the first strike, which would allow the U.S. to hope for success and, for the first time since the 1950s, for a victory in a nuclear war.” [8]

Lest this perspective be seen as a uniquely Russia concern, in the March/April 2006 edition of Foreign Affairs, a publication of the Council on Foreign Relations, authors Keir A. Lieber and Daryl G. Press contributed a study called “The Rise of U.S. Nuclear Primacy” which stated, inter alia, that “It will probably soon be possible for the United States to destroy the long-range nuclear arsenals of Russia or China with a first strike.

“The U.S. Air Force has finished equipping its B-52 bombers with nuclear-armed cruise missiles, which are probably invisible to Russian and Chinese air-defense radar. And the air force has also enhanced the avionics on its B-2 stealth bombers to permit them to fly at extremely low altitudes in order to avoid even the most sophisticated radar.” [9]

Deploying short-, medium- and long-range interceptor missile batteries, sophisticated and mobile missile radar stations, long-range super-stealth nuclear bombers, Aegis class destroyers equipped to sail the world’s seas to hunt down and neutralize conventional and nuclear missiles, and surveillance satellites and weapons in space is hardly designed to target non-existent intercontinental ballistic missile threats from Iran or Syria, or even from North Korea, but to blackmail Russia and China and prepare the groundwork for surviving and “triumphing” in a first strike nuclear war.

On August 11 the commander of the Russian Air Force, Colonel General Alexander Zelin, warned that “By 2030…foreign countries, particularly the United States, will be able to deliver coordinated high-precision strikes from air and space against any target on the whole territory of Russia,” adding “That is why the main goal of the development of the Russian Air Force until 2020 is to create a new branch of the Armed Forces, which would form the core of the country’s air and space defenses to provide a reliable deterrent during peacetime, and repel any military aggression with the use of conventional and nuclear arsenals in a time of war” [10] and “We are building new missiles that will be capable of defending not only against air-defense systems but space-based systems.” [11]

The following day Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi told the 65-nation Conference on Disarmament in Geneva “Outer space is now facing the looming danger of weaponization. Credible and effective multilateral measures must be taken to forestall the weaponization and arms race in outer space.”

Yang demanded that “Countries should neither develop missile defense systems that undermine global strategic stability nor deploy weapons in outer space.” [12]

The Western news report in which the quotes appeared added “China and Russia have been vocal advocates of a global treaty against space-based weapons and argue for this to be included in future Conference of Disarmament negotiations,” but that “United States has dismissed the criticism as designed to block its plans for a missile interceptor system….” [13]

Undeterred by Chinese and Russian concerns, the U. S. is forging ahead with expanding its Star Wars and space wars dyad in both depth and breadth.

Two days ago the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency commenced its 12th annual Space and Missile Defense Conference in Huntsville, Alabama where its headquarters is situated, and which includes a new Von Braun Center named after the father of Nazi Germany’s missile project and one of the creators of the U.S. ICBM program who with several German colleagues was sent to Huntsville in 1950 (Operation Paperclip) to work on the first live nuclear ballistic missile tests conducted by the Pentagon.

This year the Von Braun Center hosts over 2,000 participants and 230 exhibitors and speakers including Marine General James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden Jr., Army Lieutenant General Kevin Campbell, commanding general of the Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command, and Missile Defense Agency Director Lieutenant General Patrick O’Reilly.

“The conference also includes receptions and special events sponsored by a number of the exhibitors, which include Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman….” [14]

As was seen earlier, the Pentagon’s most advanced Airborne Laser missile interception test to date was conducted in advance of the conference.

The MDA is also accelerating the pace of full spectrum air, sea, land, cyber and space missile shield developments in addition to laser weapons.

On August 1 it announced it had completed a successful sea-based missile interception from Hawaii. A ballistic missile was fired from the island of Kauai and “shot down by a three-stage interceptor missile from the USS Hopper.” [15]

A report that appeared before the interception quoted the MDA as saying that “The test, conducted by the Navy and the Department of Defense’s Missile Defense Agency, will mark the 23rd firing by ships equipped with the Aegis ballistic missile defense system. There have been 18 successes, including the shooting down of a dead U.S. spy satellite from space last year.

“While the Hopper fires and guides an SM-3 Block IA missile to intercept the target missile in the upper atmosphere, the USS O’Kane will simulate engagement and the USS Lake Erie will detect and track the target….” [16]

“USS Lake Erie’s recently installed Aegis upgrade will enable it to engage increasingly longer range, more sophisticated ballistic missiles, according to the Missile Defense Agency.” [17]

The disabled satellite mentioned above, the USA-193 spy satellite, was shot down in space in February of 2008 by the same USS Lake Erie, an Aegis class Guided Missile Cruiser, that participated in the above-described test.

At the time of the satellite’s destruction China registered a complaint and “Russia’s Defense Ministry said the U.S. plan could be used as a cover to test a new space weapon.” [18]

In fact Russian State Duma deputy Andrei Kokoshin, former Secretary of the Russian Security Council, said at the time that “The US-193 spy satellite shooting by a U.S. missile may result in a new stage in space

“[T]he satellite was shot down as an act of political demonstration of America’s capacities and confirmation of the American ‘free hand’ policy of the use of force in outer-space and the development of anti-satellite weaponry.” [19]

Last month the Pentagon announced plans to integrate its latest generation drone, the Reaper – “one of several projects aimed at monitoring enemy missiles just after launch” [20] – into the global missile shield system.

In the words of a Defense Department official, “It gives you a great capability from hundreds and hundreds of kilometers away to be able to view a missile launch and actually track it and provide data to our shooters to intercept.”

According to the new head of the Missile Defense Agency, Lt. Gen. Patrick O’Reilly, “By studying the missile in its early stage of flight, the drones could provide data that would allow the incoming weapon to be destroyed.” [21]

Also in July it was reported in a news story called “Tomahawk Being Re-tooled as Ship-killer” that “Raytheon Missile Systems wants to turn its land-attack Tomahawk missile into a ship killer that can do something never done before: Hit a cruising warship from a thousand miles away,” with one of the intended targets being China.

“The Chinese…began producing a lot of mobile ballistic missile launchers about a decade ago….[T]hese tactical missiles are deployed in bunkers close enough to the coast to be destroyed by a longer-range, more powerful Tomahawk. U.S. Navy missile that cruises hundreds of miles over land to blow up buildings is being redesigned in Tucson to chase down moving targets.” [22]

On July 22 Israel tested its Arrow II interceptor missile, jointly developed with the U.S., off the coast of California and “In a test involving three U.S. missile interceptors, Arrow tracked a target missile dropped from a C-17 aircraft.” [23]

The various stages of the layered interceptor missile system depend upon radar and surveillance facilities and satellites on earth and in space. Missile shield deployments – missiles and radar – already exist in Alaska and its Aleutian Islands, Greenland, Britain, Norway, Japan, South Korea and Australia and are planned for Poland (missiles) and the Czech Republic (radar).

But those sites only represent the beginning phases of a far most ambitious grid around the world as well as in space.

Last September the U.S. Senate allocated $89 million for “the activation and deployment of the AN/TPY-2 forward-based X-band radar [the same type to be deployed in the Czech Republic] to a classified location.”

A Russian news source commented on this move:

“The ‘classified location’ is not a complete secret.

“Lt. Gen. Henry Obering, [then] director of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), has said more than once that Turkey, Georgia and even Ukraine could be future locations for ballistic missile defense systems.

“[T]he Pentagon will most likely choose Turkey or, some Western analysts say, Israel or Japan.

“Russia has told Washington more than once that no fence of antimissiles near its border would save the United States from a retaliatory strike by missiles capable of evading ABM as well as by air and naval systems.” [24]

Washington has in fact chosen all of the above-named nations and others as well.

Last March Pentagon chief Robert Gates visited Turkey to hold consultations on missile shield plans. A Turkish report on the meeting stated “A powerful, ‘forward based’ X-band radar station could go in southeastern Europe, possibly in Turkey, the Caucasus or the Caspian Sea region, Lt. Gen. Henry Obering, head of Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency, told a defense conference in Washington on Feb. 12.” [25]

Two months later it was revealed that “the United States may deploy a high-frequency X-band radar in Georgia.” [26]

In 2008 the U.S. also substantially boosted its interceptor plans for Japan and it was announced that “Japan and the United States are erecting the world’s most complex ballistic missile defense shield, a project that is changing the security balance in Asia and has deep implications for Washington’s efforts to pursue a similar strategy in Europe….” [27]

The Pentagon and the Japanese military are working on an early warning system “of the kind provided by the Joint Tactical Ground Station, or JTAG [which the U.S. also operates in Germany, Qatar and South Korea], and another state-of-the-art X-band radar station recently deployed” to Japan. [28]

The preceding month, December of 2007, Japan became the first nation after the U.S. to shoot a missile out of the air with an Aegis-linked Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) in a test off Hawaii.

In June of 2008 the U.S. Strategic Command completed a study on the deployment of Forward-Based X-Band Radars.

A U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command spokesman said of the study that it would “coordinate and recommend to [Office of the Secretary of Defense-policy] a strategy for AN/TPY-2 radar employment, supporting worldwide ballistic missile defense capabilities in the period 2008-2012.” [29]

In 2006 the U.S. deployed Forward-Based X-Band [FBX] radar to a Japanese Air Self-Defense Force base northeast of Tokyo and as of last year additionally planned to “deploy an FBX radar to Europe” and Juneau, Alaska and is “working to integrate tracks from the FBX radar into the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system….”

“All Ballistic Missile Defense System radars – including the upgraded early warning radars at Beale Air Force Base, CA, Fylingdales Royal Air Base in the United Kingdom, Thule Air Base in Greenland and the Cobra Dane radars in Alaska – the Sea-Based X-band radar, and all AN/TPY-2 radars (both forward-based and THAAD Fire Units) will now be managed under one program office.” [30]

The Pentagon is also still planning to modify its X-band radar on the Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific and relocate it to the Czech Republic in conjunction with the deployment of ten interceptor missiles in Poland.

An Israeli daily newspaper recently reported that the U.S. and the Israel Defense Forces will hold a joint missile defense exercise in October, Juniper Cobra, “during which the American-made Aegis and THAAD defense systems will deploy in Israel for the first time.” [31]

Earlier exercises were held at the U.S. European Command (EUCOM) headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany.

“Israel received the advanced X-Band radar in October as a farewell gift from the Bush administration to beef up Israeli defenses….The radar is deployed in southern Israel near the Nevatim Air Force Base and is reportedly capable of tracking small targets from thousands of kilometers away.” [32]

Thousands of kilometers away means surveillance of not only Syria and Iran but a large swathe of southern Russia.

This January the U.S. Air Force established a provisional Global Strike Command which was fully activated on August 7. It has subsumed the Air Combat Command and the Air Force Space Command and in the words of Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz it will “organize, train and equip America’s ICBMs and nuclear-capable bombers….”

Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said the new command will “bring together the Air Force bomber force and intercontinental ballistic missiles under a single commander.” [33]

Reacting to this consolidation, streamlining and upgrading of American global nuclear strike potential, on August 11 the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Air Force, the same Alexander Zelin cited earlier on the threat of U.S. strikes from space on all of his nation, said that the “Russian Air Force is preparing to meet the threats resulting from the creation of the Global Strike Command in the U.S. Air Force” and that Russia is developing “appropriate systems to meet the threats that may arise.” [34]

A change in the American White House, the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s and the mounting costs in both dollars and lives of the war in Afghanistan have not slowed down the U.S.’s plans for military domination of the planet and in outer space; nor have they lessened the threat of an unprecedented catastrophe resulting from the designs by the United States and its allies in Europe and Asia to establish an impenetrable international missile shield that would leave two of the world’s nuclear powers, Russia and China, targets for coercion and first strike conventional and nuclear attacks.

1), August 13, 2009
2) Wall Street Journal, August 14, 2009
3), August 13, 2009
4) Wall Street Journal, August 14, 2009
5) Ibid
6) The Engineer (Britain), October 17, 2008
7) Press TV, August 15, 2009
8) Russian Information Agency Novosti, November 10, 2008
9) Foreign Affairs, March/April 2006
10) Russian Information Agency Novosti, August 11, 2009
11) Agence France-Presse, August 11, 2009
12) Associated Press, August 12, 2009
13) Ibid
14) Huntsville Times, August 17, 2009
15) Associated Press, July 30, 2009
16) Ibid
17) Honolulu Advertiser, July 29, 2009
18) Reuters, February 17, 2008
19) Interfax, February 21, 2008
20) Global Security Network, July 17, 2009
21) Ibid
22) Arizona Daily Star, July 17, 2009
23) Reuters, July 22, 2009
24) Russian Information Agency Novosti, September 12, 2008
25) Turkish Daily News, March 12, 2008
26) Nezavisimaya Gazeta, May 14, 2008
27) Associated Press, January 28, 2008
28) Ibid
29) Inside Defense, June 18, 2008
30) Ibid
31) Jerusalem Post, July 23, 2009
32) Ibid
33) U.S. Department of Defense, American Forces Press Service,
August 7, 2009
34) Interfax-Military, August 11, 2009

Categories: Uncategorized

Politicizing Ethnicity: U.S. Plan To Repeat Yugoslav Scenario In Caucasus Could Cause World War

September 2, 2009 Leave a comment

August 14, 2009

Politicizing Ethnicity: U.S. Plan To Repeat Yugoslav Scenario In Caucasus Could Cause World War
By Rick Rozoff

Matthew Bryza has been one of the U.S.’s main point men in the South Caucasus, the Caspian Sea Basin and Central Asia for the past twelve years.

From 1997-1998 he was an adviser to Ambassador Richard Morningstar, coordinating U.S. efforts in the Caucasus and Central Asia as well as in Southeastern Europe, particularly Greece and Turkey. Morningstar was appointed by the Clinton administration as the first Special Advisor to the President and Secretary of State on Assistance to the New Independent States of the Former Soviet Union in 1995, then Special Advisor to the President and the Secretary of State for Caspian Basin Energy Diplomacy in 1998, and was one of the chief architects of U.S. trans-Caspian strategic energy plans running from the Caspian Sea through the South Caucasus to Europe. Among the projects he helped engineer in that capacity was the Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan [BTC] oil pipeline – “the world’s most political pipeline” – running from Azerbaijan through Georgia to Turkey and the Mediterranean Sea.

Trans-Caspian, Trans-Eurasian Energy Strategy Crafted In The 1990s

In 1998 Bryza was Morningstar’s chief lieutenant in managing American Caspian Sea energy interests as Deputy to the Special Advisor to the President and Secretary of State on Caspian Basin Energy Diplomacy, where he remained until March of 2001, and he worked on developing what are now U.S. and Western plans to circumvent Russia and Iran and achieve dominance over the delivery of energy supplies to Europe.

Morningstar later became United States Ambassador to the European Union from 1999-2001 and this April was appointed the Special Envoy of the United States Secretary of State for Eurasian Energy, a position comparable to that he had occupied eleven years earlier.

In 2005 the George W. Bush administration appointed Bryza Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs under Condoleezza Rice, a post he holds to this day although he will soon be stepping down, presumably to become the U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan, the nation that most vitally connects American geostrategic interests in an arc that begins in the Balkans, runs through the Caucasus to the Caspian Sea and then to Central and South Asia.

Last June Bryza delivered a speech called Invigorating the U.S.-Turkey Strategic Partnership in Washington, DC and reflected on his then more than a decade of work in advancing American energy, political and military objectives along the southern flank of the former Soviet Union. His address included the following revelations, the first in reference to events in the 1990s:

“Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev welcomed international investors to help develop the Caspian Basin’s mammoth oil and gas reserves. Then-Turkish President Suleyman Demirel worked with these leaders, and with Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze, to develop a revitalized concept of the Great Silk Road in the version of an East-West Corridor of oil and natural gas pipelines.

“Our goal was to help the young independent states of these regions [the Caucasus and Central Asia] secure their sovereignty and liberty by linking them to Europe, world markets, and Euro-Atlantic institutions via the corridor being established by the BTC and SCP [South Caucasus Pipeline natural gas] pipelines….The Caucasus and Central Asia were grouped with Turkey, which the Administration viewed as these countries’ crucial partner in connecting with European and global markets, and with Euro-Atlantic security institutions.

“[C]ooperation on energy in the late 1990’s formed a cornerstone of the U.S.-Turkey strategic partnership, resulting in a successful ‘first phase’ of Caspian development anchored by BTC for oil and SCP for gas.

Iraq War Part Of Previous Geopolitical Plans

“Today, we are focusing on the next phase of Caspian development, looking to the Caspian Basin and Iraq to help reduce Europe’s dependence on a single Russian company, Gazprom, which provides 25 percent of all gas consumed in Europe.

“Our goal is to develop a ‘Southern Corridor’ of energy infrastructure to transport Caspian and Iraqi oil and gas to Turkey and Europe. The Turkey-Greece-Italy (TGI) and Nabucco natural gas pipelines are key elements of the Southern Corridor.

“Potential gas supplies in Turkmenistan and Iraq can provide the crucial additional volumes beyond those in Azerbaijan to realize the Southern Corridor. Washington and Ankara are working together with Baghdad to help Iraq develop its own large natural gas reserves for both domestic consumption and for export to Turkey and the EU.” [1]

Bryza took no little personal credit for accomplishing the above objectives, which as he indicated weren’t limited to a comprehensive project of controlling if not monopolizing oil and natural gas flows to Europe but also in the opposite direction to three of the world’s four major energy consumers: China, India and Japan. Since the delivery of the presentation from which the above is quoted the U.S. and its Western European NATO allies have also launched the Nabucco natural gas pipeline which intends to bring gas from, as Bryza mentioned, Iraq and also eventually Egypt and possibly Algeria to Turkey where Caspian oil and gas will arrive via Azerbaijan and Georgia.

Energy Transit Routes Used For Military Penetration Of Caucasus, Central And South Asia

Previous articles in this series [2] have examined the joint energy-geopolitical-military strategies the West is pursuing from and through the sites of its three major wars over the past decade: The Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Bryza himself made the connection in the above-cited speech of last year:

“The East-West Corridor we had been building from Turkey and the Black Sea through Georgia and Azerbaijan and across the Caspian became the strategic air corridor, and the lifeline, into Afghanistan allowing the United States and our coalition partners to conduct Operation Enduring Freedom.” [3]

His work and his political trajectory – paralleling closely that of his fellow American Robert Simmons [4], former Senior Advisor to the United States Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs on NATO and current NATO Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia and Deputy Assistant Secretary General of NATO for Security Cooperation and Partnership – has continued through four successive U.S. administrations, those of George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and now Barack Obama, and has taken him from the American embassy in Poland in 1989-1991 to that in Russia in 1995-1997 to positions in the National Security Council, the White House and the State Department.

While in his current State Department role Bryza has not only overseen trans-Eurasian, tri-continental energy projects but has also been the main liaison for building political and military ties with the South Caucasus nations of Georgia and Azerbaijan, and he remains the U.S. co-chair of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group monitoring the uneasy peace around Nagorno Karabakh, one of four so-called frozen conflicts in the former Soviet Union.

Although Azerbaijan is one of the interested parties in the conflict and the nation’s president, Ilham Aliyev, routinely threatens war to conquer Karabakh, often in the presence of top American military commanders, aside from being a supposed impartial mediator with the Minsk Group Bryza in his State Department role secured the use of an Azerbaijani air base for the war in Afghanistan. In 2007 he stated, “There are plenty of planes flying above Georgia and Azerbaijan towards Afghanistan. Under such circumstances we want to have the possibility of using the Azeri airfield.” [5]

Bryza also recently announced that U.S. Marines were heading to Georgia to train its troops for deployment to Afghanistan where in the words of a Georgian official “First of all, our servicemen will gain combat experience because they will be in the middle of combat action, and that is a really invaluable experience.

“Secondly, it will be a heavy argument to support Georgia’s NATO aspirations.” [6]

Oil For War: US, NATO Caucasus Clients Register World’s Largest Arms Buildups

During his four-year stint as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs he has focused on the South Caucasus, and during that period Georgia’s war budget has ballooned from $30 million a year when U.S.-educated Mikheil Saakashvili took power after the nation’s “Rose Revolution” in 2004 to $1 billion last year, a more than thirty fold increase.

In the same year, 2008, Azerbaijan’s military spending had grown from $163 million the preceding year to $1,850,000,000, more than a 1000% increase. In the words of the nation’s president last year, “And it will increase in the years to come. The amount envisaged in the 2009 state budget will be even greater.” [7]

Much of the money expended for both unprecedented buildups came from revenues derived from oil sales and transit fees connected with the BTC pipeline Bryza was instrumental in setting up.

Pentagon’s Role In Last August’s Caucasus War

Regarding neighboring Georgia, a German news report on the second day of last August’s war between that nation and Russia stated that “US Special Forces troops, and later US Marines replacing them, have for the last half decade been systematically training selected Georgian units to NATO standards” and “First-line Georgian soldiers wear NATO uniforms, kevlar helmets and body armour matching US issue, and carry the US-manufactured M-16 automatic rifle….” [8]

On the first day of the war the Chairman of the Russia’s State Duma Security Committee, Vladimir Vasilyev, denounced the fact that the Georgian President Saakashvili “undertook consistent steps to increase [Georgia’s] military budget from $US 30 million to $US 1 billion – Georgia was preparing for a military action.” [9]

An Armenian news source the same day detailed that “Most of Georgia’s officers were trained in the U.S. or Turkey. The country’s military expenses increased by 30 times during past four years, making up 9-10 per cent of the GDP. The defense budget has reached $1 billion.

“U.S. military grants to Georgia total $40.6 million. NATO member states, including Turkey and Bulgaria, supplied Georgia with 175 tanks, 126 armored carriers, 67 artillery pieces, 4 warplanes, 12 helicopters, 8 ships and boats. 100 armored carriers, 14 jets (including 4 Mirazh-2000) fighters, 15 Black Hawk helicopters and 10 various ships are expected to be conveyed soon.” [10]

“The procurement in recent years of new military hardware and modern weapons systems was indeed in line with Georgia’s single-minded commitment to joining NATO.” [11]

In addition to the country’s standing army the Saakashvili regime has introduced a 100,000-troop reserve force, also trained in part by NATO.

In 2006 Saakashvili mandated a system of universal conscription in which “every man under 40 must pass military trainings” [12] and every citizen should “know to handle arms and if necessary should be ready to repel aggression.” [13]

Ten months later the government announced “a doctrine on total and unconditional defense” and that “service in the reserve troops would be compulsory for every male between the ages of 27 to 50.” [14]

Matthew Bryza and his colleagues in the State Department and the Pentagon have served American and NATO interests in the South Caucasus and adjoining areas well over the past decade.

First US-Backed War In The South Caucasus: Adjaria

On August 10 Bryza, “who, as he himself put it, was a more frequent guest to Georgia than any other U.S. official,” [15] was awarded the Order of the Golden Fleece by Georgia’s Saakashvili in Tbilisi.

“Saakashvili thanked Bryza for assistance rendered in 2004 while solving problems in Adjaria.” [16]. The allusion is to events early in that year when Saakashvili, flanked by then U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, was inaugurated president after the putsch that was called the Rose Revolution and introduced his party flag as that of the nation, which as British journalist John Laughlin remarked at the time had not been done since Hitler did the same with the swastika in 1933.

Less than two months later Saakashvili threatened to invade the Autonomous Republic of Adjaria (Adjara/Ajara), which had been de facto an independent country, and to “shoot down my plane” as Adjarian president Aslan Abashidze reported.

An Agence France-Presse report in March of 2004 said, “The situation was made all the more explosive because Russia has a military base in Adjara….Saakashvili warned in televised comments that ‘not a single tank can leave the territory of the base. Any movement of Russia’s military equipment could provoke bloodshed.'” [17]

An all-out war was only avoided because Russia capitulated and even flew Abashidze to Moscow, after which it withdrew from the Adjarian base.

Bryza’s assistance to the Saakashvili government has also extended to backing it in its armed conflicts with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which in the second case escalated into all-out war a year ago.

State Department Passes The Baton To Veteran Balkans Hand

Now Bryza, the nominal mediator, is going to pass his role as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs to Tina Kaidanow.

But he will continue until next month as the U.S. co-chairman of the OSCE Minsk Group on Nagorno Karabakh, where as recently as August 12 he met with Azerbaijani President Aliyev and either arbitrarily expanding the format of discussions or combining his dual functions he also discussed the “bilateral relationship between Azerbaijan and the United States, energy cooperation and regional and international issues.” [18]

Bryza also, as was mentioned above, recently announced that U.S. Marines were headed to Georgia to train troops for the war in Afghanistan. “Matt Bryza, the outgoing US deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian affairs, said the US would provide training and equipment for Georgian servicemen bound for Afghanistan.” [19]

As seen earlier, a Georgian official said of the development that “First of all, our servicemen will gain combat experience because they will be in the middle of combat action, and that is a really invaluable experience,” [20] which training under fire could only be intended for future combat operations against Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Russia.

Bryza has also played a role in attempting to insinuate European Union and American observers into the South Caucasus conflict zones.

His successor in the State Department position, Kaidanow, possesses a political curriculum vitae which provides insight into what can be expected from her.

