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U.S. Backs Japan In Looming Confrontation With Russia

February 24, 2011 1 comment

Stop NATO
February 24, 2011

U.S. Backs Japan In Looming Confrontation With Russia
Rick Rozoff

Last week Kamitsuki Toyohisa, the Japanese Foreign Ministry counselor for European Affairs, said that the relationship between his country and Russia is “at its worst point in decades.”

In fact the dramatic ratcheting up of rhetoric – and corresponding actions – on both sides over the Kuril Islands are more evocative of the situation preceding the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905 and the two nations’ conflict on the Manchurian border in 1938-1939 than any previous developments after the Second World War.

On February 15 Japan’s Kyodo News reported that the Russian coast guard had fired on a Japanese fishing vessel off the Kurils, a charge denied by the Russian side. However, a Russian news agency lately revealed the potential for a serious confrontation in recalling that a year ago last month “two Japanese fishing vessels entered Russia’s territorial waters off Kunashir Island and ignored warning shots from a Russian guards’ helicopter. As a result, the guards had to open direct fire at the vessels. The fishing boats returned to their port of Rausu with numerous bullet holes on their hulls.” [1]

On the same day the same Russian press source announced that Russia would deploy short- and long-range air defense missile systems, including the advanced S-400 Triumf system with long-range surface-to-air missiles, to the South Kuril Islands, located between Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula and Japan’s Hokkaido island. The S-400 is designed for use against aircraft (including stealth warplanes), cruise missiles and ballistic missiles.

An official from the nation’s General Staff of the Armed Forces confirmed that “S-400 missile defense systems could be deployed to the islands to protect them from possible attacks.” [2]

A week earlier Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan spoke at this year’s National Rally to Demand the Return of the Northern Territories – Northern Territories is the Japanese, and as will be seen shortly, the U.S. name for the South Kurils – in Tokyo and referred to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to one of the four South Kuril Islands last November (the first by a Russian or Soviet head of state) as an “unforgivable outrage.”

Two days afterward, in a meeting with Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and Regional Development Minister Victor Basargin, who had recently returned from the Kurils, Russian President Medvedev ordered the deployment of military hardware to the islands, stating “the additional weapons to be deployed there must be sufficient and modern in order to ensure the security of the islands as an integral part of Russia”. [3]

On February 11 Russian and Japanese foreign ministers Sergei Lavrov and Seiji Maehara met in Moscow for two hours, one-on-one for half of that time. Maehara is an advocate of revising Article 9 of his nation’s constitution (which states “the Japanese people forever renounce war”) and of securing the Kurils’ early return from Russia, which seized them in the waning days of the Second World War.

The Chinese press at the time quoted a Pacific affairs analyst as follows:

“During the rally in Tokyo on Monday [February 7], Maehara pledged that he would personally see to it that the islands are returned to Japan, in fact he staked his political career on the realization of this.

“Maehara fundamentally believes two things: firstly, the islands are legally Japanese territory and secondly, that Japan cannot completely end World War II until the islands are returned and a peace treaty signed.

“I don’t think this issue should be dismissed as merely a ‘territorial spat’ and let’s not forget that for all intents and purposes Japan and Russia are still at war.” [4]

In the words of Agence France-Presse, the meeting, “marked by an icy atmosphere,” ended in “acrimonious failure.” Russia’s top diplomat told his Japanese counterpart: “To be honest, I expected to receive you in Moscow against a better backdrop. Your visit comes against the background of a series of completely unacceptable actions.” [5]

The allusion was to the Northern Territories Day events of four days earlier in Tokyo and Hokkaido, in the second case within eyesight of the southernmost of the Kurils, during which, in addition to the prime minister’s revanchist statement, Japanese nationalists desecrated a Russian flag and a bullet was mailed to the Russian embassy.

Maehara rejected Lavrov’s suggestions for a historical commission to examine the issue of the contested islands and for turning the Kurils into a free trade zone, stating that Japan would consider the second proposition only if it did not “alter Japan’s legal position” on what it calls its Northern Territories. The Japanese foreign minister was conspicuously not invited to meet with President Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

While Maehara was in Moscow the chief of staff of the Russian Presidential Executive Office informed him that the events on the February 7th Northern Territories Day, including Prime Minister Kan’s comments on the occasion, “could not but meet with an adequate reaction on the Russian side.”

On the day of the envenomed and ill-fated meeting of the two countries’ foreign ministers, a Russian commentary appeared on a major news site entitled “Russia to boost Kuril defense to ward off war,” which stated in part:

“Russia’s unresolved conflict with Japan over the Kuril Islands, which has been simmering since WWII, may reach a boiling point now that Russian authorities are set to go ahead with their plan to build up the disputed territory’s defense potential.

“The plan, unveiled by President Dmitry Medvedev and Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov as part of a comprehensive development program for Russia’s Pacific Coast, envisages, among other things, the deployment of modern armaments to defend the country’s eastern borders against a hypothetical military attack.”

The article went on to say that “In conventional armaments, Japan now enjoys numerical supremacy over the Russian Far Eastern forces, and it also boasts a higher percentage of modern hardware in the navy, the air force, and the army.” [6]

The author advocated the resumption of a permanent deployment of combat aircraft on Sakhalin Island northwest of the South Kurils and “a forward-based airfield” on the islands themselves with “a squadron of jet fighters on standby.”

Using the expression si vis pacem, para bellum (if you wish peace, prepare for war), the writer concluded his piece by reflecting: “All these plans to reinforce the Kuril Islands’ defense potential should be translated into reality so as to discourage the most radical of Japanese politicians from contemplating regaining the possession of the South Kuril Islands through the use of military force.”

On February 15 Feng Shaolei, professor at and dean of the School of Advanced International and Area Studies at the East China Normal University was interviewed by a Russian news outlet and said:

“Certain changes have…taken place in the [East Asian] region in recent times, with the main one being the U.S. ‘comeback in Asia.’ In my view, U.S. military strategy is the key to understanding the current situation in the region, whether we talk about the possibility of building a defense system in the region or about the resolution of the Kuril conflict.” [7]

On February 19 Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano, also minister in charge of Northern Territories issues, visited Hokkaido to inspect the South Kuril Islands. Before he began his two-day trip he stated:

“The question of the Northern Territories is the problem of not only former residents of these islands, but also of the whole Japanese people. I would like to heighten attention to this problem with the Japanese public.”

During his stay he said, “Japan’s claims for the Northern Territories could have been much louder if only the people of Japan realized how close to them the islands are.”

Foreign Minister Maehara viewed the island from a plane in December and Prime Minister Kan is also planning to inspect them from Hokkaido in the near future.

On February 21 the American ambassador to Russia, John Beyrle, was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry where his “attention was drawn to the recent statement made by officials with the U.S. Department of State and of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, which expressed support for Japan’s territorial claims to Russia,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement posted on its official website. [8]

A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry added:

“We drew Mr. Beyrle’s attention to recent statements made by officials of the US State Department and the US embassy in Moscow, in which they expressed their support for Japan’s territorial claims to Russia. In this respect the Foreign Ministry reiterated Russia’s categorical and unwavering and unchanged position regarding its sovereignty over the South Kuril Islands.” [9]

After the meeting, the U.S. embassy released a statement reiterating Washington’s support for Japan’s territorial claims on the South Kurils, echoing comments made by State Department spokeswoman Joanne Moore among others that precipitated the summoning of the U.S. envoy. Moore had insisted “that the US government supports Japan and recognizes its sovereignty over the Islands.”

In the words of a recent Russian commentary, “current statements of the US State Department amid growing threats from Japanese radicals look like outright instigation.” [10]

The State Department spokeswoman’s affirmation of the American – which is to say the Japanese – position vis-a-vis the islands was reminiscent of that of Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs Philip Crowley on November 1 in which he supported Japanese territorial contentions and referred to the Kurils as the Northern Territories. His pronouncement followed by four days a pledge by Secretary State Hillary Clinton – in the presence of Japanese Foreign Minister Maehara in Hawaii – relating to an analogous territorial dispute between Japan and China over what the first calls the Senkaku and the second the Diaoyu islands:

“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.” [11] Earlier in the same month Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Japanese Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa asserted “that their countries will jointly respond in line with a bilateral security pact toward stability in areas in the East China Sea covering the Senkaku Islands that came into the spotlight in disputes between Japan and China.” [12]

Though State Department spokesman Crowley made a distinction between the Senkaku/Diaoyu and Kuril islands in regards to honoring military commitments to Japan, as the former are currently administered by Japan and the latter are not, the door is left open for Washington to invoke Article 5 on behalf of Japan should an armed confrontation between it and Russia occur.

In the San Francisco Peace Treaty signed in 1951 to officially end World War Two, the U.S. recognized that Japan had lost any rights to reclaim the South Kurils as well as Sakhalin Island, although it did not recognize then-Soviet claims either. The treaty, to which the U.S. is one of 48 signatories, unequivocally states that “Japan renounces all right, title and claim to the Kuril islands, and to that portion of Sakhalin and the islands adjacent to it” acquired after the Russo-Japanese War.

The current American position on the Kurils, then, is what it is in relation to the South Caucasus nations of Abkhazia and South Ossetia: That they are “Russian-occupied territories” belonging to other sovereign nations. Japan in the first case and Georgia in the other two.

Washington’s role in exacerbating the conflict over the Kurils is a dangerous throwback to Cold War-era politicking.

