Archive for December, 2010

New Year To Mark Intensification Of West’s War In Afghanistan And Pakistan

December 31, 2010 Leave a comment

December 31, 2010

New Year To Mark Intensification Of West’s War In Afghanistan And Pakistan
Rick Rozoff

No stranger to armed conflicts over the past 70 years, the United States has completed its first decade of continuous warfare: 2001-2010.

On January 1 the U.S. and its allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization will enter not only a new year but a second decade of war in Afghanistan.

The air and cruise missile attacks that commenced on October 7, 2001 and the insertion of U.S. and British ground troops that followed have been succeeded by a 48-nation, 152,000-troop occupation and counterinsurgency campaign that is also conducting almost daily deadly drone missile strikes and helicopter gunship raids into neighboring Pakistan.

The U.S. Defense Department announced that on September 1 American troop strength in Iraq was decreased to under 50,000 as the occupation was transitioned to so-called Operation New Dawn. Troops from approximately 40 other nations assigned to Multi-National Force – Iraq, most of them new NATO members and NATO candidates from Eastern Europe and former Soviet republics in the South Caucasus and Central Asia, were withdrawn from 2006-2008. Rather not withdrawn, but transferred to Afghanistan, leaving behind only the remnants of a once 160,000-strong American contingent and the NATO Training Mission-Iraq.

There are now over three times as many foreign troops in Afghanistan as there are in Iraq, from 48 official NATO Troop Contributing Nations. Also deployed in theater or pledged for that purpose are troops from several other countries in Asia, Africa, South America and the Middle East, among them Bahrain, Colombia, Egypt and Kazakhstan.

The microcosm of a U.S. and NATO rapidly deployable, interoperable global expeditionary military force melded in combat. Killing and dying together on a common battlefield, the blood of thirty nations spilled in one country.

711 foreign troops were killed in Afghanistan in 2010, a nearly forty percent increase over 2009. By comparison, 60 foreign soldiers were killed in Iraq in 2010, all of them American. Almost 500 U.S. and 213 non-U.S. troops lost their lives in Afghanistan in 2010.

Over 800 Afghan government soldiers were killed in the same period and 2,400 civilians were killed in the first ten months of the year.

A Pentagon official in the Afghan capital estimated that 18,000 attacks were conducted against U.S. and NATO forces in 2010, twice as many as in the preceding year. [1]

Far from any prospect of a decrease in the death toll in the war-ravaged country during the new year, the spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, Germany’s Brigadier General Josef Blotz, this week stated that the Afghan war will only intensify in 2011, that “There is no end to the fighting season; we need to keep pressure on the Taliban all over the country.” [2]

As though to confirm Blotz’s claim, on December 30 two rockets landed in the main U.S. military base at the Bagram Airfield.

Fighting has increased in the north of Afghanistan where the bulk of 5,000 German troops assigned to NATO are stationed, an area hitherto comparatively peaceful. Bundeswehr forces are engaged in ground combat operations for the first time since the Second World War. Berlin has lost 46 soldiers in the conflict.

Germany recently ordered the latest of 473 Eagle reconnaissance vehicles under a $165 million contract with the U.S. military contractor General Dynamics. The first armored vehicles were delivered to the German armed forces in 2009 and deployed to Afghanistan.

On the day before Christmas NATO troops raided the compound of a private security firm in Kabul, killing two Afghan nationals. Afterward, Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Zemarai Bashary announced his government has determined that “NATO is in violation of a security agreement in Kabul and is suspending an Afghan police general who helped the U.S.-led coalition carry out a raid in the capital that killed two private security guards.” [3]

On the same day New Zealand special forces serving under NATO launched a night raid in a factory in Kabul and slew two more security guards.

To indicate in the aftermath of the NATO summit in Portugal in November that the West is intensifying its concentration on the Afghanistan-Pakistan war front, since the summit ended on November 20 several major officials from NATO countries have visited Afghanistan: U.S. President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and First Deputy Prime Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, Romanian President Traian Basescu and Defense Minister Gabriel Oprea, French Defence Minister Alain Juppe, Canadian Governor General David Johnston and U.S. Secretary of the Navy Raymond Mabus.

Chancellor Merkel told German troops in Kunduz province: “What we have here is not just a warlike situation. You are involved in combat as in war.” [4]

Afghanistan is the cynosure of the Western military bloc’s worldwide military strategy, which now has expanded to include Pakistan.

2010 was the deadliest year of the over nine-year war in regard to U.S. unmanned aerial vehicle (drone) missile attacks in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas, where over 120 strikes killed 1,000 people. In 2009 the Central Intelligence Agency directed less than half that amount – 53 – of lethal operations in Pakistan. December was among the most deadly months of the year, with at least 123 people killed in twelve missile attacks. [5]

The intensity and ferocity of the strikes compelled Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to warn that “drone attacks were affecting efforts to end terrorism in the country, therefore we condemn it and we are against it.” [6]

On Christmas Day General David Petraeus, commander of all U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, was in the war zone and stated, “there will be more coordinated military operations on either side of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.”

He insisted on more “hammer and anvil operations” after revealing that “there had already been coordinated operations on both sides of the border, with Pakistani forces on one side and NATO and Afghan troops on the other.” [7]

Two NATO helicopter gunships staged the latest violation of Pakistani air space shortly after Petraeus spoke, entering the Landi Kotal area of Khyber Agency in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. NATO intrusions into Pakistan have been mounting since last September and on the 30th of that month a NATO helicopter attack killed three Pakistani soldiers.

The U.S. and NATO are slated to deploy troops to a Pakistani military base in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province, which borders Iran and where the Pentagon and CIA have operated out of the Shamsi air base, southwest of the capital, for years. NATO helicopters have also entered the airspace of Balochistan, marking an expansion of operations from the tribal areas into the heart of Pakistan.

In recent weeks reports have disclosed that the U.S. will supplement CIA drone missile strikes and NATO helicopter gunship raids in Pakistan’s tribal areas with special forces operations.

A Russian analyst commented on that development in ominous tones:

“Till now US troops have invaded Pakistan only sporadically. The launch of an operation against the Taliban in Pakistan may create new problems for Washington and may lead to the expansion of the Afghan threat.” [8]

It is in fact the latest escalation of the Afghan war into Pakistan. One that will increase combat operations, deaths and destruction on both sides of the border in the new year beyond the record levels of the last.

1) Voice of Russia, December 27, 2010
2) Deutsche Presse-Agentur, December 27, 2010
3) Associated Press, December 26, 2010
4) Agence France-Press, December 19, 2010
5) America’s Undeclared War: Deadly Drone Attacks In Pakistan Reach Record
Stop NATO, September 26, 2010
6) Trend News Agency, December 30, 2010
7) Associated Press, December 26, 2010
8) Yevgeny Kryshkin, NATO’s Afghan campaign goes off course
Voice of Russia, December 27, 2010

Categories: Uncategorized

Washington Uses Arms Sales To Achieve Global Supremacy

December 30, 2010 1 comment

December 30, 2010

Washington Uses Arms Sales To Achieve Global Supremacy
Rick Rozoff

In its Yearbook 2010, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) documents that the United States accounts for 43 percent of world military spending and 30 percent of global arms exports, making it preeminent in both categories.

Aggregate spending on American defense and on wars abroad is substantially larger than the official Pentagon budget and in fact may account for half of international military expenditures. [1]

In his Nobel Peace Prize address in December of 2009, President Barack Obama unabashedly celebrated his nation as the world’s sole military superpower [2], and his actions in the interim have been dedicated to confirming, prolonging and magnifying that status.

Last July it was reported that although the U.S. “is currently the world biggest weapons supplier — holding 30 per cent of the market…the Obama administration has begun modifying export control regulations in hopes of enlarging the U.S. market share, according to U.S. officials.” [3]

Obama first advocated the streamlining of arms sales controls in August of 2009 and reiterated the demand in his State of the Union address on January 27 “as an element toward doubling exports by 2015.”

The White House plan entails expediting overseas weapons transfers by establishing a single agency to oversee proposed exports.

Among what were identified as the “possible beneficiaries” of relaxed weapons export requirements is India, described at the time as “seeking 126 fighter-jets worth over $10 billion, 10 large transport aircraft worth $6 billion, and other multi-billion dollar defense sales….” [4]

Early this November the American president visited India and secured $10 billion in business transactions, an estimated half of which are in the military sphere [5], a deal that “would make the US replace Russia as India’s biggest arms supplier” and “help India curb China’s rise.” [6]

The contracts include one for India’s $5 billion purchase of ten Boeing C-17 Globemaster III military transport aircraft, “the sixth biggest arms deal in U.S. history” according to William Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Initiative at the New America Foundation. [7]

Regarding overall global arms exports, SIPRI’s calculations from earlier this year confirm that the average annual level grew by 22 percent from 2000-2004 to 2005-2009.

Russia accounted for 23 percent of sales last year, followed by the U.S.’s North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies Germany [8], France, Britain and Spain. The first five nations collectively represented 76 percent of all weapons exports in the world over the period of 2005-2009.

The largest purchasers of weapons were, in descending order, in the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and the Middle East.

Again according to SIPRI’s estimates, worldwide military spending in 2009 was $1.531 trillion, a six percent increase in real terms since the year before and a 49 percent rise over that in 2000. The U.S. and its NATO allies accounted for 70 percent of last year’s figure. [9]

Last week the U.S. Congress approved a $725 billion Defense Department authorization for 2011, in absolute dollars the largest military budget in human history and in constant dollars the largest Pentagon allocation since the Second World War.

American weapons deals abroad are of course a source of lucrative contracts for domestic arms manufacturers, but serve a more important function: The integration of scores of nations around the world into Washington’s military network.

A recent analysis in China’s Global Times detailed how the U.S. employs the sale and provision of military hardware – from firearms to armored combat vehicles, warships to warplanes and other military aircraft, missiles (including interceptors) to entire weapons systems – to advance its global geostrategic objectives:

“The Cold War political map is being redrawn. Arms sales are helping the US extend its influence in the Asia-Pacific region and pave the way for a new global hegemony.”

“After the Cold War, apart from a few rogue states, the US targeted almost every country in the world for arms sales and is also keen to sell military technology to Russia. High-tech weapons – including missile defense systems – are the main items on the list of US arms sales.”

“The US is unabashed about using high-tech weapons to expand its sphere of influence. In Europe, the US has continued to entice Eastern European countries into NATO and to squeeze Russia’s traditional sphere of influence.” [10]

With the absorption of twelve Eastern European nations into NATO from 1999-2009, Russia in fact has been driven out of the arms markets of its former Warsaw Pact allies. The development of NATO partnerships with Europe’s formerly neutral countries has also opened Finland and Sweden to the Pentagon and American weapons concerns. [11]

In 2003 Washington signed a $3.6 billion contract with Poland for 48 F-16 jet fighters which were delivered between 2006 and 2008. The sale was the largest military deal in Poland’s history. In 2006 the U.S. struck an agreement to provide Poland with five C-130 Hercules military transport planes.

Earlier this month a senior Polish government official disclosed that U.S. F-16s and Hercules C-130s (with their American crews) would be deployed to his country in addition to those purchased from the U.S.

Last year Romania’s defense minister announced plans to acquire 48-54 jet fighters to replace Russian-designed MiG 21 Lancers currently in use “to make the transition to fifth generation equipment” – the Lockheed Martin-produced F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

“We are currently waiting for the U.S. side to send information on the likely acquisition of several F-16 aircraft,” Mihai Stanisoara stated. [12]

After the U.S. exported its 2008 financial crisis to Europe, Romania has scaled back on its plans and is discussing the purchase of 24 used F-16s.

This June Bulgarian Defense Minister Anyu Angelov met with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates at the Pentagon and their discussions included “the possibility of Bulgaria buying multi-purpose F-16 fighter jets from the US.” [13]

The Bulgarian news media stated that a preferential arrangement for obtaining American multirole warplanes would be part of a quid pro quo to allow U.S. interceptor missile facilities to be based in Bulgaria.

Last year Lockheed Martin was awarded a contract to deliver 30 new F-16 combat jets to Turkey.

The Global Times article quoted from earlier mentioned the Asia-Pacific area, where this year began with the U.S. antagonizing China by confirming it would complete a $6.4 billion weapons deal with Taiwan, supplying the latter with 200 Patriot anti-ballistic missiles. [14]

This month Japan released its new National Defense Program Guidelines which detail plans to expand the deployment of U.S.-made Patriot Advanced Capability-3 and ship-based Standard Missile-3 interceptors. [15]

South Korea is also being integrated into the Asia-Pacific and broader international American missile shield system along with Australia and in the not too distant future India.

The Global Times feature also mentioned:

“The US has sold Patriot missile systems to Japan, South Korea, India, Saudi Arabia, Poland and China’s Taiwan island.

“Regionally, Patriots are present in Northeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. These countries and regions cannot catch up with US military technology and inevitably have to rely on the US for missile defense.

“The US has been accused of trying to redraw the political map by using high-tech weapons to make purchasing countries more dependent on the US for their national defense.” [16]

There have been reports that nations like Saudi Arabia and even Japan are considering the purchase of longer-range U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense anti-ballistic missiles.

Citing the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, news sources in the Persian Gulf recently revealed that the U.S. emerged as the largest supplier of weapons to the region over the preceding five years. The U.S. “accounted for 54 percent of the Gulf region’s total volume of imports, followed by France, which accounted for 21 percent.” [17]

The Global Times analysis added:

“In the Middle East, the US uses arms as a means to influence regional security trends. The Middle East has always been a major US arms export zone. This year the US and Saudi Arabia signed arms deals worth up to $60 billion, said to be the largest US arms contract in history.

“The US is also mulling sales of advanced weapons and equipment to Kuwait, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf countries.”

On October 21 Washington announced a $60 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia for advanced jet fighters, helicopters, missiles and other weaponry and equipment. It includes the sale of 84 new F-15 jet fighters and the upgrading of 70 more as well as 178 military helicopters and advanced missiles, bombs, radar and other equipment.

Earlier in the year reports surfaced of American plans to sell Patriot and other interceptor missiles to Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

This September the Financial Times reported that planned American arms sales to the Persian Gulf will amount to $123 billion: A $67.8 billion package for Saudi Arabia, $35.6 billion for the United Arab Emirates, $12.3 billion for Oman and $7.1 billion for Kuwait.

A major expansion of U.S. arms sales to the nations of Southeast Asia will follow suit and just as NATO expansion has opened almost all of Europe to American weapons manufacturers, so the new U.S. Africa Command will allow the Pentagon and affiliated arms merchants to further penetrate an entire continent.

Subjugated and occupied lands like Iraq and Afghanistan are captive markets for U.S. arms firms.

SIPRI states that in boosting arms exports from $6.795 billion in 2008 to $6.795 billion in 2009 and in so doing securing 30 percent of the world market, the U.S. sold weapons to 70 nations and NATO, with the Asia-Pacific region accounting for 39 percent of the sales, the Middle East for 36 percent and Europe for 18 percent. Revealingly, “Combat aircraft and associated weapons and components accounted for 48 per cent of the volume of US deliveries of major conventional weapons during this period.” [18]

An integral aspect of supplying weapons to over a third of the world’s nations is to ensure military interoperability for joint actions, including war, and to bring the receiving countries more firmly and inextricably into Washington’s political orbit.

Providing arms is intimately related to and is often a precondition for developing closer diplomatic, financial, trade and comprehensive military ties with other nations. No country has more influence over international lending agencies than the U.S. and weapons aren’t supplied free of charge.

Over the past decade the Pentagon has constructed and gained access to new military bases, camps, airfields, training centers and surveillance and missile shield installations in at least thirty nations, bilaterally and through NATO: Afghanistan, Australia, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Colombia, Djibouti, Estonia, Ethiopia, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mali, Pakistan, the Philippines, Poland, Oman, Qatar, Romania, Seychelles, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, the United Arab Emirates and Zambia among them.

Weapons sales necessarily entail training and instruction, joint military exercises, parts replacement, maintenance and repairs, and upgrading and other modifications. In short, an integral and long-term partnership between the supplier and the purchaser. A mechanism for eliminating competitors in Washington’s drive for worldwide military and political dominance.

1) Pentagon’s Christmas Present: Largest Military Budget Since World War II
Stop NATO, December 23, 2010
2) Obama Doctrine: Eternal War For Imperfect Mankind
Stop NATO, December 10, 2009
3) McClatchy Newspapers, July 29, 2010
4) Ibid
5) Obama, Gates And Clinton In Asia: U.S. Expands Military Build-Up In The
Stop NATO, November 7, 2010
6) Global Times, July 13, 2010
7) Anika Anand, The Real Reason For Obama’s Trip To India: The Sixth
Biggest Arms Deal In U.S. History
Business Insider, November 6, 2010
8) Germany: World Arms Merchant In First Post-WW II Combat
Stop NATO, July 24, 2009
9) Stockholm International Peace Research Institute Yearbook 2010
10) Han Xudong, Arms sales help US extend its sphere of influence
Global Times, December 28, 2010
11) Pentagon’s New Global Military Partner: Sweden
Stop NATO, August 25, 2010
12) The Financiarul, September 9, 2009
13) Sofia Echo, June 29, 2010
14) U.S.-China Military Tensions Grow
Stop NATO, January 19, 2010
15) U.S. Builds Military Alliance With Japan, South Korea For War In The
Stop NATO, December 14, 2010
16) Global Times, December 28, 2010
17) Arabian Business, December 26, 2010
18) SIPRI Fact Sheet, March 2010

Categories: Uncategorized

2011: U.S. And NATO To Extend And Expand Afghan War

December 24, 2010 1 comment

December 24, 2010

2011: U.S. And NATO To Extend And Expand Afghan War
Rick Rozoff

The war being waged by the United States and the Western military alliance it controls, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, is well into its tenth year and is already the longest war in the history of the U.S., Afghanistan and NATO alike. In fact it is NATO’s first ground war and its first armed conflict in Asia.

