Home > Uncategorized > Stop NATO News February 25, 2011

Stop NATO News February 25, 2011



1. NATO Chief Convenes Emergency Meeting Of North Atlantic Council On Libya

2. Russia: U.S. Attempt To Interfere In Kurils Dispute Unacceptable

3. Cypriot President Vows To Veto NATO Partnership Decision

4. Moldova: “Twitter Revolution” Defense Minister Says NATO Gateway To European Union

5. Bulgaria’s Passy Invokes “R2P” For NATO Libya Intervention

6. Russian Prime Ministers Putin Warns West Against Whipping Up Middle East “Democracic Processes”

7. Bahraini Deputy: Arab Turmoil Is Implementation Of U.S. Greater/Broader/New Mideast Project/Initiative

8. Senior State Department Official, Georgia’s Saakashvili Talk “Security”

9. Yugoslav Army “Reunited” For NATO’s Afghan War

10. U.S. Drone Strikes Kill At Least Seven In Pakistan

11. U.S. Ship In Africa Partnership Station Visit To Tanzania, Several Other Visits To Follow

12. NATO Recruits Ukraine For U.S.-Led European Missile Shield

13. After Ivory Coast, AFRICOM Readies African Standby Force For Central African Interventions

14. Ivory Coast: Western-Backed Ouattara’s Forces Launch Armed Attacks In Commercial Capital

15. Strategic Partners: State Department Hails Azerbaijani Troop Deployment In Afghanistan

16. NATO Behind Azerbaijan’s Threat Of New Caucasus War: Expert

17. Western Policy Makers Discuss NATO Intervention In Libya

18. NATO Refuses To Extradite Turkish Officers Charged In Coup Plot

19. NATO Chief Seeks Ukrainian Military Instructors For Afghanistan

20. Report: NATO Prepares For Air Strikes Against Libya From

21. Ukraine Ready To Introduce NATO Standards For Armed Forces

22. Argentina Halts Training Of Military In U.S. After Contraband Case

23. Oman: U.S. And Pakistani Military Chiefs And CENTCOM And NATO Commanders Meet

24. Pentagon Tests Missile Interception Laser

25. White House Pushing F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Sales Worldwide


1. NATO Chief Convenes Emergency Meeting Of North Atlantic Council On Libya


North Atlantic Treaty Organization
February 25, 2011

NATO Secretary General convenes emergency meeting of the North Atlantic Council

During a visit to Budapest, the NATO Secretary General made the following statement:

What is happening in Libya is of great concern to all of us. It’s a crisis in our immediate neighbourhood. It affects the lives and safety of Libyan civilians and those of thousands of citizens from NATO member states. Many countries are now evacuating their citizens from Libya – clearly, a massive challenges.

I can tell you that I have convened an emergency meeting of the NATO council this afternoon to consult on the fast-moving situation. I will return to Brussels in a few hours. Before I do so, I will meet with EU Defence Ministers and discuss with them how we, in a pragmatic way, can help those in need and limit the consequences of these events.

Q (Reuters): What kind of possible action can NATO consider to help resolve this crisis?

NATO Secretary General: I will not go into specifics at this time, but clearly priority must be given to evacuation and possibly, also, humanitarian assistance.

Q (Reuters): What kind of capabilities does NATO have to deploy and how quickly can they deploy these capabilities, if the need arises?

NATO Secretary General: I think, again, it’s a bit pre-mature to go into
specifics, but it’s well known that NATO has assets that can be used in a situation like this and NATO can act as an enabler and coordinator, if and when, individual member states want to take action.


2. Russia: U.S. Attempt To Interfere In Kurils Dispute Unacceptable


Russian Information Agency Novosti
February 24, 2011

Russia says U.S. meddling in Kuril dispute ‘unacceptable’

Mowcow: Washington’s attempts to interfere in a dispute between Russia and Japan over the Kuril Islands are “unacceptable,” the Russian Foreign Ministry’s official spokesman said on Thursday.

The Russian Foreign Ministry on Monday summoned U.S. ambassador to Moscow John Beyrle to express concern over the U.S. statements in support of Japan’s territorial claims on the islands amid Tokyo’s recent tough rhetoric.

“We consider it totally unacceptable to attempt to meddle in this matter, which is bilateral,” Alexander Lukashevich said, adding such action did not contribute to finding a “constructive solution” to such a sensitive problem.

Japan’s continued claim over four South Kuril Islands has prevented Moscow and Tokyo from signing a formal peace treaty to end World War II hostilities. Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai, known in Japan as the Northern Territories, lie at the end of a chain stretching from Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula to the Japanese island of Hokkaido.

Tensions escalated in November last year when Russian President Dmitry Medvedev visited one of the disputed islands, an act Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan criticized as “inexcusable rudeness.”


3. Cypriot President Vows To Veto NATO Partnership Decision


Associated Press
February 24, 2011

Cyprus president to veto House vote urging membership of NATO program

NICOSIA, Cyprus: Cyprus’ legislature on Thursday voted to join NATO’s Partnership for Peace program, but the island’s president said he will veto the decision.