This April, before getting the nod to replace Bryza, Kaidanow said “I worked in Serbia, in Belgrade and in Sarajevo, then in Washington, and I went back to Sarajevo and am now in Kosovo. I don’t know where my next challenge will be. It is under discussion.” [21]

Ms. Kaidanow is a veteran Balkans hand. She “served extensively in the region, as Special Assistant to U.S. Ambassador Christopher Hill in Skopje [Macedonia] 1998-1999, with specific responsibilities focused on the crisis in Kosovo….” [22] Before that she served in Bosnia from 1997-1998.

Prior to that her first major post in the U.S. foreign policy apparatus began under President Bill Clinton, where she served as director for Southeast European Affairs at the National Security Council.

Kaidanow: From Rambouillet To Ambassador To Kosovo

After transitioning from advising the National Security Council on the Balkans to implementing the U.S. agenda there, Kaidanow attended the Rambouillet conference in February of 1999 where the American delegation headed by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright threw down the gauntlet to Yugoslavia with the infamous Appendix B ultimatum and set the stage for the 78-day war that began on March 24.

From 2003-2006 she was back in Bosnia, this time as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy, from where she departed to become the Chief of Mission and Charge d’Affaires at the U.S. Office in Kosovo from July 2006 to July 2008; that is, while the Bush administration put the finishing touches to the secession of the Serbian province which resulted in the unilateral independence of Kosovo in February of 2008. Despite concerted pressure from Washington and its allies, a year and a half later 130 of 192 nations in the world refuse to recognize its independence and those who do include statelets like Palau, the Maldives, the Federated States of Micronesia, Samoa, San Marino, Monaco, Nauru, Liechtenstein and the Marshall Islands, presumably all paid handsomely for their cooperation.

Last year the Bush administration appointed Kaidanow the first U.S. ambassador to Kosovo, a post she took up on July 18, 2008.

Reproducing Kosovo In Russia’s Southern Republics

On August 12 Russian political analyst Andrei Areshev spoke about her new appointment in reference to the lingering tensions over Nagorno Karabakh which pit Azerbaijan against Armenia and warned that “it is an attempt to sacrifice [Nagorno Karabakh’s] interests to Azerbaijan’s benefit and in regard to Moscow to give a second wind to the politicization of ethnicity in the North Caucasus with the possibility of repeating the ‘Kosovo scenario,'” [23] adding that the same threat would also target Iran.

By the North Caucasus Areshev was referring to the Russian republics of Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia and North Ossetia where extremist secessionist violence has cost scores of lives in recent months, including those of leading officials. The writer’s message was not that the U.S. would simply continue its double standard of recognizing Kosovo’s secession while arming Georgia and Azerbaijan to suppress the independence of Abkhazia, Nagorno Karabakh and South Ossetia – none of which “seceded” from anything other than new post-Soviet nations they has never belonged to – but that a veteran of the U.S. campaign to fragment and ultimately destroy Yugoslavia may be planning to do the same thing with Russia. As the author added, “the existing realities in the Caucasus, including the existence of three de facto states, two of which are officially recognized by Russia, still create plenty of opportunities to build different combinations, which would ultimately result in a long-term military and political consolidation of the United States in the region.” [24]

With reference to Areshev including Iran along with Russia as an intended target of such an application of the Yugoslav model, the clear implication is that the West could attempt to instigate separatist uprisings among the nation’s Azeri, Arab, Baloch and Kurdish ethnic minorities in an effort to tear that nation apart also.

It is the politicizing of ethnic, linguistic and confessional differences that was exploited by the West to bring about or at any rate contribute to the dissolution of Yugoslavia into its federal republics and then yet further on a sub-republic level with Kosovo and Macedonia (still in progress).

Having worked under the likes of Christopher Hill and later Richard Armitage in the Rice State Department, Kaidanow surely knows how the strategy is put into effect. Much as does her former Balkans colleague Philip Goldberg, U.S. ambassador to Bolivia until that nation expelled him last September for fomenting subversion and fragmentation there based on the Balkans precedent.

Only a week before the announcement of Kaidanow’s transfer from supervising the “world’s first NATO state” (as a former Serbian president called it) in Kosovo, where the U.S. has built its largest overseas military base since the Vietnam War, Camp Bondsteel, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov again warned of the precedent Kosovo presented and admonished nations considering legitimizing it through diplomatic recognition to “think very carefully before making this very dangerous decision that has an unforeseeable outcome and is not good for stability in Europe.” [25]

The situation Kaidanow will enter into is one in which a year ago a war had just ended and currently others threaten.

A Year Later: Resumption Of Caucasus War Threats

A year after the beginning of the hostilities of 2008, August 8, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev warned:

“Georgia’s actions in the Trans-Caucasian region continue to cause serious anxieties. Georgia does not stop threatening to restore its ‘territorial integrity’ by force.

“Armed forces are concentrated at the borders near Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and provocations are committed.” [26]

On August 1 the Russian Defense Ministry expressed alarm over renewed Georgian shelling of the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali and stated: “Events in August 2008 developed in line with a similar scenario, which led to Georgia unfolding military aggression against South Ossetia and attacking the Russian peacekeeping contingent.” [27]

Two days later South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity announced that “Russian troops will hold drills in the republic. These will be preventive measures, everything will be done in order to ensure security and keep the situation under control.” [28]

The following day Andrei Nesterenko, spokesman for Russia’s Foreign Ministry, said that “Provocations from the Georgian side ahead of the anniversary of the August events last year are not stopping. In connection with this, we have stepped up the combat readiness of Russian troops and border guards.” [29]

On August 5 Russian Duma Deputy Sergei Markov wrote:

“Western countries’ accountability for the war in South Ossetia is not recognized altogether. Politically, the West, primarily NATO, supports Saakashvili, and this support made him confident in the success of his military venture. Moreover, during the war preparations and onset of combat, high-ranking officials in Washington did not answer their telephone calls although they must have been in the office at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. Moscow time….

“The U.S. Congress did not make any inquiry into the conduct of Vice President Dick Cheney or presidential nominee John McCain during the start of the war. Georgian troops were equipped with NATO weapons, and trained in line with NATO standards.” [30]

At the same time the above-mentioned Andrei Nesterenko also said that “Georgia continues to receive Western arms and help in modernizing its army….Lasting peace…is way, way off. Over the past 12 months, the Georgians were responsible for about 120 firing incidents. Over the past seven days alone, South Ossetian villages came under Georgian mortar attacks multiple times.” [31]

As a reflection of how thoroughly Georgian leader Saakashvili is an American creature and how inextricably involved Washington has been and remains with all his actions, a commentary of early this month reminded readers that:

“Under George Bush, Washington already committed itself to put all Georgian bureaucrats on its payroll, having paid a little more than $1 billion as a compensation for Saakashvili’s small war. The first tranche of $250 million has already been transferred….[A] considerable part of these funds will be allocated for compensation and salaries of government officials of all ministries…. In other words, all of Georgia’s government officials are already on the U.S. payroll, a fact which nobody even tried to conceal during the last few years of Bush’s term.” [32]

Russia wasn’t alone in attending to the anniversary of the war. A U.S. armed forces publication reported a year to the day after its start that “U.S. European Command has its eyes firmly focused on the volatile Caucasus region, where tensions between Georgia and Russia continue to mount on the anniversary of last year’s five-day war….[C]ommanders are on guard for any sign of a repeat.

“[W]ith Georgia prepared to commit troops to the effort in Afghanistan as early as 2010, pre-deployment counterinsurgency training will be taking place. EUCOM also will be working with the Georgians to develop the Krtsanisi National Training Center outside of Tbilisi into a modern pre-deployment combat training center….Following the war, EUCOM conducted an assessment of Georgian forces, which uncovered numerous shortcomings related to doctrine and decision-making.” [33]

Last year’s war began immediately after the completion of the NATO Immediate Response 2008 military exercise which included over 1,000 American troops, the largest amount ever deployed to Georgia. The day after the drills ended Georgia shelled the South Ossetian capital and killed several people, including a Russian peacekeeper.

The War That Was, The World War That Might Have Been

What a resumption of fighting between Georgia and South Ossetia will entail is indicated by an examination of the scale of the catastrophe that was narrowly averted a year ago.

A few days ago the government of Abkhazia shared information on what Georgia planned had its invasion of South Ossetia proven successful. The plan was to, having launched the war on the day of the Olympic Opening Ceremony in Beijing while world attention was diverted, have Georgian troops and armor rapidly advance to the Roki Tunnel which connects South Ossetia with the Russian Republic of North Ossetia and prevent Russia from bringing reinforcements into the war zone.

Then a parallel assault on Abkhazia was to be launched. The government of Abkhazia documented Georgia’s battle plans earlier this week, stating “the attack could have been carried out from the sea and from the Kodori Gorge, where Georgian special forces were building their heavily fortified lines of defense.

“Most people in Abkhazia were almost certain that if Georgia succeeded in
conquering Tskhinvali, their republic would have been next….Military intelligence issued a warning that the Georgian army was planning to invade Abkhazia from the sea. Another possibility was that the enemy would come from the Kodori Gorge, an area that Georgian special forces entered in 2006, violating international peace agreements.

“On August 9 last year, the Abkhazian army launched a preventive attack against Georgian troops in the Kodori Gorge.” [34]

Last week Abkhazian Foreign Minister Sergei Shamba demonstrated that Georgia was not alone in the planned attack on and destruction of his nation when he said “[W]e have always emphasized that the U.S. bears considerable responsibility for the events that took place in August 2008 in South Ossetia.

“Therefore, we do not trust the Americans. All these years the U.S. has been arming, equipping and training Georgian troops and continues to do so, again restoring military infrastructure, and again preparing the Georgian army for new acts of aggression.

“What were the American instructors training the Georgian army for here, on Abkhazia’s territory, at the upper end of the Kodori Gorge? For an attack on Abkhazia.” [35]

An August 7 report from an Armenian news source substantiated that the plans for last August’s war were on a far larger scale than merely Georgia’s brutal onslaught against South Ossetia in an attempt to conquer and subjugate it and later Abkhazia. Stating that neighboring Azerbaijan was simultaneously planning for a war against Armenia over Nagorno Karabakh, a political analyst was quoted as saying, “Armenia would be in a state of war should Georgia’s plan not have failed in 2008,” adding that “last year Azerbaijan thrice attempted attacks on the NKR [the Nagorno Karabakh Republic], yet the attempts were frustrated thanks to NKR forces.” [36]

A coordinated attack by Georgia on South Ossetia and Abkhazia and by Azerbaijan on Nagorno Karabakh would have led to a regional conflagration and possibly a world war. As indicated above, Armenia would have been pulled into the fighting and the nation is a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) along with Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

A week ago the secretary general of the CSTO, Nikolai Bordyuzha, was quoted as asserting:

“How will the CSTO react if Azerbaijan wants to get back Nagorno Karabakh in a military way and war begins between Azerbaijan and Armenia?”

“The 4th term of the Collective Security Treaty says that aggression against one member of Collective Security Treaty Organization will be regarded as aggression against all members.” [37]

Even if the CSTO had not responded to an Azerbaijani assault on Karabakh which would have ineluctably dragged member state Armenia into the fighting as it was obligated to do, Turkey would have intervened at that point on behalf of Azerbaijan and being a NATO member could have asked the Alliance to invoke its Article 5 military assistance clause and enter the fray. Russia would not have stood by idly and a war could have ensued that would also have pulled in Ukraine to the north and Iran to the south. In fact the U.S. client regime in Ukraine had provided advanced arms to Georgia for last year’s conflict and threatened to block the return of Russian Black Sea fleet ships to Sevastopol in the Crimea during the fighting.

Along with synchronized attacks on South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Nagorno Karabakh, Ukraine may well have been ordered to move its military into the site of the fourth so-called frozen conflict, neighboring Transdniester, either in conjunction with Moldova or independently.

A year ago Russia maintained (and still has) peacekeepers in Transdniester, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and, while not in Karabakh, also in Armenia. Over 200 Russian soldiers were killed and wounded in the fighting in South Ossetia and if those numbers had been matched or exceeded in three other battle zones Russian forbearance might have reached its limits quickly.

After Yugoslavia, Afghanistan And Iraq: Pentagon Turns Attention To Former Soviet Space

In June of 2008 the earlier quoted Russian analyst Andrei Areshev wrote in article titled “The West and Abkhazia: A New Game” that “The prevention of a military conflict is Russia’s priority, but it is not a priority for our ‘partners.’

“This should not be forgotten….As for experiments undertaken by the United States that acted so ‘perfectly’ in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan, they do not spell any good.” [38]

Two months before he had written “The U.S., the ground having slipped from under its feet in Iraq and Afghanistan, is now preoccupied with
gaining control over the most important geopolitical regions in the post-Soviet territory – Ukraine, Transcaucasia and Central Asia….

“The regions of Transcaucasia, integrated in NATO, Georgia in the first place (especially in case of the successful annexation of South Ossetia and Abkhazia), will serve U.S. interests aimed at destabilization of the North Caucasus.” [39]

Last week a group of opposition Georgian scholars held a round table discussion in the nation’s capital and among other matters asserted:

“The whole August war itself…served the interests of the US. The Americans tested Russia’s readiness to react to military intervention, while at the same time ridding Georgia of its conflict-ridden territories so it could continue its pursuit of NATO membership.

“[H]ad Russia refrained from engaging its forces in the conflict, the nations [republics] of the Northern Caucasus would have serious doubts about its ability to protect them. This would in turn lead to an array of separatist movements in the Northern Caucasus, which would have the potential to start not only a full-scale Caucasian war, but a new world war.” [40]

What the West’s probing of Russia’s defenses in the Caucasus may be intended to achieve and what the full-scale application of the Yugoslav model to Russia’s North Caucasus republics could look like are not academic issues.

Armed attacks in the republics of Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia have been almost daily occurrences over the last few months. In June the president of Ingushetia, Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, was seriously wounded in a bomb attack and two days ago the republic’s Construction Minister was shot to death in his office.

Similar armed attacks on and slayings of police, military and government officials are mounting in Dagestan and Chechnya.

The shootings and bombings are perpetrated by separatists hiding behind the pretext of religious motivations – in the main Saudi-based Wahhabism. Until his death in 2002 the main military commander of various self-proclaimed entities like the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and the Caucasus Emirate was one Khattab (reputedly born Samir Saleh Abdullah Al-Suwailem), an ethnic Arab and veteran of the CIA’s Afghan campaign of the 1980s, who also reportedly fought later in Tajikistan and Bosnia.

Assorted self-designated presidents and defense ministers of the above fancied domains have been granted political refugee status by and are living comfortably in the United States and Britain.

That plans for carving up Russia by employing Yugoslav-style armed secessionist campaigns are not limited to foreign-supported extremist troops was demonstrated as early as 1999 – the year of NATO’s war against Yugoslavia – when the conservative Freedom House think tank in the United States inaugurated what it called the American Committee for Peace in Chechnya. By the middle of this decade its board of directors was composed of Zbigniew Brzezinski, Alexander Haig, Steven Solarz, and Max Kampelman.

Members included the three main directors of the Project for the New American Century: Robert Kagan, William Kristol and Bruce P. Jackson. Jackson was the founder and president of the U.S. Committee on NATO (founded in 1996) and the chairman of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq (launched months before the invasion of that nation in the autumn of 2002).

Other members of the American Committee for Peace in Chechnya included past CIA directors, National Security Advisers, Secretaries of State and NATO Supreme Allied Commanders like the previously mentioned Zbigniew Brzezinski and Alexander Haig and James Woolsey, Richard V. Allen and a host of neoconservative ideologues and George W. Bush administration operatives with resumes ranging from the Committee on the Present Danger to the Project for the New American Century like Morton Abramowitz, Elliott Abrams, Kenneth Adelman, Michael Ledeen, Richard Perle, Richard Pipes and Norman Podhoretz.

The American Committee for Peace in Chechnya has evidently broadened its scope and is now called the American Committee for Peace in the Caucasus. Its mission statement says:

“The American Committee for Peace in the Caucasus (ACPC) at Freedom House is dedicated to monitoring the security and human rights situation in the North Caucasus by providing informational resources and expert analysis. ACPC focuses on Chechnya, Ingushetia, Dagestan, North Ossetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachayevo-Cherkessia and Adygeya, as well as the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia.”

Abkhazia and South Ossetia are of course in the South Caucasus and not in Georgia except in the minds of those anxious to expel Russia from the Caucasus, North and South, and transparently have been included as they are targets of designs by U.S. empire builders to further encircle, weaken and ultimately dismantle the Russian Federation.

Russian political leadership has been reserved if not outright compliant over the past decade when the U.S. and NATO attacked Yugoslavia, invaded Afghanistan and set up military bases throughout Central and South Asia, invaded Iraq in 2003, assisted in deposing governments in Yugoslavia, Georgia, Adjaria, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan to Russia’s disadvantage and brazenly boasted of plans to drive Russia out of the European energy market.

But intensifying the destabilization of its southern republics and turning them into new Kosovos is more than Moscow can allow.

1) U.S. Department of State, June 24, 2008
2) Black Sea: Pentagon’s Gateway To Three Continents And The Middle East
Stop NATO, February 21, 2009

Eurasian Crossroads: The Caucasus In US-NATO War Plans
Stop NATO, April 7, 2009

Azerbaijan And The Caspian: NATO’s War For The World’s Heartland
Stop NATO, June 10, 2009

West’s Afghan War And Drive Into Caspian Sea Basin
Stop NATO, July 10, 2009
3) Ibid
4) Mr. Simmons’ Mission: NATO Bases From Balkans To Chinese Border
Stop NATO, March 4, 2009
5), March 31, 2007
6) Russian Information Agency Novosti, August 6, 2009
7) Azertag, January 1, 2008
8) Deutsche Presse-Agentur, August 9, 2008
9) Russia Today, August 8, 2008
10), August 8, 2008
11) The Financial, June 27, 2008
12) Prime News (Georgia), August 10, 2006
13) Civil Georgia, April 2, 2007
14) Civil Georgia, December 7, 2006
15) Civil Georgia, August 11, 2009
16) Trend News Agency, August 11, 2009
17) Agence France-Presse, March 14, 2004
18) Azertag, August 12, 2009
19) Rustavi 2, August 11, 2009
20) Russian Information Agency Novosti, August 6, 2009
21) World Investment News, April 22, 2009
22) Azeri Press Agency, August 12, 2009
23), August 12, 2009
24) Ibid
25) Black Sea Press, August 6, 2009
26) Itar-Tass, August 8, 2009
27) Russian Information Agency Novosti, August 1, 2009
28) Interfax, August 3, 2009
29) Daily Times (Pakistan), August 5, 2009
30) Russian Information Agency Novosti, August 5, 2009
31) Voice of Russia. August 5, 2009
32) Russian Information Agency Novosti, August 6, 2009
33) Stars and Stripes, August 8, 2009
34) Russia Today, August 9, 2009
35) Russian Information Agency Novosti, August 4, 2009
36), August 7, 2009
37) Azeri Press Agency, August 6, 2009
38) Strategic Culture Foundation, June 12, 2008
39) Strategic Culture Foundation, April 18, 2008
40) Russia Today, August 7, 2009

Categories: Uncategorized

Former Axis Nations Abandon Post-World War II Military Restrictions

September 2, 2009 Leave a comment

August 12, 2009

Former Axis Nations Abandon Post-World War II Military Restrictions
Rick Rozoff

A press report on August 10 revealed that the government of Italy is planning to modify if not dispense with its post-World War II constitutional limitations on conducting offensive military operations; that is, to reverse a 61-year ban on waging war.

The news story, reminding readers that “Italy’s post-World War II constitution places stringent limits on the country’s military engagements,” stated the Italian government intends to introduce a new military code “specifically for missions abroad,” one that – in a demonstration of evasiveness and verbal legerdemain alike – would be “neither of peace nor of war.” [1]

On August 10 and 11, respectively, the nation’s Defense Minister Ignazio La Russa and Foreign Minister Franco Frattini were interviewed in the daily Corriere della Sera and in tandem they bemoaned what they described as undue restrictions on the Italian armed forces in performing their combat roles in NATO’s war in Afghanistan.

Commenting on La Russa’s and Frattini’s assertions, another news account summarized them as follows:

“Italy’s 2,800 soldiers operate under a military peace code, which largely restricts them to shooting back if they are attacked. Changes could give the troops heavier equipment and allow them to go on the offensive.”

Frattini is quoted as saying, “We need a code for the missions that aim to bring peace, which cannot be achieved only through actions for civilians but also through real military actions.” [2]

The tortuous illogicality of that claim is an attempt to circumvent both the letter and the spirit of Article 11 of the 1948 Italian Constitution which reads in part that “Italy repudiates war as an instrument offending the liberty of the peoples and as a means for settling international disputes.”

The rest of the Article includes, and in doing so anticipates the nation’s inclusion in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization the following year, “it agrees to limitations of sovereignty….”

Article 11 is emblematic of ones in the post-World War II constitutions adopted by, or rather imposed on, those powers responsible for unleashing history’s deadliest war in Europe and Asia: The members of the Berlin-Rome-Tokyo Axis or Tripartite Pact.

The 1949 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany, amended and extended to all of the country after unification in 1990, contains a ban on preparing a war of aggression, Article 26, which reads: Activities tending and undertaken with the intent to disturb peaceful relations between nations, especially to prepare for aggressive war, are unconstitutional. They shall be made a punishable offense.

The 1947 U.S.-authored Japanese constitution contains an equivalent, Article 9, which states:

“Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.

“In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.”

U.S. military, especially air, bases in Germany, Italy and Japan have been used in every major military campaign waged by the Pentagon from the Korean War to the current one in Afghanistan for basing bombers and for the transit of troops, weapons and equipment.

So despite constitutional requirements to repudiate and renounce and bans against preparing for war, the three former Axis nations have indeed been partners to a series of armed conflicts for sixty years.

But for most of that period, indeed for almost a half century, the nations’ legal prohibitions against direct military aggression have been observed even in the breach. Italy was a founding member of NATO in 1949, though unlike most others didn’t send troops for the Korean War. Along with the United States, Britain, Canada, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg did.

Greece and Turkey deployed contingents as a precondition for NATO membership, which they received in 1952, but West Germany, which joined in 1955, didn’t.

Although Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines and Thailand supplied troops, Japan didn’t.

The war proscriptions were abandoned by two of the three nations, Germany and Italy, in NATO’s war against Yugoslavia in early 1999. Both countries supplied military aircraft for the 78-day air war and the U.S. and NATO air base at Aviano served as the main hub for daily bombing runs against military targets, non-military infrastructure and civilians. U.S., British, Canadian, Spanish, Portuguese and other warplanes operated out of the base.

The semantic acrobatics of the current Italian Foreign Minister Frattini in attempting to deny that war is war have already been examined, and comparable statements by German and Italian cabinet ministers and parliamentarians in 1999 were no less convoluted and transparently false. Germany and Italy had gone to war against a nation (with no troops outside its own borders) for the first time since the days of Hitler and Mussolini and, moreover, against a nation that the two fascist leaders had attacked 58 years earlier.

The post-World War II, post-Nuremberg restriction against military aggression by the defeated Axis powers was violated and for the past decade Germany, Italy and Japan have continued asserting themselves as military powers on a regional and international scale, culminating in the three nations participating in various degrees in the U.S.-NATO war in Afghanistan currently.

Germany now has the maximum amount of troops parliamentary limitations – at least for the time being – allow: 4,500 and another 300 manning NATO AWACS recently deployed for the escalation of the war. It has the fourth largest contingent in Afghanistan after the U.S., Britain and Canada.

Italy has the sixth largest amount of troops, 3,250, in command of Western Afghanistan near the Iranian border, and just as the 1999 war against Yugoslavia was the first air war either nation had engaged in since World War II, so Afghanistan is the first ground war.

Germany has lost 38 soldiers so far and Italy 15.

A poll conducted by a major Italian daily in late July showed that 56% of Italians want a withdrawal of their nation’s troops from the Afghan war theater, but Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Foreign Minister Frattini and Defense Minister La Russa insist they will stay and have recently added 500 more troops and committed to deploying more Predator drones, Tornado warplanes and military helicopters.

Late last month defense chief La Russa said, “It is possible we will also increase the number of helicopters to have better aerial coverage, as well as deploying our Tornadoes offensively.” [3]

At the same time Foreign Minister Frattini spoke in a similar vein: “We will increase the use of Predator (unmanned surveillance aircraft) and Tornado (fighters), not just for reconnaissance but for real coverage (of troops).”