It has now graduated into a broader war, having engulfed neighboring Pakistan with a population of 170 million and a nuclear arsenal.

The U.S. has suffered reverses in the past week and half with the death of Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke on December 13 and the recall of the Central Intelligence Agency station chief in Pakistan, Jonathan Banks, on December 16, the day the White House issued its annual policy review on the protracted and increasingly deadly war in Afghanistan.

As of December 23, American and NATO military fatalities for this year are at 705, almost a third of the total 2,275 killed since the war was launched on October 7, 2001.

The Afghan National Army created from scratch by the Pentagon and NATO acknowledged this month that it has lost 806 soldiers so far this year, an increase of 25 percent over 2009.

Earlier this month a report by the United Nations General Assembly documented that Afghan civilian casualties had risen by 20 percent in the first ten months of this year over all of last to a total of 5,480 killed and wounded.

In the past few days Western military forces have intensified lethal air strikes against Afghan civilians and troops, killing four Afghan soldiers in the south of the country in an air attack in the middle of the month, killing a civilian and wounding two children in another air strike in Helmand province during the same time period, and most recently killing a policeman and the brother of a legislator in a helicopter attack in northern Afghanistan on December 23.

The day before the last incident an Afghan provincial governor called on the North Atlantic military bloc “to pay attention to civilian casualties during operations and prevent civilian casualties.” [1] The two deaths on the following day indicate that such appeals fall on deaf ears.

On the other side of the Afghan-Pakistani border, on December 16 three U.S. missile attacks killed an estimated 54 people in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, all identified as “militants” in the Western press. The overwhelming majority of deadly CIA-directed drone attacks have occurred in North Waziristan in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. The attack in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa signals the expansion of the war deeper into the country – “a possible expansion of the CIA-led covert campaign of drone strikes inside Pakistani territory” [2] – as does a recent NATO helicopter gunship raid into Balochistan province.

Days later NATO oil tankers came under rocket attack in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and “The Pakistan-Afghanistan highway was temporarily blocked and NATO supplies suspended following the attack.” [3]

As in Afghanistan, the killing has increased substantially this year.

In the past year there have been at least 115 U.S. drone attacks in the tribal areas, more than double the amount in 2009, which itself represented a dramatic increase over previous years. In 2009 and 2010 there have been approximately 170 missile strikes in North and South Waziristan, a 300 percent increase over the last four years of the George W. Bush administration. The cumulative death toll is in the neighborhood of 2,000, with close to half of those deaths occurring this year.

The CIA’s Jonathan Banks was whisked home from Pakistan after his identity was revealed in a legal action initiated by surviving victims of the drone attacks and victims’ families. The suit also named CIA Director Leon Panetta and Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Nothing daunted, the special assistant to the commanding general of U.S. Army Special Operations stated that the current demand for more drones (unmanned aerial vehicles) is “insatiable.”

“It’s like crack, and everyone wants more,” Brigadier General Kevin Mangum recently announced. [4]

The U.S. is pressuring the Pakistani government to launch a military operation in North Waziristan in tandem with the marked escalation of drone attacks there, something paralleling the Pakistani army offensive in the Swat Valley in May of last year that led to the displacement of three million civilians.

In addition, the Pentagon has recently announced that U.S. and NATO forces will be stationed at a military base in the capital of Pakistan’s Balochistan province. [5]

Washington is now pushing to expand special forces operations in Pakistan’s tribal areas, supplementing CIA drone strikes and NATO helicopter attacks in the region.

Until now, “The main role in a secret war on Pakistan territory has belonged to the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA has operated armed drones to hunt down insurgent leaders and also organized a number of secret missions carried out by Afghan operatives, known as Counterterrorism Pursuit Teams.”

The introduction of American ground forces – in the words of an American official, “We’ve never been as close as we are now to getting the go-ahead to go across” – would “open a new front in the war that is becoming more and more unpopular in America.

“It also could ruin relations with…Pakistan, especially considering the risk of civilian casualties.” [6]

However, civilian deaths on both sides of the Khyber Pass and the destabilization of nuclear Pakistan are matters of small importance to American and NATO geostrategists, who nurture grand designs for Central and South Asia.

A recent Chinese analysis put the matter this way:

“Though it started long ago, the game is still on. There are only more players with more pieces moving and moved on a bigger board, all for a newer rendition of the Great Game.

“Whichever way people prefer to describe the game – geostrategy or geopolitics – there has been a center-piece: interest in a geography that is important to world powers, past and present; that is, in whatever way these powers deem it as important.

“Sitting at one end of the board is the same old player, known as the Russian Empire, while at the other end now is an alliance orchestrated not any more by the British Empire but rather by the Americans and the military coalition they dominate, known as NATO.” [7]

Indian analyst and former diplomat M. K. Bhadrakumar stated in a recent article entitled “NATO weaves South Asian web” that after its summit in Lisbon, Portugal last month NATO “is well on the way to transforming into a global political-military role” and “is by far today the most powerful military and political alliance in the world.”

Speaking about long-term U.S. and NATO strategy in Asia, he added:

“It is within the realm of possibility that NATO would at a future date deploy components of the US missile defense system in Afghanistan. Ostensibly directed against nearby ‘rogue states’, the missile defense system will challenge the Chinese strategic capability.” [8]

Regarding the long-planned agreement on constructing a Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) natural gas pipeline concluded earlier this month [9], the author said:

“TAPI is the finished product of the US invasion of Afghanistan. It consolidates NATO’s political and military presence in the strategic high plateau that overlooks Russia, Iran, India, Pakistan and China. TAPI provides a perfect setting for the alliance’s future projection of military power for ‘crisis management’ in Central Asia.

“The pipeline signifies a breakthrough in the longstanding Western efforts to access the fabulous mineral wealth of the Caspian and Central Asian region. Washington has been the patron saint of the TAPI concept since the early 1990s when the Taliban was conceived as its Afghan charioteer. The concept became moribund when the Taliban regime was driven out of power from Kabul.

“Now the wheel has come full circle with the project’s incremental resuscitation since 2005, running parallel with the Taliban’s fantastic return to the Afghan chessboard. TAPI’s proposed commissioning coincides with the 2014 timeline for ending the NATO ‘combat mission’ in Afghanistan. The US ‘surge’ is concentrating on Helmand and Kandahar provinces through which the TAPI pipeline will eventually run. What an amazing string of coincidences!” [10]

Last week NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen affirmed that “as the long-term partnership that President Karzai and I signed at Lisbon demonstrates, our commitment to Afghanistan will continue well beyond 2014.” [11]

On December 22 U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry confirmed that the Pentagon “will retain a ‘sizable mission’ in Afghanistan beyond 2014” and that a troop withdrawal, if it ever occurs, would be “conditions-based; not calendar-based.” American troops “could also stay on to carry out counter-terrorism operations,” added the retired general and former deputy chairman of the NATO Military Committee. [12]

In a recent interview, American analyst Gareth Porter asserted that NATO troops are killing and dying in Afghanistan “because bureaucrats in Brussels, in the NATO headquarters, wanted more responsibility, [they] wanted a job for NATO to be able to take on in order to justify the continued existence of that organization.” [13]

The U.S. and NATO require and are exploiting the endless war in Afghanistan and Pakistan for more reasons than simply to justify the continued existence, even the global expansion, of the world’s only military bloc.

As Bhadrakumar has pointed out, far more is at stake: The military encirclement of Russia, China and Iran and control of Eurasia’s strategic energy resources.

1) Associated Press, December 22, 2010
2) Associated Press, December 17, 2010
3) Xinhua News Agency, December 20, 2010
4) U.S. Army: ‘Insatiable Demand’ for UAVs in War Zone
Defense News, December 16, 2010
5) Report on Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan
November 2010
6) US plans to expand raids in Pakistan
Voice of Russia, December 21, 2010
7) Gaochao Yi, More players and more pieces in the New Great Game
Xinhua News Agency, December 19, 2010
8) Asia Times, December 23, 2010
9) NATO Trains Afghan Army To Guard Asian Pipeline
Stop NATO, December 19, 2010
10) Asia Times, December 23, 2010
11) North Atlantic Treaty Organization, December 16, 2010
12) Pajhwok Afghan News, December 23, 2010
13) US-led Afghan war serves NATO’s existence
Press TV, December 20, 2010

Categories: Uncategorized

Pentagon’s Christmas Present: Largest Military Budget Since World War II

December 23, 2010 2 comments

December 23, 2010

Pentagon’s Christmas Present: Largest Military Budget Since World War II
Rick Rozoff

On December 22 both houses of the U.S. Congress unanimously passed a bill authorizing $725 billion for next year’s Defense Department budget.

The bill, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011, was approved by all 100 senators as required and by a voice vote in the House.

The House had approved the bill, now sent to President Barack Obama to sign into law, five days earlier in a 341-48 roll call, but needed to vote on it again after the Senate altered it in the interim.

The proposed figure for the Pentagon’s 2011 war chest includes, in addition to the base budget, $158.7 billion for what are now euphemistically referred to as overseas contingency operations: The military occupation of Iraq and the war in Afghanistan.

The $725 billion figure, although $17 billion more than the White House had requested, is not the final word on the subject, however, as supplements could be demanded as early as the beginning of next year, especially in regard to the Afghan war that will then be in its eleventh calendar year.

Even as it currently is, the amount is the highest in constant dollars (pegged at any given year’s dollar and adjusted for inflation) since 1945, the final year of the Second World War. With recent U.S. census figures at 308 million, next year the Pentagon will spend $2,354 for every citizen of the country at the $725 billion price tag alone.

Last year’s Pentagon budget, by way of comparison, was $680 billion, a base budget of $533.8 billion and the remainder for operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. In July of this year Congress approved the 2010 Supplemental Appropriations Act which contained an additional $37 billion for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Next year’s defense authorization of $725 billion compares to, according to the Center for Defense Information, a Pentagon budget of $444.6 billion in 1946; $460.4 billion in 1968, the highest yearly amount during the Vietnam War; and $443.4 billion in 1988, the highest during the eight years of the Ronald Reagan administration’s massive military buildup. (Numbers in 2004 constant dollars.) [1]

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute estimates American military spending for 2009 to have accounted for 43 percent of the world total. Carl Conetta, co-director of the Project on Defense Alternatives, earlier this year estimated the 2010 U.S. defense budget to constitute 47 percent of total worldwide military expenditures and to amount to 19 percent of all American federal spending.

In addition, Pentagon spending has increased by 100 percent since 1998 and “the Obama budget plans to spend more on the Pentagon over eight years than any administration has since World War II.” [2]

With 2.25 million full-time civilian and military personnel, excluding part-time National Guard and Reserve members, the Defense Department is the U.S.’s largest employer, outstripping Walmart with 1.4 million employees and the U.S Post Office with 599,000. [3]

“Add in what Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs, and the Energy departments spend on defense and total US military spending will reach $861 billion in fiscal 2011, exceeding that of all other nations combined,” according to Todd Harrison, senior fellow for Defense Budget Studies at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. [4]

In April Robert Higgs of The Independent Institute advocated that the budgets – in part or in whole – of the departments of Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security, Energy, State and Treasury and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) should be calculated in the real military budget, which would in 2009 would have increased it to $901.5 billion.

“Adding [the] interest component to the previous all-agency total, the grand total comes to $1,027.8 billion, which is 61.5 percent greater than the Pentagon’s outlays alone.”

His numbers are:

National Security Outlays in Fiscal Year 2009
(billions of dollars)

Department of Defense 636.5

Department of Energy (nuclear weapons and environmental cleanup) 16.7

Department of State (plus international assistance) 36.3

Department of Veterans Affairs 95.5

Department of Homeland Security 51.7

Department of the Treasury (for the Military Retirement Fund) 54.9

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (1/2 of total) 9.6

Net interest attributable to past debt-financed defense outlays 126.3

Total 1,027.5 [5]

The above-cited Carl Conetta stated at the beginning of this year that the 2011 Pentagon budget will mark a milestone in that “the inflation-adjusted rise in spending since 1998 will probably exceed 100% in real terms by the end of the fiscal year.

“Taking the 2011 budget into account, the Defense Department has been given about $7.2 trillion since 1998, when the post-Cold War decline in defense spending ended. Approximately $2.5 trillion of this total is due to spending above the annual level set in 1998. This added amount constitutes the post-1998 spending surge.”

Based on constant 2010 dollars, Conetta further details that the Ronald Reagan administration spent $4.1 trillion on the Defense Department, the George W. Bush administration spent $4.65 trillion and “Barack Obama plans to spend more than $5 trillion.”

He also compares the two previous largest post-World War Two surges in U.S. military spending to the current one:

From 1958-1968: 43 percent

From: 1975-1985 57 percent

In regards to which he said, “the 1998-2011 surge is as large as these two predecessors combined.”

His calculations also include a growth in Pentagon contract employees of 40 percent since 1989, thereby freeing up uniformed service members for more direct combat roles.

The U.S. share of global military spending grew from 28 percent during the Cold War to 41 percent by 2006 and that of North Atlantic Treaty Organization member states, including the U.S., from 49 percent to 70 percent in the same period.

Contrariwise, the “group of potential adversary and competitor states has gone from claiming a 42% share to just 16% in 2006.

“Had Ronald Reagan – who is generally regarded a hawkish president – wanted to achieve in the 1980s the ratio between US and adversary spending that existed in 2006, he would have had to quadruple his defense budgets.

“And, of course, since 2006, the US defense budget has not receded, but instead grown by another 20% in real terms.

“By 2011, the United States will probably account for more than half of all global military spending calculated in terms of ‘purchasing power parity’ (which corrects for differences between national economies).” [6]

The defense authorization bill passed on December 22, despite its monumental and unprecedented size, has been routinely described in the American press as stripped-down, scaled-down and pared-down because an arms manufacturer or two, their lobbyists and obedient congresspersons didn’t get every new defense contract and weapons project they desired three days before Christmas.

The December 22 vote in the House was, as Associated Press accurately described it, conducted without debate or discussion – and “without major restrictions on the conduct of operations” – particularly in regards to the $158.7 billion for the military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, $75 million to train and equip the armed forces of Yemen for the counterinsurgency campaign in that country and $205 million more to fund Israel’s Iron Dome missile shield.

Regarding the first vote on December 17: “This year’s bill is mostly noteworthy for its broad bipartisan support during wartime….Unlike during the height of the Iraq War when anti-war Democrats tried to use the legislation to force troops home, the House passed the defense bill Friday with almost no debate on Afghanistan.” [7]

Aside from voting for the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy as a stand-alone measure, excising an amendment to allow abortions to be performed on military bases, and refusing reparations to victims of the World War Two Japanese occupation of the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam (apparently $100 million for the purpose was considered excessive in the $725 billion authorization), there was no meaningful dissent in either house of Congress.

Increasing the U.S. war budget to the highest level it’s been since the largest and deadliest war in history while no nation or group of nations poses a serious threat to the country, and to a degree where it effectively exceeds the defense spending of the rest of the world combined, is all in the proper order of things for the world’s sole military superpower.

1) Center for Defense Information
2) Christian Science Monitor, March 29, 2010
3) Christian Science Monitor, June 28, 2010
4) Ibid
5) Robert Higgs, Defense Spending Is Much Greater than You Think
The Independent Institute, April 17, 2010
6) Carl Conetta, Trillions to Burn? A Quick Guide to the Surge in Pentagon

Project on Defense Alternatives, February 5 2010
7) Associated Press, December 17, 2010

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO Trains Afghan Army To Guard Asian Pipeline

December 19, 2010 1 comment

December 19, 2010

NATO Trains Afghan Army To Guard Asian Pipeline
Rick Rozoff 

On December 11 the presidents of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkmenistan and the energy minister of India met in the Turkmen capital of Ashgabat to bring to fruition fifteen years of planning by interests in the United States to bring natural gas from the Caspian Sea to the energy-needy nations of South and East Asia.

Presidents Hamid Karzai, Asif Ali Zardari and Gurbangulu Berdimuhammedov along with Indian Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Murli Deora signed agreements – an Inter-Government Agreement and the Gas Pipeline Transmission Agreement – to construct a natural gas pipeline from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan and Pakistan to India. The initials of the first three countries involved lend themselves to the project’s acronym: TAP, now known as TAPI.

The Inter-Government Agreement “enjoins the four governments to provide all support including security for the pipeline.” [1]

The next day, Wahidullah Shahrani, Afghanistan’s Minister of Mines and Industries, confirmed that “Afghanistan will deploy about 7,000 troops to secure a major transnational gas pipeline slated to run through some of the most dangerous parts of the war-torn country.” [2]

Speaking at a press conference in the Afghan capital, Shahrani added: “This huge project is very important for Afghanistan. Five thousand to seven thousand security forces will be deployed to safeguard the pipeline route….We will also keep an eye on the security situation….If more troops are needed, we will take action.” [3]

Four days later U.S. Army Colonel John Ferrari, Deputy Commander of Programs for the NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan, was quoted on the U.S. Defense Department’s website stating:

“Our mission is to help the government of Afghanistan generate and sustain the Afghan army and police, all the way from the ministerial systems – essentially, their version of the Pentagon – through their operational commands, down to the individual units.” [4]

Colonel Ferrari disclosed at the same time that in the next few days the U.S. Army “will finally award a much-delayed $1.6 billion contract for a private security firm to supplement [the] NATO training command’s efforts to professionalize Afghan cops.” The lucrative bid, according to an American news source, “touched off a bureaucratic tempest between Blackwater/Xe Services and DynCorp, which held an old contract for the same job….” [5]

On the same day North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen endorsed the U.S.’s Afghanistan and Pakistan Annual Review released on December 15 and stated:

“We will continue to train Afghan forces so they can provide security for the Afghan people. “[A]s the long-term partnership that President Karzai and I signed at Lisbon demonstrates, our commitment to Afghanistan will continue well beyond 2014. NATO will also remain engaged with Pakistan….