Valery Kistanov, head of the Center for Japanese Studies at Russia’s Far East Institute, was quoted earlier this week as recalling:

“This is not the first time that the US has tried to drive a wedge between Russia and Japan….In 1955-1956, the USSR and Japan held talks on a peace treaty which resulted in the adoption of a Soviet-Japanese declaration. This declaration envisaged the restoration of diplomatic ties and the end of military action but did not resolve the territorial issue.

“At that stage Japan was considering abandoning its claims to the four South Kuril Islands. But Washington threatened Tokyo that if it did so, the US would not return Okinawa to Japan, the country’s southernmost island, which was occupied by the US at that time.” [13]

A Chinese analysis of the same date as the above appeared, February 22, illuminated the geostrategic significance of what might otherwise strike outsiders as an obscure island dispute. It disclosed that:

“Analysts say Russia will never make concessions to Japan on the islands, which it calls the Southern Kurils and Japan calls the Northern Territories, as they are the crux of Russia’s strategy for its Far East and beyond that to the Asia-Pacific region.”

“The islands are located in a key geographic position where they secure the entrance into the Pacific Ocean for Russia’s Pacific Fleet.

“If the four islands were regained by Japan and used as a natural barrier by Japan and the United States, Russia’s Pacific Fleet would be cut off from the Pacific and may face direct military threats from the two.

“Analysts said a ‘butterfly effect’ could mean the neighbouring Kamchatka Peninsula and Sakhalin region, both strategic to Russia’s ability to respond to attacks, would also be exposed.

“Local media held that the fairly sudden renewed interest in the Southern Kurils was a major move in Russia’s east-oriented strategy against the backdrop of the ongoing global readjustment in a new era.”

In addition, it is perceived in some Russian circles that “if the islands were regained by Japan, it would encourage other countries to pursue claims in other Russian regions and accomplish their conspiracy of altering the history of World War II.” [14]

The Russian Pacific Fleet is based in Vladivostok, south of the Sea of Okhotsk which is enclosed by Kamchatka to the northeast, Sakhalin Island to the southwest and the Kuril Islands to the southeast. But Russia maintains a submarine base in Vilyuchinsk on the Kamchatka Peninsula which hosts Russian strategic nuclear-powered submarines, including the new Borey class variety. Foreign control of the Kurils could impede the Russian navy’s ability to move part of its strategic nuclear triad, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, from the North Pacific Ocean in and out of the Sea of Okhotsk where they would be less exposed and vulnerable, especially in the event of hostilities.

“The Kurils are the gateway to the sea of Okhotsk, which lies off the coast of Russia’s far east. Control of the islands have been crucial for Russia, which has given it access to the Pacific Ocean.

“Russia has built a military base on Shikotan island [in the South Kuril chain], while also placing border forces on the four islands.

“On top of the military importance, the islands hold vast mineral wealth, together with about 160 million tons of natural gas and nearly 1,900 tons of gold and other valuable metals like silver, titanium, sulfur and rhenium. The total value of the four islands has been estimated to be 50 billion US dollars.” [15]

North of the Russian Kurils lies Sakhalin Island, which according to a U.S. Energy Information Agency estimate contains seven billion barrels of oil and 80 trillion cubic feet of natural gas [16] as well a wealth of other resources.

The Japanese government’s brazenness on the island conflict can only be understood within the context of the U.S. recruiting Japan as not only a strategic military ally in East Asia but internationally while reciprocating by backing Japan to the hilt against both Russia and China.

In mid-January U.S. Defense Secretary Gates was in Japan to meet with senior government leaders including Defense Minister Kitazawa – in 2007 the Japan Defense Agency was elevated to the status of Ministry of Defense – and stated:

“As our alliance grows and deepens further still, it will be important for Japan to take on an even greater regional and global leadership role that reflects its political, economic and military capacity.” [17]

In the past decade Japan has violated the spirit if not the exact letter of its constitution’s Article 9 by deploying troops to a combat zone for the first time since World War Two in Iraq and by supplying U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization warships for the war in Afghanistan, where it has now assigned military personnel – medics – for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force. Joining U.S., French and other NATO nations’ forces there, it will soon open its first foreign military base since World War Two in Djibouti in northeastern Africa. [18]

In addition to recently joining a U.S.-engineered tripartite military alliance with South Korea [19] and extending its operational integration with the U.S. into the Indian Ocean, Japan is also forging defense ties with Georgia, which fought a five-day war with Russia in 2008. Earlier this month Hiroshi Oe, director general for International Affairs in the Bureau of Defense Policy of the Japanese Defense Ministry, visited Georgia and in a closed-door meeting with the country’s deputy foreign minister discussed “further prospects of military cooperation between Georgia and Japan.” [20]

While Gates was in Japan he promoted further interceptor missile collaboration, which he praised as “one of the most advanced of its kind in the world” [21] – Japan is the U.S.’s only partner in developing the Standard Missile-3 interceptor for use on ships and for land-based deployments in Romania, Poland and the Eastern Mediterranean Sea – and advocated that “Japan consider three U.S. planes to upgrade their fleet”: The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the F/A-18 Hornet the F-15 Eagle. [22]

Regarding the development of an international missile shield, Gates and Defense Minister Kitazawa agreed “to speed talks on the possibility of providing jointly developed sea-based missile-shield systems to other countries….Japan and the U.S. jointly developed the ballistic missile interception system, the Standard Missile-3….The U.S. is keen to boost its missile defense in Europe and wants SM-3 interceptors there.” [23]

For there, read along Russia’s Western flank from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea and eventually into the South Caucasus.

According to an official U.S. armed forces source, Gates also maintained that “The U.S. needs troops in Japan for the long term to keep China’s rising power in check and contain North Korea’s aggressive nuclear and missile aspirations.” [24]

Late last year the U.S. and Japan conducted their largest joint war games in history, Keen Sword 2011, with 60 warships, including the USS George Washington nuclear-powered aircraft carrier – whose home port is the Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan – accompanied by carrier and expeditionary strike groups, 400 aircraft and 44,000 troops.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen visited Tokyo last December, a week after Keen Sword 2011 ended.

The next month the USS Carl Vinson nuclear-powered supercarrier, equipped to carry 90 fighter jets and helicopters, and two guided missile destroyers and a guided missile cruiser engaged with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force in war games in the East China Sea.

In Late January the armed forces of the U.S. and Japan conducted the annual bilateral Yama Sakura command post exercise to “practice defending Japan” in the southwest of the country with the participation of 6,000 troops. Ahead of the event the spokesman for U.S. Army Japan and I Corps Forward, “the Army’s newest rapid-response contingency unit in Japan,” stated:

“We’re preparing for an enemy with all kinds of capabilities.” [25]

The U.S. is to spend $3.7 billion over the next five years to develop as many as 100 “new, stealthy, long-range, manned bomber[s] likely specifically intended to penetrate Chinese air defences.” The new warplane, as yet unnamed, is reported to be a long-range, nuclear-capable penetrating bomber with the option of being piloted remotely.

“The Pentagon’s bomber development coincides with the scripting of a new battle plan aimed at preserving US military capabilities in the Pacific. This so-called AirSea Battle plan is meant to help coordinate US Navy and Air Force ships and planes….” [26]

On February 21 the commander of the U.S. Seventh Fleet, which is based in Yokosuka, Japan and is the largest overseas navy fleet in the world, encompassing over 48 million square miles – the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean with the Kuril Islands at the northern tip of its area of responsibility – Vice Admiral Scott Van Buskirk was in Hong Kong where he said:

“The 7th Fleet has actually increased its capabilities in several significant ways. The ships and aircraft that we operate today are vastly more capable than they were just a few years ago. At the same time, we have enhanced our maritime partnerships with navies around the region, enabling us to work together cooperatively more than ever before.”

He said that at any given time there are 70 U.S. warships in his fleet’s area of responsibility and “cited the deployment to Japan of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington…with greater speed, range, ammunition stowage and endurance, as an example of how the fleet’s capabilities have increased.”

The commander also highlighted “the deployment of the Ohio-class fleet ballistic missile submarines (SSBN), the 60-40 split of attack submarines from the Atlantic to the Pacific and the recent deployment of the Virginia-class submarine USS Hawaii (SSN 776), which reflects the fleet’s growing capability under the sea.”

Van Buskirk touted “upgrades to surface ships, including Ballistic Missile Defense capability and enhanced sonar suites, making them ‘increasingly potent,'” emphasizing that “Our alliance with Japan continues to be the cornerstone of our forward presence in Asia….” [27]

The U.S. recently completed this year’s Cobra Gold military exercise in Thailand. “The participation of Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia makes the 30th annual joint exercise one of the world’s largest multilateral military maneuvers.” As a testament to the dramatic expansion of a U.S.-led Asia-Pacific NATO, the exercise also included observers from India, Sri Lanka, Laos, Brunei, Mongolia, the United Arab Emirates and New Zealand among others.

Since the last Cobra Gold was held in June of 2010, “the US has held around 20 joint military maneuvers with nations in the Asia-Pacific region, including Japan and South Korea.” [28]

This month Lieutenant General Patrick O’Reilly, director of the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency, said that “The United States plans to deploy the Standard Missile-3 Block IIA upgrade by 2018” in a letter to Nobushige Takamizawa, director general of policy at the Japanese Defense Ministry.

“The Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency is pressing Tokyo to clear the sale of advanced missile interceptors, codeveloped with Japan, to third countries and to agree to joint production.” [29]

As noted above, Standard Missile-3 deployments are slated for nations like Poland, which borders Russian territory, and Romania, which lies across the Black Sea from Russia.

Early this month Japan announced that it will open its new Air Defense Command – with interceptor missile batteries – to Yokota, home to U.S. Forces Japan headquarters and the Fifth Air Force, this spring.

