Archive for May, 2010

Poland: U.S. Moves First Missiles, Troops Near Russian Border

May 29, 2010 1 comment

May 29, 2010

Poland: U.S. Moves First Missiles, Troops Near Russian Border
Rick Rozoff

On May 26 Polish news media announced that the first American Patriot interceptor missile battery and 100 U.S. troops were officially welcomed by Defense Minister Bogdan Klich, U.S. Ambassador Lee Feinstein and Brigadier General Mark Bellini of U.S. Army Europe at a ceremony in Poland.

American troops, it was further reported, had arrived over the previous weekend from a base in Germany to unload over 37 railway cars and assemble the Patriots in the Polish town of Morag, only 60 kilometers from Russia’s northwestern border in the Kaliningrad district. Details concerning the Patriot deployment and the stationing of as many as 150 U.S. servicemen were finalized in a supplemental Status of Forces Agreement between Washington and Warsaw in February.

One of Britain’s major daily newspapers characterized the development as follows: “The mission amounts to the most significant deployment ever of US forces to Poland, which once was behind the Iron Curtain but is now an enthusiastic member of Nato.” [1]

At the unveiling of the missile battery the Polish defense chief stated that “Placing the Patriot batteries in Poland makes the country more secure and contributes to Poland’s cooperation with the U.S,” and, allowing for an imperfect translation, “The more America and Europe in Poland, the more Poland in American and European politics.” [2]

The Associated Press reminded its readers on the occasion that “The U.S military has previously carried out training exercises in Poland, and has also trained the Polish air force to operate F-16 military fighter planes, which Poland bought to modernize its military.”

In fact between November of 2006 and December of 2008 Poland received 48 F-16 Fighting Falcon American warplanes and the Pentagon and NATO conduct regular military exercises – infantry, naval and air – at Polish bases.

What is qualitatively different about this week’s events, though, was spelled out by Andrew Paul, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, who acknowledged “that the Patriot garrison involves a longer time commitment than anything before, and marks ‘the first continuing presence’ of American soldiers and equipment in Poland.” [3] The U.S. troops who arrived earlier this week are the first foreign ones based on Polish soil since the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact twenty years ago.

Blaise Pascal wrote in his Pensees that what is truth on one side of the Pyrenees is falsehood on the other.

The response east of the Polish-Russian border was less enthusiastic than it was on the other side.

On May 28 Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Grushko spoke to a press conference and warned that “if the Patriot missile systems continued to be deployed on a permanent basis, that would be in breach of the pledge that NATO made when signing the Founding Act to the effect that the North Atlantic Alliance nations would refrain from stationing major military forces in the vicinity of the Russian border.” [4]

He was referring to a provision of the Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security between NATO and the Russian Federation signed in Paris in 1997, one which confirms adherence to the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) originally signed by the 16 members of NATO and the six members of the Warsaw Pact in 1990. (The former German Democratic Republic was by that point part of a united Federal Republic.)

The 1997 NATO-Russia accord mentions that “Russia and the member States of NATO reaffirm that States Parties to the CFE Treaty should maintain only such military capabilities individually or in conjunction with others, as are commensurate with individual or collective legitimate security needs,” and “Russia and the member States of NATO will, together with other States Parties, seek to strengthen stability by further developing measures to prevent any potentially threatening build-up of conventional forces in agreed regions of Europe, to include Central and Eastern Europe.”

The document also states that “NATO reiterates that in the current and foreseeable security environment, the Alliance will carry out its collective defense and other missions by ensuring the necessary interoperability, integration, and capability for reinforcement rather than by additional permanent stationing of substantial combat forces.” [5]

In short, moving NATO, and especially American, troops and military infrastructure into Eastern Europe, a few miles from Russian territory at that, on anything other than a temporary basis – and as was seen above, the U.S. embassy in Warsaw itself identified the new deployment as a “continuing presence” of troops and military equipment in Poland – is an incontrovertible violation of the 1997 NATO-Russia agreement, as it is of the earlier CFE treaty on the reduction of conventional weaponry (tanks, armored personnel carriers, combat aircraft and helicopters, and artillery, to say nothing of missiles) in Europe.

The first two times Washington and NATO deployed Patriot batteries were to Saudi Arabia in 1990-1991 and to Turkey in 2003, in both cases ostensibly to prevent Iraqi retaliation for U.S. and allied attacks. No one in the White House, State Department or the Pentagon has yet to offer an honest explanation for the presence of Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles so close to Russia’s border, ones which even with a limited range would, if used, intercept and destroy incoming missiles over Russian territory.

As part of what the Pentagon calls its Phased Adaptive Approach to missile shield deployments in Europe, especially in the east of the continent, Poland has also been mentioned as a prospective site for the stationing of longer range Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) interceptors on Aegis class warships in the Baltic Sea, in a land-based version (Aegis Ashore) on the Polish mainland or both.

“[T]he U.S. plans to deploy more powerful anti-ballistic missiles in Europe by 2018-2020. These will probably be silo-based missiles, for example upgraded SM-3 missiles with high runway speeds and interception altitudes exceeding 1,000 kilometers, making it possible to destroy not only ICBM warheads but also ballistic missiles launched by Russia.” [6]

The current Patriot missile deployment, coupled as it is with what will certainly be the long-term if not unlimited stationing of American troops on a rotational basis or otherwise, signals an advance over previous, if already persistent and mounting, U.S. and NATO military presence and exercises in Poland, the general Baltic Sea region and throughout Eastern Europe as a whole.

NATO opened its Joint Force Training Centre (JFTC) headquarters in Bydgoszcz, Poland in March of 2004. Since then it has focused on “joint and combined training at the tactical level,” particularly for NATO’s war in Afghanistan, and on providing “support to the NATO Response Force (NRF) joint and component commanders in the training and exercising of the NRF…” [7]

Regarding the deployment of Polish troops for combat missions (the nation’s first since World War Two) abroad, four years ago then Polish defense minister, now foreign minister, Radoslaw Sikorski spoke of the fact that over 10,000 of his nation’s troops had served in the Iraq war zone and said, “They are the core of the new Polish military. They had not been in a warlike situation for half a century. They go out as civilians in uniform but they come back as real warriors.” [8]

Poland will soon have 2,600 soldiers under NATO command in Afghanistan, the largest overseas military deployment in its history, with 400 more troops held in reserve for duty in that war zone. 23 Polish troops have been killed in Iraq and 16 so far in Afghanistan, the nation’s first post-World War II combat and combat-related deaths.

Sikorski’s waxing militant over his nation’s acquisition of its first battle-hardened warriors since the opening days of the Second World War can only be understood in the context of Poland bordering the only two nations in Europe truly not within the U.S. and NATO military orbit (Ukraine’s status in this respect still to be decided): Belarus and Russia.

The Polish foreign minister (since 2007) was a citizen of the United Kingdom from 1984 onward and a resident of the U.S. from 2002-2005 where he was resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. and executive director of the pro-NATO New Atlantic Initiative (he is married to American journalist and fellow former American Enterprise Institute affiliate Anne Applebaum), and returned from the U.S. to become Poland’s defense minister in 2005.

He was back in Washington late last month visiting several of his old haunts. While at the State Department, Sikorski met with his American counterpart Hillary Clinton, who described the government her visitor represented as “one of our closest friends and allies,” and pledged the U.S.’s “commitment to Poland’s security.”

“A statement issued by the top diplomats said the two allied countries would look to more closely cooperate within NATO and on the future development of a European missile defense program.” [9]

The two foreign affairs chiefs also discussed the war in Afghanistan and even – for good measure, to leave out not a single bone of contention with Russia – “Sikorski said if American companies exploring energy resources in Poland ‘strike it lucky,’ it would enhance the energy security of Poland and Europe and forge new investment links between Poland and the United States.” [10]

The Polish foreign minister also met with Pentagon chief Robert Gates and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander and current U.S. National Security Advisor James Jones (about whom more later) and addressed the annual awards dinner of U.S.’s preeminent advocacy group promoting the globalization of NATO, the Washington, D.C.-based Atlantic Council. Gates promised Sikorski 24 mine-resistant military vehicles for the Afghan war and the latter told the former, “We are there as part of the NATO mission. We’ve gone in together and we will also leave Afghanistan together.” [11] Given the boost in Polish troops and American-supplied combat vehicles, that joint departure will not be anytime soon.

Over the past five years, first as defense and now as foreign minister, Sikorski has been a major player in the consolidation of Poland as the Pentagon’s and NATO’s main military outpost in northeastern Europe and, along with Bulgaria and Romania, in so-called New Europe, in New NATO, as a whole.

In 2005 the U.S. signed a ten-year agreement with Romania for the acquisition and upgrading of four military bases and a comparable agreement with Bulgaria the following year for three bases in that country. This February both Black Sea nations disclosed plans to host U.S. Standard Missile-3 installations. In 2006 then U.S. European Command chief and NATO Supreme Allied Commander General James Jones said that the U.S. was planning to use the Mihail Kogalniceanu air base in Romania not only for land troops – the U.S. Joint Task Force – East is now headquartered there – “but also for naval and air special units.”

“The general added that the east European force [what is now Joint Task Force – East] will significantly improve the U.S.’s capacity to plan, coordinate and carry out operations that regard security cooperation in Eurasia and the Caucasus.” [12]

NATO has conducted a now six-year operation in which warplanes from several member states patrol the airspace over the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. In the last-named country the Zokniai/Siauliai International Airport is home to the NATO air squads. “The presence of NATO fighters represents a dramatic transformation from Siauliai’s not-so-distant past: the base was until 1992 a Soviet facility and housed types including Ilyushin Il-76-based A-50 airborne early warning and control system aircraft and RSK MiG-29 fighters.” [13]

The current four-month rotation which started on April 30 consists of four Polish jet fighters.

The Baltic Sea region is the site of near-continuous NATO and U.S. military maneuvers: The Pentagon is reported to have spent over $1 million recently on road construction and repairs for this year’s Baltic Operations (BALTOPS), annual military exercises which are the largest conducted in the Baltic region. “[T]he U.S. military is carrying out the entire job itself….ahead of June’s NATO military training exercise.” [14]

“BALTOPS provides a basis for promoting mutual understanding and maritime platform interoperability between U.S. Navy, NATO, and non-NATO participants through a series of multilateral training exercises in air warfare, shallow water undersea warfare, electronic warfare, air control, air defense, surface warfare, communications, fast patrol boat operations, seamanship, and mine warfare.” [15]

BALTOPS 2009 was led by the U.S. Navy’s Carrier Strike Group 12.

Starting on May 31 U.S. European Command and Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO) will lead military drills with Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in the second Baltic Host operation, the first of which was held last year in Estonia. This year’s will be held simultaneously in the capitals of the three Baltic nations and will for the first time include participation by the armed forces of Denmark, Germany, Norway and Poland. “All participants acknowledged the ‘Baltic Host 2009’ exercise to be very successful and agreed on the fact that it should be established as a permanent training cycle organised in the Baltic States.” [16]

Last month U.S. troops were among 6,500 forces involved in the NATO Response Force’s Brilliant Mariner exercises in the Baltic and North Seas, along with 31 warships, four submarines and 28 aircraft. “Exercise Brilliant Mariner is an opportunity to really put NATO forces through their paces,” said NATO’s maritime commander Admiral Sir Trevor Soar. [17]

Starting in October of 2008 NATO’s Allied Air Component Command Headquarters Ramstein began regular air training exercises over Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. “Launched as rehearsal for the NATO Baltic Air policing mission, the events have now turned into a wide-spectrum exercise training air assets to conduct various aspects of air operations….Previous exercises focused on improving means of securing sovereignty of the Baltic airspace as reflected in their former name Baltic Air Sovereignty Training Event (BASTE).

“The exercise was renamed Baltic Region Training Event, BRTE, to highlight the broader tasks of the third event. In the future NATO plans to conduct such type of training on a regular basis during rotations of every air contingent deployed on the air policing mission.” [18]

Russia, a Baltic Sea littoral state, was not invited to participate in any of the above exercises except for a small role in BALTOPS. It is the only nation against which such maneuvers are conducted.

The fact that regular, almost uninterrupted, war games are held under U.S. leadership in the Baltic Sea leaves no other interpretation.

Poland, though, is the main U.S. and NATO military ally in the region, as Bulgaria and Romania are on the Black Sea.

As seen above, Poland received the first of 48 U.S. F-16 Fighting Falcon multirole jet fighters in 2006 and the last of them two years later. The purchase was the largest military deal in Poland’s history, one paralleled by Romania’s plans to buy from 48-54 of the same planes, with Bulgaria to follow suit.

At the time of the first delivery to Poland then commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and NATO Allied Air Component, General Tom Hobbins, represented the American Air Force chief of staff at a special ceremony to welcome the U.S. warplanes.

His comments included:

“Poland’s acquisition of the F-16 cements the relationship between the U.S. Air Force and the Polish air force for several decades to come.

“This ceremony demonstrates that Poland has become a very powerful and more vital member of NATO than ever before.

“Poland’s F-16s represent the most sophisticated aircraft in Eastern Europe and will serve as a military-to-military engagement magnet for forces in Europe.

“These aircraft are extremely capable in any of the NATO roles, whether they’re utilized in counter-air missions in the NATO Response Force, or air defense with the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.” [19]

The following year, after Bulgarian and Romanian air bases had been acquired by the U.S. and NATO, Hobbins said: “We’re moving in with some of our newest NATO allies like Romania and Bulgaria. One of the best benefits – there is the actual ability to train with these new nations and build a long lasting relationship. It’s being involved, their weapons training detachments allows us to build trust and confidence with our friends and neighbors. Poland is another good example [of] moving east.

“That’s going to bring the newest, most modern and sophisticated fighter to that area of the region. We will actually be able to rotate fighter units through there….” [20]

The suggestion was made by a U.S. Air Force official that F-16s currently stationed at the Aviano Air Base in Italy be transferred to Poland.

In March of 2009 the Pentagon delivered the first of five C-130 Hercules military transport planes to Poland, the last expected to arrive this summer. The U.S. commander in charge of the transfer said at the time, “Ultimately they want to deploy C-130s to the NATO mission in Afghanistan. Our mission is the help assist them to become fully operational to NATO standards.” [21]

According to Brigadier General Tadeusz Mikutel, Poland’s 33rd Air Base commander, the Hercules will be the biggest of the country’s aircraft.” [22]

The preceding month the Polish daily Rzeczpospolita (The Republic) revealed that NATO had allotted over one billion euros for the development of military infrastructure in Poland. “The modernisation of seven military airports, two sea ports, five large fuel bases (12 are planned) and six strategic long-range aerial radars has already been completed.” [23]

In addition, NATO will equip “military airfields in Powidz, Lask and Minsk Mazowiecki with new installations to improve the logistical and defence capacity of these bases.

“Air defence headquarters are to be set up in Poznan, Warsaw and Bydgoszcz; a radio communications centre will be located in Wladyslawowo on the Baltic coast.

“A newly built training centre in Bydgoszcz should be fully equipped [with] computer devices by the end of the year (total cost EUR 40 million).” [24]

In June of 2009 Polish Defense Minister Bogdan Klich said that NATO would inaugurate a Joint Battle Command Centre in the northern city of Bydgoszcz where NATO has run a Joint Force Training Centre since 2004.

The defense chief said, “The Alliance has made the decision to open a new NATO cell, a new joint regiment within NATO. According to the decision, commanders from three regiments will be located in Bydgoszcz.

“In Bydgoszcz, we will have the permanent commanders of [a] battalion and other components: one of six joint mobile modules, a security component and logistics and support operators,” which include approximately 200 NATO troops.

Klich added “that NATO has decided to heavily invest in Poland by modernizing military infrastructure including air and sea bases.” [25]

On the same day Polish Radio reported that “Poland will appoint seven generals to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. One of them will be deployed in the NATO headquarters in Norfolk, USA. [Allied Command Transformation.]

“Poland will have twice as many generals in NATO’s structures as a result of the alliance’s command reform and recognition of Polish troops who participate in NATO’s missions.” [26]

In October Klich disclosed that his ministry would “spend about 60 billion zloty (12.3 billion euro) by the year 2018 to modernize Poland’s armed forces,” with emphasis on “14 programs: air defense systems, combat and cargo helicopters, naval modernization, espionage and unmanned aircraft, training simulators and equipment for soldiers….” [27]

By November the Polish Air Force had flown over 100 missions with the first U.S. C-130 troop transport plane, and according to a Polish military official “the entire donation of five totally refurbished aircraft, support equipment, supplies, training, and contracted logistics support, is valued at $120 million and 100 percent funded through bilateral military assistance grant money.” [28]

Poland’s air bases, particularly that at Powidz where the U.S. has conducted special forces training, and training sites like that at Wedrzyn where American troops have provided combat instruction, regularly host U.S. and NATO military personnel in support of operations that have nothing at all to do with the defense of the host nation.

An analysis of over two years ago placed the intensified U.S. military buildup in Poland in perspicuous and convincing perspective:

“Poland will give the United States a minimum of two things when it agrees to [a] missile base on Polish soil. It gives the US a base from which it can challenge Russia and a leveraged increase in troops on the ground in Europe.

“The unspoken issue is that the United States will have a base in Poland that will fix the Polish border and that Poland will have the United States behind it to protect that border. [I]t puts US troops, albeit small numbers, in the Russian ‘near abroad’. It tells Russia, you tread on Poland, you tread on the US.

“It is a clever and cheap way for the US to build an anti-Russian army in Eastern Europe. Just provide the equipment and let someone else maintain it and provide the manpower. Let Poland worry about paying and training the troops.

“The end result is that the United States can extend its influence through a low cost Army in Poland.” [29]

By setting up a Patriot missile battery 35 miles from Russian territory and basing troops there, Washington is well on its way to achieving that objective.

1) The Telegraph, May 24, 2010
2) Polish Radio, May 26, 2010
3) Associated Press, May 24, 2010
4) Voice of Russia, May 28, 2010
5) Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security between NATO and
the Russian Federation
6) Russian Information Agency Novosti, February 24, 2010
7) Bulgaria Online, December 1, 2005
8) International Herald Tribune, January 24, 2006
9) RTT News, April 30, 2010
10) Ibid
11) Ibid
12) Bucharest Daily News, March 13, 2006
13) Flight International, May 29, 2009
14) Baltic Course, May 26, 2010
15) Global
16) Defence Professionals (Germany), May 25, 2010
17) North Atlantic Treaty Organization, April 14, 2010
18) Baltic Course, September 15, 2009
19) Air Force Link, November 14, 2006
20) Air Force News, March 14, 2007
21) U.S. Air Forces in Europe, June 24, 2009
22) United States European Command, February 4, 2009
23) Polish Market, April 14, 2009
24) Ibid
25) Polish Radio, June 12, 2009
26) Polish Radio, June 12, 2009
27) Polish Radio, October 27, 2009
28) U.S. Air Forces in Europe, November 12, 2009
29) Eastern European Review (US), March 26, 2008

Categories: Uncategorized

U.S. Cyber Command: Waging War In World’s Fifth Battlespace

May 26, 2010 1 comment

May 26, 2010

U.S. Cyber Command: Waging War In World’s Fifth Battlespace
Rick Rozoff

On May 21 U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced the activation of the Pentagon’s first computer command. And the world’s first comprehensive, multi-service military cyber operation.

U.S. Cyber Command (CYBERCOM), initially approved on June 23, 2009, attained the status of what the Pentagon calls initial operations capability eleven months afterward. It is to be fully operational later this year.

CYBERCOM is based at Fort Meade, Maryland, which also is home to the National Security Agency (NSA). The head of the NSA and the related Central Security Service is Keith Alexander, U.S. Army lieutenant general on the morning of May 21 but promoted to four-star general before the formal launching of Cyber Command later in the day so as to become its commander.

The U.S. Senate confirmed Alexander for his new position on May 7. In written testimony presented to Congress earlier, he stated that in addition to the defense of computer systems and networks, “the cyber command would be prepared to wage offensive operations as well….” [1] Two days before his confirmation the Associated Press reported that Alexander “said the U.S. is determined to lead the global effort to use computer technology to deter or defeat enemies.” [2] The conjunction “and” would serve the purpose better than “or.”

The day Alexander assumed his new command Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn “called the establishment of U.S. Cyber Command at Fort Meade, Md., today a milestone in the United States being able to conduct full-spectrum operations in a new domain,” adding that the “cyber domain…is as important as the land, sea, air and space domains to the U.S. military, and protecting military networks is crucial to the Defense Department’s success on the battlefield.” [3]

The Pentagon’s second-in-charge is not the only person to refer to cyber warfare as the world’s fifth battleground after those of land, sea, air and space, nor to link the first with the other four.

Indeed, the Defense Department’s Quadrennial Defense Review released earlier this year focuses on “a broader range of military responsibilities, including defending space and cyberspace,” [4] and the Pentagon’s space operations are now grouped with cyber warfare as the new Cyber Command is subsumed under U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), which is in charge of the militarization of space as well as the global interceptor missile project, information warfare and related missions.

In its own words, “USSTRATCOM combines the synergy of the U.S. legacy nuclear command and control mission with responsibility for space operations; global strike; Defense Department information operations; global missile defense; and global command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR), and combating weapons of mass destruction.” [5]

“U.S. CYBERCOM is a sub-unified command under U.S. Strategic Command, of Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. But it will be run out of the super-secretive communications-gathering National Security Agency in Fort Meade, Md.” [6]

Three months ago U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz addressed a conference of the Air Force Association, but he “did not mention fighters, special operations or mobility,” instead concentrating on space and cyberspace. “We have an enduring need for robust space and cyberspace capabilities,” he told the audience.

The Air Force Times provided background information regarding Schwartz’s comments and connected the role of space and cyber warfare: “Space and cyberspace missions were brought together last year, when the service moved many of its communications and computer missions into Space Command and created the 24th Air Force to be the service’s in-house ‘cyber command.’

“At the same time, Space Command’s nuclear missile role was transferred to the new Global Strike Command.” [7]

The 24th Air Force will be joined by the Army Forces Cyber Command and the  10th Fleet and Marine Forces Cyber Command (representing the four main branches of the U.S. armed forces) in providing the first 1,000 personnel for the new multi-service Cyber Command.

The day that CYBERCOM was launched, the Pentagon announced that “The U.S. Army will consolidate 21,000 soldiers in its cyber warfare units under a new unified command led by a three-star general.” Army Forces Cyber Command, ARFORCYBER, “will be fully operational by October at Fort Belvoir, Va., a sprawling base south of Washington,” and will achieve “unprecedented unity of effort and synchronization of Army forces operating within the cyber domain.”  In the words of the Army’s chief cyber commander, Major General Steven Smith, his service is “trying to understand what a cyber warrior should be, and how they should be trained.” [8]

A few days before the Air Force revealed that since last November it has transferred at least 30,000 troops from communications and electronics assignments to “the front lines of cyber warfare.” [9] 

Earlier this month Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy James Miller was cited as maintaining that “The Pentagon would consider a military response in the case of a cyber attack against the United States.” He was quoted as proposing a direct military reaction to computer attacks, stating “we need to think about the potential for responses that are not limited to the cyber domain.” [10]

Placing computer security, including in the civilian sector, under a military command is yet another step in the direction of militarizing the treatment of what are properly criminal or even merely proprietary and commercial matters. And preparing responses of a decidedly non-virtual nature in return.

The Pentagon and the National Security Agency will not be alone in the endeavor to establish and operate the world’s first national cyber warfare command. As usual, Washington is receiving unconditional support from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the military bloc it initiated in 1949 and has extended throughout Europe and, operationally, into Asia, Africa and the Middle East over the last eleven years.

NATO not only provides the U.S. with 27 additional voices and votes in the United Nations and as many countries through which to transit and in which to base troops and military equipment, it also – through its Article 5 mutual military assistance provision – allows for American military deployments and creates the pretext for armed confrontation in alleged defense of other member states. Troops from all 28 NATO members  and over 20 partner states are embroiled in the nearly nine-year war in Afghanistan because Article 5 was first invoked in September of 2001.

Stating that “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,” Article 5 is in large part the foundation of and the impetus for the Pentagon’s Cyber Command.

The clamor for a cyber warfare capacity began among leading American and NATO officials during and immediately after attacks on computer systems in Estonia in late April and early May of 2007. The small country, a neighbor of Russia which had been inducted into NATO three years earlier, accused Russian hackers of the attacks on both government and private networks, and the charge was echoed in the West with the additional insinuation that the government of then Russian President Vladimir Putin was behind the campaign.

Three years later the accusations have not been substantiated, but they have served their purpose nonetheless: NATO dispatched cyber warfare experts to Estonia shortly after the events of 2007 and on May 14, 2008 the military bloc established what it calls the Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCD COE) in the nation’s capital of Tallinn.

The bloc’s Article 5 has been repeatedly – and given its nature ominously – evoked in reference to alleged cyber crimes and attacks, and Estonia has been portrayed as both the model victim of such assaults and the rallying point for a global cyber warfare response to them.

From the genesis of the drive for U.S.-NATO cyber warfare operations Russia has been the clearly implied if not always openly acknowledged target.

In an August 2008 column in the influential Wall Street Journal entitled “Russia’s Aggression Is a Challenge to World Order,” two leading U.S. senators, Joseph Lieberman and Lindsey Graham, called for “reinvigorating NATO as a military alliance, not just a political one. Contingency planning for the defense of all member states against conventional and unconventional attack, including cyber warfare, needs to be revived. The credibility of Article Five of the NATO Charter – that an attack against one really can and will be treated as an attack against all – needs to be bolstered.” [11]
This January U.S.-based Google accused Chinese hackers of “sophisticated cyberattacks” and since then Beijing has joined Moscow as the most frequently cited antagonist in future cyber conflict scenarios, intimately linked to comparable disputes in space over military and civilian satellites.

The British House of Lords issued a report in mid-March of this year that explicitly asserted “Britain needs to work more closely with Nato to fend off ‘cyber warfare’ on critical national infrastructure from former cold war enemies such as Russia and China,” and which “highlight[ed] the dangers of attacks on the internet, banking and mobile phone networks by the Russians in Estonia three years ago.” [12]

A few days before NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, while promoting the military bloc’s new Strategic Concept in nominally non-aligned Finland, reiterated that although Article 5 military defense of the Alliance’s 28 members’ territory remains NATO’s chief function, it isn’t sufficient to “line up soldiers and tanks and military equipment along the borders,” as the bloc needs “to address the threat at its roots, and it might be in cyber space,” adding that an “enemy might appear everywhere in cyberspace.” [13]

A year earlier Rasmussen’s predecessor as head of the Western military alliance, the Netherlands’ Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, foreshadowed NATO’s preparations for its 21st century Strategic Concept, unveiled by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and her self-styled Group of Experts at NATO headquarters this May 17, in stating “we need to take a broader approach and gradually consider the notion of collective security, rather than strictly collective defence.” [14]

To expand the North Atlantic bloc’s missions internationally, the distinction between military threats and a multitude of self-identified security concerns needs to be blurred.

The litany of non-military excuses for NATO interventions throughout the world includes frequently intangible, unverifiable and highly subjective factors like perceived missile threats, climate change, demographic shifts and dislocations, and “storms and floodings” amid “a myriad of determined and deadly threats” as Lord Peter Levene, chairman of Lloyd’s of London, characterized NATO’s current challenges at a conference his firm co-organized with the military bloc last October 1. [15]

Arguably by their very nature, cyber security issues are among the most amorphous, nebulous and ethereal threats that can be devised (and concocted) and as such are characterized by near universal applicability and the effective impossibility of being disproven. An indispensable arrow in the Pentagon’s and NATO’s collective quiver, then.

In the speech cited above, former NATO chief Jaap de Hoop Scheffer specifically addressed the matter of cyber security, demanding that NATO “should consider drawing on the unique capabilities that already exist in our military and look to build on them. They could, for example, form a rapid response service to support Allies and perhaps even partners in the event of an attack. And given the vital role that space and satellites now play within our cyber networks, should we not also start to follow activities in space more closely and consider the implications for our security?” [16]

In June of last year U.S. ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder, former National Security Council staffer currently on loan from the Brookings Institution, also tested the waters on whether the Alliance’s Article 5 war clause should be activated in response to “energy strangulation” or “a cyber or bio attack of unknown origin.” [17]

“Energy strangulation” – that is, the accusation of energy cutoffs to Europe – is inevitably coupled with charges of cyber attacks in Europe and both are in exclusive reference to Russia. For example, in Scheffer’s recommendation of last year on the application of NATO’s Article 5 for cyber and space use he added this:

“The disruption of a country’s energy supply can destroy the economic and social fabric of a country in a way that resembles a war – yet without a single shot being fired. It is therefore vital that NATO defines what added value it can bring, for example in terms of protecting critical infrastructure or securing chokepoints through which supply lines run.” [18]

In her May 17 remarks to NATO’s North Atlantic Council on the new Strategic Concept, Madeleine Albright stated that “NATO must maintain a flexible mix of military capabilities, including conventional, nuclear, and missile defense” and laid stress on “the primacy of Article 5,” which stipulates that “the Alliance must continue to treat collective defense as its core purpose.”

