NATO Mine-Hunters Enter Polish Harbor

February 25, 2015 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Maritime Command

February 24, 2015

NATO Mine-Hunters visit Poland

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GDYNIA, Poland: Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 (SNMCMG1) pulled into Gdynia’s naval harbour for a port visit on Friday, 20 February 2015, in advance of multinational exercises and historic ordnance disposal (HOD) operations.

The Group’s flagship FGS DONAU, an ELBE-class German tender, and the five mine hunters FGS AUERBACH (Germany), BNS LOBELIA (Belgium), HMS PEMBROKE (UK) and ORP MEWA (Poland) frequently conduct HOD operations in an effort to minimize the threat from mines back to the 20th century world wars for all those who use the sea for their benefit – fishermen, cargo ships, ferries and the like.

The commander of the group, Commander Peter Bergen Henegouwen (NLD N) led a delegation composed of the ship’s commanding officers on visits to the Mayor of Gdynia and by the senior military representative, Vice Admiral Stanislaw Zarychta, at the Polish Navy’s Maritime Operations Centre – Maritime Component Command.

This delegation was also received by the 3rd Ships Flotilla’s Commander, Rear Admiral Miroslaw Mordel while the ships were hosted by the 13th MCM Squadron led by Commander Piotr Sikora, former Commander of the SNMCMG1 in 2013.

SNMCMG1 provides a continuous maritime mine countermeasures capability for operations in peacetime and periods of conflict. The force demonstrates the support of the contributing nations to the NATO alliance. SNMCM Groups are key assets in the NATO Response Force (NRF) and are able to fulfil a wide range of roles from humanitarian tasks to high intensity operations. They are able to deploy at short notice and are often the first assets to go into an operational theatre both enabling and making a significant contribution to subsequent naval operations.

Story by HQ MARCOM Public Affairs Office

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U.S. Combat Vehicles 300 Yards From Russian Border

February 25, 2015 1 comment

Washington Post
February 25, 2015

US military vehicles paraded 300 yards from the Russian border
By Michael Birnbaum

[Excerpt]

MOSCOW: U.S. military combat vehicles paraded Wednesday through an Estonian city that juts into Russia, a symbolic act that highlighted the stakes for both sides amid the worst tensions between the West and Russia since the Cold War.

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Photograph by U.S. Army

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Top NATO Commander: Need U.S. Troops In Europe Against Russia

February 25, 2015 1 comment

Stars and Stripes
February 25, 2015

Breedlove: No substitute for permanent US military presence in Europe
By John Vandiver

Pentagon budget cuts set to take effect next year could force additional troop reductions in Europe, putting at risk efforts to deter potential Russian aggression and reassure allies, top military officials told lawmakers on Wednesday.

“Our ability to sustain our posture in Europe is going to be at significant risk,” if mandatory budget cuts known as sequestration return in fiscal 2016, Christine Wormuth, under secretary of defense for policy, told the House Armed Services Committee during a hearing on Europe’s emerging security challenges.

Wormuth, along with European Command chief Gen. Philip Breedlove, emphasized the need to maintain a steady forward presence of U.S. troops.

Breedlove said U.S. efforts in Europe were “essential.”

“There is simply no substitute for our forward force presence in Europe. It is the bedrock of our ability to assure our allies, to deter real and potential adversaries and to act in a timely way should deterrence fail,” Breedlove said.

“Rotating presence is no substitute for permanent force presence,” Breedlove said. “Genuine and fully funded rotational presence can play a very important role in helping to meet requirements in our theater, if it is heel to toe and fully resourced.”

The renewed focus on a forward military presence, deemed by many critics an outdated Cold War presence only a year ago, has taken on added significance in the wake of Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014 and its support for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., a supporter of supplying Ukrainian forces with defensive arms, said the crisis in that country has altered views about security in Europe and the U.S. military presence there.

“Now we realize our presence in Europe is more important than we used to,” he said.

Breedlove, who also is NATO’s supreme allied commander, said Moscow’s support of the separatists is wide-ranging and continues despite a recent cease-fire agreement.

Breedlove said providing defensive military arms to Ukrainian forces to counter separatists should be given consideration, though stopped short of endorsing such a policy, which is currently under review by the Obama administration.