Last December Japan released its National Defense Program Guidelines for 2011, which detailed plans to increase the nation’s submarines from 16 to 22, acquire next-generation fighter jets, increase the number of Aegis class destroyers equipped with Standard Missile-3 interceptors from the present four to six and deploy Patriot Advanced Capability-3 interceptor missiles to 12 air bases throughout the country.

Japan is already one of the world’s major military powers. The U.S. is the world’s preeminent, having approved a World War Two-level $725 billion National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 in December.

The two strategic military partners are preparing to confront their only competitors in East Asia and the Western Pacific: China and Russia. An altercation near a contested island grouping may prove the spark that sets off a conflagration involving the world’s two main nuclear powers.

1) Russian Information Agency Novosti, February 16, 2011
2) Russian Information Agency Novosti, February 15, 2011
3) Interfax, February 9, 2011
4) News Analysis: Japan, Russia continue to lock horns over islands row
Xinhua News Agency, February 11, 2011
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-02/11/c_13728158.htm
5) Agence France-Press, February 11, 2011
6) Alexandr Grashenkov, Russia to boost Kuril defense to ward off war
Russian Information Agency Novosti, February 11, 2011
http://en.rian.ru/analysis/20110211/162553992.html
7) Russian Information Agency Novosti, February 15, 2011
8) Interfax, February 21, 2011
9) Voice of Russia, February 22, 2011
10) Russia-Japan-US – three’s a crowd
Voice of Russia, February 22, 2011
11) U.S. Supports Japan, Confronts China And Russia Over Island Disputes
Stop NATO, November 4, 2010
https://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2010/11/04/u-s-supports-japan-confronts-china-and-russia-over-island-disputes
12) Kyodo News, October 11, 2010
13) Russia-Japan-US – three’s a crowd
Voice of Russia, February 22, 2011]
http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/02/22/45579622.html
14) Zheng Haoning and Wei Lianglei, Disputed islands: crux of Russia’s
regional strategy
Xinhua News Agency, February 22, 2011
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/indepth/2011-02/22/c_13744452.htm
15) Backgrounder: Importance of Southern Kuril Islands
Xinhua News Agency/China Television
February 17, 2011
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/video/2011-02/12/c_13729119.htm
16) U.S. Department of Energy
http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/Sakhalin/Background.html
17) Los Angeles Times, January 13, 2011
….
U.S. Builds Military Alliance With Japan, South Korea For War In The East
Stop NATO, December 14, 2010
https://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2010/12/14/u-s-builds-military-alliance-with-japan-south-korea-for-war-in-the-east
18) Japanese Military Joins U.S. And NATO In Horn Of Africa
Stop NATO, April 25, 2010
https://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2010/04/26/japanese-military-joins-u-s-and-nato-in-horn-of-africa
19) U.S. Builds Military Alliance With Japan, South Korea For War In The East
Stop NATO December 14, 2010
https://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2010/12/14/u-s-builds-military-alliance-with-japan-south-korea-for-war-in-the-east
20) Trend News Agency, February 4, 2011
21) Stars and Stripes, January 13, 2011
22) United Press International, January 18, 2011
23) Japan Times, January 14, 2011
24) Stars and Stripes, January 13, 2011
25) Stars and Stripes, January 25, 2011
26) New US Bomber Aimed at China?
The Diplomat, February 22, 2011
http://the-diplomat.com/flashpoints-blog/2011/02/22/new-us-bomber-aimed-at-china/
27) Navy NewsStand, February 22, 2011
28) China Daily, February 15, 2011
29) Reuters, February 14, 2011

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Categories: Uncategorized

Africa: Global NATO Seeks To Recruit 50 New Military Partners

February 20, 2011 4 comments

Stop NATO
February 20, 2011

Africa: Global NATO Seeks To Recruit 50 New Military Partners
Rick Rozoff

A recent article in Kenya’s Africa Review cited sources in the African Union (AU) disclosing that the 28-member North Atlantic Treaty Organization is preparing to sign a military partnership treaty with the 53-nation AU.

The author of the article, relaying comments from AU officials in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where the organization has its headquarters, wrote that although “the stated aim is to counter global security threats and specifically threats against Africa, some observers read the pact as aiming to counter Chinese expansion in Africa.”

The feature further claimed that NATO is negotiating the opening of a liaison office at AU headquarters and that the North Atlantic Alliance’s legal department is working with its AU counterpart “to finalise the new pact, which will be signed soon.” [1]

The news story additionally divulged that Ramtane Lamamra, African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security, “confirmed that Nato is to sign a military cooperation agreement with the AU” with particular emphasis on consolidating the African Standby Force (ASF). The latter is intended to consist of brigades attached to the five Regional Economic Communities on the continent. (North, East, West, Central and Southern.) The West African Standby Force has been tasked the role of intervening in – which is to say invading and occupying – Ivory Coast since the announcement of presidential runoff election results in the country in December [2], and contributors to the East Africa Standby Brigade (EASBRIG), Uganda and Burundi, are engaged as combatants in the civil war in Somalia.

The AU’s Lamamra stated “Africa would like to learn from Nato on strategic airlift, advanced communications, rotation of important units among regions and to meet logistical challenges,” adding that “Nato was a good model on which to build the ASF.” [3]

NATO airlifted thousands of Ugandan troops into and out of the Somali capital of Mogadishu last March – 1,700 and 800, respectively – in support of the Ugandan-Burundian African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). [4]

The Kenyan report also revealed that “Experts say Africa is becoming a strategic battleground between world powers and in particular the US, the European Union, China and Russia,” with the first two – collectively subsumed under NATO and its Partnership for Peace program (except, for the time being, Cyprus) – working in unison and the second two expanding oil and natural gas investments on the continent. In addition, Russia and China are competitors of the U.S. and its NATO allies in regards to arms sales to African nations. The piece added:

“According to knowledgeable sources, the new security arrangement could be a way to block the continent’s other main arms suppliers – China and Russia.

“If the pact gets endorsed by AU member states, it would be a big blow for China and Russia.”

“In its 2010 annual summit, Nato set itself a target to be a global ‘security guarantor’ by the year 2020.” [5]

On February 18 and 19 a delegation of high-level officials from the African Union led by Sivuyile Thandikhaya Bam, head of the Peace Support Operations Division of the AU, visited NATO Headquarters and the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in Belgium. As NATO reports:

“NATO and the African Union have developed an increasingly fruitful practical cooperation since 2005….NATO supported the AU Mission in Sudan [airlifting over 30,000 troops to and from the Darfur region] and is currently assisting the AU mission in Somalia in terms of air- and sea-lift, but also planning support.

“NATO is also providing…training opportunities and capacity building support to the African Union’s long term peacekeeping capabilities, in particular the African Standby Force.” [6]

The African Standby Force has been systematically modeled after the NATO Response Force, which was launched with large-scale war games in the African island nation of Cape Verde in 2006. The ASF is a joint project of NATO and U.S. Africa Command, which before achieving full operational capability on October 1, 2008 was conceived, developed and run by U.S. European Command, whose commander is simultaneously NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe.

In 2007 the North Atlantic Council, NATO’s top civilian decision-making body, commissioned a study “on the assessment of the operational readiness of the African Standby Force (ASF) brigades.” [7]

The following year NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer visited Ghana for three days and said “the military alliance could play an important role in training African soldiers,” in particular that “the Alliance had agreed to support the African Standby Force.” [8]

In 2009 the bloc began training African staff officers for the ASF at the NATO School in Oberammergau, Germany. Joint Command Lisbon, the Alliance headquarters tasked to supervise military cooperation with the African Union, has trained African officers to run military exercises, and “NATO has also participated and supported various ASF preparatory workshops designed to develop ASF-related concepts.” [9]

The same year Norwegian Colonel Brynjar Nymo – Norway’s embassy in Ethiopia is the informal liaison office for NATO’s relations with the AU – said that “cooperation between NATO and AU is currently focusing on technical support for the African Standby Force (ASF).”

The Norwegian embassy’s website at the time stated that “The Africa Monitoring & Support Team at the NATO Headquarters in Portugal is the operational headquarters for NATO’s work in Africa,” as indicated above. [10]

Then-NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General Maurits Jochems visited AU headquarters in the Ethiopian capital, where NATO has a senior military liaison officer and other officials assigned, later in 2009.

“In his capacity as NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary-General, Ambassador Jochems has frequently visited Addis Ababa for discussions with the African Union….NATO is providing technical advice, and making available subject matter experts, experiences from international operations, and access to relevant training facilities to the AUC [African Union Commission] in the context of the African Standby Force.” [11]

This January 26 and 27 NATO’s Military Committee held two days of meetings in Brussels with the chiefs of defense – the U.S.’s chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen and his equivalents – and other military representatives of 66 nations, a third of the members of the United Nations.

The proceedings discussed ongoing NATO operations in Afghanistan – currently the world’s largest and longest war, with an estimated 140,000 troops from some 50 nations serving under the Alliance’s International Security Assistance Force – the Balkans (Kosovo Force), the entire Mediterranean Sea (Operation Active Endeavor), and the Horn of Africa, the Gulf of Aden and down the eastern coast of Africa (Operation Ocean Shield).

During the Military Committee and related meetings a session of the Mediterranean Dialogue was held with military leaders from the seven members of that NATO partnership: Israel, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Jordan, Morocco and Mauritania. The session occurred as the government of Tunisia’s President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali had recently been toppled and the demonstrations in Egypt that would bring the same denouement to President Hosni Mubarak were getting underway.