“I welcome the release today of the United States’ annual review on Afghanistan and Pakistan. It builds on the decisions on Afghanistan that NATO Allies and Partners took at our summit in Lisbon.” [6]

What the Pentagon and NATO are training Afghan troops for is in part to ensure that the 1,700-kilometer (1,050-mile) TAPI pipeline running from the former Soviet republic of Turkmenistan to India – with transshipment to nations like Japan, South Korea and China in the offing – will function unimpeded.

The pipeline is to be started in 2012, completed two years later and provide 33 billion cubic meters (over one trillion cubic feet) of Turkmen gas to Pakistan, India and Afghanistan. According to the recently signed agreement, India and Pakistan will each receive 14 billion and Afghanistan 5 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year.

The undertaking is being financed by the Asian Development Bank in which the U.S. and Japan each hold 552,210 shares, the largest proportion of shares among its 67 members at 12.756 percent apiece.

The pipeline will run from Turkmenistan’s Dovletabat (also Dovletabad and Dauletabad) field along the 350-mile Herat-Kandahar Highway in Afghanistan to the capital of Pakistan’s Balochistan province, Quetta, to the Fazlaka region on the Indian-Pakistani border.

Five years ago the Asian Development Bank estimated gross natural gas reserves at Dovletabat to be 49.5 trillion cubic feet (1.4 trillion cubic meters). Turkmenistan also intends to include the new Southern Yoloten-Osman field, where government geologists estimate there are over 21 trillion cubic meters of gas, to fill the TAPI pipeline.

The inauguration of TAPI is the realization of plans going back to four years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, 1995, the year before the Taliban consolidated control of Afghanistan. One of its prime movers was the Union Oil Company of California (Unocal), which merged with and became a subsidiary of Chevron in the same year.

Former Secretary of State and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Alexander Haig visited Turkmenistan in 1992, immediately after it became an independent state for the first time, after which he became “an unofficial adviser and confident” to President Saparmurat Niyazov, “screening foreign companies and helping arrange a Niyazov visit to Washington in 1993.” [7]

Haig’s dealings, which would later be augmented by the likes of Henry Kissinger and Zalmay Khalilzad, were part of U.S. strategy in the Caspian Sea region, which was to:

“Tap the Caspian mother lodes while giving as little leverage as possible to Russia in the north and Iran in the south.

“Across the Caspian, Azerbaijan had already enlisted U.S. oil companies and pulled the Clinton administration into a crusade to build pipelines that would skirt Russia on the way to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. In Kazakhstan, the Clinton administration [risked] provoking Moscow again by promoting pipelines that would carry Kazakh oil to western markets without Russian interference.”

In 1995 the White House blocked a deal between ConocoPhillips and Iran for the transiting of gas from Turkmenistan through the first country. “To State Department strategists, the perfect pipeline out of Dauletabad lay in a different direction: from Turkmenistan across Afghanistan to Pakistan, connecting the gas resources of Central Asia to the surging economies of South Asia. Such a line would deprive Iran of transit fees for Turkmen gas crossing its territory while capturing the South Asian gas market coveted by Iran.” [8]

In the same year the president of Unocal, John Imle, “wooed Niyazov and Benazir Bhutto, then prime minister of Pakistan…with a vision of a Unocal pipeline” running from Turkmenistan to Pakistan. According to the Washington Post three years after the fact: “A Unocal link had strong appeal for Niyazov. Afghanistan was in turmoil. A big American oil company could draw on the political muscle of the United States….” [9]

Later in the year President Niyazov announced the selection of Unocal to construct the pipeline, which Henry Kissinger – at the time a Unocal consultant – deemed “the triumph of hope over experience.” (Afghan-born Zalmay Khalilzad, while Director of the Strategy, Doctrine, and Force Structure at the RAND Corporation, consulted for Cambridge Energy Research Associates, which at the time was conducting a risk analysis for Unocal on what is now the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline. He later became U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan after the invasion of 2001, then ambassador to Iraq and the United Nations.)

Unocal opened an office in Kandahar, which the media unfailingly recall is the “spiritual birthplace of the Taliban,” in 1996 as the latter were completing their conquest of Afghanistan.

In 1997 a senior Taliban delegation arrived in the U.S. to meet with Unocal officials. At the time a Unocal spokesman said “the Taleban were expected to spend several days at the company’s headquarters in Sugarland, Texas” and it was confirmed that “Unocal says it has agreements both with Turkmenistan to sell its gas and with Pakistan to buy it.” [10]

After last week’s agreement was signed in Turkmenistan to complete 15 years of U.S. plans, the BBC reported that “The pipeline will have to cross Taliban-controlled regions and Pakistan’s troubled border region. The US has also encouraged the project as an alternative to a proposed Iranian pipeline to India and Pakistan.” [11]

In fact TAPI is the American alternative to what until then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pressured – in fact blackmailed – Pakistan and India in 2005 to kill the project was referred to as the peace pipeline: One which was to transport Caspian Sea Basin natural gas from Iran to Pakistan and India (the IPI pipeline) and from there to China. The joint endeavor would indeed have promoted cooperation and peace not only between Pakistan and India but between India and China as well.

Washington – the White House, the State Department and Congress – linked India’s agreeing to abandon the IPI project and cooperate with the U.S. punishing Iran in the United Nations Security Council over its civilian nuclear power program with actualizing the provisions of the framework agreement signed by President George W. Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on July 18, 2005 on full nuclear collaboration. The U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Cooperation Initiative.

“The Americans had, so far, largely ignored India’s ties with Iran, which grew impressively during the late 1990s…The tipping point came when both sides, along with Pakistan, began seriously to consider the construction of the 2,600-km Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for the first time publicly aired her concerns about the prospective deal during her visit to New Delhi in March 2005.” [12]

Also in 2005 Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs E. Anthony Wayne told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee:

“Both Chinese and Indian firms have reportedly been involved in oil and gas-sector deals in Iran that raise concerns under US law and policy.

“For example, Indian and Pakistani officials are engaged in detailed discussions on the technical, financial and legal aspects of building a USD 4 billion pipeline that would bring Iranian natural gas to Pakistan and India, a project that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said also raises US concerns.” [13]

India formally withdrew from the project in 2009 and in January of this year Washington prevailed upon Pakistan to abandon the pipeline in exchange for the U.S. constructing a liquefied natural gas terminal and arranging the supply of electricity from Tajikistan through Afghanistan.

“With the Asian Development Bank backing the TAPI project unlike the IPI pipeline” currently:

“Besides putting the IPI pipeline in cold storage, the TAPI pipeline could also push back moves to bring Turkmenistan gas via northern Iran. Talks were held earlier in this respect on exchanging it with Iranian gas, which would have been sent to India and other countries from an under-sea pipeline. This pipeline would have been one of the branches of a Middle East natural gas gathering system.” [14]

Last month Turkmenistan was also recruited to supply natural gas for the Nabucco pipeline running in the opposite direction, west through Azerbaijan and Georgia to Europe, to further U.S. strategy to squeeze Russia out of that market.

“Turkmen Deputy Prime Minister Baymyrad Hoyamuhamedov said the country would supply natural gas for the planned Nabucco pipeline. Hence, EU countries would no longer have to worry about uncertain natural gas supplies.” Which means “the European bloc will have to rely less on Russia for its growing gas requirement.”

“The pledge also means the construction of the planned 2046-mile pipeline can go ahead as uncertainty over its gas supplies had caused delay. Nabucco will transport gas from the Caspian region and the Middle East across Turkey into Europe.

“At present, Turkmenistan sells natural gas to Iran, China and Russia.” [15]

In fact, in late November the Turkmen government pledged to “provide up to 40 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year, more than the planned capacity of Nabucco which is 31 billion per year.” [16]

As such Nabucco will be “drawing gas from Turkmenistan in addition to Azerbaijan and Iraqi Kurdistan” in what Christian Dolezal, spokesperson for the Nabucco Consortium (Nabucco Gas Pipeline International GmbH), called a “remarkable step.”

“Dolezal said the first gas supplies for Nabucco are expected to come from Azerbaijan – about 8 billion cubic meters per year at first, of which 6 billion could come from the Shah Deniz 2 field. Another 10 billion cubic meters are expected from Iraqi Kurdistan, and the consortium is awaiting the outcome of talks with the Iraqi government.

“The construction of the Nabucco gas transit pipeline will start in 2012, and the first natural gas deliveries through it should be a fact in 2015….” [17]

The Nabucco pipeline will supplement previous Western-initiated projects like the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum natural gas pipelines beginning in Azerbaijan and proceeding westward through Georgia to Turkey.

A previous article in this series detailed that the overall strategy is “not limited to efforts to muscle into nations and regions rich in oil and natural gas (and uranium), nor to employing fair means or foul, peaceful or otherwise, to seize the commanding heights of the international energy market.

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

“Azerbaijan and Georgia are salient examples. The last two-named nations have increased their military budgets by well over 1,000 percent in the first case and by over 3,000 percent in the second in the span of a few years.

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

“The intent of all of them is to prevent Iran from exporting hydrocarbons to Europe and to expel Russia entirely from its previous contracts to provide Europe with natural gas and Caspian oil. Russia currently supplies the European Union with 30 percent of its gas, but the West – the U.S. and its EU allies – is well on its way to replacing Russian oil and gas with supplies from Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan via Azerbaijan and from Iraq and North Africa through Turkey where all of the three pipelines [Nabucco, Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum] end.” [18]

In addition to transforming Azerbaijan and Georgia into U.S. and NATO outposts in the South Caucasus and on the Caspian Sea – Azerbaijan borders both Iran and Russia and Georgia borders Russia – Washington and its North Atlantic military bloc are increasing military ties with the other Caspian coastal states, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan.

The expanding American and NATO role in Central and South Asia – in Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – is inextricably connected with NATO nations’ Eurasian energy strategies.

In 2008 Matthew Bryza, then-Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, delivered an address which contained these assertions:

“The East-West Corridor we had been building from Turkey and the Black Sea through Georgia and Azerbaijan and across the Caspian became the strategic air corridor, and the lifeline, into Afghanistan allowing the United States and our coalition partners to conduct Operation Enduring Freedom.”

“Our goal is to develop a ‘Southern Corridor’ of energy infrastructure to transport Caspian and Iraqi oil and gas to Turkey and Europe. The Turkey-Greece-Italy (TGI) and Nabucco natural gas pipelines are key elements of the Southern Corridor.”

“Potential gas supplies in Turkmenistan and Iraq can provide the crucial additional volumes beyond those in Azerbaijan to realize the Southern Corridor. “Washington and [Turkey] are working together with Baghdad to help Iraq develop its own large natural gas reserves for both domestic consumption and for export to Turkey and the EU.” [19]

The U.S. and Britain led NATO Partnership for Peace military exercises in Kazakhstan, from where the West plans to construct a pipeline under the Caspian Sea to Azerbaijan, last August, and the country has recently agreed to allow overflights to the U.S. and NATO for the war in Afghanistan. [20]

In August it was disclosed that U.S. military equipment is being transferred from Iraq to Afghanistan “via Turkey, Azerbaijan, the Caspian Sea and Turkmenistan.” [21]

Despite its formal status of neutrality, Turkmenistan has allowed the transit of American and NATO “armored vehicles, combat helicopters and crates of ammunition” to the Afghanistan-Pakistan war theater.

In addition, the U.S. “has gained access to use almost all the military airfields of Turkmenistan, including the airport in Nebit-Dag near the Iranian border” and “An American military contingent is located in Ashgabat to oversee the operations related to refueling of military airplanes. NATO is also trying to open up a land corridor to bring freight by road and rail….” [22]

The second station of the soon-to-be-launched Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline is Herat, the capital city of the Afghan province of the same name which borders eastern Iran.

From there it will head to Kandahar, where the U.S. and NATO have been conducting what the Western press refers to as the “battle for Kandahar” since August in an attempt to clear the area of Taliban fighters and sympathizers.

The pipeline will then proceed to Quetta, the capital of Balochistan.

The U.S. and NATO have expanded the Afghan war into Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas and increasingly into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It has also launched attacks inside Balochistan and has pressured the Pakistani government to permit them to conduct full-scale military operations in the province.

In October NATO helicopters crossed 200 meters into Balochistan.

In the same month it was reported that “US officials may be eying a repeat of the cross-border incident by seeking raids into Balochistan.”

“US military officials [are] advocating crossing the border with US forces and expanding the war formally into Pakistan.” [23]

Last month the U.S. Defense Department presented a report to Congress revealing that “Pakistan Army General Headquarters recently approved an ODRP and Coalition presence at the PAKMIL 12 Corps HQ in Quetta, Balochistan.” [24]

ODRP stands for the Pentagon’s Office of Defense Representative, Pakistan and Coalition is a reference to NATO’s International Security Assistance Force.

A U.S. military buildup in Balochistan presents a direct threat to Iran, whose province of Sistan and Baluchistan borders the Pakistani province, the largest provinces in the respective nations. The U.S. is accused of supporting separatist elements in the Iranian territory and could exploit Baloch agents on the Pakistani side of the border in an attempt to destabilize Iran.

Three years ago China completed a port in Gwadar on Balochistan’s Arabian Sea coastline, which is to be expanded into a deep-sea port and naval base with Chinese technical and financial assistance.

China also intends to turn the port into an energy transit center for oil and natural gas originating from Iran and other parts of the Middle East as well as Africa and plans to construct an oil pipeline from Gwadar to China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

The TAPI and related pipeline projects will not only adversely affect Iran and Russia.

Turkmen gas that had formerly flowed through Russia and Iran will now be diverted via the TAPI and Nabucco pipelines – as many as 73 billion cubic meters – strengthening the West’s influence in the region in a number of spheres, including in regards to energy, transport, financial and economic, political and military matters…

The NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan (NTM-A) was launched at the military bloc’s sixtieth anniversary summit in Strasbourg, France and Kehl, Germany last year, and after this year’s summit in Portugal thousands of new trainers have been pledged by NATO member states.

According to the NATO website, “NTM-A brings together efforts to train the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) with the aim of increasing coherence and effectiveness among all contributors. Support to the ANSF including the building of an Afghan institutional training base for both the Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan National Police (ANP) and coordinating international efforts to train, equip and sustain these forces.

“The NATO Training Mission Afghanistan (NTM-A) operates under a dual-hatted command, with one commander for both the US-led Combined Security Transition Command- Afghanistan (CSTC-A) and the NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan. The mission provides a higher-level training for the Afghan National Army (ANA), including defense colleges and academies, as well as being responsible for doctrine development, and training and advising Afghan National Police (ANP).” [25]

Iraqi Head of Navy during recent NATO Training Mission-Iraq visit

The NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan is modeled after the NATO Training Mission – Iraq [26], established by a decision made at the 2004 NATO summit in Istanbul, Turkey. Its first commander was General David Petraeus, now in charge of over 150,000 U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan.

The NATO Training Mission – Iraq is the model for building from the top down the armed forces of a conquered and subjugated nation by the Western alliance, including training military and security forces to guard the country’s energy infrastructure.

In Iraq and now even more so in Afghanistan, NATO is assisting the U.S. in achieving vital geopolitical objectives in strategically vital parts of the world.

1) The Hindu, December 13, 2010
2) Daily Times, December 12, 2010/Asian News International, December 13, 2010
3) Agence France-Presse, December 13, 2010
4) NATO Training Mission Meets Procurement, Training Goals
U.S. Department of Defense, December 16, 2010
5) Spencer Ackerman, Army Set to Award Mega-Contract to Train Afghan Cops
Danger Room, December 16, 2010
6) North Atlantic Treaty Organization, December 16, 2010
7) David B. Ottaway and Dan Morgan, Gas Pipeline Bounces Between Agendas
Washington Post, October 5, 1998
8) Ibid
9) Ibid
10) Taleban in Texas for talks on gas pipeline
BBC News, December 4, 1997
11) BBC News, December 11, 2010
12) The Hindu, August 25, 2005
13) Press Trust of India, July 27, 2005
14) The Hindu, December 13, 2010
15) Industrial Fuels and Power, November 22, 2010
16) Nabucco Spokesman: Turkmenistan Natural Gas Promise ‘Remarkable’
Sofia News Agency, November 25, 2010
17) Ibid
18) West Using Its Military Might To Control World Energy Resources: Pentagon’s Global Mission To Secure Oil And Gas Supplies
Stop NATO, September 22, 2009
19) U.S. Department of State, June 24, 2008
20) Kazakhstan: U.S., NATO Seek Military Outpost Between Russia And China
Stop NATO, April 14, 2010
21) Azeri Press Agency, August 20, 2010
22) Catherine A. Fitzpatrick, Is the U.S. Violating Turkmenistan’s Neutrality with the NDN?
EurasiaNet, August 1, 2010
23) Asian News International, October 15, 2010
24) Report on Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan
November 2010
25) North Atlantic Treaty Organization
26) Iraq: NATO Assists In Building New Middle East Proxy Army
Stop NATO, August 13, 2010

Categories: Uncategorized

U.S. Prepares For New Decade Of War In Asia

December 16, 2010 3 comments

December 16, 2010

U.S. Prepares For New Decade Of War In Asia
Rick Rozoff

The United States is engaged in the longest war in its 234-year history in Afghanistan, one that will begin its eleventh calendar year in two weeks. Like the war that had been America’s longest before now, that in Indochina, the current one is in the Asian continent.

With repeatedly extended projected withdrawal dates, the latest is 2014, although even that has been characterized by Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell as merely “aspirational,” the campaign in Afghanistan and over the past two years in neighboring Pakistan has marked Asia as the center of U.S. global military strategy and operations.

Roughly 100,000 U.S. troops and over half as many more from Washington’s North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies and partners are waging an armed conflict that this year has resulted in an increasing number of civilian casualties and the most deaths among belligerents on both sides since it began on October 7, 2001. U.S. and NATO war dead this year are approaching the 700 mark, nearly a third of the total for the over nine-year-old war.

Since the U.S. invasion in 2001 opium production has grown by 40,000 percent (according to Russian estimates), with Afghanistan accounting for 92 percent of the world’s cultivation of the narcotic. In addition to the killing of Afghan civilians by U.S. and NATO air and night raids, bomb attacks against civilians, including suicide bombings, are regular occurrences in Afghanistan and in neighboring Pakistan and Iran.