“Right now, we are not arming the Ukrainian with lethal weapons and what we see is Russia continues to build up its force,” Breedlove said.

Still, Russia’s potential reaction to such military support if it were given isn’t at all clear, Breedlove acknowledged.

“Clearly, we don’t know what Mr. Putin will do,” Breedlove said. “I think that we have to be cognizant it could cause positive results, it could cause negative results.”

In the meantime, Russian forces continue to play a role on the ground in Ukraine, providing direct support to separatists particularly when they face setbacks on the battlefield, Breedlove said. Moscow also has sent “more than 1,000 pieces” of military hardware, ranging from tanks and artillery to air defense systems, he said.

The Russian government has denied as “complete rubbish” allegations that it is involved in helping Ukrainian separatists.

Breedlove added he has concerns about Russian aggression stretching beyond Ukraine, into former Soviet states such as Moldova, where Russian forces maintain a presence in the breakaway region of Trans-Dniester.

However, “I don’t think any of us are sure he has accomplished his objective inside Ukraine,” Breedlove said.

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War photograph of the day: Rehearsing for air war in Europe

February 25, 2015 1 comment

U.S. Air Forces in Europe
U.S. Air Force Africa

February 24, 2015

Fly like an eagle

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U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Trevor T. McBride/Released

A 48th Fighter Wing F-15E Strike Eagle takes off from at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Feb. 24, 2015. The Liberty Wing’s forward presence and ready forces execute missions now in support of regional and global operations.

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Canada May Deploy Military Advisers For War In Ukraine

February 25, 2015 Leave a comment

Interfax-Ukraine
February 25, 2015

Canada’s Defense Minister won’t rule out sending military advisers to Ukraine – newspaper
 

Canadian Defense Minister Jason Kenney has said that his country may send military advisers to Ukraine, according to the Toronto Star newspaper.

The U.S. and Britain are sending military advisers there to help Ukraine’s embattled central government fight Moscow-backed secessionists. The Defense Minister Jason Kenney says Canada might do the same,” reads the article.

However, the minister said that any Canadian soldiers in Ukraine would stay far away from the conflict zone.

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Georgian Foreign Minister Visits NATO Headquarters

February 25, 2015 Leave a comment

Civil Georgia
February 24, 2015

Georgian FM Visits NATO HQ

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Tbilisi: Georgian Foreign Minister, Tamar Beruchashvili, will meet NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels on February 25.

She will also address NATO-Georgia Commission on the same day.

PM Irakli Garibashvili will also head to Brussels this week for talks with EU officials. He plans meetings with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker; European Council President Donald Tusk and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

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Robert Graves: Military madness degenerating into savagery

February 25, 2015 4 comments

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Robert Graves: Selections on war

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Robert Graves
From Good-Bye to All That (1929)

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England looked strange to us returned soldiers. We could not understand the war madness that ran everywhere, looking for a pseudo-military outlet. The civilians talked a foreign language; and it was newspaper language. I found serious talk with my parents all but impossible…

The training principles had been recently revised. Infantry Training, 1914, laid it down politely that the soldier’s ultimate aim was to put out of action or render ineffectively the armed forces of the enemy. The War Office no longer considered this statement direct enough for a war of attrition. Troops learned instead that they must HATE the Germans, and KILL as many of them as possible. In bayonet-practice, the men had to make horrible grimaces and utter blood-curdling yells as they charged. The instructors’ faces were set in a permanent ghastly grin. ‘Hurt him, now! In at the belly! Tear his guts out!’ they would scream, as the men charged the dummies. ‘Now that upper swing at his privates with the butt. Ruin his chances for life! No more little Fritzes!…Naaoh! Anyone would think that you loved the bloody swine, patting and stroking ‘em like that. BITE HIM, I SAY! STICK YOUR TEETH IN HIM AND WORRY HIM! EAT HIS HEART OUT!’

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[Siegfried Sassoon] wrote how mad it made him to think of the countless good men being slaughtered that summer, and all for nothing. The bloody politicians and ditto generals with their cursed incompetent blundering and callous ideas would go on until they tired of it or had got as much kudos as they wanted…

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Inching Toward War: U.S. Troops In Ukraine Or Ukrainian Troops In U.S.?