On February 9 Serbia’s Beta News Agency reported Defense Minister Dragan Sutanovac announcing that a NATO strategic conference entitled After Lisbon: Implementation of Transformation will be held in his nation’s capital of Belgrade in June with representatives from 69 countries attending: All 28 NATO member states, 22 Partnership for Peace nations [12] in Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia, and 19 other states. [13]

In addition to the Mediterranean Dialogue, NATO’s Istanbul Cooperation Initiative program is developing military cooperation with the Persian Gulf states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, with Oman and Saudi Arabia to be brought on board next. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen was in Qatar from February 15-16 for the two-day Deepening the NATO-Istanbul Cooperation Initiative conference with the permanent representatives (ambassadors) of the bloc’s 28 members and senior military and government officials from the six Gulf Cooperation Council states: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The first and last of them have troops serving under NATO in Afghanistan.

NATO also has a partnership category called Contact Countries. Subject to expansion, the four such nations are all in the Asia-Pacific region: Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea. The U.S.-led military bloc also maintains the Afghanistan-Pakistan-International Security Assistance Force Tripartite Commission to coordinate war efforts on both sides of the Khyber Pass and has troops and other military personnel assigned to its command in Afghanistan from nations that are not currently among the 70 NATO member and official partnership states: Colombia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Singapore and Tonga.

The NATO-Russia Council was revived at the bloc’s Lisbon summit in November and NATO’s Kosovo Force (KFOR) is training and equipping the fledgling armed forces of Kosovo, the Kosovo Security Force. [14] NATO, then, has no fewer than 75 members and partners with nations like previously neutral Cyprus slated to follow. [15]

The African Union has 53 members and will soon have another after the successful independence referendum in Southern Sudan. The AU includes the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (Western Sahara), conquered by Morocco in 1975 and not recognized by any NATO state, but not Morocco, which withdrew from the AU because of the latter’s recognition and incorporation of Western Sahara.

Four members of the AU, along with Morocco, are already part of a NATO partnership program, the Mediterranean Dialogue – Algeria, Egypt, Mauritania and Tunisia – so a NATO military cooperation treaty with the African Union could gain the Atlantic Alliance 50 new partners.

That is, the world’s only military bloc can further expand from one that grew from 16 to 28 members in a decade – 1999-2009 – into one that will become truly international in scope with nearly 100 military partners. Partners and members on every inhabited continent. Two-thirds of the nations in the world.

Related articles:

Militarization Of Energy Policy: U.S. Africa Command And Gulf Of Guinea
https://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2011/01/08/militarization-of-energy-policy-u-s-africa-command-and-gulf-of-guinea

Pentagon And NATO Apply Afghanistan-Pakistan War Model To Africa
https://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2011/01/02/pentagon-and-nato-apply-afghanistan-pakistan-war-model-to-africa

New Colonialism: Pentagon Carves Africa Into Military Zones
https://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2010/05/05/new-colonialism-pentagon-carves-africa-into-military-zones

Japanese Military Joins U.S. And NATO In Horn Of Africa
https://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2010/04/26/japanese-military-joins-u-s-and-nato-in-horn-of-africa

NATO: AFRICOM’s Partner In Military Penetration Of Africa
https://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2010/03/20/nato-africoms-partner-in-military-penetration-of-africa

AFRICOM’s First War: U.S. Directs Large-Scale Offensive In Somalia
https://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2010/03/12/africoms-first-war-u-s-directs-large-scale-offensive-in-somalia

AFRICOM Year Two: Seizing The Helm Of The Entire World
https://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2009/10/22/africom-year-two-taking-the-helm-of-the-entire-world

1) Argaw Ashine, Nato to sign security cooperation pact with AU
Africa Review, February 18, 2011 http://www.africareview.com/News/Nato+to+sign+security+cooperation+pact+with+AU/-/979180/1110238/-/4igp64/-/
2) Ivory Coast: Testing Ground For U.S.-Backed African Standby Force
Stop NATO, January 23, 2011
https://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2011/01/23/ivory-coast-testing-ground-for-u-s-backed-african-standby-force
3) Africa Review, February 18, 2011
4) Uganda: U.S., NATO Allies Prepare New Invasion Of Somalia
Stop NATO, July 28, 2010
https://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2010/07/29/uganda-u-s-nato-allies-prepare-new-invasion-of-somalia
5) Africa Review, February 18, 2011
6) North Atlantic Treaty Organization
http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/news_61534.htm
7) North Atlantic Treaty Organization
http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/topics_54617.htm
8) Ghana News Agency, November 21, 2008
9) North Atlantic Treaty Organization
http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/topics_54617.htm
10) Royal Norwegian Embassy in Ethiopia, April 20, 2009
11) Royal Norwegian Embassy in Ethiopia, November 4, 2009
12) Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia, Finland, Georgia, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Russia in sometimes included.
13) NATO conference in Belgrade announced
Beta News Agency, February 9, 2011
http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics-article.php?yyyy=2011&mm=02&dd=09&nav_id=72629
14) KFOR’s Final Firefighting Exercise for Kosovo Security Force
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations
February 17, 2011
http://www.aco.nato.int/page424203219.aspx
15) Push for NATO programme deemed unconstitutional
Cyprus Mail, February 19, 2011
http://www.cyprus-mail.com/cyprus/push-nato-programme-deemed-unconstitutional/20110219

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO Surrenders Europe To U.S. Global Missile Shield Project

February 6, 2011 3 comments

Stop NATO
February 5, 2011

NATO Surrenders Europe To U.S. Global Missile Shield Project
Rick Rozoff

On January 27 the North Atlantic Treaty Organization took the most decisive step yet toward the implementation of the decades-old project first proposed by the Ronald Reagan administration for a Strategic Defense Initiative, popularly known as Star Wars.

In what will be the culmination of five years of extensive planning by the U.S. and NATO to construct an impenetrable interceptor missile shield to cover the European continent, the military bloc announced on the above date that it had handed over the first-ever theater ballistic missile defence capability to NATO military commanders at the NATO Combined Air Operations Centre in the German city of Uedem, which occurred “after NATO technicians computer-tested a software system linking anti-missile equipment from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the United States.” [1]

Italian Air Force Brigadier General Alessandro Pera, head of the NATO Active Layered Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence (ALTBMD) Programme Office, delivered the plan to NATO Deputy Secretary General Claudio Bisogniero while the second day of a NATO Military Committee meeting at the Atlantic Alliance headquarters in Brussels with chiefs of defense staff and other military representatives from 66 countries was underway.

Those also present in Germany included U.S. Air Force Major General Mark Ramsay, deputy chief of staff for Operations and Intelligence at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (NATO’s main European command) and other military and civilian authorities from the Alliance and Germany. General Mark Welsh III, commander of Allied Air Command Ramstein, paid his first visit to the NATO Combined Air Operations Centre to coincide with the capability demonstration of the ALTBMD program. Brigadier General Pera “handed over a symbolic key to the operational user of the capability,” represented by Major General Ramsay. [2]

This year the Pentagon will begin its announced ten-year Phased Adaptive Approach (sometimes with a comma between the first two words) project to deploy medium- and intermediate-range interceptor missiles on ships in the Baltic Sea and Mediterranean Sea, which will be followed by the stationing of no fewer than 48 advanced Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) interceptors in Eastern Europe: 24 each in Romania and Poland.

The SM-3 is a ship-based missile jointly developed by the U.S. and Japan which will be deployed on Aegis class guided missile destroyers and cruisers in the two above-mentioned seas. A land-based version of the missile (Aegis Ashore) will be deployed near the Baltic and Black Seas in Poland and Romania.

Missile radar sites will accompany the interceptors, with potential sites discussed to date including Bulgaria, Turkey, the Czech Republic, Azerbaijan and Georgia in addition to the X-band radar (AN/TPY-2 Transportable Radar Surveillance/Forward Based X-band Transportable) designed for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile system, with a range of 2,900 miles, deployed to the Negev Desert in Israel in 2008, manned by over 100 U.S. military personnel including a representative of the Missile Defense Agency. [3] The Azerbaijani location would be the early warning radar facility at Gabala currently operated by the Russian Space Forces.

This week four U.S. senators endorsed the placement of an interceptor missile radar facility in Georgia, which fought a five-day war with Russia in August 2008.

Last May the U.S. deployed the first interceptors in Europe, a Patriot Advanced Capability-3 battery in the Polish city of Morag, 35-40 miles from the Russian Kaliningrad district. An estimated 150 American troops arrived with the missiles to service and train Polish service members to operate them.

Until 2005 the U.S. had concentrated its missile shield initiatives further east: In Alaska, including its Aleutian Islands chain, and Japan, with preliminary radar facilities in Greenland, Britain and Norway to the west. The Missile Defense Agency’s 280-foot-high Sea-Based X-Band Radar, which displaces 50,000 tons and has a surface as large as two football fields, is based in Adak in the Aleutian Islands near Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula.

Developments took a dramatic turn in that year, however. On March 11 NATO’s North Atlantic Council, its highest civilian governing body, approved plans for a theater missile defense (TMD) system to protect deployed troops. The military bloc at that time had forces on the ground in Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Six years ago NATO envisioned a combination of the U.S.-German-Italian Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS), Patriot Advanced Capability-3 and Surface
Air Moyenne Portée/Terre systems as the foundation for lower-tier – battlefield or theater – components of its interceptor missile program, with U.S. Theater (now Terminal) High Altitude Area Defense and the then-current sea-based Standard Missile-2 systems serving as the upper-layer complements. [4]

The integrated system was to achieve initial operating capability last year – when NATO’s 28 members unanimously authorized a far wider-ranging missile shield at the Alliance’s summit in Portugal in November – and full operating capability in 2013.