Government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said in a written statement that membership of the program is not in line with President Dimitris Christofias’ vow to achieve a peace deal with breakaway Turkish Cypriots that would demilitarize the island.

Cyprus was split into a Greek Cypriot south and a Turkish Cypriot north in 1974 when Turkey invaded in response to a coup by supporters of a union with Greece. The island is a member of the European Union, but only the internationally recognized south enjoys membership benefits.
A total of 32 lawmakers voted for membership Thursday, while 17 voted against — all from the government’s main coalition partner, the communist-rooted AKEL, which Christofias led for 20 years until 2008.

Stefanou said that the vote was in breach of the Cypriot constitution because it infringed on the president’s executive authority to conduct foreign policy.
Christofias…had also rebuffed a 2009 House vote that urged him to swiftly apply for Partnership for Peace membership.

NATO created the program in 1994 to boost ties with non-alliance member countries in Europe and the former Soviet Union. Twenty-two countries have joined the program, including Russia and Serbia.


4. Moldova: “Twitter Revolution” DM Says NATO Gateway To EU


Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
February 24, 2011

Moldovan Defense Minister: NATO Membership Key For Joining EU

-As a rule, Marinuta said, countries join NATO first and then the European Union. He suggested that “perhaps the EU will adopt a different aproach with regard to Moldova, although I do not think it will.”

Moldovan Defense Minister Valeriu Marinuta says joining NATO is crucial to gaining European Union membership, and belonging to the Atlantic alliance is no longer a taboo subject in his country, RFE/RL’s Moldovan Service reports.

Marinuta told RFE/RL in an interview on February 23 that NATO is a security organization that is able to take part in conflict resolution and “peace enforcement” operations. He said the alliance is “no longer something to be afraid of.”

At the same time, Marinuta points out that Moldova’s neutral status is enshrined in the constitution and precludes joining a military bloc. For that reason, he explained, for the past decade neutrality and NATO have been taboo subjects in Moldova, with an estimated 60 percent of the population supporting European integration, but only 25 percent in favor of joining NATO.

Marinuta said the people of Moldova should decide whether or not to “preserve our neutral status.”

As a rule, Marinuta said, countries join NATO first and then the European Union. He suggested that “perhaps the EU will adopt a different aproach with regard to Moldova, although I do not think it will.”


5. Bulgaria’s Passy Invokes “R2P” For NATO Libya Intervention


Sofia News Agency
February 24, 2011

Bulgarian Ex Top Diplomat: NATO, EU Have Responsibility to Protect in Libya

[Passy is the founder and current CEO of the pro-NATO Atlantic Club of Bulgaria.
“As an MP in August 1990, Passy drafted a bill for Bulgaria’s withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact and accession to NATO, which was the start of the nations’ efforts to join the Alliance.” Wikipedia]

-One UN commentator suggests that this is the first time that R2P has been mentioned in a formal Security Council statement in reference to an ongoing crisis.
-An Israeli news service today reported that NATO may attack Libya if the violence continues. Citing an interview in the London-based pan-Arab daily newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi with an unnamed European official, it was suggested that NATO and US warplanes stationed in Italy might be ordered to take down Libyan planes.
-No-fly zones have been imposed previously: on Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in 1991 and Bosnia in 1993-95. The latter, Operation Deny Flight, was a NATO mission to enforce a UN-sanctioned no fly zone, which was later expanded to include close air support for UN troops in Bosnia and to carry out coercive air strikes.

Former Bulgarian Foreign Minister Solomon Passy has been cited by NATO Watch as one of the leading international voices urging NATO and the EU to take measures to guarantee peace, security, and human rights in Libya.

In an article entitled “Responsibility to Protect in Libya: Calls for Intervention Intensify”, NATO Watch stresses that calls by civil society to halt mass atrocities in Libya, where the regime of dictator Muammar Gaddafi faces a popular uprising, have been on the rise.

Dr Solomon Passy, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria in 2001-2005 and President of the Atlantic Club in Sofia, has suggested that NATO undertake responsibility for security in Northern Africa.

He also called for the EU to provide immediate guarantees for the evacuation and humanitarian situation in the region and the OSCE to offer support for securing free and fair elections in the post-revolutionary period.

“For all these a UNSC Resolution will be very helpful, but at the end of the day it is not a firm prerequisite for clear actions on behalf of NATO/EU to guarantee peace, security and human rights”, he said.

NATO Watch recalls that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated on 21 February that he was shocked and disturbed by accounts that Libyan authorities fired on demonstrators….

The list of prominent international figures urging a NATO role in securing stability in North Africa includes former UK Foreign Secretary David Owen, the first British politician to back the call for a no-fly zone, and suggested that it be enforced by NATO. In a subsequent interview on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he added that the west should be concerned about the possibility that Gaddafi would unleash chemical or biological weapons.