February 24, 2015 1 comment

Stars and Stripes
February 23, 2015

US inching toward sending arms to Ukraine
By John Vandiver

The U.S. and Britain on Saturday discussed new sanctions against Russia as Ukraine’s week-old cease-fire unravels, though it was unclear if the allies were on the same page about increasing pressure on an economy that means far more to Europe.

The failure of a European-brokered ceasefire to put an end to the fighting in eastern Ukraine is likely to increase pressure on President Barack Obama to send weapons to Ukraine’s government despite objections by Germany and other key European allies.

Any decision to send more sophisticated weaponry to Ukraine will require greater collaboration between the U.S. and Ukraine to ensure troops can manage those systems in the field.

What would such a move mean for U.S. troops?

“I think they have several options. They could send troops to Ukraine to have U.S. forces involved, or they could bring Ukraine’s [troops] back to the U.S. to train on those systems,” said Sim Tack, a military analyst with the Texas-based intelligence and advisory firm STRATFOR.

The amount of time and number of U.S. personnel required to conduct the training will largely depend on what type of systems would be deployed.

Another option could be bringing in contractors to carry out a portion of the training, Tack said.

While the Obama administration hasn’t specified the type of weapons being considered, key figures – including Secretary of State John Kerry and newly appointed Defense Secretary Ashton Carter – have indicated support for sending defensive arms to Ukraine.

Earlier this month, an independent report by several former administration officials called on the White House to send a range of arms to Ukraine. Among the report’s recommendations were anti-armor missiles, light armor vehicles, surveillance drones and communication systems. Those making the recommendations included Michèle Flournoy, a former top Pentagon official who was on the shortlist to replace Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, and retired Adm. James Stavridis, former military commander of NATO and U.S. European Command.

Anti-armor missiles, such as the Javelin system, are fairly simple to operate, according to Tack.

“You can give people the short version or the long versions,” he said of the training. “You can technically teach them to use that (Javelin system) in a single training session.”

On the battlefield, such weapons would be a boost for Ukrainian forces, though the degree of effectiveness would depend on the size of the weapon delivery and how spread out it could be deployed among Ukrainian forces.

“Anti-armor missiles would give Ukrainians a much better capacity to fight weapon armor, which is something they’ve been facing heavily in the conflict recently,” Tack said.

Other systems, such as drones to track the movement of separatists, would require more detailed training and longer-lasting training support, he said. Still, there are other, more pressing, challenges than providing weapons for Ukrainian forces.

“I think an important thing to point out is a lot of these things [weapons] are not necessarily the biggest problem for Ukraine,” Tack said. “The main challenge Ukraine faces militarily is [lack of] manpower and financing.”

It also isn’t clear whether the weapons systems would in any way alter the balance on the battlefield…

Concern that new weapons would not tip the scales against the Russians is at the heart of Germany’s opposition. Berlin fears new weapons would only encourage the Russians to become more deeply engaged.

Others, such as U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a supporter of arming Ukraine, argue the weapons would raise the costs for Russia.

“Some say Ukraine cannot defeat Russia militarily. That is the wrong question. The right question is: If we help Ukrainians increase the military cost to the Russian forces that have invaded their country, how long can Putin sustain a war that he tells his people is not happening?” McCain said during the same conference.

For now, Obama has worked to remain in step with Merkel and other allies in Europe, resisting calls to send arms and remaining unified on sanctions against Moscow. That could change, however, if conditions in eastern Ukraine continue to deteriorate.

“If there is no actual truce and no actual end to violence, then I think that is a likely step for the U.S.,” Tack said.

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U(S)N(ATO) Discusses Deploying Western Troops In Eastern Ukraine

February 24, 2015 2 comments

Ukrinform
February 24, 2015

UN discusses possibility of peacekeepers deployment in Ukraine

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KYIV: Discussion on the possibility of a peacekeeping mission in Ukraine took place at the UN headquarters at night, on February 24, according to Ukrainian news broadcaster TSN.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said about Ukraine’s intention to invite the peacekeeping mission to Donbass during the Security Council’s open debates. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the foreign ministers participated in these debates. From today, the UN will seek ways to implement Kyiv’s peace initiatives. In addition, Klimkin said about Russian aggression during the debates. If Moscow is making no effort to stop the pro-Russian rebels in Donbas, Kyiv will look for all possible ways to stop the violence.