Last month the U.S. and NATO flew 850 combat sorties, three times more than in November of last year. From January through November of this year foreign occupation forces’ aircraft have conducted 30,000 close air support missions for troops on the ground. In the last six months U.S. and NATO forces have launched 7,000 special operations missions in Afghanistan. [1] NATO helicopter gunships have also increased raids inside Pakistan, including one in September that killed three Pakistani border troops.

Central Intelligence Agency-directed drone missile attacks in Pakistan have risen to at least 108 so far this year, more than double the 53 strikes in 2009. The amount of deaths caused by the attacks has also doubled, over 800 compared to 400 the preceding year.

The Pentagon and its NATO allies have established a military presence on bases in several other nations in Central and South Asia, including – publicly – Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and without official acknowledgement in Pakistan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.

In doing so the U.S. and the expansionist military bloc it controls have established a network of troops and bases in a swathe of territory with China to the east, Russia to the north and Iran to the west.

The expanding circle of military influence and infrastructure extends to India, with whom the U.S. leads bilateral and multinational naval, air and infantry/armor exercises in both countries, as well as pulling the world’s second most populous nation into the orbit of military interoperability through large-scale weapons transactions.

In Mongolia, U.S. Pacific Command and U.S. Army Pacific lead annual Khaan Quest military exercises with the host country’s armed forces and those of assorted American NATO and Asian allies in preparation for deployments to war zones like Iraq and Afghanistan. This year’s Khaan Quest included troops from – in addition to the U.S. and Mongolia – Canada, France, Germany, India, Japan, Singapore and South Korea.

In addition to countries in the Asia-Pacific region with which the U.S. maintains Cold War-era defense treaties – Australia, Japan, the Philippines, New Zealand, South Korea and Thailand – the Pentagon has recently conducted military exercises and training in South and Southeast Asia nations like Bangladesh, Singapore, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, East Timor, Brunei, Malaysia and Cambodia.

Last July the U.S. led the two-week Angkor Sentinel military exercise in Cambodia with troops from 26 nations including Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mongolia and the Philippines, described by Prime Minister Hun Sen as “a symbol of the strong military ties between the US and Cambodia.” [2]

U.S. Army Pacific will lead a follow-up exercise, Angkor Sentinel 2011, in Cambodia next May.

The III Marine Expeditionary Force, a Marine Air-Ground Task Force of the U.S. Marine Corps, is currently running ground and amphibious reconnaissance exercises and combat diving training with counterparts from the armed forces of Singapore on Guam “in order to sustain tactical proficiency and support the Pacific Command Commander’s Theater Security Cooperation Program.” [3] Singapore has deployed troops under the command of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force for the war in Afghanistan along with fellow Asia-Pacific nations Malaysia, Mongolia, South Korea, Kazakhstan, Australia, New Zealand and Tonga.

The Pentagon is building a $12.5 billion “super base” in Guam “in an attempt to contain China’s military build-up.”

The construction “will include a dock for a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, a missile defence system, live-fire training sites and the expansion of the island’s airbase. It will be the largest investment in a military base in the western Pacific since the Second World War, and the biggest spend on naval infrastructure in decades.”

In addition, “The US is also investing another £126 pound [$197] million on upgrading infrastructure at the British-owned Indian Ocean atoll of Diego Garcia, 700 miles south of Sri Lanka.” [4]

A Russian report of last month quoted analyst Andrei Kortunov of the (pro-Western) New Eurasia Foundation on American military strategy in relation to Guam: “Americans do not say officially that this base is being created to contain China’s military build-up. But if we look at the map and compare the military potential of the countries surrounding the Pacific Ocean, it won’t be difficult for us to understand that, most likely, China is exactly the key factor which is taken into consideration here.”

He was further cited claiming that “There are many American military facilities in the northern part of the Pacific Ocean.

“They are scattered over a large territory north of Alaska across Okinawa and as far as the Hawaiian Islands, where, traditionally, the U.S. Navy has a stronghold. Which means that there are many U.S. military facilities there, which form an arc and which must guarantee America’s hegemony in the Pacific Ocean.”

The U.S. maintains that “these facilities have been set up to guarantee the security of commercial communications in the region, including the security of oil supplies from the Persian Gulf area to the western coast of the USA. But taking into account current tendencies, this infrastructure is regarded by many people in Beijing as one that is aimed against China.” [5]

Since late last July the U.S. has conducted ongoing war games with South Korea, Japan and Vietnam in the Yellow Sea, the Sea of Japan/East Sea, the East China Sea and the South China Sea. The nearly 100,000-ton nuclear-powered supercarrier USS George Washington has been deployed for naval maneuvers in all four locations.

USS George Washington

The U.S. and South Korea completed four days of exercises in the Yellow Sea on December 1 and the U.S. and Japan concluded their largest-ever joint military drills, codenamed Keen Sword 2011, which included naval exercises in the East China Sea.

America’s top military commander, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen, and his South Korean counterpart General Han Min-koo recently confirmed that their two militaries will continue the joint exercises that have occurred since July: Invincible Spirit in that month, the mammoth Ulchi Freedom Guardian 2010 in August, an anti-submarine drill in the Yellow Sea and Proliferation Security Initiative maneuvers in September, and naval drills in the Yellow Sea in late November and early December.

On December 15 General Walter Sharp, commander of United States Forces Korea, repeated Mullen’s assertion that Washington and Seoul are planning further joint military exercises and that “The U.S. and South Korea will meet future North Korean attacks with the ‘utmost response’ available that ‘the laws of land warfare permit.'” [6]

The Pentagon’s 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review report of this February states:

“The United States is a global power with global responsibilities. Including operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, approximately 400,000 U.S. military personnel are forward-stationed or rotationally deployed around the world.

“America’s leadership in this world requires a whole-of-government approach that integrates all elements of national power. Agile and flexible U.S. military forces with superior capabilities across a broad spectrum of potential operations are a vital component of this broad tool set….The United States remains the only nation able to project and sustain large-scale combat operations over extended distances.” [7]

On the same day the Defense Department released the new Quadrennial Defense Review it also proposed a $708 billion budget for next year, the largest in constant dollars since 1946.

Washington has been at war in Asia since the first year of the decade that is now drawing to a close. It will still be in Afghanistan well into the middle of the next and in one manner and to some degree to its end. Asia is the Pentagon’s main 21st century war front.

1) Agence France-Presse, December 15, 2010
2) Phnom Penh Post, December 13, 2010
3) Navy NewsStand, December 15, 2010
4) Daily Telegraph, October 25, 2010
5) Voice of Russia, November 8, 2010
6) Stars and Stripes, December 15, 2010
7) 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review Report
February 2010

Categories: Uncategorized

U.S. Builds Military Alliance With Japan, South Korea For War In The East

December 14, 2010 3 comments

December 14, 2010

U.S. Builds Military Alliance With Japan, South Korea For War In The East
Rick Rozoff

Last week Secretary of State Hillary Clinton summoned her Japanese and South Korean counterparts, Foreign Ministers Seiji Maehara and Kim Sung-hwan, to Washington for trilateral talks on the Korean crisis in an open affront to China and Russia, which had called for a resumption of six-party discussions with both Koreas, themselves, the U.S. and Japan.

Officiating over the December 6 gathering with her junior partners on her own turf, Clinton – rather than the foreign ministers of the two East Asian nations – stated, “North Korea’s provocative and belligerent behavior jeopardizes peace and stability in Asia.” The imperial metropolis and its would-be global procurator pronounce on what constitutes threats to peace and stability on another continent; the perspective of countries in the region like China and Russia don’t need to be taken into account and their concerns don’t need to be addressed.

Admiral Mullen and General Oriki in earlier meeting

Two days later America’s top military officer, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen, was in the South Korean capital and in that of Japan the day after. In Seoul he met with General Han Min-koo, chairman of the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff, and in Tokyo with Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa and Japanese Self-Defense Force (JSDF) chief of staff General Ryoichi Oriki. While in Japan, Mullen mentioned “the trilateral meeting on the part of our foreign ministers which occurred earlier this week in Washington” by way of indicating that his efforts paralleled those of Clinton. Soft versus hard power in the Washington vernacular, both serving the same ends.

He also assured his Japanese opposite number General Oriki that “the United States is very much – is very involved in regions all over the world but none so much as this one in terms of its importance and its commitment.” [1]

Keen Sword 2011

As the two top military commanders met, their armed forces were completing the eight-day Keen Sword 2011 war games which involved “units from the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps, working side-by-side with their JSDF counterparts at military bases throughout mainland Japan, Okinawa and in the waters surrounding Japan.” [2]

The exercise, the largest military undertaking conducted jointly by the two nations, included 44,000 troops, 400 aircraft and over 60 ships, including the USS George Washington nuclear-powered aircraft carrier accompanied by carrier and expeditionary strike groups.

In the words of a BBC correspondent aboard – and much enamoured with – the supercarrier, “The USS George Washington itself is like a floating city, with 5,500 men and women living on board, 60 aircraft and two nuclear reactors which could allow it to stay at sea for 25 years without coming ashore.” [3]

USS George Washington and support vessels

This year’s Keen Sword (maneuvers with that codename have been conducted since 1986) was not only the most ambitious but was highlighted as marking the fiftieth anniversary of the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan, whose Article 5 mandates mutual military assistance should either country become involved in armed hostilities.

The drills were “carried out to practice for guarding against ballistic missile attacks and for defending remote Japanese islands,” [4] The first objective presumably pertains to North Korea, the second to China. [5]

The British journalist quoted earlier reminded his readers that the “joint exercises with Asian allies are…a show of strength, sending a signal that the US still has a lot of sway, not to mention firepower, in this region.

“Competition in the seas of the East Asian region is increasing. Just over the horizon from the war games are a group of islands held by Japan, but claimed by both China and Taiwan.

“The islands have untapped offshore oil and gas reserves, and these waters are a vital trade route for goods being shipped around the world.” [6]

He was referring to the island chain known as the Senkaku to Japan and the Diaoyu to China, where what may have escalated into an international incident occurred in September.

Keen Sword 2011 included drills near Okinawa, part of the Ryukyu/Nansei Islands to which Japan assigns the Senkaku Islands. It also included interceptor missile exercises the length of Japan, from Hokkaido in the north to Okinawa in the south. (Ryukyu is the designation for islands in the southern half of the chain belonging to the Okinawa Prefecture.)

Shortly after the U.S.-Japan war games ended, two members of the municipal assembly of Ishigaki in the Okinawa Prefecture “briefly set foot on one of the islands at the centre of a bitter territorial dispute between Beijing and Tokyo,” to wit Minami Kojima in the Senkaku group in the East China Sea. [7]

Before Keen Sword commenced, USS George Washington and its carrier strike group completed a four-day joint exercise with South Korea in the Yellow Sea, bordered on the north and west by China.

Along the way, the supercarrier took on board over 20 members of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.

The South Korean military participated as an observer in the U.S.-Japan Keen Sword maneuvers for the first time, as Japanese military personnel observed the Invincible Spirit U.S.-South Korea war games in the Sea of Japan/East Sea from July 25-28, for which USS George Washington was also deployed.

The exercise was interrupted for several hours on December 6 when two Russian Ilyushin Il-38 anti-submarine warfare aircraft flew over U.S. and Japanese forces participating in the maneuvers and Japan scrambled F-15s to intercept them. According to a U.S. military source: “It is the second incident in as many months that some have interpreted as a potential strain on Japan-Russia relations.” [8]

“Although it is not unusual for foreign planes to try to spy on other countries’ war games, Japanese media interpreted the move as Russia’s latest warning shot in a festering territorial dispute between Moscow and Tokyo. The incident…came just two days after Japan’s foreign minister, Seiji Maehara, flew over the disputed Kuril Islands that are currently part of Russia but which Tokyo claims as its own. President Dmitry Medvedev became the first Russian leader to visit the islands in November, infuriating Japan.” [9]

The U.S. supports Japan’s position that the Southern Kurils are its so-called Northern Territories. [10]

On October 27 Hillary Clinton reiterated the U.S. commitment to honoring Article 5 of the 1960 U.S.-Japan Security Treaty in relation to the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands dispute with China. She made the comment at a meeting in Hawaii with Japanese Foreign Minister Maehara, who of late has also manifested renewed interest in the Kuril Islands as seen above.

Her meeting with the foreign ministers of Japan and South Korea on December 6 and Admiral Mullen’s meetings with Japan’s and South Korea’s military leaders later in the week cannot be viewed apart from the above context.

While in Tokyo on December 9, Mullen said that North Korea’s “reckless behaviour…enabled by their friends in China” was the cause of the fact that “Northeast Asia is today more volatile than it’s been in much of the last 50 years.” In Seoul the day before he called on Japan, notwithstanding its constitutional prohibition against what is deemed collective self-defense and collective security, to play an active role in tripartite military exercises with the U.S. and South Korea.

After meeting with Japan’s leading defense and military officials, Mullen said “he had ‘a real sense of urgency’ about the need for Washington, Tokyo and Seoul to enhance security cooperation to deter North Korea.” [11] In his view, the participation of South Korean military observers in the U.S.-Japan Keen Sword exercise was “a terrific first step to broadening our trilateral relationship and deepening our collective readiness.” [12]

On December 11 Japan’s Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported that the government’s National Defense Program Guidelines to be released later this month, the first in six years, will announce that Tokyo is shifting its military strategy toward “a posture that can effectively deal with possible contingencies on Japan’s vulnerable southern islands and China’s growing military presence.”

Japan will assign increased importance to a “dynamic defense capability” for its armed forces, the archaically-named Self-Defense Forces (SDF).

The new military doctrine will “emphasize mobility and readiness to allow the SDF to respond to terrorist acts or an invasion of outlying islands.

“The guidelines will also raise concerns about the Chinese Navy’s rising presence in waters around Japan.”

“The proposal to create a dynamic defense capability to deal with the Chinese military presence would involve intelligence-gathering and surveillance, as well as a heightened deterrence factor by demonstrating the SDF’s high capabilities in joint training exercises with the United States.

“The guidelines will also call for a new deployment of the minimum force level of SDF members needed on the Nansei island chain between the south of Kyushu main island and Taiwan.”

The Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands contested by China are part of the Nansei/Ryukyu Islands, the entire group returned to Japan by the U.S. in 1971.

“An important point in the guidelines is improving mobility in order to deploy SDF members quickly to the Nansei island chain.

“This would involve using high-speed transport ships and transport planes to move SDF members based in northern parts of the country to the Nansei island chain.” [13]

An appendix to the guidelines includes plans to increase the nation’s submarine fleet from 16 to 22, acquire next-generation fighter jets and add to the number of Aegis class destroyers equipped with Standard Missile-3 interceptor missiles from the present four.

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s Aegis guided missile destroyers are modified versions of the American Arleigh Burke class destroyer employing the Aegis combat system. In the Japanese arsenal, Kongô class destroyers. In 2007 the JDS Kongô guided missile destroyer conducted a successful test of an American Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IA interceptor against a ballistic missile off Hawaii, the first time a non-American warship launched one of the missiles in a test of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System.

In October of 2009 the JS Myoko Aegis class destroyer intercepted a medium-range ballistic missile in a test off Hawaii.

Late this October the recently upgraded JS Kirishima destroyer fired an SM-3 missile 100 miles over Hawaii to bring down a ballistic missile target, a “significant milestone in the growing cooperation between Japan and the U.S. in the area of missile defense.” [14]

Commenting on Japan’s new military blueprint, the New York Times revealed that the country’s “sweeping overhaul of its cold war-era defense strategy” will be released as “the United States is making new calls for Japan to increase its military role in eastern Asia in response to recent provocations by North Korea as well as China’s more assertive stance in the region.”

“The United States has used Japan’s concerns as an opportunity to strengthen ties with the country, its largest and most important Asian ally, and to nudge Japan toward a more active role in the region. In particular, Washington has proposed stronger three-way military ties that would also include its other key regional ally, South Korea.”

“Japan has slowly begun to shed some of the postwar [restrictions] against a larger Asian role for its military, known as the Self-Defense Forces, one of the largest and most technologically advanced in the region.”

“In another sign of growing coordination, South Korea’s vice minister of defense, Lee Yong-gul, visited Tokyo late last week for talks with his Japanese counterpart, Kimito Nakae, on increasing bilateral cooperation.” [15]

The Financial Times stated: “Defence policy guidelines set to be unveiled by Tokyo this month…will signal a historic refocusing of Japan’s army and other forces toward securing islands in the southern Nansei chain that are seen as threatened by China’s rapidly growing military power.”

“Tokyo has already deployed more advanced fighters to the southern island of Okinawa and beefed up army units there, but China’s deployment of new submarines, supersonic anti-ship missiles and advanced fighters is seen as challenging US and Japanese military superiority in an area that includes sea lanes vital to the trade-dependent economy.”

In regards to the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, the British daily added: “Early steps are likely to include new island radar stations, with small army units to guard them. Some analysts say anti-ship missiles should later be deployed along the Nansei chain to support naval forces in the area.” [16]

On December 11 Kyodo News cited a draft appendix to the new defense policy guidelines in reporting that Japan will be “equipping all [its] six Aegis destroyers with Standard Missile-3 interceptors” and that “Patriot Advanced Capability-3 interceptor missiles will be deployed at air bases nationwide.”

The news source also disclosed that the “PAC-3 missile system, designed to shoot down an incoming missile from the ground moments before reaching its target, will be deployed by all six Air Self-Defense Force air-defense missile groups from three at present.” [17]

In fact, Japanese disarmament activists have identified twelve air bases where Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles have already been installed: Those at Aibano, Ashiya, Gifu, Hakusan, Hamamatsu, Iruma, Kasuga, Kasumigaura, Narashino, Takaradai, Takeyama and Tsuiki. [18] The U.S. also has a Patriot battery at the Kadena Air Base on Okinawa.