To that end NATO’s Active Layered Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence (ALTBMD) program was established in September 2005 after a seven-year feasibility study had been conducted by eight of the bloc’s leading members and in which “various NATO projects cooperatively participated.” [5]

At that time the ALTBMD project was described in part as an “integrated system-of-systems architecture [that] will create a larger range of detection, communication and missile defence capabilities for NATO forces, whether deployed within or beyond NATO’s area of responsibility. It will also provide complete coverage against the threat posed by tactical ballistic missiles with ranges up to 3,000 kilometres. [6]

The U.S. arms manufacturers Boeing and Northrop Grumman announced intentions in the same month to bid on “systems engineering and integration work on NATO’s Theater Missile Defense capability.” [7]

At almost exactly the same time, in November of 2005, Agence France-Presse disclosed that the U.S. was developing a complementary and more advanced interceptor missile program for Europe. Eastern Europe.

Citing a senior, unnamed, Pentagon official, the press service stated that although discussions had been held “below the radar screen” since 2002, “the US government was now nearing the point of making decisions on whether and how to go forward with such an initiative.”

The Defense Department source was quoted as stating: “There have been a handful of countries, Poland is one, but there are several others with whom we’ve been having discussions with.” [8]

A week earlier the Gazeta Wyborcza had revealed the plans to base American interceptor missiles in Poland. Four years later the same newspaper divulged weeks ahead of the event that Washington was shifting its plans for ten ground-based interceptors in Poland and a missile radar base in the Czech Republic – because of their impracticability, their ineffectiveness – to what on September 17, 2009 President Barack Obama termed a “smarter, stronger, and swifter” missile shield system that would include components from the Baltic to the Black to the Mediterranean Seas. [9]

The U.S. official quoted above would not divulge which other countries would be involved in the system as planned at the time, but confirmed that the deployment in Poland would be comparable to those at Fort Greely, Alaska where the Missile Defense Agency is working on completing the construction of as many as 14 silos with 30-40 long-range ground-based interceptors as part of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense element of America’s global missile shield plans.

That was the strategy pursued by the George W. Bush administration but superseded by its successor in 2009.

In adopting a continent-wide interceptor missile program as part of its new Strategic Concept last November, NATO agreed to subordinate its 26 members and 14 partners (17 if the South Caucasus is included) in Europe to a U.S.-dominated missile system that is not limited to the continent but is an integral part of a global layered and integrated missile shield network.

The Lisbon summit declaration of November 20 affirms that “We have adopted a new Strategic Concept [and] decided to develop a missile defence capability to protect all NATO European populations, territory and forces….”

“Our Strategic Concept underscores our commitment to ensuring that NATO has the full range of capabilities necessary to deter and defend against any threat to the safety of our populations and the security of our territory. To that end, NATO will maintain an appropriate mix of conventional, nuclear, and missile defence forces. Missile defence will become an integral part of our overall defence posture….”

“[W]e have decided that the Alliance will develop a missile defence capability to pursue its core task of collective defence. The aim of a NATO missile defence capability is to provide full coverage and protection for all NATO European populations, territory and forces against the increasing threats posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles, based on the principles of the indivisibility of Allied security and NATO solidarity….”

“To this end, we have decided that the scope of NATO’s current Active Layered Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence (ALTBMD) programme’s command, control and communications capabilities will be expanded beyond the protection of NATO deployed forces to also protect NATO European populations, territory and forces. In this context, the United States European Phased Adaptive Approach is welcomed as a valuable national contribution to the NATO missile defence architecture, as are other possible voluntary contributions by Allies. We have tasked the Council to develop missile defence consultation, command and control arrangements by the time of the March 2011 meeting of our Defence Ministers. We have also tasked the Council to draft an action plan addressing steps to implement the missile defence capability by the time of the June 2011 Defence Ministers’ meeting.” [10]

A sop was thrown to Russia, which with the best of reasons had been suspicious of American and NATO interceptor missile plans since their inception, with the summit statement claiming that NATO had “invited Russia to cooperate with us.”

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was the first head of state of his nation (and its predecessor state, the Soviet Union) to attend a NATO summit last year, but despite the Russian political leadership’s (over-)willingness to trust its NATO “partners,” two months later Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen threw cold water on Moscow’s self-deluded understanding of where it stood in regard to U.S.-NATO European missile shield plans in announcing that “the alliance’s plan for a European missile shield involves two separate but collaborative programs, one operated by the military alliance and the other by Russia,” although “Moscow and Brussels in November decided to work on researching and potentially setting up a continent-wide program for missile defense.” [11]

That is, Russia will have no role in monitoring or in any other direct manner affecting Western interceptor plans. American officials have been blunt in asserting that the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) pact will in no manner restrict U.S. and NATO continent-wide (except for Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova for the time being) interceptor missile arrangements. Or the Pentagon’s new Prompt Global Strike program designed to accomplish with conventional measures the task formerly assigned to the American nuclear arsenal and triad. [12]

Immediately after Rasmussen’s reaffirmation that Russia, like all NATO partners, can only expect to play a subordinate role in this as in all other matters, the lower house of the Russian parliament, the State Duma, posted a draft supplementary statement to the new START agreement ratification document on its website demanding that “Russia must quickly modernize its nuclear deterrent focusing on the deployment of ballistic missiles capable of penetrating the most sophisticated missile defenses.”

The supplement stated:

“The State Duma believes that maintaining Russia’s nuclear deterrent in an adequate state of readiness is a key venue of the country’s military doctrine, with the focus on the deployment of strategic offensive weapons that possess the most combat effectiveness and the highest potential to penetrate missile defenses.

“The combat effectiveness of Russia’s nuclear deterrent must be maintained at the level that guarantees the protection of the country from attacks carried out by any foreign state or a group of states in any military-strategic situation.” [13]

On January 24 President Medvedev demanded an unequivocal response from NATO on what role his country will be permitted to play in Western missile shield plans, stating:

“Our partners have to understand that we do not want this simply to have some common toys that NATO and us can play with, but because we want adequate protection for Russia.”

“So this is not a joking matter. We expect from our NATO partners a direct and unambiguous answer.

“In either case, we are either together with NATO, or we separately find an adequate response to the existing problem.

“Either we agree to certain principles with NATO, or we fail to agree, and then in the future we are forced to adopt an entire series of unpleasant decisions concerning the deployment of an offensive nuclear missile group.” [14]

Two days later Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov told the upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, that “Russia will go forward with plans to develop its own missile defense system after the ratification of a strategic arms reduction treaty with the United States.”

“As far as our missile defense system is concerned, we have been developing it and will be further developing it,” he added. [15]

On the same day Chief of General Staff Nikolay Makarov said “that Russia’s permanent involvement in designing the architecture of the European missile defense system should be the main precondition for NATO-Russia co-operation.” [16]

A Russian commentary of January 27 included these observations – and warnings:

“Neither NATO nor the US has answered Russia’s questions so far. The would-be shield is even called differently by both sides. While the Russian leadership describes it as ‘European missile defense system,’ it is referred to as ‘NATO’s missile defense system’ in the alliance’s official documents.

“Moscow will not participate in any joint program where it does not have its say. The big fear is that the European shield will be directed by the US, which does not abandon the idea of its own global missile defense shield.” [17]

NATO’s comprehensive, all-encompassing interceptor missile system is in fact controlled by the U.S. and is part of an international network that includes air, land, sea and space elements. [18] Washington has added South Korea and Australia to its missile shield alliance with Japan in the Asia-Pacific region and is selling billions of dollars worth of theater and more advanced interceptor missiles to Taiwan, Japan and the Persian Gulf states of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. [19]

The same source cited Yury Solomonov, director and general designer of the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology, who said ­Russia is developing new warheads for intercontinental ballistic missiles which “would be able to overcome any existing and future missile defense systems.”

The article continued:

“The development of new warheads looks like Russia’s answer to plans of the US and NATO to create a new missile defense shield for Europe. Both Washington and the alliance had formally invited Moscow to take part in a joint program. But even Europeans themselves do not know the exact details of the initiative.

“NATO member states are still to come to an agreement between themselves….[T]o maintain the potential of strategic nuclear forces Russia must radically increase the production of intercontinental ballistic missiles. [Solomonov] also said that the Bulava sea-based intercontinental ballistic missile will be commissioned and pass into service in 2011 if the planned test launches are successful.” [20]

On the day the above appeared NATO announced the activation of its first anti-ballistic missile capability.

On February 3 Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted warning that “If negotiations between NATO and Russia will only be used as a cover for a NATO-American missile defense system that ignores the Russian interests then of course we will have no choice but to take adequate measures to protect ourselves.” [21]

So much for pushing reset buttons with the new START agreement and the reactivation of the NATO-Russia Council in November.

Before this month’s announcement that NATO was integrating hitherto separate interceptor missile systems into a coherent network linked with the new American European system, Italy’s Brigadier General Pera, head of NATO’s Active Layered Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence Programme Office and veteran of NATO campaigns in Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan, gave an interview to the U.S.-based Defense News in April of last year in which he itemized the components that will be incorporated into the missile interception program:

“For the interim capability, five nations are contributing weapons systems and sensors: Germany, Patriot PAC­3 missiles; France, SAMP/T missiles; Italy, Horizon-class frigates; the Netherlands, Patriot PAC-3 missiles, ADCF (Air Defense Command) frigates; and the United States, Aegis cruisers, Patriot PAC-2 and -3 missiles, space early warning. The missiles mentioned can act both as missile interceptors and as anti-aircraft missiles.