An Italian news account at the time added, “He also said Italy would reinforce the armour of its Lince troop carriers and send new generation armoured vehicles.” [4]

Five previous articles in this series have documented Germany’s rise as a post-Cold War global military power [5,6,7,8,9], including the ongoing transformation of the Bundeswehr into an “international intervention force,” [10] and the Merkel administration’s policy “to drop some of [Germany’s] post-World War II inhibitions about robust security measures, including the use of military force abroad and at home” [11] and a 2006 German Defense Ministry White Paper demanding that the army “be thoroughly restructured into an intervention force” [12], and a supporter of the current chancellor stating “it is time that Germany moved on from its postwar inhibitions about force.” [13]

On August 8, weeks after “German troops embarked on their largest military offensive since World War II in Kunduz,” it was reported that “German Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung said in a newspaper interview…that the country’s armed forces could be in Afghanistan for up to 10 more years.” [14]

That the German government is openly advocating the use of its army at home as well as abroad, and did just that by deploying Bundeswehr forces in Kehl this April against anti-NATO protesters during the 60th anniversary Alliance summit, was dangerous ground first trod by the Berlusconi government in Italy a year ago when 3,000 troops were deployed in Rome, Milan, Naples and Turin against immigrants and Roma (gypsy) communities as well as – allegedly at least – crime syndicates.

The use of the military for domestic purposes is disturbingly reminiscent of practices not seen in Italy and Germany since the era of Mussolini and Hitler.

Two months afterwards it was reported in an article called “NATO pours rent money into Mafia coffers” that in Naples, where NATO’s Allied Joint Force Command Naples was established in 2004, “government funding earmarked to support NATO end[ed] up in the pockets of Italy’s most violent criminal organisation.” [15]

Another news story last November recounted this:

“The head of Naples’ anti-mafia task force, Franco Roberti, censured NATO and U.S. officials for knowingly leasing houses to suspected mob bosses in a story published in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera. Rent paid by Americans and NATO personnel garner landlords between 1,500 and 3,000 euros a month — fees that can be two or three times above the market value.” [16]

Italian troops were back on the streets of the nation’s cities and the Casalese camorra was not only unmolested but enriched.

Last year Berlusconi also confirmed that the plans reached during his previous tenure as prime minister to expand the U.S. Camp Ederle at Vicenza with the nearby Dal Molin airport into “the biggest American military base outside the US” [17] would continue apace. Camp Ederle already hosts 6,000 U.S. troops and will soon house all six battalions of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, some currently in Germany. The 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team has been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years.

Late last July American troops from the Vicenza-based Southern European Task Force (Airborne) contributed to a force of 1,000 soldiers deployed to Georgia for the NATO Immediate Response 2008 exercises – the largest number of American troops deployed to the Caucasus nation at one time – to train the armed forces of their host nation for a war with Russia that would ensue within days.

“U.S. personnel responsible for training members of the Georgian military remain stationed inside the volatile country, where fighting erupted Friday [August 8] between Russia and Georgia over the breakaway province of South Ossetia.

“The U.S. European Command said on Monday that there were no plans at this time to withdraw the U.S. military trainers from the country.” [18]

In January of 2008 the Italian government announced that it was building a highway to connect Vicenza with the Aviano air base. “Airborne soldiers based at Caserma Ederle in Vicenza use Aviano for training and for hooking up with planes for long deployments: The 173rd Airborne Brigade’s last three deployments downrange have all involved launches from Aviano.” [19]

Decades-long interpretations of the Japanese Constitution’s Article 9 against remilitarization have agreed that the nation could not rearm for military actions abroad and could not engage in what is euphemistically called collective self-defense. The first is a self-evident prohibition against deploying troops, warships and warplanes outside of Japanese territory and waters to participate in armed hostilities.

The second is a ban on entering into bilateral and multilateral military treaties and alliances that obligate Japan to aid other nations engaged in war and join programs like the U.S.-led global missile shield project.

Over the past eight years successive Japanese governments have violated both components of the constitutional ban on stationing troops in conflict zones and on entering into joint defense arrangements which are in truth only partially defensive in nature.

Tokyo first tested the waters on stationing troops abroad when it deployed 600 soldiers to East Timor in 2002 to join those from Australia, Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, Fiji, Finland, France, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, the Philippines, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, Thailand and the United States.

The following December the government of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi authorized 600 soldiers and hundreds of more support personnel to be sent to Iraq nine months after the invasion of the country by the U.S. and Britain.

The Iraqi deployment marked the first time that Japanese military forces were sent to an active war zone since World War II.

Much as with Italian and German leaders who cannot pronounce the word war even while prosecuting one, Tokyo called its deployment force the Japanese Iraq Reconstruction and Support Group. The name aside, Japanese troops were stationed in support of allies who had invaded Iraq in violation of international law and without United Nations sanction and were at the time conducting large-scale combat operations. The nation’s soldiers remained there until 2006 when the focus of the U.S. and its NATO allies started shifting back to Afghanistan.

In 2006 Japan compensated for its troop withdrawal by providing the occupation forces airlift operations in Iraq, then ended that mission last December when the Afghan War emerged as the uncontested priority of its Western military allies.

Japan has supported the latter war from its inception and “Despite its pacifist constitution, Japan has participated in an Indian Ocean naval mission since 2001 that provides fuel and other logistical support to the US-led coalition fighting in Afghanistan.” [20] It provided the majority of fuel to U.S. and NATO warships in the Indian Ocean, including those firing Tomahawk cruise missiles into Afghanistan. Japan briefly withdrew its naval forces at the end of 2007, but redeployed them a year later where they remain in support of the world’s major war.

What is remarkably still referred to as pacifist Japan, then, has actively supported the West’s last two wars.

In an interview last month with the U.S. Armed Forces newspaper Stars and Stripes Japanese Democratic Party Diet member Keiichiro Asao, touted to become the nation’s next defense minister should his party, substantially ahead in current national polls, win the next election, spoke of the Afghan War and said “If peace talks proved successful in part of Afghanistan, even if other areas were still combat zones, ‘then we might send ground troops to that area to help build back civil society.'” [21]

Troops on the ground in the world’s preeminent theater of war would strip away the remaining vestiges of Japan’s post-World War II demilitarization and the nation would fully join the ranks of Germany and Italy as war belligerents.

And just that has been planned for years, as in January of 2007 the Japan Defense Agency was transformed into the Ministry of Defense, a ministry that hadn’t existed since the nation’s defeat in World War II.

In the same month it was reported that then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma were “considering authorizing [Japan’s] troops to launch pre-emptive strikes during international peacekeeping operations” and planned “to study ways to ease the constitutional ban on Japan to use force to defend its allies in so-called ‘acts of collective self-defense.’

“The government plans to achieve the goal by changing the interpretation of the constitution,” stated the Yomiuri daily newspaper. [22]

Three months later a report titled “Japan To Consider Fighting for Allies Under Attack” detailed that “Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is leaning toward allowing Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense in four cases,” which include “the use of Japan’s missile defense system against a ballistic missile attack on an allied country, such as the U.S.,” the Kyodo News Agency revealed. [23]

The other three instances in which Tokyo would be prepared to violate the constitutional ban against so-called collective defense are cases of “a counterattack when a warship sailing along with a Japanese vessel comes under attack, or when a military unit in a multinational forces is attacked, and in some situations when Japan is working as part of a UN peacekeeping operation.” [24]

It’s worth recalling that Prime Minister Abe continued the tradition of his predecessor Junichiro Koizumi in paying annual visits to the Yasukuni shrine where Japanese war dead including 14 convicted World War II era war criminals are buried.

“‘It’s not appropriate for the government to specifically draw a conclusion’ on the war responsibility of the war criminals,” Abe told the Japanese Diet on October 3, 2006. [25]

The visits by Japanese prime ministers to the shrine from 2001-2006 outraged China, the two Koreas, Thailand, the Philippines and other nations that had already “specifically draw[n] a conclusion” about the war crimes perpetrated against their countries and peoples and the rehabilitation of the guilty parties in a bid to revive Japanese militarism.

The most dangerous application of Japanese plans for preemptive military attacks and the first of the four scenarios laid out by the government in 2007 to justify joint military action is that pertaining to so-called missile defense, which in fact is incorporating Japan into a U.S.-led global interceptor missile grid which includes land, air and sea components and which will be integrated with the deployment of surveillance satellites and missiles in space.

On August 11 the commander of the Russian Air Force, Col. Gen. Alexander Zelin, warned that “By 2030…foreign countries, particularly the United States, will be able to deliver coordinated high-precision strikes from air and space against any target on the whole territory of Russia.” [26]

The following day Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi addressed the 65-nation Conference on Disarmament in Geneva and warned against an “arms race in outer space,” stating that “Outer space is now facing the looming danger of weaponization” and “Countries should neither develop missile defense systems that undermine global strategic stability nor deploy weapons in outer space.” [27]

In 2005 the U.S. and Japan agreed to establish a missile defense facility at the American Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo. A local news sources, Kyodo, said of the project that “Japan’s success will have an impact on the nuclear potential of China and Russia in East Asia. There is no doubt that the two countries will step up their efforts to develop missiles with a higher performance.” [28]

In May of 2007 Pentagon chief Robert Gates “urged Japan to declare the right to collective defense so its missile defense shield can be used to intercept North Korean ballistic missiles targeted at the United States….” [29]

North Korea is the pretext employed to expand the global missile shield system with its threat of nuclear blackmail and potential for a first strike against Russia and China. However, as reported of the Gates’ initiative at the time, “The U.S. demand on collective defense reflects its strategy to boost its deterrence toward China and also carries Washington’s hope that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will partially allow the use of such a right by revising the Constitution.” [30]

In the same month, May of 2007, it was revealed that “Japan’s defense ministry has been providing U.S. forces with intelligence gathered by its Air Self-Defense Force’s early warning radar network since late April” and that “The ministry began permanent linking of the ASDF’s intelligence gathering network with the headquarters of the U.S. 5th Air Force at Yokota Air Base in Tokyo before the two countries agreed to boost information-sharing for missile defense at a top security meeting in Washington on May 1….” [31]

Two years ago the ruling Liberal Party completed post-Cold War plans to reverse the situation where “Japan’s pacifist Constitution bans warfare and overseas military action. The Japanese government’s current interpretation is that the Constitution prohibits Japan from exercising the right to defend an ally under attack” [32]. That is, Article 9 will be either eviscerated of any real force or scrapped altogether.

As Japan intensifies its demand that Russia’s Kuril Islands be ceded to it in a resurgence of post-World War II revanchism, Tokyo has joined its former allies in Berlin and Rome in casting off constraints placed on the use of its military abroad, including in “preemptive” actions, imposed on it after World War II.

With the collapse of the socialist bloc in Eastern Europe a generation ago and with NATO moving to take over former Warsaw Pact territory, many demons that had lain dormant for decades have been awakened from their slumber, including unabashed militarism, irredentist and other demands to redraw borders, and World War II revisionism and revanchism. And fascism.

In February of 2007 the Bucharest Court of Appeal in Romania, which joined the German-Italian-Japanese Axis during World War II, ruled that the participation of 800,000 Romanian troops in Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 was a “war for the liberation of Bessarabia and Bucovina” (contemporary Moldova). [33]

In late July of this year the mayor of the Romanian city of Constanta, Radu Mazare, wore a Nazi military uniform at a fashion show in the city and said “I wanted to dress like a general from the Wehrmacht because I have always liked this uniform, and have admired the strict organization of the German army.” [34]

Two years earlier Rein Lang, the Justice Minister of Estonia, a member in good standing of NATO and the European Union, celebrated his fiftieth birthday in pub in a “Hitler night” celebration which included a one-man play called Adolf in which the lone actor recited “Hitler’s monologue before [his] suicide with a swastika in the background. In this monologue the Fuhrer called on his allies to ‘further promote ideas of the Third Reich.'” [35]

This July 26 veterans of the Estonian SS 20th Division celebrated a 1944 battle with the Soviet army in the latest of a series of annual commemorations of the Nazi past. The events included a march and “Supporters of fascism from the Baltic states, Holland, Norway, Denmark and even from Georgia took part in the parade.” [36]

As a Russian commentator said of trends in the country, “People who make no attempt to conceal their appreciation of Nazism and Nazi ideology are running Estonia.” [37]

Three months before 300 Latvians marched in the annual Legionnaires Day parade which honors the nation’s Waffen SS veterans who “took part in punitive operations and mass killings of Jews, Belorussians and Latvians.” [38] Latvia is also a member of NATO and the EU. The yearly marches are staged in the capital of Riga and although not endorsed by the government the latter provides police protection for the Nazi sympathizers and has arrested anti-fascist protesters in the past.

The prototype for this fascist resurgence was Croatia in 1991 with the rehabilitation and glorification of the Nazi-allied Ustashe and the new brown plague has even spread to Ukraine, where last year President Victor Yushchenko, product of the 2004 “Orange Revolution” and a U.S. client whose poll ratings recently have sunk to under 1%, “conferred posthumously the title of Hero of Ukraine on Roman Shukhevich, one of the chieftains of Ukrainian Insurgent Army, which fought along with the Third Reich, and has signed a decree on celebrating the day of the Insurgent Army’s formation.” [39]

In his waning days Yushchenko is intensifying efforts to drag his nation into NATO despite overwhelming popular opposition and has officiated over developments like the erection of statues in honor of Stepan Bandera, leader of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army.

With the return of Germany, Italy and Japan to waging and supporting wars and the revival of Nazi sentiments in Europe a student of the future could be forgiven for thinking that the Axis powers were the victors and not the losers of World War II and that the Nuremberg trials had never occurred.

1) Deutsche Presse-Agentur, August 10, 2009
2) Associated Press, August 11, 2009
3) Defense News, July 22, 2009
4) Reuters, July 26, 2009
5) New NATO: Germany Returns To World Military Stage
July 12, 2009
6) From WW II To WW III: Global NATO And Remilitarized Germany
July 14, 2009
7) Germany: First New Post-Cold War World Military Power
July 16, 2009
8) Germany And NATO’s Nuclear Nexus
July 18, 2009
9) Germany: World Arms Merchant In First Post-WW II Combat
July 24, 2009
10) Der Spiegel, August 10, 2009
11) Wall Street Journal, June 11, 2008
12) Newsweek, November 13, 2006
13) Ibid
14) Deutsche Presse-Agentur, August 8, 2009
15) Sydney Morning Herald, November 6, 2008
16) Stars and Stripes, November 27, 2008
17) ANSA (Italy), September 22, 2006
18) Stars and Stripes, August 12, 2008
19) Stars and Stripes, January 2, 2008
20) Agence France-Presse, August 10, 2009
21) Stars and Stripes, July 21, 2009
22) Associated Press, January 14, 2007
23) Agence France-Presse, April 7, 2007
24) Ibid
25) Japan Times, December 28, 2006
26) Russian Information Agency Novosti, August 11, 2009
27) Associated Press, August 12, 2009
28) Kyodo News, December 21, 2007
29) Kyodo News, May 17, 2007
30) Ibid
31) Xinhua News Agency, May 13, 2007
32) Xinhua News Agency, June 30, 2007
33) Infotag (Moldova), February 21, 2007
34) Sofia News Agency, July 20, 2009
35) Voice of Russia, July 6, 2007
36) Voice of Russia, July 27, 2009
37) Voice of Russia, July 6, 2007
38) Voice of Russia, March 13, 2009
39) Voice of Russia, October 25, 2008

Categories: Uncategorized

Afghan War: NATO Builds History’s First Global Army

September 1, 2009 2 comments

August 9, 2009

Afghan War: NATO Builds History’s First Global Army
Rick Rozoff

Two months before the eighth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan and the beginning of NATO’s first-ever ground war the world is witness to a 21st Century armed conflict without end waged by the largest military coalition in history.

With recent announcements that troops from such diverse nations as Colombia, Mongolia, Armenia, Japan, South Korea, Ukraine and Montenegro are to or may join those of some 45 other countries serving under the command of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), there will soon be military personnel from fifty nations on five continents and in the Middle East serving under a unified command structure.

Never before have soldiers from so many states served in the same war theater, much less the same country.

By way of comparison, there were 26 (higher, and looser, estimates go as high as 34) national contingents in the so-called coalition of the willing in Iraq as of 2006. In the interim between now and then troops from all contributing nations but the United States and Great Britain have been withdrawn and in most cases redeployed to Afghanistan.

In 1999 NATO’s fiftieth anniversary summit in Washington, D.C. welcomed the first expansion of the world’s only military bloc in the post-Cold War era, absorbing former Warsaw Pact members the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, in the course of conducting NATO’s first war, the relentless 78-day bombardment of Yugoslavia, Operation Allied Force.

Two years later, after the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., NATO activated its Article 5 – “The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all” – for the first time in the bloc’s history and launched a number of operations ranging from deploying German AWACS to patrol the Atlantic Coast of the U.S. to launching Operation Active Endeavor, a naval surveillance and interdiction program throughout the Mediterranean Sea which continues to this day.

But the main effect, and the main purpose, of invoking NATO’s mutual military assistance clause was to rally the then 19 member military bloc for the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and the stationing of troops, warplanes and bases throughout South and Central Asia, including in Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Flyover rights were also arranged with Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan and newly acquired airbases in Bulgaria and Romania have since been used for the transit of troops and weapons to the Afghan war zone.

If the 1999 war against Yugoslavia was NATO’s first “out of area” operation – that is, outside of North America and those parts of Europe in the Alliance – the war in Afghanistan marked NATO’s transformation into a global warfighting machine. In the years intervening between the October 2001 invasion of Afghanistan and now NATO officials and advocates have come to employ such terms as global, expeditionary and 21st century NATO. Afghanistan provided the Alliance the opportunity to add to its previous expansion to Eastern Europe with its attendant military operations in the Balkans into asserting itself as the world’s first global military force.

As the U.S. State Department’s Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Kurt Volker (later American ambassador to NATO) said in 2006, “In 1994 NATO was an alliance of 16 [countries], without partners, having never conducted a military operation. By 2005, NATO had become an alliance of 26, engaged in eight simultaneous operations on four continents with the help of 20 partners in Eurasia, seven in the Mediterranean, four in the Persian Gulf, and a handful of capable contributors on our periphery.” [1]

The updated details of what he was alluding to are these:

From 1999 to this year NATO has added twelve new members – Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia – all in Eastern Europe, nine of them formerly in the Warsaw Pact and three former Soviet and two Yugoslav republics.

All of the new members were prepared for full NATO accession under the Partnership for Peace (PfP) program, which first demands weapons interoperability (scrapping contemporary Russian and old Warsaw Pact arms in favor of Western ones), increasing future members’ military spending to 2% of the national budget no matter how hard-hit the nation is since the collapse of the Eastern Bloc, the purging of “politically unreliable” personnel from military, defense and security posts, training abroad in NATO military academies, hosting U.S. and Alliance military exercises, and instructing the officer corps in a common language – English – for joint overseas operations.

With a dozen PfP graduates now full NATO members who have deployed troops to Afghanistan – Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania were also levied for troops in Iraq – the partnership still includes every former Soviet Republic not already in NATO but Russia – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan – and ten European nations that had never before been part of a military bloc: Austria, Bosnia, Finland, the Republic of Ireland, Macedonia, Malta, Montenegro, Serbia, Sweden and Switzerland.

All of the latter but Malta and Serbia have been tapped for soldiers in Afghanistan. The 28 full NATO members all have troops there also.

Of the former Soviet republics, troops from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova and Ukraine served in Iraq under PfP obligations. At the time of the South Caucasus war last August Georgia had the third largest national contingent in Iraq – 2,000 troops deployed near the Iranian border – which the U.S. rushed home on transport planes for the war with Russia.

NATO also upgraded its Mediterranean Dialogue, whose partners are Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia, at the 2004 NATO summit in Istanbul, Turkey with the so-called Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, which also laid the groundwork for military integration of the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The last-named is the only Arab state to date with troops in Afghanistan.

The Afghan war has led to another category of NATO partnership, that of Contact Countries, which so far officially include Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.

The Alliance also has a Tripartite Commission with Afghanistan and Pakistan for the prosecution of the dangerously expanding war in South Asia, and defense, military and political leaders from both nations are regularly summoned to NATO Headquarters in Belgium for meetings and directives.
Afghan and Pakistani soldiers are trained at NATO bases in Europe.

Though not members of formal partnerships, nations with troops serving under NATO in Afghanistan like Singapore and Mongolia have been pulled into the bloc’s global nexus and necessarily adopt military doctrines and structures in line with NATO standards.

Another component of the 2001 decision to activate the Alliance’s Article 5 provision was to deploy NATO forces to the Horn of Africa, primarily to Camp Lemonier in Djibouti, where they have conducted maritime surveillance and boarding operations ever since. Last autumn NATO deployed its first naval task force off the coast of Somalia.

In addition to the five African nations in the Mediterranean Dialogue, NATO has expanded its penetration of the continent over the past eight years: An Alliance naval group has docked in Kenya. NATO has held military maneuvers in South Africa in the course of circumnavigating the continent in 2007. Even Libya has begun cooperation with NATO in the Mediterranean.

With the launching of the Pentagon’s Africa Command (AFRICOM) last year – and AFRICOM is the personal project of retired Marine General James Jones, from 2003-2006 top military commander of NATO and the U.S. European Command where AFRICOM was incubated and now U.S. National Security Adviser – the distinction between Pentagon and NATO operations in Africa will be a largely academic one and all of Africa’s 53 nations except for Eritrea, Sudan and Zimbabwe are potential Alliance partners.

The central focus for the operationalization of NATO’s worldwide plans is Afghanistan and adjoining nations.

In calendar year nine of the war in that nation and now with its expansion into Pakistan NATO has built upon previous and current joint military deployments in Bosnia, Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Djibouti, Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan, Sudan and off the coast of Somalia and secured a long-term, indeed a permanent, laboratory for molding history’s first international rapid deployment, combat and occupation military force; a 650,000 square kilometer firing and weapons testing range; a string of airbases in the center of where Russian, Chinese, Indian and Iranian regional interests converge; a boot camp for breaking in the armed forces of dozens of nations slated for NATO membership.

As such, discussions about the “winnability” of the current war are beside the point.

Although there are currently over 100,000 troops serving under U.S. and NATO command in Afghanistan, many of them so-called niche deployment special forces, mountain and airborne troops and other units ordered by NATO from member and candidate nations, on August 7 the newly-installed Alliance Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen issued an “open call for more troops” which “was perhaps the clearest indication yet that a major escalation ordered this year by new U.S. President Barack Obama is far from over.”

In Rasmussen’s words, “Honestly speaking, I think we need more troops.” [2]

Two days after being sworn in as NATO chief on August 1 Rasmussen “ruled out setting a deadline for the withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan, saying the western alliance will stay there ‘for as long as it takes.'” [3]

The new secretary general hadn’t time to begin to settle into his new post when he and NATO Supreme Allied Commander James Stavridis flew into Kabul on an unscheduled visit two days afterwards “in order to get a comprehensive view of the international effort.” [4]

On August 7 British General David Richards, who will become Chief of the General Staff on August 28, stated that “There is absolutely no chance of Nato pulling out” [5] of Afghanistan and that his own nation’s role there “might take as long as 30 to 40 years.” [6]

Eight days earlier the British ambassador to the U.S., Sir Nigel Sheinwald, anticipated Richards in saying of the British – and by implication NATO – role in South and Central Asia that “This is going to be for decades….” [7]

In late July the Afghan ambassador to the U.S. also revealed that any hopes for an imminent de-escalation of the war in his country, not to mention its eventual end, were non-existent by revealing that “NATO countries will provide 8,000 to 10,000 additional troops to allow Afghans to vote securely” [8] in this month’s national elections. The official explanation by the U.S. and NATO for their increased deployment of troops to Afghanistan is that it is an ad hoc effort to insure the elections there proceed without interruption, but past elections have occurred and the fighting has increased with the introduction of more and yet more Western soldiers, tanks and other armor, attack helicopters, warplanes and large-scale military offensives.

In fact August is a good month for a NATO summer offensive and concerns over elections are a public relations ploy.

The day before the British envoy to the U.S. acknowledged the decades-long plans of his country, his host country and NATO, British Foreign Minister David Miliband held a joint press conference in Washington with his American counterpart Hillary Clinton at which he stated that despite polls in both Britain and America showing majority opposition to the continuation of the Afghan war “I want to be absolutely clear that we (the UK and the US) went into this together and we will work it through together, because we are stronger together.” [9]

That the British and American publics are as anxious for NATO troops to leave Afghanistan as the Afghans themselves means nothing to Western political elites for whom much more is stake than the fate of Afghanistan, about which they couldn’t care less.

As a reflection of the urgency the Pentagon and NATO attach to the deteriorating security situation in the nation, an emergency conclave was held on a U.S. airbase near NATO Headquarters in Belgium with American Defense Secretary Robert Gates, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, commander of NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan General Stanley A. McChrystal, deputy commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan General David Rodriguez, NATO Supreme Allied Commander Admiral James Stavridis and Central Command chief David Petraeus.

Two days later NATO’s governing body, the North Atlantic Council, announced plans “to reorganize the alliance’s command structure in Afghanistan by setting up a new headquarters” to be named Intermediate Joint Headquarters and commanded by U.S. General Rodriguez.

A news account of the NATO decision said that “It is similar to the model used in Iraq, where overall command of the multinational forces was under a four-star American general, while a three-star general ran daily operations.” [10]

Afghanistan is not the only battleground in the South Asian war theater.

From July 20-24 senior leaders of the American and Pakistani armed forces met in Atlanta, Georgia at a counterinsurgency seminar.

The director of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Center, Colonel Daniel Roper, said of the proceedings: “This week we presented some lessons learned in counterinsurgency. We used those lessons to stimulate conversation and took our previous experiences in Iraq and applied them to our current status. We exchanged our viewpoints on the challenges in Afghanistan, Pakistan and South Asia at large.”