The Ukrainian Foreign Minister met with the UN Secretary General, with whom he discussed the possible ways of establishment of the UN peacekeeping mission. It will not be an ordinary peacekeeping mission, as in this case, Ukraine will lose the right to determine the composition and powers of the contingent. Ukraine intends to appeal to its partners from the European Union for the formation of this mission. Proposal for approval of the mission will be submitted to the Security Council. Russia has already made a statement in which it condemns the idea of a peacekeeping mission. But if Moscow will try to oppose this in the Security Council, the proposal will be submitted to the General Assembly.

Immediately after the debates Klimkin flew to Paris for a meeting of the foreign ministers of the “Normandy Four.”

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NATO Partners, Democratic Allies: United Arab Emirates Pledges Arms To Ukraine

February 24, 2015 1 comment

Interfax-Ukraine
February 24, 2015

Poroshenko, UAE agree on arms deliveries – Kyiv

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Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has met with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Ukrainian parliament deputy, advisor to the Ukrainian interior minister Anton Heraschenko said.

“The sides agreed on cooperation with the United Arab Emirates in the delivery of certain types of armaments and military hardware to Ukraine. As you understand, types and scopes of the deliveries cannot be disclosed on Facebook,” Heraschenko wrote on his Facebook page.

The Ukrainian president is paying an official visit to the UAE.

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UNIAN
February 24, 2015

Poroshenko agrees on supply of UAE weapons to Ukraine

Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates have agreed to cooperate in the supply of weapons and military equipment, advisor to the Interior Ministry Anton Herashchenko wrote on his Facebook page on Tuesday.

According to Herashchenko, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko met with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Colonel-General Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

“During the meeting the parties agreed to cooperate with the United Arab Emirates in the supply of certain weapons and military equipment to Ukraine,” Herashchenko said.

“However, the types and volumes of these supplies will not be disclosed yet,” he said.

“However, it is worth noting that the Arabs, unlike the Europeans and Americans, are not afraid of Putin’s threats to unleash a third world war in the case of supplies of arms and military equipment being made to Ukraine,” Herashchenko said.

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NATO Expands Military Buildup In Eastern Europe

February 24, 2015 Leave a comment

Southeast European Times
February 23, 2015

NATO expands presence in Eastern Europe
By Miki Trajkovski for Southeast European Times

Skopje: NATO’s plan to open six new command centres in Eastern Europe is being hailed by Balkan experts as a sign that the region is not being ignored.

Defence ministers from the 28-member military Alliance agreed on February 5th to set up command and control units in Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania.

The move came “in the light of the changing security environment to the east and south of the Alliance’s borders,” a NATO statement said.

The new centres “in six of our eastern Allied countries” ensure that “we have the right forces, in the right place, at the right time,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said.

“Our decisions make clear that NATO is determined to defend all Allies against any threats from any direction,” he added.

Experts have suggested that the new NATO centres are the result of the crisis in Ukraine, to show that NATO remains a strong supporter and protector of its allies in these parts of Europe.

According to Romanian Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu, NATO may launch a new command and control centre on a division level in two years in Romania.

Setting up permanent NATO and US military facilities, such as the anti-missile base at Deveselu and the new command centres, carries a major political message to Russia

Events in Ukraine and the Middle East inevitably led to NATO’s new strategic approach, said Pristina professor Behlul Beqaj.

“The entire geo-strategic situation has new moments that require new preventive solutions, and broad support from all potential partners, for their own safety, to be protected by NATO,” he said.

This also sends a signal to the Islamic and Orthodox world to respect differences, he added.

Janev said NATO’s presence can play an important role in curbing Russia’s influence in the region. Integrating the Balkans is of strategic interest to NATO…

Correspondent Paul Ciocoiu from Bucharest contributed to this report.