Japan’s white paper is similar to that of Australia’s of last year, “Defending Australia in the Asia Pacific century: force 2030,” [19] which details the nation’s largest military buildup – at a price tag of $72 billion – since the Second World War, and New Zealand’s of last month, which advocates “closer military relations with the United States, Australia, Britain and Canada, as well as enhanced front-line capabilities.” [20]

In all three cases nations tied to the U.S. through Cold War-era defense treaties are expanding the sophistication and breadth of their military forces in the Asia-Pacific area. Shortly after Secretary of State Clinton, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen visited his country last month, Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, until last summer his nation’s head of state, asserted that “Australia could be drawn in to any military conflict on the Korean peninsula under its alliance with the US.” That is, because of obligations imposed by the Australia, New Zealand, United States (ANZUS) Security Treaty. [21]

North Korea only goes so far in serving as the justification for the expansion of expeditionary military capabilities and deeper integration with the Pentagon’s plans for the region.

The Washington-Tokyo-Seoul military axis is preparing for war. And not only on the Korean Peninsula.

1) Joint Chiefs of Staff, December 9, 2010
2) U.S. Seventh Fleet, December 3, 2010
3) Alastair Leithead, Strength and power in seas off Japan
BBC News, December 13, 2010
4) Kyodo News, December 3
5) U.S. Supports Japan, Confronts China And Russia Over Island Disputes
Stop NATO, November 4, 2010
6) BBC News, December 13, 2010
7) Radio Netherlands, December 11, 2010
8) Stars and Stripes, December 8, 2010
9) Daily Telegraph, December 8, 2010
10) U.S. Supports Japan, Confronts China And Russia Over Island Disputes
Stop NATO, November 4, 2010
11) Voice of America News, December 9, 2010
12) Stars and Stripes. December 9, 2010
13) Defense policy shifting focus to China’s military
Asahi Shimbun, December 11, 2010
14) Global Security Newswire, October 30, 2010
15) Martin Fackler, Japan Plans Military Shift to Focus More on China
New York Times, December 12, 2010
16) Mure Dickie, Japan to shift military towards China threat
Financial Times, December 13, 2010
17) Kyodo News, December 11, 2010
19) Australian Military Buildup And The Rise Of Asian NATO
Stop NATO, May 6, 2009
20) Obama, Gates And Clinton In Asia: U.S. Expands Military Build-Up In The
Stop NATO, November 7, 2010
21) North Korea As Pretext: U.S. Builds Asian Military Alliance Against China
And Russia
Stop NATO, December 3, 2010

Categories: Uncategorized

White House Intensifies Military Buildup In Poland

December 10, 2010 Leave a comment

December 10, 2010

White House Intensifies Military Buildup In Poland
Rick Rozoff

Immediately on the heels of reports in the Guardian and other Western news media that the U.S.-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization has crafted a strategy to intervene with nine army divisions in the Baltic Sea area, President Barack Obama met with his Polish counterpart Bronislaw Komorowski at the White House and confirmed plans to increase U.S. military hardware and troops in the latter’s country.

The two heads of state agreed on expanding bilateral military relations “in the spirit of the 2008 U.S.-Polish Declaration on Strategic Cooperation,” [1] including the stationing of 16 U.S. F-16 jet fighters and four C-130 Hercules military transport planes on Polish air bases beginning in 2013.

The U.S. sold Poland 48 of the multirole warplanes earlier in the decade, delivering them between 2006-2008, and last month provided the third of five Hercules aircraft to the Polish military. According to a news agency report on the most recent delivery: “The C-130 aircraft are Poland’s biggest transport planes. Polish crews used the planes to fly to Spain, Georgia, Iraq and Afghanistan.” [2]

The American F-16s and C-130s will be based in Poland to join those sold to the nation and the U.S. fighters will participate in joint air combat exercises with their Polish opposite numbers.

U.S. F-15 jet fighters are currently completing a four-month rotation at the Lithuanian Air Force base at Siauliai for NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission. The F-15 Eagle is “a twin-engine, all-weather tactical fighter designed to gain and maintain air superiority in aerial combat. It is considered among the most successful modern fighters with over 100 aerial combat victories with no losses in dogfights.” [3]

In addition to the American and Polish presidents confirming the above deployments, coming as they do after the stationing of U.S. Patriot Advanced Capability-3 anti-ballistic missiles and 100 troops to Morag, Poland – half an hour’s drive from the Russian border – in May of this year, Obama also confirmed an even more menacing development: The Pentagon will forge ahead with basing Standard Missile-3 (SM-3s) interceptors in Poland, part of what the administration refers to as the Aegis Ashore program to adapt ship-based SM-3s for use on land. However, Washington will almost certainly add SM-3-equipped Aegis class warships to the mix with a continuous rotation in the Baltic Sea.

Obama “confirmed the commitment of the United States to implement the Phased Adaptive Approach to European missile defense, including basing land-based SM-3 interceptors in Poland as part of this program in the 2018 time frame, and expressed his gratitude for the commitment by the government of Poland to host this system.” [4]

The White House also committed to assigning American 800 troops to Polish command in Afghanistan’s Ghazni province and supplying 20 mine-resistant armored vehicles to Polish forces serving with NATO’s International Security Assistance Force.

The following day President Komorowski met with former U.S. national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski and laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.

The SM-3 has a standard range of 300 miles (500 kilometers), but the SM-3 Block II variant is enhanced for extended range and velocity. On September 17, 2009 Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced plans to abandon the George W. Bush administration project to base ten ground-based midcourse interceptor missiles of the sort based in Alaska and California in silos in Redzikowo, Poland in favor of a “smarter, stronger and swifter” deployment of a graduated, layered interceptor missile system in Eastern Europe from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea.

Seven months ago the first phase – the installation of a U.S. advanced Patriot missile battery – was effected in eastern Poland.

Much as with the earlier, now discarded, ground-based midcourse missile plan, Washington and its NATO allies claim that PAC-3 and SM-3 deployments are in response to non-existent or at any rate far-fetched threats of long-range missile attacks by so-called rogue states: Iran, Syria and North Korea. Thirty countries in total according to NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who adamantly refuses to list the putative villains.

Iran does not possess, is not in the process of acquiring and is not capable of developing intercontinental ballistic missiles able to be launched over the Arctic Ocean to the U.S., so SM-3s in Poland with a current range of 300 miles cannot “protect” North America and Europe from an alleged Iranian missile threat. The distance between the capitals of Iran and Poland is almost 2,500 miles, so any intercept of an Iranian missile by an American SM-3 would have to occur over Ukraine. (And possibly Belarus. If the range of SM-3s in Poland were to be extended, and with the same interceptors in Romania, the countries of the South Caucasus and Russia’s North Caucasus could suffer fallout even if in theory debris is to be burned during reentry.)

SM-3 and Patriot anti-ballistic missiles are what the Pentagon and its Missile Defense Agency refer to as kinetic – “hit-to-kill” – weapons that officially are not equipped with an explosive warhead and that destroy an incoming missile on contact. The USS Lake Erie guided missile cruiser launched an SM-3 into the exoatmosphere over the Pacific Ocean on February 21, 2008 to destroy an American satellite with a kinetic warhead.

However, as Washington acknowledges that North Korea has nuclear weapons and accuses Iran of pursuing them, a missile collision involving a nuclear warhead over the territory of a third nation is an inevitable danger entailed by U.S. and NATO missile shield deployments.

The U.S. cannot pretend that Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles in Poland are in any manner aimed toward and at any nation other than Russia. The American missiles and troops in the Baltic Sea city of Morag are near the border of Russia’s Kaliningrad district where the Interfax news agency revealed on December 7 that, in addition to NATO recently elaborating plans to intervene against Russia on behalf of Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, the military bloc’s “plans to surround and crush Russia’s military forces in the Kaliningrad region (the country’s westernmost region) were drawn up at least five years ago.” [5]

A recent analysis in the Russian press disclosed that this May’s missile deployment in Poland has been followed by the decision at the NATO summit in Lisbon to consolidate an interceptor missile system for all of Europe under control of NATO nominally but the U.S. practically: “The Patriots being integrated into the US missile shield, the issue clearly acquires a strategic dimension.” [6]

Earlier this week Polish Defense Minister Bogdan Klich stated, “The American presence on our territory constitutes an additional guarantee, an additional assurance that we are in an alliance where our allies would come to our aid if the situation warranted.” He also confirmed that “in 2013 Poland and the three Baltic states would host, in an exercise of the NATO Response Force (NRF), a multinational contingent of about 25,000 troops available for rapid deployment in crisis management, stabilization or collective defense.” [7]

Weeks before Klich asserted that “Poland accepts the U.S. proposal of hosting rotating F-16 and Hercules aircraft and their crews” and disclosed “plans for joint drills with the U.S.” [8]

The U.S. government characterized the Obama-Komorowski meeting on December 8 as being conducted within the framework of the U.S.-Polish Declaration on Strategic Cooperation, as seen above.

The text of the declaration includes these provisions:

“We believe that the development of durable and long-term strategic cooperation will increase the security of the United States and Poland, as well as the security of the North Atlantic area. The cornerstone of the U.S.-Poland security relationship is the solidarity embodied in Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, which provides that an armed attack against one NATO country shall be considered an armed attack against them all. The United States and Poland recognize the importance of enhancing their individual and collective national security by working within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)….”

“Within the context of, and consistent with, both the North Atlantic Treaty and the U.S.-Poland strategic partnership, the United States is committed to the security of Poland and of any U.S. facilities located on the territory of the Republic of Poland. The United States and Poland will work together to counter emerging military or non-military threats posed by third parties or to minimize the effects of such threats. The increased strategic cooperation described herein would enhance the security of the United States and Poland.”

“Missile defenses, including an interceptor base in Poland, provide a necessary and critical capability that can be used to defend both nations, and other NATO Allies, from long-range missile threats, thus enhancing the security of the United States, Poland, and the North Atlantic area.”

“Cooperation on missile defense strengthens the strategic partnership between the United States and Poland.”

“The United States and Poland plan to conclude a number of bilateral agreements that are intended to enhance defense and security cooperation between the United States and Poland.”

“In pursuit of this shared vision of broader and deeper U.S.-Poland strategic cooperation, the United States and Poland decided that the Strategic Cooperation Consultative Group (SCCG) will serve as the primary mechanism for furthering the U.S.-Poland strategic relationship. The SCCG will be composed of senior representatives from the Department of State and Department of Defense in the United States, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of National Defense in Poland. The SCCG will meet regularly or upon the request of the United States or Poland and may establish working groups such as the High-Level Defense Group (HLDG). The SCCG complements the work being done in other areas, including the existing U.S.-Poland Strategic Dialogue and Joint Staff Talks.”

Washington also pledged to “assist Poland in transforming and modernizing its Armed Forces,” “provide defense equipment and related materials…with the purpose of improving the interoperability, sustainability, and deployability of Poland’s Armed Forces,” and “expand air and missile defense cooperation.” [9]

A recent news story on the website of U.S. Air Forces in Europe reported on a joint exercise with forces from the U.S., Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Poland for “the coordination and training of [Joint Terminal Air Controllers] and Polish F-16 close air support missions during Operation Sabre Strike 11 at Adazi Training Aria, Latvia.”

The purpose of the exercise was to “continue mutual support for the fight in Afghanistan and demonstrate previous successful NATO coordination in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“The [U.S.] 100th ARW [Air Refueling Wing] provided fuel to the Polish F-16s, which allowed the fighters to conduct bomb and strafing runs as coordinated by the NATO JTAC trainees and instructors. This marked the first time that live munitions were dropped in Latvia since their separation from Russia in 1992.” [10]

On December 7 Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine signed an agreement on the formation of a trilateral Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian Brigade, LITPOLUKRBRIG. The unit is being created “for deployment to operations of international organisations.” [11] That is, NATO and the European Union.

Two days later Secretary General Rasmussen met with Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves at NATO Headquarters in Brussels “to discuss the way forward on the results of the successful Lisbon Summit last November.”

Rasmussen applauded the troop contribution of diminutive Estonia (with a population of 1.3 million) for NATO’s war in Afghanistan. The NATO chief and Estonian president “welcomed the fact that the New Strategic Concept reinforces NATO’s commitment to collective defence as a core task for the Alliance. The Secretary General reiterated that NATO’s ongoing air policing mission for the Baltic states is a visible proof of Allied commitment to collective defence.”

Rasmussen added, “The NATO Cyber Security Centre of Excellence in Estonia will play a key role in building up our collective defences on this 21st century battle-front.” [12]

As for a closer relationship between NATO and Russia as indicated by the NATO-Russia Council meeting during the second day of the NATO summit in Portugal last month, what the government-owned Voice of Russia cited President Dmitry Medvedev describing as a “kindhearted partnership” in which “Russia sees NATO as a partner, rather than a threat” [13], a German news source reported:

“Experts believe that, even if Russia is left out and reacts belligerently, the missile shield will still go ahead with European powerhouses like Germany pushing the US and NATO to commit to securing the continent from external threats.” [14]

Employing NATO as mechanism and intermediary as needed, Washington is establishing a growing and permanent military presence in Poland that has far less to do with protecting the nation from imaginary Russian threats than with defying Russia on its own doorstep and laying the groundwork for confrontation between the world’s two main nuclear powers.

1) Xinhua News Agency, December 9, 2010
2) Xinhua News Agency, November 17, 2010
3) Wikipedia
4), December 8, 2010
5) Interfax/RT, December 7, 2010
6) Yuri Rubtsov, Arms Race: Russia Ready to Pay the Price
Russian Information Agency Novosti, December 9, 2010
7) Agence France-Presse, December 9, 2010
8) Stars and Stripes, December 8, 2010
9) U.S. Department of State, August 20, 2008
10) U.S. Air Forces in Europe, December 9, 2010
11) Defence Professionals, December 9, 2010
12) North Atlantic Treaty Organization, December 9, 2010
13) Voice of Russia, December 6, 2010
14) Deutsche Welle, December 9, 2010

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO Develops Plans For Military Confrontation With Russia In Baltic

December 8, 2010 Leave a comment

December 8, 2010

NATO Develops Plans For Military Confrontation With Russia In Baltic
Rick Rozoff

This week plans for U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization military intervention in the Baltic Sea region gained attention after information from American State Department cables released by WikiLeaks were published in Britain’s Guardian newspaper.

Details include the alleged military defense of new NATO members Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania against Russia by nine NATO divisions composed of troops from the U.S., Britain, Germany and Poland – as many as 100,000-200,000 or more depending on the size of the divisions – U.S. and British warships and assault forces, and warplanes from the U.S. and other NATO nations.

A determination on the contingency plan, codenamed Operation Eagle Guardian, was, according to The Guardian, “taken secretly earlier this year at the urging of the US and Germany at Nato headquarters in Belgium.”

The British daily further revealed that “The decision, according to a secret cable signed by Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, marks the start of a major revamp of Nato defence planning in Europe.

“The strategy has not been made public, in line with Nato’s customary refusal to divulge details of its ‘contingency planning’ – blueprints for the defence of a Nato member state by the alliance as a whole.

“These are believed to be held in safes at Nato’s planning headquarters in Mons, Belgium,” Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE). [2]

An article in this series from February of 2009 warned that the Baltic Sea region is one “where most any spark could ignite a powder keg that would draw in and pit against each other the world’s two major nuclear powers and immediately and ipso facto develop into a world conflict.” [2]

According to a classified dispatch from the American mission to NATO Headquarters in Brussels, the top military commander of SHAPE, U.S. Admiral James Stavridis, proposed adding Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to an already existing plan to intervene on behalf of Poland, and the plan was authorized by NATO’s Military Committee (rather than the bloc’s top civilian governing body, the North Atlantic Council) last January 22 “under a silence procedure.”

Cables published by the Guardian included these excerpts:

“On January 22, NATO’s Military Committee agreed to expand EAGLE GUARDIAN, the Alliance’s contingency plan for the reinforcement and defense of Poland, to also include the defense and reinforcement of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.”

“[U.S.] Ambassador [to NATO Ivo] Daalder acknowledged in…meetings that Germany had initiated the proposal for expanding EAGLE GUARDIAN to include the Baltic states. The German PermRep [permanent representative: ambassador] noted that the German Chancellery and Ministry of Defense had signed off on this approach, and MFA [Ministry of Foreign Affairs] approval should come after FM [Foreign Minister Guido] Westerwelle’s full briefing on this issue.” [3]

Washington also “offered to beef up Polish security against Russia” by deploying naval special forces to the Baltic Sea ports of Gdansk and Gdynia. As the British newspaper stated, “The diplomatic traffic seen by the Guardian is from US state department and US embassies worldwide, but not from Pentagon or CIA communications, meaning that the cables reveal the policy and political decision-making processes but contain little on the specifics of hard military planning.” [4]

NATO “quietly endorsed” the strategy at its recently concluded summit in Lisbon, Portugal last month along with extending the Alliance’s participation in the war in Afghanistan to 2014 and beyond, placing all of Europe under a U.S.-NATO interceptor missile shield, maintaining American tactical nuclear weapons in bases in five European nations, and subordinating the continent to the new U.S. cyber warfare system.

On December 3 Estonian Defense Minister Jaak Aaviksoo visited NATO’s Allied Command Transformation in Norfolk, Virginia and U.S Cyber Command headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland, and met at the Pentagon with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, “who announced the US decision to join the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in Tallinn,” the capital of Estonia. [5]

One didn’t have to wait for WikiLeaks or the Guardian to learn the above facts. And more.

On November 4 the Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza reported extensively on Eagle Guardian. The paper has a history of breaking crucial, and accurate, information earlier than other sources.

In February of this year it featured an article by Polish Defense Minister Bogdan Klich in which he spoke of arranging for NATO Response Force exercises in his country, employing a “scenario [which] would involve the allies in a defense exercise against attack from the east.” The Drawsko Pomorskie Training Area, used by NATO since 1996 – three years before Poland became a member of the military bloc – was suggested as a site for the war games by Klich.