South Asia at large includes not only Afghanistan and Pakistan but India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Another U.S. military official present at the four-day workshop said, “Pakistan is a pivotal country in our current operations. The Pakistan military actually just came out of fighting the insurgency over there to bring their knowledge to us and for us to talk about certain practices we have used both historically and more recently in Iraq and Afghanistan.” [11]

In early August commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan Stanley McChrystal and Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke spoke with Vietnam War scholar Stanley Karnow in an “effort to apply the lessons of the earlier conflict to the fight against the Taliban.

“Holbrooke confirmed to The Associated Press that the three men discussed similarities between the two wars. [Karnow] says envoy Richard Holbrooke called him and passed the phone to Gen. Stanley McChrystal.” [12]

Not only is “South Asia at large” included in the West’s Greater Afghan war but so is Central Asia and the Caspian Sea Basin. In both instances nations already involved in providing bases for U.S. and NATO forces (Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan) and those supplying troops and ancillary services are being pulled deeper into the NATO web.

This past January U.S. Central Command chief David Petraeus visited Kazakhstan which like Mongolia, about which more later, is among only three countries bordering both Russia and China, North Korea being the third. Petraeus pushed for his host country to open up its air bases for transit to Afghanistan and it was later revealed that discussions concerning the recruitment of Kazakh troops for the war front were also held.

Kazakhstan is a member of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) along with three of its four Central Asian neighbors [Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan), Russia and China.

It is also the Caspian nation with the largest oil and natural gas deposits and a key nation in Western plans to dominate the transport of hydrocarbons to Europe and Asia.

The penetration of Kazakhstan, a member of NATO’s Partnership for Peace, by the Pentagon and NATO will simultaneously insert a hostile Western military presence on Russia’s and China’s borders and undermine the very existence of the CSTO and SCO. Part of the purpose of the war in Afghanistan, which was started four months after the founding of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in June of 2001, is precisely to install U.S. and NATO military forces in Central Asia to sabotage attempts by China and Russia to develop common security, energy, transportation and other projects.

On August 7 American ambassador to Kazakhstan Richard Hoagland met with the nation’s defense minister to expand military collaboration.

“During the meeting Kazakh Defense Minister Dzhaksybekov paid special attention to the increased number of actions under the plan of military contacts…[and the] study of advanced experience and organization of the U.S army, as well as the exchange of experience.” The sharing of experience has already included “over 320 Kazakh military men…trained within the program of international military education and training in educational centers of the U.S armed forces.” [13]

Also on August 7 Pentagon chief Robert Gates expressed his gratification that Kyrgyzstan, which earlier this year evicted U.S. and NATO troops from the air base at Manas, had proven susceptible to bribery and allowed the U.S. military to conduct transit again through the same base. The new arrangement “will enable the U.S. and Kyrgyzstan to continue their highly productive military relations created earlier….” [14]

Kyrgyzstan like Kazakhstan is a member of the CSTO and SCO, though it’s not certain for how long.

In Kazakhstan’s Caspian neighbor to the south, Turkmenistan, the Pentagon has been no less active of late. At the end of July Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns announced plans for what was described as an intergovernmental commission for regular consultations with Turkmenistan which “marks progress in…the contribution to stability in Afghanistan and across the region….” [15]

A news report two weeks earlier revealed that “Turkmenistan is quietly developing into a major transport hub for the northern supply network, which is being used to relay non-lethal supplies to U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. The Pentagon has confirmed a small contingent of US military personnel now operates in Ashgabat to assist refueling operations.” [16]

Similar processes are occurring on the western end of the Caspian with Azerbaijan and its neighbors in the South Caucasus. With the massive increase of troops and equipment and the escalation of combat operations in Afghanistan, NATO partners are being drafted into not only providing more troops but making their airspace and air bases available for the transit of soldiers, weapons and supplies. Plans are underway to employ air bases in Bulgaria and Romania acquired in recent years as forward deployment bases for the U.S. and NATO alike to connect with bases in Georgia and Azerbaijan and thence to Central Asia and Afghanistan.

Last month the world’s first global strategic airlift base, at the air base in Papa, Hungary – “the biggest NATO project in 40 years” [17] – was put into operation for the war in South Asia and future conflicts in the East. The twelve participating nations are NATO members Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, Poland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway and the U.S. as well as two Partnership for Peace states, Finland and Sweden.

After the meeting of the Russian and U.S. presidents in Moscow last month, Russia agree to permit the Pentagon up to 4,500 annual military flights over its territory without fees, saving Washington up to $133 million a year in total transit costs.

An analysis by an American writer, Alfred Ross, in Russia Profile several days ago warned of the consequences of Russia’s accommodation of American war plans in South Asia:

“Under Obama, the U.S. military presence on Russia’s Central Asian flank is proceeding at a ferocious pace. The appointment of Richard Holbrooke, the former NATO Ambassador who orchestrated NATO’s attack on Yugoslavia as envoy to the region is indicative of Obama’s intentions. No area is more strategically important than the ‘Af-Pak’ project, which positions U.S. troops within the zone fronting on Iran, China, and Russia’s Central Asia.

“For the new American irregular warfare approach, it is the ability to map small terrain, analyze civilian traffic patterns and read local radar systems that will be key to the next round of U.S. operations across Russia’s southern flank, from the Crimea to Kyrgyzstan.” [18]

To further demonstrate the accuracy of his concerns it was recently announced that Mongolia, which directly abuts Russia as well as China, was sending an initial contingent of 130 troops to serve under NATO in Afghanistan.

A news report of the offer stated that “Mongolia’s involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan has helped cement its alliance with the United States” and that it will facilitate the nation’s “third neighbor” policy to “reach out to allies other than China and Russia.” [19] Along with Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, the South Asian war is being exploited by Washington and Brussels to intrude their military structures into nations neighboring Russia and China, reorganize their armed forces as well as shift their interstate allegiances and further encircle two of the West’s main competitors in the region and the world.

South Korea is also discussing sending troops back to Afghanistan. Singapore now has a unit serving with NATO’s ISAF and the possible next defense minister of Japan, the Democratic Party’s Keiichiro Asao, recently affirmed that his nation would consider sending ground troops to Afghanistan for the first time. [20]

The Afghan war has also allowed the West to consolidate the creation of an Asian NATO, with armed forces from the above-mentioned countries to join those of Australia and New Zealand already there.

With regards to the other end of Eurasia, the former Soviet Union, in mid-July a Moldovan helicopter operating under contact with NATO was shot down in Afghanistan, killing the six Ukrainian crew members on board.

In the South Caucasus, Armenia announced two weeks ago that it planned to send troops to Afghanistan “by the end of the year.” An analyst from that country said that “In addition to the Americans wanting Armenia, Armenia also wants to play a greater role, a role in Afghanistan that also builds on the strength of experience of Armenian peacekeepers who’ve served in Iraq and Kosovo.” [21]

Armenia, like all the former Soviet Central Asian nations except for Turkmenistan, is a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization with Russia and Belarus, and like the four others is being enticed by the West to shift its loyalties to NATO.

Georgia just announced that it has assigned a battalion of U.S.-trained troops to Afghanistan and neighboring Azerbaijan has recently doubled its troops there.

Regarding the first nation, “Georgia has been involved in NATO operations in the Balkans for nine years, and for five years in Iraq, along with the U.S. and other NATO members.

“Georgia has proven its loyalty to the West by its actions since 1999. More than 10,000 military personnel have participated in peacekeeping operations first in Kosovo, then in Iraq and briefly in Afghanistan during 2005-06.” [22]

The same source remarked that “[T]he participation in real combat operations along with the military units of such powerful countries will enrich Georgian soldiers with substantive operational experience.”

Combat experience that was put to use a year ago in its five-day war with Russia. Three days ago the deputy chairman of the Georgian parliament’s foreign affairs committee, Georgy Kandelaki, told reporters that his government would derive two major benefits from sending additional troops to Afghanistan:

“First of all, our servicemen will gain combat experience because they will be in the middle of combat action, and that is a really invaluable experience.

“Secondly, it will be a heavy argument to support Georgia’s NATO aspirations.” [23]

Gaining wartime combat experience in the Afghan campaign for action on its border with Russia is not unique to Georgia.

A former commander of Finnish troops in the country, which in the past weeks have been engaged in active combat operations in the north of Afghanistan, said that “This is a unique situation for us, in that we will get to train part of our wartime forces. That part will get to operate as close to wartime conditions as is possible.” [24]

Finland has a 1,300 kilometer border with Russia and is in the process of moving toward full NATO membership despite the opposition of a majority of its citizens. NATO is progressively encroaching on Russia’s borders from most every direction and the Afghan war is training the armies that may one day engage in combat much closer to home.

The war in Afghanistan and on the other side of the border in Pakistan has reached its highest pitch of intensity to date with Afghan civilian deaths over 1,000 this year and the U.S. and NATO experiencing their highest death tolls in almost eight years of warfare.

Britain has announced that it is sending 2,000 more troops and additional Predator drones, Chinook and Merlin helicopters and armored vehicles.

Italy, France, Germany, Romania, Turkey, Portugal, Spain, new NATO members Albania and Croatia and Contact Country partners Australia and New Zealand have deployed and have been pressured to provide more troops, including special forces units, warplanes, attack helicopters and armored vehicles for the war.

A war that expanded into a 50-nation military campaign and that has fanned out to include U.S. and NATO military incursions into South and Central Asia and the Caspian Sea region.

A war that serves as a furnace to forge an integrated, battle-hardened international military force that can be employed wherever else in the world Brussels and Washington choose to use it in the future.

The Afghan war, then, is no ordinary war, as abhorrent as all wars are.

It is only going to expand in width and in the amount of blood shed, but already it is distinguished by several developments:

It is the U.S.’s first war in Asia since Vietnam and its longest one anywhere since the same conflict.

It is NATO’s first ground war and its first military campaign in Asia.

The German army has engaged in its first combat operations since the defeat of the Third Reich in 1945.

Finnish soldiers have engaged in combat for the first time since World War II and Swedish forces in almost 200 years.

Canada has lost its first troops in combat, 127, since the Korean War.

Australia has registered its first combat deaths since the Vietnam War.

More British soldiers have been killed, 191, than at any time since the Falklands/Malvinas war in 1982.

A nation that borders Pakistan, Iran, China and two Central Asian nations has been thrown into turmoil. The world’s seven official nuclear nations are either in the neighborhood – China, Pakistan, India and Russia – or are engaged in hostilities – the U.S., Britain and France.

The only beneficiary of this conflagration is a rapidly emerging Global NATO.

1) Washington File, U.S. Department of State, May 4, 2006
2) Reuters, August 7, 2009
3) Bloomberg News, August 3, 2009
4) NATO International, August 5, 2009
5) BBC News, August 8, 2009
6) The Times, August 7, 2009
7) Boston Globe, July 30, 2009
8) Zee News (India), July 24, 2009
9) Press TV, July 29, 2009
10) Associated Press, August 4, 2009
11) United States Army, Army News Service, July 30, 2009
12) Associated Press, August 6, 2009
13) Trend News Agency, August 7, 2009
14) Interfax, August 7, 2009
15) Trend News Agency, July 24, 2009
16) EurasiaNet, July 8, 2009
17) Hungary Around The Clock, July 28, 2009
18) Russia Profile, July 31, 2009
19) Trend News Agency, July 22, 2009
20) Stars and Stripes, July 21, 2009
21) ArmeniaLiberty, July 23, 2009
22) Eurasia Daily Monitor, July 20, 2009
23) Russian Information Agency Novosti, August 6, 2009
24) Helsingin Sanomat, June 19, 2009

Categories: Uncategorized

Encroachment From All Compass Points: Canada Leads NATO Confrontation With Russia In North

September 1, 2009 1 comment

August 5, 2009

Encroachment From All Compass Points: Canada Leads NATO Confrontation With Russia In North
Rick Rozoff

Continuing the pattern by top Canadian federal officials over the past year of issuing blunt and bravado statements aimed at Russia over the Arctic, on August 1 Defence Minister Peter MacKay was paraphrased as “warn[ing] Russia that Canuck fighter jets will scramble to meet any unauthorized aircraft” as a mainstream Canadian news agency less than delicately phrased it, and thundered that “Canadian fighter jets would scramble to ‘meet’ any Russian aircraft ‘approaching’ Canada’s airspace.” [1]

MacKay said that “We’re going to protect our sovereign territory,” [2] though transparently the message was directed solely against Russia, which in no manner endangers Canada’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and not the United States, which does.

In another account of MacKay’s comments, this time indicating that he was speaking in response to a report that Russia plans to drop a small detachment of paratroopers almost a year from now in a part of the Arctic it has internationally recognized rights to, the defence chief was quoted as saying “We have scrambled F-18 jets in the past, and they’ll always be there to meet them.” [3]

He appears to have grabbed what passes in Ottawa as a rhetorical flourish from the wrong context, however, that of “protecting Canadian airspace” from Russian long-range bombers flying in international airspace in a fashion that doesn’t violate either Canada’s territory or any treaty or law. Though the same report concedes that “MacKay said there have been no recent intrusions of Russian bombers.” [4]

MacKay’s latest saber-rattling is fully in keeping with a string of comparable diatribes from the trio of Canada’s prime, defence and foreign ministers going back a year to the five-day war between Georgia and Russia, revealingly enough.

Last August Prime Minister Stephen Harper accused Russia of reverting to a “Soviet-era mentality” and the next month MacKay followed suit with “When we see a Russian Bear [Tupolev Tu-95] approaching Canadian air space, we meet them with an F-18.” It’s now been nearly a year of Canada’s defence minister threatening Russia with F-18s, multirole fighter jets produced by Chicago-based Boeing. MacKay brandishing U.S. warplanes is proper to the circumstances as he is also reflecting and representing American and NATO designs on the Arctic and against Russian claims and interests there.

This February Barack Obama paid his first visit outside the United States as president of the country, visiting Ottawa and Prime Minister Harper. The latter’s government chose that occasion to stage a contrived stunt that in a more serious situation would have signaled a lead-up to war or that could have precipitated one. Canada scrambled warplanes over the Arctic Ocean to intercept and turn back Russian bombers engaged in what since 2007 have been routine flights in neutral airspace.

With the newly inaugurated American president present to guarantee maximum attention in the world media, the Canadian prime minister said, “We will defend our airspace, we also have obligations of continental defence with the United States. We will fulfil those obligations to defend our continental airspace, and we will defend our sovereignty and we will respond every time the Russians make any kind of intrusion on the sovereignty in Canada’s Arctic.” [5]

The Russian planes in question in no manner intruded into Canadian airspace and as such didn’t threaten the nation’s “sovereignty.”

That Harper highlighted “obligations of continental defence with the United States” in reference to the visit of the U.S. president and some fantastical “threat” posed by a Russian bomber several thousand kilometers away from the Canadian capital where Obama was at the time perhaps was intended to both prove Ottawa’s value to its southern neighbor – after all, Harper and MacKay postured as having saved the American head of state from a fictitious Russian bombing run – and to demonstrate that as “continental defence” is a reciprocal affair the world superpower stood behind it in any future confrontation with Russia.

The third member of Canada’s bellicose triumvirate, Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon, who while addressing Russia in March stated “Let’s be perfectly clear here. Canada will not be bullied,” at the end of this June referred to Canada as both an Arctic and an energy “superpower.”

A Canadian news report at the time wrote that “Downplaying Russia’s recent ‘jockeying’ for position in the emerging polar oil rush, Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon has declared Canada an ‘Arctic superpower.’” [6]

Although Western news reports attempt to portray the heightened competition for Arctic energy and other resources and transportation routes as a five-way contest between the nations with substantive claims to the region – the United States, Canada, Russia, Denmark and Norway – all but Russia are NATO members and obligated under the bloc’s Article 5 provision to render military assistance to any member requesting it. Britain and Finland and Sweden, the latter two rapidly being dragged into full NATO integration, have also joined the Arctic fray. Norway has recently moved its Operational Command Headquarters into the Arctic Circle and Denmark announced plans to establish an all-service Arctic Command, an Arctic Response Force and a military buildup at the Thule airbase in Greenland, to be shared with its NATO allies.

“With Denmark becoming the latest nation to reveal major plans to sharpen its Arctic military capabilities, a global buildup in the tools of northern warfare has experts concerned about an increased risk of conflict.” [7]

Last year Norway purchased 48 Lockheed F-35 fighter jets “because of their suitability for Arctic patrols.” In March, that country held a major Arctic military practice involving 7,000 soldiers from 13 countries in which a fictional country called Northland seized offshore oil rigs.

“The manoeuvres prompted a protest from Russia – which objected again in June after Sweden held its largest northern military exercise since the end of the Second World War. About 12,000 troops, 50 aircraft and several warships were involved.” [8]

The above follows closely on the heels of NATO’s secretary general and top military commanders meeting in Iceland on January 28-29 of this year and conducting a Seminar on Security Prospects in the High North, at which then NATO chief Jaap de Hoop Scheffer stated:

“[T]he High North is going to require even more of the Alliance’s attention in the coming years.

“As the ice-cap decreases, the possibility increases of extracting the High North’s mineral wealth and energy deposits.

“At our Summit in Bucharest last year, we agreed a number of guiding principles for NATO’s role in energy security….” [9]

The NATO meeting, which for the first time explicitly targeted the Arctic Circle as an area of operations for the Alliance, was held seventeen days after the outgoing Bush administration issued National Security Presidential Directive 66 which included the assertion that “The United States has broad and fundamental national security interests in the Arctic region….These interests include such matters as missile defense and early warning; deployment of sea and air systems for strategic sealift, strategic deterrence, maritime presence, and maritime security operations; and ensuring freedom of navigation and overflight.” [10]

The National Security Directive openly contests Canada’s claim that the Northwest Passage, which because of the melting of the polar ice cap is now fully navigable for the first time in recorded history, is its exclusive territory and calls for the internationalization of the strategic waterway.

If Canadian sovereignty and territorial integrity are threatened by any nation that country is the United States and not Russia.

With the possibility of Canada’s opposition Liberals calling for a no-confidence vote in the parliament next month and triggering a snap election, incumbent Prime Minister Harper is intensifying the theme of “reinforc[ing] Canadian sovereignty in the eastern Arctic” and will attend this month’s annual Arctic military exercises, Operation Nanook, along with Defence Minister MacKay and Chief of Defence Staff Walter Natynczyk.

In order to “get a close look this month at Canada’s efforts to beef up its military presence in the Arctic,” Harper will be taken by helicopter to the month-long drills and deposited on the frigate HMCS Toronto as well as visiting the submarine HMCS Charlottetown.

“Government officials announced details of the Harper’s Aug. 17-21 tour, amid mounting tensions with Russia over Arctic territorial claims.” [11].

This year Operation Nanook will be a full spectrum operation with Canadian army, navy and air force participation and special forces engaged for the first time. The exercises will include the amphibious landing of an Arctic Reserve Company Group, anti-submarine exercises, air support operations and a mass casualty exercise. [12]

Again recalling that the United States is Canada’s chief rival for control of the Northwest Passage, in late July the U.S. State Department revealed “The United States and Canada will begin in August a 42-day joint expedition to the Arctic to survey the continental shelf in the Arctic” and that “The mission, scheduled from August 6 to September 16, will continue the collaboration in extended continental shelf data collection in the Arctic started during last summer’s joint survey, with plans for further cooperation in 2010.” [13]

In late June when Foreign Minister Cannon touted Canada as an Arctic superpower he revealed by exclusion which nation was targeted by his country and its NATO allies when he praised “the benefits of joint research with American scientists in waters near the Alaska-Yukon border and with Danish scientists near Greenland….On the thorny question of who owns the Northwest Passage – the route through the Arctic archipelago that Canada considers its ‘internal waters’ Cannon said there’s currently no plan to try to dissuade the U.S. from its view that the route is an ‘international strait’ beyond any one country’s control.” [14]

The last sentence dispels any serious consideration of Ottawa’s claims concerning sovereignty and territorial rights.

With Canada budgeting hundreds of millions of dollars to build an Arctic military training center in Resolute Bay, for “new northern warships and military infrastructure and…its own dedicated Arctic unit based in Yellowknife, N.W.T. (Northwest Territories),” [15] the Polar Epsilon satellite surveillance program and advanced aerial drones in the Arctic, its American partner has been complementing its efforts.

In mid-July U.S. Air Force commander Lt. Gen. Dana Atkins spoke of “the importance of having a strong military presence in the Arctic, and the military’s reaction to continuing coastal flights by the Russian Air Force.”

Explaining what the true U.S. and NATO objectives in the region are, he added “the Arctic will become increasingly strategically important in the future, not just because of the estimated trillions of dollars worth of untapped oil and natural gas under its surface, but also because of increased shipping opportunities in the area,” which could permit “A ship traveling from Asia to Europe [to] cut its costs in half traveling this route rather through the Panama Canal.” [16]

Atkins advocated a deep water port on the North Slope (bordering the Arctic) that was “needed to better defend the region.” [17]

Also in the middle of last month the Pentagon held its Northern Edge war games in Alaska, “situated between Russia and Canada, and within a good part of the Arctic Circle,” with over 9,000 troops, warships and warplanes.

“Air Force, Navy, Army, Marine Corps and Coast Guard personnel participated with aircraft flying in simulated air combat, many times flying in excess of the speed of sound, a restriction found nearly everywhere else in the United States.

“Naval warships and land-based forces also synchronized with aircraft in creating a large combined force.” [18]

To demonstrate that far more is at state than the largest portion of the world’s untapped oil and natural gas reserves and new international commerce-transforming shipping lanes, while the U.S. military exercises were being conducted in Alaska Russia held large-scale nuclear submarine drills under the Arctic ice cap which included “several nuclear-powered attack submarines…deployed in the launch area to provide security for…two strategic submarines” launching ballistic missiles and which helped the latter avoid detection by U.S. defenses. [19]

“A Russian intelligence source earlier said the region around the North Pole is the perfect place for launches of ballistic missiles because it allows the submarines to arrive in a designated area undetected and to shorten the missile flight time to the target.” [20]

Russia is the only nation in the world with a nuclear triad – strategic bombers, land-based long-range ballistic missiles and submarine-launched ballistic missiles – capable of defending itself against a nuclear first strike by the U.S. and its allies.

A standard online description of the need for such a system says, “The purpose of having a trifurcated nuclear capability is to significantly reduce the possibility that an enemy could destroy all a country’s nuclear forces in a first strike attack; this, in turn, ensures a credible threat of a second strike, and thus increases a nation’s nuclear deterrence.” [21]

With the development of an international interceptor missile system, to say nothing of the weaponization of space, the U.S. and its military allies in NATO and what has come to be called Asian NATO are deploying missile interceptor and radar bases in the Czech Republic, Poland, Norway, Britain, Alaska (including the Aleutian Islands), Japan, Australia and elsewhere that could render Russian – and Chinese – nuclear deterrence and retaliation capabilities useless and thus lay the groundwork for a nuclear first strike to be launched with presumed impunity.

The Arctic Ocean is where Russia is concentrating its last line of defense against such a threat. If the U.S. and NATO, employing Canada as their advance guard, confront and expel Russia from the Arctic the possibility of nuclear blackmail and unprovoked attacks increase exponentially.

The role assigned to Canada is to serve as either bait in a trap or as agent provocateur to trigger a confrontation with Russia which the U.S. and NATO, the first through bilateral defense agreements and the second through the Alliance’s Article 5 mutual military assistance clause, would respond to.

Canada, with a population of 33 million, would then be portrayed as a small and defenseless victim of “resurgent Russian imperialism” much as with Estonia and Georgia on the Baltic and Black Seas, respectively.

After returning from visits to Ukraine and Georgia, both bordering Russia and both being promoted for full NATO membership by the United States, last month Vice President Joseph Biden gave an interview with the Wall Street Journal in which he said of Russia that “It`s a very difficult thing to deal with loss of empire” – this from the second-in-command of the world’s preeminent global superpower with hundreds of thousands of troops around the world and hundreds of military bases dotting the planet.

He went on to forecast what could have been lifted verbatim from Zbigniew Brzezinski’s 1997 The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives and its claim that Russia, “an unnatural political entity,” was marked for fragmentation and eventual extinction.

“They have a shrinking population base, they have a withering economy, they have a banking sector and structure that is not likely to be able to withstand the next 15 years, they’re in a situation where the world is changing before them and they`re clinging to something in the past that is not sustainable.”

“This country, Russia, is in a very different circumstance than it has been any time in the last 40 years, or longer.” [22]

Biden’s support for the “color revolution” leaders of Ukraine and Georgia – one, Mikheil Saakashvili, a former U.S. resident and the other, Viktor Yushchenko, married to a native of Chicago and former Reagan and George H.W. Bush official – fits into this scenario nicely. He demanded that Russian peacekeepers be withdrawn from Abkhazia and South Ossetia and delivered the fiat that Russia would have no “sphere of influence” in the former Soviet Union, which is to say historical Russia. The fourteen former Soviet Republics aside from Russia are marked out by the U.S. and NATO as their turf.