Among threats justifying the activation of Article 5 are “cyber assaults and attacks on energy infrastructure and supply lines.” [19] Her group’s report demands that NATO “accelerate efforts to respond to the danger of cyber-attacks by protecting its own communications and command systems, helping allies to improve their ability to prevent and recover from attacks, and developing an array of cyber-defense capabilities aimed at effective detection and deterrence.” [20]

Anticipating the Pentagon’s William Lynn by two months, NATO’s Director of Policy Planning Jamie Shea said that “120 countries currently have or are developing offensive cyber attack capabilities, which is now viewed as the fifth dimension of warfare after space, sea, land and air….”

On March 22 “Shea said there are people in the strategic community who say cyber attacks now will serve the same role in initiating hostilities as air campaigns played in the 20th century.” [21]

Shortly after this year’s presidential election in Ukraine, the country became the first non-NATO member to be recruited for cyber defense cooperation with the North Atlantic military bloc. “On 11-12 February 2010, cyber defence experts from Ukraine, NATO and Allied countries participated in the first NATO-Ukraine Expert Staff Talks on Cyber Defence in Kyiv.” [22]

NATO’s pioneer project in this area, though, remains its cyber warfare center in Estonia. The operation’s experts “second-guess potential adversaries, gazing into what they dub the ‘fifth battlespace’, after land, sea, air and space.”

Colonel Ilmar Tamm, the top Estonian military official at the site, was quoted late last month claiming “Definitely from the cyber-space perspective, I think we’ve gone further than we imagined in science fiction.” [23]

Estonian Defence Minister Jaak Aaviksoo spoke with Agence France-Presse about events in 2007 and the present, saying “It clearly heralded the beginning of a new era….It had all the characteristics of cyber-crime growing into a national security threat. It was a qualitative change, and that clicked in very many heads. Cyber-security, cyber-defence and cyber-offence are here to stay. This is a fact of life.” [24]

On April 23, the second day of a NATO foreign ministers meeting in the Estonian capital, a memorandum of understanding was signed which “creates a legal framework for cyber defence cooperation between NATO and Estonia. It will facilitate the exchange of information and provide means for create a mechanism for assistance in case of cyber attacks.

“The agreement was signed on behalf of NATO by Amb. Claudio Bisogniero, Deputy Secretary General….” [25]

The individual who personifies the organic and inextricable connection between the Pentagon and NATO is the one who simultaneously heads up U.S. European Command and is NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, from General Dwight Eisenhower in 1951 to Admiral James Stavridis currently.

On February 2 of this year Stavridis said that because of “attacks on computer networks in Estonia, Georgia, Latvia and Lithuania in the past several years,” although he didn’t offer either specifics on or substantiation for the claim, “the definition of protections for NATO members should be expanded.” 

The four countries identified as victims leave no doubt as to who Stavridis views as the perpetrator.

Addressing an Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association conference and speaking of NATO’s Article 5, he said that the “likelihood that the next conflict will start with a cyber attack rather than a physical attack highlights the importance of changing the treaty’s definitions.” [26]

Employing a line of reasoning that he has repeated in the interim, he said: “In NATO we need to talk about what defines an attack. In a country like Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, all NATO members, what defines an attack? I believe it is more likely that an attack will come not off a bomb rack on an aircraft, but as electrons moving down a fiber optic cable. So this is a very real and germane part of this challenge that we face in the cyber war.”
NATO’s top military commander was also paraphrased as saying that “NATO has taken the first step toward making cyber warfare combat an international effort by standing up the Cooperative Cyber Defence Center of Excellence in 2008 in Estonia, but facing cyber threats will require cooperation among U.S. government agencies, and between governments and industry as well.” [27]

In early May Stavridis delivered a speech in Paris in which he again highlighted “new threats facing NATO from cyber space” in relation to “NATO’s role in combating these threats, in particular Article 5 operations and collective defence.” [28]

On May 19 he appeared as the guest of honor at a special Commanders Series event at the Atlantic Council [29] in Washington, D.C., where he was introduced by Madeleine Albright two days after she had presented her Group of Experts report on NATO’s 21st century global Strategic Concept in Brussels.

Stavridis boasted that NATO nations have a combined gross domestic product of $31 trillion, have over two million men and women under arms, and “130,000 soldiers and sailors and airmen and Marines on missions on three different continents.” The above despite the fact that “No nation has ever attacked a NATO nation.” [30]

His presentation was accompanied by slides and his comments included: “I think that Secretary Albright’s paper hits this exactly right. We must, as an alliance, begin to think coherently about cyber. We find here the flags of four states that have been involved in cyber intrusions. [Presumably the four former Soviet states he identified in February.] I think it’s important that as an alliance, we begin to come to grips with what is a cyber attack.

“We need centers that can focus on it; we need procedures to provide defensive means in this world of cyber.” [31] 

Cyber defense and its inevitable correlate, cyber warfare, are integral components of Pentagon and NATO warfighting doctrine, embodied as such in the U.S.’s new Quadrennial Defense Review and in NATO’s latest Strategic Concept to be formally adopted at the bloc’s summit in Lisbon, Portugal this November.

Cyber warfare as an element of military operations in the other four spheres – land, air, sea and space, especially in the last – and in its own right. With the most advanced computer networks in the world and the most capable corps of cyber specialists in all realms, the world’s military superpower has launched the first military cyber command.

1) Agence France-Presse, May 12, 2010
2) Associated Press, May 5, 2010
3) U.S. Department of Defense, May 21, 2010
4) Financial Times, January 31, 2010
5) U.S. Strategic Command
6) Stars and Stripes, May 22, 2010
7) Air Force Times, February 19, 2010
8) Stars and Stripes, May 22, 2010
9) Air Force Times, May 19, 2010
10) Agence France-Presse, May 12, 2010
11) Wall Street Journal, August 26, 2008
12) The Telegraph, March 18, 2010
13) Agence France-Presse, March 4, 2010
14) North Atlantic Treaty Organization, March 11, 2009
15) Thousand Deadly Threats: Third Millennium NATO, Western Businesses Collude
    On New Global Doctrine
    Stop NATO, October 2, 2009
16) North Atlantic Treaty Organization, March 11, 2009
17) Defense News, June 8, 2009
18) North Atlantic Treaty Organization, March 11, 2009
19) North Atlantic Treaty Organization, May 17, 2010
20) Aviation Week, May 18, 2010
21) Defense News, March 23, 2010
22) North Atlantic Treaty Organization, February 22, 2010
23) Agence France-Presse, April 24, 2010
24) Ibid
25) North Atlantic Treaty Organization, April 23, 2010   
26) Defense News, February 2, 2010
27) Ibid
28) North Atlantic Treaty Organization
    Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe
    May 7, 2010
29) Atlantic Council: Securing The 21st Century For NATO
    Stop NATO, April 30, 2010
30) Atlantic Council, May 19, 2010
31) Ibid

Categories: Uncategorized

U.S. And NATO Accelerate Military Build-Up In Black Sea Region

May 20, 2010 1 comment

May 20, 2010

U.S. And NATO Accelerate Military Build-Up In Black Sea Region
Rick Rozoff

In the post-Cold War era and especially since 2001 the Pentagon has been steadily shifting emphasis, and moving troops and equipment, from bases in Germany and Italy to Eastern Europe in its drive to the east and the south.

That process was preceded and augmented by the absorption of former Eastern Bloc nations into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization beginning in 1999. In one of the first nations in that category, Poland, the initial contingent of what will be over 100 U.S. troops arrived in the town of Morag this week, as near as 35 miles from Russian territory, as part of a Status of Forces Agreement between Washington and the host country ratified this February.

Also in February, the governments of the Black Sea nations of Romania and Bulgaria confirmed plans for the U.S. to deploy a land-based version of Standard Missile-3 anti-ballistic interceptors on their territory.

The U.S. Sixth Fleet, headquartered in Italy, has deployed warships to the Black Sea with an increased frequency over the past few years, visiting and conducting joint drills with the navies of Bulgaria, Romania and Georgia.

Last autumn it was revealed that the Pentagon planned to spend $110 million dollars to upgrade and modernize a base in Bulgaria and another in Romania, two of seven such newly acquired installations in the two nations.

The air, naval and infantry bases in Bulgaria and Romania have been employed for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and, although not publicly acknowledged, doubtlessly for arming Georgia before, during and since its five-day war with Russia in August of 2008.

The Pentagon’s Joint Task Force-East has all but officially been assigned to the Mihail Kogalniceanu Airfield in Romania and also makes regular use of the Romanian Army’s Babadag Training Area and the Novo Selo Training Range in Bulgaria, the latter near the strategic Bezmer Air Base and the Black Sea port city of Burgas (Bourgas).

Last year Joint Task Force-East conducted a series of military trainings with Bulgarian and Romanian counterparts from August 7 to October 24. The immediate purpose of the combat drills was for “downrange” operations in Afghanistan, but the lengthy and extensive nature of the maneuvers demonstrated the longer-term and longer-range intentions of the U.S. and its NATO allies. The latter also have free use of the Bulgarian and Romanian military bases.

Two squadrons from the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment were among the 2,000 American troops who participated in last year’s war games in the two nations.

American Admiral James Stavridis, commander of U.S. European Command and NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, visited Romania on April 27 and 28, meeting with the country’s president and defense minister. The main topics of discussion were NATO’s new Strategic Concept and its war in Afghanistan, but the issue of stationing U.S. interceptor missiles was surely touched upon as well.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen was in Romania on May 6 and 7 to meet with the president, defense minister, foreign minister and top military commander. The U.S.-NATO missile shield project and the war in Afghanistan were major subjects on the agenda.

Five days after Rasmussen left the capital the Romanian Foreign Ministry announced that “A round of technical US-Romanian talks on Romania’s inclusion in the Phased Adaptive Approach of the European missile defense system took place in Bucharest” a day earlier, May 11. [1]

The NATO chief arrived in neighboring Bulgaria on May 20 for similar discussions. The local press announced in advance that “The construction of a common missile defense system and Bulgaria’s accession into it, along with reforms in the Bulgarian army and NATO’s new strategic concept – these will be some of the issues that NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen is going to discuss with his Bulgarian partners during his two-day visit to Sofia beginning on Thursday, May 20.” [2]

In fact, while in the Bulgarian capital Rasmussen met with the nation’s prime minister, president and defense minister and, according to a Bulgarian news source, the top issue discussed was “the planned installation of an anti-missile defence system in the region, as Brussels plans to deploy anti-missile units in Bulgaria and negotiations are set to be launched following the Portugal Nato summit” in November. [3]

Rasmussen reiterated the demand that all Balkans nations be incorporated into NATO, which would dictate the inclusion of Bosnia, Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Kosovo. (As NATO recognizes the last-named as an independent state.)

The host nation’s foreign minister, Nikolay Mladenov, spoke after the meeting with NATO’s secretary general and linked the North Atlantic bloc’s collective military assistance article with U.S.-led missile deployments and anti-Russian energy transit projects. He specifically highlighted “setting up the anti-missile defence shield as a part of Article 5 against new threats” and “the inclusion of energy security to key security issues.” [4]

On May 14 Chairman of the NATO Military Committee Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola was in Romania to meet with Defense Minister Gabriel Oprea, and the “current stage of NATO-led military actions in Afghanistan and Romania’s participation in Alliance missions were the main subjects” of deliberation. Romania’s defense minister said, “Romania’s prompt response to the proposal to install missile shield elements on its soil is a confirmation of the responsibility whereby Romania approaches national, South-East European and Alliance security issues.” [5]

The nation, which lost another soldier to fighting in Afghanistan this week, has recently confirmed plans to deploy 600 more troops for the South Asian war, bringing the aggregate number to 1,800.

On May 17 the U.S.’s Black Sea Rotational Force 2010 three-month series of military exercises was launched at Romania’s Mihail Kogalniceanu Airfield.

Several days before “more than 100 Marines from across the United States put boots on the ground in Romania and stepped into history as the first Security Cooperation Marine Air-Ground Task Force in the Black Sea region.

“The Marines were deployed to build partnerships with nations in the Black Sea, Balkan and Caucasus regions….” [6]

The Black Sea Rotational Force 2010 drills are being conducted in eastern Romania in Constanta on the Black Sea and Tulcea, also on the Black Sea and close to the border with Moldova, and include over 300 troops from the U.S., the host country, Ukraine and Macedonia.

The U.S. Marine Corps deployment is “the first of its kind for United States Marines to the Black Sea region.” [7]

The commander of the Black Sea Rotational Force Security Cooperation Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF), Lieutenant Colonel Tom Gordon, spoke at the opening ceremony at the Mihail Kogalniceanu Airfield. His comments included the following: “Our mission over the next three months will be to conduct multilateral security cooperation activities with partner nations in the Black Sea, Balkan, and Caucasus regions in order to enhance our collective professional military capacity, promote regional stability, and build enduring relationships with our partner nations. As a MAGTF we will simultaneously engage with Romanian Land, Naval, Air, and Special Forces throughout our deployment.”

A Romanian officer present said, “This is a great opportunity for us to know the Marines. I expect my men to show they are prepared to fight with America in Afghanistan.” [8]

In advance of the maneuvers, the U.S. Marine Corps moved military vehicles from a base in Norway, part of Marine Corps Prepositioning Program Norway.

“The Marine Corps and Norway have developed a unique relationship for the storage and care of prepositioned equipment and supplies. The method of storage to support the prepositioned assets for a MAGTF is a series of six caves in the Trondheim region of central Norway.”

To illustrate both the range of military networks stretching from old to new NATO states and where their ultimate downrange destinations are located, a Marine website supplied additional details:

“Norway relies on the Marine’s prepositioning program as a major cornerstone of the nation’s internal defense plan. With deep-water ports in close proximity to the storage caves, equipment can quickly be loaded aboard available shipping for operations in threatened parts of Europe, Africa or the Middle East. This capability was demonstrated by the supplying of equipment and ammunition in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.” [9]

U.S. Marines will be occupied “working in the Black Sea, Balkan and Caucasus regions” to “build enduring partnerships and build the capacity of partner nation’s military forces” until the end of July, by which time NATO’s largest military offensive of the nearly nine-year-old Afghan war – the assault on Kandahar province – will be underway.

Shortly before the above-described war games began, U.S. Air Force personnel were deployed from the Ramstein Air Base in Germany to Romania for Operation Carpathian Summer 2010, an air force medical evacuation exercise. “Held at Otopeni Airfield, near Bucharest, Operation Carpathian Summer 2010 was designed to strengthen the partnership between the U.S. and Romanian air forces, while elevating their capability to work together.

“Though this is not the first time American airmen have worked with the Romanian air force, the 86th AES [Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron] has never before joined in the training with their Romanian colleagues.” [10]

At the same time Romanian troops joined colleagues from the U.S., Britain, Belgium, Croatia, France, Germany, Hungary, Norway, Poland and Slovakia at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany to engage in joint military training with soldiers from the Afghan National Army.

On May 19 the Stars and Stripes armed forces publication reported that “Rapid expansion of the Army’s unmanned aircraft fleet has prompted the service to begin offering initial training in Europe, instead of sending troops to the U.S. to learn….” Among the drones that will be used for the training are the Extended-Range Multi-Purpose MQ-1C Warrior, “which can fly for more than 20 hours and launch air-to-ground missiles,” and the RQ-11 Raven small class unmanned aerial vehicle used by the U.S. and NATO allies.

The news source added that “a course next month at Grafenwohr Training Area, will, for the first time, offer initial operator training on the Raven UAS [Unmanned Aircraft System] in Europe.

“The Army is looking at flying the Raven in Romania and possibly Bulgaria, and attempting to open a range in Italy for the 173rd Airborne Brigade’s unmanned aircraft.” [11]

From April 12-16 a U.S. Air Force team at the Aviano Air Base in Italy, “in an effort to improve an already established military relationship,” provided aircraft maintenance training to the Bulgarian and Romanian air forces. [12]

On May 18 200 U.S. airmen and ten F-15 multi-role strike fighters spearheaded the launching of Operation Sentry Gold at the Graf Ignatievo Air Base in Bulgaria. “The exercise is designed to provide the U.S. Air Force and Bulgarian air force the opportunity to learn from each other and increase their respective NATO interoperability.”

The American commander involved in the maneuvers emphasized that the Bulgarian air force still uses Russian MiG-21s and MiG-29s, saying: “We simulate fighting MiGs all the time. Being here allows us to really see them in action.”

A Bulgarian officer said of the drills, “Sentry Gold increases the realism of our combat training. We get to see how a unit with a tested and proven combat history does things,” and added, “Training together with [U.S. Air Forces in Europe] and the U.S. pilots moves us closer to NATO standards.” [13]

As noted earlier, NATO chief Rasmussen arrived in the Bulgarian capital on May 20. Five days earlier the nation’s defense minister, Anyu Angelov, affirmed that “We will file a request to join the common European missile shield during NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s visit to Sofia….” [14]

The Bulgarian defense chief also said that his ministry will allot funds to upgrade the nation’s air defense system and that “Brussels has promised to co-finance the initiative, while NATO will allocate US $7.5 million to complete the construction of the Graf Ignatievo airbase.” [15]

On the eastern shore of the Black Sea, senior Georgian military officials met with the permanent representatives of all 28 NATO member states at a sitting of the NATO-Georgia Commission (created the month after Georgia’s war with Russia in 2008) on May 5. A week later NATO’s South Caucasus liaison officer Zbigniew Ribatski announced that the military bloc will open a representative’s office in Georgia this summer.

On May 14 the Georgian press reported the launching of a U.S.-funded military training simulation facility in the country: “The Simulation Training Center has been formed through the framework of US-Georgia cooperation. The United States, under the ongoing collaboration, donated the Center with the cutting-edge technical equipment and developed special training programs for it.” [16] The inauguration was attended by new U.S. ambassador John Bass and NATO nations’ military attaches.

Even Ukraine under its new president Viktor Yanukovich remains within NATO’s Black Sea plans. The prohibition against the presence of foreign military forces for exercises in the nation, effected by the former opposition against Yanukovich’s pro-U.S. predecessor Viktor Yushchenko, has been reversed, and U.S. and fellow NATO states’ troops may resume Sea Breeze exercises on Ukraine’s Black Sea coast.

The establishment of U.S. and NATO naval, air and infantry bases and interceptor missile installations in Black Sea nations is the prototype for expansive and permanent military build-ups in Eastern Europe and into former Soviet space, which is being replicated in the Baltic Sea region. An imaginary Iranian threat is the subterfuge employed to justify the presence of U.S. and NATO warplanes, warships, troops, mechanized and airborne units, missile batteries, training centers and radar facilities in the Black Sea and Baltic Sea regions.

Iran does not border either of the two seas and has neither the ability nor any reason to threaten nations that do.

Recent news reports from both sides of the Atlantic speak of a warming of relations between Russia and the United States, between Russia and NATO. If so, Russian political leaders won’t have to extend their hands far to clasp those of their alleged Western friends and allies. They need merely reach across their southwestern and northwestern borders on the Black and Baltic Seas.

1), May 12, 2010
2) Standart News, May 16, 2010
3) Sofia Echo, May 20, 2010
4) Focus News Agency, May 20, 2010
5) The Financiarul, May 14, 2010
6) Xinhua News Agency, May 13, 2010
7) United States European Command, May 17, 2010
8) Ibid
9), May 12, 2010
10) U.S. European Command, May 14, 2010
11) Stars and Stripes, May 19, 2010
12) U.S. Air Forces in Europe, April 20, 2010
13) U.S. Air Forces in Europe, May 18, 2010
14) Standart News, May 15, 2010
15) Ibid
16) Georgia Ministry of Defence, May 14, 2010

Categories: Uncategorized

Del bloque socialista y los No Alineados a las colonias militares estadounidenses

10 de mayo 2010

Del bloque socialista y los No Alineados a las colonias militares estadounidenses
Rick Rozoff

Traducido del inglés para Rebelión por Sinfo Fernández

File:Map of Warsaw Pact countries.png

Hace hoy once años, la Organización del Tratado del Atlántico Norte se hallaba inmersa en su séptima semana de bombardeos contra la República Federal de Yugoslavia, la república que vio cómo mil aviones de los ejércitos de Occidente volaban sobre ella en 38.000 misiones de combate, arrojando bombas desde el cielo y lanzando misiles de crucero Tomahawk desde el Mar Mediterráneo.

Como agotaron velozmente los objetivos militares, los aviones de combate de la OTAN decidieron bombardear los denominados blancos de oportunidad, incluidos puentes sobre el río Danubio, fábricas, la sede en la capital de la radiotelevisión de Serbia (donde murieron dieciséis de sus trabajadores), una columna de refugiados en Kosovo, las oficinas de los partidos políticos y las residencias de los dirigentes del gobierno y de los embajadores extranjeros, un tren de pasajeros, una procesión religiosa, hospitales, patios de apartamentos, hoteles, las embajadas suiza y sueca y la red de transporte de la energía eléctrica del país.

Se desplegaron los aviones Apache estadounidenses y los Harrier británicos en los ataques sobre el terreno y se inundó Yugoslavia de fragmentos de bombas de racimo sin detonar y de contaminación de uranio empobrecido.

Washington y otras capitales occidentales promovieron la campaña de bombardeos de setenta y ocho días de duración, que la OTAN denominó “Operación Fuerza Aliada” y EEUU “Operación Yunque Noble”, como la primera “guerra humanitaria” de la historia.

EEUU y la OTAN incrementaron de forma espectacular el temerario ataque con una incursión nocturna el 7 de mayo contra la Embajada de China en Belgrado, en la que cinco bombas estadounidenses impactaron a la vez contra el edificio de la misma, matando a tres ciudadanos chinos e hiriendo a veinte más. El gobierno de China denunció la acción como lo que era: un “crimen de guerra”, un “ataque brutal y una grave violación de la soberanía china” y un “acto de barbarie de la OTAN”.

Durante la larga Guerra Fría, se había asumido que las acciones militares del bloque de la OTAN causarían muertos y heridos entre los soldados y civiles de los estados miembros del Pacto de Varsovia. Pero las primeras víctimas de la OTAN fueron las serbias y las chinas.

Cuando la guerra terminó el 11 de junio, Occidente había conseguido todo lo que se había propuesto:

50.000 soldados, bajo mando de la OTAN, entraron en la provincia de Kosovo de Servia, donde 12.000 permanecen aún después de once años.

El Pentágono encargó a Kellogg, Brown & Root que construyera en Kosovo el Campo Bondsteel, de casi 400 hectáreas de extensión, y su base hermana, el Campo Monteith, donde continúan operando hasta este mismo momento.

Se desgajó Kosovo de Serbia y, el 17 de febrero de 2008, Kosovo se declaró nación independiente, reconocida por EEUU y por la mayoría de sus aliados de la OTAN, aunque no así por las dos terceras partes de las naciones del mundo.

En 1999, el Secretario General de la OTAN, Javier Solana, se mudó de sede al otro lado de la calle en Bruselas, convirtiéndose en el Alto Representante de la UE para Asuntos Exteriores y Política de Seguridad, en cuyo puesto supervisó un “procedimiento de separación” de lo que quedaba de Yugoslavia, borrando del mapa hasta el mismo nombre, mientras aparecía en 2003 la Unión de Estados de Serbia y Montenegro, patrocinada por Occidente.

Tres años después, Montenegro, con una población menor que la de la ciudad estadounidense de Menfis, se convirtió en la nación más reciente del mundo. Para demostrar después que ese hecho estuvo planificado con anterioridad, un crucero de misiles guiados visitó la ciudad costera de Tivat en pocos meses y un submarino estadounidense, el USS Emory Land, llegó allí en 2007 para celebrar el primer aniversario de independencia nominal de Montenegro.

Al año siguiente, tras la aparición de la Unión de Estados de Serbia y Montenegro, este último se incorporó al programa de aprendizaje de los “Socios para la Paz” de la OTAN y al año siguiente se le concedió un Plan de Acción como Socio Individual, firmando un Estatuto de Acuerdos de Fuerzas con la OTAN, del que EEUU es el gobierno depositario. A finales de 2009, recibió un Plan de Acción para Socios, el paso final antes de ser socio de pleno derecho de la OTAN. El pasado mes de marzo, Montenegro se convirtió en la 44ª nación en contribuir con tropas a la guerra de la OTAN en Afganistán. Todos estos acontecimientos se han producido en un plazo de cuatro años.

Desde que en 1999 comenzó la expansión de la OTAN tras el fin de la Guerra Fría, las naciones del extinto Pacto de Varsovia y de la antigua República Federal Socialista de Yugoslavia se han convertido en colonias militares occidentales, recibiendo visitas y abriendo bases para las tropas y para el equipamiento militar de la OTAN y sus miembros individuales, especialmente EEUU. Hasta este año, países del anterior Pacto de Varsovia como Polonia, Rumania, Bulgaria, y más recientemente Albania, han anunciado su disposición a acceder a las peticiones de EEUU y la OTAN para albergar en sus territorios instalaciones de interceptores de misiles.

EEUU ha adquirido cuatro bases militares en Rumania y tres en Bulgaria en los últimos cuatro años, y pronto pondrá en activo una instalación de interceptores de misiles Patriot Advanced Capability-3 en el este de Polonia, a 35 millas de la frontera rusa. Según las autoridades polacas, les seguirán interceptores de misiles antibalísticos de largo alcance.

La OTAN tiene un importante centro de entrenamiento en Polonia, la primera operación de puente aéreo estratégico multinacional del mundo en la Base Aérea Papa, en Hungría, y la posesión de facto de una antigua base aérea soviética en Lituania. Después de reunirse con el Secretario de Defensa de EEUU, Robert Gates, a primeros de mes, la Ministra de Defensa lituana Rasa Jukneviciene anunció que el jefe del Pentágono había confirmado el apoyo estadounidense a una base militar permanente en la región del Mar Báltico, donde los aviones de combate de la OTAN han estado llevando a cabo patrullas aéreas desde que empezó el período de iniciación en el bloque de Estonia, Letonia y Lituania en 2004.

La jefa de defensa lituana dijo también que el Pentágono quiere ampliar las patrullas aéreas de la OTAN en la zona “hasta 2018 y más allá”.

Washington planea establecer un centro de comunicaciones y escudo contra misiles en la República Checa, donde Gran Bretaña dirige actualmente ejercicios de combate aéreos multinacionales, la “Operación Rinoceronte Volador 2010”, con 2.000 soldados extranjeros y 1.000 checos.

Se utilizaron las bases aéreas en Bulgaria y Rumania para el ataque e invasión de Iraq en 2003, y se han estado usando de forma regular durante los casi nueve años de guerra de EEUU y la OTAN contra Afganistán.

Tras la invasión de Iraq, los nuevos miembros de la OTAN, la República Checa, Hungría y Polonia enviaron tropas a ese país, y después lo hicieron los candidatos y socios de la OTAN Albania, Armenia, Azerbaiyán, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croacia, Estonia, Georgia, Kazajistán, Letonia, Lituania, Macedonia, Moldavia, Rumania, Eslovaquia, Eslovenia y Ucrania.

Ofrecerle a Washington tropas para la guerra en Iraq era el requisito previo para convertirse en socios avanzados de la OTAN y, finalmente, en miembros de pleno derecho. A nueve de las naciones mencionadas con anterioridad se las premió con la segunda condición a cambio de sus servicios. A Bosnia, Macedonia, y el pasado año a Montenegro, se les concedieron Planes de Acción para Socios, se les presentó en la cumbre del cincuenta aniversario de la OTAN en 1999, celebrado en Washington D.C,, en la penúltima etapa para la integración total. La OTAN presentó para Georgia y Ucrania Programas Nacionales Anuales especiales poco después de la guerra de Georgia con Rusia de agosto de 2008.

Todos esos doce nuevos miembros de la OTAN procedentes de la Europa del Este tienen tropas en Afganistán, como también los miembros que hay en perspectiva: Armenia, Azerbaiyán, Bosnia, Georgia, Macedonia y Montenegro.

La OTAN se ha apoderado del extinto Pacto de Varsovia y de la antigua Yugoslavia. En el primer caso sin disparar ni un solo tiro. En el segundo, mediante dos campañas de bombardeos (Bosnia en 1995 y Serbia en 1999) y tres despliegues de tropas por tierra (Bosnia en 1995, Kosovo en 1999 y Macedonia en 2001).

Todas las antiguas naciones del Pacto de Varsovia que estaban fuera de la extinta Unión Soviética tienen soldados matando y muriendo bajo mando de la OTAN en Afganistán, y todas, excepto la antigua Alemania del Este, los tuvieron en Iraq, aunque ninguna de ellas los tuvo en función de sus obligaciones hacia el Pacto de Varsovia durante los diez años de implicación soviética en la nación surasiática. Siete de las quince antiguas repúblicas soviéticas tienen también tropas sirviendo bajo la OTAN en la zona bélica afgana.

EEUU y otras potencias importantes de la Alianza dirigen de forma regular maniobras militares multinacionales de los Socios para la Paz en las tres antiguas repúblicas soviéticas del Sur del Cáucaso –Armenia, Azerbaiyán y Georgia- y han llevado a cabo ejercicios similares en Ucrania y Kazajstán.