NATO Watch further reiterates that the “UN Security Council (in a press statement) and the Special Advisors on the Prevention of Genocide and R2P (in a press release), have reminded Libya of its responsibility to protect its population and called for an immediate end to the violence. One UN commentator suggests that this is the first time that R2P has been mentioned in a formal Security Council statement in reference to an ongoing crisis. Civil society groups all around the world have also started calling on the UN, European Union, African Union and other world leaders to meet their R2P obligation to the Libyan people. NGO recommendations include imposing sanctions on key regime members and an arms embargo; establishing a no fly zone over the entire country and establishing a commission of enquiry; and if necessary referral to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

The French Prime Minister Nicolas Sarkozy has called for sanctions to be imposed and is leading the calls for a NATO-imposed no-fly zone to be enforced over Libya to “prevent the use of that country’s warplanes against [its] population”….

An Israeli news service today reported that NATO may attack Libya if the violence continues. Citing an interview in the London-based pan-Arab daily newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi with an unnamed European official, it was suggested that NATO and US warplanes stationed in Italy might be ordered to take down Libyan planes.

However, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said (in an interview on 22 February) the United States had not discussed the unfolding crisis in Libya with its NATO partners, and he believed that the United States could not quickly enforce a no-fly zone. He suggested that others rather than the United States might be in a better position to establish a no fly zone: “The French – I don’t know what the British have in the area – but the French and the Italians potentially, I suppose, could have some assets they could put in there quicker”. These comments are somewhat disingenuous given that US fighter jets are based in Sicily and on Mediterranean aircraft carriers.

No-fly zones have been imposed previously: on Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in 1991 and Bosnia in 1993-95. The latter, Operation Deny Flight, was a NATO mission to enforce a UN-sanctioned no fly zone, which was later expanded to include close air support for UN troops in Bosnia and to carry out coercive air strikes….

[R]eports suggest that Russia and China would likely veto a no-fly zone at the UN Security Council, leaving the international community weakened….


6. Russia’s Putin Warns West Against Whipping Up Mideast “Democracy”


Russian Information Agency Novosti
February 24, 2011

Putin warns against whipping up democratic processes

-Asked by European media whether he felt any concern about events in the Middle East and their possible “echo” in the North Caucasus, Putin replied in the affirmative, but added that the impact of those shocks would be felt not only in the North Caucasus, but in all countries, including those in Europe.

BRUSSELS: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has warned Moscow’s partners in the West against attempts at whipping up democratic processes in other countries in connection with the ongoing events in North Africa. He was speaking at a joint news conference with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, devoted to the results of the full-scale meeting of the Russian government and the EU Commission.

Asked by European media whether he felt any concern about events in the Middle East and their possible “echo” in the North Caucasus, Putin replied in the affirmative, but added that the impact of those shocks would be felt not only in the North Caucasus, but in all countries, including those in Europe.

“We are concerned, firstly, about the number of casualties in the events in North Africa. We are concerned about that despite the soothing claims a rise to power or growth in the influence of radical groups in northern Africa are unlikely.”

“And if that really happens, it cannot but affect other parts of the world, including, of course, the North Caucasus,” he said.

“As you may know,” continued Putin, “today we express concern about what is happening in Libya. Please, to take note of the fact that the North African cell of al-Qaeda, too, is concerned about what is happening in Libya. Is that just a coincidence?”

Having made this historical allusion, Putin recalled that the former leader of the Iranian revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini, before his return to Tehran and the overthrow of the Shah’s regime had lived in Paris, and the Western policy of “inoculation of democracy” in the Palestinian territories caused bloody conflicts and brought to power Hamas, very unpleasant for many in the West.

“The people are to be allowed to decide their own fate and their own future,” he said. ”We must give them an opportunity to build their own destiny in a natural way without any interference from outside.”

“Society must move toward democratic institutions, toward self-regulation, towards its own system, with reliance on the internal processes of development,” underlined the prime minister.


7. Bahraini MP: Arab Turmoil U.S. Greater/Broader/New Mideast Plot


Russian Information Agency Novosti
February 24, 2011

Bahrain lawmaker accuses U.S. of being behind Arab revolutions

-“These riots and revolutions we are observing today in Arab countries are the implementation of the global U.S. project entitled ‘New Middle East.’ This program started with Iraq [2003], followed by Lebanon [2005].”

Manama: The popular unrest in Arab countries that led to the fall of regimes in Tunisia and Egypt is part of a U.S.-designed strategic project dubbed “New Middle East,” a Bahraini deputy said Thursday.

The term “New Middle East” was introduced in 2006 by then U.S. Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice. Analysts say the project defines Washington’s policy on a vast territory including the Arab countries and Central Asian states.

“These riots and revolutions we are observing today in Arab countries are the implementation of the global U.S. project entitled ‘New Middle East.’ This program started with Iraq, followed by Lebanon,” Bahraini deputy and journalist Samira Rajab told RIA Novosti.

“A new stage of its implementation that will take at least a decade started from 2011,” she said, adding that the U.S. strategy in the region is aimed at weakening the ruling regimes and introducing opposition groups into their governments.