“In its final configurations, we will also have MEADS (Medium Extended Air Defense System) missile weapon systems from the U.S., Germany and Italy; SAMP/T weapon systems and TPS 77 sensors, Italy; NATO sensors Fixed Air Defense Radar/Deployable Air Defense Radar, Aegis Standard Missile-3 systems, AN/TPY 2 radar and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system from the U.S.; Patriot PAC-2 and F100 frigates, Spain; F124 frigates and Global Hawk IR, Germany; Patriot PAC-2, Greece.”

“ALTBMD has a lower layer to deal with short- and medium-range missiles (the interim capability is the first step of it) and an upper layer to deal with longer-range tac­tical missiles, up to 3,000 kilometers. The ultimate aim is for theater missile defense to be able to counter long-range missiles, too, so that NATO countries remain one step ahead of the threat by being able to knock out missiles not just in their re-entry phase but also in the midcourse and boost phases.”

“The interfaces between ALTBMD and the U.S.A.’s Phased Adaptive Approach have already been successfully tested.

“ALTBMD is planning to have an initial operational capability in 2012, while the plan is for the full spectrum of capabilities to be available by 2017.” [22]

His inclusion of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense and its AN/TPY-2 Transportable Radar Surveillance/Forward Based X-Band Transportable which “is capable of tracking and identifying small objects at long distance and at very high altitude, including space” [23] indicates a more sophisticated overall plan than is generally acknowledged. Though last summer Lieutenant General Patrick O’Reilly, director of the Missile Defense Agency (which grew out of Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative) said “combined defenses would feature the best of both worlds: an ‘upper layer’ framework of SM-3 and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, interceptors, operated by the United States, that could shoot down enemy missiles in space or the upper atmosphere; and a ‘lower layer’ of Patriot batteries, operated by European allies, providing a second layer of defense closer to the ground.” [24]

On December 1 of last year Frank Rose, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, testified before the House Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Strategic Forces and stated of the American Phased Adaptive Approach that “this approach to missile defense squarely in a NATO context as was decided at the Lisbon Summit. Missile defense is now firmly entrenched in NATO as both the summit declaration and Strategic Concept make it clear. NATO will develop missile defense as part of the Alliance’s core task of collective defense.”

He added: “The deployment of the AN/TPY-2 radar in Southern Europe in the 2011 timeframe will augment the capabilities of our existing Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system to intercept long-range missiles launched from the Middle East, should that threat emerge. In many ways, this is analogous to the AN-TPY-2 radar deployed in Japan that serves to assist with the defense of Japan and U.S. territory from the North Korean threat.” [25]

Washington persists in the disingenuous contention that covering Europe in a U.S.-controlled missile shield is aimed at protecting nations from Poland to Britain from North Korean, Iranian, Syrian and even North African threats.

A NATO press release on the January 27 event stated:

“The ALTBMD Programme Office will continue to upgrade the NATO Command and Control System for Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence in incremental steps from 2013 to 2018, to field a more robust Final Operational Capability. In line with the Lisbon Summit decision of November 2010, the ALTBMD capability will also be expanded to protect not just deployed forces, but NATO European territories and populations as well.” [26]

2018 is the year the U.S. will inaugurate its Phase 3 advanced SM-3 interceptor site in Poland.

Late last month pro-American Romanian President Traian Basescu, recruited last year by his American counterpart Obama to host Standard Missile-3s on his nation’s soil, said:

“The United States remains our strategic partner and our main ally in the field of security. Today, the main vector of our cooperation is the anti-missile shield. We wish to conclude this year the bilateral negotiations.” [27] In 2005 the Pentagon secured the use of four military bases in Romania, including what is being upgraded into a strategic air base.

Two days before the above quote appeared on the Internet, it was reported that the U.S. Air Force had “augmented the hardware of a missile defense radar facility in Greenland,” NATO ally Denmark’s possession, and that it “has already upgraded early warning radar sites at Beale Air Force Base in California and at Fylingdales Royal Air Force Station in the United Kingdom,” and “intends to update two more of the sites.” [28] An island between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans is an odd location for tracking imaginary Iranian and North Korean intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Also in late January and in the Atlantic Ocean, the U.S. Navy, the Missile Defense Agency and weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin conducted a missile interception training exercise off the coast of Virginia with an Aegis class guided missile cruiser and two Aegis guided missile destroyers. Lockheed announced that “the ships tracked a short-range ballistic missile target and two performed simulations that would have resulted in successful interceptions of the target.” [29]

The Navy announced in a press release that it was “the first live ballistic missile defense test on the East Coast,” as before then Standard Missile-3 intercepts of target missiles (and in February of 2008 a space satellite) had been conducted from the Pacific Missile Range Test Facility in Kauai, Hawaii.

In the same week Lockheed, working with Raytheon, and Boeing, partnering with Northrop Grumman, submitted proposals to the Missile Defense Agency in competition for a $4.2 billion, seven-year contract “to develop and sustain the Ground-based Midcourse Defense [GMD] portion of the nation’s ballistic missile defense program.”

“Elements of GMD, including some of the radars and Standard Missile 3[s] used in the ship-based Aegis system, are being considered for use as part of President Barack Obama’s ‘phased adaptive approach’ to enhancing missile defense in Europe.” [30]

Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) International, based in Orlando, Florida, recently disclosed that it had successfully conducted “milestone tests” on an X-band radar system and was preparing for systems testing this year at the Pratica di Mare Air Force Base in Italy. The U.S. funds 58 percent of the MEADS European missile defense program, with Germany and Italy providing 25 and 17 of the financing respectively.

The MEADS consortium, for which Lockheed Martin provides Patriot and longer-range missiles, describes its operation as follows:

“Under development by Germany, Italy and the United States, MEADS is a mobile system that will replace Patriot in the United States and Nike Hercules in Italy. It will replace Patriot and the retired Hawk system in Germany. The system is designed to permit full interoperability between the U.S. and allied forces, and it is the only medium-range air defense system to provide full 360-degree coverage.”

In addition: “In August 2010, the MEADS program completed an extensive series of Critical Design Review events with a Summary Critical Design Review at MEADS International in Orlando, FL. The program is now completing final build, integration and test activities leading to flight tests involving all system elements at White Sands Missile Range in 2012.” [31]

On February 1 NATO announced that a subsidiary of the joint U.S.-French ThalesRaytheonSystems won a contract for “enhancements to the Air Command and Control System (ACCS) as part of the Active Layered Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence (ALTBMD) programme.”

“This award is for the Preliminary System Definition of the first phase of the ACCS TMD [theater missile defense] project and will be followed by the development, integration and testing of two increments leading to an Initial Operational Capability (IOC). The new functionality developed under the contract will provide sensor and weapon system configuration, management and coverage, air and missile track processing, dissemination, classification, display and alerting. It will also provide weapon system status, engagement, monitoring and control.”

The NATO website quoted Dr. Gerhard van der Giet, General Manager of the NATO ACCS Management Agency:

“As Allies decided at the NATO summit in Lisbon last November, the scope of ALTBMD will be expanded beyond the protection of deployed forces to also protect NATO European populations, territory and forces. The command and control enhancements developed under the ACCS TMD project provide a future foundation for Missile Defence.” [32]

It was reported two days afterward that Siemens Turkiye, the German electronic and engineering firm’s Turkish subsidiary, and a local software company “will develop and implement NATO’s strategic Air Command and Control Information (AirC2I) System….[T]he system will set a benchmark for future NATO Bi-Strategic Command Automated Information Systems Functional Services, be a key component of NATO’s Active Layered Theater Ballistic Missile Defense system’s initial operating capability, and provide a possible foundation for missile defense.” [33]

A copy of Ronald Reagan’s Star Wars speech of March 23, 1983 is displayed prominently at the Missile Defense Agency’s Von Braun Complex in Huntsville, Alabama. U.S. officials, military and civilian, have openly spoken of having brought to fruition Reagan’s plan for a Strategic Defense Initiative in intent and practical effects if not precise configurations.

The Aegis Combat System is a product of the Strategic Defense Initiative. Last year President Obama pushed for an increase in the system’s Standard Missile-3 interceptors to 436, up from the previous year’s request of 147 of the missiles costing $10-15 million apiece.

NATO’s summit in Lisbon last November has delivered almost the entire European continent to a 21st century version of Star Wars.