El principal objetivo de las maniobras de guerra y otros ejercicios es preparar a los ejércitos de las naciones anfitrionas y participantes para la interoperatividad entre los ejércitos, incluyendo combates y misiones en el exterior, en su mayoría en Afganistán, y en Iraq durante los últimos años.

Georgia tuvo 2.000 soldados en Iraq en 2008, en aquel momento el tercer mayor contingente extranjero, aunque su población es sólo ligeramente superior a cuatro millones, una fracción de la de EEUU, Gran Bretaña y otros importantes proveedores de tropas.

La mayoría de esas tropas volaron de regreso a Georgia en aviones de transporte militar estadounidenses durante la guerra de cinco días con Osetia del Sur y Rusia en agosto de 2008. Georgia tendrá pronto casi 900 soldados en Afganistán, la mayor contribución per capita de cualquiera de las cincuenta naciones que está aportando soldados a la OTAN para que combatan en aquel país.

Durante los 36 años del Pacto de Varsovia, los estados miembros, aparte de la Unión Soviética, raramente desplegaron unidades militares fuera de sus fronteras y nunca allende los mares.

En la pasada década, todos los miembros no soviéticos y las ex repúblicas yugoslavas, excepto Serbia, han tenido a sus hijos e hijas desplegados con la OTAN frecuentemente en guerras y zonas de conflicto lejanas como los Balcanes, Afganistán e Iraq, y en países colindantes, como Kirguizistán, Uzbekistán (Alemania) y Kuwait. Alrededor de cien soldados polacos, rumanos, búlgaros, checos, estonios, letones, húngaros, lituanos y eslovacos han vuelto en ataúd a sus países desde Afganistán e Iraq.

Cuando el Ejército Rojo soviético salió de Bulgaria en 1947, en esa nación no se estacionó ningún soldado extranjero hasta que la Secretaria de Estado de EEUU, Condoleeza Rice, fue allí de visita dos años después de que entrara en la OTAN para firmar un acuerdo sobre tres bases militares allí: la Base Aérea de Bezmer, la Base Aérea de Graf Ignatievo (a la que recientemente se le ha dado el certificado de cumplir en un cien por cien con los requerimientos de la OTAN) y el Campo de Entrenamiento de Novo Selo.

Las últimas tropas soviéticas salieron de Rumania en 1958. Cuando Nicolae Ceausescu se convirtió en el líder de la nación en 1965, distanció su país de la Unión Soviética y del Pacto de Varsovia, prohibiendo que se efectuaran ejercicios y despliegues que implicaran a otros estados.

En 2005, el año después de que Rumania obtuviera el título de miembro de pleno derecho de la OTAN, Condoleeza Rice visitó Bucarest y se aseguró cuatro bases para el Pentágono y la OTAN: la Base Aérea de Mijail Kogalniceanu (ya utilizada para la guerra contra Iraq), las bases de entrenamiento de Cincu y Smardan y el campo de Tiro de Babadag.

EEUU concluyó recientemente maniobras militares con Bulgaria –la Operación Primavera Tracia- del 22 al 28 de abril y dirigió ejercicios conjuntos de las fuerzas aéreas con Bulgaria y Rumania del 12 al 16 de abril en la Base Aérea de Aviano en Italia.

El pasado febrero, autoridades del gobierno rumano y búlgaro anunciaron que aceptarían instalaciones de interceptores de Misiles-3 Estandar de la OTAN y las tropas necesarias para operar en ellas.

En 1960, el dirigente albanés Enver Hoxha se volvió contra la Unión Soviética y otros aliados del Pacto de Varsovia, alineándose con la República Popular de China. Pero no permitió que en su país se establecieran bases ni presencia de tropas extranjeras.

Al comenzar 1993, la Sexta Flota de EEUU empezó a dirigir ejercicios navales con Albania, adquiriendo el uso de las bases militares allí y desplegando tropas en una base de avanzada que estableció en 1999 para la guerra contra Yugoslavia cerca de la ciudad portuaria de Durres.

La pasada semana, el primer ministro y el jefe del Estado Mayor de las fuerzas armadas de la nación -después de reunirse con el Secretario General de la OTAN Anders Fogh Rasmussen-, anunció su voluntad de albergar instalaciones de la OTAN de interceptores de misiles, así como a los soldados que tuvieran que ocuparse de ellas.

Albania, junto con Croacia, con la que el Mando para Europa de Operaciones Especiales de EEUU acaba de concluir dos meses de ejercicios aéreos en lo que se ha descrito como “operaciones contrainsurgencia a gran escala, estabilidad y contraterrorismo” en el exterior, son los miembros más recientes de la OTAN, a la que se adhirieron en 2009.

El Comandante Supremo Aliado de la OTAN para Europa, el Almirante estadounidense James Stavridis, estuvo en Bulgaria los días 26 y 27 de abril y al Secretario General Rasmusen se le esperaba allí el 20 de mayo.

Incluso estando afiliados al bloque con sede en Bruselas, se exigen condiciones que son onerosas e inflexibles. A los socios de la OTAN se les dice a qué fabricantes de armas occidentales tienen que comprar el armamento, dónde tienen que desplegar sus tropas, quiénes son sus amigos y quiénes sus enemigos por todo el mundo. Toda la orientación de la política exterior hacia los candidatos y miembros se dicta desde Bruselas y Washington.

La OTAN es un bloque del que ninguna nación se ha retirado nunca ni se permitirá que lo haga.

Antes de sus visitas a Albania y Croacia a finales del pasado mes, Rasmussen dijo en la sede de la OTAN en Bruselas: “Mi sueño se hará realidad si –un día- podemos ver a todos los países de los Balcanes como miembros de la OTAN: Pertenecen a la Comunidad Euroatlántica. Confío en ver sus banderas representadas aquí, entre el resto de naciones de la OTAN”.

El Ministro búlgaro de Asuntos Exteriores, Nicolai Mladenov, visitó Washington D.C. a finales de abril para reunirse, entre otros, con el Asesor de Seguridad Nacional de EEUU James Jones, y pidió el apoyo de la OTAN y de los miembros de la Unión Europea para Serbia y Kosovo.

El pasado mes, en una reunión de ministros de asuntos exteriores de la OTAN que se celebró en Estonia, se aprobó el Plan de Acción como Miembro de Bosnia.

La Fuerza en Kosovo de la OTAN está entrenando y armando a la Fuerza de Seguridad de Kosovo, un ejército en proceso de formación bajo el control de la OTAN.

Con la desaparición de la Guerra Fría y de los antiguos miembros del Pacto de Varsovia, podría haberse esperado una Europa desmilitarizada, libre de bloques armados. Pero en vez de suceder algo así, la primera y preeminente alianza militar de la Guerra Fría, la OTAN, habrá pronto engullido a casi todas las naciones del continente.

Las nuevas naciones de la antigua Yugoslavia, miembro fundador del Movimiento de los No Alineados, que nunca perteneció a bloque militar alguno, no van a evitar ese destino.

Rasmussen no quiere esperar más para que su sueño se realice y para que las banderas de todas las naciones y pseudonaciones del Este de Europa ondeen en la sede de la OTAN. Y también en las bases en Afganistán y en otras zonas de combate.

Las tropas extranjeras tendrán bases permanentemente en los suelos de todas esas naciones, a la vez que tendrán que desplegar sus tropas en lugares lejanos.

Categories: Uncategorized

Neocolonialismo: El Pentágono trocea África en zonas militares

May 18, 2010

Neocolonialismo: El Pentágono trocea África en zonas militares
por Rick Rozoff

Traduction par
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El año pasado el comandante del Comando África estadounidense (AFRICOM), el general William Ward, afirmó que el Pentágono tenía asociaciones militares con treinta y cinco de las cincuenta y tres naciones de este continente, «que representan las relaciones estadounidenses que abarcan el continente» [1].

Desde entonces el número ha aumentado.

En tanto que primer comando militar regional en el extranjero establecido por Washington en este siglo, el primero desde el final de la Guerra Fría y el primero en 25 años, la activación el 1 de octubre de 2007 del AFRICOM, inicialmente bajo el ala del Comando Europeo estadounidense y un año después como una entidad independiente, pone de relieve la importancia geoestratégica de Africa en los planes militares, políticos y económicos internacionales de Estados Unidos.

La zona de responsabilidad del Comando África incluye más naciones (53, todas ellas Estados africanos excepto Egipto, que continúa en el Comando Central estadounidense, y la República Árabe Saharaui Democrática (Sahara Occidental), que fue conquistada en 1975 y es miembro de la Unión Africana pero que Estados Unidos y sus aliados de la OTAN reconocen como parte de Marruecos) que cualquier otro de los Comandos Unificados Combatientes del Pentágono: el Comando Europeo, el Comando Central, el Comando del Pacífico, el Comando Sur y el Comando Norte (fundado en 2002).

Estados Unidos es el único país que mantiene comandos militares regionales con servicios múltiples en todas partes del mundo, un proceso que se inició tras la Segunda Guerra Mundial cuando Estados Unidos perseguía su autoproclamado destino manifiesto del siglo XX como la primera superpotencia militar mundial de la historia.

Hasta el 1 de octubre de 2008 la inmensa mayoría de África estaba en la zona de responsabilidad del Comando Europeo, al que estaban asignadas todas las naciones africanas excepto Egipto, las Seychelles y los Estados del Cuerno de África (Yibuti, Eritrea, Etiopía, Kenia, Somalia y Sudán) controlados por el Comando Central, y tres naciones isla y una posesión africana en la costa oriental del continente (Comores, Madagascar, Mauricio y Reunión), situados bajo el Comando del Pacífico.

Un mes antes de que el AFRICOM iniciara su año de incubación bajo el Comando Europeo estadounidense en 2007, el vice-subsecretario principal de Defensa para la Política, Ryan Henry, afirmó: “En vez de tres comandos diferentes que tienen África como tercera o cuarta prioridad, habrá un comando que la tenga como prioridad fundamental” [2].

El alto cargo del Pentágono también reveló que el Comando África “integraría un pequeño cuartel general más cinco ’equipos de integración’ repartidos por todo el continente” y que el “AFRICOM trabajaría estrechamente con la Unión Europea y con la OTAN”, particularmente con Francia, miembro de ambas, que “estaba interesada en desarrollar la fuerza de reserva de África” [3].

El alto cargo del Departamento de Defensa identificó todos los componentes claves del papel del Comando África y esbozó lo que ha ocurrido en los casi tres años de periodo de transición: subsumiendo bajo un comando unificado las naciones que antiguamente estaban en las zonas de responsabilidad de los tres comandos del Pentágono, Estados Unidos dividirá el segundo continente más poblado del mundo en cinco distritos militares, cada uno de ellos con una Fuerza de Reserva Africana multinacional adiestrada por fuerzas militares de Estados Unidos, la OTAN y la Unión Europea.

A finales de ese mismo mes el Pentágono confirmó su anterior revelación de que el AFRICOM iba a desplegar equipos de integración regional “en las porciones norte, este, sur, central y oeste del continente reflejando las cinco comunidades económicas regionales de la Unión Africana….”.

La página web Defense News detallaba la división geográfica descrita en documentos de instrucciones del Departamento de Defensa publicados ese mes:

“Un equipo tendrá la responsabilidad de una franja norte desde Mauritania a Libia; otro operará en un bloque de naciones africanas orientales (Sudán, Etiopía, Somalia, Uganda, Kenia, Madagascar y Tanzania); y un tercero llevará a cabo actividades en un amplio bloque sur que incluye Sudáfrica, Zimbabwe y Angola….

Un cuarto equipo concentraría a un grupo de países africanos centrales como la República Democrática de Congo, Chad y Congo [Brazzaville]; el quinto equipo regional se centraría en un bloque occidental que abarcaría Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leona, Níger y Sahara Occidental, según los documentos de instrucciones” [4].

Las cinco zonas corresponden a las principales Comunidades Regionales Económicas de África, empezando por el norte del continente:

la Unión Árabe del Magreb: Argelia, Libia, Mauritania, Marruecos y Túnez.

la Comunidad Africana Oriental (EAC, en sus siglas en inglés): Burundi, Kenia, Ruanda, Tanzania y Uganda.

la Comunidad Económica de Estados de África Occidental (ECOWAS, en sus siglas en inglés): Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Costa de Marfil, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leona y Togo.

la Comunidad Económica de Estados de África Central (ECCAS, en sus siglas en inglés): Angola, Burundi, Camerún, República Centroafricana, Chad, República de Congo (Brazzaville), República Democrática de Congo (Kinshasa), Guinea Ecuatorial, Ruanda y Sao Tome y Príncipe.

la Comunidad de Desarrollo de África Austral: Angola, Botswana, República Democrática de Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauricio, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, Sudáfrica, Suazilandia, Tanzania, Zambia y Zimbabue.

El noreste de África, en el Cuerno de África y sus alrededores, está en una categoría propia y durante mucho tiempo ha estado subordinada a la Fuerza Conjunta Combinada – Cuerno de África (CJTF-HOA, en sus siglas en inglés) de Estados Unidos basada en Yibuti donde el Pentágono tiene un personal compuesto aproximadamente de 2.000 personas pertenecientes a las cuatro ramas de las fuerzas armadas. La zona de operaciones de la Fuerza Conjunta Combinada – Cuerno de África abarca las naciones africanas de Yibuti, Etiopía, Eritrea, Kenia, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudán, Tanzania y Uganda, así como Yemen en la península Arábiga. Además de las Seychelles, la CJTF-HOA está expandiendo su ámbito para incluir las Comores, Mauricio y Madagascar en el océano Índico.

Hace tres años se informo de que el Pentágono ya había logrado “acordar el acceso a bases aéreas y puertos en África y a instalaciones ’con los elementos mínimos’ mantenidas por las fuerzas de seguridad locales en Gabón, Kenia, Mali, Marruecos, Namibia, Sao Tomé y Príncipe, Senegal, Túnez, Uganda y Zambia” [5], es decir, en el norte, este, oeste, centro y sur de África.

Desde 2003 Estados Unidos mantiene su base militar en Yibuti, Camp Lemonnier, el pasado otoño estableció unas instalaciones de vigilancia naval en las Seychelles y tiene acceso a campos base y emplazamientos de vanguardia en Kenia, Etiopía, Marruecos, Mali, Ruanda y otras naciones por todo el continente.

Como se ha indicado antes, el AFRICOM planea establecer un cuartel general central en el continente (su actual cuartel general está en Stuttgart, Alemania, aunque Camp Lemonnier de Yibuti funciona como uno de facto en África) con cinco puestos de avanzada satélites regionales en el norte, sur, este, oeste y centro de África.

Nominalmente la Fuerza de Reserva Africana (ASF, en sus siglas en inglés) está bajo control de la Unión Africana, pero sus tropas están siendo adiestradas y dirigidas por Estados Unidos, la OTAN y el ala militar de la Unión Europea.

La página web de la Fuerza de Reserva Africana contienen enlaces a las siguientes páginas web:

Cuartel general de la ASF (Addis Abeba)

Norte [6]

El secretariado de la Unión Africana, la Comisión de la Unión Africana, tiene su sede en Addis Abeba, Etiopía.

Etiopía también es una de las naciones (Liberia y Marruecos son las otras) que se ha barajado como posible sede del principal cuartel general del AFRICOM en el continente.

Fuerza de Reserva Africana: adiestrada por las Fuerzas Especiales estadounidenses y según el modelo de la Fuerza de Ataque de la OTAN
Cada una de las cinco unidades geográficas de la lista anterior puede suministrar un contingente de las dimensiones de una brigada (entre 4.000 y 5.000 soldados según los principios de la OTAN) a la Fuerza de Reserva Africana que se proyecta lanzar este año.

Dos días antes de que se estableciera el Comando África estadounidense el 1 de octubre de 2007, el diario de las fuerzas armadas estadounidenses Stars and Stripes informaba de que

“El comando, que según se ha programado será operativo esta semana, centrará la mayor parte de su actividad en ayudar a construir la joven Fuerza de Reserva Africana.

Se espera que la fuerza, que está organizada por la Unión Africana con sede en Etiopía, esté preparada para 2010. Consistiría en cinco brigadas multinacionales basadas en el gigante continente. Cada brigada llevaría a cabo misiones en su región, como el mantenimiento de la paz cuando surja la necesidad.

El general William E. Ward, que ha sido nombrado para convertirse en el primer comandante del AFRICOM, declaró la semana pasada al Senado estadounidense por escrito que las tropas estadounidenses ayudarían a hacer realidad las brigadas”.

Ward, que fue jefe de la Fuerza de Estabilización de la OTAN (SFOR, en sus siglas en inglés) en Bosnia en 1996, afirmó: “el AFRICOM asumirá el patrocinio del actual comando, del desarrollo de la infraestructura de control y del apoyo del oficial de enlace. Seguirá proporcionando mentores militares para adiestrar en el mantenimiento de la paz y desarrollará nuevos enfoques para apoyar a la Unión Africana y a la Fuerza de Reserva Africana” [7].

El pasado mes de febrero una página web de la OTAN detalló el papel del bloque militar del Atlántico norte para complementar los esfuerzos del AFRICOM para construir la Fuerza de Reserva Africana :

“La OTAN empezó proporcionando apoyo a la Misión de la UA en mayo de 2005 con base en las peticiones específicas de la UA. Las naciones de la OTAN apoyaron a la Misión de la UA en Sudán (AMIS, en sus siglas en inglés) transportando por avión a 32.300 miembros del personal…. La OTAN sigue apoyando la Misión de la UA en Somalia (AMISOM, en sus siglas en inglés) proporcionado transporte aéreo y marítimo estratégico a las naciones que contribuyen con tropas a la AMISOM a petición de éstas. El último transporte por aire se produjo en junio de 2008 cuando la OTAN transportó un batallón burundés de mantenimiento de la paz hasta Mogadisco.

El Comando Conjunto de Lisboa es el jefe operacional del compromiso OTAN/UA y tiene un oficial de enlace militar en el cuartel general de la UA en Addis Abeba, Etiopía. La OTAN también apoya la capacitación del personal proporcionando plazas en los cursos de adiestramiento de la OTAN al personal de la UA que mantiene el AMISOM y apoya el hacer operativa a la Fuerza de Reserva Africana, la visión de la UA para un aparato continental de seguridad de guardia similar a la Fuerza de Respuesta de la OTAN” [8].

La Fuerza de Respuesta de la OTAN (NRF, en sus siglas en inglés) completó lo que entonces se describió como su validación final en los ejercicios militares Steadfast Jaguar para 7.000 soldados durante dos semanas en la nación isla africana de Cabo Verde en 2006.

África fue el campo de pruebas para la NRF y la NRF es el modelo de la Fuerza de Reserva Africana:

“Desde junio de 2007 la OTAN ha asistido a la Misión del a UA en Somalia (AMISOM) proporcionándole transporte aéreo para las fuerzas de mantenimiento de paz de la UA. Este apoyo se autorizó hasta febrero de 2009 y la Alianza está dispuesta a considerar nuevas peticiones de la UA. La OTAN también sigue trabajando con la UA en la identificación de otras áreas en las que la OTAN podría apoyar a la Fuerza de Reserva Africana [9].

A petición de la UA, la OTAN también proporciona adiestramiento y capacitación a las aptitudes a largo plazo de mantenimiento de paz de la UA, en particular la Fuerza de Reserva Africana” [10].

Desde los acuerdos Berlin Plus entre la OTAN y la Unión Europea en 2002, los componentes militares de ambas organizaciones no sólo se solapan y complementan entre sí, sino que se están integrando en un nivel cualitativamente superior para misiones en el extranjero como las misiones en las costas de África y fuera de ellas.

Hace tres años el general francés Henri Bentegeat, entonces presidente del Comité Militar de la Unión Europea, se reunió en Alemania con los ministros de Defensa de la Unión Europea y un informe de sus comentarios incluía lo siguiente: “La campaña de la UE por un papel militar global más fuerte incluye una mejora de las relaciones con las Naciones Unidas, la OTAN y la Unión Africana… Además de la misión militar en Congo del año pasado y de la ayuda logística a las fuerzas de la UA en Darfur, Bentegeat afirmó que la EU quería ayudar en un ambicioso plan de la UA de crear una fuerza de reserva para misiones de mantenimiento de la paz” [11].

Incluso antes de que en otoño de 2008 se activara el AFRICOM como un comando militar separado, el Comando Europeo estadounidense estaba llevando a cabo maniobras militares multinacionales a gran escala en diferentes regiones de África para adiestrar unidades para las cinco brigadas regionales que formarán una Fuerza de Reserva Africana unificada y continental.

Desde 2006 el Comando Europeo estadounidense (y posteriormente el Comando África) ha llevado a cabo anualmente los ejercicios multinacionales de interoperabilidad de comunicaciones Africa Endeavor (con frecuencia en naciones del estratégico golfo de Guinea) con la participación de las fuerzas armadas de naciones africanas, de la OTAN y europeas. Africa Endeavor 2007 se celebró en Ghana y los países contribuyentes fueron Estados Unidos, Argelia, Angola, Bélgica, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Camerún, Cabo Verde, Chad, Gambia, Lesotho, Mali, Marruecos, Namibia, Níger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudáfrica, Suecia, Uganda y Zambia. Estaba dirigido conjuntamente por el Comando Europeo estadounidense, el Comando Central estadounidense y el naciente Comando África estadounidense.

“AE [Africa Endeavor] fomenta una mejor colaboración en la Guerra Global contra el Terrorismo y apoya el despliegue de fuerzas de mantenimiento de la paz en Sudán y Somalia.

Además ayuda en el establecimiento de relaciones de comunicación fundamentales para mejorar los despliegues la Fuerza de Reserva Africana en sistemas de comando, control, comunicaciones e información (C3IS) y fortalece las relaciones nacionales, regionales, continentales y de asociación….” [12].

Africa Endeavor 2008 tuvo lugar en Nigeria e incluyó personal militar tanto de 22 naciones africanas y europeas como estadounidenses.

“En el curso de los ejercicios las naciones y organizaciones participantes también continuaron con sus esfuerzos para desarrollar prácticas y procedimientos estándar para la Unión Africana y su Fuerza de Reserva Africana” [13].

En 2005 Estados Unidos lanzó sus ejercicios militares regulares multinacionales Flintlock para iniciar y expandir la Iniciativa Antiterrorista Trans-Sáhara (TSCTI, en sus siglas en inglés) del Pentágono, formada ese mismo año para adiestrar a fuerzas militares de Argelia, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Marruecos, Nigeria y Túnez. Los aliados de Washington pertenecientes a la OTAN, Gran Bretaña, Francia, Alemania, Países Bajos y España también están implicados en la Iniciativa Antiterrorista Trans-Sáhara.

El Comando Europa de Operaciones Especiales estadounidense dirige los ejercicios (en 2007 la OTAN anunció que su Centro de Coordinación de Operaciones Especiales tendría su cuartel general en las mismas barracas Kelley en la base estadounidense de Stuttgart donde está situado el cuartel general del AFRICOM).

Un informe de la operación inicial en 2005 divulgaba que “según se ha informado, el gobierno estadounidense planea gastar 500 millones de dólares en cinco años para convertir el desierto del Sáhara en un vasto nuevo frente de su lucha contra el terrorismo…. Durante la primera fase del programa, llamada Operación Flintlock, [participaron] 700 soldados de las fuerzas especiales estadounidenses y 2.100 soldados de nueve naciones del norte y oeste de África” [14].

La Operación Flintlock 2010 de este año, que empezó el 2 de mayo y se prolongó durante durante 22 días, incluye a 600 soldados de las fuerzas especiales estadounidenses y 150 procedentes de Gran Bretaña, Bélgica, Francia, Países Bajos y España.

“El objetivo de Flintlock 10 es desarrollar interoperabilidad militar… Centrada en Uagadugu, Burkina Faso, pero con adiestramiento táctico llevado a cabo en Senegal, Mali, Mauritania y Nigeria, Flintlock 10 empezará el 2 de mayo y acabará el 23 de mayo de 2010… Flintlock 10 busca fortalecer los éxitos y lecciones aprendidas durante los anteriores ejercicios Flintlock que se llevaron a cabo para establecer relaciones regionales y sincronizar los esfuerzos entre los militares de la region trans-sahariana.

Estos ejercicios tendrán lugar en el contexto de la Asociación Antiterrorista Trans-Sáhara (TSCTP, en sus siglas en inglés). Apoyado por el Comando África estadounidense (USAFRICOM) y el Comando de Operaciones Especiales (SOCAFRICA, en sus siglas en inglés), los ejercicios proporcionarán oportunidades de adiestramiento militar …” [15].

El AFRICOM anunció recientemente que el Comando de Operaciones Especiales África “logrará el control sobre la Fuerza Conjunta de Operaciones Especiales Conjuntas Trans-Sahara (JSOTF-TS, en sus siglas en inglés) y el Comando de Operaciones Especiales y Elemento de Control- Cuerno de África (SOCCE-HOA, en sus siglas en inglés)” [16] para centralizar las actividades de las fuerzas especiales en África.

Los esfuerzos para crear la propuesta brigada de la Fuerza de Reserva Africana en el norte de África se han tambaleado por diferentes razones. Egipto no es miembro de la Unión Magreb ni está en la zona de responsabilidad del AFRICOM. Libia es uno de los oponentes al AFRICOM que más se hace oír. Existe una tensión residual entre Argelia y Marruecos sobre Sáhara Occidental, que Argelia reconoce como una nación independiente. Pero Argelia, Egipto, Mauritania, Marruecos y Túnez son todos ellos miembro del programa de asociación Diálogo Mediterráneo.

Los planes del AFRICOM para contingentes de intervención militar regional avanzan más favorablemente en el este, oeste y sur. En junio de 2008 la Comunidad Económica de Estados de África Occidental (ECOWAS, en sus siglas en inglés) llevó a cabo un ejercicio militar, Jigui 2008, en Mali con sus quince Estados miembro y “por primera vez, el ejercicio de fuerza regional involucró a la Unión Africana, a la Comunidad de Desarrollo del África Austral (SADC, en sus siglas en inglés), a la Brigada de Alta Disponibilidad de las Fuerzas de Reserva con base en Dinamarca (SHIRBRIG, en sus siglas en inglés) y a la Brigada de Reserva de África Oriental (EASTBRIG, en sus siglas en inglés).

“Los gobiernos anfitriones así como Francia, Dinamarca, Canadá, Alemania, Países Bajos, Gran Bretaña, Estados Unidos y la Unión Europea apoyaron todos los ejercicios.

Jigui 2008 es coherente con los anteriores programas de adiestramiento de la ECOWAS y está dentro del marco de la Fuerza de Reserva de la UA, que busca tener dispuesta para 2010 una fuerza por cada Comunidad Económica Regional (REC, en sus siglas en inglés) en África.

El objetivo de la ECOWAS es crear un Equipo Operativo de 2.770 hombres a partir de los 6.500 soldados de la fuerza regional que estará disponible bajo el control de la UA” [17].

Un año después Senegal albergó maniobras militares con otras varias naciones de África Occidental (Burkina Faso, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, República de Guinea (Conakry) y Mali” para “probar la capacidad de despliegue (de las tropas)” con aviones, vehículos y barcos militares suministrados por Francia “por delante de la planeada creación de una fuerza ECOWAS”.

Se adiestró a los Estados participantes para “formar el batallón occidental de la fuerza de intervención de 6.500 hombres que la ECOWAS quiere establecer para 2010.

“Jefes del ejército de países miembro de la ECOWAS acordaron en junio de 2004 crear una fuerza permanente de 6.500 hombres, incluyendo la unidad de reacción rápida de 1.500 hombres para misiones de mediación” [18].

Jigui 2009 se celebró en Burkina Faso con la participación del Ejercito África de Estados Unidos, el componente del AFRICOM con base en Vicenza, Italia.

El mes pasado la ECOWAS realizó un ejercicio de adiestramiento de campo en Benin, Ejercicio de Cohesión Benin 2010, cuyo “objetivo era evaluar la disponibilidad operacional y logística del Batallón Oriental del ESF, que forma parte de la preparación total para hacer operativa la Fuerza de Reserva Africana para diciembre de 2010” [19].

En octubre del año pasado la prensa de Kenia informó sobre la implicación occidental en la creación de una brigada de la Fuerza de Reserva Africana en el confín oriental de África:

“Oficiales daneses, suecos, noruegos y finlandeses asistirán a la región en el actual establecimiento de una fuerza militar unificada para hacer frente a conflictos en el continente.

Una vez funcional, en 14 días la Brigada de Reserva de África Oriental (EASBRIG) se desplegará a lugares en conflicto una vez que surja el caos para restaurar el orden… La brigada tendrá tropas de 14 países.

Los expertos de los países europeos … están basados en los cuarteles generales de la EASBRIG en el College de Personal de Defensa en Karen, Nairobi.

El vicepresidente del Estado Mayor, Julius Karangi, afirmó que los expertos extranjeros ayudarían en el proceso de establecimiento de la brigada de reserva” [20].

La EASBRIG está formada por soldados de Burundi, Comores, Yibuti, Eritrea, Etiopía, Kenia, Madagascar, Mauricio, Ruanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudán, Tanzania y Uganda, y a través del Mecanismo de la Brigada de Reserva de Africa Oriental están avanzando hacia la consolidación del ala oriental de la Brigada de Reserva de Africana.