A wave of unrest, which has already toppled authoritarian regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, is sweeping through the Muslim world, stoking mass popular uprisings in Libya, Bahrain and Yemen.


8. Senior State Dept Official, Georgia’s Saakashvili Talk “Security”


February 24, 2011

Senior U.S. official, Georgia leader discuss security

TBILISI: Georgia’s security was the main subject at a meeting between U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg and Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, U.S. Ambassador to Georgia John Bass said on Thursday.

At the meeting, held during a one-day visit by Steinberg to Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, the deputy secretary reiterated that his country supports Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and promised that the U.S. would back democratic developments in Georgia, Bass told reporters.

The ambassador also praised a meeting between Steinberg and Georgian civil society figures. The meeting involved an intensive exchange of opinions, according to Bass.


9. Yugoslav Army “Reunited” For NATO’s Afghan War


Xinhua News Agency
February 24, 2011

Common Yugoslav army “reunited” in Afghanistan

BELGRADE: After having torn apart their common former homeland during the bloody wars of secession during the 1990s, the armies of the former republics of Yugoslavia — at least most of them — are being united again as part of an international peacekeeping unit, reported Radio Sarajevo on Thursday.

Meeting in the Montenegrin capital of Podgorica, military experts from the U.S.-Adriatic Charter discussed the prospect of soldiers from Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia, along with Albania, forming a joint unit of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. The unit’s tentative name is “Balkan,” which was reportedly first proposed by the U.S. military.

During previous meetings among the ministries of defense and foreign affairs of these countries, the option of sending a joint regional team of trainers and advisors for the training of the Afghan army had been approved.

Deputy Chief of General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces, Rear Admiral Zdenko Simicic, said the initiative is based on regional cooperation among Western Balkan member states.

“We expect the training school for Afghan military police to be in full operational use in two years,” said Simicic.


10. U.S. Drone Strikes Kill At Least Seven In Pakistan


RTT News
February 24, 2011

Suspected US Drone Strikes Kill At Least 7 In Pakistan

As many as seven people have been killed in two attacks by US pilotless aircraft in Pakistan’s volatile north-western tribal regions bordering Afghanistan, reports said on Thursday.

An unnamed security official told media that three missiles were fired at a residential compound in Dattakhel Mohammedkhel area near Miranshah in North Waziristan. Five people died in the attack which completely demolished the house.

However, he said the identity of those killed could not be ascertained as the site of the incident was agog with preparations for burying the dead.

According to another official, who too requested anonymity, two people were killed when a missile strike from another drone hit a vehicle proceeding towards the house that was targeted earlier.

The US had lately suspended attacks by drone aircraft in order to contain a possible backlash following the killing of two men in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore by an American embassy staff….


11. U.S. Ship In Africa Partnership Station Visit To Tanzania


U.S. Africa Command
U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa
February 22, 2011

USS Stephen W. Groves Begins APS East in Tanzania

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania: USS Stephen W. Groves (FFG 29) sailors and embarked APS staff begins its Africa Partnership Station (APS) East deployment in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, February 22, 2011.

The first phase of this year’s APS East deployment will involve naval personnel from more than seven countries and provide training on topics including basic seamanship, medical procedures, shipboard maintenance and maritime security.

APS East commodore, Captain James E. Tranoris, said the APS stop in Tanzania is a chance to get things started on the right foot.

“Tanzania is a wonderful country and has displayed true partnership in the APS endeavor,” said Tranoris. “Their commitment of time and manpower to APS shows a much deeper commitment to the maritime safety and security of the entire region. We are excited to be here and look forward to a productive two weeks of training and cooperation.”

The visit will also mark the graduation of 12 embarked Ugandan, Tanzanian and Kenyan ship riders from an at-sea training course aboard Stephen W. Groves consisting of training in watch Standing; visit, board, search and seizure; and physical security among other topics.
Stephen W. Groves is scheduled to visit Cape Verde, Kenya, Mauritius, Senegal, and Seychelles during the next four months. During these visits, the ship will embark African students in order to conduct professional exchanges in many areas including seamanship, maritime law enforcement, medical readiness, oil spill management, non-commissioned officer development and navigation….
APS is an international security cooperation initiative, facilitated by Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, aimed at strengthening global maritime partnerships….


12. NATO Recruits Ukraine For European Missile Shield


February 24, 2011

NATO secretary general told of Ukraine’s willingness to participate in missile defense system

Ukraine has said it is interested in cooperating with NATO in the formation of the missile defense system, the alliance’s head has announced.

“This morning, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister and I discussed our cooperation in building a missile defense system, and I have taken into consideration that Ukraine is interested in such cooperation,” NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said after the talks with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kostiantyn Hryschenko in Kyiv on Thursday.

Rasmussen also said that the sides had discussed the possibility of arranging a meeting of their experts to analyze ways for Ukraine to contribute to the project.

Russia has been invited to discussions on a missile defense system for Europe as well, the NATO chief said.