“As we reset the relationship with Russia, we reaffirm our commitment to an independent Ukraine, and we recognize no sphere of influence or no ability of any other nation to veto the choices an independent nation makes,” Biden said in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev. [23]

The choices he mentioned include, in fact are centered on, NATO integration and membership, which polls show are opposed by as many as 80% of Ukrainians.

Biden was the first major American official to visit Georgia after last August’s Georgian attack on South Ossetia and a five-day armed conflict between Georgia and Russia. While there he pledged $1 billion in post-war aid and laid the groundwork for the United States-Georgia Charter on Strategic Partnership which was formalized last December.

In response to his most recent visit the Foreign Ministry of Abkhazia released a statement saying that “At the moment the US is using Saakashvili as an instrument to threaten the security of the Caucasus” and “The Georgian government is continuing its militarisation process and is drawing up plans for a revenge military intrusion into territories which do not belong to Georgia.” [24]

South Ossetia has reported the resumption of Georgian shelling of its capital and other parts of its territory shortly after Biden’s departure from Tbilisi and on August 3 South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity announced that Russian troops in his country would begin preventive drills. [25]

On the same day the Russian Defense Ministry published a statement saying “In case of further provocative steps [on Georgia’s part] threatening the republic’s population and the Russian military contingent stationed in South Ossetia, the Russian Defense Ministry reserves the right to use all means and resources available to protect the citizens of the republic of South Ossetia and Russian servicemen.” [26]

On August 4 Russia placed its troops in South Ossetia on full combat alert three days ahead of the first anniversary of the beginning of Georgia’s assault there on August 7, 2008.

In neighboring Azerbaijan, bordering Russia and the Caspian Sea, it was announced on August 1 that “United States Naval Forces specialists will conduct exercises in Baku for the Special Task Forces of the Azerbaijani Navy” and will hold “exercises [that] will take place from August 15 to September 5 in accordance with a bilateral cooperation plan agreed between the two countries.” [27]

Moving U.S. and NATO military infrastructure into Ukraine with its 2,300-kilometer border with Russia, Georgia and Azerbaijan would demonstrably advance the encirclement of Russia already underway in the Barents, Baltic, Black and Caspian Seas.

In the Baltic region NATO warplanes have conducted continuous patrols a few minutes’ flight from Russia’s second largest city, St. Petersburg, since 2004 and the Alliance opened a cyber warfare center in Estonia last year.

Last month the British Parliament issued a report that called for “robust contingency plans that cover the eventuality of attack on Baltic member states and that set out NATO’s planned military response.” [28]

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, like Georgia and Canada, have become the rallying points for the major Western military powers in bringing the entire military might of NATO against Russia on its western, southern and northern borders.

To Russia’s east, at the same time that British parliamentarians were drawing up plans for NATO to invoke its Article 5 war provision in the Baltic Sea region, their Japanese counterparts adopted a bill officially recognizing the four Kuril Islands in the North Pacific, ceded to Russia after World War II, as Japanese “historical territory”.

A Russian analyst said in response to the measure:

“The Kuril Islands are the strategic area for Russian nuclear submarines sailing from their home bases to the Pacific Ocean.

“If Russia gives any islands to Japan it will immediately create a precedent for Japan to demand Sakhalin and other islands of the Kuril belt up to Kamchatka.” [29]

With its nuclear submarines dislodged from the Pacific and Arctic Oceans, Russia would be an even more tempting target for a conventional or nuclear first strike.

Canada’s role is to spearhead the confrontation with Russia in the Arctic. If it succeeds, intentionally or by accident, in provoking an incident with its U.S.-supplied F-18s over Arctic waters and if that encounter escalates into a more serious crisis, the U.S. and NATO are prepared to back it up.

1) Canwest News Service, August 1, 2009
2) Ibid
3) Associated Press, August 1, 2009
4) Ibid
5) Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, February 27, 2009
6) Canwest News Service, June 28, 2009
7) Canadian Press, July 26, 2009
8) Canadian Press, July 26, 2009
9) NATO International, January 29, 2009
10) National Security Presidential Directive 66, January 12, 2009
11) Canadian Press, August 1, 2009
12) National Defence and the Canadian Forces, July 10, 2009
13) Russian Information Agency Novosti, July 23, 2009
14) Canwest News Service, June 28, 2009
15) Canadian Press, July 26, 2009
16) Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, July 15, 2009
17) Ibid
18) The Evening Times, July 17, 2009
19) Russian Information Agency Novosti, July 15, 2009
20) Ibid
21) Wikipedia
22) Wall Street Journal, July 25, 2009
23) Azeri Press Agency, July 23, 2009
24) The Messenger (Georgia), July 29, 2009
25) Interfax, August 3, 2009
26) Ibid
27) Azeri Press Agency, August 1, 2009
28) Reuters, July 10, 2009
29) Russia Today, July 9, 2009

Also see:

Canada: Battle Line In East-West Conflict Over The Arctic
Stop NATO, June 3, 2009

Categories: Uncategorized

South Asia, Latin America: Pentagon’s 21st Century Counterinsurgency Wars

September 1, 2009 Leave a comment

July 29, 2009

South Asia, Latin America: Pentagon’s 21st Century Counterinsurgency Wars
Rick Rozoff

More than half a year after the departure of the George W. Bush administration the United States is embroiled in its largest combat operation since the second attack on Fallujah in November of 2004 and the most extensive and lengthy offensive in its nearly eight-year-old war in Afghanistan.

It has also announced plans to intensify its involvement in the 45-year counterinsurgency war in Colombia with deployments of 1,400 additional soldiers and contractors to five more military bases there.

The qualitative escalations of counterinsurgency wars in Afghanistan and Colombia are, first of all, integrally related and, second, both part of far broader regional strategies. The current Obama administration has continued and accelerated the expansion of the Afghan war into neighboring Pakistan, with almost six times the population of its neighbor and nuclear weapons; and its enhanced role in Colombia, a nation that launched a military assault into Ecuador in March of last year and has been installing bases and deploying troops on its border with Venezuela, can also drag the entire Andean region into the vortex of armed confrontation and eventual war.

Two recent appointments have signalled that cross-border counterinsurgency wars in Asia and South America will be the dubious “peace dividend” following withdrawal of troops – far slower and less extensive than promised – from Iraq.

On June 10th of this year the U.S. Senate approved former chief of the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command, Stanley McChrystal, to replace General David McKiernan, previously sacked, as commander of the U.S. Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A) and the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), putting him in charge of over 90,000 American, NATO and NATO partner troops in Afghanistan.

The Joint Special Operations Command was created in December of 1980 after the disastrous Operation Eagle Claw operation in Iran. A 2006 book by The Times of London journalist Michael Smith on the Command is titled Killer Elite: The Inside Story of America’s Most Secret Special Operations Team.

During McChrystal’s tenure as its commander he oversaw counterinsurgency operations, acknowledged and clandestine, in Iraq from the invasion in 2003 to last year.

A report called “US shifts focus to counterinsurgency in Afghanistan” synopsized the current situation by mentioning that “With the US pulling out from major Iraqi cities, many believe Washington is switching its focus to Afghanistan….By the end of this year, 68 thousand US troops will be in Afghanistan, more than double the number at the end of 2008. General Stanley McChrystal is the top commander of the US and NATO troops.” [1]

Afghanistan: U.S. Shifts Troops From Iraq, NATO Provides 10,000 More

Entire U.S. military units have been transported directly from Iraq to Afghanistan or had deployments slated for the first switched to the second in recent months, including 4,500 airborne troops. The American escalation has been supplemented by boosts in the number of soldiers, armor, attack helicopters and warplanes deployed or scheduled for deployment by NATO allies. Germany is soon to have the 4,500-troop maximum currently allowed by parliamentary restrictions, along with Tornado warplanes, Marder tanks and AWACS; Italy is sending more troops, helicopters and drones; Turkey may dispatch an additional 1,000 soldiers; Romania has been tapped for over 1,000 troops; Britain, which has lost 191 soldiers, its highest combat fatalities since the 1982 Falklands/Malvinas War, recently revealed it was deploying yet more troops, Chinook and Merlin helicopters and Predator drones.

In mid-June outgoing NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer pledged between 8,000 and 10,000 troops for the war, adding to nearly 65,000 already under NATO command in Afghanistan.

U.S. and NATO drones, planes and helicopters now routinely violate the airspace of neighboring Pakistan, usually with deadly consequences.

On July 27 NATO and the Pentagon activated a new global Strategic Airlift Capability in Papa, Hungary – described in the local press as “the biggest NATO project in 40 years” [2]

For the occasion the first C-17 Globemaster III transport plane, “used for rapid strategic airlift of troops and cargo to main operating bases or forward operating base anywhere in the world,” [3] arrived at the base where “Soldiers, combat vehicles…will be flown on the heavy transport planes, primarily to remote countries, even amid warlike conditions.” [4] Afghanistan will be their chief destination.

Troops, arms and equipment are pouring into Afghanistan from all parts of the world. American ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder has just recruited more New Zealand special forces; Armenia announced that it may send its first troops under NATO Partnership for Peace obligations to join those from its Caucasus neighbors Georgia and Azerbaijan; South Korea has been pressured to return military forces withdrawn in 2007 as part of a hostage release deal; Japanese government officials have recently spoken of deploying soldiers on the ground in Afghanistan even while armed hostilities rage, a violation of the nation’s constitution; the army of Mongolia, wedged between Russia and China, “which has not seen major combat since assisting the Soviet invasion of Manchuria in 1945” will soon deploy troops as part of its “third neighbor” policy “to reach out to allies other than China and Russia” and “cement its alliance with the United States and secure grants and aid….Mongolia’s deployment will mark its largest military presence in Afghanistan since the age of Genghis Khan….” [5]

On July 28, the world’s newest nation, diminutive Montenegro (population 650,000), announced that it was assigning an initial 40 troops to NATO for the war. On the same day it was reported that fellow Balkan nation Albania, inducted into NATO in March, will double its contingent and CBS News reported that U.S. Green Beret-trained Colombian commandos were headed to Afghanistan to apply their brutal counterinsurgency methods in South Asia.

There will soon officially be military units from fifty or more nations serving under NATO command in Afghanistan – including what is left of alleged neutral nations in Europe (Austria, Finland, Ireland, Sweden and Switzerland) – from four continents and the Middle East. Never before in history have soldiers from so many nations served under a common military structure in a single war theater. Afghanistan is the training and testing ground for an embryonic world army.

From Nominal Peacekeeping to Classic Counterinsurgency and Warfare

No longer will this international military force disguise itself under a mask of providing security for the capital of Kabul or national elections, for peacekeeping and reconstruction. It now has only one purpose, to wage war. Counterinsurgency war.

On July 28 McChrystal was interviewed by the Los Angeles Times and asked concerning the war in Afghanistan if there “has been too much focus on counter-terrorism?”

His response was: “I think there hasn’t been enough focus on counterinsurgency. I am certainly not in a position to criticize counter-terrorism. But at this point in the war, in Afghanistan, it is most important to focus on almost classic counterinsurgency.” [6]

This May a Western airstrike killed an estimated 140 Afghan civilians in the province of Farah and the following month it was reported that “US airstrikes have killed hundreds of Afghan civilians over the past months” and “some 800 civilians have perished in the past five months during clashes between US-led troops and insurgents affiliated with the Taliban.” [7]

As he was stepping down from the post of NATO Supreme Allied Commander late last month U.S. General Bantz Craddock shouted the truth about Afghanistan over his shoulder as it were: “The politicians can call it whatever they like. I am a military man and for me it is a war.” [8]

Within weeks of now General McChrystal assuming control of all U.S. and NATO military forces in Afghanistan and nearby nations (Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) on July 2nd Washington launched its largest combat offensive in Asia (and probably the world) since its war in Indochina decades ago. Operation Strike of the Sword (Khanjar) began with an assault by Marines, tanks and attack helicopters and is still raging almost a month afterwards. Britain began a simultaneous and complementary offensive, Operation Panther’s Claw, also in Helmand Province. Less than two weeks after the commencement of both German NATO Rapid Response Force troops started a major, Germany’s first, combat offensive in the northern province of Kunduz which is still being carried out and may last six weeks altogether.

A Reuters account of the American offensive was entitled “First major action under Obama’s war plan: US launches big offensive in Helmand” and detailed that “Thousands of US Marines on Thursday [July 2] stormed deep into Afghanistan’s Helmand province, the Afghan Taliban’s stronghold, launching the biggest military offensive there since 2001, and the first under the presidency of Barack Obama.” [9]

The operations have contributed to this month being the deadliest for both U.S. and NATO troops in a war that will be eight years old in October. The U.S. has lost 40 soldiers and Western forces in general 70 so far this July.

In tandem with the American and British attacks the Pakistani army was deployed to the border with Afghanistan’s Helmand Province.

On July 10 the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, Admiral Giampaolo di Paola, “said that either Pakistan was already carrying out a military operation against militants in Balochistan bordering southern Afghanistan or would be doing so in line with ongoing action on the other side of the border.” [10]

To Cross-Border South Asian Conflict

The expansion of the Afghan War into Pakistan began in earnest in the last months of 2008 with drone missile attacks and helicopter raids in the nation. It has intensified appreciably under the current U.S. administration. Dozens of drone strikes have been carried out this year so far, the deadliest to date in June which targeted a funeral of victims killed earlier in the day, resulting overall in 80 dead and almost 100 wounded, referred to in the Western press as “terrorists.” “The US has carried out at least 35 drone attacks on Pakistan’s tribal areas, killing and wounding over 500 people over the past year.” [11]

A week later another U.S. drone fired three missiles inside Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), which killed 15 and wounded dozens on a Friday, the Muslim worship day.

As regards claims that some 180 victims at a funeral were all al-Qaeda operatives or Taliban militants, a news source from the region wrote:

“The airstrikes are said to be aimed at militants, but Pakistani media say only one in six have targeted Taliban insurgents in the country. More than five hundred Pakistanis have been killed over the past year in US drone strikes.”

In between the two deadly attacks, in late June, the Pentagon inaugurated its new Pakistan Afghanistan Coordination Cell (PACC) “to ensure expertise developed during deployments to Afghanistan gets channeled directly back into supporting warfighters on the ground.

“Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal came up with the PACC concept, based on a similar model that’s proven successful in Iraq, while he was director of the Joint Staff.”

U.S. Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy told a Congressional committee “the new cell’s focused support for McChrystal’s effort will have a big impact on advancing the administration’s Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy.” [12]

The Pentagon no longer offers even the pretense of a distinction between war in Afghanistan and war in Pakistan. It and its NATO allies are waging a cross-border war in South Asia.

As the U.S., British and German offensives were underway in Southern and Northern Afghanistan, the Pakistani press on July 26 reported a massive buildup of NATO forces on the country’s borders. U.S. and NATO troops and equipment were moved to Afghan areas adjoining North Waziristan in Pakistan. One major newspaper reported on this unprecedented deployment that “Armoured vehicles, tanks and helicopters are included in the build-up.

“Planes of the American Air Force have come into action. It has also been learnt that American jet fighters are hovering over these areas and about 80 NATO vehicles have been shifted to these areas.

“NATO brigades in the Afghan provinces of Khost, Paktia and other areas are preparing to move to these areas. [13]

Another account, relying on eyewitnesses in Waziristan, said that “Official and tribal sources…from the border villages of North Waziristan [reported] unusual movement of what they termed a ‘huge number’ of US and NATO forces along the Pak-Afghan border.

“They said the NATO troops were armed with helicopter gunships, tanks and armoured personnel carriers (APCs) and had started establishing camps and checkpoints along the border.” [14]

A third report from the same day documented that “NATO helicopter gunships violated…Pakistan’s airspace,” which “was the fifth incident of violation of Pakistan’s airspace by NATO.” [15]

McChrystal’s counterinsurgency strategy resembles that of the Pentagon in 1970 when it expanded the Vietnam War into Cambodia, but Pakistan is far larger and more dangerous in relation to Afghanistan than Cambodia was to Vietnam.

McChrystal’s Commanders: Robert Gates and James Stavidis – Colombian Counterinsurgency to Be Replicated in Afghanistan

McChrystal is in charge of the prototype of history’s first international army in Afghanistan, forged in the fire of war and soon to reach 100,000 troops from over 50 nations, but himself must report to two superiors.

The first is U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, former CIA director who in his earlier positions with the Agency help create the current Afghan tragedy by supplying arms and training to the Pakistan-based mujahedin from 1979 to 1989 under the largest covert undertaking in the CIA’s history, Operation Cyclone.

The second is the recently appointed top NATO military commander, James Stavridis. He was head of the Pentagon’s Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) from October of 2006 until being sworn in as NATO Supreme Allied Commander on July 2, the same day the American offensive began in Afghanistan.

As SOUTHCOM chief Stavridis was in charge of U.S. military operations in the Caribbean and Central and South America. Those included the ongoing counterinsurgency war in Colombia.

In an interview with an American newspaper in June he said, inter alia:

“The operations I’ve been most focused on in South America has been the insurgency in Colombia. My experience there will translate well to my role as the NATO commander in Afghanistan….[M]y experiences in understanding and learning counter-insurgency I think are up to the task.

“I’m very encouraged with the selection and conformation of Gen. Stan McChrystal to be the commander of ISAF, which is the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, the NATO command in country. I think he’s a perfect choice.” [16]

A New York Times profile of Stavridis in its June 29th edition – in truth a fawning puff piece called “For a Post in Europe, a Renaissance Admiral” – included these excerpts:

“In [his new] NATO position, he will be a partner with Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, who recently became the new commander of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, where he must carry out a new strategy that is the premier national security initiative of the Obama administration.

“Reflecting on his tour as the top officer at Southern Command, Admiral Stavridis said he was proud of the counterinsurgency and counternarcotics assistance to Colombia….” [17]

His predecessor as NATO Supreme Allied Commander and head of the Pentagon’s European Command (EUCOM) – the two posts go together – was the aforementioned General Craddock who was also transferred to the two commands from that of SOUTHCOM and overseeing Plan Colombia, nominally a drug eradication and interdiction but in fact a counterinsurgency operation.

SOUTHCOM’s Targets: FARC, Venezuela and Iran

Stavridis’ replacement as SOUTHCOM chief is General Douglas Fraser, who in late June, not wasting any time is identifying future casus belli, said that “Iran’s growing influence in Latin America is a ‘potential risk’ to the region” and “I’m concern with the military build-up in Venezuela because I don’t understand the threat that they see.” [18]

Fraser was also paraphrased as saying “Southern Command would continue to help [Colombia] combat leftist guerillas like the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – the FARC” and was quoted as stating that “The FARC is not defeated and we need to continue that effort…..” [19]

Shortly afterward Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez responded that the “government is strengthening its military because the United States is a threat to Caracas.”

Chavez recommended someone give Fraser a mirror over which was inscribed “Look, general, you’re the threat!” [20]

A month later, after the story broke about Washington taking over five more military bases in neighboring Colombia, Chavez renewed his concerns and said that Colombia is acting as a base for “those who constantly attack us and to those who are getting ready new attacks against us.” [21]

The threat that he was alluding to is exemplified by a news story of earlier this month about a U.S. special forces training camp in North Carolina called Pineland.

The latter was described as “a fictional country created five decades ago, made up of 16 counties in central North Carolina” which is “the setting for Robin Sage, the Special Forces final exam. In it, students from nearby Fort Bragg parachute and helicopter into Pineland at the end of almost a year of training, organize a guerrilla force and overthrow an oppressive regime on the eve of an American invasion.”

The training at Pineland includes “an exercise that borrows liberally from actual American missions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Colombia.” [22]

U.S.-Trained Colombian Counterinsurgency Commandos on Way To Afghanistan – Colombia: Pentagon’s Proxy Used Against ALBA

CBS news on July 28 ran a feature on General Stavridis’ two wars coming together, revealing that the U.S. was sending Green Beret-trained Colombia commandos to Afghanistan and quoted an unnamed Pentagon official as saying “The more Afghanistan can look like Colombia, the better.”

The story also stated that “For Colombia, it’s a way to give something back to the U.S., and the American Green Berets who’ve spent the last decade training them.

“The relationship took years to build with the Green Berets working to turn Colombia’s best soldiers into an organized special operations force. They helped train a police Special Operations unit known as the ‘Jungle Commandos.’ The Commandos hit targets deep in the jungle….

“With the help of America’s best warriors, the Colombian Special Forces have become some of the finest soldiers in the world.” [23]

The above account could definitively lay to rest American government and media attempts to present the war in Colombia as either a campaign against drugs or an anti-terrorist operation.

A Chilean defense official in mid-June partially described the extent of the Pentagon’s penetration of Colombia, one which in the decade beginning in 1998 has seen U.S. military assistance rise from $50 million to $5 billion annually:

“What Colombia has is even more dangerous than any F-16 or aircraft carrier. It has access to United States satellite technology that allows it to monitor and supervise operations anywhere in real time. No other country in the region can do that.” [24]

On July 23th Venezuela, responding to the heightened threat that the U.S. was presenting to it from Colombia on its western border, announced that it was negotiating the purchase of Russian T-90 main battle tanks, and its president said, “We are going to buy more tanks to have an armored force at least twice the size of what we have today and “We need to strengthen our forces on land, at sea, and in the air and we are going to continue doing that.” [25]

On the following day Miguel Carvajal, Domestic and Foreign Security Minister of Ecuador, Colombia’s southwestern neighbor, said that his nation “will react to further Colombian military incursions into the country” and “that there will be a military escalation against Colombia if that country makes another incursion into Ecuador such as happened March 1, 2008.” [26]

On July 25th the Colombian government said it had conducted a deadly bombing raid against suspected FARC guerrillas in the south of the country. The warplanes employed weren’t named but their origin is certain.

Last week the Uribe regime in Bogota announced a billion dollar a year “war tax” on the wealthy and businesses, which is to say those who domestically most benefit from the decades-old counterinsurgency war. [27]

What the tax will pay for and what the Pentagon official’s desire to have Afghanistan look more and more like Colombia may mean were revealed last month by Philip Alston, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

Washington Transfers South American Death Squads To South Asia – Honduras: 20th Century Coup Targets 21st Century Latin American Independence

Referring to behavior by the U.S.-trained Colombian army in general and the killing of impoverished urban youth as part of a combination of false body counts and bounty killing – defenseless victims were murdered and then represented as slain guerrillas – Alston denounced the army’s actions as “cold-blooded, premeditated murder of innocent civilians for profit.” [28]

Colombian rights groups have estimated the death toll from such murders as being in the hundreds.

Perpetrators of this gruesome campaign may be on their way to Afghanistan.

In addition to bordering and threatening Ecuador and Venezuela, Colombia also abuts Panama, its former possession, and as such Central America.

Should a regional armed conflict result from the June 28 coup d’etat in Honduras, where hundreds of troops on the orders of U.S.-trained commanders attacked the presidential quarters and arrested President Manuel Zelaya, Colombia may be called upon by its American paymasters to assist in more conflicts than that in Afghanistan.

How fraught the lingering crisis in Honduras, artificially prolonged by Washington, is with the threat of escalating into a conflict not only in Central America but one also engulfing South America is demonstrated by developments that started on the day of the coup.

The day after the coup and the simultaneous assault by Honduran troops on the ambassadors and embassies of Nicaragua, Venezuela and Cuba – all three members of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) along with Bolivia and Ecuador itself until the coup – Venezuelan President Chavez stated “If our ambassador or embassy were attacked, that would be de facto beginning a war” and “Venezuela’s National Armed Forces have been put on alert” [29] as they were after the Colombian attack in Ecuador last year.

The same day the head of the new Honduran junta Roberto Micheletti blustered that “the country’s armed forces are ready to cope with any external threats.” [30]

Two weeks later Bolivian President Evo Morales said, according to a press report characterization of the time, “the Honduras military coup was a warning from Washington to stop the growth of governments opposed to US imperialism.” [31]

The same dispatch quotes Morales as saying, “This threat doesn’t scare us; on the contrary, with more force, we will be stronger.” [32]

A week later Morales urged ALBA members to increase defense cooperation in the wake of the Honduran military takeover and said “This coup is a threat against the continued growth of ALBA.” [33]

Following that he leveled the accusation that “I have first-hand information that the empire, through the U.S. Southern Command, made the coup d’etat in Honduras.” [34]

The Southern Command whose head is now NATO’s top military commander in charge of the Alliance’s expanding war in South Asia.

Also last week Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa said that “it is unlikely the Honduras coup took place without the knowledge of the U.S. military, which has a base in that country” and “the coup is a message from Latin American and U.S. ‘ultraconservatives’ to keep leftist governments in line.” [35]

Russian analyst Nil Nikandrov wrote that throughout 2008 John Negroponte, U.S. ambassador to Hondurans from 1981-1985 and a key architect of the Reagan administration’s contra wars and military buildup in Central America, “was building in Central America an intelligence and diplomacy network charged with the mission of regaining the positions lost by the US as well as of neutralizing left regimes and ALBA integration initiative.