1) Deutsche Presse-Agentur, January 27, 2011
2) U.S. Air Forces in Europe, January 31, 2011
3) Israel: Forging NATO Missile Shield, Rehearsing War With Iran
Stop NATO, November 5, 2009
4) NATO OKs Missile Defense Management Agency
Defense News, March 21, 2005
5) North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Active Layered Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence Programme Office
6) Ibid
7) Defense News, September 9, 2005
8) Agence France-Presse, November 16, 2005
9) U.S. Expands Global Missile Shield Into Middle East, Balkans
Stop NATO, September 11, 2009
10) North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Lisbon Summit Declaration
November 20, 2010
11) Global Security Newswire, January 20, 2011
12) Prompt Global Strike: World Military Superiority Without Nuclear
Weapons

Stop NATO, April 10, 2010
13) Russian Information Agency Novosti, January 22, 2011
14) Agence France-Presse, January 24, 2011
15) Russian Information Agency Novosti, January 26, 2011
16) RT, January 27, 2011
17) Ibid
18) Militarization Of Space: Threat Of Nuclear War On Earth
Stop NATO, June 18, 2009
19) U.S. Extends Missile Buildup From Poland And Taiwan To Persian Gulf
Stop NATO, February 3, 2010
***
Middle East Loses Trillions As U.S. Strikes Record Arms Deals
Stop NATO, September 2, 2010
20) RT, January 27, 2011
21) Russia rules out being NATO’s patsy on missile defense
Russian Information Agency Novosti, February 3, 2011
22) Defense News, April 5, 2010
23) Global Security.org
24) Washington Post, August 1, 2010
***
Europe And Beyond: U.S. Consolidates Global Missile Shield
Stop NATO, August 3, 2010
25) U.S. Department of State, December 1, 2010
26) North Atlantic Treaty Organization, January 27, 2011
27) Sofia News Agency, January 21, 2011
28) Global Security Newswire, January 19, 2011
29) Philadelphia Business Journal, January 28, 2011
30) Huntsville Times, January 29, 2011
31) MEADS International, January 31, 2011
32) NATO and ThalesRaytheonSystems sign contract for Theatre Missile
Defence extension
North Atlantic Treaty Organization, February 1, 2011
33) Defense News, February 3, 2011

Categories: Uncategorized

Egypt: Will U.S. And NATO Launch Second Suez Intervention?

February 2, 2011 11 comments

Stop NATO
February 2, 2011

Egypt: Will U.S. And NATO Launch Second Suez Intervention?
Rick Rozoff

On February 1 General James Mattis, commander of United States Central Command whose area of responsibility includes Egypt on its western end, stated that Washington currently has no plans to reinforce naval presence off the coast of that country, but added that in the event of the closure of the Suez Canal:

“Were it to happen obviously we would have to deal with it diplomatically, economically, militarily….”

After the canal was nationalized in 1956 by the government of Gamal Abdel Nasser, Egypt was attacked by Israel, Britain and France.

The day before Mattis’ statement the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise and its carrier strike group – consisting of a guided missile cruiser, three guided missile destroyers, a fast combat support ship and Carrier Air Wing One (which had been deployed for the Suez Crisis in 1956-1957) with fighter and surveillance aircraft and Seahawk helicopters – crossed through the Strait of Gibraltar from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea on its way to the Suez Canal. The warships are scheduled for operations in the Gulf of Aden off the coasts of Somalia and Yemen and in the Arabian Sea to support the war in Afghanistan.

In the words of the commander of the carrier strike group, the deployment “sends a strong signal that the Enterprise Strike Group has arrived to operate and integrate with our partners in the region.” [1]

U.S. and NATO warships regularly transit the canal for operations off the Horn of Africa and for the escalating war in South Asia.

With the expansion of protests in Egypt calling for the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, the prospect of the Suez Canal being closed would severely hamper Western military operations across the Arabian Sea from Somalia to Pakistan, the central locus of global naval deployments and warfighting in the 21st century. [2]

In addition to being a gateway for the passage of warships including carriers and their warplanes, the Suez Canal is a major transit point for oil emanating from the Persian Gulf to the Red Sea en route to the Mediterranean Sea for European consumption. “The waterway is the fastest crossing from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian Ocean. Should it close, tankers would have to sail around southern Africa. About 7.5% of world sea trade is carried via the canal today.”

“Energy industry analysts…view the intimidation factor posed by the U.S. military’s presence in the region as beneficial to Western corporate interests in case a new government in Cairo does indeed seek to block shipments of oil and other goods through the canal.” [3]

This week it was announced that several European oil companies, among them Norway’s Statoil, Royal Dutch Shell and British Petroleum, halted drilling in Egypt, closed down local offices and began evacuating the families of foreign workers as well as non-essential staff.

On January 31 U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates held phone conversations with his Egyptian and Israeli counterparts, defense ministers Mohamed Hussein Tantawi and Ehud Barak. Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell would not disclose the contents of the talks to the press.

President Barack Obama praised the U.S.-armed and -trained Egyptian armed forces for their “professionalism,” stating:

“I urge the military to help ensure this time of change is peaceful.”

Chief of the U.S. General Staff Admiral Michael Mullen spoke by phone with Egyptian chief of staff Lieutenant General Sami Enan on the same day, after the latter and the high-level military delegation he led hastily left Washington, D.C. ahead of the completion of scheduled week-long consultations at the Pentagon. The Internet is rife with speculation that Enan may be slated to head an interim government should President Mubarak be prevailed upon to exit the scene in the imminent future.

Afterward, Mullen affirmed:

“We’ve had a very strong relationship with the Egyptian military for decades. And as I look to the future, I certainly look to that to continue.

“I look forward to continuing to work with the Egyptian military. We look to a future that certainly, we hope, is stable, within Egypt as well as, obviously, in the region.” [4]

According to the Pentagon’s website: “Mullen stressed the importance of Egypt’s military as a stabilizing force. The United States military has had a close and continuing relationship with Egyptian officers and noncommissioned officers since the Camp David Accords in 1978, he noted.” [5]

In a recent article the Jewish Telegraph Agency reminded its readers that:

“The largely American-equipped and American-trained Egyptian army — by far the most powerful military in the Arab world — numbers around 650,000 men, with 60 combat brigades, 3500 tanks and 600 fighter planes. For Israel, the main strategic significance of the peace with Egypt is that it has been able to take the threat of full-scale war against its strongest foe out of the military equation.” [6]

In announcing the precipitate departure of the Egyptian military delegation from Washington, Marine General James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, confirmed that the visit had been curtailed because of domestic developments, stating the U.S. and its military allies “go through all sorts of contingencies.” [7]

Although the NATO website does not mention it, it is to be assumed that Enan’s top-level delegation attended the chiefs of defense and military representatives meeting at NATO Headquarters in Brussels on January 26 and 27, particularly the first day’s Mediterranean Dialogue session. The meetings included the top commanders and other military representatives of 66 nations – more than a third of all the countries in the world – and was presided over by Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola, Chairman of the bloc’s Military Committee. Other participants included NATO’s two Strategic Commanders, Admiral James Stavridis, Supreme Allied Commander Europe, and General Stephane Abrial, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, as well as the Chairman of the European Union’s Military Committee, General Hakan Syren.

Topics of deliberation included NATO’s two ongoing naval operations, Active Endeavor in the Mediterranean Sea and Ocean Shield in the Gulf of Aden.

The Alliance conclave also included a meeting of military representatives from NATO Mediterranean Dialogue partnership members Egypt, Israel, Algeria, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia, who “agreed on the further development of Cooperative Security core task as outlined in the new Strategic Concept” endorsed at last November’s summit in Portugal. [8]

Outgoing Israel Defense Forces [IDF] Chief of General Staff Lieutenant-General Gabi Ashkenazi, who is to step down from his post on February 14, was a guest of honor at the 66-nation NATO military meeting in Brussels. He addressed the assembled military chiefs and told them:

“Cooperation with NATO will continue to be of extreme importance for Israel, particularly in the face of countries that are trying to obtain nuclear and nonconventional weapons. NATO’s decision to develop a missile defense system demonstrates the worrisome reality that radical countries and maybe even terrorist groups are a clear and present danger, not just to the Middle East but also to Europe.” [9]

Delivering a speech at the Mediterranean Dialogue session, Ashkenazi stated:

“NATO currently faces the very same challenges [as Israel does at home] in Afghanistan, and its member countries encounter complex strategic, tactical and logistic issues in different arenas of war.”

He also thanked chairman of the NATO Military Committee Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola and his counterparts for their “friendship and partnership.” [10]

Ashkenazi was accompanied on his trip to NATO Headquarters by his wife, IDF spokesperson Brigadier General Avi Benayahu, head of the International Military Cooperation Department in the Planning Directorate Colonel Hani Caspi, Israeli Defense Attache to NATO Colonel Uri Halperin and Aide-de-Camp to the Chief of the General Staff Lieutenant Colonel Amos HaCohen.

As part of the conference “a ceremonial dinner [was] held at the home of the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola, where he…bid a farewell to Ashkenazi.” [11]

The Suez Canal is Israel’s nexus between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea and Europe. In July of 2009 Israeli “missile class warships sailed through the Suez Canal to the Red Sea ten days after a submarine capable of launching a nuclear missile strike” – a German-made Dolphin – had made the same journey in a move “apparently done in preparation for a possible attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.” [12]

The canal is also the choke point through which Caspian Sea oil and natural gas transported across the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum and Nabucco pipelines are projected to reach Israel in addition to plans to ship hydrocarbons to the Israeli Mediterranean port city of Ashkelon and from there by pipeline to the Red Sea port of Eilat where they can be shipped on tankers across the Indian Ocean to East Asia. [13]

The Suez Canal is also the convergence point of two of the six navy fleets the U.S. employs to patrol the world’s seas and oceans: The Sixth Fleet, headquartered in Italy, and the Fifth Fleet, based in Bahrain.

The Sixth Fleet’s area of responsibility encompasses the entire Mediterranean, since October of 2001 paralleled and reinforced by NATO’s Operation Active Endeavor, and the Fifth’s the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, the Persian Gulf and the eastern coast of Africa south to Kenya.

The Enterprise Carrier Strike Group headed to the Suez Canal will be attached to the Fifth Fleet when it arrives in the Red Sea on its way to the Indian Ocean.

Both fleets have several naval task forces assigned to them, including amphibious assault, battle force, carrier strike group, expeditionary combat, Marine Expeditionary Unit, maritime surveillance, naval interdiction, oil terminal protection (in Iraq), patrol and reconnaissance, sealift, special operations and submarine warfare groups.