February 24, 2011

President says he hopes for deeper cooperation between Ukraine, NATO

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has met with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in Kyiv.

President Yanukovych said he hoped that this visit and the talks would help to intensify practical cooperation between Ukraine and NATO, the presidential press service reported.

“I am grateful that you have come. I really appreciate our relationship – both personal and certainly the level of relations – understanding and mutual respect that exists between Ukraine and NATO,” the president said.

In turn, the NATO secretary general thanked his hosts for the warm welcome he had received in Ukraine and wished the head of state success in his reform efforts.


13. After Ivory Coast, AFRICOM Readies ASF For Central African Role


U.S. Africa Command
U.S. Army Africa
February 24, 2011

Exercise Kwanza Review in Kinshasa Focuses on African Standby Force
U.S. Army Africa Public Affairs

-[T]he Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) — an organization like ECCAS — diplomatically responded recently — and could militarily respond — to the electoral crisis in the West African country of Cote d’Ivoire. The ECCAS could respond to a crisis in its area of responsibility composed of Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Republic of Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sao Tome and Principe and Chad.

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of the Congo: In his “Commander’s Intent 2011” message, one of U.S. Army General William E. “Kip” Ward’s key approaches was that, “… [U.S. Africa Command] will continue to support the African Union (AU) to include strengthening the capabilities and interoperability of the African Standby Force (ASF) and its sub-regional elements.”

To forward that goal, Major George K. Allen Jr. of U.S. Army Africa and Lieutenant Jonathan Goerk of U.S. Naval Forces Africa traveled to Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo in October 2010, to participate in the Conference Bilan et Retour d’experience de L’exercice Kwanza 2010 or Exercise Kwanza After Action Review (AAR).

Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) held the exercise in order to validate Central African Multinational Force (CAMF) to AU standards. The force is one of five brigade-size elements that make up the AU’s ASF–created to respond to crises on the African continent.

Allen and Goerk sat alongside their ECCAS counterparts to gain a better understanding of how CAMF performed during Exercise Kwanza in Cabo Ledo, Angola, from May 22 to June 5, 2010. The observers’ participation in the Exercise Kwanza AAR follows their observation of the exercise this summer.
According to Allen, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) — an organization like ECCAS — diplomatically responded recently — and could militarily respond — to the electoral crisis in the West African country of Cote d’Ivorie. The ECCAS could respond to a crisis in its area of responsibility composed of Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Republic of Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sao Tome and Principe and Chad.

“ECCAS and CAMF are professional and ready to go,” Goerk said. “Exercise Kwanza proved that as an armed force, CAMF can work with diplomats, gendarmerie, and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) on the both the sea and ground.”
“In working with CAMF and the other regional standby forces, AFRICOM and USARAF could easily incorporate civilians and NGOs into our military exercise play and operations,” Allen said. “Joint, Interagency, Intergovernmental, and Multinational (JIIM) personnel are already part of their formations. It is a win-win proposition.”


14. Ivory Coast: Western-Backed Ouattara Launches Armed Attacks


Voice of Russia
February 25, 2011

President Ouattara’s supporters go to war

In the Côte d’Ivoire, the Ivory Coast, the opposition has launched an armed struggle against the army being run by the current government.

The former rebels and the political leader who was the winner of the 2010 presidential election Alassane Ouattara, again took up arms and formed fighting units.

The units are attacking army troops and police as part of their attempts to use the force of arms to overthrow President Laurent Gbagbo.

There have been about 80 soldiers and policemen killed since the fighting began.

In the city of Abidjan, supporters of Ouattara invaded several neighborhoods in the north, south and west of the city.

The oppositionists have formed small mobile armed groups calling themselves “invisible commandos.

The groups carry out rapid-fire attacks and then disappear into the woods or disguise themselves as civilians and disappear into the crowds.


15. Strategic Partners: State Dept Hails Azeri Troops In Afghanistan


Azeri Press Agency
February 24, 2011

US First Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg: “Azerbaijan and the United States have strong strategic partnership and we intend to develop this partnership”
Victoria Dementieva

Baku: “I am pleased with my visit to Baku again”, US First Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg told journalists on his arrival to Azerbaijan, APA reports.

He said his country attached great importance to its relations with Azerbaijan: “The United States attaches great importance to its relations with Azerbaijan and intends to develop this relationship. There is a strong strategic partnership between Azerbaijan and the United States. We intend to develop and deepen this partnership”.

James Steinberg noted that US supports Azerbaijan’s participation in NATO peacekeeping operations in Afghanistan.

The Deputy Secretary of State said he would meet with the President of Azerbaijan and representatives of the civil society and discuss regional and bilateral relations during the meetings.


16. NATO Behind Azerbaijan’s Threat Of New Caucasus War: Expert


February 15, 2011

NATO stands behind recent Karabakh-related threats of Azerbaijan, Russian expert believes

NATO stands behind the recent Karabakh-related threats of Azerbaijan, according to the head of the CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States] Institute.