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Colombia’s Attorney General Demands Repeal Of NATO Agreement

February 24, 2015 Leave a comment

Xinhua News Agency
February 24, 2015

Colombia’s Attorney General requests repealing NATO agreement

BOGOTA Colombia’s Attorney General Office requested Monday the Constitutional Court to declare a cooperation agreement between Colombia and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) unconstitutional due to privacy concerns.

The cooperation agreement, signed on June 25, 2013, was later endorsed by the Colombian Congress.

However, according to the country’s Attorney General Office, it has a “highly problematic” content regarding the precise determination of information to be exchanged, with vague terms that can actually be contradictory to the country’s constitution and the American Convention on Human Rights.

“Given that the agreement text does not clearly distinguish the type of information included within the generic term ‘classified information’, the information could be personal and, in particular, sensitive, with the consequent problem of no communication to the holder,” the public office said in the document sent to the Constitutional Court.

NATO, a major Western military bloc created in 1949, constitutes a system of mutual defense whereby its current 28 member states across Europe and North America agree to mutual defense in response to an attack by any external party.

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Joseph Addison and Richard Steele: It is a stupid and barbarous way to extend dominion by arms

February 24, 2015 Leave a comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Joseph Addison: Already have our quarrels fill’d the world with widows and with orphans

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Joseph Addison and Richard Steele
From The Sir Roger de Coverley Papers (1711)

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He is well acquainted with commerce in all its parts, and will tell you that it is a stupid and barbarous way to extend dominion by arms; for true power is got by arts and industry. He will often argue that of this part of our trade were well cultivated, we should gain from one nation; and if another, from another. I have heard him prove that diligence makes more lasting acquisitions than valour…

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…I remembered that Monsieur Pascal, in his most excellent discourse on the ‘Misery of Man,’ tells us that our endeavors after greatness proceed from nothing but a desire of being surrounded by a multitude of persons and affairs that may hinder us from looking into ourselves…

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A furious party spirit, when it rages in its full violence, exerts itself in civil war and bloodshed; and when it is under its greatest restraints naturally breaks out in falsehood, detraction, calumny and a partial administration of justice. In a word, it fills a nation with spleen and rancour, and extinguishes all the seeds of good-nature, compassion, and humanity.

Plutarch says, very finely, that a man should not allow himself even to hate his enemies; – “Because,” says he, “if you indulge this passion in some occasions, it will rise of itself in others; if you hate your enemies, you will contract such a vicious habit of mind as by degrees will break out upon those who are your friends, or those who are indifferent to you.” I might here observe how admirably this precept of morality – which derives the malignity of hatred from the passion itself, and not from its object – answers to that great rule which was dictated to the world about an hundred years before this philosopher wrote…

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How many honest minds are filled with uncharitable and barbarous notions, out of their zeal for the public good! What cruelties and outrages would they not commit against men of an adverse party, whom they would honour and esteem, if, instead of considering them as they are represented, they knew them as they are! There are persons of the greatest probity seduced into shameful errors and prejudices, and made bad men even by that noblest of principles, the “love of their country.”

medRichard_Steele

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Survival Of Ukrainian Rump State Depends On U.S. Arms: Commander

February 23, 2015 2 comments

Ukrinform
February 23, 2015

American equipment saves fighters near Debaltseve – ATO Staff

KYIV:. Supplies of lethal and non-lethal weapons from the United States may become an issue of survival of the Ukrainian state.

This has been announced on Monday by deputy head of the ATO staff in Donetsk and Luhansk regions Colonel Valentyn Fedychev in Ukrainian crisis media center, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

“If we see that the fighting in eastern Ukraine do not stop, if we see an escalation of these actions, then the scope of U.S. military support to Ukraine, including the supply of lethal and non-lethal weapons, will become a matter of survival of our state,” Fedychev said.

He noted that during the operation in Debaltseve the Ukrainian military used American equipment capable of determining the coordinates of mortar batteries. “Using this technique has saved a great number of lives of our soldiers,” Fedychev said.

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U.S. Air Force Prepares To Support Ground War In Eastern Europe

February 23, 2015 Leave a comment

Stars and Stripes
February 19, 2015

A-10 Warthogs return to Germany as situation in Ukraine deteriorates
By Jennifer H. Svan

Close-air support A-10 “Warthogs” — designed in the 1970s to knock out Soviet tanks — are back in Germany.