El cuartel general de la Brigada de Reserva de África Oriental estará en Kenia y el pasado mes de noviembre se llevó a cabo un ejercicio de adiestramiento de campo para ello en Yibuti donde Estados Unidos tiene su principal base militar en África y Francia su mayor base militar en el extranjero. Una fuente de noticias ruandesa escribió sobre ello meses después: “El histórico ejercicio reunió a unos 1.500 soldados, policía y personal civil de diez países que trabajaban juntos por primera vez” [21].

El emplazamiento más inmediato para utilizar la Brigada de Reserva de África Oriental es Somalia, donde ya están implicados los Estados miembro Etiopía, Ruanda, Burundi, Uganda y Kenia. La EASBRIG también estará disponible para operaciones en Sudán, Congo y la República Centroafricana así como contra Eritrea. En marzo del año pasado el jefe de la AFRICOM el general William Ward “citó tres zonas de actual conflicto en el continente, incluyendo las disputas fronterizas entre Eritrea y Yibuti en el Cuerno de África, en el norte de África [con] el Sáhara Occidental y los enfrentamientos en la República Democrática de Congo”.

Hablando del comando que dirige, Ward añadió: “Estados Unidos podía prestar asistencia a Uganda, Ruanda, Congo y en menor grado a… la República Centroafricana” [22].

La Unión Europea, ya implicada en la primera operación naval de su historia en el Cuerno de África, la Fuerza Naval de la UE Somalia – Operación Atalanta, ha desplegado una misión militar a Uganda para adiestrar a 2.000 soldados somalíes para defender al gobierno federal de transición respaldado por occidente de Mogadisco.

La Estación de Asociación con África: barcos de guerra estadounidenses patrullan las costas africanas
En los últimos años las Fuerzas Navales Europa-África estadounidenses han desarrollado la Estación de Asociación con África (APS, en sus siglas en inglés) como un componente naval del AFRICOM. Su primer despliegue llevó al APS a Guinea Ecuatorial, Gabón, Ghana, Senegal, Sao Tomé y Príncipe, y Togo, todos ellos en el Golfo de Guinea excepto Senegal que está al norte de éste.

Ese mismo año 2007 el Grupo Marítimo Permanente 1 de la OTAN, al que aportan cada uno un barco los siguientes países, Canadá, Dinamarca, Alemania, Países Bajos, Portugal y Estados Unidos, empezó una circunnavegación de África con paradas en el Golfo de Guinea y acabó con “ejercicios en el océano Índico, en las costas de Somalia….” [23]

En aquel momento el almirante Henry Ulrich, comandante de la Fuerza Naval Europa estadounidense, afirmó: “ el concepto de Estación de Flota Global está ’íntimamente alineado’ con la tarea que suministrará el Comando Africano estadounidense aún en desarrollo” [24] y más tarde anunció la partida del barco de guerra estadounidense Fort McHenry y del barco de alta velocidad para un despliegue de seis meses en el golfo de Guinea en noviembre de 2007 como parte del programa Estación de Flota Global. La Estación de Asociación con África es uno de las varias Estaciones de Flota Global que recientemente ha establecido Estados Unidos; otras se han asignado al mar Caribe y a Oceanía. “Como barco de desembarco en el muelle, el Fort McHenry está diseñado para ayudar al personal estadounidense en ’costas hostiles’, según la Marina” [25].

Phil Greene, director de Estrategia y Política, Recursos y Transformación paras las Fuerzas Navales Europa estadounidenses, añadió que el barco Fort McHenry tendría un personal multinacional “en asociación con naciones como Francia, Reino Unido, España, Portugal y otras que tienen interés en desarrollar la seguridad marítima en la región” [26].

De hecho, el barco estadounidense Fort McHenry atracó primero en España “para embarcar pasajeros de varios socios europeos (España, Reino Unido, Portugal y Alemania, entre ellos) antes de dirigirse al golfo de Guinea, “donde se le unió el barco de alta velocidad para “transportar estudiantes así como adiestradores durante las visitas a Senegal, Liberia, Ghana, Camerún, Gabón, y Sao Tomé y Príncipe” [27].

En 2007 barcos de guerra estadounidenses visitaron Mozambique por primera vez en 33 años y Tanzania por primera vez en 40 años.

Como parte de las vistas a puertos de la Estación de Asociación con África el año pasado, el destructor Arleigh Burke viajó a Yibuti, Kenia, Mauricio, Tanzania y Sudáfrica; en este último caso celebró operaciones conjuntas de una semana con uno de los barcos de guerra de la nación.

En febrero de 2009 “por primera vez la Marina estadounidense tuvo barcos de guerra a ambos lados del continente africano como parte de la actual misión de adiestramiento de la Estación de Asociación con África con naciones africanas” [28]. A saber, una fragata en Mozambique, Kenia y Tanzania, y un ambicioso muelle de transporte en Senegal.

El mes anterior una fragata estadounidense se convirtió en el primer barco de guerra de la Marina [estadounidense] que ancló en la ciudad guineana de Bata “como parte de la iniciativa de la Estación de Asociación con África de la Marina, tras visitar Cabo Verde, Senegal, Benin y Sierra Leone camino a Tanzania y Kenia. Se citaron las palabras del encargado de negocios en Guinea Ecuatorial dando una razón para la visita: “Guinea es el tercer productor de petróleo y gas en el África subsahariana con una significativa huella de inversión extranjera…” [29].

“El despliegue inicial en octubre de 2007 de la Estación de Asociación con África en el golfo de Guinea y la coincidente exposición de Una Cooperación Estratégica para una Potencia Naval del Siglo XXI señaló el fuerte compromiso de la influencia de la potencia marítima estadounidense… La Estación de Asociación con África es una base marítima GFS diseñada para ayudar a la comunidad marítima del golfo de Guinea a desarrollar una mejor gobernanza marítima ….El GFS, nacido de la necesidad de forma militar y operaciones de estabilidad…es un concepto demostrado para esta misión en zonas como el golfo de Guinea y el mar Caribe” [30].

Actualmente el AFRICOM está dirigiendo el ejercicio de contrainsurgencia marítima Phoenix Express 2010 en el mar Mediterráneo con Marruecos y Senegal entre otras naciones africanas.

Paralelamente la Operación Esfuerzo Activo de la OTAN durante casi nueve años en el Mediterráneo que patrulla la costa norte de África desde el Canal de Suez hasta el estrecho de Gibraltar, la Marina estadounidense recorre ahora regularmente la costa africana desde donde el Mediterráneo se encuentra con el océano Atlántico hasta el estratégico y rico en petróleo golfo de Guinea y Ciudad del Cabo, para volver a remontar hacia el norte a lo largo de todo el océano Índico hasta el mar Rojo. África está rodeada por barcos estadounidenses y de la OTAN.

El Pentágono crea sucedáneos de ejércitos para controlar África región por región
Dentro del continente el Pentágono ha transformado a las fuerzas armadas de Liberia, Ruanda, Uganda y Etiopía en sucedáneos de ejércitos a ambos extremos del continente. Según AFRICOM, desde 2006 “una iniciativa dirigida por el Departamento de Estado estadounidense… ha reestructurado completamente el ejército de Liberia” [31].

El pasado mes de octubre el comandante de la Marina África estadounidense, el general de división William B. Garrett III, visitó Ruanda (cuyo ejército es un representante estadounidense y británico) e “insistió en que el ejército estadounidense está interesado en fortalecer su cooperación con las Fuerzas de Defensa de Ruanda”. Garrett confirmó que Estados Unidos estaba dispuesto a enviar más consejeros y adiestradores al ejercito ruandés y añadió: “Así mismo, esperamos que las Fuerzas de Defensa de Ruanda también puedan participar en nuestros ejercicios. Por lo tanto, esperamos incrementar el nivel de cooperación entre Estados Unidos y las Fuerzas de Defensa de Ruanda” [32].

A principios de año el general Ward del AFRICOM también visitó Ruanda, donde “se reunió con dirigentes de defensa ruandeses y observó muestras de las capacidades de las Fuerzas de Defensa de Ruanda durante una visita de dos días los días 20 y 21 de abril de 2009” [33].

El año pasado Ward visitó Marruecos, que durante decenios ha sido socio militar de Estados Unidos, donde había estado dos veces de visita el año anterior, y “discutió sobre cooperación militar bilateral y sobre oportunidades para fortalecer la asociación entre las Reales Fuerzas Armadas y el ejército estadounidense”.

Recientemente marines estadounidenses adiestraron a soldados marroquíes en España a la cabeza de unas maniobras navales en las que intervinieron doce naciones en el mar Mediterráneo.

El pasado 28 de abril Ward visitó Botswana “donde discutió sobre los actuales esfuerzos regionales y posibles actividades futuras ejército a ejército con las Fuerzas de Defensa de Botswana (BDF, en sus siglas en inglés)… Las BDF y el ejercito estadounidense llevaron a cabo 40 eventos de cooperación en 2010”.

Al día siguiente el jefe del AFRICOM visitó por primera vez Namibia donde “se reunió con oficiales de la Fuerza de Defensa Nacional de Namibia para discutir sobre posibles futuras actividades de cooperación” [34].

El 27 de abril el general de brigada Silver Kayemba, jefe de adiestramiento y operaciones de la Fuerza de Defensa del Pueblo de Uganda (UPDF, en sus siglas en inglés), visitó Washington para reunirse con el general de división William B. Garrett III, comandante del Ejército África estadounidense.

Se citaron las palabras del general ugandés en esa ocasión: “Esta visita fortalece nuestras relaciones con las fuerzas armadas estadounidense, particularmente con el Ejército África estadounidense. Estamos deseando que la cooperación sea mayor en el futuro” [35]

Según un programa de la Estación de Asociación con África, una Fuerza Conjunta Marina Aire Tierra de Cooperación de Seguridad formada por 130 soldados ha estado adiestrando a fuerzas militares en Ghana, Liberia y Senegal. El comandante marine al cargo, el teniente coronel John Golden, afirmó: “Esto es la vanguardia de la fase insurgencia cero”, un aspecto de “adiestramiento ejército a ejército en un entorno muy austero en zonas donde no ha habido mucha presencia militar estadounidense en los últimos 235 años” [36].

Un informe de [la revista] Stars and Stripes del 2 de mayo revela que “en una remota base militar en la ciudad de Kisangani situada en la selva un equipo de elite de soldados estadounidense está tratando de recapacitar a un batallón de soldados de infantería de Congo”.

El artículo pone el énfasis en la faceta humanitaria de la operación como suelen hacer habitualmente las noticias sobre las actividades del AFRICOM, pero también contenía estos extractos:

“Existen incentivos económicos y estratégicos para aportar más seguridad a Congo, que es un país rico en recursos naturales como el cobalto, un componente clave en la fabricación de teléfonos móviles y otros aparatos electrónicos. El país contiene el 80% de las reservas mundiales de cobalto… Un informe de abril de 2009 elaborado para el Congreso por el Centro de Reservas de Defensa Nacional dejaba claro que asegurar el acceso a los mercados de minerales en todo el mundo es un interés vital para la seguridad nacional” [37].

Estados Unidos no está arrastrando hacia su red militar casi a cada nación de África debido a cuestiones altruistas o por una preocupación por la seguridad de los pueblos del continente. La función del AFRICOM es la de cada uno de las potencias militares predadoras: la amenaza y el uso de la violencia armada para lograr ventajas económicas y geopolíticas.


(1) U.S. Department of Defense, 18 de marzo de 2009.

(2) Agence France-Presse, 12 de septiembre de 2007.

(3) Ibid.

(4) Defense News, 20 de septiembre de 2007.

(5) Xinhua News Agency, 28 de mayo de 2007.


(7) Stars and Stripes, 30 de septiembre de 2007.

(8) North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe

24 de febrero de 2010.

(9) North Atlantic Treaty Organization, 11 de marzo de 2009.

(10) North Atlantic Treaty Organization, 18 de febrero de 2010.

(11) Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 28 de febrero de 2007.

(12) United States European Command, 18 de abril de 2007.

(13) United States European Command, 29 de julio de 2008.

(14) United Press International, 28 de diciembre de 2005.

(15) U.S. Africa Command, 31 de marzo de 2010.

(16) U.S. Africa Command, 30 de abril de 2010.

(17) Ghana News Agency, 23 de junio de 2008.

(18) Agence France-Presse, 29 noviembre de 2007.

(19) Afrique en ligne, 19 de abril de 2010.

(20) The Nation, 29 de octubre de 2009.

(21) The New Times, 4 de mayo de 2010.

(22) U.S. Department of Defense, 18 de marzo de 2009.

(23) Business Day (Nigeria), 25 de julio de 2007.

(24) Stars and Stripes, 14 de junio de 2007.

(25) Stars and Stripes, 16 de octubre de 2007.

(26) Stars and Stripes, 14 de junio de 2007.

(27) American Forces Press Service, 15 octubre de 2007.

(28) Stars and Stripes, 1 de febrero de 2009.

(29) Stars and Stripes, 20 de enero de 2009.

(30) Afrique en ligne, 13 de abril de 2010.

(31) U.S. Africa Command, 29 de abril de 2010.

(32) The New Times, 20 de octubre de 2009.

(33) U.S. Africa Command, 22 abril de 2009.

(34) U.S. Africa Command, 1 de mayo de 2010.

(35) U.S. Africa Command, 30 de abril de 2010.

(36) Marine Corps Times, 3 de mayo de 2010.

(37) Stars and Stripes, 2 de mayo de 2010.

Categories: Uncategorized

Die NATO in Afghanistan: Weltkrieg in einem Land

May 18, 2010

Die NATO in Afghanistan: Weltkrieg in einem Land
Rick Rozoff

Übersetzung aus dem Luftpost
[ ]

Seit die North Atlantic Treaty Organization/NATO im Jahr 2003 den Befehl über die International Security Assistance Force/ISAF in Afghanistan übernommen hat, ist die Anzahl der Soldaten unter diesem Kommando von 5.000 auf über 100.000 angestiegen.

Wenn man die US-Soldaten mitzählt, die in der eigenständigen (US-)Operation Enduring Freedom eingesetzt sind, befinden sich insgesamt 134.000 ausländische Soldaten in dem Land (am Hindukusch); bis zum Sommer werden es 150.000 sein, und dann sollen auch die meisten der GIs unter NATO-Befehl stehen. Neben den Truppen aus den USA gibt es 47.000 Soldaten aus anderen NATO-Staaten und aus Partner-Nationen.

Bald werden mehr US-Soldaten in Afghanistan als im Irak eingesetzt sein.

Bisher wurden in diesem Krieg mehr als 1.600 Soldaten aus den USA, den anderen NATO-Staaten und aus Ländern der Koalition getötet, 520 davon allein im letzten Jahr. Die Anzahl der US-Toten hat sich von 155 im Jahr 2008 auf 318 im Jahr 2009 mehr als verdoppelt.

In diesem Jahr wurden schon mehr als 170 afghanische Zivilisten getötet; im Vergleich zum gleichen Zeitraum des Vorjahres ist das ein Anstieg um 33 Prozent. Die Streitkräfte der USA und der NATO haben von Januar bis April dieses Jahres 90 Zivilisten umgebracht; da im gleichen Zeitraum des Vorjahres 51 Zivilisten starben, ist das eine Steigerung um 76 Prozent. [1]

Bei US-Drohnen-Angriffen auf angebliche Schlupfwinkel der Aufständischen in Pakistan wurden in diesem Jahr schon mehr als 300 Menschen getötet. Die Gesamtzahl der bei solchen Angriffen Getöteten ist damit seit August 2008 auf über 1.000 angestiegen.

An der bisher größten Bodenoffensive dieses Krieges, die im Februar in der Region Marjah stattfand, waren 15.000 Soldaten der USA, der NATO und der afghanischen Regierungstruppen beteiligt; für die Offensive, die im nächsten Monat in der südlichen Provinz Kandahar beginnen soll, wurden bereits 23.00 Soldaten bereitgestellt.

Nachdem kürzlich mit Montenegro, der Mongolei und Südkorea das 44., 45. und 46. Land der Kriegskoalition Truppen nach Afghanistan entsandt und die Staaten Bahrain, Kolumbien, Ägypten und Jordanien bereits Truppen zugesagt haben, werden 1/19 Friedenspolitische Mitteilungen aus der US-Militärregion Kaiserslautern/Ramstein LP 131/10 – 18.05.10 bald Militäreinheiten aus 50 Staaten von allen sechs bewohnten Kontinenten unter NATO-Kommando an dem Krieg in Südasien beteiligt sein, der am 7. Oktober 2010 in sein 10. Jahr geht.

Australien, das 1.550 Soldaten stellt, nimmt zum ersten Mal seit dem Vietnam-Krieg wieder an Kampfoperationen teil, bei denen eigene Verluste zu beklagen sind. Das Gesagte gilt für Kanada seit dem Korea-Krieg und für Deutschland und Finnland seit dem Zweiten Weltkrieg. Wenn man die seit 2003 im Irak erlittenen militärischen Verluste nicht rechnet, gehören noch weitere europäische Länder zur letztgenannten Kategorie. Die vier schwedischen Soldaten, die im nördlichen Afghanistan getötet wurden, sind die ersten Kriegstoten des skandinavischen Staates seit fast 200 Jahren.

Die Auswirkungen des Afghanistan-Krieges beschränken sich aber nicht nur auf Verluste auf dem Schlachtfeld.

Im Jahr 2009 gab das NATO-Mitglied Dänemark 415 Millionen Dollar für seinen Afghanistan-Einsatz aus, 2007 waren es noch 135 Millionen Dollar. Da das gesamte Verteidigungsbudget des Landes 2009 nur 3,87 Milliarden Dollar betrug, hat der Afghanistan-Krieg fast ein Neuntel der jährlichen Militärausgaben des Landes verschlungen. Dänemark verlor im Irak sieben Soldaten, in Afghanistan aber bereits 31.

Als Aufständische in der letzten Woche einen dänischen Stützpunkt in der Provinz Helmand angriffen, wurden elf dänische Soldaten verwundet.
Am 9. Mai wurde in der Provinz Helmand auch ein britischer Soldat getötet, der 40. in diesem Jahr und der 285. seit Beginn des Krieges. Das sind bereits mehr Kriegstote als die 255, die 1982 beim Krieg mit Argentinien um die Falklandinseln/Las Malvinas und mehr als bei der Bekämpfung der Aufständischen in Malaya in den 1950er Jahren (s. ) zu beklagen waren. Im Irak hat Großbritannien nur 179 Soldaten verloren.

Am letzten Wochenende wurden bei einer Minenexplosion nordöstlich der afghanischen Hauptstadt vier französische Soldaten verletzt, einer davon schwer.

Es wurde berichtet, dass am 12. Mai im südlichen Afghanistan auch ein rumänischer Sol – dat getötet wurde, der 12. Soldat, den dieses Land verloren hat.

Weniger als eine Woche vorher, am 6. und 7. Mai, traf sich NATO-Generalsekretär Anders Fogh Rasmussen in der rumänischen Hauptstadt Bukarest mit dem Präsidenten und dem Außenminister des Landes und lobte während seines Besuches das Engagement der rumänischen Regierung im Afghanistan-Krieg als “bedeutenden Betrag, der keinen Einschränkungen unterliegt und Wert auf gut ausgebildete Soldaten legt”. Rumänien hat erst kürzlich angekündigt, es werde seine Truppen in Afghanistan auf 1.800 Mann erhöhen. [2]

Eine Woche davor war der NATO-Generalsekretär auch in Albanien und Kroatien, bei den jüngsten Mitgliedern des Militärblocks, um auch sie zu drängen, mehr Truppen für Afghanistan und militärische Ausbilder zu stellen.

Der US-Vizepräsident Joseph Biden hat während seiner viertägigen Reise nach Europa Anfang Mai neben größeren Beiträgen der NATO-Verbündeten zum Afghanistan-Krieg auch den Ausbau eines europäischen Raketen-Abwehrschildes unter US-Kontrolle gefordert.

Er wandte sich auch an 1.100 Infanteristen einer spanischen Fallschirmjäger-Brigade, die im Juli nach Afghanistan entsandt werden sollen; aus diesem Anlass erklärte er: 2/19 “Ich freue mich, heute hier zu sein, um mich bei einer so großen Gruppe von Kämpfern bedanken zu können, die schon einmal Seite an Seite mit amerikanischen Soldaten in Afghanistan gekämpft hat. Als NATO-Verbündete müssen wir zusammenarbeiten.” [3]

Im Februar dieses Jahres kündigte die Regierung des spanischen Ministerpräsidenten José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero an, sie werde noch 511 zusätzliche Soldaten nach Afghanistan entsenden und damit das Kontingent Spaniens auf 1.600 Mann erhöhen.

Kurz vor dem Treffen mit Biden besuchten Zapatero und sein Verteidigungsminister das NATO-Hauptquartier in Brüssel, wo der spanische Ministerpräsident feststellte, Afghanistan sei derzeit “der wichtigste Auslandseinsatz der NATO”, und hinzufügte, es sei “sehr wichtig, das Vertrauen in die gegenwärtigen Strategie in Afghanistan zu erneuern”. [4]

Am 3. Mai berichtet die Londoner TIMES über verstärkte Kämpfe im Norden Afghanistans, wo es bis vor Kurzem relativ ruhig war. Dort hat Deutschland den Großteil seiner bisher getöteten 47 Soldaten durch Kriegseinwirkung verloren, und Finnland und Schweden erlitten ebenfalls hohe Verluste.

Die Zeitung BRITISH DAILY schrieb: “Die deutsche Bundeswehr wurde durch den wachsenden Widerstand der Taliban im Norden Afghanistans in die schwersten Gefechte seit 1945 verwickelt.” [5]

General Stanley McChrystal, der Oberkommandierende aller ausländischen Truppen der ISAF und der US-Truppen der Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan gab kürzlich bekannt, dass er dem deutschen Kommando im Norden Afghanistans 56 Hubschrauber und 5.000 US-Soldaten unterstellen werde.

Als die NATO 2006 auch im südlichen Afghanistan das Kommando übernahm, “begaben sich zum ersten Mal seit dem Zweiten Weltkrieg US-Kampftruppen unter fremden Befehl”. [6] Brigadegeneral Douglas Raaberg vom CENTCOM (s.
LP_09/LP27209_071209.pdf ) sagte damals: “Das hat es seit dem Zweiten Weltkrieg nicht mehr gegeben.”

Der damalige Chef des CENTCOM, General John Abizaid, äußerte gegenüber der Presseagentur ASSOCIATED PRESS: “Die NATO muss um ihrer selbst willen diesen Einsatz erfolgreich durchziehen. Wenn sie in Zukunft bestehen will, muss sie auch außerhalb der europäischen Grenzen aktiv werden.”

Die ASSOCIATED PRESS berichtete damals: “Abizaid und andere betrachten die Afghanistan-Mission als historische Expansion des Operationsgebietes der NATO, die als Vorbereitung für künftige Einsätze in Afrika und anderswo dienen wird.” [7]

Vier Monate nach der Übernahme des Kommandos im südlichen Afghanistan im Jahr 2006 sagte der NATO-Kommandeur für dieses Gebiet, der britische Generalleutnant David Richards, die NATO führe zum ersten Mal in ihrer Geschichte “größere Kampfeinsätze am Boden durch”.

Richards machte damals eine weitere Bemerkung, die sich im Nachhinein noch als Untertreibung erwiesen hat: “Als der Nordatlantikrat vor zwei Jahren diesem Plan zustimmte, wusste er wahrscheinlich nicht, worauf er sich da einließ” [8] Eine andere Presseagentur drückte das damals so aus: “Die Mission ist als die gefährlichste 3/19 und herausforderndste in der 57-jährigen Geschichte der westlichen Allianz anzusehen.” [9]

Bereits wenige Wochen nach Übernahme seines neuen Kommandos stellte der britische General dazu fest, es fänden “ständig kleine hinterhältige Überfälle” statt”, wie es sie “in diesem Ausmaß seit dem Korea-Krieg und dem Zweiten Weltkrieg nicht mehr gegeben” habe. [10]

Afghanistan ist das Schlachtfeld, auf dem die NATO den Übergang vom Luftkrieg zum Bodenkampf erprobt.

“Während der Kriege in Bosnien und im Kosovo in der 1990er Jahren flog die NATO Luftangriffe, aber seit ihrer Gründung im Jahr 1949 führte sie noch keinen Bodenkrieg. Mit der Übernahme des Kommandos im südlichen Afghanistan ließ sie sich zum ersten Mal auf größere Bodenoperationen ein.” [11]

Der Krieg in Afghanistan ist tatsächlich eine historische Ausweitung des Operationsgebietes der NATO oder – wie Abizaid es vor vier Jahren ausdrückte – ein “Sprung über die Grenzen Europas” nach Afrika oder auf andere Kontinente. Und genau das ist in der Zwischenzeit auch passiert.

Die Zeit wurde auch genutzt, um Truppen aus fünfzig Staaten – auch aus Afghanistan und Pakistan – unter einem einzigen Kommando zu einer kampferprobten, integrierten, globalen Streitmacht zusammenzufassen, die auch für künftige Angriffe, Invasionen, Besetzungen oder sonstige Interventionen außerhalb des europäischatlantischen Raumes genutzt werden kann. Niemals zuvor haben Truppen aus 50 Staaten auf einem Kriegsschauplatz in einem Land gekämpft. Letzte Woche haben an einem Treffen des NATO-Militärausschusses die Verteidigungsminister von 49
Staaten teilgenommen, die Truppen für die ISAF stellen.

Der Afghanistan-Krieg hat den USA und ihren NATO-Verbündeter auch Militärbasen in den zentralasiatischen Staaten Tadschikistan, Usbekistan und Kirgisistan gesichert; allein über Kirgisistan sind im März etwa 50.000 US-Soldaten nach oder aus Afghanistan verlegt worden.

Er hat im letzten Jahr auch zur Aufstellung der ersten multinationalen strategischen Lufttransport Staffel der Welt in Ungarn geführt, die unter Kontrolle Washingtons und der NATO Nachschub für den Krieg befördert. (s. dazu auch
LP_08/LP14208_210808.pdf )

Außerdem hat er die von den USA und der NATO betriebene militärische Integration der ehemaligen Sowjetrepubliken Armenien, Aserbaidschan und Georgien im südlichen Kaukasus voran gebracht.

Aserbaidschan, das Land am Kaspischen Meer, das an den Iran und an Russland grenzt, hat erst kürzlich sein Truppenkontingent in Afghanistan verdoppelt.

Georgien, das unbedingt Kampferfahrung unter Kriegsbedingungen für seine kommenden militärischen Auseinandersetzungen mit Abchasien, Südossetien und Russland sammeln will, wird bald mit 900 Soldaten – bezogen auf seine Bevölkerung – den größten Anteil an der ISAF-Truppe der NATO in Afghanistan stellen.

Bei einer Konferenz der ständigen Vertreter der 28 Mitgliedstaaten der Allianz, die am 5.

Mai im NATO-Hauptquartier stattfand, traf man sich im Rahmen einer gemeinsamen Arbeitsgruppe der NATO und Georgiens auch zu Gesprächen mit höheren georgischen Offizieren.

“Der Vertreter (der NATO) betonte, die Allianz begrüße Georgiens Zusammenarbeit mit der NATO und besonders die Teilnahme georgischer Soldaten an Friedensoperationen in Afghanistan und werde auch in Zukunft das Land bei der Reformierung seines Verteidigungssystems unterstützen.” [12]

Das heißt, Georgien wird der NATO Truppen für den Krieg in Afghanistan zur Verfügung stellen, und die NATO wird sich dafür durch Mithilfe bei der Modernisierung der Streitkräfte Georgiens revanchieren, um das Land auf künftige Konflikte mit seinen Nachbarn vorzubereiten.

Am 11. Mai veranstaltete Deutschland eine Konferenz für die Verteidigungsminister und die Generalstabschefs der Staaten, die Truppen im nördlichen Afghanistan einsetzen, wo Deutschland das Kommando über die NATO-Truppen führt.

Der deutsche Verteidigungsminister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg hatte auch “Vertreter der NATO, der Europäischen Union und Afghanistans zu dem informellen Treffen am 11. Mai eingeladen.

Das Ministerium teilte mit, welche Staaten eingeladen worden waren. Im Norden Afghanistans präsent sind jetzt auch die USA, Norwegen und Schweden.” [13]

Auch Seyran Ohanyan, der Verteidigungsminister Armeniens, kam mit eine Delegation zu dem Berliner Treffen. Armenien ist das erste Mitglied der Collective Security Treaty Organization / CSTO (der Organisation des Vertrags über kollektive Sicherheit / OVKS, s.
), das der NATO Truppen für Afghanistan zur Verfügung stellt. Die anderen Mitglieder der CSTO sind Russland, Weißrussland, Kasachstan, Kirgisistan, Tadschikistan und Usbekistan; die Organisation wurde lange als ein Versuch Russlands betrachtet, die Einbeziehung ehemaliger Sowjetrepubliken in die NATO zu verhindern.