As the political expert Mikhail Alexandrov stated, double standards are used in regards to the Karabakh conflict settlement, with Russia having to maneuver between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

“The position of the West on the proven fact of the Armenian genocide in Karabakh is unclear, as well as putting democratic regimes in Armenia and NKR [Nagorno Karabakh Republic] on the same level with authoritarian power in Azerbaijan,” the expert notes.

According to Alexandrov, Azeri threats are a way to pressure Armenia, the West being the first to benefit from delays in a conflict settlement. “The losing party is the one that should make concessions. Azerbaijan, the losing party, is attempting to force Armenia into concessions. And the West, specifically NATO, are behind this,” Alexandrov stressed.

The expert is confident that the Alliance needs Azerbaijan as a corridor to the Caspian Sea region, using Karabakh as leverage for pressure on Azerbaijan, Argumenty i Fakty newspaper reports.


17. Western Policy Makers Discuss NATO Intervention In Libya


CNN News
February 24, 2011

Analysts: More Libyan bloodshed could prompt U.S., NATO intervention
By Michael Martinez

[Nicholas Burns, cited below, was U.S. permanent representative to NATO from 2001-2005.]

If the U.S. military were to intervene in an increasingly chaotic Libya, it would most likely be part of a NATO action in which Libyan bloodshed has reached a humanitarian crisis, analysts said Thursday.
Military intervention “is something which I hope doesn’t happen, but it looks as though at some point that it should happen,” said Simon Henderson, senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
“You’ve got to assume the worst about Moammar Gadhafi,” Nicholas Burns, a professor at Harvard Kennedy School and former under secretary of state between 2005 and 2008, told CNN. “With his back to the wall, he’s going to go out in a blaze of vicious attacks.”

North Atlantic Treaty Organization defense chiefs ought to be holding discussions about “not taking action but preparation” for the Libyan crisis, said Robert Kagan, a Mideast expert who worked in the State Department under President Ronald Reagan.
In separate phone conversations with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and British Prime Minister David Cameron, Obama “expressed his deep concern with the Libyan government’s use of violence, which violates international norms and every standard of human decency, and discussed appropriate and effective ways for the international community to immediately respond,” the White House statement said.
Were NATO to send armed forces into Libya, the rest of the Arab world wouldn’t protest much, the analysts said.


18. NATO Refuses To Extradite Turkish Officers Charged In Coup Plot


Hurriyet Daily News
February 24, 2011

NATO delays returning Turkish officers to face coup plot case

ISTANBUL: Three Turkish officers stationed abroad will not return home to face trial for involvement in an alleged coup plot until NATO evaluates the matter or they stand down from their positions, according to reports.

The three suspects in the “Balyoz” (Sledgehammer) case are on duty at NATO bases and have not been able to return to Turkey despite being the subject of arrest warrants, daily Vatan reported Thursday.

Gen. Hakan Akkoç, who is stationed at a NATO base in Belgium, will remain at his position until NATO evaluates the matter. Col. Mehmet Alper Şengezer and Lt. Col. Nedim Ulusan, on duty in Italy and Croatia, respectively, could return to Turkey to turn themselves in after they turn over their positions to their successors.

Sledgehammer is an alleged military coup plot against the leading Justice and Development Party, or AKP, drafted in 2003. According to the allegations, the military planned drastic measures to foment unrest in the country in order to remove the party from power.


19. NATO Chief Seeks Ukrainian Military Instructors For Afghanistan


Russian Information Agency Novosti
February 24, 2011

NATO asks Ukraine to send military instructors to Afghanistan

Kiev: NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Thursday the alliance has asked Ukraine to consider allocating military instructors to help train Afghan security forces.

The NATO chief arrived on a visit to Ukraine on Thursday. He is expected to meet with President Viktor Yanukovych, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and other senior officials.

Rasmussen told Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Hryshchenko that the alliance’s training mission in Afghanistan was short of staff.
Ahead of the visit, Rasmussen said NATO plans to step up cooperation with Ukraine to tackle common problems.


20. Report: NATO Prepares For Air Strikes Against Libya


The Temasek Review (Singapore)
February 25, 2011

NATO in preparation for strikes on Libya

NATO is preparing a possible strike on Libya if the Libyian Government continue to bomb protesters.

A NATO official who spoke to the Al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper in London said that U.S. and NATO planes stationed in southern Italy have been preparing for the mission since Thursday morning.
On Wednesday night, U.S. President Barack H. Obama said that the suffering and bloodshed in Libya “is outrageous and it is unacceptable”, adding that a NATO attack on Libya was a possibility.


21. Ukraine Ready To Introduce NATO Standards For Armed Forces


February 24, 2011

Azarov: Ukraine ready to introduce NATO standards

Ukraine is ready to introduce NATO’s technological standards, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov has said.

“Your standards suit us… We are ready to introduce them in our country,” he said at a meeting with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the press service of the Ukrainian government told Interfax-Ukraine.

Azarov also said that the country’s servicemen were ready to cooperate with NATO and other international organizations in combating terrorism.