Over the last week, about 300 personnel and 12 A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft arrived from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., for a six-month deployment intended to bolster security in a region shaken by the political crisis in eastern Europe.

“Get ready for some travel,” Lt. Gen. Darryl Roberson, 3rd Air Force commander, told airmen from the 354th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, who gathered in a hangar along with local civic leaders for a brief ceremony to showcase the first so-called theater security package to deploy to Europe.

“This theater security package is a long-range strategic capability to allow the Air Force greater flexibility against evolving threats,” Roberson said.

Temporarily bringing the A-10 squadron to Spangdahlem “will allow us to focus on the challenges throughout Europe and potentially in Africa,” he said.

The jets will deploy from Spangdahlem and work with NATO partners, “especially along the border of Russia, Lithuania, Estonia, Romania, Bulgaria,” Roberson said. “They will train together and learn how to interoperate together, so that if something happens, we’re ready to fight together.”

The A-10s will participate in routine exercises already scheduled as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, the military’s response to the Ukraine crisis.

The training will focus on the close-air support specialty, Roberson said. Originally designed to fly low and slow to provide protection for ground troops in Europe if the Russians ever invaded Germany, A-10s were once a fixture on the Continent.

At one time, there were six squadrons of A-10s in Europe with more than 140 aircraft.

Since communism’s collapse, the jets have stayed busy, providing close-air support for ground troops during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. More recently, the Warthogs have been used to strike Islamic State targets in the Middle East.

The last A-10s to be assigned to Europe left Spangdahlem just less than two years ago.

Despite the recent flare-up of tensions between Ukraine and Russia, in hindsight it would not have made sense for the Air Force to keep the planes here, Roberson told reporters.

“Actually, the way we’re doing it now is a much more agile and responsive and cheaper way to present forces as required,” he said.

Ten of the 12 A-10s from Davis-Monthan were previously assigned to Spangdahlem, U.S. Air Forces in Europe officials said.

Behmer said a few of his personnel, including some pilots, were stationed at Spangdahlem.

“We tried to bring expertise that was here before, so that we could have those guys that have flown here and were familiar with the area, particularly for flying operations,” he said.

Roberson said the A-10 was chosen for the first theater security package to deploy to Europe because it was available at the time for the mission.

The next package will consist of F-15C fighter jets and will “be here in April,” Roberson said. Details about where they’ll be based and from which location they’ll deploy haven’t been determined, USAFE officials said.

“This operation will remain a construct here in Europe as long as it is needed,” Roberson said of rotational forces.

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Former NATO Chief: Ukraine Needs U.S., NATO Arms For War In East

February 23, 2015 2 comments

Focus News Agency
February 21, 2015

Former NATO head Wesley Clark: It was impossible to defend Debaltseve without Western weapons

Washington: Speaking at a conference dedicated to the situation in the Ukrainian city of Debaltseve former NATO commander Wesley Clark said Ukraine’s army could have successfully protected the strategic settlement if it had been provided with modern American or other western arms and weapons, TASS reported.

In his words, the lack of modern anti-tank systems is the major reason for the defeat of the Ukrainian government forces.

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44 Combat Vehicles: NATO Trains Estonia For War

February 23, 2015 1 comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations

February 23, 2015

Dutch and Estonian Forces train together in Exercise Baltic Bison 2015

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CV-90 Combat Infantry Vehicle

MONS, Belgium: Soldiers of the Dutch 43 Mechanised Brigade are training with their Estonian Infantry counterparts in tough winter conditions during Exercise Baltic Bison from 9-26 February 2015. Exercise Baltic Bison is part of NATO’s Assurance Measures in the region and is focused on international cooperation and knowledge sharing between the two NATO members.

“NATO’s assurance measures, including the Netherlands’ effort during operation Baltic Bison, is proof that NATO commitments are working in a proper way and in practice,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Aron Kalmus, Commander of the Estonian First Infantry Brigade. “I am more than glad, as an Estonian officer and as an Estonian citizen, that our Dutch colleagues amongst other NATO Allies have proved this by coming here in these difficult times in Eastern Europe.”