Einen Tag nach dem Treffen in Deutschland waren der Verteidigungsminister und der Außenminister Armeniens auch in Brüssel, um einer Sitzung des Nordatlantikrats, des höchsten Entscheidungsgremiums der NATO, beizuwohnen, auf der auch über den Plan gesprochen wurde, Armenien eine individuelle NATO-Partnerschaft anzutragen.

Beide Ereignisse sind untrennbar miteinander verbunden und ein integraler Bestandteil des Plans der NATO, die Kontrolle über den südlichen Kaukasus zu gewinnen. Armenien grenzt wie Aserbaidschan an den Iran. Aserbaidschan und Georgien grenzen an Russland.

Der Krieg in Afghanistan hat der NATO auch die Gelegenheit verschafft, ihre Kontrolle über die aus dem ehemaligen Jugoslawien entstandenen Staaten zu verstärken. Bei einem Treffen der Außenminister der NATO-Staaten im letzten Monat in Estland billigten sie einen Plan zur Aufnahme Bosniens in das Bündnis, als letzte Stufe vor der vollen Mitgliedschaft nachdem das Land erklärt hatte, dass es ebenfalls Truppen nach Afghanistan entsenden werde.

“Bosnien machte den ersten Schritt zur Aufnahme in die NATO … als die aus 28 Ländern bestehende Allianz dem Balkanland die für seine Mitgliedschaft zu erfüllenden Bedingungen vorlegten. Mit der Zustimmung zu dem zur Mitgliedschaft führenden Aktionsplan belohnten die Minister der NATO-Länder … die Beiträge des Landes zu der von der NATO geführten Sicherheitstruppe ISAF in Afghanistan.” [13]

Am 10. Mai wurde berichtet, Robert Simmons, der stellvertretende NATO-Generalsekretär für Zusammenarbeit in Sicherheitsfragen und Partnerschaft und Sondergesandte für den südlichen Kaukasus und Zentralasien, habe angekündigt, “Montenegro… sei das nächste Land, das sich der NATO anschließen werde”. [14]

Das winzige Montenegro, das erst seit vier Jahren ein unabhängiger Staat ist, sandte im März erstmals Truppen nach Afghanistan, und in diesem Monat werden sein Verteidigungsminister und sein Generalstabschef den Kriegsschauplatz besuchen.

Im März und April führte das U.S. Special Operations Command Europe (s. http://www.soceur. ), wie seiner Website zu entnehmen war, ein Hubschrauber-Manöver mit der kroatischen Luftwaffe durch, bei dem es um die vom Pentagon für besonders wichtig gehaltene internationale Bekämpfung von Aufständischen ging; das Experimentierfeld für Aufstandsbekämpfung ist Afghanistan: “Der 2010 veröffentlichte Quadrennial Defense Review
(Vierjahresbericht zur Überprüfung der Verteidigung) hob die Bedeutung des Ausbaus der Hubschrauber-Verbände zur erfolgreichen weltweiten Aufstands- und Terrorbekämpfung hervor.” [16]

Die Balkanstaaten Kroatien und Albanien erhielten schon im letzten Jahr die volle NATOMitgliedschaft, nachdem auch sie Truppen für die Kriege in Afghanistan und im Irak zu Verfügung gestellt hatten.

Albaniens Verteidigungsminister war Anfang dieses Monats in Afghanistan, um die 255 Soldaten seines Landes zu besuchen, die in der Provinz Herat eingesetzt sind. “Sie gehören zu zwei Eliteeinheiten der Armee: zum 2. Bataillon der Schnellen Reaktionsbrigade und zum Kommandoregiment.” [17]

Die NATO hat den Krieg in Afghanistan – wie die Kriege auf dem Balkan und im südlichen Kaukasus – als Instrument benutzt, um ihren Griff nach den noch nicht voll integrierten skandinavischen Ländern zu verstärken. Der Oberbefehlshaber der NATO in Europa, der US-Admiral James Stavridis, besuchte am 12. Mai Schweden und Finnland, um sich bei den beiden Ländern für die 500 bzw. 150 Soldaten zu bedanken, die sie der NATO für ISAF-Operationen in den vier nördlichen Provinzen Afghanistans zur Verfügung gestellt haben. Stavridis erwähnte nicht, dass bei den Kämpfen bereits vier schwedische und ein finnischer Soldaten getötet wurden, als er eine Scharfschieß-Übung in Finnland besuchte.

Der Krieg in Afghanistan hat der NATO auch als Vehikel gedient, um Kontakte in die asiatisch-pazifische Region zu knüpfen – durch so genannte Länder-Partnerschaften mit Australien, Japan, Neuseeland und Südkorea.

Anfang dieses Monats sagte General David Petraeus, der Chef des U.S. CENTCOM, der bereits als Kandidat für die US-Präsidentschaftswahl im Jahr 2012 gehandelt wird, er würde sich “über mehr australische Truppen in Afghanistan freuen”. [18] Australien stellt jetzt schon die meisten Truppen der Länder, die keine Vollmitglieder der NATO sind.

Der südkoreanische Außenminister Yu Myung-hwan besuchte am 11. Mai das Hauptquartier der NATO, um sich mit Generalsekretär Rasmussen zu treffen – “Während des Treffens sprachen sie über Möglichkeiten, die Beziehungen zwischen der NATO und Südkorea zu verbessern.” [19]; das Anliegen wurde auch dem Nordatlantikrat vorgetragen. Südkorea hat sich als letztes Land im April offiziell bereiterklärt, der NATO Truppen zur Verfügung zu stellen, und wird 400 Soldaten entsenden.

Auch Truppen aus Singapur und der Mongolei [20] dienen bereits unter NATO-Befehl, und Kasachstan, das wie die Mongolei an Russland und China grenzt, wurde als Stationierungsland für eine neue Militärbasis der USA und der NATO genannt, welche die Basis in Kirgisistan ergänzen oder ersetzen könnte. [21]

Der Krieg der USA und der NATO in Afghanistan dient auch dazu, das militärische Netzwerk des Pentagons und der Allianz auf mehrere Kontinente auszuweiten, von Luftwaffenstützpunkten in den europäischen Ländern Bulgarien, Ungarn und Rumänien über Flugplätze in den zentralasiatischen Staaten Kirgisistan und Tadschikistan bis zu Transitrouten und Stützpunkten in Georgien und Aserbaidschan im südlichen Kaukasus und in den zentralasiatischen Ländern Kasachstan, Kirgisistan, Tadschikistan, Turkmenistan und Usbekistan.

Durch bilaterale militärische Verbindungen zwischen den USA und das Militärbündnis zwischen Pakistan, Afghanistan und der NATO hat der Westen auch das Militär dieses Schlüsselstaates eingebunden.

General McChrystal, der ISAF-Kommandeur der NATO, hat sich in der pakistanischen Hauptstadt Islamabad mit dem Chef der pakistanischen Armee beraten und “über aktuelle Operationen der ISAF in Afghanistan informiert”.

“Der Besuch des NATO-Kommandeurs fand in einer Zeit statt, in der US-Truppen eine Großoffensive auf die Taliban-Festung Kandahar vorbereiten und Pakistans Unterstützung bei der Sicherung der Grenze (zwischen Pakistan und Afghanistan) erwarten, um ein weiteres Eindringen von Kämpfern zu stoppen.

Pakistan erklärte, es habe mehr als 100.000 Soldaten entlang der etwa 2.000 Kilometer langen Grenze mit Afghanistan eingesetzt.” [22]

Vier Tage vorher hatten lokale Medien berichtet, die NATO habe von Afghanistan aus Mörser-Salven nach Pakistan abgefeuert und dabei fünf Zivilisten – zwei davon sogar schwer – verletzt und eine Moschee stark beschädigt. [23]

Am Tag vor McChrystals Besuch in Pakistan hatte die Presseagentur REUTERS berichtet: “Die CIA hat trotz des (in Pakistan) wachsenden Unmutes über die vielen zivilen Opfer die Genehmigung erhalten, mit ihren von Drohnen abgeschossenen ferngelenkten Raketen noch mehr Ziele in Pakistan anzugreifen.” [24]

Zusätzlich zu der Ausweitung seines militärischen Einflusses auf ganz Eurasien und darüber hinaus hat der Afghanistan-Krieg dem Pentagon noch weitere Möglichkeiten verschafft. Glenn Walters, Brigadegeneral des U.S. Marine Corps, hielt auf einer Konferenz des Institute for Defense and Government Advancement (s. ) eine
Rede über unbemannte Luftfahrzeugen / UAVs, in der er berichtete: “Drohnen werden auch in Jemen und in Pakistan eingesetzt, aber der größte Teil wird im Rahmen der laufenden Truppenverstärkung in Afghanistan gebraucht.”

Im Jahr 2001 – vor der Invasion Afghanistans – hatten die USA etwa 200 Drohnen in ihrem Arsenal. Jetzt sind es 6.000 und nach Aussage eines Generals der Marineinfanterie werden es “in zwei Jahren 8.000 UAVs” sein.” [25] Das sind vierzigmal so viele.

Im Jahrzehnt der Drohne [26] blieb ihr Einsatz nicht auf Pakistan und den Jemen beschränkt, der tödliche Raketen tragende Flugkörper wurde auch in Somalia und im Irak eingesetzt; gegen Ende des Jahres 2009 hat das (in Stuttgart angesiedelte) U.S. AFRICOM (s. ) die treffsicherste Drohne vom Typ Reaper mit einem Begleitkommando von über 100 Soldaten auf den Seychellen (einer nördlich von Madagaskar gelegenen Inselgruppe) stationiert und damit die zweite US-Militärbasis in Afrika errichtet.

Am 6. Mai “besuchten NATO-Vertreter aus der ganzen Welt” das Ausbildungszentrum der US-Streitkräfte in Camp Atterbury im Bundesstaat Indiana, um Drohnen-Flugtests zu beobachten. [27]

General McChrystal, der gegenwärtige US- und NATO-Oberkommandierende in Afghanistan und frühere Chef des Joint Special Operations Command (s. dazu auch ), hat den andauernden Krieg auch dazu genutzt, die aus der US-Militärdoktrin erwachsende weltweite Praxis unter Betonung der Aufstandsbekämpfung durch Special Forces qualitativ stärker zu verändern, als das in den letzten Jahrzehnten geschehen ist.

Letzte Woche hob General George Casey, der Chef des Generalstabs der US-Army, die besondere Rolle hervor, die das Heer bei der Aufstandsbekämpfung zu spielen habe; er sagte: “Die Bodentruppen müssen sich darauf einstellen, alle bei der Aufstandsbekämpfung anfallenden Operationen zu trainieren.” [28] Am 10. Mai empfing Casey mehr als einhundert führende Militärs aus mehr als 24 afrikanischen Staaten zu einer Konferenz der afrikanischen Landstreitkräfte im Pentagon.

Am 6. Mai wurde berichtet, dass Maj. Gen (Generalmajor) Frank Kisner von der US-Air Force, der Chef des Special Operations Command Europe und Einsatzleiter für Special Operations beim U.S. EUCOM (in Stuttgart, s. ), den Posten des Kommandeurs der internationalen Special Forces im NATO-Hauptquartier in Brüssel übernehmen wird.

Der französische Luftwaffengeneral Stephane Abrial (s. ), der NATO-Oberkommandierender für Transformation in Norfolk, Virginia, wurde, als sich Frankreich im vorigen Jahr wieder in die militärische
Kommandostruktur der NATO integrierte, sagte kürzlich zur gegenwärtigen Transformation der NATO, sie werde vorgenommen, “um sicherzustellen, dass die NATO die notwendigen Fähigkeiten erhält, um Truppen schnell verlegen und längere Zeit an ihrem Einsatzort belassen zu können”. [29] Der Afghanistan-Krieg ist der Prototyp der Missionen, von denen er gesprochen hat.

Vom 10. bis 13. Mai versammelten sich über “550 Verteidigungsminister, Generalstabschefs und höhere Militärs aus 82 Staaten der ganzen Welt” in der jordanischen Hauptstadt Amman zur Konferenz der Kommandeure der Spezialkräfte des Mittleren Ostens; unter dem Titel SOFEX (Jordan) fanden ein Symposion und eine Ausstellung zu Aufgaben der Special Forces statt.

Mit der viertägigen Konferenz wurde die Absicht verfolgt, “die Fähigkeiten der Special Forces auf der ganzen Welt zu verbessern, um ein Netzwerk für globale Sicherheit und zur Bekämpfung des Terrorismus zu schaffen.

Hochrangige Militärs aus Australien, Frankreich, Deutschland, Italien, Jordanien, dem Libanon, Pakistan und aus den USA hielten Vorträge über Themen wie Kriegsoperationen, Aufgaben des Heimatschutzes, Aufstandsbekämpfung, Kampfhandlungen in Städten und Nahkampf.

Generalmajor Charles Cleveland, der Chef der U.S. Special Forces des CENTCOM, der für Afghanistan, Pakistan, den Irak und den Jemen verantwortlich ist, hob die Rolle der Special Forces in modernen Kriegen hervor”. [30]

Der Informationsminister Jordaniens offenbarte am 12. Mai, sein Land habe 2.500 Soldaten der afghanischen Spezialkräfte trainiert, und NATO-Generalsekretär Anders Fogh Rasmussen habe kürzlich bei einem Besuch in Jordanien sein Land darum gebeten, auch afghanische Polizisten auszubilden.

Der Kommandeur der jordanischen Spezialkräfte, Brigadegeneral Ali Jaradat, bestätigte, dass “1.500 Soldaten im 200 Millionen Dollar teuren King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Centre ausgebildet wurden, das im Mai letzten Jahres eingeweiht wurde”.

Er fügte hinzu: “Auch Amerikaner und Europäer haben teilgenommen….Die meisten Truppen, die in Afghanistan dienen, sind in dem Zentrum ausgebildet worden, bevor sie dorthin gingen.” [31]

Das Pentagon hat kürzlich verschiedenen Ländern, aus denen Truppen unter NATO-Kommando in Afghanistan dienen, 581 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected / MRAPS (gegen Minen und Hinterhalte gesicherte gepanzerte Fahrzeuge) zur Verfügung gestellt; dazu gehören Jordanien, Georgien, die Tschechische Republik, Polen und Rumänien. Das US-Verteidigungsministerium teilte außerdem mit, dass für die in Afghanistan eingesetzten Truppen anderer Länder noch einige Hundert weitere Fahrzeuge gebraucht würden. [32]

Im letzten Jahr verlegten die USA eine Einheit mit Schützenpanzern des Typs Stryker (s. ) nach Afghanistan; der Panzer, der 2003 bereits im Irak eingesetzt worden war, ist der erste neu entwickelte Panzer der US Army, seit der Bradley-Schützenpanzer 1981 in Dienst gestellt wurde.

Das (in Vilseck) in Deutschland stationierte 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment / SCR absolvierte im letzten Jahr ein Training in Bulgarien und Rumänien, “als Teil seiner Vorbereitung für seine bevorstehende Verlegung nach Afghanistan”.

“Auf dem Flugplatz Mihail Kogalniceanu im östlichen Rumänien entluden Anfang August US-Soldaten 30 Stryker-Schützenpanzer; seither haben sie mit Partnern der Gastgeber-Nation ein gemeinsames Training durchgeführt. Die Soldaten der 4th Squadron des 2nd SCR nehmen am dritten jährlichen Training der Joint Task Force East in Rumänien teil, während die Soldaten der 2nd Squadron des 2nd SCR ein ähnliches Training in Bulgarien durchführen.” [33]

Die Joint Task Force East geht auf eine Initiative des EUCOM (in Stuttgart) zurück (s. ) und verfolgt das Ziel, die Streitkräfte osteuropäischer Länder in die der USA und der NATO zu integrieren.

Sie ist auf dem Luftwaffenstützpunkt Mihail Kogalniceanu angesiedelt und führt seit fünf Jahren gemeinsame Übungen eingeflogener US-Einheiten mit einheimischen Truppen auf rumänischen und bulgarischen Militärbasen durch. Das Wort East (Osten) hat eine doppelte Bedeutung, weil auf den Basen der neuen östlichen NATO-Länder Truppen für ihre Einsätze im noch weiter östlich gelegenen Afghanistan üben.

Afghanistan wurde mit Absicht oder weil es sich so ergeben hat – oder durch eine Kombination beider Möglichkeiten – in einen riesigen Truppenübungsplatz für eine aus fünfzig Staaten zusammengesetzten Militärmacht verwandelt, die bereits in Zentralasien, im Kaukasus, in Osteuropa, am Horn von Afrika, im Indischen Ozean und im Mittleren Ostens agiert.

Es ist auch ein Experimentierfeld für die neuen Waffen und Operationsformen des 21. Jahrhunderts, die dort für künftige Einsätze überall auf der Welt getestet werden.

Selbst wenn sich die Streitkräfte der USA und der NATO schon morgen aus Afghanistan zurückziehen müssten, wären die dort gewonnenen Erkenntnisse für die Kriegsplaner in Washington und Brüssel nicht verloren.

1) Reuters, May 12, 2010
2) North Atlantic Treaty Organization, May 7, 2010
3) Radio Netherlands, May 8, 2010
4) North Atlantic Treaty Organization, May 4, 2010
5) The Times, May 3, 2010
6) Associated Press, March 13, 2006
7) Ibid
8) Reuters, July 21, 2006
9) Associated Press, July 30, 2006
10) Toronto Star, August 26, 2006
11) Associated Press, July 30, 2006
12) Trend News Agency, May 4, 2010
13) Associated Press, May 4, 2010
14) Deutsche Presse-Agentur, April 23, 2010
15) Makfax, May 10, 2010
16) United States European Command, May 1, 2010
17) North Atlantic Treaty Organization
International Security Assistance Force
May 5, 2010
18) Australia Network News, May 1, 2010
19) North Atlantic Treaty Organization, May 11, 2010
20) Mongolia: Pentagon Trojan Horse Wedged Between China And
Stop NATO, March 31, 2010
21) Kazakhstan: U.S., NATO Seek Military Outpost Between Russia And
Stop NATO, April 14, 2010
22) Xinhua News Agency, May 7, 2010
23) Pakistan Daily Mail, May 3, 2010
24) Reuters, May 6, 2010
25) Army Times, May 1, 2010
26) Decade Of The Drone: America’s Aerial Assassins
Stop NATO, March 9, 2010
27) Camp Atterbury Public Affairs, May 8, 2010
28) U.S. Department of Defense, May 7, 2010
29) Defense News, May 4, 2010
30) Xinhua News Agency, May 11, 2010
31) USA TODAY, May 10, 2010
32) USA TODAY, May 10, 2010
33) Joint Task Force-East, October 22, 2009

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO In Afghanistan: World War In One Country

May 14, 2010 1 comment

May 13, 2010

NATO In Afghanistan: World War In One Country
Rick Rozoff

Since the North Atlantic Treaty Organization took control of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan in 2003 the amount of troops serving under that command has grown from 5,000 to over 100,000.

There are currently 134,000 foreign troops in the nation counting U.S. soldiers serving separately with Operation Enduring Freedom, although the aggregate number is to reach 150,000 by the summer and most American troops not now under NATO command will soon be. There are 47,000 troops from NATO member and partner countries in the nation.

U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan will soon outnumber those in Iraq.

Over 1,600 U.S., NATO and allied troops have been killed in the war theater, with 520 of those killed last year. U.S. deaths more than doubled from 2008 to 2009, from 155 to 318.

Over 170 Afghan civilians have been slain so far this year, a 33 percent increase over the same period last year. U.S. and NATO forces killed 90 civilians from January to April, a 76 percent rise from 51 in the same period of 2009. [1]

More than 300 people have been killed in U.S. drone missile strikes against alleged insurgent sites in Pakistan this year, bringing total deaths in such attacks to over 1,000 since August of 2008.

15,000 U.S., NATO and Afghan government troops participated in the largest ground offensive of the war this February in Marjah and there are over 23,000 troops being amassed in the southern province of Kandahar for an assault planned to begin next month.

With recent announcements that Montenegro, Mongolia and South Korea have become the 44th, 45th and 46th official troop contributing nations – Bahrain, Colombia, Egypt and Jordan have already supplied or pledged troops but have not yet been given that designation – there will be military units from 50 nations on all six populated continents serving under the North Atlantic military alliance in a war in South Asia that will enter its tenth year on October 7.

Australia, with 1,550 troops, is engaged in its first combat operations and has experienced its first war deaths since the Vietnam War. Canada since the Korean War. Germany and Finland since the Second World War. If not for military deaths in Iraq since 2003, many more European countries would also be in the last category. (The four Swedish soldiers killed in northern Afghanistan are the Scandinavian country’s first combat deaths in almost 200 years.)

The effects of the war in Afghanistan have not been limited to battlefield losses, though.

Last year NATO member Denmark spent $415 million for its mission in Afghanistan, up from $135 million in 2007. As the nation’s total defense budget for 2009 was $3.87 billion, the Afghan war accounted for almost one-ninth of the country’s annual military spending. Denmark, which lost seven soldiers in Iraq, has already lost 31 in Afghanistan.

Last week a Danish base in Helmand Province was attacked by insurgents and eleven Danish soldiers were wounded.

On May 9 a British soldier was killed in Helmand, the 40th of the year and the 285th since the war began, exceeding the 255 killed in the 1982 war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands/Las Malvinas which had been the largest number since Britain’s counterinsurgency war in Malaya in the 1950s. The United Kingdom registered 179 deaths in Iraq by comparison.

Over the past weekend four French troops were injured in a landmine explosion northeast of the Afghan capital, one of them gravely.

On May 12 it was reported that a Romanian soldier was killed in southern Afghanistan, the nation’s 12th death there.

Less than a week earlier, May 6 and 7, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen was in the Romanian capital of Bucharest to meet with the country’s president and foreign minister, and while there praised the government’s commitment to the Afghan war – Romania recently announced its troop strength would be boosted to 1,800 – as “substantial, without caveats and with a growing focus on training.” [2]

A week before the NATO chief was in Albania and Croatia, the military bloc’s newest members, and also pushed for more forces in Afghanistan, including military trainers.

During his four-day trip to Europe early this month, U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden promoted NATO allies’ contributions to the Afghan war among other demands – which included the consolidation of a European interceptor missile system under U.S. control – and addressing 1,100 members of the Spanish Light Infantry Parachute Brigade, slated for deployment to Afghanistan in July, said, “I very much wanted to be here today to pay respect to such a group of warriors who stood side by side with American warriors in Afghanistan. As NATO allies we are working together….” [3]

In February of this year the government of Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero announced that it was sending 511 more troops to Afghanistan, raising the nation’s contingent there to 1,600.

Shortly before meeting with Biden, Zapatero and his defense minister visited NATO headquarters in Brussels, where the Spanish prime minister stated that Afghanistan is “NATO’s primary mission right now abroad,” adding that it is “very important that we renew our confidence in the current strategy in Afghanistan….” [4]

On May 3 The Times of London wrote of intensified fighting in the north of Afghanistan, which until recently had been comparatively peaceful but where of late Germany has lost the bulk of the 47 soldiers that have died as a result of the war and where Finland and Sweden have suffered combat fatalities.

The British daily wrote that “German troops are fighting the first pitched battles witnessed by the Bundeswehr since 1945 in the face of a growing Taleban insurgency in the north of Afghanistan.” [5]

General Stanley McChrystal, in charge of all U.S. and other foreign forces in Afghanistan as commander of both the International Security Assistance Force and the U.S.’s Operation Enduring Freedom, recently announced that he was deploying 56 helicopters and 5,000 U.S. troops to serve under German command in the north of Afghanistan.

When NATO took over the southern quadrant of the South Asian nation in 2006 it “subordinate[d] U.S. troops under foreign command in a combat situation for the first time since World War II.” [6]

Central Command’s Brigadier General Douglas Raaberg said at the time, “That’s a first since World War II.”

The chief of Central Command then, General John Abizaid, told the Associated Press that “NATO needs to grab hold of this mission for NATO’s sake. Jumping outside European boundaries is where the alliance needs to go to stay relevant for the future.”

The Associated Press wrote at the time that “Abizaid and others have said the Afghanistan mission marks a historic expansion for NATO that could see the alliance taking further missions in Africa or elsewhere.” [7]

Four months after taking control of southern Afghanistan in 2006 the NATO commander in the region, British Lieutenant General David Richards, said that NATO was conducting “land combat operations for the first time in its history.”

And in what has proven to be an understatement of the first order, Richards added: “Two years ago, when the North Atlantic Council agreed to this plan, they probably didn’t know what they were getting into.” [8] As another news agency expressed it at the same time, “The mission is considered the most dangerous and challenging in the Western alliance’s 57-year history.” [9]

A month later the British general reflected on the first few weeks of his new assignment and the “persistent low-level dirty fighting” it entailed, characterizing the situation as one in which the “sort of thing hasn’t really happened so consistently, I don’t think, since the Korean War or the Second World War.” [10]

Afghanistan is the battleground on which NATO effected the transition, the escalation, from air wars to ground wars.

“The NATO alliance…conducted aerial combat operations during the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo during the 1990s, but it has yet to conduct major ground combat operations since it was founded in 1949.” Its move into southern Afghanistan, however, signalled “the first time the alliance has conducted land combat operations….” [11]

The war in Afghanistan has in fact represented a historic expansion for NATO in Abizaid’s words of four years ago, inaugurating the bloc’s “jumping outside European boundaries” to Africa and elsewhere. That is exactly what has occurred in the interim.

It has also been employed to meld the militaries of over fifty nations – including those of Afghanistan and Pakistan – under a unified command and into a combat-experienced and integrated global force ready for future attacks, invasions, occupations and other interventions far from Euro-Atlantic space. Never before have troops from 50 nations served in one war theater, in one country. Last week a meeting of NATO’s Military Committee was attended by the defense ministers of 49 nations with troops assigned to the International Security Assistance Force.

The Afghan war has secured the U.S. and its NATO allies military bases in the Central Asian nations of Kyrgyzstan, where an estimated 50,000 U.S. troops passed through to and from Afghanistan this March, and Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

It has allowed the inauguration of the world’s first multinational strategic airlift operation in Hungary last year, one firmly under the control of Washington and NATO, for supplying the war effort.

It has accelerated the U.S.’s and NATO’s military integration of the three former Soviet republics in the South Caucasus: Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.

Azerbaijan, a Caspian Sea nation bordering Iran and Russia, recently doubled the size of its troop contingent in Afghanistan.

Georgia, eager to gain combat training under war conditions for its next military confrontations with Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Russia, will shortly have 900 troops in Afghanistan, the largest per capita contribution of any nation to NATO’s International Security Assistance Force.

At NATO headquarters on May 5 the permanent representatives (ambassadors) of the bloc’s 28 member states met with senior Georgian military officials within the framework of the NATO-Georgian Commission. “The representative stressed that the alliance appreciates Georgia’s cooperation with NATO and especially the participation of Georgian soldiers in peacekeeping operations in Afghanistan and will continue to support the reformation of the country’s defense system in the future.” [12]

That is, Georgia will provide NATO with troops for the war in Afghanistan and NATO will reciprocate by assisting in the modernization of Georgia’s armed forces in anticipation of future conflicts with its neighbors.

On May 11 Germany hosted a meeting of defense ministers and military chiefs of staff from nations that have troops deployed in northern Afghanistan where Germany is the main NATO force.

The nation’s defense minister, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, “also invited representatives of NATO, the European Union and Afghanistan to the informal May 11 meeting.

“The ministry did give details on who exactly was invited. Nations with a presence in northern Afghanistan now include the United States, Norway and Sweden.” [13]

Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan led a delegation from Armenia to the Berlin meeting. Armenia is the first member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) to supply NATO with troops for Afghanistan. The CSTO’s other members are Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and it has long been viewed as a Russian effort to counter NATO expansion into the former Soviet Union.

The day after the meeting in Germany, the Armenian defense minister and the country’s foreign minister were in Brussels to attend a meeting of the North Atlantic Council, NATO’s highest governing body, where an assessment of NATO’s Individual Partnership Action Plan for Armenia was assessed.

The two events are inextricably connected and are an integral part of NATO’s plan to gain control over the South Caucasus. Armenia, like Azerbaijan, borders Iran. Azerbaijan and Georgia border Russia.

The war in Afghanistan has also provided NATO the opportunity to consolidate control over the nations of former Yugoslavia. A NATO foreign ministers meeting in Estonia last month approved Bosnia’s Membership Action Plan, the last stage before full membership, after the nation announced troop deployments to Afghanistan.

“Bosnia took its first step toward joining NATO…as the 28-country alliance offered the Balkan country a conditional path for membership….In agreeing to offer the membership action plan, the NATO ministers welcomed…the country’s contributions to the NATO-led security force in Afghanistan (ISAF).” [13]

On May 10 it was reported that NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Security Cooperation and Partnership – and Special Representative for the South Caucasus and Central Asia – Robert Simmons announced “Montenegro…will be the next country to join NATO.” [14]

Tiny Montenegro, only an independent country for four years, sent its first troops to Afghanistan in March and this month its defense minister and chief of the general staff will visit the war zone.