The Fifth Fleet and Naval Forces Central Command are jointly in charge of Combined Task Forces 52, 150, 151, 152 and 158 in the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Somali Basin, and the Persian Gulf, which are U.S.-led multinational naval groups with the participation of NATO and Asia-Pacific military partners like Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand.

The Sixth Fleet at any given time has as many as forty ships, 175 aircraft and 21,000 personnel deployed in the Mediterranean.

The fleet overlaps with Naval Forces Europe as the Fifth Fleet does with Naval Forces Central Command. The commanders of the first two also hold NATO positions, with the commander of Naval Forces Europe serving as head of Allied Joint Force Command Naples and the commander of the Sixth Fleet as commander of Allied Joint Command Lisbon and of Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO.

As examined earlier, NATO’s Operation Active Endeavor also incorporates the entire Mediterranean Sea, including Egypt’s northern coast, and over the past nine years has contacted over 110,000 ships and boarded an estimated 160 “suspect” ships.

The now permanent operation is “enabling NATO to strengthen its relations with partner countries, especially those participating in the Alliance’s Mediterranean Dialogue.” [14]

By NATO’s account:

“In terms of energy alone, some 65 per cent of the oil and natural gas consumed in Western Europe pass through the Mediterranean each year, with major pipelines connecting Libya to Italy and Morocco to Spain. For this reason, NATO ships are systematically carrying out preparatory route surveys in ‘choke’ points as well as in important passages and harbours throughout the Mediterranean.

“What happens in practice is that merchant ships passing through the Eastern Mediterranean are hailed by patrolling NATO naval units and asked to identify themselves and their activity. This information is then reported to both NATO’s Allied Maritime Component Commander in Naples, Italy, and the NATO Shipping Centre in Northwood, the United Kingdom. If any­thing appears unusual or suspicious, a boarding team may enter the vessel to inspect documen­tation and cargo.”

“The increased NATO presence in the Mediterranean has also enhanced the Alliance’s security cooperation programme with seven countries in the wider Mediterranean region – Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia. This programme – the Mediterranean Dialogue – was set up in 1995 to contribute to regional security and stability and to achieve better mutual understanding between NATO and its Mediterranean Partners.

“The operation is under the overall command of Joint Forces Command (JFC), Naples, and is conducted from the Allied Maritime Component Command Naples, Italy (CC-Mar Naples) through a Task Force deployed in the Mediterranean. Occasionally, transiting ships and aircraft provide additional associated support to the operation.” [15]

Active Endeavor is one of eight components resulting from the U.S.-dominated alliance’s activation of its Article 5 collective military assistance provision after September 1, 2001.

At its 2004 summit in Istanbul, Turkey, NATO expanded the surveillance and interdiction mission as well as adopting the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative to elevate Mediterranean Dialogue partnerships with Egypt, Israel, Algeria, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia to the level of the Partnership for Peace program that graduated twelve Eastern European nations to full NATO membership from 1999-2009.

Last November Alliance Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper that NATO is ready to dispatch troops to the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, stating: “If a Middle East peace agreement is reached, an international military force will be needed to monitor and implement it.” [16] The same source revealed that “The North Atlantic Council – NATO’s most senior governing body – also announced it would launch bilateral relations (in contrast to collective ties) with Israel and the six Arab states that comprise the Mediterranean Dialogue.”

Israel is the only Middle Eastern nation not in Central Command’s area of responsibility (it is assigned to U.S. European Command) – as Egypt is the only African country not in U.S. Africa Command’s – and is all but officially NATO’s 29th member state. [17]

A few months before, Rasmussen visited Jordan and Bahrain to pressure the host countries to “contribute to alliance naval operations…in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Gulf of Aden,” Operation Active Endeavor and Operation Ocean Shield, respectively. [18]

In the previous month twelve warships attached to an enlarged Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) began what were identified as surge operations in the Eastern Mediterranean. “SNMG2 has been reinforced with additional ships which, along with submarine and air surveillance assets, will ensure sweeping coverage from Crete to the far-eastern reaches of the Mediterranean Sea.” That its operations are being augmented by Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft and submarines marks a dramatic escalation of NATO strength in the region. [19]

In the month before the naval buildup in the Eastern Mediterranean, five ships from the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 docked in Casablanca “to boost ties with Morocco.”

“A joint training session between NATO forces and the Moroccan navy is also planned, according to the Dutch commander of SNMG2, Michiel Hijmans, who will be in Casablanca for the Sept. 16-19 visit.

“SNMG2 regularly participates in the Active Endeavour Operation…in the Mediterranean.” [20]

After being feted at NATO Headquarters and at the home of the bloc’s Military Committee chairman last week, Israel’s Chief of General Staff Ashkenazi said that mounting demonstrations in Egypt “could force Israel to adapt to a new security reality in the Middle East.”

“The quiet is fragile and the security reality can easily change,” he said on the sidelines of a military exercise in the south of Israel. “It is enough to look at what is happening in Egypt to understand this.” [21]

Ashkenazi added that the Israel Defense Forces were maintaining a “watchful eye” on the Gaza Strip adjoining Egypt.

Shaul Mofaz, the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman and a former defense minister, “said that Israel would need to conduct a new strategic review due to the possibility of a regime change in Egypt.” [22]

In addition to U.S. Sixth Fleet, NATO and Israeli naval forces in the Eastern Mediterranean, NATO nations are also deployed there as part of the UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) Maritime Task Force, which since 2006 has run an effective blockade of Lebanon’s Mediterranean coast. Currently there are three German, one Greek, one Italian and one Turkish ship assigned to the mission. Other nations that have contributed to the interdiction operation include Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Turkey.

The Maritime Task Force (MTF) website states: “Since the start of its operations, the MTF has hailed around 28,000 ships and referred around 400 suspicious vessels to the Lebanese authorities for further inspection.”

As seen above, the Suez Canal is vital for the transit of Western aircraft carriers and other warships and for oil shipments.

Egypt is also important for the NATO nations of North America and Europe as part of their energy war against Russia aside from the Suez passageway.

The Suez-Mediterranean (SuMed) oil pipeline runs from the Ain Sukhna terminal on the Gulf of Suez (leading to the canal) at the northern end of the Red Sea to Sidi Kerir on the Mediterranean. The 200-mile pipeline provides an alternative to the Suez Canal for transporting Persian Gulf oil to the Mediterranean Sea, and there are currently plans to extend it across the Red Sea from Ain Sukhna to the terminal of Saudi Arabia’s 745-mile East-West Crude Oil Pipeline (Petroline) in Yanbu in the west of the kingdom.

On January 28 Egyptian troops were deployed to the SuMed pipeline.

In May of 2009 the European Union held a conference entitled Southern Corridor – New Silk Road in the Czech capital of Prague in order “to help reduce Europe’s heavy dependence on Russia.” [23]

Centering on the Nabucco natural gas and other pipelines to bring Caspian Sea hydrocarbons to Europe in opposition to Russian projects, participating non-EU countries included Egypt and Iraq in addition to Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Georgia and Turkey.

The conference promoted “three gas projects, all bypassing Russia. It [discussed] the 10 billion euro Nabucco project, which by 2013 is to link the Caspian Sea region, Middle East and Egypt to the EU via Turkey. The others are the Inter-Connector pipeline linking Turkey to Italy via Greece, and the White Stream, which would run from Georgia to Romania across the Black Sea.”

“The leaders of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Egypt and Iraq [and] the EU [pushed] for a broad commitment on the expansion of a web of half a dozen east-west gas pipelines spanning thousands of miles (kilometers)” with “stable gas deliveries that bypass Russia.” [24]

Egypt is too strategically important to the U.S. and its European and Israeli allies to permit its citizens to exercise control over the nation’s military and energy policies, over what passes through the Suez Canal. Before that will be permitted to occur, the threats of a military takeover and intervention loom over the nation.

1) Navy NewsStand, February 1, 2011
2) Arabian Sea: Center Of West’s 21st Century War
Stop NATO, October 25, 2010
https://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2010/10/25/arabian-sea-center-of-wests-21st-century-war
3) Egypt’s Suez Canal and the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet
Press Action, January 31, 2011
4) Department of Defense, January 31, 2011
5) Ibid
6) Jewish Telegraph Agency, February 1, 2011
7) CNN, January 28, 2011
8) North Atlantic Treaty Organization, January 27, 2011
9) Jerusalem Post, January 26, 2011
10) Israel Defense Forces, January 26, 2011
11) Arutz Sheva, January 27, 2011
12) Report: Warships in Suez prepare for Iran attack
Ynetnews, July 16, 2009
13) Azerbaijan And The Caspian: NATO’s War For The World’s Heartland
Stop NATO, June 10, 2009
https://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2009/08/31/azerbaijan-and-the-caspian-natos-war-for-the-worlds-heartland
14) North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Operation Active Endeavor
http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/topics_7932.htm
15) Ibid
16) Ha’aretz, November 21, 2010
17) Israel: Global NATO’s 29th Member
Stop NATO, January 17, 2010
https://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2010/01/17/israel-global-natos-29th-member
18) Deutsche Presse-Agentur, March 9, 2010
19) North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations
November 12, 2010
20) Agence France-Presse, September 14, 2010
21) Jerusalem Post, February 1, 2011
22) Ibid
23) Azeri Press Agency, May 8, 2009
24) Robert Wielaard, EU Seeks to Enroll Caucasus Neighbors, Egypt and Iraq
into Energy Deal Bypassing Russia
Los Angeles Times, May 7, 2009

Categories: Uncategorized