22. Argentina Halts Training Of Military In U.S. After Contraband Case


Agence France-Presse
February 23, 2011

Argentina halts US military training amid cargo spat Thursday, 24 February

BUENOS AIRES: Argentina is suspending its participation in foreign military training in the wake of a diplomatic row over its seizure of materials from a US military plane, a top official has said.

Argentine Security Minister Nilda Garre told the Pagina12 newspaper that the government would not approve commissions abroad through 2011 that included “courses or seminars in which the instructors are military personnel.”

The move could further heighten tensions following Argentine customs officials’ seizure of what they said was sensitive “hidden material in an official shipment” during a search of a US Air Force C-17 transport plane.

The plane had arrived earlier this month in Buenos Aires with experts and material for a hostage rescue training exercise.

Argentine authorities said the cargo contained undocumented weapons and drugs, including morphine.
Garre told the Tiempo Argentino newspaper that the government was concerned about courses given by foreign military trainers because “the armed forces cannot have any involvement in internal security issues.”

It would be “illogical for armed forces in another country to be training Argentine security forces,” she added.

Earlier this week, Argentina accused the United States of being uncooperative with a probe into the incident….


23. Oman: U.S., Pakistani Military Chiefs, CENTCOM, NATO Cmdrs Meet


U.S. Department of Defense
February 24, 2011

Mullen, Mattis Meet With Omani Counterparts
By Donna Miles

MUSCAT, Oman: Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mattis, commander of U.S. Central Command, met here today with their Omani counterparts to discuss defense matters of mutual concern, Mullen’s spokesman reported.

Mullen, the top U.S. military officer, and Mattis participated in talks aimed at…enhancing friendly relations between the United States and Oman, Navy Capt. John Kirby said.

Also while in Oman, Mullen and his top commanders responsible for carrying out the Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy met yesterday with Pakistani Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani to discuss regional security issues and explore new ways to better coordinate military operations.

Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan; and Navy Adm. Eric Olson, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, also participated in that day-long session, officials confirmed.

Mullen’s visit to Oman occurred less than three months after Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates’ visit in December.

Gates met with Sultan Qaboos bin Said, Oman’s monarch for the past 40 years. A senior defense official traveling with Gates during that trip said the sultan is widely respected in the Gulf region and has been active in seeking a diplomatic solution to issues in Iran that are causing concern among neighbors and other nations.

Oman sits at a highly strategic position in Southwest Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman and Persian Gulf between Yemen and United Arab Emirates. Iran lies to its north, across the Gulf of Oman.

The chairman’s visit to Oman is the fourth stop in his week-long trip through the Middle East during regional unrest and what he called “a time of enormous change.” Before arriving in Muscat, the chairman visited Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to confer with regional leaders. At each stop, he reported concern deep concern about unrest, particularly violence in Libya.

Mullen called Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi’s crackdown on demonstrators there “unacceptable” and reiterated his call for local leaders to step forward and resolve differences peacefully.

Tumult in Libya and elsewhere in the region was expected to be a major agenda item as Mullen and Mattis, the commander responsible for U.S. military activity and engagement in the Middle East, Southwest Asia and Central Asia, met with Omani leaders here.


24. Pentagon Tests Missile Interception Laser


Global Security Newswire
February 23, 2011

Potential Missile Defense Laser Tested

A U.S. Energy Department laboratory in Virginia last week conducted its highest-power test yet of an advanced laser the Navy might eventually tap as missile defense technology, the Newport News Daily Press reported (see GSN, Feb. 11).

Scientists at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility tested the free-electron laser at 500 kilovolts on Friday, creating a beam more precise — and better suited for missile defense — than beams generated at lower voltages, according to the newspaper. The Navy had established the 500-kilovolt test as a prerequisite for the laser’s potential deployment on a U.S. warship, said George Neil, associate director of the laboratory’s free-electron laser branch.

The Naval Research Office has invested tens of millions of dollars for augmenting the device, which service officials said could be used for identifying, monitoring or shooting down enemy missiles.

Last week’s test “means our design is now a viable choice,” Neil said.

Scientists are now expected to focus on miniaturizing the laser to fit on a sea vessel. A sea-based test could occur by 2018 (Cory Nealon, Daily Press, Feb. 22).


25. White House Pushing F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Sales Worldwide


February 24, 2011

Obama’s F-35 sales push
By Barry Neild

With prices starting at $110 million per jet, the F-35 Lightning II fighter isn’t really the sort of thing for sale on Craigslist. But the way the Obama administration has been peddling this sophisticated aerial combat tool around the world, perhaps it wouldn’t be a surprise if it were.

While countries including Australia, Canada, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands have all placed orders amounting to hundreds of F-35s, the president and his team of executive salesmen have been pitching hard elsewhere.

Late last year, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was in Japan singing the praises of the stealth fighter that has cost his government billions to develop. And in Israel, ministers have reportedly been debating F-35 deals offered by Barack Obama as sweeteners in the Middle East peace process.