The NATO Response Force is a 25,000-troop “highly ready and technologically advanced multinational force made up of land, air, maritime and special forces components that the Alliance can deploy quickly to wherever it is needed.” [6]

In the summer of 2009 Gazeta Wyborcza disclosed, three weeks before announcements by President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Gates on the subject [7] and “citing officials and lobbyists in Washington,” that Washington was expanding interceptor missile plans from new NATO member states in Eastern Europe to other “locations including in the Balkans, Israel and Turkey.” [8] Just that has transpired in the interim as, in addition to stationing a missile radar site in the Negev Desert, the U.S. conducted the largest-ever missile interception exercises with Israel in October and November of last year [9], announced plans to deploy Standard Missile-3 and anti-missile radar installations in Romania and Bulgaria, and is currently pressuring Turkey to also host missile shield facilities.

Over a month ago, more than two weeks before the NATO summit in Portugal, the Polish newspaper revealed:

“NATO already has new plans ready for the defense of Poland and the Baltic countries….The Alliance has identified the specific divisions and ports which would serve in a potential operation.

“Such contingency plans guarantee a country not only armed assistance from the Allies. They also constitute an outline of the combat operation that could be carried out on that country’s territory in the event of an attack.”

The paper quoted Defense Minister Klich, who refused to disclose details, “which are NATO secrets”:

“After two years, contingency plans have been successfully prepared for Poland.”

An unnamed source at NATO’s Military Command was also quoted as saying:

“Plans for Poland were prepared this September, after consultations with the defense ministers of the Baltic countries and Poland. They encompass actions during the first phase of an operation. The plans for Poland are already quite detailed, for the Baltic countries this is a preliminary version.”

Operations to intervene not only in Poland but also in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which “NATO member states are [expected] to approve…at the Lisbon summit two weeks from now,” will be under the command of the NATO Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum in the Netherlands, “which is responsible for the security of Central and Eastern Europe.

“Brunssum will establish what is known as a high-readiness headquarters to directly run the operation in Poland.” The plans will be overseen from NATO’s main military headquarters in Europe, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe.

Providing the details that the Guardian stated were unavailable, the Polish source added:

“In the event of aggression against Poland, NATO plans to deploy as many as nine divisions into battle. Four of them Polish, the remainder from Western countries, including British, German, and American ones. They will be transported by all possible routes: by land, by rail, by airplane, and by sea.

“The ports meant to receive large assault units have already been named. The most important among them is Swinoujscie. This port is currently carrying out a thorough modernization using NATO money, so that it can receive large warships longer than 200 m and submerged more than 10 m.

“The port in Gdynia was also modernized with NATO assistance. Poland was very anxious for Allied troops to be able to land not just on the country’s western border.

“NATO also anticipates that Western forces will be deployed to the German ports in Rostock, Wismar, Stralsund, and as a last resort, if not possible further to the east, to the port in Hamburg.”

The aforementioned anonymous NATO source was also cited affirming:

“The naval units that will defend the Polish coast have been named. They are British and US warships.”

Poland’s air defense system “is already integrated with the NATO system” and “the Alliance has expanded the radar stations on Polish territory.”

The NATO Baltic Air Policing operation launched immediately after Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania joined the military bloc in 2004 “is also included into the NATO system.” [10]

The Baltic patrols are currently being conducted by four U.S. F-15 C Eagle jet fighters, capable of being armed with four types of air-to-air weapons including Sparrow and Sidewinder missiles, and American 120 military personnel are assigned to the mission. [11] The year before the three Baltic states’ incorporation into NATO, then-Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov warned that the patrols would entail the deployment of NATO, including American, warplanes “a three-minute flight away from St. Petersburg,” Russia’s second largest city.

This May Lithuanian Defense Minister Rasa Jukneviciene met with defense chief Gates at the Pentagon and said the U.S. intends to extend NATO air patrols in the area “till 2018 and beyond.”

The American military aircraft are based at the Siauliai International Airport in Lithuania which contains what is effectively a U.S. and NATO strategic air base. Two years ago President George W. Bush pronounced: “It’s important for the people of Lithuania to know that when the United States makes a commitment through, for example, Article 5 of the [NATO] treaty, we mean it.”

On September 25 the government of Estonia completed a three-year project to upgrade the Amari Air Base to accommodate NATO warplanes. According to an Estonian government official, the base can now host “16 NATO fighters, 20 transport planes [and] up to 2,000 people per day.” [12] NATO financed 35 percent of the air base’s expansion and modernization.

At the expanded base’s opening ceremony, Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, an American expatriate and former Radio Free Europe employee, stated, “NATO will have one of the most modern air force bases in the region at its disposal” and expatiated on its purpose:

“It is obvious that a small country like Estonia would need the help of its allies in the event of a serious military crisis. Likewise, it is obvious that no matter how willing someone is to provide this help, they cannot do so without the proper infrastructure. Let’s be honest: until today our ability to accept the airborne help of our allies has been extremely limited.” [13]

On December 7 Poland’s Gazeta Wyborcza reported that Deputy Secretary of Defense Alexander Vershbow confirmed the U.S., in addition to NATO commitments, will initiate three other operations: It will rotate F-16 Fighting Falcon multirole jet fighters to Polish air bases, will station C-130 Hercules military transport planes with U.S. support staff, and will deploy American special forces from Special Operations Command Europe in Stuttgart, Germany to Poland.

U.S. ambassador to Poland Lee Feinstein stated that “Poland wants to implement all three projects and that it is particularly interested in the presence of F-16s. A similar declaration [was made by] by Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski.” [14]

48 F-16s were sold to Poland and delivered between 2006-2008, the first deployment of the American warplanes to Eastern Europe and the largest military purchase in Poland’s history.

In August of 2008 the U.S. signed an agreement with Poland which includes a “commitment for both states to come to each other’s assistance in case of military threats.” [15]

In April of 2009 the Polish press announced 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.”

Additionally, 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).” [16]

In June of 2009 Polish Defense Minister Klich disclosed 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.” [17]

This February 27 (the now deceased) Polish President Lech Kaczynski ratified a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with the U.S. for the stationing of American troops on his nation’s territory. In May approximately 100 U.S. troops and six Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles arrived in the city of Morag on the Baltic Sea.

On the same day U.S. and Russian presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev signed a Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) II agreement – April 8 – the prime minister of Poland, Donald Tusk, said that “From the perspective of [President Obama] and the U.S. the signing of the START 2 treaty has no influence on the work on the SM3 anti-missile shield.” [18] He was referring to longer-range Standard Missile-3 deployments scheduled for Poland and on ships in the Baltic Sea, the main component of what Washington calls its Phased Adaptive Approach to cover all of Europe with interceptor missiles by 2018.

The Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) of 1990 has not been ratified by the U.S. or any of its NATO allies twenty years on. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are not signatories to the treaty and as such the U.S. and NATO could feel free to move any military equipment they choose to the three nations. There is nothing to prevent the transfer of American B61 nuclear gravity bombs from air bases in Germany to ones in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

In July Secretary of State Clinton was in Poland and signed an agreement with her counterpart, Foreign Minister Sikorski, on the stationing of U.S. interceptor missiles in the country. The two formalized a pact superseding one signed two years earlier by Sikorski and then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

“According to new missile defence plans, mobile launchers incorporating SM-3 interceptors will be placed in Europe. Poland will probably station the system between 2015 and 2018.”

The day before Polish Defense Ministry spokesman Janusz Sejmej made the same point, revealing that “Defense Minister Bogdan Klich said the Americans promised to bring the SM-3s here after 2015 but definitely before 2018.”

In Clinton’s words, “We’re….NATO allies, and the United States is deeply committed to Poland’s security and sovereignty. Today, by signing an amendment to the ballistic missile defense agreement, we are reinforcing this commitment. The amendment will allow us to move forward with Polish participation in hosting elements of the phased adaptive approach to missile defense in Europe.” [19]

Since U.S. warplanes took over the current four-month rotation of the NATO Baltic air patrol on September 1, America has continued military exercises in the area.

On September 13 thirteen NATO member states and partners began this year’s annual Northern Coasts naval exercise in the Baltic Sea. Over 4,000 military personnel, more than 60 ships, and planes and helicopters from the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland and Sweden participated in the largest exercise ever staged in Finnish waters, where last year’s Loyal Arrow 2 NATO war games included “the biggest air force drill ever in the Finnish-Swedish Bothnia Bay.”

A week after Northern Coasts 2010 began, U.S. Special Operations Command Europe, from where American special forces personnel are to be deployed to Poland, launched the Jackal Stone 10 multinational special forces exercise at the 21st Tactical Airbase in Swidwin, Poland, then moved to two other locations in Lithuania. 1,300 special operations troops from the U.S., Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Croatia, Romania and Ukraine participated, the first time that special operations units of the seven countries have engaged in joint maneuvers. [20]

The Guardian announced on December 6 that the first military exercises under the rubric of Operation Eagle Guardian are to be held next year in the Baltic sea region. Nine NATO divisions, the 25,000-troop NATO Response Force, U.S. special forces, U.S. and British warships, squadrons of American F-16s transferred from the Aviano Air Base in Italy, and Patriot Advanced Capability-3 and Standard Missile-3 interceptors are in the Baltic region or soon will be.

It’s not difficult to determine in relation to what contingencies – and against which country – the Pentagon and NATO are preparing armed intervention on a major scale.

1) The Guardian, December 6, 2010
2) Baltic Sea: Flash Point For NATO-Russia Conflict
Stop NATO, February 27, 2009
3) The Guardian, December 6, 2010
4) The Guardian, December 6, 2010
5) Defence Professionals, December 7, 2010
6) North Atlantic Treaty Organization
7) U.S. Expands Global Missile Shield Into Middle East, Balkans
Stop NATO, September 11, 2009
8) Agence France-Presse, August 27, 2009
9) Israel: Forging NATO Missile Shield, Rehearsing War With Iran
Stop NATO, November 5, 2009
10) Published in English at:
Lithuania Tribune, November 18, 2010
11) Baltic States: Pentagon’s Training Grounds For Afghan and Future Wars
Stop NATO, September 30, 2010
12) U.S. Consolidates New Military Outposts In Eastern Europe
Stop NATO, September 23, 2010
13) Ibid
14) Gazeta Wyborcza, December 7, 2010,76842,8778799,Wikileaks_o_planach_NATO_w_Polsce__Moskwa__zaklopotana_.html
15) Bloomberg News, August 15, 2008
16) Poland: U.S. Moves First Missiles, Troops Near Russian Border
Stop NATO, May 29, 2010
17) Ibid
18) NATO: Pentagon’s Gateway Into Former Warsaw Pact, Soviet Nations
Stop NATO, April 15, 2010
19) Clinton Renews U.S. Claims On Former Soviet Space
Stop NATO, July 7, 2010
20) U.S. Consolidates New Military Outposts In Eastern Europe
Stop NATO, September 23, 2010

Categories: Uncategorized

U.S. And NATO Allies Escalate Military Buildup Against Iran

December 6, 2010 Leave a comment

December 6, 2010

U.S. And NATO Allies Escalate Military Buildup Against Iran
Rick Rozoff

The new Strategic Concept adopted by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization at its summit in Lisbon, Portugal on November 19-20 reiterated the U.S.-led military bloc’s determination to expand military partnerships and deployments throughout the so-called Greater Middle East, including in the Persian Gulf. [1]

The Alliance’s doctrine for the next decade contains the assertion that “we attach great importance to peace and stability in the Gulf region, and we intend to strengthen our cooperation in the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative,” [2] the reference being to the decision reached at the bloc’s 2004 summit in Turkey to upgrade partnerships with the seven members of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue program – Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia – and the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – to the status of the Partnership for Peace program used to graduate 12 Eastern European nations to full NATO membership over the last 11 years.

Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have formally responded to the initiative by forging bilateral relations with NATO, and Oman and Saudi Arabia have cooperated with the military alliance in ad hoc endeavors ranging from conferences to hosting visits of NATO naval groups. [3]

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is also one of NATO’s 48 Troop Contributing Nations for the war in Afghanistan and provides air bases to NATO member states for the war in that country. Until recently Canadian aircraft and troops operated out of Camp Mirage in Dubai, reportedly at the Al Minhad Air Base, where Dutch, Australian and New Zealand military forces have also been based for the Afghan war and operations in the Arabian Sea.

Britain also employs the Al Minhad Air Base as a “final hopping point” for transport planes to “carry troops and supplies to Afghanistan.” In addition, the base supplies logistical support to British warships in the Persian Gulf. In the words of a British military official, “It’s the right distance from the UK and the right distance from Afghanistan, in a safe country.” [4]

As is evident by the location of the 13 nations targeted by the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, from Mauritania on the west coast of Africa to the monarchies and sheikdoms of the Persian Gulf, NATO is complementing and reinforcing U.S. military objectives and deployments from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian Ocean. There is a NATO overlay to the Pentagon’s Africa Command and Central Command, converging in Egypt, the only African nation still in the second command which reaches to the Chinese and Russian borders in Kazakhstan to the east.

The USS Abraham Lincoln and USS Harry S. Truman nuclear-powered supercarrier strike groups are currently in the Arabian Sea along with the only non-American nuclear aircraft carrier in the world, France’s Charles de Gaulle [5], conducting operations from the Horn of Africa to Afghanistan.

Over 150,000 troops under U.S. and NATO command are waging war in Afghanistan, including in the provinces of Herat, Farah and Nimroz on Iran’s eastern border.

In 2004 NATO airlifted Afghan government troops loyal to President Hamid Karzai to Herat province to depose the province’s governor, Ismail Khan, whose son was killed in the process, and seize the Shindand Air Base, 20 miles from the Iranian border.

Earlier this year the Pentagon announced plans to spend $131 million to upgrade the air base. As a press report last May put it, the expansion and modernization of the base is occurring “as the U.S. works to strengthen the militaries and missile defenses of allies in the region and presses at the United Nations for a new round of sanctions aimed at forcing Iran to curb its nuclear program.” [6]

To the south of Afghanistan’s Nimroz province is the Pakistani province of Balochistan, where the U.S. and NATO have been conducting helicopter raids and surveillance flights and where it was recently reported that “the United States military and its coalition partners in Afghanistan” have been granted the right to “maintain a presence” at a Pakistani military base in the capital of Quetta. [7] By some accounts the Pentagon and NATO are establishing an air base in the province. [8]

North of Afghanistan’s border with Iran is the former Soviet republic of Turkmenistan, which adjoins Iran from Afghanistan to the Caspian Sea. In January of 2009 General David Petraeus, at the time head of U.S. Central Command and now commander of all American and NATO troops in Afghanistan, led a delegation to Turkmenistan to consolidate transit and other support for the war in Afghanistan and to build bilateral military ties.

Last summer a news source by no means unfriendly to U.S. foreign policy objectives revealed that “The U.S. has gained access to use almost all the military airfields of Turkmenistan, including the airport in Nebit-Dag near the Iranian border, which was reconstructed at American expense. In September 2004, at the Mary-2 airfield, U.S. military experts appeared and began reconstructing the facility with the help of Arab construction companies, which provoked the protest of Moscow….” [9]

North of Turkmenistan along the Caspian coastline, one nation removed from Iran, is Kazakhstan, the largest and richest nation in Central Asia and one which has a 4,251-mile border with Russia and a 951-mile one with China. [10]

Last month the U.S. State Department signed an agreement with the country that allows U.S. military aircraft “to fly across the North Pole and through Kazakhstan air space to supply American forces in Afghanistan,” thereby “mak[ing] it faster and cheaper to send troops and materiel to the Afghan war zone.” [11]

The U.S. has also recently confirmed that it will supply Kazakhstan with six retrofitted UH-1 Iroquois (Huey) helicopters to be used in the Caspian Sea where border demarcation issues exist among its five littoral nations: Kazakhstan, Iran, Russia, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan.

In late October Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev met with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and afterward announced that Kazakh troops would be assigned to NATO’s International Security Assistance Force headquarters in the Afghan capital. Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, on opposite ends of the Caspian Sea, along with Azerbaijan’s South Caucasus neighbors Armenia and Georgia, are the only non-European nations that have been granted a NATO Individual Partnership Action Plan.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently returned from visits to Kazakhstan, where she attended the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) summit in the nation’s capital and met with President Nazarbayev and Foreign Minister Saudabayev to discuss “various aspects of the U.S.-Kazakhstan strategic partnership,” [12] and afterward to Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Bahrain.

On December 2 Hillary met with Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbayeva [13] and indicated that the Pentagon has no intention of leaving the Transit Center at Manas (formerly the Manas Air Base) in Kyrgyzstan where the latest figures estimate that 50,000 U.S. and NATO troops transit each month into and out of Afghanistan. According to a Reuters dispatch, “Clinton said Washington would examine again in 2014 whether it needed the Manas base.” [14]

On the same day a Kyrgyz website disclosed that Foreign Minister Ruslan Kazakbaev met with Dirk Brengelmann, NATO’s Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy, to discuss bilateral cooperation.

Clinton next travelled to Uzbekistan on December 2 in the first visit by a Secretary of State to the country since Colin Powell’s nine years ago.

During her trip the local press quoted earlier statements by two of Clinton’s subordinates at a subcommittee hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs on November 17:

Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake affirmed that “This administration considers Central Asia to be an important pillar of our security policy and regional US interests,” and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia David Sedney said, “We must increase our engagement with Central Asia at all levels.” [15]

Across the Caspian from Kazakhstan, the U.S. and NATO have cultivated Azerbaijan as a military outpost on the sea and in the volatile South Caucasus region. [16] Azerbaijan borders Iran.

The Azerbaijan-NATO Cooperation Institute and the Romanian embassy – the current NATO Contact Point Embassy in Azerbaijan – will host a conference entitled “NATO After the Lisbon Summit: New Strategic Concept” in the capital of Baku on December 7.

Recently Borut Grgic, founder of the European Policy Centre’s transCaspian Initiative and senior fellow at the Atlantic Council – the U.S.-based pro-NATO think tank [17] – stated:

“NATO has a stabilizing role to play in the region, most of all in providing the broader security framework for the countries of the South Caucasus.