“At present the US ambassadors to Latin American countries – Hugo Llorens to Honduras, Robert I. Blau [Deputy Chief] to El Salvador, Stephen G. McFarland to Guatemala, and Robert J. Callahan to Nicaragua – are Negroponte’s people. All of them have practical experience in destabilizing and subverting political regimes unfriendly to the US, launching propaganda campaigns, and creating fifth columns in the form of various NGOs.” [36]

If the attempt in the Honduras to effect “regime change” other than through the recently fashionable mode of “color revolutions” should give rise to a conflict between the Micheletti junta and its Central American neighbors – or with the ALBA bloc – the U.S. would prefer to have a military client regime do its dirty work for it. Mexico currently has its own problems to contend with and so Colombia would be the chief candidate for the job.

Coups and counterinsurgencies engineered and supported by Washington are no longer relics of the past century. Coups of the Georgian variety and its offshoots or of the Honduran model and Vietnam-style counterinsurgency wars have been reactivated as foreign policy options of choice. What is new is the degree of international coordination now practiced by the U.S. and its allies.

1) China Central Television, July 2, 2009
2) Hungary Around The Clock, July 28, 2009
3) Wikipedia
4) Hungary Around The Clock, July 28, 2009
5) Trend News Agency, July 22, 2009
6) Los Angeles Times, July 28, 2009
7) Press TV, June 30, 2009
8) Agence France-Presse, June 30, 2009
9) Reuters, July 2, 2009
10) The Nation (Pakistan), July 10, 2009
11) Trend News Agency, June 25, 2009
12) U.S. Department of Defense, American Forces Press Service,
June 26, 2009
13) The Nation (Pakistan), July 26, 2009
14) The News, July 26, 2009
15) Online News, July 26, 2009
16) Florida Times-Union, June 15, 2009
17) New York Times, June 29, 2009
18) Agence France-Presse, June 25, 2009
19) Ibid
20) Press TV, June 28, 2009
21) Xinhua News Agency, July 22, 2009
22) Associated Press, July 3, 2009
23) CBS News, July 28, 2009
24) Global Post, June 18, 2009
25) Russian Information Agency Novosti, July 24, 2009
26) Poder, July 25, 2009
27) Reuters, July 21, 2009
28) Press TV, June 19, 2009
29) Xinhua News Agency, June 29, 2009
30) Xinhua News Agency, June 29, 2009
31) Press TV, July 13, 2009
32) Ibid
33) Bloomberg News, July 20, 2009
34) Agence France-Presse, July 23, 2009
35) Associated Press, July 23, 2009
36) Strategic Culture Foundation, July 24, 2009

Categories: Uncategorized

Afghan War: NATO Trains Finland, Sweden For Conflict With Russia

September 1, 2009 2 comments

July 26, 2009

Afghan War: NATO Trains Finland, Sweden For Conflict With Russia
Rick Rozoff

A Swedish newspaper reported on July 24 that approximately 50 troops from the country serving under NATO in the so-called International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) had engaged in a fierce firefight in Northern Afghanistan and had killed three and wounded two attackers.

The report detailed that the Swedish troops were traveling in armored vehicles and “later received reinforcements from several soldiers in a Combat Vehicle 90.” [1]

The world has become so inured to war around the world and seemingly without end that Swedish soldiers engaging in deadly combat as part of a belligerent force for the first time since the early 1800s – and that in another continent thousands of kilometers from their homeland – has passed virtually without notice.

A Finnish news story of the preceding day, possibly about the same incident but not necessarily, reported that “A Finnish-Swedish patrol, part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), came under fire in northern Afghanistan” on July 23rd. [2]

Three days before that a Swedish commander in the north of Afghanistan, where Finnish and Swedish troops are in charge of ISAF operations in four provinces, acknowledged that “During the last three months, six serious incidents have occurred in our area.” [3]

The same source revealed that in the upcoming weeks Swedish troop numbers are to be increased from 390 to 500.

The Svenska Dagbladet reported that over a twelve week period attacks on Swedish-Finnish forces in the area have doubled and that seven attacks preceded the deadly firefight described earlier. “In April, a Norwegian officer was killed by a suicide bomber in a province under Swedish-Finnish control, and several vehicles have been attacked along Mazar-i-Sharif’s main road since.” [4]

Like Sweden, Finland has also increased troop deployments to Afghanistan lately, ostensibly to provide security for next month’s elections but, given the escalation of fighting in the nation’s north, certainly to remain there for the duration of NATO’s South Asian deployment, one which a German official recently stated would last eighteen years from 2001 onward. In early July Finland dispatched 70 more troops to join the 100 already stationed in Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of Balkh Province bordering Kunduz where German troops are waging an almost two-week-long military offensive.

Last month Finnish forces in the area were attacked twice and a rocket attack struck close to Finnish barracks in the capital of Kabul.

Troops from the other Scandinavian nations have fared even worse. Three Danish soldiers were killed in a bomb attack in Helmand on June 17, bringing the country’s death toll to 26. Norway has lost four soldiers.

To illustrate the integration of Finland’s and Sweden’s military forces in Afghanistan and under NATO control in general, in late June it was announced that Sweden was purchasing 113 armored vehicles from Finland. Approximately 1,200 of the Finnish-made vehicles “have been ordered by other customers and [they are] currently used operationally in Finland, Poland, Slovenia and Croatia, for example in operations in Afghanistan.” [5]

NATO Deployment In Afghanistan “Improves Readiness For Defense Of Finland”

Last month a major Finnish daily newspaper in a feature called “Afghanistan: Now it’s Finland’s war, too” contained this striking revelation:

“[F]rom the point of view of the Finnish Defence Forces, there is still another important reason for the Afghanistan operation: it improves readiness for the defence of Finland.”

The Finnish source quoted the former commander of the nation’s troops in Afghanistan, Ari Mattola, as saying, “This is a unique situation for us, in that we will get to train part of our wartime forces. That part will get to operate as close to wartime conditions as is possible.” [6]

Comparable claims about the Afghan war being the training ground for military action on their borders – and that can only mean in relation to Russia – have been made by defense and military officials in the Baltic states, Poland and Georgia.

Early this month Finnish Defense Minister Jyri Hakamies divulged that he would further drag his nation into NATO’s plans for a drive east aimed against Russia and is paraphrased as asserting that “NATO had approached Finland with an opportunity to take part in cyber warfare training and the country should accept NATO’s offer.” [7]

NATO’s Article 5: Cyber Warfare And Nuclear Weapons

On June 15 U.S. President Barack Obama and Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves met at the White House with American National Security Adviser James Jones, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, and discussed cyber security – which is to say, as the Finnish Defense Minister more honestly called it, cyber warfare. The Estonian president, raised in the United States and a former Radio Free Europe employee, “thanked the United States for its assistance in establishing the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Center in the Estonian capital of Tallinn….” [8]

The head of the U.S. Strategic Command, General Kevin Chilton, indicated this May what U.S. and NATO cyber warfare plans might include when he said that “the White House retains the option to respond with physical force – potentially even using nuclear weapons – if a foreign entity conducts a disabling cyber attack against U.S. computer networks….” [9]

The NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania authorized the establishment of the Alliance’s cyber warfare center in Estonia in 2008 and last month the Pentagon complemented that initiative by approving a unified U.S. Cyber Command.

For two years American and NATO officials have spoken bluntly about invoking NATO’s Article 5 war clause, used for the invasion of Afghanistan and the buildup to that of Iraq, in response to alleged Russian cyber attacks.

Encirclement Of Russia: Finland Offers NATO 237,000 Troops, 1,300 Kilometer Border

This January Finland released a Security and Defense Policy Report which stated that “Finland regards NATO as the most important military security cooperation organisation”, and that “there will continue to be a strong case for considering Finland’s membership of NATO in the future”. [10]

Mandatory weapons interoperability is a key component of full NATO membership and in April the Finnish Defense Ministry announced “the team of Norwegian Kongsberg and US Raytheon has been selected to fulfill Finland’s future Medium Range Air Defense Missile System (MRADMS) requirements….The new NATO-compliant anti-aircraft missile system will replace the Russian-made BUK systems purchased in 1996 that will be taken out of service. The key reason for giving up the Russian systems is their lack of compatibility and interoperability with NATO systems….” [11]

The Helsinki Times of July 23 quoted Finnish Russian experts Esa Seppanen and Ilmari Susiluoto on Russian responses to what is now an all but certain development: Finland’s joining NATO and providing the Alliance a new 1,300-kilometer border with the nation that has always been NATO’s main target.

The two scholars are quoted as saying that “Russia is concerned about Finland’s NATO option. It will not remain passive if Finland becomes a member.”

The article also says that “NATO is marketed in Finland as a global peacekeeper. However, the Russians see it as a territorial threat specifically aimed at them.” The piece adds, “Russia fears that NATO membership would bring NATO’s military structures to Finnish soil.

“NATO’s expansion in the Nordic countries would finish off the military-political stability of the entire region. The Baltic Sea would become ‘NATO’s sea,’ with the exception of Kaliningrad and the eastern end of the Gulf of Finland.” [12]

In addition to securing NATO’s encirclement of Russia from the Barents to the Baltic to the Blacks Seas, an article titled “Finland Rearms,” in reference to the Finnish government recently agreeing to boost military spending to 2% of its budget – a standard NATO demand – says “By raising their spending, Finland pulls more of its weight in the alliance and thus is more likely to get a favorable response to any future requests for defense aid. Finland is a member of NATO’s Partnership for Peace program, and, with their new emphasis on added security, are likely to grow a closer relationship in the future.

With Finland in NATO the bloc would gain an additional “237,000 troops, beefed up with the latest infantry weapons and heavy armor….” [13]

Finland, Sweden Forced Into NATO And Overseas Wars Against Will Of The People

In a recent newspaper interview the Finnish Speaker of the Parliament Sauli Niinisto spoke of the surreptitious campaign underway – indeed almost completed – to pull his nation into an expanding worldwide military alliance despite its citizens not only being opposed to but not even aware of it.

He characterized the process in this manner: “The logic of silent agreements has been brought very far in thinking in which closer Finnish participation in NATO is seen to bring us security points from the United States and NATO.” [14]

Niinisto listed several instances of how NATO is transitioning Finland into full membership without public debate or cognizance. Referring to the purchase of NATO interoperable fighter jets, he said that “It was a silent preliminary contract involving confidence that more supplies would come later.”

He also cited Finland’s participation in NATO’s international Rapid Response Force as well as in the European Union’s Nordic Battlegroups. More will be said later about the integration of the EU and NATO in global deployments and strike forces but this (not so) hypothetical observation by the Finnish Speaker offers an initial insight:

“All European defence activities are always under the NATO umbrella. What if the EU could be collectively a NATO member? What would Finland do then? Would Finland secede? The EU now seeks to act as a collective in all organisations. Why would security policy be a big exception?” [15]

An identical campaign, covert and concerted, in being conducted in Sweden, where as in Finland polls regularly register a majority of citizens opposed to NATO accession, and is being addressed and combated by the Sptoppa smyganslutningen till NATO/Stop surreptitious accession to NATO, whose web address is:

European Union, NATO Symbiosis: Global Battlegroups And War In The Caucasus

Mention has already been made of the European Union Battlegroups and on July 21 Sweden’s Foreign Minister Carl Bildt visited NATO Headquarters in Brussels – to “address the North Atlantic Council on the priorities of the Swedish EU Presidency” [16] – further endorsed the project and “expressed his support here [Brussels] for the EU’s battlegroup concept, under which about 1,500 troops from three or more countries are on standby on a six-month rotation.”

The article the preceding is taken from added “Bildt, whose country holds the six-month rotating EU presidency…said there was ‘huge demand’ for Europe in the world and that the best way for the EU to improve its crisis management capability, of which battlegroups are a part, is by implementing the EU’s Lisbon Treaty.

“He said they must remain ready to be deployed within 10 days.”

As to where such deployments may occur in the future, “Bildt also hopes to secure backing from fellow EU foreign ministers early next week for a one-year extension to the EU’s peace monitoring mission in Georgia” and “says he will insist on the mission’s right to monitor the situation in the two regions [Abkhazia and South Ossetia]….” [17]

He was referring to re-deploying European Union monitors – including troops – to the borders of Georgia with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, where in the latter case a war erupted last August after a Georgian assault and a Russian response. Bildt and the EU in fact don’t consider that there are national borders connecting the three states but that Abkhazia and South Ossetia are part of Georgia. Russia, which has recognized the independence of both, disagrees and as such opposes EU troops returning to the area, where Abkhazia has accused them of collaborating with the Georgian government of Mikhail Saakashvili in launching attacks on its territory.

What Bildt is actually advocating is something substantially more serious and fraught with the danger of a conflict far worse than the war of last August.

The Chairman of the Georgian Parliamentary Commission on Defense and Security, Givi Targamadze, said on July 21 “The deoccupation [regarding Russian troops] of this territory [Abkhazia and South Ossetia], but not the presence of the observation mission in an expanded format, is important for us. However, U.S troops’ participation in the mission will be a step forward.” [18]

That is, the EU will insinuate itself into South Caucasus conflict zones and American troops will be inside the Trojan Horse. If that scenario evolves, troops from the world’s two major nuclear powers can face off against each other in the next war.

Three days after visiting NATO Headquarters Bildt was in Afghanistan, during the exact moment the battle described at the beginning of this article occurred, to meet with U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke and to visit an ISAF European Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT).

Regarding the effective merger of EU and NATO international security and military missions and how the EU is being employed to hasten NATO’s absorption of nations like Sweden and Finland, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, who will turn his post over to former Danish prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen this week, in early July “expressed frustration…over the lack of progress in NATO’s relationship with the European Union” and said:

“I will leave my office in three weeks’ time frankly disappointed that a true strategic partnership that makes such eminent sense for both organisations (NATO and the EU) has still not come about.

“I am convinced that if … North America and Europe are to defend their values and interests and solve [common] challenges, then we will need to do a much better job of combining the complementary assets of NATO and the EU. We should work together where necessary, not just where we can.

“Our missions, our geographical areas of interest, our capabilities…are increasingly overlapping, not to speak of our memberships. Our definition of the security challenges and the means to tackle them is also increasingly a shared one.” [19]

Scheffer added “NATO-EU relations will be an important part of the
alliance’s new Strategic Concept, which serves as guidelines for all actions,” a subject doubtlessly addressed with Bildt, whose country currently holds the EU presidency, two weeks later. [20]

Applying NATO’s War Clause Globally

At the same press conference the NATO chief said “I hope the new Strategic Concept will finally lay to rest the notion that there is any distinction between security at home and security abroad. Globalization has abolished the protection that borders or geographical isolation from crisis areas used to provide.” [21]

Significantly, Scheffer affirmed that NATO’s Article 5 mutual military assistance provision can “apply outside NATO territory as much as inside.” [22]

To the South Caucasus, for example.

Four previous articles in this series have addressed NATO’s plans to absorb Finland and Sweden as full members [23] and U.S. and NATO plans to confront Russia in what the Alliance calls the High North, the Arctic Ocean and by extension the Baltic Sea. [24]

Scandinavian Nations Move Military Into Arctic Circle

Sweden’s and Finland’s Scandinavian neighbors Denmark and Norway, both NATO members, have recently joined the battle for the Arctic.

Last month Norway revealed that it was moving it Operational Command Headquarters from the south of the nation at Stavanger north to Reitan outside Bodo, “thus making Norway the first country to move its military command leadership to the Arctic.” [25]

Last year “Norway’s government decided to buy 48 Lockheed Martin F-35 jets at a cost of 18 billion crowns ($2.81 billion), rating them better than rival Swedish Saab’s Gripen at tasks such as surveillance of the vast Arctic north.” [26]

A few days after the Norway’s announcement that it was shifting its military command headquarters to the Arctic the Danish government said that increasing competition for resources and more importantly military advantage in the Arctic “will change the region’s geostrategic significance and thus entail more tasks for the Danish Armed Forces”.

Because “The risk of confrontation in the Arctic seems to be growing,” Denmark plans to “set up a joint-service Arctic Command and is considering expanding the military base at Thule in northern Greenland, which was a vital link in US defences during the Cold War” and “create an Arctic Response Force, using existing Danish military capabilities that are adapted for Arctic operations.” [27]

Copenhagen itself has no direct claim to the Arctic but is using Greenland and the Faroe Islands, both effectively colonies, for a military buildup that can only be aimed against Russian claims in the region.

An article titled “Danish militarization of Arctic” adds these details:

“The higher focus on the Arctic is part of the Danish defence plan for the period 2010-2014 approved by Parliament, the Folketinget, on 24 June.

“Denmark [is also considering applying] fighter jets in monitoring operations and sovereignty protection at and around Greenland. The country might also consider to give the Thule Base a more central role in cooperation with partner countries.” [28]

The partners in question are fellow NATO members and Arctic claimants the United States, Canada and Norway.

From August 6 to 28 Canada will conduct its major annual Arctic military exercise, Operation NANOOK, with “land, sea and air forces operating in the Baffin Island region.” [29] This year Canadian special forces will join the war games. “Col. Michael Day, commanding officer of Canada’s Special Operations Forces Command, said units such as the Special Operations Regiment and Joint Task Force 2 have rarely been involved in northern military exercises.” [30]

Arctic: Russia’s Last Stand Against Missile Shield First Strike Threat

Two previous articles [31] have examined the fact that the Arctic Circle is the only spot on the planet where Russian nuclear deterrent and retaliation capacities can be based in order to evade potential American and NATO missile shield-linked first strikes.

Earlier this month former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev appeared on Russian television and warned that “missile defense installations in Europe are a threat to Russia” and “are aimed at creating a situation that makes it possible for NATO to be first to launch a nuclear strike while staying under the shield.” [32]

On June 30th the U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen was in Poland where Washington intends to install interceptor missiles and “said he was hopeful Washington and Warsaw could wrap up talks on a deal tied to a anti-missile plan opposed by Russia….[33]

On July 13-14 Russia carried out test launches of two Sineva intercontinental ballistic missiles and “The United States was reportedly unable to detect the presence of Russian strategic submarines in the area before they launched the missiles.”

As a government official said of the tests, “Russian submarines not only fired ballistic missiles while submerged, they also did it from under ice floe near the North Pole, which proves that the Russian Navy has retained the capability of moving under Arctic ice and striking targets while undetected.” [34]

At the beginning of this month NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer officiated over a change of command for the Alliance’s top military commander, swearing in Admiral James Stavridis. The latter’s comments at the event included:

“With me are over seventy thousand shipmates – military and civilian – in three continents from the populated plains and coasts of Europe to the bright blue of the Mediterranean Sea; from the high mountain passes of Afghanistan to the distant Arctic Circle.” [35]

The simultaneous and coordinated U.S. and NATO military buildup in the Arctic Ocean, the Baltic Sea and the Barents Sea are moving the line of confrontation with Russia ever closer. With Finland’s and Sweden’s integration into NATO the armed forces of both nations will have something far more formidable and dangerous to contend with than firefights in Northern Afghanistan.

1) The Local, July 24, 2009
2) NewsRoom Finland, July 23, 2009
3) Stockholm News, July 20, 2009
4) Radio Sweden, July 20, 2008
5) Swedish Wire, June 26, 2009
6) Helsingin Sanomat, June 19, 2009
7) Xinhua News Agency, July 3, 2009
8) Government Security Information, June 17, 2009
9) Global Security, May 12, 2009
10) Defense Professionals, June 25, 2009
11) Ibid
12) Helsinki Times, July 23, 2009
13) Strategy Page, June 29, 2009
14) Helsingin Sanomat, June 16, 2009
15) Ibid
16) Trend News Agency, July 21, 2009
17) Defense News, July 22, 2009
18) Trend News Agency, July 22, 2009
19) Trend News Agency, July 7, 2009
20) Ibid
21) Xinhua News Agency, July 7, 2009
22) Ibid
23) End of Scandinavian Neutrality: NATO’s Militarization Of Europe
Stop NATO, April 10, 2009
24) Scandinavia And The Baltic Sea: NATO’s War Plans For The High North
Stop NATO, June 14, 2009

NATO’s, Pentagon’s New Strategic Battleground: The Arctic
Stop NATO, February 2, 2009

Canada: Battle Line In East-West Conflict Over The Arctic
Stop NATO, June 3, 2009
25) Barents Observer, June 2, 2009
26) Reuters, June 22, 2009
27) BBC News, July 16, 2009
28) Barents Observer, July 16, 2009
29) National Defence and the Canadian Forces, July 10, 2009
30) Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, July 8, 2009
31) NATO’s, Pentagon’s New Strategic Battleground: The Arctic
Stop NATO, February 2, 2009

Canada: Battle Line In East-West Conflict Over The Arctic
Stop NATO, June 3, 2009
32) Russia Today, July 2, 2009
33) Agence France-Presse, June 30, 2009
34) Russian Information Agency Novosti, July 15, 2009
35) NATO, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe,
July 2, 2009

Categories: Uncategorized

Germany: World Arms Merchant In First Post-WW II Combat

September 1, 2009 Leave a comment

July 24, 2009

Germany: World Arms Merchant In First Post-WW II Combat
Rick Rozoff

Earlier this week German soldiers under NATO command shot to death two Afghan civilians and seriously injured two more in the north of the nation.

During the past ten days German troops in NATO’s Rapid Reaction Force have been conducting a major combat operation in Afghanistan’s Kunduz province.

300 German soldiers in charge of an estimated 1,200 Afghan government troops launched an offensive with the use of armor and artillery, including Marder infantry tanks and mortars.

A Bundeswehr soldier was quoted as saying that orders were issued to employ “the full reaction force spectrum” and as a result “We are using everything we have.” [1]

A German news source revealed that “It is believed to be the first time that the Bundeswehr…has deployed heavy artillery.” [2]

Berlin’s Defense Ministry additionally acknowledged that the “German air force had also provided close air support for the ground troops for the first time in Afghanistan.” [3] And it also divulged that “on July 15 and July 19, for the first time, bombs were dropped in the North by combat aircraft after they had been requested by ground forces.” [4]

On July 22 Wolfgang Schneiderhan, Chief of Staff of the Bundeswehr, placed emphasis on the precedents established by the current offensive, describing it as “probably the biggest” operation by German forces in Afghanistan, one which includes “house-by-house searches and looking for the enemy.” [5]

As the German news weekly Der Spiegel characterized the development, “For Germans, having their military on the offensive for the first time since World War II involves passing over a major psychological threshold.” [6]

Indeed several precedents have been created and several thresholds have been crossed. Not only has Germany now used heavy artillery and warplanes for close air support in combat operations, it has launched a military offensive almost 5,000 kilometers from its borders, the furthest afield that any German army has ever fought.

Moreover, although reunified Germany provided warplanes for NATO’s air offensive against Yugoslavia in 1999, Afghanistan is the first time that the armed forces of that nation have conducted – and now commanded – infantry and artillery combat assaults since the defeat of Hitler’s Nazi regime in 1945.

The significance of these developments, both in their own right and symbolically, has been completely ignored by the world news media; the quotes used above are with one exception exclusively from German sources.

Never slow to and never scrupulous in using strained comparisons to World War II Germany when it suits their respective governments’ purpose at the time, the Western media can be depended upon to pass over the genuine article in favor of false analogies: Any number of “new Hitlers” with black, brown, white and yellow faces have been conjured up during the past fifteen years, but the revival of German militarism and the rehabilitation of Waffen SS soldiers and other Nazi collaborators in several Eastern European nations are either not deemed worthy of attention or excused as a justified response to past or current Russian actions.

The German army is back in action in Afghanistan, the Balkans, the Middle East and Africa and its role in past wars is being viewed with an increasingly indulgent eye among the Western nations that along with it compose NATO.

Yet other prohibitions are being rudely violated, again to an oblivious press corps.

This week the mayor of the Romanian city of Constanta was obliging enough to provide an illustrative lesson. Constanta is home to an air base that is one of four new Romanian military sites acquired by the Pentagon and NATO four years ago with three more in neighboring Bulgaria. The U.S. troops stationed at the seven bases are the first foreign military forces in Romania since 1958 and the first in Bulgaria since World War II.

Constanta’s mayor, Radu Mazare, wore a Nazi military uniform at a fashion show in the city he governs and when questioned about it responded, “I wanted to dress like a general from the Wehrmacht because I have always liked this uniform, and have admired the strict organization of the German army.” [7]

After coming under pressure for his action he claimed “that the uniform had no swastikas, and that it was just the uniform of a German infantry general, which had nothing to do with SS troops.” [8]

To extrapolate from his comments, there would have been no fault to find with Hitler’s legions in overrunning Poland, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Yugoslavia, Greece and the Soviet Union – leaving tens of millions dead in their wake – if they had first divested themselves of swastika armbands and other party insignia.

It is a lesson that has been learned by the contemporary proponents and practitioners of a Europe united under a common military structure deploying expeditionary forces for wars, occupations and blockades around the world. Collectively, NATO.

Bombers sent to wreak death and destruction the length and breadth of Yugoslavia were named merciful angels. Multinational military occupation forces firing artillery barrages and dropping 1,000-pound bombs in Afghanistan are an international security assistance force engaged in peacekeeping and provincial reconstruction.

What could be more simple? No swastikas, no war crimes.

In 2006 the German Defense Ministry released a White Paper calling for a transformation of its nation’s army into one prepared for international intervention; not ad hoc, as needed or occasionally, but on a permanent basis.