Throughout March and April U.S. Special Operations Command Europe conducted aviation exercises with the Croatian Air Force based, as the website of U.S. European Command described it, on the Pentagon’s new emphasis on international counterinsurgency operations, the laboratory for which is Afghanistan: “The 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review highlighted the importance of increasing rotary-wing availability as one of the most significant elements to achieving success in large-scale counterinsurgency, stability and counterterrorism operations worldwide.” [16]

Croatia and fellow Balkan nation Albania were welcomed as full NATO members last year after providing troops for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Albania’s defense minister was in Afghanistan earlier this month to inspect his nation’s 255 troops stationed in Herat Province. “The personnel belong to two units of the army’s elite forces: the 2nd Battalion of the Rapid Reaction Brigade and the Commando Regiment.” [17]

Along with the Balkans and the South Caucasus, the war in Afghanistan has been instrumental in NATO strengthening its grip on the Scandinavian nations that are not yet full members. NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, U.S. Admiral James Stavridis, visited Sweden and Finland on May 12, thanking the two nations for the 500 and 150 troops, respectively, they have in command of NATO ISAF operations in four northern Afghan provinces. Stavridis didn’t mention the five Swedish and Finnish troops killed in fighting there, though he did inspect a live-fire military exercise in Finland.

The war in Afghanistan has also been the vehicle for NATO formally penetrating the Asia-Pacific area, forming what the Alliance calls Contact Country partnerships with Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.

Earlier this month the chief of U.S. Central Command, General David Petraeus (now being touted as a 2012 presidential candidate), said “he would welcome more Australian troops in Afghanistan.” [18] The nation is already the largest contributor of forces among those which are not full NATO members.

South Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Yu Myung-hwan visited NATO headquarters on May 11, met with Secretary General Rasmussen – “During the meeting, they discussed how to foster NATO-Korea relations” [19] – and addressed the North Atlantic Council. In April South Korea became the latest nation to be designated a formal troop contributor for NATO in Afghanistan and will deploy as many as 400 soldiers.

Troops from Singapore and Mongolia [20] are also serving under NATO command and Kazakhstan, which like Mongolia borders Russia and China, has been mentioned as a location for a new U.S. and NATO military base to supplement or replace the one in Kyrgyzstan. [21]

The U.S. and NATO Afghan campaign has served to expand the military network of the Pentagon and the Alliance throughout several continents, from air bases in Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania in Europe to ones in Central Asia – Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan – to transit routes and centers in the South Caucasus (Georgia and Azerbaijan) and Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan).

Through bilateral military ties between the U.S. and Pakistan and the Trilateral Afghanistan-Pakistan-NATO Military Commission, the West has penetrated the military of that key nation as well.

NATO’s International Security Assistance Force commander General McChrystal was in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad “to provide an update on ISAF’s operations in Afghanistan and to consult with Pakistan’s army chief.

“The NATO commander’s meeting came at a time when U.S. forces are planning a major offensive in the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar and they would need Pakistan’s support to enhance security along the border to stop the possible intrusion of militants.

“Pakistan said it has deployed over 100,000 troops along some 2,000 kilometers [of its] border with Afghanistan….” [22]

Four days before, local media reported that NATO forces fired mortar rounds across the border from Afghanistan into Pakistan, injuring five civilians, two critically, and severely damaging a mosque. [23]

The day before McChrystal’s visit to Pakistan, Reuters reported that “The CIA has received authorization to target a wider range of targets in Pakistan with its drone-guided missiles, despite national discontent on [the] growing civilian death toll.” [24]

In addition to expanding a military nexus throughout Eurasia and beyond, the Afghan war has provided the Pentagon other opportunities as well.

U.S. Marine Corps Brigadier General Glenn Walters spoke at an Institute for Defense and Government Advancement conference on the subject of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), stating that “Drones are used from Yemen to Pakistan, but most of the demand is related to the surge of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.”

In 2001, the year of the invasion of Afghanistan, the U.S. had approximately 200 drones in its arsenal. It now has 6,000 and according to the Marine general, in two years “We’ll have 8,000 UAVs….” [25] A fortyfold increase.

The decade of the drone [26] has not been limited to Pakistan and Yemen, as the lethal missile-wielding unmanned aircraft have also been used in Somalia and Iraq, and late last year U.S. Africa Command deployed the most deadly of all drones – the Reaper – to the nation of Seychelles along with over 100 military personnel, thereby acquiring the Pentagon’s second major military installation in Africa.

On May 6 “NATO representatives from around the world” visited the Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center in the American state of Indiana to observe drone flight tests. [27]

The ongoing war in Afghanistan has also been used, particularly by current U.S. and NATO commander McChrystal, former head of Joint Special Operations Command, to qualitatively transform U.S. military doctrine and practice worldwide with an emphasis on counterinsurgency and the expanded use of special forces not seen in several decades.

Last week U.S. Army Chief of Staff General George Casey laid stress on the counterinsurgency role of his branch of the armed services, stating “the Army has to posture itself and train to operate across the spectrum.” [28] (On May 10 Casey hosted over a hundred senior military leaders from more than 24 African nations at an African Land Forces Summit at the Pentagon.)

On May 6 it was reported that the head of Special Operations Command Europe and director of Special Operations, U.S. European Command – Air Force Major General Frank Kisner – would be transferred to the post of commander of NATO international special forces operations at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Special Operations Headquarters in Brussels.

NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Transformation in Norfolk, Virginia, French Air Force General Stephane Abrial – given that post when France reintegrated into NATO military command structures last year – lately spoke of the Alliance’s current transformation, defining it as centered on “ensuring that NATO has the necessary means to be able to deploy forces quickly and for them to be able to stay in theater for a long time….” [29] The Afghan war is the prototype of the missions he spoke about.

From May 10-13 over “550 defense ministers, chief of staffs and senior military officials from 82 countries across the globe” gathered in Amman, Jordan for a major Special Operations Forces Symposium and Exposition (SOFEX) event, the Middle East Special Operations Commanders Conference.

The four-day meeting was “designed with a view to enhance the capabilities of Special Operations Forces around the world to network for global security and combat terrorism.

“High-ranking military officers from Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Pakistan and the United States delivered speeches that covered several topics, including war-fighting operations to home defense missions, counterterrorist operations, urban warfare and dismounted close combat.”

The chief of U.S. Special Operations Command Central (responsible for Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Yemen), Major General Charles Cleveland, “highlighted the role of special operation forces in modern wars.” [30]

The information minister of Jordan revealed on May 12 that his country has trained 2,500 members of the Afghan special forces, and that NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen had requested that Jordan train Afghan police during a recent visit to the Middle Eastern nation.

The commander of Jordan’s special forces, Brigadier Ali Jaradat, confirmed that “1,500 servicemen, including anti-terror forces, from Afghanistan and Iraq have received training at the $200 million King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Centre, which was inaugurated in May last year.”

He added that “The Americans and Europeans took part….Most of the troops serving in Afghanistan received training at the centre before they went there.” [31]

The Pentagon has recently provided 581 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAPS) armored combat vehicles to nations serving under NATO command in Afghanistan, including Jordan, Georgia, the Czech Republic, Poland and Romania, and the U.S. Defense Department disclosed that hundreds more are being sought by troop contributing nations for the counterinsurgency war there. [32]

Last year the U.S. deployed a unit of Stryker armored combat vehicles, first used in Iraq from 2003 onward, to Afghanistan. The Stryker is the U.S. Army’s first new armored vehicle developed since the Bradley Fighting Vehicle entered service in 1981.

The German-based 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment (SCR) trained in Bulgaria and Romania last year “as part of…preparations for an upcoming deployment to Afghanistan….

“U.S. soldiers offloaded 30 Stryker combat vehicles in early August at the Mihail Kogalniceanu Airfield in eastern Romania and have since been conducting combined training with their host-nation counterparts. Soldiers of the 4th Squadron, 2nd SCR are participating in Joint Task Force-East’s third annual training exercise in Romania while soldiers of the 2nd Squadron, 2nd SCR conduct similar training in Bulgaria.” [33]

Joint Task Force-East is a European Command initiative whose purpose is the integration of Eastern European armed forces with those of the U.S. and NATO. It is in effect based at the Mihail Kogalniceanu air base and regularly deploys to and conducts exercises in Romanian and Bulgarian military bases acquired by the U.S. over the past five years. The word East has a double connotation as its also applies to employing bases in new NATO countries to train for and deploy to the Afghan war theater.

Afghanistan has, whether by convenience, design or some combination of the two, been transformed into a vast training ground for the consolidation of a fifty-nation military structure that has already been extended into Central Asia, the Caucasus, Eastern Europe, the Horn of Africa, the Indian Ocean and the Middle East.

It is also a testing range for new 21st century weapons and combat systems intended for future use around the world.

If U.S. and NATO forces were to withdraw en masse from the country tomorrow, the above results would not be lost to war planners in Washington and Brussels.

1) Reuters, May 12, 2010
2) North Atlantic Treaty Organization, May 7, 2010
3) Radio Netherlands, May 8, 2010
4) North Atlantic Treaty Organization, May 4, 2010
5) The Times, May 3, 2010
6) Associated Press, March 13, 2006
7) Ibid
8) Reuters, July 21, 2006
9) Associated Press, July 30, 2006
10) Toronto Star, August 26, 2006
11) Associated Press, July 30, 2006
12) Trend News Agency, May 4, 2010
13) Associated Press, May 4, 2010
14) Deutsche Presse-Agentur, April 23, 2010
15) Makfax, May 10, 2010
16) United States European Command, May 1, 2010
17) North Atlantic Treaty Organization
International Security Assistance Force
May 5, 2010
18) Australia Network News, May 1, 2010
19) North Atlantic Treaty Organization, May 11, 2010
20) Mongolia: Pentagon Trojan Horse Wedged Between China And Russia
Stop NATO, March 31, 2010
21) Kazakhstan: U.S., NATO Seek Military Outpost Between Russia And China
Stop NATO, April 14, 2010
22) Xinhua News Agency, May 7, 2010
23) Pakistan Daily Mail, May 3, 2010
24) Reuters, May 6, 2010
25) Army Times, May 1, 2010
26) Decade Of The Drone: America’s Aerial Assassins
Stop NATO, March 9, 2010
27) Camp Atterbury Public Affairs, May 8, 2010
28) U.S. Department of Defense, May 7, 2010
29) Defense News, May 4, 2010
30) Xinhua News Agency, May 11, 2010
31) USA TODAY, May 10, 2010
32) USA TODAY, May 10, 2010
33) Joint Task Force-East, October 22, 2009

Categories: Uncategorized

Eastern Europe: From Socialist Bloc And Non-Alignment To U.S. Military Colonies

May 11, 2010 1 comment

May 10, 2010

Eastern Europe: From Socialist Bloc And Non-Alignment To U.S. Military Colonies
Rick Rozoff

Eleven years ago today the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was in the seventh week of a bombing war against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, one which saw over 1,000 Western military planes fly over 38,000 combat missions, bombs dropped from the sky and Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from the Mediterranean Sea.

Having quickly exhausted military targets, NATO warplanes resorted to bombing so-called targets of opportunity, including bridges on the Danube River, factories, Radio Television of Serbia headquarters in the capital (where sixteen employees were killed), a refugee column in Kosovo, the offices of political parties and the residences of government officials and foreign ambassadors, a passenger train, a religious procession, hospitals, apartment courtyards, hotels, the Swedish and Swiss embassies and the nation’s entire power grid.

U.S. Apache gunships and British Harrier jet aircraft were deployed for attacks on the ground and Yugoslavia was strewn with unexploded cluster bomb fragments and depleted uranium contamination.

The 78-day bombing campaign, NATO code name Operation Allied Force and U.S. Operation Noble Anvil, was promoted in Washington and other Western capitals as history’s first “humanitarian war.”

The U.S. and NATO dramatically escalated the reckless assault with an overnight attack on the Chinese embassy in Belgrade on May 7 in which five American bombs simultaneously struck the building, killing three and wounding 20 Chinese citizens. The government of China denounced the action for what it was, a “war crime,” a “barbaric attack and a gross violation of Chinese sovereignty” and “NATO’s barbarian act.”

During the long Cold War it was assumed that military action by the North Atlantic military bloc would result in the death and injury of soldiers and civilians in member states of the Warsaw Pact. But NATO’s first victims were Serbs and Chinese.

When the war ended on June 11, the West had achieved what it set out to accomplish:

50,000 troops under NATO’s command entered Serbia’s Kosovo province, where over 12,000 remain eleven years later.

The Pentagon commissioned Kellogg, Brown & Root to construct the nearly 1,000-acre Camp Bondsteel and its sister base Camp Monteith in Kosovo, which continue to operate to the present day.

Kosovo had been wrenched from Serbia and on February 17, 2008 declared itself an independent nation, recognized as such by the U.S. and most all of its NATO allies, though not by almost two-thirds of the world’s nations.

In 1999 NATO Secretary General Javier Solana moved across the street as it were in Brussels to become the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, in which post he supervised a “trial separation” for what remained of Yugoslavia, and the very name of Yugoslavia was wiped from the map as the Western-sponsored State Union of Serbia and Montenegro succeeded it in 2003.

Three years later Montenegro, with a population smaller than that of the American city of Memphis, became the world’s newest nation. To demonstrate after the fact what had been planned before, a U.S. guided missile cruiser visited the coastal city of Tivat within months and an American submarine tender arrived there in 2007 to mark the first anniversary of Montenegro’s nominal independence.

In the year following the break-up of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, the last-named joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace apprenticeship program and the following year was granted an Individual Partnership Action Plan and signed a Status of Forces Agreement with NATO for which the U.S. is the depositary government. In late 2009 it received a Membership Action Plan, the final step before full NATO membership. This March Montenegro became the 44th nation to contribute troops for NATO’s war in Afghanistan. All these developments occurred in four years.

Since the beginning of NATO’s post-Cold War expansion in 1999, nations of the former Warsaw Pact and of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia have become Western military colonies, hosting visits by and basing troops and military equipment from NATO and its individual members, especially the U.S. So far this year former Warsaw Pact countries Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and most recently Albania have announced their willingness to accede to U.S. and NATO requests for interceptor missile facilities to be stationed on their territories.

The U.S. has acquired four military bases in Romania and three in Bulgaria over the past four years and will soon activate a Patriot Advanced Capability-3 interceptor missile installation in the east of Poland, 35 miles from the Russian border. Longer-range anti-ballistic missile interceptors are to follow according to Polish officials.

NATO has a major training center in Poland, the world’s first multinational strategic airlift operation at the Papa Air Base in Hungary, and de facto possession of a former Soviet air base in Lithuania. After meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates earlier in the month, Lithuanian Defense Minister Rasa Jukneviciene announced that the Pentagon chief confirmed U.S. support for a permanent military base in the Baltic Sea region where NATO warplanes have been conducting air patrols since the induction of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania into the bloc in 2004.

The Lithuanian defense chief also said the Pentagon wants to extend NATO air patrols in the area “till 2018 and beyond.”

Washington plans to establish a missile shield communications center in the Czech Republic, where Britain is currently leading multinational air combat exercises, Operation Flying Rhino 2010, with 2,000 foreign and 1,000 Czech troops.

Air bases in Bulgaria and Romania were employed for the attack on and invasion of Iraq in 2003 and have been used regularly for the nearly nine-year U.S.-NATO war in Afghanistan.

After the invasion of Iraq, new NATO members the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland sent troops to the country, as did then NATO candidates and partners Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine.

Offering Washington troops for the war in Iraq was a prerequisite for advanced NATO partnerships and eventual full membership. Nine of the above nations were awarded the second in return for their services. Bosnia, Macedonia and as of last year Montenegro have been granted Membership Action Plans, introduced at the 1999 NATO fiftieth anniversary summit in Washington, D.C. as the penultimate stage of full integration. Georgia and Ukraine were presented special Annual National Programs by NATO shortly after Georgia’s war with Russia in August of 2008.

All twelve new Eastern European NATO members have troops in Afghanistan, as do prospective members Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Georgia, Macedonia and Montenegro.

NATO has taken over the former Warsaw Pact and former Yugoslavia, in the first case without firing a shot. In the second through two bombing campaigns (Bosnia in 1995 and Serbia in 1999) and three deployments of ground troops (Bosnia in 1995, Kosovo in 1999 and Macedonia in 2001).

All ex-Warsaw Pact nations outside the former Soviet Union now have soldiers killing and dying under NATO command in Afghanistan, as all but the erstwhile East Germany did in Iraq, though none of them did under Warsaw Pact obligations during the ten years of Soviet involvement in the South Asian nation. Seven of fifteen former Soviet republics also have troops serving under NATO in the Afghan war zone.

The U.S. and other major Alliance powers conduct regular multinational Partnership for Peace military manuevers in all three former Soviet Republics in the South Caucasus – Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia – and have held comparable exercises in Ukraine and Kazakhstan.

The major purpose of the war games and other drills is to prepare the militaries of the host and participating nations for interoperability in military, including combat, missions abroad, most prominently in Afghanistan and Iraq over the past few years.

Georgia had 2,000 troops in Iraq in 2008, at the time the third largest foreign contingent, although its population is only slightly over four million, a fraction of that of the U.S., Britain and other major troops providers.

Most of those troops were flown back to Georgia on U.S. military transport planes during the five-day war with South Ossetia and Russia in August of 2008. Georgia will soon have almost 900 troops in Afghanistan, the largest per capita contribution of any of the 50 nations supplying soldiers to NATO for the fighting there.

During the 36 years of the Warsaw Pact member states aside from the Soviet Union rarely deployed military units outside their borders and never overseas.

In the past decade all non-Soviet members and all former Yugoslav republics but Serbia have had their sons and daughters deployed by NATO to such frequently far-flung war and conflict zones as the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq and adjoining countries like Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan (Germany) and Kuwait. Over a hundred Polish, Romanian, Bulgarian, Czech, Estonian, Latvian, Hungarian, Lithuanian and Slovak soldiers have returned to their homelands from Afghanistan and Iraq in coffins.

When the Soviet Red Army left Bulgaria in 1947 no foreign troops were stationed in that nation until U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited it two years after its NATO accession to sign an agreement on three military bases there: The Bezmer Air Base, the Graf Ignatievo Air Base (recently certified as meeting “100% compliance” with NATO requirements) and the Novo Selo Training Range.

The last Soviet troops left Romania in 1958. When Nicolae Ceausescu became leader of the nation in 1965, he distanced his country from the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, forbidding exercises and deployments involving other states.

In 2005, the year after Romania gained full NATO membership, Condoleezza Rice visited Bucharest and secured four bases for the Pentagon and NATO: The Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base (already used for the war against Iraq), the Cincu and Smardan training bases, and the Babadag firing range.

The U.S. recently concluded military exercises with Bulgaria – Operation Thracian Spring – from April 22 to 28 and led joint air force exercises with Bulgaria and Romania from April 12 to 16 at the Aviano Air Base in Italy.

This February Romanian and Bulgarian government officials announced that they would accept American and NATO Standard Missile-3 interceptor installations and the troops to man them.

In 1960 Albanian leader Enver Hoxha turned against the Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact allies, aligning himself with the People’s Republic of China. No foreign troops or bases were allowed in the country.

Starting in 1993 the U.S. Sixth Fleet began conducting naval exercises with Albania, acquired the use of military bases there and deployed troops to a forward base it established near the port city of Durres for the war against Yugoslavia in 1999.

Last week the nation’s prime minister and the chief of staff of the armed forces – after meeting with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen – announced their willingness to host U.S. and NATO interceptor missile facilities and the soldiers who will accompany them.

Albania, along with Croatia, with whom U.S. Special Operations Command
Europe just concluded two months of air exercises for what was described as “large-scale counterinsurgency, stability and counterterrorism operations” abroad, are NATO’s newest members, joining in 2009.

NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, American Admiral James Stavridis, was in Bulgaria on April 26 and 27 and Secretary General Rasmussen is expected there on May 20.

Even affiliating with the Brussels-based bloc demands conditions that are onerous and inflexible. NATO partners are told which Western arms manufacturers they must purchase weapons from, where their troops are to be deployed, who their friends and who their enemies are around the world. The full foreign policy orientation of candidates and members is dictated from Brussels and Washington.

NATO is a bloc that no nation has ever withdrawn from or will be allowed to leave.

Before his visits to Albania and Croatia late last month the latter said at NATO headquarters in Brussels, “My dream will come true if – one day – we could see all countries in the Balkans as members of NATO. They belong to the Euro-Atlantic Community. I hope to see their flags represented here among all other NATO nations.”

Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov visited Washington, D.C. at the end of April to meet with among others U.S. National Security Advisor James Jones, and pledged support for NATO and European Union membership for both Serbia and Kosovo.

At last month’s NATO foreign ministers meeting in Estonia, Bosnia’s Membership Action Plan was approved.

NATO’s Kosovo Force is training and arming the Kosovo Security Force, an army in formation under NATO control.

With the demise of the Cold War former members of the Warsaw Pact may have hoped for a demilitarized Europe, one free of armed blocs. Instead the first and preeminent Cold War military alliance, NATO, will soon have engulfed almost every nation on the continent.

The new nations of former Yugoslavia, a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement which had never been in any military bloc, will not be spared that fate.

Rasmussen won’t have long to wait for his dream to be realized and for the flags of all nations and pseudo-nations in Eastern Europe to fly at NATO headquarters. And at bases in Afghanistan and other combat zones.

Foreign troops will be based permanently on their soil as their troops are deployed far abroad.

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO: Global Military Bloc Finalizes 21st Century Strategic Doctrine

May 8, 2010

NATO: Global Military Bloc Finalizes 21st Century Strategic Doctrine
Rick Rozoff

In Brussels in the first week of May NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen delivered his urbi et orbi (to the city and the world) monthly address, the bloc’s Military Committee assembled the defense chiefs of 49 nations supplying troops for the war in Afghanistan and U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden visited the Alliance’s headquarters.

As the world faces an almost two-year economic downturn epitomized by the national crisis in Greece and natural disasters like the devastating earthquake in Haiti and the fallout from volcanic eruptions in Iceland, the U.S.-led Western military bloc is preparing for interventions around the world.

For NATO, which however much it pretends to be something else or something more is a military bloc, all problems in the world require some variety of military action.

It exploited an ethnic conflict in Kosovo to launch its first war in Europe in 1999 and attacks on the American cities of New York and Washington two years later to begin its first war in Asia. Having fought a 78-day air war and now waging a nearly nine-year ground war, NATO is hardly a paper, and by no means a defensive, organization.

Its threat to intervene in as many as a score of different areas it has identified as part of its 21st century expeditionary mission is not to be taken lightly.

On May 5 its Secretary General Rasmussen delivered his monthly press briefing in Brussels and announced that he and former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will hold a press conference on May 17 after NATO’s Group of Experts presents its report on the Alliance’s new Strategic Concept.

The new military doctrine will be the first in this century, the first since the completion of NATO’s precedent-setting large-scale air war in 1999 and its transition to fighting a ground war and counterinsurgency campaign in Afghanistan.

It will be the 61-year-old bloc’s first global warfighting doctrine based on the past eleven years’ military interventions in the Balkans, South Asia and the Horn of Africa, naval and airlift operations in the Mediterranean Sea and Africa, and a training mission in Iraq.

Despite Rasmussen’s assurance that all NATO member states “will examine the report carefully” as part of what has been portrayed as a collective, deliberative process, all the important elements of the Strategic Concept were decided upon years ago. In Washington, D.C.

They include a continuation and escalation of the war in South Asia, in both Afghanistan and Pakistan; placing all NATO member states under a joint U.S.-NATO interceptor missile shield; retaining American tactical nuclear weapons on air bases in European nations; expanding the bloc even further into the Balkans and nations of the former Soviet Union; extending ad infinitum naval surveillance and interdiction operations in the Mediterranean Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, encompassing many of the world’s most vital and strategic shipping lanes and naval choke points; penetrating deeper into the Middle East and Africa through military partnerships and training and other assistance programs.

Global NATO’s new strategy also emphasizes universally thematic as well as geographically specific pretexts for intervention around the world under its Article 5 collective military assistance and intervention clause.

In a conference on the new Strategic Concept in London last October 1 conducted jointly by NATO and Lloyd’s of London, Rasmussen identified what he referred to as third-millennium concerns that NATO is preparing to confront. [1]

They include but are not limited to (as the list has already expanded in the interim and will do so further) piracy, cyber security, climate change and global warming, storms and flooding, rising sea levels, water shortages and drought, cross-border migration, diminished food production, natural disasters, humanitarian crises, dependence on “foreign sources of fuel energy” and supplies emanating from nations NATO desires to drive out of regional and world markets, carbon dioxide emissions, “factories or energy stations or transmission lines or ports” that require protection, the melting of the Arctic ice cap and, as ever, international terrorism.

The above terms are the exact ones Rasmussen used last year.

And alleged weapons of mass destruction. And missile threats from “rogue states.” Nuclear proliferation real or potential or contrived. Territorial disputes, ethnic conflicts, “failed states,” endangered individuals or groups covered under the rubric of the “responsibility to protect,” competition over natural resources and an ever-evolving list of other justifications for intervention at any time at any spot on the earth for most any reason.

Ahead of this November’s NATO summit in Lisbon, Portugal, the defense and foreign ministers of the bloc will meet in Brussels to put the finishing touches on the 21st century Strategic Concept.

In his May 5 press briefly, Rasmussen rattled off a barrage of rhetorical queries the answers to which were a foregone conclusion. “What new missions should NATO take on, to defend our populations against 21st century threats? What should our nuclear policy be? How far should our Partnerships reach?”

To no one’s surprise, he responded by saying “my aim is for the new Concept to be ambitious; not only to reflect what we are currently doing, but also to set out what we should be doing to keep the 900 million citizens in NATO countries safe from attack.” [2]

Attack from whom or what was not specified, as though the assertion that 28 NATO member states from Canada to Croatia, Iceland to Latvia and Norway to Portugal are and will always be under threat of immediate annihilation by stealthy, nefarious and unprecedentedly capable adversaries is self-evident and as such does not require substantiation. Perhaps he was alluding to Iran. Or Russia. Or non-state actors. Or to nobody at all.

His remedy for this historically unmatched threat – and though few in the world challenge such contentions they truly pass from the realm of political discourse into what is properly the province of psychiatry – is what the White House and the Pentagon intend it to be: Integrating most all of Europe into the U.S.’s global interceptor missile system, maintaining American nuclear weapons on the continent, fighting an expanding war in Asia 3,000 miles from NATO headquarters, recruiting the few European nations outside the Alliance into its fold, deepening the integration of nations of the former Soviet Union including those in the South Caucasus and Central Asia, and intensifying military partnerships with countries in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Oceania.

Regarding U.S. interceptor missile deployments – the list of NATO states where they are planned, all in Eastern Europe, now are reported to include Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and Albania – Rasmussen said that “Because there is a growing threat…Europe needs to continue to contribute to its own defence.”

“NATO is already building a theatre missile defence system to protect our armed forces, when they go out on mission. The cost of expanding that system to cover not only our soldiers, but also our populations – normal citizens in our cities – is less than 200 million Euros.”

In debt-ridden and cash-strapped Europe, the secretary general felt that he only needed to discuss the cost-effectiveness of a program that could trigger a new missile race on the continent. Or far worse – a missile exchange, whether intended or inadvertent.

Rasmussen announced plans to visit Romania on the following two days, May 6 and 7, where, he added, “We will, of course, in our talks, cover the whole agenda, including missile defence. Not least because Romania attaches strong importance to what we consider the core function of NATO – territorial defence, collective defence, according to Article 5 in the NATO Treaty. And in my opinion an effective missile defence is a part of a credible territorial defence in the current security environment in the world. So obviously we will discuss also that issue.”

In February the Romanian government confirmed its commitment to host U.S. Standard Missile-3 anti-ballistic missile interceptors which, as seen above, Rasmussen construes as “territorial defence, collective defence, according to Article 5 in the NATO Treaty.”

In Romania he consulted with President Traian Basescu, Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi and other leading government officials and repeated, word-for-word, his comments at the NATO foreign ministers meeting in Estonia late last month that there were “more than 30 countries having or developing missile capabilities.” Again, no one asked him which thirty nations he was speaking about.

He also rehashed another refrain from the Estonia meeting in stating “In many cases, these missiles could eventually threaten our populations and territories. And several countries are seeking nuclear weapons….[W]e must take a fresh look at missile defence – not as a substitute for nuclear deterrence, but as a complement to it.” The last phrase was also borrowed from the NATO foreign ministers meeting In Tallinn. [3]

In a presentation at the University of Bucharest Rasmussen said that “Allies need to maintain an appropriate nuclear deterrent.”

More specifically, he said, “I hope that in Lisbon we will decide that missile defence is an Alliance’s mission, by combining the US and the NATO systems. That will provide an effective coverage to our populations.”

While in Bucharest, Rasmussen also reiterated the push to complete the total integration of the Balkans, reaffirming: “We share the view that the best recipe for lasting security and stability in the Balkans is integration of all countries of the region in the euroatlantic structures, into the EU and NATO.”

He praised Romania, which recently disclosed that it would increase its troop numbers in Afghanistan to 1,800, for its display of Alliance solidarity in the war zone, which is “substantial, without caveats.”