“I think all three South Caucasus countries can become NATO member states….” [18] All three nations – Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia – have NATO Individual Partnership Action Plans and have troop contingents assigned to NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. Georgia is a U.S. and NATO frontline on the Black Sea and in the Caucasus. The American guided missile destroyer USS Gonzalez visited the Georgian Black Sea port of Batumi last week and on December 3 American ambassador John Bass stated:

“The United States remains firmly committed to Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. We enjoy a strong defense relationship, defense cooperation, and we’re currently working closely with the Ministry of Defense and other ministries in Georgia to improve Georgia’s ability to defend itself.” [19]

On December 1 the chairman of the Armenian parliament’s Committee on Defense, National Security and Internal Affairs gave a lecture at the NATO Defense College in Rome. On December 3 NATO Deputy Secretary General Claudio Bisogniero met with Armenia’s representative to NATO, Samvel Mkrtchyan, to discuss current and future cooperation. Armenia borders Iran and has maintained good relations with its neighbor. It is also a member of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization. Ties with Iran and Russia will not grow any closer as Armenia is further integrated with NATO.

After leaving Central Asia, on December 3 Clinton was in Bahrain to deliver a special address at the Manama Dialogue 2010 Regional Security Summit sponsored by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies and the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Her comments included:

“Amongst other things, we seek to strengthen the Gulf security dialogue, which represents our primary security coordination mechanism with the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. The dialogue is designed to bolster the capabilities of GCC partners to deter and defend against conventional and unconventional threats and improve interoperability with the United States and with each other. We all know that efforts to deepen cooperation, coordination and transparency among this region’s militaries would yield broad benefits that extend to the whole range of modern threats.” [20]

The Gulf Security Dialogue is, in the State Department’s own words, “the U.S. Government’s principal security coordination mechanism with the nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council. The Dialogue supports our enduring interest in the region, focusing on a wide range of political-military issues, including shared strategic challenges in the wider region and enhancing partnerships in the areas of security cooperation, counterterrorism, border security, nonproliferation and maritime security.” [21]

Bahrain lies directly across the Persian Gulf from Iran, hosts the headquarters of the U.S. Fifth Fleet, is an active member of NATO’s Istanbul Cooperation Initiative and has security personnel assigned to NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

The United Arab Emirates, the only Persian Gulf state that is an official Troop Contributing Nation for NATO in Afghanistan, has just hosted a two-day Middle East Missile and Air Defense Symposium in Abu Dhabi. On the first day, Deputy Chief of Staff of the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces Major General Ali Mohammed Subaih Al Kaâ’bi said that “an integrated missile defence Center of Excellence along with CENTCOM [U.S. Central Command] is now a reality.”

Central Command chief Marine General James Mattis gave the second keynote address on December 5 and said “CENTCOM is eager to engage in countering ballistic and cruise missiles and providing a robust missile defence….” [22]

The conference’s first plenary session was chaired by Lieutenant General (Retired) Stanley Green, the Vice President of International Business Development, Air and Missile Defense at Lockheed Martin (and formerly with Raytheon Company), and Major General Richard Shook, Mobilization Assistant to Commander of the US Air Forces Central Command, gave a presentation on “Regional Integrated Air and Missile Defense – The Operational Picture.”

Brigadier General David Mann, commander of the 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command, delivered a presentation entitled “A Regional Approach to Missile Defense – The Integrated Air and Missile Defense Center (IAMDC).”

The second plenary session heard from – as they are described by the sponsors of the event – Clayton Holt, Middle East Division Chief, Directorate of International Affairs at the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency, on the subject of “Ballistic Missile Defense Overview,” from Captain Hervé Boy, chief of the Program Expertise Office at the French Navy Headquarters, on “Maritime Assets and Interoperability in the AMD System,” and from Major General (Retired) John Urias, Deputy Commanding General of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command (and Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems vice president for Force Applications Programs), on “Integrated Air & Missile Defense – A Theater Imperative.”

The December 6 sessions were addressed by Major General (Retired) John Brooks, Vice President, International Business Development, President, Northrop Grumman International, Inc.; David Des Roches, Director, Gulf and Arabian Peninsula Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, International Security Affairs; the Pentagon’s Colonel Ole Knudson; and Colonel Marc Miglior, Project Officer in Charge, Air Defense and Ballistic Missile Defense, French Air Force Headquarters. [23]

Last year French President Nicolas Sarkozy opened a military complex – with a navy base, air base, and training camp – in the United Arab Emirates, his country’s first permanent base in the Persian Gulf. In doing so Paris joined the U.S., Britain, Canada, the Netherlands. Australia and New Zealand in maintaining a military presence in the country.

The U.S. is consolidating a global interceptor missile system not only in all of Europe as was formalized at last month’s NATO summit, but throughout the Black Sea region and into the Middle East. Two years ago the U.S. deployed an anti-missile Forward-Based X-Band Radar with a 2,900-mile range in Israel which it staffs with approximately 120 service members, and will station 24 Standard Missile-3 interceptors in Romania.

The U.S. and NATO have also been pressuring Turkey to host missile shield facilities. According to one report, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan “is concerned that Turkey’s participation might later give Israel protection from an Iranian counter-strike.” [24]

Earlier this year Washington announced the sale of land-based interceptor missiles to Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. It has supplied both Patriot Advanced Capability-3 and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile systems to Gulf Cooperation Council states – Patriot missiles to Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia and a THAAD missile shield system to the United Arab Emirates – and has deployed sea-based Standard Missile-3 interceptors in the Gulf on Aegis class warships. [25] There are currently three Aegis class guided missile destroyers in the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea: USS Halsey, Momsen and Shoup.

On October 21 the U.S. announced a $60 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia for advanced fighter jets, helicopters, missiles and other weaponry and equipment in what has been calculated to be the largest weapons deal in American history. The month before, the Financial Times estimated that Washington plans to sell $123 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. [26]

Britain recently concluded two weeks of joint military training with the air force and navy of the United Arab Emirates at the Al Dhafra Air Base. The war games, under the codename Operation Air Khanjar, included aerial combat exercises with Royal Air Force [RAF] Typhoon jet fighters and airborne surveillance aircraft and Emirati F-16s and Mirages.

The two countries’ navies also participated as “training increased in complexity as the operation developed, with more advanced flight manoeuvres and joint exercises with the British HMS Cumberland, which was conducting maritime security operations in the Gulf.”

“The Royal Navy relies on the UAE for ports, and the RAF participates in training alongside Emirati forces at the Air Warfare Centre.”

The Emirates’ Al Minhad Air Base, in addition to accommodating Western military aircraft, “provides logistical support to British vessels deployed in the Gulf for ‘broader regional stability’ and enhanced ties with the UAE.” [27]

NATO has announced that it is prepared to extend its six-year-old NATO Training Mission – Iraq, which has trained over 10,000 military personnel – officers and troops – and internal security forces, beyond 2011. [28]

After the NATO summit in Portugal, an editorial in the Washington Post stated:

“NATO’s Lisbon summit meeting last weekend was encouraging. All of the alliance’s members – and the more than 20 other nations that have joined the international force in Afghanistan – signed on to a plan to continue the mission until at least the end of 2014….

“The Afghan experience….offers the United States the assurance that should it have to undertake wars such as Afghanistan in the future, it will not need to act alone.” [29]

When a confrontation – or far worse – with Iran occurs, the U.S. and NATO will have military forces in place all around the nation.

1) Lisbon Summit: NATO Proclaims Itself Global Military Force
Stop NATO, November 22, 2010
2) NATO In Persian Gulf: From Third World War To Istanbul
Stop NATO, February 6, 2009
3) NATO’s Role In The Military Encirclement Of Iran
Stop NATO, February 10, 2010
4) The National, December 5, 2010
5) Arabian Sea: Center Of West’s 21st Century War
Stop NATO, October 25, 2010
6) Bloomberg News, May 20, 2010
7) Asian News International, November 25, 2010
8) Daily Times, November 28, 2010
9) Catherine A. Fitzpatrick, Is the U.S. Violating Turkmenistan’s
Neutrality with the NDN?
EurasiaNet, August 1, 2010
10) Kazakhstan: U.S., NATO Seek Military Outpost Between Russia And China
Stop NATO, April 14, 2010
11) Central Asia Newswire, November 15, 2010
12) RTT News, November 29, 2010
13) Kyrgyzstan: Bloodstained Geopolitical Chessboard
Stop NATO, June 16, 2010
14) Reuters, December 2, 2010
15) UzReport, December 3, 2010
16) Pentagon Chief In Azerbaijan: Afghan War Arc Stretches To Caspian And
Stop NATO, June 8, 2010
17) Atlantic Council: Securing The 21st Century For NATO
Stop NATO, April 30, 2010
18) News.Az, November 26, 2010
19) Civil Georgia, December 3, 2010
20) International Institute for Strategic Studies, December 3, 2010
21) U.S. Department of State, March 22, 2010
22) Khaleej Times, December 5, 2010
23) Institute of Near East and Gulf Military Analysis (INEGMA)
24) Zaman, November 30, 2010
25) Middle East Loses Trillions As U.S. Strikes Record Arms Deals
Stop NATO, September 2, 2010
26) Arabian Sea: Center Of West’s 21st Century War
Stop NATO, October 25, 2010
27) The National, December 5, 2010
28) Iraq: NATO Assists In Building New Middle East Proxy Army
Stop NATO, August 13, 2010
29) Washington Post, November 25, 2010
NATO: Afghan War Model For Future 21st Century Operations
Stop NATO, November 19, 2010

Categories: Uncategorized

North Korea As Pretext: U.S. Builds Asian Military Alliance Against China And Russia

December 3, 2010 1 comment

December 3, 2010

North Korea As Pretext: U.S. Builds Asian Military Alliance Against China And Russia
Rick Rozoff

On December 1 the U.S. and its South Korean military ally completed four days of naval maneuvers in the Yellow Sea where China claims a 200-mile exclusive economic zone.

The U.S. dispatched the 97,000-ton USS George Washington nuclear-powered aircraft supercarrier for the exercise, accompanied by a carrier strike group consisting of a guided missile cruiser and three guided missile destroyers. The American deployment included 6,000 sailors and 75 aircraft. South Korea supplied destroyers, corvettes, frigates, support ships, anti-submarine aircraft and an undisclosed amount of military personnel.

USS George Washington Carrier Strike Group

The war games, which included live-fire shooting and bombing drills, were the latest in a series of U.S.-led military exercises in South Korea and the seas to its east and west beginning in July of this year:

From July 25-28 the U.S. conducted a joint military exercise with South Korea codenamed Invincible Spirit in the Sea of Japan/East Sea with the involvement of 20 warships including the USS George Washington supercarrier, 200 warplanes including F-22 Raptor stealth fighters and 8,000 troops.


In August the U.S. and South Korea conducted this year’s Ulchi Freedom Guardian military exercise, the world’s largest command and control simulation drill, in the latter country with 30,000 U.S. and 56,000 South Korean troops participating.

In early September Washington and Seoul held an anti-submarine warfare exercise in the Yellow Sea with two U.S. guided missile destroyers and a fast attack submarine and two South Korean destroyers.

Only the August exercise was a routine one, the latest in a series of Ulchi Freedom Guardian maneuvers held over several decades.

On the day the most recent military exercise ended, December 1, it was announced that the U.S. and South Korea will hold another military exercise this month. [1] The following day “South Korea…readied plans for more live-fire drills as a warning to North Korea and scheduled talks with the United States and Japan on dealing with [North Korea]….” [2] The armed forces of the Republic of Korea will begin five days of artillery drills on December 6 in 29 locations, including on border islands in the Yellow Sea.

On the same day Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet with the foreign ministers of South Korea and Japan in Washington, D.C., in a rebuff to China and Russia, which are partners in the six-party talks – along with the U.S., Japan, South Korea and North Korea – that have been held since 2003 after North Korea withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. This despite China calling for an emergency meeting of representatives to the six-nation negotiations and winning North Korea’s agreement to rejoin the long-stalled process. On December 2 Russia announced it was ready to participate in emergency talks with the six-country group.

Just as Russia and China were excluded from the U.S.-led investigation of the Cheonan sinking earlier this year, so now they are being brushed aside in favor of a confrontational U.S.-Japan-South Korea initiative.

Two days after the American-led naval exercise in the Yellow Sea concluded, the U.S. began a week-long exercise with Japan off the second nation’s islands near the South Korean coast. The war games, Keen Sword 2011, involve 60 warships, 400 aircraft and 44,000 troops and are the largest-ever joint U.S.-Japan military drills. Kyodo News disclosed that “The maneuvers will be carried out to practice for guarding against ballistic missile attacks and for defending remote Japanese islands,” the latter an allusion to a Chinese-Japanese territorial dispute in the East China Sea. Standard Missile-3 interceptors on U.S. and Japanese Aegis class destroyers deployed in the Sea of Japan and Patriot Advanced Capability-3 anti-ballistic missiles currently stationed at bases from the north to the south of Japan, Hokkaido to Okinawa, will be employed.

Standard Missile-3 launch

In the words of an Air Force major assigned to U.S. Forces Japan headquarters: “There’s going to be naval operations, air operations, land – pretty much the full spectrum of military activities. There is going to be a lot of flying, some movement involving the aircraft carrier George Washington.” [3]

South Korea’s military has been invited to attend the exercise as an observer, as Australian, British and French officers were on board USS George Washington for the exercise in the Yellow Sea that ended two days ago. In the words of Australian Minister Stephen Smith, “We had an official on board the USS George Washington as essentially a show of support.” [4] Japanese military personnel observed the Invincible Spirit naval exercise in the Sea of Japan in July.

As a recent Russian commentary characterized the now constant American military activity in East Asia – exemplified by the deployment of the George Washington supercarrier in waters off China’s and Russia’s coasts and island possessions in the Sea of Japan in July, in the South China Sea in August, in the Yellow Sea in November and at the confluence of the Sea of Japan and East China Sea this month – “the Pentagon [is] flexing its muscles against both North Korea and China.” [5]

And not only in respect to conventional forces. On November 22 South Korean Defense Minister Kim Tae-young responded to a question by one of his nation’s members of parliament on “whether the government intends to consider the redeployment of US tactical nuclear weapons in South Korea…in the affirmative.” [6]

Although the sinking of a South Korean corvette, Cheonan, in March has been used in the intervening nine months as the rationale for U.S.-led war games in the seas of East Asia, that incident in no manner accounts for joint American-Vietnamese naval drills in the South China Sea in August, visits to Australia and nine other Asia-Pacific nations by President Barack Obama, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen early last month [7], and the overall diplomatic offensive and military maneuvers Washington is intensifying in the region with each passing day.

Three months after the sinking of the Cheonan, President Obama accused his counterpart, Chinese President Hu Jintao, of “willful blindness” in relation to North Korea in what was reported as a “blunt” conversation during the Group of 20 summit in Toronto on June 27. [8]

Since North Korea’s shelling of the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong on November 23, the U.S. has intensified pressure on China to rein in North Korea. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mullen recently told a Washington, D.C. think tank audience that “Beijing’s call for consultations will not be a substitute for action,” and, in reference to China’s military modernization program: “I am concerned about some of the high-end capabilities that they clearly are developing. I don’t underestimate them in terms of capability. Some of the specific capabilities are very clearly focused on and pointed at the United States of America, and they are anti-access capabilities.” [9] That is, China has the temerity to develop defensive capabilities in the face of U.S. military presence off its coasts.

The U.S. is exploiting North Korea as a decoy to target China and is supporting Japan in territorial conflicts with both China and Russia [10] as components of a broader strategy to renew, enlarge and integrate military alliances throughout the Asia-Pacific area. [11]

Washington recognizes the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, administered by Japan, as Japanese, but also refers to the Southern Kuril Islands, which since 1945 have belonged to Russia (and its predecessor state, the Soviet Union) as Japanese territories.

Hillary Clinton’s visit to New Zealand last month resulted in the signing of the Wellington Declaration committing the two countries to a new strategic partnership, annual military consultations and a resumption of joint military exercises. In fact what Clinton secured was the revival of the Cold War-era Australia, New Zealand, United States (ANZUS) Security Treaty which was signed during the Korean War and invoked to recruit Australian and New Zealand troops for the Vietnam War.

An Indian commentator said of the top U.S. diplomat’s achievement: “Clinton was not only given a traditional New Zealand Maori’s welcome called Powhiri, the greatest gift that she could bring back to Washington was the release of the New Zealand Defense White Paper 2010 two days before her arrival. The White Paper envisaged Wellington’s greater presence in the South Pacific and strengthening the alliance with Washington and Canberra.” [12]

Kevin Rudd, until recently Australia’s prime minister and now its foreign minister, affirmed on November 28 that “Australia could be drawn in to any military conflict on the Korean peninsula under its alliance with the US.” In his own words, “I…simply state the obvious: that under our alliance with the United States, Article 4 of the ANZUS Treaty is clear about our requirements to act to meet the common danger….” [13]

Similarly, a briefing note prepared for Defence Minister Peter MacKay of Canada revealed that “If war breaks out on the Korean peninsula, Canada could become embroiled due to a half-century-old United Nations military alliance,” the United Nations Command formed by the U.S. and its allies in the Korean War after the armistice was signed in 1953. The memo states that although the main “fighting formation” that would lead military operations against North Korea is the joint U.S.-South Korea Combined Forces Command, that joint command “includes under its strategic organizational umbrella the legacy United Nations Command.” [14]

Other members of the United Nations Command are Canada’s fellow NATO member states the U.S., Britain, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Greece, Turkey and Luxembourg; ANZUS members Australia and New Zealand; the Philippines and Thailand, with which the U.S. has defense alliances – and military assistance obligations – comparable to those it has with Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.