The nation’s defense chief, Franz Josef Jung, in commenting on the White Paper, “which highlighted the transformation of the Bundeswehr into an international intervention force,” [9] demanded that “the government needs the ability to use the Bundeswehr inside of Germany….” [10]

More thresholds were crossed and more decades-long proscriptions transgressed.

Two years ago this December German Chancellor Angela Merkel “said that Germany’s growth and prosperity depended on its readiness to be engaged internationally, in cooperation with the EU and NATO, and in the face of challenges such as Kosovo and Iran” and wrote in the Handelsblatt daily that “The classical division between inner and foreign policy is outdated,” [11] thereby echoing her defense minister’s comments of a year before in both vital regards.

The following May a spokesman for Merkel said that the chancellor endorsed a security paper written by her party, the Christian Democratic Union, which in the words of its author, Bundestag deputy Andreas Schockenhoff, “says it is time that Germany moved on from its postwar inhibitions about force.” [12]

A news account at the time wrote that the objective of Merkel and her party was “to drop some of [Germany’s] post-World War II inhibitions about robust security measures, including the use of military force abroad and at home.”

Among measures advocated in the above-mentioned paper and supported by the chancellor are that “Germany’s parliament should cede greater discretion over troop deployments to the executive branch” and that “a new ‘national security council,’ based in the chancellor’s office, should coordinate security ministries.” [13]

An important component of endowing Germany with a new international military role made possible by reunification and promoted by NATO is its expansion into the global arms market. Arms manufacturers have no less influence in Berlin than they do in other “free market economies,” but the profit motive alone doesn’t account for the unparalleled growth of German weapons exports around the world.

Providing arms and capturing the arms market in other countries ensures weapons interoperability and entails training and exercises for future joint actions against third parties. Instruction and drills include mock combat against the planes, ships, submarines, air defenses, ground forces and surveillance systems of potential and prospective adversaries.

The sort of arms Germany is selling in most every part of the world – tanks, submarines, warplanes – aren’t used for escort or peacekeeping missions.

Anyone not watching the developments of the past fifteen years may have been shocked to learn this past month in the annual report issued by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) that while global military spending reached $1.5 trillion in 2008, with the U.S. accounting for almost half of the total, Germany had superseded Britain and France and become the world’s third largest weapons exporter.

German arms shipments abroad rose by 20% between 2005 and 2006 and increased by 70% in a five-year period. In 2007 Berlin delivered weapons to 126 nations, almost two-thirds of those in the world. The main purchasers were Greece, Turkey and South Africa and the main export items were Leopard II tanks and U-124 submarines. Small arms are not Germany’s main commodity for export.

In the words of a German think tank expert, “That makes Germany the European Union’s biggest military goods exporter, and worldwide it’s behind only the U.S. and Russia.” [14]

Just as the bulk of Germany’s military exports are advanced weapons designed for war, so its clients include several nations currently and recently involved in armed conflicts and that may soon be engaged in others, some of a catastrophic nature.

In 2005 Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, “as something as a good-bye gift,” sold Israel two more Dolphin-class submarines, reported to be capable of accommodating missiles with nuclear warheads, at a nominal price. “Outgoing Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, a member of the once-pacifist Green Party, agreed to the sale.” [15]

This followed the delivery of three Dolphins to Tel Aviv in the 1990s – “the most expensive weapon platforms in Israel’s arsenal” [16] – by the Helmut Kohl government when “Germany had built two of these in accordance with Israel’s demands and donated them free of charge.”

Regarding the first installment, “Israel might have given the other three Dolphins it already has nuclear capability, or has increased the range of the nuclear warheads or is planning to increase the range in the new ones.” [17]

In reference to the newer acquisitions, “The latest submarines…would be able to carry out a first strike” and “military experts say Israel is sending a clear message to Iran….” [18]

Earlier this month Israel sent one of its Dolphin submarines through the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean Sea for the first time in what the Reuters news agency referred to as “signal to Iran.”

In late 2005 it was reported that Germany would add to its Luftwaffe-Israel Air Force and naval, including submarine, collaboration with Israel by forging ties between the two nations’ armies.

The head of the European Branch of the Israeli military’s Foreign Relations Branch Yigal Hakon was quoted as saying, “After 40 years of unique and very special relations between our two countries, we’ve been able to develop military-to-military cooperation in almost every area.

“Now it’s time to encourage development of operational cooperation among the ground forces.” [19]

Last December Germany, in supplementing almost half a billion dollars in U.S. military aid aimed at gaining control over the Lebanese armed forces after the war with Israel in 2006, announced that it “had decided to provide Lebanon with 50 Leopard tanks in addition to other equipment to enhance the army’s monitoring capabilities of Lebanon’s borders with Syria.” [20] German tanks on the Syrian border complement German warships and troops off Lebanon’s coast, also avowedly targeting Syria.

In 2005 Germany signed an agreement with Greece for the purchase of 333 Leopard tanks. Greece has intermittent tense relations and periodic flare-ups with Turkey which in recent years have entailed confrontations between the two countries’ air forces over the Aegean Sea.

Three months later Berlin reached an arrangement with Greece’s rival Turkey to sell it 298 Leopard 2A4 tanks. The Schroeder-Fischer government had made a display of not selling offensive arms to nations engaged in internal conflicts, but had no scruples in selling tanks for use against the Kurdish Workers Party inside Turkey and later in Iraq.

In 2007 Germany offered to lease Marder tanks – currently used by Germany itself in Afghanistan – to Greece, permitting the country’s army to “acquire immediately a considerable number of fully operational and combat-condition [armored infantry fighting vehicles], which can be used without any political, operational, functional and legal restrictions, either within, or outside the Greek territory….” [21]

In the same year Poland revealed plans to ship 10 Leopard tanks to Afghanistan. Canada simultaneously announced plans to lease 20 Leopard tanks – “probably the most modern battle tank today in the world” [22] – from Germany and purchase 100 from the Netherlands for use in Afghanistan. “[D]efence chiefs in other countries will have noted the latest demonstration of the weapon’s potency.” [23]

In 2005 Germany offered to sell submarines to Indonesia, with a Jakarta official stating “Germany offers us a program to acquire submarines to
strengthen our military equipment.” [24]

Two years ago German Defense Minister Jung visited Japan and met with his opposite number, Japanese Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma. At the time it was reported that “Germany has reason to believe it is about to finalize a billion-dollar deal with Japan on military equipment” and that “Japanese military officials will visit Germany and examine Bundeswehr military equipment, such as the Eurofighter jet, choppers and submarines.” [25]

As an aside, Japan announced this week that it may send ground troops to Afghanistan for the first time. If so, troops from the former Berlin-Rome-Tokyo Axis will be serving in the same war theater for the first time also.

On his way to Japan Jung stopped in South Korea where he discussed “the proposed sale of second-hand Patriot missiles and other military issues, officials said.

“Germany is a main source of South Korea’s submarine imports. Eurocopter, a Franco-German firm, is South Korea’s partner for the development of advanced military transport helicopters.” [26]

In 2006-2007 Germany also solidified military ties with Singapore, which now has a small contingent of troops serving under NATO command in Afghanistan. Three years ago Germany signed an agreement with the nation to provide 66 refurbished Leopard 2A4 tanks, which “represents a significant enhancement in the army’s capability” and offered 30 tanks into the bargain. “Training on the Leopard tanks will be provided by the German Army,” it was announced. [27]

By the following year Singapore had bought 110 Leopard 2A4 combat tanks and its Defense Minister Teo Chee Hean met with Germany’s Jung at an “army tank unit training complex” near Munster where “Troops from the Singapore defence forces began training….” [28]

In 2007 Germany began talks with Pakistan to sell it three submarines, augmenting what had already been deepening military cooperation. A Pakistani news report provided this background information:

“Pakistan and Germany have deepened military and security ties over the past years.

“There are regular political-military talks with Pakistan army officials on security and military issues which include counter-terrorism and the training of Pakistani officers in Germany.

“Pakistani officers have received military training and education in Germany in recent years as part of military education and training programs.” [29]

Later Berlin completed a billion dollar sale of three U-214 submarines, ones possessing “extraordinarily developed stealth characteristics and an impressive weapon and sensor payload,” [30] to Islamabad.

Germany also trains military personnel from Pakistan’s neighbor Afghanistan, Iraq, Georgia, Azerbaijan and other nations either currently in a state of war, having recently concluded one or threatening the same. It provides arms to Azerbaijan and Georgia through NATO arrangements and bilaterally.

With political and security dynamics in South America not being to the U.S.’s – and the West’s – liking in recent years, efforts are underway to secure new military allies and client states to add to mainstay Colombia in offsetting the influence of Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Argentina.

A 2005 news story called “Chilean Armaments Policy Worries Neighboring Countries” reported that Germany was planning to deliver the first of 100 Leopard 2 tanks to Chile to add to its arsenal of “over 200 Leopard 1
state-of-the-art tanks from Germany, as well as 60 AMX-30 Tanks from France, and 150 M-41 from the United States.” [30] A joint agreement planned to further increase the number of Leopard 2 tanks to 200.

The feature added, “Leopard 2 is one of the most up-to-date battle
tanks in the world. These tanks are similar to the M-1 Abrams Main Battle Tank, which has figured in the Iraq War. Foreign analysts have said that Chile is seeking hegemonic military power in Latin America vis-a-vis Peru, Argentina and Bolivia….and, in case of armed conflict, to expand its territory in the way it has done in the past.” [31]

By last year German Bundeswehr tank trainers were in the country.

This February, almost a year after Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence, Germany was the first nation to offer military equipment – 204 military vehicles – to the illegal entity.

Germany is among the largest weapons providers to South Africa, another nation that could play the role of a regional and continental policeman, and in 2006 staged joint naval war games there according to a scenario designed to “defend Berlin.”
In the months proceeding the U.S. and British invasion of Iraq in March of 2003 the German Social Democratic-Green coalition government was portrayed in the Western media as opposing the war, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and at the time and since Germany is routinely referred to as anti-war and even pacifist.

It’s true that Germany didn’t provide troops for the invasion and occupation, but hardly because of its opposition to war in principle. The government at the time, that of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, in the preceding four years authorized their nation’s participation in the first two wars waged by NATO – against Yugoslavia in 1999 and Afghanistan from 2001 onward – thereby involving Germany in its first wars since the end of World War II.

Berlin also voted with its allies in NATO’s Military Command in February of 2003 to send AWACS and Patriot missiles to Turkey under NATO’s Article 5 mutual military assistance clause. The action reprised that of Washington in sending Patriots to Israel on the eve of the first war against Iraq, Operation Desert Storm, in 1991.

American troops and equipment were moved through bases in Germany for deployment to Iraq and Kuwait as well as Afghanistan.

German troops weren’t dispatched to Iraq in large part because of popular opposition to the move, but primarily because with some 10,000 soldiers already stationed in war and post-war zones in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Africa the Bundeswehr’s pool of available forces for foreign deployment had been depleted.

With the current government’s announcement three years ago that the entire army is to be transformed into “an international intervention force,” Berlin may never encounter the need to limit its overseas deployment again.

1) Deutsche Welle, July 22, 2009
2) Ibid
3) Xinhua News Agency, July 23, 2009
4) Defense Professionals, July 23, 2009
5) Der Spiegel, July 23, 2009
6) Ibid
7) Sofia News Agency, July 20, 2009
8) Ibid
9) Deutsche Welle, October 25, 2006
10) Ibid
11) Deutsche Welle. December 28, 2007
12) Wall Street Journal, June 11, 2008
13) Ibid
14) Der Spiegel, May 19, 2009
15) Deutsche Welle, November 21, 2005
16) Agence France-Presse, August 23, 2006
17) Zaman, November 25, 2005
18) Associated Press, August 24, 2006
19) Defense News (US), November 15, 2005
20) Ya Libnan, December 23, 2008
21) Defense News, November 19, 2007
22) CanWest News Service, December 2, 2007
23) Deutsche Presse-Agentur, August 1, 2008
24) Xinhua News Agency, April 5, 2005
25) United Press International, April 23, 2007
26) Agence France-Presse, April 20, 2007
27) Agence France-Presse, December 11, 2006
28) Deutsche Presse-Agentur, August 27, 2007
29) Pakistan Tribune, April 22, 2007
30) Bloomberg News, June 18, 2009
31) OhmyNews International, January 1, 2005
32) Ibid

Categories: Uncategorized

Colombia: U.S. Escalates War Plans In Latin America

September 1, 2009 Leave a comment

July 22, 2009

Colombia: U.S. Escalates War Plans In Latin America
Rick Rozoff

On June 29 U.S. President Barack Obama hosted his Colombian counterpart Alvaro Uribe at the White House and not long afterward it was announced that the Pentagon plans to deploy troops to five air and naval bases in Colombia, the largest recipient of American military assistance in Latin America and the third largest in the world, having received over $5 billion from the Pentagon since the launching of Plan Colombia nine years ago.

Six months before the Obama-Uribe meeting outgoing American President George W. Bush bestowed the U.S.’s highest civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom, on Uribe as well as on former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former Australian Prime Minister John Howard.

A press account of the time expressed both shock and indignation at the White House’s honoring of Uribe in writing that “Despite extra-judicial killings, paramilitaries and murdered unionists, Colombia’s President Uribe has won the US’s highest honor for human rights.” [1]

The same source substantiated its concern by adding:

“Colombia is the most dangerous country on earth for trade unionists. In 2006, half of all union member killings around the world took place there. Since Uribe came into power in 2002, nearly 500 have been murdered. In reply to concern about the assassinations, Uribe dismissed the victims as ‘a bunch of criminals dressed up as unionists.’

“More than 1,000 cases of illegal killings by the military are being investigated. There are dozens of cases of soldiers taking innocent men, murdering them and dressing them up as enemy combatants. Hundreds of members of the security forces are thought to have taken part in such activities.” [2]

Colombia: Forty Year War

For over forty years Colombia, the last of Washington’s remaining “death squad democracy” clients in the Western Hemisphere, has waged a relentless counterinsurgency war against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and an equally ruthless campaign with its U.S.-trained and -equipped military and allied paramilitary formations against trade union, peasant, indigenous and other organizations. An estimated 40,000 have been killed and 2 million displaced as a result of the fighting.

In 1985 the FARC laid down its arms and entered into a peace process with the government of President Belisario Betancur.

It helped found the Patriotic Union to participate in electoral and other peaceful activities but within several years as many as 5,000 Patriotic Union elected officials, candidates, trade unionists, community organizers and other activists were murdered by Colombian security forces and government-linked right-wing death squads, especially the notorious United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) and its late leader Carlos Castano. Eight congressmen, 70 councilmen, dozens of deputies and mayors and hundreds of trade unionists and peasant leaders were slain and in 1989-1990 two of its presidential candidates were murdered within seven months.

Faced with complete extermination, the FARC rearmed and sought refuge in the southeast of the country.

In 1998 then Colombian President Andres Pastrana permitted FARC a 16,000 square mile safe haven in the Caqueta Department.

The U.S. then set its sights on an intensive counterinsurgency campaign to destroy the FARC infrastructure in the region and to uproot and destroy the organization altogether.

STRATFOR, not a source known for opposing war, warned:

“The U.S. State Department recently announced a two-year, $1.3 billion emergency U.S. aid package for counter-narcotics operations in Colombia. The plan also is geared toward helping President Andres Pastrana negotiate peace with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). But the plan will have the opposite effect. It will end the peace negotiations between the rebels and the government and re-ignite the war. Ultimately, the plan does little more than pave the way for greater U.S. involvement. [3]

It went on to say that “The bulk of the money pledged for counter-narcotics efforts will go directly to the military to fight the rebels….This will tip the balance of power away from the government in Bogota and toward the military, which has always opposed the peace negotiations. Ultimately, the door will open wider for greater U.S. involvement.” [4]

Plan Colombia: Clinton’s Parthian Shot

Colombia was already the largest recipient of U.S. military aid in the Western Hemisphere by 2000, but the Clinton administration increased the Pentagon’s role in the nation with what became Plan Colombia.

After entering office in January of 1993 bombing Iraq and later killing hundreds if not thousands of Somalis the same year, Clinton and his foreign policy team never abandoned the use of military aggression.

In 1995 it provided military planners and advisers for Croatia’s brutal and ethnocidal Operation Storm and led NATO’s bombing of Bosnian Serb targets, including retreating troops and refugee columns following them, leaving what is now the Bosnian Serb Republic strewn with depleted uranium and an epidemic of cancer cases.

Three years later it launched cruise missile attacks on Afghanistan and Sudan and on December 16, 1998 began Operation Desert Fox, a deadly four-day assault on Iraq with 250 airstrikes and over 400 Tomahawk cruise missiles – the evening before scheduled impeachment proceedings against Clinton in the American Congress.

The following year the administration’s use of military aggression reached its apex with the 78-day U.S.-led NATO assault against Yugoslavia, the first unprovoked military attack against a European nation since Hitler’s and Mussolini’s from 1939 onward.

The administration’s parting shot was Plan Colombia in 2000.

Colombia’s President Pastrana conceived of a project the preceding year, 1999, that the White House redesigned for its own purposes.

As former U.S. ambassador to El Salvador Robert White, sacked by the Reagan administration in 1981 in preparation for unleashing its death squad and Contra wars in Central America, wrote after the American Congress passed Plan Colombia in June of 2000:

“If you read the original Plan Colombia, not the one that was written in Washington but the original Plan Colombia, there’s no mention of military drives against the FARC rebels. Quite the contrary. (President Pastrana) says the FARC is part of the history of Colombia and a historical phenomenon, he says, and they must be treated as Colombians.” [5]

An alternative American news source reported that, “In early 1999, the Pastrana administration began peace talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the largest rebel group.

“The president also made his first trip to Washington in search of aid against the drug trade. But when he got there, ‘they changed the script on him,’ according to Marco Romero of the Peace Colombia Initiative, a coalition created in September by 60 local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) seeking an alternative to the Plan Colombia.

“Pastrana’s talks with U.S. congressional leaders and the head of the White House office on National Drug Control Policy, Barry McCaffrey, gave rise to the Plan Colombia, said Romero.” [6]

McCaffrey is a retired Army general who earned his stripes in the Dominican Republic in 1965, Vietnam from 1966-69 and in Operation Desert Storm in 1991. He was also head of the Pentagon’s Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) from 1994-96 and Deputy U.S. Representative to NATO.

“In support of their request for aid to Colombia, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and drug czar McCaffrey told the U.S. Congress that the funds were to be used for ‘restoring order in southeastern Colombia.'” [7]

With the passing of Plan Colombia Washington increased military aid to the nation by over twenty times in just two years, 1998-2000, from $50 million in 1998 to over $1 billion in 2000, placing Colombia only behind Israel and Egypt in that category. In the ten years since 1998 U.S. military aid was increased a hundredfold.

Earlier in the year a mainstream American news source said that “The Clinton administration’s proposed $1.6 billion in emergency aid to Colombia is at least as much a counterinsurgency package as it is an anti-drug measure” and mentioned that “a member of Congress objected to White House efforts to sidestep the normal appropriations process.” [8]

Weeks before the House vote one of the worse recent massacres of Colombian civilians occurred in El Salado, perpetrated by paramilitaries with army complicity.

Plan Colombia was drenched in blood even before it was formalized. In January of 2000 U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright visited Colombia to promote the initiative and in honor of her arrival the Colombian military killed 50 of its citizens in an attack outside of the capital of Bogota.

The U.S. Congress and Senate added over a billion dollars, sixty attacks helicopters and more special forces counterinsurgency advisers to the war in June. Approximately 70% of the 2000 Plan Colombia funds were allotted for the financing, training and supplying of army anti-narcotics battalions operating in southeastern Colombia, the former FARC safe haven.

Nominal progressives, the late Paul Wellstone in the Senate and Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky in the House, attached a human rights proviso that no serious person expected to be honored and only two months after the Congress’s authorization of Plan Colombia Clinton used his presidential waiver to override the human rights conditions on the grounds of “national security.”

Nine Years Later: Drug War Charade Gives Way To Naked Counterinsurgency

The escalation of counterinsurgency operations was packaged under the label of a war against drugs, of course. Nine years later Colombia remains the largest supplier of cocaine and heroin to the United States.

How seriously one should have taken this charade was indicated in April of 2000 when the former commander of the U.S. Army’s anti-drug operation in Colombia, Colonel James Hiett, pleaded guilty to not having turned over evidence on his wife, Laurie, for smuggling cocaine and heroin into the United States. His spouse pleaded guilty in January of planning to smuggle $700,000 worth of heroin into the U.S. through the mail.

Colonel Hiett doubtlessly performed his duties in propagating the tale that the FARC was responsible for the lion’s share of coca and opium cultivation and trafficking in the nation and that the U.S. military was the best response to its alleged activities.

If one still had any doubts regarding the sincerity of American claims to be combating narco-trafficking and terrorism, within weeks of the passage of Plan Colombia Secretary of State Albright escorted the head of the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army, Hashim Thaci, whose colleagues and allied drug cartels control most of the marijuana, hashish and narcotics traffic in Europe, to her old haunts in the United Nations Headquarters and her then current ones in the State Department, preparing him to become a future head of state. (Since last year he is in fact the president of what former Serbian president Vojislav Kostunica has aptly called the world’s first NATO state. It is also the world’s newest narco-state.)

After the events of September 11, 2001 in the United States the White House elevated the FARC towards the top of its targets list in the so-called Global War on Terror, though what role the group could have had in the attacks in New York City and Washington, DC is beyond any sane person’s ability to discern or fathom.

By 2002 the Bush administration had discarded most of the drug war rationale and “Congress approved a law to allow American military aid to Colombia to be used in a ‘unified campaign’ against drugs and terrorism” and by 2008 “six years and $5-billion later, the Colombian military is Latin America’s most skilled fighting force.” [9]

American “Special Operations training provided many of the skills that showed ‘the way to open the door to these remote jungle locations that were in the past inaccessible to the Colombian government.’

“Military units including Special Forces and an elite Commando Brigade were created. Eight regional intelligence units were set up with reconnaissance airplanes, and state-of-the-art air-to-ground communications. An Intelligence School was created, as well as a Counter Intelligence Center.” [10]

Days before leaving office George W. Bush awarded Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, who rumors have linked to the former Medellin drug cartel and whose brother Santiago is accused of narco-trafficking and death squad connections, the Medal of Freedom.

Perhaps anticipating the honor and paying back the person most responsible for Plan Colombia and the increased military operations both within Colombia’s borders and outside the country, Alvaro Uribe announced that he was conferring the “Colombia is Passion” award on Bill Clinton “at a gala event…in New York City” for “believing in our country and encouraging others to do the same.”

“Prominent Democrats on the guest list include former Clinton strategists Dick Morris and Vernon Jordan, former Clinton Cabinet members Lawrence Summers and Madeleine Albright, and several Democratic congressmen,” most of whom presumably had the political survival skills not to attend. [11]

Earlier the same year “On the eve of a visit by U.S. President George W. Bush” and with no further pretense of a drug war “U.S. and Colombian soldiers arrived in the southern town of Cartagena del Chaira, a FARC stronghold, by helicopter….” [12]

As the narcotics issue has been downplayed, so the human rights component of Plan Colombia has been relegated to the realm of short-lived public relations manipulation.

In February of 2007 Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Consuelo Araujo’s brother, Senator Alvaro Araujo, was arrested for connections to the paramilitary United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC).

Uribe was untroubled by the above and said, “When they ask, why do I keep the foreign minister, I answer: She is not involved in the criminal activities that are under investigation.” [13]

Plan Colombia has entered its tenth calendar year. In the intervening years covert and overt government and paramilitary massacres, many too grisly to relate, have continued unabated and drug cultivation and exports have been, if marginally dented, not substantially affected by what is still referred to when convenient as a drug eradication program.

Drug war claims notwithstanding, Plan Colombia’s activities both within and outside the nation were actuated by other designs.

Colombia: Pentagon’s Base In Andean Region

From its very advent it was intended to be more than an intensification of the decades-old counterinsurgency war in Colombia and to be the opening salvo of a U.S. campaign to escalate the militarization of the Andes region. White House and Pentagon plans to employ Colombia as a regional military force and operating base to police South America have gained new urgency for Washington with political transformations in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina and Paraguay heralding the end of Washington’s political, economic and military domination of the continent.

In its first full year of existence, 2001, a Peruvian Air Force jet shot down a civilian plane spotted by a U.S. aircraft flown by CIA contractors with American missionary Veronica Bowers and her infant daughter on board, killing both as well as the pilot.

By 2006 the U.S. had doubled the amount of military trainers and advisers stationed in Colombia and in the same year the nation’s planes started violating the air space of neighboring Ecuador. The planes, and it would not have been unusual for Pentagon personnel to have been on board them, were ostensibly conducting fumigation missions.