Other standard demands of the new Strategic Concept were also addressed, including so-called energy and cyber security, with Rasmussen connecting them to NATO’s Article 5 war clause and with missile shield deployments:

“NATO is a unique mechanism for collecting information from different sources – We have the means to protect critical energy infrastructure.”

“Nowhere is the need to act today rather than tomorrow more evident than in this area….[A] cyber attack can bring a country down without a single soldier having to cross its borders.”

“NATO’s core task was, continues to be and will remain territorial collective defence of our territories and populations.”

“I am not going to prejudge the new Strategic Concept. But I’ll make one point very clear: We cannot afford to put missile defence, energy security or cyber defence on the back burner. Because new challenges don’t wait until we feel ready to meet them.”

The claim that the populations of all 28 NATO nations, including those of North America, Iceland and Denmark’s Greenland, face an imminent threat from intercontinental ballistic missiles, ones moreover carrying nuclear warheads, ready to be launched by – to name the West’s standard suspects – Iran and Syria calls into question the credibility if not the sanity of the person who made it. On May 5 the NATO secretary general stated in this regard:

“We have…sufficient intelligence to know that we’re faced with a real threat, with Iranian aspirations as regards missile technology and nuclear programs,” adding that he was “confident” the NATO summit in November would agree to protect Washington, D.C., Ottawa and Reykjavik from phantom Iranian missiles.

References to cyber and energy security, though, are undisguised accusations against Russia, one of the world’s two main nuclear powers, and, coupled as they unvaryingly are with NATO’s Article 5 mutual defense clause, would alone warrant an immediate demand for the abolition of the military bloc whose strategic doctrine is based on that policy.

This week the Norwegian ambassador to former Soviet republic and current NATO partner Azerbaijan, bordering both Iran and Russia, said that the new Strategic Concept “will cover all member states, as well as NATO partner states.” [4]

There are over 40 NATO military partners included in the Partnership for Peace, Mediterranean Dialogue, Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, Contact Countries and Trilateral Afghanistan-Pakistan-NATO Military Commission programs, so NATO reserves the right to intervene on behalf of some 70 nations, including partners like Israel, Georgia and South Korea. In fact NATO arrogates to itself and to its individual members and its partners the exclusive prerogative of using military force outside (and within) their borders.

Rasmussen’s visit to Romania is to be followed later this month by one to Bulgaria, “a state of strategic importance in view of future plans for the deployment of an anti-missile shield.” [5]

In late April he visited the bloc’s two newest members, Albania and Croatia. After he met with Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha the latter announced “that Albania was prepared to fulfil all commitments that come from its NATO membership, including the positioning of anti-missile defence units on its territory.” [6]

Shortly afterward Chief of Staff of the Albanian Armed Forces General Maksim Malaj revealed that a team of NATO experts was headed to his country and that they “will make a thorough analysis of the geo-strategic factors in our country. If they decide to install elements of the anti-missile defence shield, we will give our permission.” [7]

NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe Admiral James Stavridis visited Bulgaria on April 26 and 27 to meet with the country’s defense minister and military chief.

The Alliance’s top military and civilian leaders visited the Southeastern European nations for discussions on the Strategic Concept. They also drummed up commitments for further deployments to Afghanistan and for the stationing of U.S. missile shield installations in the respective states.

The current NATO-integrated regimes on the Black Sea and in the Balkans are sufficiently compliant and obliging to allow the Pentagon anything it demands from them, whether missile interception sites or the transfer of nuclear warheads currently in Western Europe to locations closer to their prospective use to the east and south.

To insure that the message of Washington’s emissary and intermediary Rasmussen didn’t fail to get through, U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden, deputy commander-in-chief of “the world’s sole military superpower,” arrived in Brussels on May 6 to meet with Rasmussen and to address the European Parliament.

His comments while in the Belgian capital included:

“The United States and European Union have stood side-by-side to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons….In the face of the threat that Iran poses, we are committed to the security of our allies.”

He also said that “Washington remains determined to deploy its planned anti-missile system in Europe to counter the danger of Iran’s nuclear program and its long-range ballistic missiles.”

After Biden met with Rasmussen – the agenda was on “Afghanistan, missile defense, NATO’s Strategic Concept…Pakistan, Iran, counter-terrorism, climate change and energy security” [8] – NATO spokesman James Appathurai stated: “They both share the same view. They believe that NATO should take on territorial missile defense as a NATO mission at the next summit.” [9]

On the occasion of his European visit Biden released an article called “Advancing Europe’s Security” that was dutifully (one could say slavishly) published in the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times for readers on both side of the Atlantic.

The piece included these excerpts:

“The United States and Europe…have built the most successful alliance in history….NATO is revising its ‘strategic concept,’ which contains the guiding principles for NATO’s strategy to deal with security threats, to prepare the alliance for the challenges of the 21st century….[W]e have to devote more attention and resources to deterring and combating security threats to Europe that come from outside Europe.

“[T]oday the Continent faces new and pernicious threats: the spread of weapons of mass destruction to rogue regimes with access to ballistic missile technology, the ongoing threat of terrorist attack enabled by havens in the border regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan, the prospect of cyber-attack by criminal networks and other actors, and significant energy security challenges….[We] need a more effective conflict-prevention, conflict-management, and crisis-resolution mechanism to defuse crises before they escalate. The Russia-Georgia crisis in August 2008 reminded all of us that we cannot take security in Europe for granted or become complacent.

“[W]e must affirm…the right of states to choose their own security alliances. The indivisibility of security…means that all European countries must abide by certain shared rules: above all, a commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states and the right of all countries to choose their own alliances freely. And most importantly, we cannot permit the re-establishment of spheres of influence in Europe.” [10]

The last allusion was of course to Russia. Washington will not permit it to have any influence in nations neighboring it, even those that had been part of Russia for centuries and which have large ethnic Russian populations.

There is only one sphere of influence in Europe from the North Sea to the Black Sea: That of the U.S. and NATO.

On the two days during which Rasmussen gave his monthly address and began his visit to Romania and Biden visited Brussels, May 5 and 6, the defense chiefs of 49 nations met at a gathering of NATO’s Military Committee in Brussels. The countries involved were NATO members states, partner states and other non-NATO nations contributing troops to the war in Afghanistan. (In addition to the 49 national contingents officially serving under NATO as troop contributors, Afghanistan and Pakistan work with NATO and nations like Bahrain, Colombia, Egypt and Jordan also have military personnel in the war theater or on their way there.)

The bloc’s two top military commander – U.S. Admiral James Stavridis, Supreme Allied Commander Europe, and French General Stephane Abrial, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation – were in attendance, as was General Hakan Syren, Chairman of the EU Military Committee.

The defense ministers and NATO and EU military commanders discussed operations in three continents – Asia (Afghanistan), Europe (Kosovo) and Africa (Somalia) – as well as the NATO training mission in Iraq “in support of Iraq’s Security Forces” [11], the ongoing Operation Active Endeavor naval mission in the Mediterranean, Ukraine becoming the first former Soviet state to join the NATO Response Force, the new Annual National Programs for Ukraine and Georgia, transformation and modernization of the Georgian armed forces, and the integration of NATO and EU missions in Europe, Asia and Africa.

NATO’s 21st century military doctrine – expeditionary, global and aggressive – will leave few parts of the planet unaffected. The 900 million inhabitants of Alliance member states evoked by Secretary General Rasmussen are slightly over one-eighth of the human race, but the leaders of those nations gathered collectively in NATO presume to determine developments in dozens of spheres throughout the entire world. With only 13 percent of the world’s population but over 60 percent of its military spending.

1) Thousand Deadly Threats: Third Millennium NATO, Western Businesses Collude
On New Global Doctrine
Stop NATO, October 2, 2009
2) All quotes Rasmussen quotes from the NATO website:
3) Nuclear Weapons And Interceptor Missiles: Twin Pillars Of U.S.-NATO
Military Strategy In Europe
Stop NATO, April 23, 2010
4) Trend News Agency, May 4, 2010
5) Standart News, May 5, 2010
6) Focus News Agency, April 30, 2010
7) Focus News Agency, May 5, 2010
8) USA TODAY, May 5, 2010
9) Associated Press, May 6, 2010
10) The White House, May 5, 2010
11) North Atlantic Treaty Organization, May 6, 2010

Categories: Uncategorized

New Colonialism: Pentagon Carves Africa Into Military Zones

May 5, 2010 1 comment

May 5, 2010 

New Colonialism: Pentagon Carves Africa Into Military Zones
Rick Rozoff 

Last year the commander of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), General William Ward, said the Pentagon had military partnerships with 35 of the continent’s 53 nations, “representing U.S. relationships that span the continent.” [1] 

That number has increased in the interim. 

As the first overseas regional military command set up by Washington in this century, the first since the end of the Cold War, and the first in 25 years, the activation of AFRICOM, initially under the wing of U.S. European Command on October 1, 2007, then as an independent entity a year later, emphasizes the geostrategic importance of Africa in U.S. international military, political and economic planning. 

Africa Command’s area of responsibility includes more nations – 52, all African states except Egypt, which remains in U.S. Central Command, and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (Western Sahara), which is a member of the African Union but which the U.S. and its NATO allies recognize as part of Morocco, which conquered it in 1975 – than any of the Pentagon’s other Unified Combatant Commands: European Command, Central Command, Pacific Command, Southern Command and Northern Command (founded in 2002). 

The U.S. is alone in maintaining regional multi-service military commands in all parts of the world, a process initiated after World War Two as America arrogated to itself a 20th century manifest destiny as history’s first worldwide military superpower. 

Until October 1, 2008 Africa was overwhelmingly in the European Command’s area of responsibility, with all African nations assigned to it except for Egypt, Seychelles, Kenya, Sudan and the Horn of Africa states (Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia) overseen by Central Command, and three island nations and a French possession off the continent’s eastern coast (Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius and Reunion) placed under Pacific Command. 

The month before AFRICOM began its one-year incubation under U.S. European Command in 2007, Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Ryan Henry said, “Rather than three different commanders who have Africa as a third or fourth priority, there will be one commander that has it as a top priority.” [2] 

The Pentagon official also revealed that Africa Command “would involve one small headquarters plus five ‘regional integration teams’ scattered around the continent” and that “AFRICOM would work closely with the European Union and NATO,” particularly France, a member of both, which was “interested in developing the Africa standby force”. [3] 

The Defense Department official identified all the key components of Africa Command’s role and adumbrated what has transpired in the almost three-year interim: By subsuming nations formerly in the areas of responsibility of three Pentagon commands under a unified one, the U.S. will divide the world’s second most populous continent into five military districts, each with a multinational African Standby Force trained by military forces from the United States, NATO and the European Union. 

Later the same month, the Pentagon confirmed its earlier disclosure that AFRICOM would deploy regional integration teams “to the northern, eastern, southern, central and western portions of the continent, mirroring the African Union’s five regional economic communities….” 

The Defense News website detailed the geographic division described in Defense Department briefing documents issued in that month: 

“One team will have responsibility for a northern strip from Mauritania to Libya; another will operate in a block of east African nations – Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda, Kenya, Madagascar and Tanzania; and a third will carry out activities in a large southern block that includes South Africa, Zimbabwe and Angola…. 

“A fourth team would concentrate on a group of central African countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad and Congo [Brazzaville]; the fifth regional team would focus on a western block that would cover Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Niger and Western Sahara, according to the briefing documents.” [4] 

The five areas correspond to Africa’s main Regional Economic Communities, starting in the north of the continent: 

Arab Maghreb Union: Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia. 

East African Community (EAC): Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. 

Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS): Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo. 

Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS): Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), Democratic Republic of Congo (Kinshasa), Equatorial Guinea, Rwanda and Sao Tome and Principe. 

Southern Africa Development Community: Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. 

Africa’s far northeast, in and near the Horn of Africa, is in a category of its own, having long been subordinated to the U.S.’s Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) based in Djibouti where the Pentagon has approximately 2,000 personnel from all four branches of the armed services. The Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa area of operations takes in the African nations of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda as well as Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula. In addition to Seychelles, the CJTF-HOA is expanding its purview to include Comoros, Mauritius and Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. 

Three years ago it was reported that the Pentagon had already “agreed on access to air bases and ports in Africa and ‘bare-bones’ facilities maintained by local security forces in Gabon, Kenya, Mali, Morocco, Namibia, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia.” [5] That is, in northern, eastern, western, central and southern Africa. 

The U.S. has maintained its military base in Djibouti, Camp Lemonnier, since 2003, established a naval surveillance facility in Seychelles last autumn, and has access to base camps and forward sites in Kenya, Ethiopia, Morocco, Mali, Rwanda and other nations throughout the continent. 

AFRICOM, as noted above, plans a central headquarters on the continent – its current headquarters remains in Stuttgart, Germany, although Djibouti’s Camp Lemonnier functions as a de facto one in Africa – with five regional satellite outposts in northern, southern, eastern, western and central Africa. 

The African Standby Force is nominally under the control of the African Union, but its troops are being trained and directed by the U.S., NATO and the military wing of the European Union. 

The website of the African Standby Force (ASF) contains links to the following sites: 

ASF Headquarters (Addis Ababa)

The African Union’s secretariat, the African Union Commission, is based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 

Ethiopia is also one of the nations – Liberia and Morocco are others – that has been discussed as a potential site for AFRICOM main headquarters on the continent. 

African Standby Force: Trained By U.S. Special Forces, Modeled After NATO Strike Force 

Each of the five geographical units listed above is to supply a contingent of up to brigade size (4,000-5,000 troops by NATO standards) for the African Standby Force that is projected to be launched this year. 

Two days before U.S. Africa Command was established on October 1, 2007, the American armed forces newspaper Stars and Stripes reported that “The command, scheduled to become operational this week, will focus much of its activity on helping to build the fledgling African Standby Force. 

“It is hoped the force, being organized by the Ethiopia-based African Union, or AU, will be ready by 2010. It would consist of five multinational brigades based in the giant continent. Each brigade would perform missions in its given region, such as peacekeeping when the need arose. 

“Gen. William E. Ward, nominated to become the first AFRICOM commander, last week told the U.S. Senate in writing that U.S. troops would help the brigades come to life.” 

Ward, earlier head of NATO’s Stabilisation Force (SFOR) in Bosnia in 1996, said in his own words, “AFRICOM will assume sponsorship of ongoing command and control infrastructure development and liaison officer support. It would continue to resource military mentors for peacekeeping training, and develop new approaches to supporting the AU and African Standby Forces.” [7] 

This February a NATO website detailed the North Atlantic military bloc’s role in complementing AFRICOM efforts to build the African Standby Force: 

“NATO began providing support to the AU Mission in May 2005 based on specific requests from the AU. NATO nations supported [the] AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS) by providing airlift for 32,300 personnel….NATO continues to support the AU mission in Somalia (AMISOM) through the provision of strategic sea- and air-lift for AMISOM Troop Contributing Nations on request. The last airlift support occurred in June 2008 when NATO transported a battalion of Burundian peacekeepers to Mogadishu. 

“Joint Command Lisbon is the operational lead for NATO/AU engagement, and has a Senior Military Liaison Officer at AU HQ in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. NATO also supports staff capacity building through the provision of places on NATO training courses to AU staff supporting AMISOM, and support to the operationalisation of the African Standby Force – the African Union’s vision for a continental, on-call security apparatus similar to the NATO Response Force.” [8] 

The NATO Response Force (NRF) completed what was described at the time as its final validation in the two-week, 7,000-troop Steadfast Jaguar military exercises in the African island nation of Cape Verde in 2006. 

Africa was the testing ground for the NRF and the NRF is the model for the African Standby Force: 

“Since June 2007, NATO has assisted the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) by providing airlift support for AU peacekeepers. This support was authorized until February 2009 and the Alliance is ready to consider any new requests from the AU. NATO also continues to work with the AU in identifying further areas where NATO could support the African Standby Force.” [9] 

“NATO is also providing, at the AU’s request, training opportunities and
capacity building support to the African Union’s long term peacekeeping
capabilities, in particular the African Standby Force.” [10] 

Since the Berlin Plus agreements between NATO and the European Union in 2002, the military components of both organizations not only overlap and complement each other, but are being integrated at a qualitatively higher level for overseas missions like those in and off the coasts of Africa. 

Three years ago French General Henri Bentegeat, then Chairman of the European Union Military Committee, met with EU defense ministers in Germany and an account of his comments included: “The European Union’s drive for a stronger global military role includes an upgrading of ties with the United Nations, NATO and the African Union….In addition to last year’s military mission in Congo and logistical help for African Union forces in Darfur, Bentegeat said the EU wanted to help an ambitious AU programme to create a standby force for peacekeeping missions.” [11] 

Even before AFRICOM was activated as a separate military command in the autumn of 2008, U.S. European Command was conducting large-scale multinational military maneuvers in various regions of Africa to train units for the five regional brigades that will form a unified, continental African Standby Force. 

Starting in 2006 U.S. European Command (and subsequently Africa Command) has conducted annual Africa Endeavor multinational communications interoperability exercises – frequently in nations on the strategic Gulf of Guinea – with the participation of the armed forces of African, NATO and European Union nations. Africa Endeavor 2007 was held in South Africa and the contributing countries were the U.S., Algeria, Angola, Belgium, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Gambia, Lesotho, Mali, Morocco, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sweden, Uganda and Zambia. It was jointly run by U.S. European Command, U.S. Central Command and the nascent U.S. Africa Command. 

“AE [Africa Endeavor] fosters better collaboration in the Global War on Terrorism and supports the deployment of peacekeepers in Sudan and Somalia. 

“Furthermore, AE assists in establishing critical communication links to enhance the African Standby Forces’s developments in command, control, communications and information systems (C3IS) and strengthens national, regional, continental and partner relationships….” [12] 

Africa Endeavor 2008 was held in Nigeria and included military personnel from 22 African and European nations as well as the U.S. 

“During the course of the exercise, participating nations and organizations also continued their efforts to develop standard practices and procedures for the African Union and its African Standby Force.” [13] 

In 2005 the U.S. launched the first of regular Flintlock multinational military exercises to initiate and expand the Pentagon’s Trans-Sahara Counter-Terrorism Initiative (TSCTI), formed in the same year, to train the military forces of Algeria, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Morocco, Nigeria and Tunisia. Washington’s NATO allies Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain are also involved in the Trans-Sahara Counter-Terrorism Initiative. 

The exercises are run by U.S. Special Operations Command Europe. (In 2007 NATO announced that its Special Operations Coordination Center would be headquartered at the same Kelley barracks on the U.S. base in Stuttgart where AFRICOM headquarters are located.) 

An account of the initial 2005 operation divulged that “The U.S. government reportedly plans to spend $500 million over five years to make the Sahara Desert a vast new front in its war on terrorism….During the first phase of the program, dubbed Operation Flintlock, 700 U.S. Special Forces troops and 2,100 soldiers from nine North and West African nations [participated].” [14] 

This year’s 22-day Flintlock 2010, launched on May 2, includes 600 U.S. special forces and 150 counterparts from Britain, Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Spain. 

“The objective of Flintlock 10 is to develop military interoperability….Centered in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, but with tactical training conducted in Senegal, Mali, Mauritania and Nigeria, Flintlock 10 will begin 2 May and end 23 May, 2010….Flintlock 10 looks to build upon the successes and lessons learned during previous Flintlock exercises, which were conducted to establish and develop regional relationships and synchronization of efforts among the militaries of the Trans-Saharan region. 

“This exercise will take place in the context of the Trans-Sahara Counter Terrorism Partnership (TSCTP). Supported by the U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) and the Special Operations Command (SOCAFRICA), the exercise will provide military training opportunities….” [15] 

AFRICOM recently announced that the Special Operations Command Africa “will gain control over Joint Special Operations Task Force-Trans Sahara (JSOTF-TS) and Special Operations Command and Control Element – Horn of Africa (SOCCE-HOA),” [16] to centralize special forces activities in Africa. 

Efforts to create the proposed African Standby Force brigade in the north of Africa have floundered for several reasons. Egypt is not member of the Maghreb Union nor is it in AFRICOM’s area of responsibility. Libya is one of the most vocal opponents of AFRICOM. There is residual tension between Algeria and Morocco over Western Sahara, which Algeria recognizes as an independent nation. But Algeria, Egypt, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia are all members of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue partnership program. 

AFRICOM’s plans for regional military intervention contingents are proceeding more favorably in the east, west and south. In June of 2008 the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) conducted a military exercise, Jigui 2008, in Mali with its fifteen member states, and “for the first time, the regional force exercise involved the African Union, the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), the multinational Standby High Readiness Brigade based in Denmark (SHIRBRIG) and the Eastern African Standby Brigade (EASBRIG).

“All the exercises were supported by the host governments as well as France, Denmark, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the European Union. 

“Jigui 2008 is consistent with previous training programmes of ECOWAS and is within the framework of the African Union (AU) Standby Force, which seeks to have ready by 2010 one force by each of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in Africa. 

“The ECOWAS target is to create a 2,770-man Task Force of the 6,500 troops of the regional force which will be available under the control of the AU [African Union].” [17] 

A year before Senegal hosted military maneuvers with several other West African nations – Burkina Faso, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, the Republic of Guinea (Conakry) and Mali – to “test the (troops’) deployment ability” with military aircraft, vehicles and ships provided by France “ahead of the planned creation of an ECOWAS standby force.” 

The participating states were trained to “form the western battalion of the 6,500-men intervention force which ECOWAS wants to set up by 2010. 

“Army chiefs of ECOWAS member countries agreed in June 2004 to create the permanent 6,500-man force, including the 1,500-strong rapid reaction unit for troubleshooting missions.” [18] 

Jigui 2009 was held in Burkina Faso with the participation of U.S. Army Africa, the Vicenza, Italy-based Army component of AFRICOM. 

Last month ECOWAS held a field training exercise in Benin, Exercise Cohesion Benin 2010, which “aimed to evaluate the operational and logistics readiness of the Eastern Battalion of the ESF, which is part of the overall preparation for the operationalisation of the African Standby Force by December 2010.” [19] 

In October of last year the Kenyan press reported on Western involvement in building the African Standby Force brigade on the eastern end of Africa: 

“Danish, Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish officers will assist the region in the ongoing establishment of a united military force to deal with conflicts on the continent. 

“Once functional, the East African Standby Brigade (EASBRIG) will be deployed to trouble spots within 14 days after chaos erupts, to restore order….The brigade will have troops from 14 countries. 

“The experts from the European countries…are based at the EASBRIG headquarters, at the Defence Staff College in Karen, Nairobi. 

“Vice-Chief of General Staff Julius Karangi said the foreign experts would help fast-track the process of setting up the standby brigade.” [20] 

EASBRIG consists of troops from Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda, and through the Eastern African Standby Brigade Coordination Mechanism is moving toward the consolidation of the eastern wing of the African Standby Force. 

The East African Standby Brigade is to be headquartered in Kenya, and last November a field training exercise was held for it in Djibouti where the U.S. has its main military base in Africa and France has its largest anywhere abroad. A Rwandan news source wrote of it months afterward: “The historical exercise brought together approximately 1,500 troops, police and civilian staff from 10 countries working side-by-side for the first time.” [21] 

The most immediate site for the use of the East African Standby Brigade is Somalia, where member states Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and Kenya are already involved. EASBRIG will also be available for operations in Sudan, Congo and the Central African Republic as well as against Eritrea. In March of last year AFRICOM chief General William Ward “cited three areas of current conflict on the continent, including border disputes between Eritrea and Djibouti on the Horn of Africa and in North Africa [with] the Western Sahara, and clashing in the Democratic Republic of Congo.” 

Speaking of the command he heads, Ward added, “the United States was able to lend assistance to Uganda, Rwanda, Congo and to a lesser degree…the Central African Republic.” [22] 

The European Union, already involved in the first naval operation in its history, European Union Naval Force Somalia – Operation Atalanta, in the Horn of Africa, has deployed a military mission to Uganda to train 2,000 Somali troops to defend the Western-backed Transitional Federal Government in Mogadishu. 

Africa Partnership Station: U.S. Warships Patrol African Coasts 

In recent years U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa has developed the Africa Partnership Station (APS) as a naval component of AFRICOM. Its first deployment took the APS to Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Senegal, Sao Tome and Principe, and Togo, all on the Gulf of Guinea except for Senegal which lies to the north of it. 

In the same year, 2007, NATO’s Standing Maritime Group 1, with one warship each from Canada, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal and the U.S., started a circumnavigation of Africa with stops in the Gulf of Guinea and ending with “exercises in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Somalia….” [23] 

At the time Admiral Henry Ulrich, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe, said, “The Global Fleet Station concept is ‘closely aligned’ with the task to be provided by the still-developing U.S. Africa Command,” [24] and later announced the departure of the USS Fort McHenry and the High Speed Vessel Swift for a seven-month deployment to the Gulf of Guinea in November of 2007 as part of the Navy’s Global Fleet Station program. The Africa Partnership Station is one of several Global Fleet Stations recently set up by the U.S., others being assigned to the Caribbean Sea and Oceania. “As a dock landing ship, the Fort McHenry is designed to help get U.S. personnel onto ‘hostile shores,’ according to the Navy.” [25] 

Phil Greene, director of Strategy and Policy, Resources and Transformation for U.S. Naval Forces Europe, added that the USS Fort McHenry would have a multinational staff, “partnering with nations such as France, the United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal and others who have an interest in developing maritime security in that region.” [26] 

In fact the USS Fort McHenry first arrived in Spain “to take on passengers from several European partners – Spain, the United Kingdom, Portugal and Germany, among them – before heading to the Gulf of Guinea,” where it was joined by the High Speed Vessel Swift to “transport students as well as trainers during visits to Senegal, Liberia, Ghana, Cameroon, Gabon, and Sao Tome and Principe.” [27] 

In 2007 U.S. warships visited Mozambique for the first time in 33 years and Tanzania for the first time in 40. 

As part of Africa Partnership Station port visits last year, an American guided-missile destroyer traveled to Djibouti, Kenya, Mauritius, Tanzania and South Africa, in the last case holding a week of joint exercises with one of the nation’s warships. 

In February of 2009 “for the first time the U.S. Navy [had] warships on each side of the African continent as part of Africa Partnership Station’s ongoing teaching mission with African nations.” [28] To wit, a frigate in Mozambique, Kenya and Tanzania and an amphibious transport dock in Senegal. 

The month before a U.S. frigate became the first Navy warship to anchor off Equatorial Guinea’s mainland city of Bata “as part of the Navy’s Africa Partnership Station initiative,” after visits to Cape Verde, Senegal, Benin and Sierra Leone on its way to Tanzania and Kenya. 

The U.S. charge d’affaires in Equatorial Guinea was quoted as offering one reason for the visit: “It’s the third largest oil- and gas-producer in sub-Saharan Africa, with a significant foreign investment footprint….” [29] 

“The October 2007 initial deployment of the Africa Partnership Station (APS) to the Gulf of Guinea and the coincident rollout of A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower signaled a strong American commitment to leveraging U.S. sea power….The APS is a Global Fleet Station (GFS) sea base designed to assist the Gulf of Guinea maritime community in developing better maritime governance….The Global Fleet Station, born out of a need for military shaping and stability operations…is a proven concept for this mission in such areas as the Gulf of Guinea and the Caribbean basin.” [30] 

Currently AFRICOM is leading the Phoenix Express 2010 maritime counter-insurgency exercise in the Mediterranean Sea with Morocco and Senegal among other African nations. 

Paralleling NATO’s almost nine-year Operation Active Endeavor in the Mediterranean which patrols the northern coast of Africa from the Suez Canal to the Strait of Gibraltar, the U.S. Navy now regularly roams the African coastline from where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic Ocean down to the strategic oil-rich Gulf of Guinea and all the way south to Cape Town, then north again along the entire Indian Ocean coast to the Red Sea. Africa is encircled by U.S. and NATO warships. 

Pentagon Builds Surrogate Armies To Control Africa Region By Region 

On the mainland, the Pentagon has transformed the armed forces of Liberia, Rwanda, Uganda and Ethiopia into military surrogates on both ends of the continent. Since 2006 “a U.S. State Department-led initiative…has completely rebuilt the military in Liberia,” according to AFRICOM. [31] 

Last October the commander of U.S. Army Africa, Major General William B. Garrett III, visited Rwanda (whose military is a U.S. and British proxy) and “stressed that the US army is interested in strengthening its cooperation with the Rwandan Defence Force (RDF).” Garrett confirmed that the U.S. was ready to send more advisers and trainers for the Rwandan army and added, “Likewise, we hope that the Rwandan Defence Forces can also participate in our exercises. So we are hoping to increase the level of cooperation between the US and the Rwandan Defense forces.” [32] 

Earlier in the year AFRICOM’s General Ward also visited Rwanda, where he “met with Rwandan defense leaders and watched displays of Rwandan Defense Force (RDF) capabilities during a two-day visit April 20-21, 2009.” [33] 

Late last year Ward visited Morocco, a U.S. military partner for several decades, where he had paid two visits the preceding year, and “discussed bilateral military cooperation and opportunities to strengthen partnership between the Royal Armed Forces and the U.S. Army.” 

Recently U.S. Marines trained Moroccan troops in Spain ahead of 12-nation naval maneuvers in the Mediterranean Sea. 