To some, it might seem odd that the commander-in-chief is willing to hand over keys to aircraft packed to the hilt with the latest U.S. military technology — particularly radar-evading stealth, which no other country yet has — even if the paying customers are allies.
[W]hat’s behind this sales drive? Has F-35 builder Lockheed Martin proved so successful at lobbying the Obama administration that the presidential team is now effectively selling its products door-to-door? Is it about votes? Is it money? Analysts say the truth – like the aircraft – is far more complex.

The F-35’s back story is scattered with controversy. Still not yet in service, the next-generation aircraft has been beset by missed deadlines, and by budgets that have helped make its decade-long development the most expensive weapons program ever undertaken in the United States.

Lockheed says the F-35 will be worth the wait. When it does finally make it off the runway, many experts agree it should be an impressive machine, crammed with gadgetry. Some models will even be capable of performing vertical take offs and landings.

Still five years from completion, the aircraft has already faced hostilities. It has been criticized for performing poorly in simulations, and for including features beyond what’s needed on the battlefield. It has been deemed such a drain on resources that Gates now wants to cut America’s F-35 order to reduce the Pentagon’s budget.

This reluctance to buy a product at home might seem at odds with the U.S. government’s eagerness to promote it abroad, were it not for the fact that the F-35 has been specifically designed with foreign sales in mind.

Since its inception, the F-35 has been known as the “Joint Strike Fighter” in reference to the involvement of allies including Britain, the Netherlands, Canada, Denmark, Norway and Turkey. All have contributed in varying degrees to the jet’s funding and development.

Strategically, that’s an advantage to the U.S., both in getting other nations to help foot the defense bill, and arming friends with familiar “interoperable” technology, says Craig Caffrey, a military aviation analyst with Jane’s Information Group.

“The vast majority of military operations that America undertakes nowadays are coalition operations,” he said. “If you can have a platform in service with your main allied nations — the U.K. in particular is a good example — it makes sense.”

Gates’ recent mission to Japan was also, said Caffrey, an attempt to capitalize on recent high-profile test flight of the J-20, China’s first foray into stealth fighters. “There’s obviously a sales pitch here. They’re saying if you’re worried about that Chinese fifth generation aircraft, we can supply you with one of your own.”

According to reports from the WikiLeaks cache of U.S. State Department documents, American diplomats put pressure on Norway to choose the F-35 instead of rival machines from Swedish SAAB’s JAS Grippen or Eurofighter (another multinational military aircraft project).

Some arms watchers have suggested that the U.S. is playing one country off of another in order to boost its arms trade. Though clearly arranged with a possible threat from Iran in mind, sales of F-35s to Israel could be seen as a way to encourage potential rivals such as Saudi Arabia to spend money upgrading and expanding their fleets of F-15 fighters, made in the United States by Boeing.

To what extent are Obama administration officials acting at the behest of manufacturers such as Lockheed Martin — or perhaps seeking to win key votes from districts involved in the defence industry?

Lockheed spends good money on promoting its interests. In 2010 its lobbying bill exceeded $12.7 million, according to the non-partisan watchdog OpenSecrets.org. Much of this lobbying appears to be aimed at staving off military budget cuts rather than promoting aircraft sales.
“One key reason why you get heads of states involved in selling this kind of equipment abroad is because they are major industrial deals; they are worth large sums of money, and keep large numbers of people employed in high tech jobs,” he said. He pointed out that similar overseas missions have been carried out by British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

“It’s big business, and it’s long term business. You don’t sell an aircraft and that’s the end of the company’s involvement — it goes on for at least 30 years.”

Jeff Abramson, deputy director of the Arms Control Association, argues that attempts to sell the F-35 overseas are part of the Obama administration’s efforts to double U.S. arms exports and thus aid economic recovery.

But even if F-35s are merely being deployed against economic uncertainty rather than into aerial combat, Abramson warned of other consequences.

“In general, it is unwise to think of arms sales as just any other commercial transaction,” he said, suggesting that the F-35s could be vulnerable to misuse or even contribute to regional arms races and instability.

“Any transfer agreement must consider whether the proposed weapons are appropriate for their intended use, and whether they might contribute to regional arms races or instability. It’s not clear that all the discussions around F-35s have adequately taken these considerations in mind.”

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. rosemerry
    February 25, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    Great to see James Steinberg in that nest of democratic freedoms and US dollars, Georgia. The last I heard he was advising Obama to veto the UNSC motion, full of US policies, so as not to offend our dear ally, Israel. A wonderful fellow, much needed for peace.

  2. rosemerry
    February 25, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    I understand the production and sale of aircraft for commercial reasons, and the F-35 seems a perfect example, useful to any modern land. According to Chalmers Johnson in his last book, the F-35 is completely unsuitable for any of its recommended uses, is very expensive and its costs climb rapidly, it is difficult to repair and its speed is not a benefit for the stealth activities. Could anyone tell me the latest info on this much-vaunted star of the Lockheed firmament?
    btw, I thought the bribe of lots of them to Israel had been refused by Bibi the PM. Is he accepting them as well as the veto, for doing nothing at all except business as usual?

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