The Ecuadoran government denounced the actions as “unfriendly and hostile” and “Defense Minister Marcelo Delgado said…that army airplanes will fly over its border to prevent Colombian airplanes from entering Ecuadorian airspace….” [14]

In December of 2006 not only Colombian planes crossed the border into the country. Later in the month “Some 40 Colombians…fled across the border into Ecuador after they were attacked by Colombian soldiers,” the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Ecuador reported. [15]

Twelve months before fifteen Colombians were killed and 1,500 displaced in the Narilo province in the country’s southeast, bordering Ecuador. “Authorities remained silent as to whether this was a military operation against guerrilla fighters or a dispute between paramilitary groups.” [16]

In early 2007 Marine General Peter Pace, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, traveled to Colombia and spent two days meeting with the country’s military and political leadership. Shortly afterwards Colombian Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos, about whom more will be said later, returned the favor and visited the Pentagon where he met with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates. A Defense Department report of the visit quoted Pentagon officials as saying that “U.S. military support for Colombia, previously focused on combating drugs, has expanded to helping the Colombian military confront the country’s rebel insurgency” and that “U.S. Special Forces troops in Colombia provide Colombian forces military training….”[17]

Five months later Colombia built a third military base on its 2,219 kilometer border with Venezuela, initially stationing 1,000 troops in it.

Colombia has become a military outpost for Washington in confronting and threatening both Ecuador on its southwestern and Venezuela on its northeastern frontiers.

It is also part of a strategy that is more than regional and even continental in nature and scope.

South America: NATO’s Sixth Continent

Since the implementation of Plan Colombia in 2000 the U.S. has enlisted several NATO allies for the counterinsurgency war in the nation and for broader purposes in the region. British SAS (Special Air Service) personnel have been assigned to the Colombian military for training purposes and Spain also sent military personnel.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has members in Europe and North America and partnerships in Asia (Afghanistan, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Singapore, South Korea, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) and Africa (Algeria, Egypt, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia) and with Australia.

The only inhabited continent it hasn’t penetrated yet is South America,

In January of 2007 Colombian defense chief Santos traveled to Washington, London and Brussels, in the last-named city “for talks with the European Union,” and then to Munich, Germany “for a meeting of NATO defense ministers.” [18] Santos of course made the tour to garner more military aid from the U.S. and its NATO allies. The European Union was reported to have provided $154 million annually as of that year.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez warned in September of 2005 that “We discovered through intelligence work a military exercise that NATO has of an invasion against Venezuela, and we are preparing ourselves for that invasion.”

He detailed the plan as consisting of a “military exercise…known as Plan Balboa [that] includes rehearsing simultaneous assaults by air, sea and land at a military base in Spain, involving troops from the US and NATO countries.” [19] U.S. troops deployed to the Dutch possession of Curacao off Venezuela’s northwest coast were also part of the planned operation.

In spring of the following year it was reported that “Military maneuvers in the Caribbean are being carried out by the US, members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and countries from the hemisphere – excluding Cuba and Venezuela, which are the potential objectives of this demonstration of force” and that immediately afterwards “Future exercises will involve roughly 4,000 soldiers from the US, Holland, Belgium, Canada and France, who are scheduled to participate in a maneuver being dubbed the Joint Caribbean Lion, to take place between May 23 and June 15 in Curacao and Guadeloupe.” [20]

Colombian Counterinsurgency War: Model For South Asia And Central America

Over recent years the U.S. has also recruited and deployed Colombian military and security forces for the war in Afghanistan, supposedly to replicate the Plan Colombia drug war component in South Asia.

In April of 2007 Washington transferred its ambassador to Colombia, William Wood, to Afghanistan to oversee the application of the Colombian model of counterinsurgency under the guise of combating drug cultivation. Two years later Afghanistan is estimated to account for over 90% of illegal opium production in the world.

A Bangladeshi analyst observed that “Based on 2003 figures, drug trafficking constitutes the third biggest global commodity in cash terms after oil and the arms trade.

“Afghanistan and Colombia are the largest drug producing economies in the world, which feed a flourishing criminal economy. These countries are heavily militarized and the drug trade is protected.

“Amply documented, the CIA has played a central role in the development of both the Latin American and Asian drug triangles.

“NATO, as an entity, has become an accessory to major narcotics proliferation and criminal activity. Opium is not truly being reduced: in fact all the figures show that it is on the rise. This is happening under the eyes of NATO as confirmed by several media reports.” [21]

The intermediate way stations between Afghanistan and Colombia are Kosovo, not without reason dubbed the Colombia of the Balkans, and increasingly Iraq.

The pattern is impossible to ignore.

Ironically given the above contention, BBC News reported two years ago that “The US hopes that some of the lessons learned in Colombia can be applied to Afghanistan….” [22]

Last January the current chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, visited Colombia and was quoted as saying “Our military-to-military relationship is exceptionally strong. We need to stay with them. They have achieved things that are remarkable.” [23]

This March Mullen traveled to Colombia, Brazil, Chile, Peru and Mexico. Upon returning his comments were summarized as affirming that “The U.S. military is ready to help Mexico in its deadly war against drug cartels with some of the same counter-insurgency tactics used against militant networks in Iraq and Afghanistan” [24] and that “the Plan Colombia aid package could be an ‘overarching’ model for Pakistan and Afghanistan….” [25]

A feature on the U.S. Central Command chief David Petraeus’ plans for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan reported that “Military officials are also looking at U.S. relations with Colombia as a possible model for Afghanistan and Pakistan, saying something like Washington’s Plan Colombia strategy could help the two countries against militants.” [26]

The report from which the last quote is excerpted, “US sees lessons for Afghan war in Colombia,” also includes this:

“Afghan police have already trained with their Colombian counterparts and Bogota is studying sending troops to Afghanistan to help out in eradication and de-mining.” [27]

What is being exported to Afghanistan was made sickeningly evident last autumn when it was announced that Colombia had dismissed three generals and 22 soldiers of different ranks for the slaughter, at random apparently, of young slum dwellers in Bogota.

“The youths were lured from a Bogota slum with the promise of work; later their bodies were found in mass graves near the Venezuelan border.

“Human rights groups say that soldiers sometimes kill homeless people so that they can inflate their claims of success on the battlefield and receive promotion. [28]

Among the three generals asked to resign was General Mario Montoya Uribe, “the author of the policy to use body counts to measure success against guerrillas” [29] who “allegedly encouraged promoting officers whose units kill the most leftist rebels.” [30]

A later report provided gruesome details:

“More than 1,000 cases of illegal killings by the military are being investigated. There are dozens of cases of soldiers taking innocent men, murdering them and dressing them up as enemy combatants. Hundreds of members of the security forces are thought to have taken part in such activities.” [31]

Recall in reference to the above that the report immediately preceding it states that the murdered were buried in mass graves near the Venezuelan border.

With this year’s onslaught by the Sri Lankan military against LTTE strongholds appearing to have ended the nation’s 33-year war, the Colombian government and its American military suppliers are waging the only decades-long counterinsurgency war in the world, one now in its fifth decade.

It has been and remains a war against the poor, the landless, the disenfranchised, anyone would oppose the privileges and abuses of the large landholders, the business elite, the U.S.-trained military establishment and the upper echelons of the narco-mafias.

Nine years ago Plan Colombia was designed to be the terminal phase of that war.

The Colombia model is now the prototype Washington has openly identified for application in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Mexico among other locations.

Plan Colombia: Reining In Resurgent South America

Plan Colombia, additionally, is now being increasingly revealed as a military strategy for suppressing a rising tide of discontent with the aftereffects of post-Cold War neoliberalism throughout South America, Central America and the Caribbean.

The U.S. and the West as a whole have used the Colombian regime and its formidable military machine to intimidate its neighbors Ecuador and Venezuela and the Andean region as a whole. Bordering on Panama, Colombia is also a potential launching pad for attacks on Central American nations like Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador.

A brief chronology of the past year and a half will demonstrate the heightened role that is intended for Colombia by its sponsors in Washington.

In January of 2008 Venezuelan President Chavez said that the U.S. and its Colombian client “don’t want peace in Colombia because it’s the perfect excuse to have thousands of soldiers there, the CIA, military bases, spy planes and who knows what other…operations against Venezuela.”

He added, “I accuse the government of Colombia of devising a conspiracy, acting as a pawn of the U.S. empire, of devising a military provocation against Venezuela.” [32]

On March 1 of 2008 Colombia launched a raid inside Ecuador and killed 24 suspected FARC members, including the group’s second in command Raul Reyes.

An article titled “Colombian official says US intelligence helped raid on rebels” reported that “the Ecuadoran air force found that Colombia used ten 500-pound bombs, similar to those used by US forces in Iraq, which ‘cannot be transported by Colombian airplanes.’

“Ecuadoran authorities also noted that a few hours before the Colombian bombing raid, an HC-130 military aircraft had taken off from the US air base at Manta, in southeastern Ecuador.” [33]

Fearing that the armed incursion inside Ecuador was part of a broader plan of aggression, Venezuela deployed some 9,000 troops to its border with Colombia. On the day of the attack Venezuelan President Chavez warned his Colombian counterpart, “Don’t think about doing that over here because it would very serious, it would be cause for war.” [34]

Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa broke off diplomatic relations with Colombia after the attack and when it was later discovered that the bombing had killed an Ecuadoran national warned of further consequences.

On March 6 Venezuela decreed a state of general alert and sent ten battalions, tanks and planes to the Colombian border.

U.S. President Bush told reporters that “America would continue to stand with Colombia.” [35]

Three weeks later Ecuador announced that it would “install electronic surveillance equipment and boost its military presence along its border with Colombia” and President Correa warned that his country would “never again” allow a foreign attack on its soil. [36]

US Military: After Iraq, Latin America

Also in April of 2008 the U.S. Air Forces Southern director of operations, Col. Jim Russell, advocated that troops being withdrawn from Iraq be redeployed to the Pentagon’s Southern Command which takes in South and Central America and the Caribbean. He stated at the time: “We think, as we move ahead, we will see more of a shift of attention towards the region.

“We’re seeing problems right at the mouth of Central America. That’s the gateway to our southern border.” [37]

On July 12, 2008 the U.S. Navy reestablished its 4th Fleet, encompassing South and Central America and the Caribbean as does the Pentagon’s Southern Command, after it was disestablished in 1950 following World War II.

Earlier this year the chief of the Southern Command, Admiral James Stavridis, became NATO Supreme Allied Commander and head of the Pentagon’s European Command. Three of the last five NATO top military commanders – Stavridis, his predecessor Bantz John Craddock and Wesley Clark – moved to that post from being head of Southern Command.

In May of 2008, clearly anticipating what has occurred this week, Venezuela warned Colombia not to allow a new American military base in La Guajira near the border with northwestern Venezuela. The latter’s president said, “We will not allow the Colombian government to give La Guajira to the empire. Colombia is launching a threat of war at us.” [38]

Less than a week later a U.S. warplane penetrated Venezuelan airspace on a flight from the Netherlands Antilles. The Venezuelan government accused the U.S. of spying on a military base on Orchila Island and “said the U.S. was testing Venezuela’s ability to detect intruders and that the Venezuelan air force was prepared to intercept the plane had it not turned back toward the Caribbean island of Curacao.” [39]

Defense Minister Gustavo Rangel said that “This is just the latest step in a series of provocations in which they want to involve our country.” [40]

In September a bloody separatist ambush killed eight people in the Bolivian province of Pando. The government expelled American ambassador Philip Goldberg, an old hand at supporting violent secessionist uprisings in Bosnia and Kosovo earlier. The head of the nation’s armed forces, General Luis Trigo, warned that “The Bolivian Armed Forces warned on Friday that they will not tolerate any more actions of radical groups or foreign interference in the country’s internal affairs.” [41]

Toward the end of 2008 Bolivia expelled U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration officers and later announced plans to purchase Russian helicopters for anti-narcotics operations.

Today Bolivian President Evo Morales stated, “I have first-hand information that the empire, through the U.S. Southern Command, made the coup d’etat in Honduras.” [42]

In October of 2008 Ecuador charged the CIA with infiltrating its military and knowing of the Colombian attack on its territory the preceding March. Defence Minister Javier Ponce told newspapers: “The CIA had full knowledge of what was happening in Angostura.” [43]

At the same time Colombian Defense Minister Santos broadened his nation’s bellicosity by aiming it toward Russia. Completely the creature of Washington and its military that he is, Santos said:

“Russia, with its 16,000 nuclear bombs, has a great desire to be a key player in the world. But its presence in the region will promote a return to the Cold War.” [44]

Santos was alluding in particular to recent Russian-Venezuelan naval exercises in the Caribbean and to the fact that Russia has provided Caracas with advanced arms, warplanes and submarines, reflecting a general trend among Latin American nations – including Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina and Nicaragua – toward increased military ties with Russia as a counterbalance to traditional American domination of their armed forces and to be able to defend themselves against U.S. and proxy attacks. What Santos and his American sponsors fear is the effective demise of the almost 200-year-old Monroe Doctrine.

This March Venezuelan President Chavez labeled Colombian Defense Minister Santos “a threat to regional stability” and “a threat to the stability and sovereignty of the countries in the region” who “again shows his contempt for international law” in reference to Santos’ defense of the attack inside Ecuador last year. [45]

Santos reiterated his intention to continue striking alleged rebel sites in neighboring countries, evoking this response from Chavez a few days later: “In case of a provocation on the part of Colombia’s armed forces or infringements on Venezuela’s sovereignty, I will give an order to strike with Sukhoi aircraft and tanks. I will not let anyone disrespect Venezuela and its sovereignty.” [46]

During the past few months the Pentagon has been training the armed forces of Guyana, Venezuela’s eastern neighbor, both at home and in the United States. The use of French and Dutch island possessions in the Caribbean for military purposes has already been examined. With the election of Ricardo Martinelli as president of Panama this May putting that country back into Washington’s column, the noose is tightening around Venezuela.

Ecuador refused to renew an agreement with the U.S. for the use of its Manta military base and so Washington lost its basing rights there this month. With the corresponding announcement last week by Colombian President Uribe that he was turning five more military bases over to the Pentagon – three airfields and two navy bases – President Chavez was correct in seeing the move as “a threat against us,” and warning that “They are surrounding Venezuela with military bases.” [47]

Since the overthrow of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya on June 28, led by military commanders trained at the School of the Americas, alarms have been sounded in Latin America and throughout the world that the coup, far from being an aberration or anachronism, may mark a precedent for more in the near future.

And just as in the final months of the Bush presidency and the first seven months of the current one military operations in Afghanistan, for five years given secondary importance in relation to Iraq, have escalated into the world’s major war front, so plans for direct U.S. military aggression in Latin America, dormant since the invasion of Panama in 1989, may be slated for revival.

1) Russia Today, January 18, 2009
2) Ibid
3) STRATFOR, January 14, 2000
4) Ibid
5) Ottawa Citizen, September 6, 2000
6) Inter Press Service, December 21, 2000
7) Ibid
8) United Press International, April 11, 2000
9) Tampa Bay Times, July 12, 2008
10) Ibid
11) Associated Press, May 24, 2007
12) Associated Press, March 10, 2007
13) Xinhua News Agency, February 18, 2007
14) Xinhua News Agency, December 16, 2006
15) Xinhua News Agency, December 27, 2006
16) Xinhua News Agency, January 20, 2006
17) U.S. Department of Defense, February 1, 2007
18) Reuters, January 29, 2007
19) Australian Associated Press, September 4, 2005
20) Prensa Latina, April 10, 2006
21) The Daily Star, November 24, 2007
22) BBC News, July 8, 2007
23) Agence France-Presse, January 17, 2008
24) Reuters, March 6, 2009
25) Reuters, March 5, 2009
26) Reuters, October 16, 2008
27) Ibid
28) Radio Netherlands, October 30, 2008
29) Russia Today, January 18, 2009
30) Trend News Agency, November 4, 2008
31) Russia Today, January 18, 2009
32) Reuters, January 25, 2008
33) Focus News Agency, March 24, 2008
34) Associated Press, March 1, 2008
35) Reuters, March 4, 2008
36) Associated Press, April 22, 2008
37) Stars and Stripes, April 27, 2008
38) Associated Press, May 15, 2008
39) Bloomberg News, May 21, 2008
40) Reuters, May 19, 2008
41) Xinhua News Agency, September 13, 2008
42) Agence France-Presse, July 22, 2009
43) Reuters, October 30, 2008
44) Russian Information Agency Novosti, October 4, 2008
45) Trend News Agency, March 4, 2009
46) Russian Information Agency Novosti, March 9, 2009
47) Associated Press, July 21, 2009

Categories: Uncategorized

Germany And NATO’s Nuclear Nexus

September 1, 2009 1 comment

July 18, 2009

Germany And NATO’s Nuclear Nexus
Rick Rozoff

The reunification of Germany and the start of NATO’s post-Cold War expansion, drive east and beginning of its transformation into a global military force occurred on the same day, October 3, 1990.

On that date East Germany was absorbed into the Federal Republic and simultaneously into NATO, the first of thirteen additions to the bloc from that time to the present year.

United since 1990 within its pre-1938 borders, Germany has cast aside most all post-Potsdam Agreement and Nuremberg Principles constraints and become a military power engaged in wars on the European and Asian continents (Yugoslavia in 1999, Afghanistan since 2001) and naval surveillance and interdiction operations in the Mediterranean Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

NATO membership was the gateway for Germany to send troops, warplanes and warships outside its borders and overseas for the first time since the end of World War II, to date to Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Sudan and off the coast of Somalia as well as deploying AWACS, Tornado warplanes and tanks to the U.S. since the activation of NATO’s Article 5 in 2001. The latter also led to the participation of the German Navy in the nearly eight-year-old Operation Active Endeavor monitoring and interdiction patrols throughout the Mediterranean Sea.

The nation has the third largest military budget of all European states, only surpassed by Britain and France. Germany’s military spending is larger than Russia’s, for example, even after German spending dropped and Russian increased last year. The numbers were $46.8 and $40 billion, respectively.

It also has the third largest army of any exclusively European state (Russia and Turkey excluded from this category) with some quarter of a million troops.

Though not itself a nuclear power, Germany hosts an undisclosed (for apparent reasons) number of the estimated 350-480 U.S. nuclear warheads deployed in Europe to this day under NATO arrangements.

According to one report of two years ago “At least 20 US atomic warheads are reportedly still deployed underground at the German air base in the
southwestern town of Buechel, where they can be mounted on German Tornado fighter planes….” [1]

According to a statement of the opposition Left Party, an additional 130 American warheads may be stored at the Ramstein Air Base, headquarters for the United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) and also a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) installation. The same report adds “German air force pilots headquartered in Buechel will be ordered to drop nuclear bombs in case of a military attack or war.” [2]

Regarding Germany’s unabashed housing of nuclear weapons, the Director of NATO’s Nuclear Policy Section Guy Roberts said in 2007 that “Each decision in this field is up to national sovereignty. Each nation is free to decide whether or not it wants to actively participate in the joint management of nuclear devices.” [3]

Last year German government spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm made a statement that didn’t receive much coverage in the international news, to wit “For the foreseeable future…we remain of the view that a deterring military capacity includes not only conventional capacity but also nuclear components.

“There is a NATO policy framework for the presence of US nuclear weapons in Europe. But the security details and the handling of those weapons are a matter of bilateral arrangements.” [4]

For bilateral, one is to understand the United States which placed the nuclear weapons and Germany which stores them and would deliver them if ordered to by the U.S. and NATO. Among the American nuclear arms in Europe are 200-350 air-launched B-61 bombs stored in air bases in Germany, Turkey, Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands. [5]

Last year an internal U.S. Air Force report, The Blue Ribbon Review of Nuclear Weapons Policies and Procedures, “recommended that American nuclear assets in Europe be ‘consolidated,’ which analysts interpret as a recommendation to move the bombs to NATO bases under ‘U.S. wings,’ meaning American bases in Europe.”

The news source cited above also revealed that “Although technically owned by the U.S., nuclear bombs stored at NATO bases are designed to be delivered by planes from the host country.” [6] If the deployment of nuclear arms at American and NATO air bases in Europe wasn’t alarming enough, in January of 2006 former German Defense Minister Rupert Scholz was quoted as stating “Germany needed to ponder building its own nuclear deterrence system.”

In Scholz’s own words, “We need a serious discussion over how we can react to a nuclear threat by a terrorist state in an appropriate manner – and in extreme cases with our own nuclear weapons.” [7]

Only hours after assuming the mantle of the French presidency in May of 2007 Nicolas Sarkozy spoke of a “holy” (his precise word) alliance with Germany and “underscored…France’s willingness to use its nuclear weapons to defend Germany in case of a hostile attack.” Sarkozy’s Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie was quoted as saying, “If Germany asked us for help, it is probable that European solidarity would come into play. For us, nuclear weapons are the ultimate protection against a threat from abroad.” [8]

Later in the year a German news source wrote of a reiteration of the offer and said that “President Nicolas Sarkozy has asked Germany to open talks about a possible role the country could play in France’s nuclear defence system” and that “Sarkozy told German leaders that French nuclear weapons were also protecting neighbouring Germany, which was one reason why they should think about a closer cooperation in that area.” [9]

NATO membership alone allows for – in fact necessitates – this policy but its public mention at such a high level signifies a qualitatively new emphasis on the use of nuclear weapons.

Another aspect of Sarkozy’s proposed new Holy Alliance was detailed this past February:

“German troops are to be posted in France for the first time in 60 years, in an effort to uphold military cooperation between the ex-foes.

“Paris has agreed in principle to a proposal made by Germany earlier this year to allow a German battalion to be stationed in eastern France.” [10]

This February German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke of NATO’s collective defense obligation and an account issued by her office summarized her position as follows: “NATO has proved its worth as a defence alliance, which is why Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty (which lays out the right to individual and collective self-defence) should in the Chancellor’s view continue to embody the substance of NATO. In future its main responsibility should continue to be to ensure the defence of member states. But today we face new threats and new conflicts. We must also prevent Iran developing nuclear weapons at all costs.” [11]

A year before five former military chiefs of staff of major NATO states – General John Shalikashvili (former U.S. chief of staff under Clinton and ex-NATO Supreme Allied Commander), General Klaus Naumann (Germany’s former top military commander and ex-Chairman of NATO’s Military Committee), Lord Inge (former British Chief of the General Staff), General Henk van den Breemen (former Dutch chief of staff) and Admiral Jacques Lanxade (former French chief of staff) – issued a joint 150-page document which affirmed that the option of a nuclear first strike is indispensable, “since there is simply no realistic prospect of a nuclear-free world.” [12]

Germany’s Naumann was Chairman of the NATO Military Committee during the war against Yugoslavia in 1999.

On the eve of the 2008 NATO Summit in Bucharest, Romania – for which the document discussed above was largely prepared – a German news source wrote that “A French officer was quoted as saying that the document showed US determination to hand NATO the task of fighting terrorism on all five continents” and that “NATO will discuss the use of so-called mini-nukes behind closed doors at its Bucharest summit….” [13]

This January a high-level task force appointed by Pentagon chief Robert Gates, the Secretary of Defense Task Force on Defense Department Nuclear Weapons Management chaired by former defense secretary James Schlesinger, released a report advocating that the “United States should keep tactical nuclear bombs in Europe and even consider modernizing older warheads on cruise missiles….” The document states “The presence of U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe remains a pillar of NATO unity.” [14]

A Washington Post report on the study mentions that “The Natural Resources Defense Council, which specializes in nuclear matters, recently reported that about 400 U.S. B-61 tactical nuclear bombs are stored at bases in several NATO countries, including Germany, Italy, Turkey and the United Kingdom.” [15]

The 1990 Treaty on the Final Settlement With Respect to Germany (or the 2 + 4 Agreement) with the Federal Republic of Germany, the German Democratic Republic, the United States, Britain, France and the Soviet Union in the final months of its existence expressly prohibited the “manufacture, possession of, and control over nuclear” weapons.

How faithfully Berlin, Brussels and Washington have abided by that pledge in both letter and spirit has been seen. U.S. nuclear weapons stored in Germany “can be mounted on German Tornado fighter planes” because “nuclear bombs stored at NATO bases are designed to be delivered by planes from the host country” and “German air force pilots headquartered in Buechel will be ordered to drop nuclear bombs in case of a military attack or war.” And as a former German defense minister urged “We need a serious discussion over how we can react…with our own nuclear weapons.”

Note on references: Germany’s largest news agency, Deutsche Presse-Agentur, is only available by subscription and the cost for individuals is prohibitively expensive. Websites in Iran, Azerbaijan and China are among the best sources for DPA material in English, so citations are sometimes secondary.

1) Islamic Republic News Agency, September 1, 2007
2) German party marks Hiroshima anniversary, calls for removal of
Islamic Republic News Agency, August 6, 2007
3) Rainews 24 (Italy), April 10, 2007
4) Agence France-Presse, June 23, 2008
5) Ibid
6) Time Magazine, June 19, 2008
7) Deutsche Press-Agentur, January 26, 2006
8) Islamic Republic News Agency, May 17, 2007
9) Der Spiegel from Agence France-Presse, September 15, 2007
10) Press TV, February 6, 2009
11) Federal Republic of Germany, The Federal Chancellor, February 7, 2009
12) Michel Chossudovsky, The US-NATO Preemptive Nuclear Doctrine:
Trigger A Middle East Nuclear Holocaust to Defend “The Western Way
of Life”, Global Research, February 11, 2008
13) Deutsche Presse-Agentur, April 2, 2008
14) Washington Post, January 9, 2009
15) Ibid

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