As with the reactivation of trilateral ANZUS military obligations, so with the U.S.-Japanese mutual military assistance agreement. On October 27 Clinton held a press conference in Hawaii with Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara and when asked about an island chain contested by Japan and China – the Senkakus to Tokyo, the Diaoyus to Beijing – said, “the Senkakus fall within the scope of Article 5 of the 1960 U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security. This is part of the larger commitment that the United States has made to Japan’s security. We consider the Japanese-U.S. alliance one of the most important alliance partnerships we have anywhere in the world and we are committed to our obligations to protect the Japanese.”

She also said the Washington-Tokyo alliance “is the cornerstone of American strategic engagement in the Asia Pacific.” [15]

Two weeks later President Obama was in Yokohama, Japan for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit and told Prime Minister Naoto Kan that the U.S.-Japan alliance is “the cornerstone of American strategic engagement in the Asia Pacific” and “the commitment of the United States to the defense of Japan is unshakable.” [16]

Clinton’s and Obama’s phraseology was identical.

In late October Clinton, flanked by her Japanese counterpart, said: “This year, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of our alliance, which was forged at the height of the Cold War,” in reference to the aforementioned Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan of 1960. [17]

In advance of the Keen Sword 2011 U.S.-Japan war games currently underway, Air Force Lieutenant General Hawk Carlisle, who is directing the exercise on the American side, stated in the middle of last month: “In 1960, Japan and the U.S. signed the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security. Participation in Keen Sword further enhances the Japan-U.S. alliance, which remains a key strategic relationship in the Asia-Pacific region.” [18]

Clinton’s spokesman, the State Department’s Philip Crowley, backed Japan’s territorial claims on Russia’s Kuril Islands on November 2, even referring to them as the Northern Territories, the Japanese government’s designation. He didn’t go as far as Clinton had five days earlier in pledging adherence to Article 5 of the U.S.-Japan treaty – “Each Party recognizes that an armed attack against either Party in the territories under the administration of Japan would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that it would act to meet the common danger” – but the prospect of Washington and Tokyo invoking the provision against Russia is not an unimaginable contingency.

On December 4 Japanese Foreign Minister Maehara will arrive at the northern island of Hokkaido “to view four Russian-held islands claimed by Japan, known as the Northern Territories in Japan and the Southern Kurils in Russia.” [19] While in Hokkaido, Maehara will meet with former residents of the Kurils.

Decades-old and until of late seemingly dormant or discarded military blocs, treaties and military assistance clauses are being resuscitated and expanded in the Asia-Pacific region. Military alliances modeled after the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in the area in the 1950s and their 21st century equivalents are being integrated into an eastern version of and in many ways extension of NATO. At least eight Asia-Pacific nations – Australia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and Tonga – have troops assigned to NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

As part of the Afghan war effort, NATO maintains a military presence in five nations bordering western China: Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan and Tajikistan.

Last month Japan announced that it was deploying an initial contingent of troops “to its westernmost island in response to Chinese naval manoeuvres in the East China Sea.” The first 100 troops will be sent to Yonaguni, the southernmost of the Ryukyu/Nansei islands less than 100 miles from the Senkaku/Diaoyu island grouping. The Japanese Defense Ministry is “also considering sending troops to the islands of Miyako and Ishigaki west of Okinawa to beef up border security.” [20] Ishigaki is also about 100 miles from the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands.

Regarding last month’s flurry of visits to the Asia-Pacific region by major U.S. foreign policy and military officials, The Hindu reported: “US visitors…declared Washington’s resolve to expand its footprint in South-East Asia. Clinton called for beefing up US military presence in Singapore, which implies a firmer grip on the strategic Strait of Malacca, strengthening defence cooperation with Thailand and the Philippines…and stepping up interaction with Vietnam.” [21]

The most ambitious element of American plans to forge an Asian equivalent of NATO is the recruitment of India as the largest and most strategically essential partner in the development of an eastern military bloc. The U.S. is moving to supplant Russia as India’s main weapons supplier and historical military ally and employing the South Asian nation to counter China’s emergence as a regional and world power.

Washington is proceeding at a breakneck – an alarming – pace with plans to politically and militarily polarize East Asia, using the crisis on the Korean Peninsula to do so. Attempts by China and Russia to defuse the conflict and resume negotiations aimed at its peaceful resolution are being spurned by headstrong and reckless U.S. government and military officials.

Russia and China share borders with North Korea. The U.S. is a continent away. A new conflagration on the peninsula would directly affect the first two nations. America can exploit a renewal of hostilities to reinstall itself in the Asia-Pacific region and use proxies – Japan as much as South Korea – to accomplish that objective.

1) Vladimir Fedoruk, US and South Korea plan more war games
Voice of Russia, December 1, 2010
2) Radio Netherlands/Agence France-Presse, December 2, 2010
3) Voice of America News, December 2, 2010
4) Australian Associated Press, November 30, 2010
5) Konstantin Garibov, Pentagon flexes muscles in Korea
Voice of Russia, November 26, 2010
6) Itar-Tass, November 22, 2010
7) Obama, Gates And Clinton In Asia: U.S. Expands Military Build-Up In The East
Stop NATO, November 7, 2010
8) U.S. Risks Military Clash With China In Yellow Sea
Stop NATO, July 16, 2010
9) CNN, December 1, 2010
10) U.S. Supports Japan, Confronts China And Russia Over Island Disputes
Stop NATO, November 4, 2010
11) Asia: Pentagon Revives And Expands Cold War Military Blocs
Stop NATO, September 14, 2010
U.S. Marshals Military Might To Challenge Asian Century
Stop NATO, August 21, 2010
12) Balaji Chandramohan, U.S. Strengthening Old Alliances in Asia Pacific to
Contain the influence of China
Diplomatic Courier, November 30, 2010
13) The Australian, November 29, 2010
14) Mike Blanchfield, New Korean war could ensnare Canada, documents suggest
Canadian Press, November 26, 2010
15) U.S. Department of State, October 27, 2010
16) After NATO Summit, U.S. To Intensify Military Drive Into Asia
Stop NATO, November 17, 2010
17) U.S. Department of State, October 27, 2010
18) Pacific Air Forces, November 15, 2010
19) Xinhua News Agency, November 30, 2010
20) Nikkei/Reuters, November 21, 2010
21) Vladimir Radyuhin, Indo-Russian ties: which way?
The Hindu, November 27, 2010

Categories: Uncategorized

U.S. And NATO Prolong And Expand Greater Afghan War

December 2, 2010 1 comment

December 2, 2010

U.S. And NATO Prolong And Expand Greater Afghan War
Rick Rozoff

Over 150,000 foreign troops from more than fifty nations will spend another Christmas in Afghanistan. The tenth since the U.S. and Britain invaded the nation on October 7, 2001 and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization activated its Article 5 collective military assistance provision the preceding month.

Western forces have occupied and waged war in the nation for longer than Soviet troops were stationed there, from December 27, 1979 until February 15, 1989. There are approximately a time and a half as many U.S. and NATO troops in the country as there were Soviet ones at their peak.

The duration of the war, also the most protracted in U.S. history, is lengthening and the amount of foreign soldiers in theater is growing, with a rash of recent revelations establishing that the foreign occupation will continue to 2014 and perhaps substantially longer and documenting a steady increase in reinforcements from several NATO nations and the recruitment of new troop contributing nations.

Christmas Day will find troops from the U.S. and NATO allies also based, billeted and bivouacked in Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan as well as other generally unacknowledged outposts in the greater Afghan war, one which in truth ranges from the Strait of Gibraltar on the Atlantic Ocean to the Strait of Malacca in the Pacific. In addition to the Afghan campaign, NATO’s invocation of its Article 5 has been employed to support the over nine-year-old Operation Active Endeavor maritime surveillance and interdiction mission throughout the Mediterranean Sea, and U.S. and NATO allies’ naval and air deployments in support of the Afghan war overlap with operations off the Horn of Africa in the Gulf of Aden and throughout the Indian Ocean and into the Persian Gulf.

Last week the USS Halsey and USS Shoup destroyers rejoined the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group in the northern Indian Ocean region stretching from Pakistan in the east to Somalia and Yemen in the west. The two new warships linked up with the Abraham Lincoln nuclear aircraft supercarrier and its attached warplanes, the guided missile cruiser USS Cape St. George and destroyers USS Momsen and USS Sterett.

Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Groups

Indicating the range of the greater Afghan war area of operations, that of the original Operation Enduring Freedom and global war on terror, a U.S. Navy website disclosed that the “Shoup will be initially assigned to counter-piracy operations in and around the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and Red Sea; Momsen will be initially assigned to Commander, Task Force (CTF) 152 in the Arabian Gulf; and Halsey will be initially assigned to CTF 50, supporting Abraham Lincoln Strike Group operations.” [1]

Arabian Gulf is an allusion to what is generally known as the Persian Gulf and its use is an intentional provocation to Iran. Combined Task Force 152, in its own words, “operates in the international waters of the Arabian Gulf and takes part in Operation Enduring Freedom.” [2] CTF 50 is presumably Combined Task Force 150, an American-led multinational naval force with logistics facilities at Djibouti in the Horn of Africa, where U.S. Africa Command maintains its only full-service military base on the African continent and stations its Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa whose area of responsibility includes Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Yemen and increasingly Comoros, Mauritius and Madagascar.

The theater of operations for the greater Afghan war stretches across the entire expanse of the Arabian Sea. [3]

After an unscheduled return to home port for repairs, the Charles de Gaulle arrived in the Arabian Sea recently where the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group are currently deployed. The U.S. possesses all eleven of the world’s supercarriers and all but one of its twelve nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, the Charles de Gaulle being the other. American supercarriers are accompanied by strike groups and regularly prowl the planet’s oceans and seas.

In the skies over Afghanistan, the U.S. and its NATO allies delivered 4,615 bombs and missiles to targets in that Asian nation so far this year, already surpassing last year’s total of 4,184, with 1,000 bombs and Hellfire missiles used in October alone. Total combat sorties have risen by 20 percent over the same period.

On November 29 the French Defense Ministry announced that a Rafale multirole jet fighter plunged into the Arabian Sea a hundred miles off the Pakistani coast after taking off from the Charles de Gaulle and flying a combat mission over Afghanistan.

Rafale jet fighter

The U.S. Defense Department reported to Congress on November 22 that “violence in Afghanistan was at an all-time high since the nine-year-old war started” and “progress made by the NATO-led forces there was limited.” [4] Combat incidents in Afghanistan so far this year are up fourfold over 2007 and what the Pentagon refers to as “kinetic events” – direct and indirect fire, surface-to-air fire and exploded, discovered and disabled roadside bombs – increased by nearly 55 percent in this year’s third quarter, July-September, from the preceding one.

NATO deaths in Afghanistan during the first eleven months of 2010 are at 700, 30 percent of the total in over nine years of fighting.

Tony Karon wrote in Time magazine two days before the event that on November 27 the U.S. and NATO “will have been in Afghanistan a day longer than the Soviet Union had been when it completed its 1989 withdrawal.

“What’s more, the U.S. announced during last weekend’s NATO summit that it intends to spend at least four more years, and possibly longer, in the Hindu Kush. Even then, many Afghans — perhaps even the president installed by the U.S. invasion — appear to doubt that the Americans will succeed where their erstwhile Cold War nemesis failed.” [5]

Romanian President Traian Basescu was in Afghanistan on November 30, accompanied by his defense minister, Gabriel Oprea, U.S. ambassador to Romania Mark Gitenstein and senior American defense official at the American embassy in Bucharest Colonel Bruce West. The head of state visited some of his nation’s 1,663 troops in the country, all but eight of whom are under NATO command, and announced that the number will rise to 1,800 by the end of this month.

Since Romania joined NATO in 2004, 17 of its soldiers have been killed and 55 wounded in Afghanistan, the nation’s first casualties in a wartime deployment, along with three killed and eight injured in Iraq, since the Second World War.

Romania joins its neighbor Bulgaria and other NATO nations including Italy and the Czech Republic in pledging an increase in troops and a shift from other duties to combat roles for an Afghan war that shows no sign of winding down. Just the opposite. In the past year several countries have become new Troop Contributing Nations for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force: Armenia, Montenegro, Mongolia, Malaysia, South Korea and Tonga, and more being enlisted.

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell recently referred to the latest deadline for the commencement of a gradual withdrawal of American and other NATO forces from Afghanistan – 2014 – as an “aspirational goal” and the new chief of Britain’s Defence Staff, Sir David Richards, has suggested that Western troops could remain in the country a good half century after the 2001 invasion.

Romania’s Basescu, flanked by his American handlers but where none but a Romanian reporter could hear him, was equally if not more forthcoming in speaking of NATO’s tenure in South and Central Asia while inspecting his country’s expeditionary troops earlier this week.

Thanking the latter “for what you do for Romania, for what you do for NATO, for what you do for the civilized world,” he added:

“As we pledged when we came to Afghanistan, we are only going to leave this country after accomplishing our mission…..But what I am telling you for sure is that 2014 must not be regarded as a deadline [when] NATO withdraws from Afghanistan.

“Examinations show that 2014 is still an optimistic deadline. Therefore, we shall stay here till Afghanistan is fully secure….” [6]

If the beginning of a “drawdown” of U.S. and NATO troops from Afghanistan and several neighboring and nearby nations in 2014 is aspirational for the Pentagon, it is at best problematic for Romania’s president and certainly a premature and transparently dishonest schedule to disinterested observers. [7]

Too many reinforcements, too many new nations providing troops, too many new deployments of military aircraft and armored vehicles, including 14 Abrams tanks to be dispatched to southwest Afghanistan this month, to allow for any other interpretation of events but that of a war expanding without foreseeable abatement.

Moreover, the war is continuing to expand into Pakistan with its population of 170 million.

On November 26 and 28 the U.S. delivered the latest of as many as 16 drone missile strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas for the month, killing at least eight people, making a total of close to 100 deaths in the Central Intelligence Agency-directed attacks in November.

Last week a prominent Indian news agency revealed that a U.S. Defense Department report confirmed that American and NATO military personnel will be deployed in Quetta, the capital of Pakistan’s Balochistan province. [8]

On November 27 a Pakistani lawyer appealed to the Lahore High Court against the deployment and “submitted before the court that the government had handed over a big area to foreign forces for setting up an airbase, which was against the country’s sovereignty.

“The government was not authorised to hand over the country’s lands to foreigners.” [9]

Four days earlier NATO helicopter gunships resumed attacks inside Pakistan, in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas where the U.S. has launched the bulk of drone missile attacks that have killed almost 2,000 people. “[T]wo NATO gunship helicopters encroached upon Pakistani airspace during flights near Landi Kotal and Torkham and violated international boundaries.

“Officials…claimed hearing sounds of blasts while the helicopters were hovering over….” [10]

On November 26 another report surfaced of an attack by NATO helicopters in Pakistan. “Witnesses said two NATO helicopters were hovering for 10 minutes and fired at the Lawra Mandi village in the Datta Khel area in North Waziristan,” injuring three people who were rushed to a hospital in Miranshah, the capital of the tribal district. [11]

NATO launched four helicopter attacks in the country in late September, killing three border troops on September 30.

In October NATO warplanes and helicopter gunships intruded into both Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly the North-West Frontier Province) and Balochistan.

NATO warplanes violated Pakistani airspace over Balochistan in February as well.

A Chinese commentary of late last week warned: “Despite Pakistan’s clear-cut political stance adopted amid stern warnings and the subsequent U. S. written apology and denials, NATO aircraft continued breaching Pakistani airspace, raising [questions] if these incursions are being used as a barometer for testing Pakistani tolerance to possible further advances into [the nation’s] territory, a general fear creeping into Pakistani policy.” [12]

Moves to draw India into the West’s military orbit, both in reference to the Afghanistan-Pakistan war theater and vis-a-vis China, have been typified by visits to that country last month by U.S. President Barack Obama and British Defence Secretary Liam Fox.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is currently on a four-day trip to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Bahrain.

Former Indian diplomat and veteran journalist M. K. Bhadrakumar penned a column for The Hindu last week in which he observed:

“From a seemingly reluctant arrival in Afghanistan seven years ago, NATO is deepening its presence and recasting its role and activities on a long-term basis.

“The summit meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in Lisbon constituted a significant event for South Asia. The alliance is transforming itself into playing a global political-military role.”

He added: “Clearly, the U.S. will be in the driving seat in the Hindu Kush for the long-term. The billions of dollars the U.S. has been pumping in for upgrading Soviet-era military bases in Afghanistan and constructing new military bases now fall into perspective….Overarching these considerations comes the U.S. strategy visualising NATO as the provider of security to the Silk Road that transports the multi-trillion dollar mineral wealth in Central Asia to the world market via the port of Gwadar” on Pakistan’s Arabian Sea coast. [13]

NATO’s top military chief, Supreme Allied Commander Europe Admiral James Stavridis, recently boasted that the U.S.-dominated military bloc is “a wealthy alliance” with a $31 trillion collective Gross Domestic Product and is a “big and capable alliance” with 7 million troops and 3,400 ships….” [14]

The West’s, particularly Washington’s, geopolitical designs on Eurasia don’t permit it to withdraw from Central and South Asia. Nor do they give the U.S. and its military allies any incentive to do so.

1) Navy NewsStand, November 25, 2010
2) Combined Maritime Forces
3) Arabian Sea: Center Of West’s 21st Century War
Stop NATO, October 25, 2010
U.S., NATO Expand Afghan War To Horn Of Africa And Indian Ocean
Stop NATO, January 8, 2010
4) Xinhua News Agency, November 24, 2010
5) Tony Karon, The Afghanistan War Reaches a Milestone — and Keeps Going
Time, November 25, 2010
6) Romanian News Agency
December 1, 2010
7) Timetable Abandoned: U.S. And NATO To Wage Endless War In Afghanistan
Stop NATO, November 12, 2010
8) Asian News International, November 25, 2010
9) Daily Times, November 28, 2010
10) Geo News/The News International, November 24, 2010
11) Xinhua News Agency, November 26, 2010
12) Xinhua News Agency, November 28, 2010
13) M. K. Bhadrakumar, NATO and South Asian security
The Hindu, November 26, 2010
14) Defense News, November 29, 2010

Categories: Uncategorized