This April 28 Ward paid his third visit to Botswana, “where he discussed ongoing regional security efforts and potential future military-to-military activities with the BDF [Botswana Defence Force]….The BDF and U.S. military conducted 40 cooperation events together in 2010.” 

The following day the AFRICOM chief paid his first visit to Namibia where “he met with Namibia’s National Defense Force officials to discuss potential future cooperation activities.” [34] 

On April 27 Brigadier General Silver Kayemba, chief of training and operations for the Ugandan People’s Defense Force (UPDF), visited Washington to meet with Major General William B. Garrett III, commander of U.S. Army Africa. 

The Ugandan general was quoted saying on the occasion, “This visit strengthens our relationship with the U.S. Armed Forces, particularly with U.S. Army Africa. We are looking forward to even closer cooperation in the future.” [35] 

Under an Africa Partnership Station program, a 130-troop Security Cooperation Marine Air Ground Task Force has been training military forces in Ghana, Liberia and Senegal. The marine commander in charge, Lieutenant Colonel John Golden, said, “This is the cutting edge of phase zero counterinsurgency,” an aspect of “military-to-military training in a very austere environment in areas where there hasn’t been a lot of U.S. military presence in the last 235 years.” [36] 

A report by the Stars and Stripes on May 2 disclosed that “At a remote military base in the jungle city of Kisangani, an elite team of U.S. troops is attempting to retrain a battalion of Congolese infantrymen.” 

The feature laid emphasis on the humanitarian facet of the operation as reports on AFRICOM activities generally do, but also contained these excerpts: 

“There are economic and strategic incentives to bringing more security to the Congo, which is rich in natural resources such as cobalt, a key component in the manufacturing of cell phones and other electronics. The country contains 80 percent of the world’s cobalt reserves….An April 2009 report to Congress by the National Defense Stockpile Center made clear that ensuring access to mineral markets around the world is of vital interest to national security.” [37] 

The U.S. is not dragging almost every nation in Africa into its military network because of altruism or concerns for the security of the continent’s people. AFRICOM’s function is that of every predatory military power: The threat and use of armed violence to gain economic and geopolitical advantages. 

1) U.S. Department of Defense, March 18, 2009
2) Agence France-Presse, September 12, 2007
3) Ibid
4) Defense News, September 20, 2007
5) Xinhua News Agency, May 28, 2007
7) Stars and Stripes, September 30, 2007
8) North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe
February 24, 2010
9) North Atlantic Treaty Organization, March 11, 2009
10) North Atlantic Treaty Organization, February 18, 2010
11) Deutsche Presse-Agentur, February 28, 2007
12) United States European Command, April 18, 2007
13) United States European Command, July 29, 2008
14) United Press International, December 28, 2005
15) U.S. Africa Command, March 31, 2010
16) U.S. Africa Command, April 30, 2010
17) Ghana News Agency, June 23, 2008
18) Agence France-Presse, November 29, 2007
19) Afrique en ligne, April 19, 2010
20) The Nation, October 29, 2009
21) The New Times, May 4, 2010
22) U.S. Department of Defense, March 18, 2009
23) Business Day (Nigeria), July 25, 2007
24) Stars and Stripes, June 14, 2007
25) Stars and Stripes, October 16, 2007
26) Stars and Stripes, June 14, 2007
27) American Forces Press Service, October 15, 2007
28) Stars and Stripes, February 1, 2009
29) Stars and Stripes, January 20, 2009
30) Afrique en ligne, April 13, 2010
31) U.S. Africa Command, April 29, 2010
32) The New Times, October 20, 2009
33) U.S. Africa Command, April 22, 2009
34) U.S. Africa Command, May 1, 2010
35) U.S. Africa Command, April 30, 2010
36) Marine Corps Times, May 3, 2010
37) Stars and Stripes, May 2, 2010

Categories: Uncategorized

Atlantic Council: Securing The 21st Century For NATO

May 1, 2010 1 comment

April 30, 2010

Atlantic Council: Securing The 21st Century For NATO
Rick Rozoff

On April 28 the Atlantic Council held its annual awards dinner at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Washington, D.C. where the U.S. State Department is also situated.

The honorees were headed by former President Bill Clinton, who was given the Distinguished International Leadership Award for his intervention in the Balkans in the 1990s, expanding the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and launching the North American Free Trade Agreement. Josef Ackermann, Chairman of the Management Board and the Group Executive Committee of Deutsche Bank AG, was presented with the Distinguished Business Leadership Award.

Distinguished Military Leadership Awards were presented jointly to U.S. Marine General James Mattis, currently chief of U.S. Joint Forces Command and NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Transformation from 2007-2009, and French General Stephane Abrial, who took over the NATO command in Norfolk, Virginia from Mattis last year.

The Atlantic Council of the United States also conferred its first Humanitarian Leadership Award on the Irish pop singer Bono.

NBC plugged the event beforehand with this background blurb:

“The Atlantic Council, which counts current National Security Advisor James L. Jones and UN Ambassador Susan Rice as former employees, is a non-partisan group with a mission of promoting international cooperation, particularly between the U.S. and Europe. Jones will be joined at the black-tie gathering by Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen, Sen. John McCain and a host of other Washington socialites and politicians.” [1]

Jones was chairman of the Atlantic Council from 2007 until becoming what was described after the announcement of his selection for National Security Advisor as a new Henry Kissinger [2]. At the Munich Security Conference in February 2009, a few days after assuming his present post, Jones opened his address with these words:

“Thank you for that wonderful tribute to Henry Kissinger yesterday. Congratulations. As the most recent National Security Advisor of the United States, I take my daily orders from Dr. Kissinger, filtered down through General Brent Scowcroft and Sandy Berger, who is also here. We have a chain of command in the National Security Council that exists today.” [3]

Prior to taking charge of the Atlantic Council, Jones had been a Marine Corps four-star general, top commander of U.S. European Command and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe from 2003 to 2006, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s special envoy for Middle East security, in which function he discussed deploying NATO troops to the West Bank, a recommendation echoed by his Atlantic Council colleague Brent Scowcroft and former U.S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski at the time.

Scowcroft, a retired Air Force general and National Security Advisor under Presidents Gerald Ford and George H. W. Bush (on both sides of Brzezinski in the role), is now the chairman of the Atlantic Council’s International Advisory Board.

At this year’s award dinner, attended by “more than 900 leaders from over 50 countries,” Scowcroft “introduced Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and 2008 Distinguished Military Leadership Award honoree, French Air Force General Stephane Abrial, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation and co-recipient of this year’s Distinguished Military Leader Award [and] General James Mattis, his predecessor at ACT and co-awardee.” [4]

Zbigniew Brzezinski’s daughter, MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski, co-emceed the event. Her brother Ian, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for NATO and European Policy, is an Atlantic Council rapporteur.

The Atlantic Council of the United States was established in 1961 by former Secretaries of State Dean Acheson and Christian Herter to bolster support for NATO. Atlantic Councils were set up in other member states for the same purpose, and at the present time they now number more than 40 in NATO and Partnership for Peace countries. The name is derivative of North Atlantic Council, the highest governing body of NATO.

According to the British Atlantic Council’s website, the councils are the product of the Atlantic Treaty Association formed in 1954, and the latter still “acts as an umbrella organisation to coordinate the different councils’ efforts to promote public support for the institutions that bring together political leaders, academics and diplomats in an effort to further the values laid down in the North Atlantic Treaty….” [5]

The U.S. Atlantic Council is preeminent, though, as the U.S. is in NATO. Foreign officials – heads of state, defense and foreign ministers – routinely frequent and speak at the Atlantic Council’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. when on trips to visit the White House, the Pentagon and the State Department.

This year’s awards banquet “included ten current or former heads of state and government, two dozen members of Congress, 40 ambassadors to the United States and 35 global chief executives, and numerous senior officials of the Obama administration.” [6]

In February of 2009 James Jones stepped down as chairman of the Atlantic Council to become Barack Obama’s National Security Advisor. Brent Scowcroft assisted in selecting Obama’s national security team, so Jones’ appointment should have been no surprise.

At the same time Susan Rice left the Atlantic Council for the U.S. ambassadorship to the United Nations and Richard Holbrooke to become the White House’s and State Department’s Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Fellow members General Eric Shinseki and Anne-Marie Slaughter went on to become the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and Director of Policy Planning at the State Department, respectively.

As an indication of why Clinton received the main award, in his comments he boasted of his military interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo although “78 percent of the US public opposed going in to the Balkans….” [7]

Georgian news media reported that the nation’s President Mikheil Saakashvili “attended the annual reception at the prestigious Atlantic Council in Washington, D.C where he was invited as the co-chairperson of the event.” [8]

As a further earnest of its mission to promote “constructive U.S. leadership and engagement in international affairs based on the central role of the Atlantic community in meeting the international challenges of the 21st century” [9] and in loyalty to the four pillars of the “North Atlantic Treaty; democracy, freedom, security and the rule of law,” [10] in past years awards were given to:

2009: The Distinguished International Leadership Award to former President George H.W. Bush and former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl.

The Distinguished Military Leadership Award to U.S. Central Command chief General David Petraeus “for his strength and courage in Iraq, Afghanistan, and throughout his military career.”

Defense Secretary Robert Gates provided the introduction for Bush and Zbigniew Brzezinski for the German official receiving the award for Kohl. Bill Clinton sent a personal message for Bush.

2008: The Distinguished International Leadership Award was given to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the military award to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen and the business one to Australian media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

Then former Spanish Prime Minister and Atlantic Council International Advisory Board member Jose Maria Aznar introduced Blair. The dinner also included remarks by former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and Colin Powell and ex-National Security Advisor Scowcroft.

2007: The Distinguished International Leadership Award was given to former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan and the military equivalent to outgoing NATO Supreme Allied Commander General Jones. Colin Powell, the recipient of the 2005 Distinguished International Leadership Award, introduced the honorees.

Previous recipients included Scowcroft himself, Henry Kissinger, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Joseph Ralston and former NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson.

On the website of the Atlantic Council, with the tag Renewing the Alliance for the 21st Century, [11] among the links to other sites provided are those under the heading of think tanks, which are:

American Enterprise Institute
American Foreign Policy Council
Aspen Institute
Brookings Institution
Carnegie Endowment
Cato Institute
Center for a New American Security
Center for Strategic and International Studies
Center for Transatlantic Relations/Johns Hopkins Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies
Council on Foreign Relations
Foreign Policy Research Institute
German Marshall Fund of the United States
Heritage Foundation
Hudson Institute
New America Foundation
Nixon Center
Rand Corporation
United States Institute of Peace
Wilson Center International Center for Scholars

The above organizations contain what was formerly described in the corporate and financial worlds as interlocking directorates; officials and members of one are often also those of several others.

Along with similar and related groups like Freedom House, Project for the New American Century, U.S. Committee on NATO, Project on Transitional Democracies, National Endowment for Democracy and its International Forum for Democratic Studies, World Movement for Democracy and its Network of Democracy Research Institutes, International Republican Institute, National Democratic Institute for International Affairs and a myriad of complementary non-governmental organizations bankrolled by billionaire currency speculator George Soros and others – all identified as non-profit, non-partisan (which in the U.S. denotes bipartisan Democrat-Republican) organizations, though many are funded by the U.S. government – the Atlantic Council and the sites it links to are collectively the best example of what for over a century has been described as the invisible government. More particularly, an unaccountable foreign policy establishment for which Euro-Atlantic strategic ties with emphasis on the NATO military bloc are given central emphasis.

Officers and members of the think tanks and nominal non-governmental organizations shift effortlessly and regularly between those groups and top positions in the State Department, Defense Department, National Security Council and elsewhere in the federal government.

The Council on Foreign Relations offers fellowships, an example being the Cyrus Vance Fellowship in Diplomatic Studies, for one-year studies for State Department personnel.

As mentioned earlier, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice is currently on leave from the board of directors of the Atlantic Council. She has also temporarily departed the Brookings Institution and has been a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Aspen Strategy Group, a project of the Aspen Institute. The next-to-last group’s co-chairs are the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft and the Sultan of Oman Professor of International Relations at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University Joseph Nye. Its members include Josef Korbel and Zbigniew Brzezinski protegees Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice, and Richard Armitage, Richard Haass, Richard Lugar, William Perry and Strobe Talbott.

Haass has been the president of the Council on Foreign Relations since 2003, and before that was Director of Policy Planning for the State Department. Strobe Talbott is the president of the Brookings Institution and was the Clinton administration’s Deputy Secretary of State and Special Adviser to the Secretary of State on the New Independent States in the former Soviet Union.

The Aspen Strategy Group’s director is R. Nicholas Burns, who served on the National Security Council from 1990–1995, seamlessly transitioning from the George H.W. Bush to the Bill Clinton administration as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia Affairs. Burns was also U.S. permanent representative to NATO from 2001-2005 under the George W. Bush administration and serves on the Board of Directors of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Atlantic Council.

The roster of the Atlantic Council is packed with former Pentagon, State Department and Central Intelligence Agency veterans. Its chairman is former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel. Its president and chief executive officer is Frederick Kempe, a journalist with the Wall Street Journal for thirty years who is now a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and who serves on the Senior Advisory Group of Admiral James Stavridis, commander of U.S. European Command and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe.

Its senior adviser on international security is Kurt Volker, U.S. ambassador to NATO from 2008-2009 until he was replaced by the Brookings Institution’s Ivo Daalder, and also former analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency, deputy director of NATO Secretary-General George Robertson’s private office, acting director for European and Eurasian Affairs for the National Security Council, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.

The chairman of the International Advisory Board is Brent Scowcroft.

The board of directors includes (with former titles) Defense Secretaries Harold Brown and William Perry; R. Nicholas Burns; former NATO top military commanders Joseph Ralston, Wesley Clark and Bantz John Craddock; Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs from 2001-2009 Paula Dobriansky (an Eastern Europe and former post-Soviet states hand); Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Eric Edelman; Deputy Secretary of the Treasury and U.S. ambassador to the European Union Stuart Eizenstat; Clinton administration envoy to the Balkans Robert Gelbard; Special Envoy for European Affairs, Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy and ambassador to the European Union C. Boyden Gray; Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Marc Grossman; National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley; Richard Holbrooke; National Security Council Director of West European Affairs and Director of Middle East Affairs, ambassador to NATO and current RAND Corporation Senior Advisor Robert E. Hunter; Henry Kissinger; Assistant Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Deputy U.S. Representative to NATO General Barry McCaffrey; Deputy Commander of U.S. European Command Charles Wald; Central Intelligence Agency director R. James Woolsey and U.S. Central Command chief Anthony C. Zinni.

Honorary directors include six of the last seven secretaries of state: George Schultz, James Baker, Warren Christopher, Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice. Frank Carlucci, regime change engineer from the Belgian Congo to Portugal and ex-Defense Secretary, is another, as is fellow former Pentagon chief James Schlesinger and former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and current chairman of the Homeland Security Advisory Council William Webster.

The Atlantic Council’s International Advisory Board counts among its members Spain’s Jose Maria Aznar, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Rupert Murdoch and Lord (George)Robertson.

Its Strategic Advisors Group (SAG) was founded in 2007 by James Jones and Brent Scowcroft and includes many of the members of the Board of Directors and a higher percentage of European and other non-American members. It includes former Deputy Commander of U.S. European Command General Charles Boyd, former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Admiral Edmund Giambastiani, former chief of the German armed forces and chairman of the NATO Military Committee General Harald Kujat, and ex-Director-General of the European Union Military Staff Lieutenant-General Jean-Paul Perruche.

“In 2008, the SAG focused its efforts on the topic of NATO reform, teaming up with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the National Defense University, and John’s Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies to produce a report entitled ‘Alliance Reborn: An Atlantic Compact for the 21st Century.’ This effort outlined ways in which Allies should reinvigorate NATO, including improving decision making, enhancing capabilities, and tackling major challenges to ensure NATO’s relevance for new and emerging threats.” [12]

The Atlantic Council receives funding from numerous foundations, including the Ford Foundation, the Open Society Institute, the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the Cuba Policy Foundation. It also receives support from the U.S. Departments of the Air Force, Army, Navy and Energy and from the U.S. Mission to NATO and the U.S. Mission to the European Union.

Its corporate members consist of almost 100 companies which include arms manufacturers Boeing, EADS North America, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon, and other concerns as varied as AT&T, Chevron U.S.A., Daimler, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, MSNBC, Sony, Textron, Time Warner, Toyota and Viacom.

Although still concentrating on the Euro-Atlantic zone, the Atlantic Council has followed NATO into former Soviet Caucasus and Central Asia territories, Asia as a whole, the Middle East and Africa. It now has a South Asia Center and a Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center which “serves as the Atlantic Council’s focal point for work related to Black Sea, Caspian, and Central Asian energy issues, such as pipeline politics, the East-West energy corridor, and east and southeast European energy policies. Security concerns throughout the wider Eurasia region, gas crises, and the continued debate over proposed pipelines into Europe make the Center’s efforts increasingly urgent.” [13]

In its own words its contemporary priority objectives are:

– identifying and shaping responses to major issues facing the Atlantic Alliance and transatlantic relations;

– building consensus on U.S. policy towards Russia, China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan;

– promoting balanced responses to growing energy needs and environmental protection;

– drafting roadmaps for U.S. policy towards the Balkans, Africa, Cuba, Iraq, Iran and Libya;

– engaging students from across the Euro-Atlantic area in the processes of NATO transformation and enlargement

Starting two years ago, the Strategic Advisors Group (SAG) has “focused its efforts on the topic of NATO reform, teaming up with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the National Defense University, and John’s Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies to produce a report entitled ‘Alliance Reborn: An Atlantic Compact for the 21st Century.’ This effort outlined ways in which Allies should reinvigorate NATO, including improving decision making, enhancing capabilities, and tackling major challenges to ensure NATO’s relevance for new and emerging threats.

“The ‘Alliance Reborn’ report served as a prelude for the SAG’s ‘STRATCON 2010’ project, which seeks to shape the debate concerning NATO’s development of a new Strategic Concept. Led by SAG members Yves Boyer and Julian Lindley-French, the project influences the Strategic Concept development process from both inside and outside the formal process.” [14]

The SAG is no abstract planning body, as it “produces major public policy briefs and reports, hosts off-the-record Strategy Sessions for senior U.S. and European civilian and military officials, and provides informal, expert advice to senior policymakers.” [15] Its 2007 report “Saving Afghanistan: An Appeal and Plan for Urgent Action,” authored by James Jones, was released at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the presence of Committee Chairman Senator John Kerry, and Jones later testified on its contents before the same committee.

The Strategic Advisors Group then visited NATO Headquarters, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe and European Union Headquarters in Belgium to brief European military and civilians leaders on the report.

The group was present at all five official NATO conferences on the new Strategic Concept and co-hosted the largest of them in Washington in February at the National Defense University with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Defense Secretary Gates and Secretary of State Clinton. [16] The last-named began the Washington Strategic Concept Seminar by delivering an address at the same the Ritz Carlton in Washington that hosted the recent Atlantic Council awards affair, and at the event Atlantic Council Chairman Chuck Hagel provided the welcoming remarks.

The Atlantic Council of the United States has demonstrated its quasi-governmental nature by hosting NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s first major speech in the U.S. last September, shortly after succeeding the Netherlands’ Jaap de Hoop Scheffer at the post on August 1.

At the same event Atlantic Council member Senator Richard Lugar reiterated the demand for the former Soviet republics of Georgia and Ukraine to be absorbed into NATO. His comments included:

“NATO’s contributions are taken for granted. It is important to take stock of just how remarkable it is that NATO is involved in combat three thousand miles from Europe. We should also celebrate the fact that NATO membership has been a tremendous engine of reform among prospective members, helping them to achieve the institutional structures needed for success in the 21st century….We must not repeat the folly of the early days of the Cold War, when the appearance of a rigid U.S.-drawn defense perimeter in the Far East invited the perception that we would abide any geopolitical upheaval behind that line. The West must hold out the prospect of membership to qualified aspirant countries, including Ukraine, Georgia, and the entire Balkan region.” [17]

The Atlantic Council hosted and showcased the presidents of Georgia and Ukraine, Mikheil Saakashvili and Viktor Yushchenko, after their ascension to power in so-called color revolutions in 2004 and 2005, respectively.

Last October 7 the Atlantic Council held a forum titled “Missile Defense in Europe: Next Steps” with U.S. Missile Defense Agency director Lieutenant General Patrick O’Reilly and Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs Ellen Tauscher on the Obama administration’s expanding global interceptor missile system.

Tauscher’s effusive comments included:

“I want to thank all of my friends at the Atlantic Council, especially people like Sen. Hagel and others that are here that – your leadership is fundamental to our being sure that we constantly keep refreshed the very, very strong relationship we have, not only with our NATO partners, but across the Atlantic with our friends that are not only trading partners, but certainly are national security partners. I believe NATO is the premier defense alliance in the world….”

“Let me begin by stating unequivocally that the Obama administration is committed to deploying timely, cost-effective and responsive missile defenses to protect the United States, our forward-deployed troops, as well as our friends and allies from ballistic missile attack. Statements by some that President Obama has decided to forego, cancel or shelf plans for the U.S. and European-based ballistic missile defense deployments are simply not true. The implication that we have abandoned our NATO allies in Europe, that we do not intend to abide by our Article V obligations with NATO, or that we have devalued our treaty obligations to our allies or other security commitments to our friends is also not true….[T]here was no attempt to curry favor with the Russian government, or to secure some kind of tradeoff in negotiations for a START follow-on treaty.” [18]

O’Reilly spoke of the U.S. interceptor missile project in Eastern Europe as a broader, NATO-integrated one than that planned by President George W. Bush, insisting that “it has always been adaptable to NATO and it was built with NATO protocols in mind, so that it could readily be interfaced with the NATO system. But now we are at the point where through the active layer theater missile defense project and other discussions with NATO, we are very open to integrate the command and control with a NATO command-and-control system.” [19]

On February 2 the Atlantic Council’s Vice President and Director of the International Security Program, Damon Wilson, spoke at a video conference in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev entitled “U.S. expectations from the Ukrainian election” five days before the presidential runoff election.

Wilson was Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for European Affairs at the National Security Council from December 2007 to January 2009 when he “played a leading role in developing and coordinating U.S. government efforts to advance a Europe whole, free and at peace and to work with Europe to promote security, prosperity and democracy around the world. He managed interagency policy on NATO, the European Union, Georgia, Ukraine, the Balkans, Eurasian energy security and Turkey, and planned numerous Presidential visits to Europe, including U. S.-European Union and NATO Summits.”

Prior to that he served at the National Security Council as the Director for Central, Eastern and Northern European Affairs from January 2004 to November 2006. “During this time, Mr. Wilson strengthened ties with the German Chancellery, coordinated interagency policy in support of reform in Ukraine, including during the Orange Revolution, directed efforts to deepen engagement with America’s allies in Central and Eastern Europe…and promoted close consultations with coalition partners in Iraq and Afghanistan.” [20]

At the Kiev conference he said that a “neutral status is not an option for Ukraine,” and “cautioned Ukraine against seeking an alternative model of strengthening Ukraine’s security.

“Such alternatives could prevent Ukraine from further integration into Europe, Wilson believes. In his words, the best way to guarantee Ukraine’s security lies through cooperation with NATO and internal reforms.” [21]

In addition to the expansion of NATO throughout Europe and even deeper into former Soviet space (with concomitant political, foreign policy, economic and legal transformations) and the deployment of a missile shield along Russia’s western border, the Atlantic Council is playing a major role in the ongoing energy war with Russia over supplies of natural gas and oil to Europe.

Last August Alexandros Petersen, senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center, spoke with Azerbaijan’s Trend News Agency and said:

“Azerbaijan not only has significant reserves of its own, but it is also a gateway to vast reserves on the Caspian’s eastern shore and further into Central Asia, including Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Azerbaijan is also important because it is already supplying Western countries with oil through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, its gas goes through the South Caucasus Pipeline and it is the most likely producer country at the moment to supply the Nabucco gas pipeline.”

“Turkmenistan hold enormous potential and will be a growing player in the region and globally in terms of natural gas, but the central question about Turkmenistan is whether its resources will primarily go east or west.” [22]

Petersen “came to the Council from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, where he served as Southeast Europe Policy Scholar, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where he was an Adjunct Fellow with the Russia and Eurasia Program. Previously, he served as Program Director of the Caspian Europe Center in Brussels and Senior Researcher at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. In 2006, he was a Visiting Scholar at the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies in Tbilisi. He has also provided research for the U.S. National Petroleum Council’s Geopolitics and Policy Task Group and the Council on Foreign Relations Task Force on Russian-American Relations.” [23]

The following month Senator Richard Lugar’s remarks at the Atlantic Council also included advocating the activation of NATO’s mutual military assistance clause in reference to energy policy:

“Three years ago at the NATO summit in Riga, I encouraged the Alliance to make energy security an Article Five commitment in which any member experiencing a deliberate energy disruption would receive assistance from other Alliance members. I argued that there was little distinction between an energy cutoff and an armed invasion….Merging energy support into NATO’s core mission would also strengthen Alliance cohesion and reinforce public support for the alliance. The challenge of securing stable, affordable energy supplies is one that looms at the top of every ally’s agenda, cutting across the fields of transportation, industrial, environmental, and national security policy.” [24]

In the same month the Atlantic Council hosted General William Ward, commander of United States Africa Command, who detailed operations and exercises throughout the continent. The Council’s website has announced that its Ansari Africa Center is “the newest addition to the Atlantic Council’s regional programs.” [25]

The U.S. Atlantic Council depends on its affiliates in Europe and Asia to apply pressure to their respective local citizenry in the face of plummeting support for NATO’s war in Afghanistan and corresponding dissatisfaction with the Alliance in general. Local Atlantic Councils are also in the forefront of efforts to recruit nations in Scandinavia (Finland and Sweden), the Balkans and the former Soviet Union into the bloc.

Last month the Atlantic Council of Finland co-sponsored a forum on NATO’s new Strategic Concept at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with a presentation by Jamie Shea, Head of Policy Planning in the Private Office of the NATO Secretary General. Also in March, the Atlantic Council of Serbia held an event promoting its nation’s accession to NATO membership.

Last May the Atlantic Council of Finland sponsored a talk by Norwegian Defense Minister Anne-Grete Strom-Erichsen in which she uttered stark comments in reference to Norway’s and Finland’s joint neighbor Russia.

A report of her comments stated that “Strom-Erichsen outlined the importance of shaping a common position in defence and security matters concerning the High North. The Minister particularly called for ‘strengthening the relevance of NATO.’ Considering Russia’s recent push in its military and economic spheres in the Arctic Sea, Strom-Erichsen sees a worrying potential for a possible destabilisation in the region.” [26]

An interview conducted by the Atlantic Council on NATO’s new Strategic Concept last December with Julian Lindley-French, a member of its Strategic Advisors Group and an instructor at the Royal Military Academy of the Netherlands, was no more reassuring. It included the contention that “credible military power remains and will remain the foundation of credible power” and “the need to project credible military stabilizing power will likely grow.”

In particular, Lindley-French stressed that “Russia must once and for all decide if it is part of the Alliance’s security mission or a challenge to it. The invasion of Georgia was anti-freedom and NATO must resist such adventurism firmly.” [27]

At the awards dinner on April 28 Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski spoke of his nation’s NATO membership on a trip to Washington that included meetings with Secretary of State Clinton, Defense Secretary Gates and Zbigniew Brzezinski in which the focus was “on military cooperation, notably a new US defence project to replace the so-called anti-missile shield.” [28]

Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also spoke and alluding to NATO’s ever-widening global scope said, “You pick the place, the Balkans, Iraq, Africa, the Mediterranean, Haiti, and yes, Afghanistan – and you’ll find the alliance meeting these challenges in spectacular fashion.” [29]

21st century, global NATO will not permit competitors. Neither in its own Euro-Atlantic territory nor anywhere else. The North Atlantic military bloc maintains its headquarters in Brussels, but its international strategy is elaborated in Washington, D.C.

1) NBC Washington, April 28, 2010
2) Global Energy War: Washington’s New Kissinger’s African Plans
Stop NATO, January 22, 2009
3) Real Clear Politics, February 8, 2009
4) Atlantic Council, April 29, 2010
5) Atlantic Council of the United Kingdom
6) Atlantic Council, April 29, 2010
7) Agence France-Presse, April 29, 2010
8) Rustavi 2, April 29, 2010
9) Atlantic Council
10) Atlantic Council of the United Kingdom
12) Atlantic Council
13) Atlantic Council
14) Atlantic Council
15) Ibid
16) 21st Century Strategy: Militarized Europe, Globalized NATO
Stop NATO, February 26, 2010
17) Kokomo Perspective, September 29, 2009
18) Atlantic Council
19) Atlantic Council
20) Atlantic Council
21) Interfax-Ukraine, February 2, 2010
22) Trend News Agency, August 28, 2009
23) Atlantic Council
24) Kokomo Perspective, September 29, 2009
25) Atlantic Council
26) Norwegian Ministry of Defence, May 14, 2009
27) Julian Lindley-French, Stratcon 2010: A Military Route to Freedom?
Atlantic Council, December 16, 2009
28) Polish Radio, April 28, 2010
29) Atlantic Council, April 28, 2010

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