On 9 December 2014, the Dutch Minister of Defence, Ms Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, and her Estonian colleague Sven Mikser, signed a contract for the purchase of 44 Dutch CV-90 Combat Infantry Vehicles by Estonia. Exercise Baltic Bison provides the opportunity to introduce the tracked vehicle to the Estonian soldiers.

The Estonians will be trained on the various characteristics of this vehicle, such as mobility, firepower and protection, during the two week period. A lot of time will be spent on learning and recognizing each other’s procedures, so that close cooperation is guaranteed now and in the future.

NATO is continuing with its assurance measures such as increased exercises, enhanced air policing and maritime patrolling. The Alliance is also working hard to implement decisions from the Wales summit, including the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), establishing reception bases for command and control, looking at the pre-positioning of supplies and equipment, possible improvements to national infrastructure, and the enhancing of the NATO Response Force.

Story by the Dutch Ministry of Defence and SHAPE Public Affairs Office

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George Borrow: Prisoners of war: misery on one side, disgrace on the other

February 23, 2015 Leave a comment

Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

George Borrow
From Lavrengo (1841)

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And a strange place it was, this Norman Cross, and, at the time of which I am speaking, a sad cross to many a Norman, being what was then styled a French prison, that is, a receptacle for captives made in the French war. It consisted, if I remember right, of some five or six casernes, very long, and immensely high; each standing isolated from the rest, upon a spot of ground which might average ten acres, and which was fenced round with lofty palisades, the whole being compassed about by a towering wall, beneath which, at intervals, on both sides, sentinels were stationed, whilst outside, upon the field, stood commodious wooden barracks, capable of containing two regiments of infantry, intended to serve as guards upon the captives. Such was the station or prison at Norman Cross, where some six thousand French and other foreigners, followers of the grand Corsican, were now immured.

What a strange appearance had those mighty casernes, with their blank blind walls, without windows or grating, and their slanting roofs, out of which, through orifices where the tiles had been removed, would be protruded dozens of grim heads, feasting their prison-sick eyes on the wide expanse of country unfolded from that airy height. Ah! there was much misery in those casernes; and from those roofs, doubtless, many a wistful look was turned in the direction of lovely France. Much had the poor inmates to endure, and much to complain of, to the disgrace of England be it said – of England, in general so kind and bountiful. Rations of carrion meat, and bread from which I have seen the very hounds occasionally turn away, were unworthy entertainment even for the most ruffian enemy, when helpless and a captive; and such, alas! was the fare in those casernes. And then, those visits, or rather ruthless inroads, called in the slang of the place “straw-plait hunts,” when in pursuit of a contraband article, which the prisoners, in order to procure themselves a few of the necessaries and comforts of existence, were in the habit of making, red-coated battalions were marched into the prisons, who, with the bayonet’s point, carried havoc and ruin into every poor convenience which ingenious wretchedness had been endeavouring to raise around it; and then the triumphant exit with the miserable booty; and, worst of all, the accursed bonfire, on the barrack parade, of the plait contraband, beneath the view of the glaring eyeballs from those lofty roofs, amidst the hurrahs of the troops, frequently drowned in the curses poured down from above like a tempest-shower…

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Robert Parry And Rick Rozoff: Ukraine: One Year After The Coup

February 22, 2015 Leave a comment

Global Research News Hour
February 22, 2015

 

Ukraine: One Year after the Coup

By Michael Welch, Rick Rozoff, and Robert Parry

Ukraine-anniversary-Maidan-coup-2

If it is not announced by 10:00 tomorrow that Yanukovich is gone, we’re going to attack with weapons.” -Anonymous Protester speaking in Kiev’s Independence Square following the signing of a Compromise Deal between elected representatives of the Ukrainian Parliament, February 21, 2014 [1]

 

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The period from February 18 to February 23 marked the dramatic climax of the Euromaidan movement, a pivotal turning point in Ukraine’s political dynamics, and a watershed moment in the history of international relations.

Three months of street demonstrations and occupations of government buildings responded to with police crack-downs and mass arrests crescendo-ed to this turbulent five day period.

On February 20, Kiev saw the worst day of bloodshed it had seen in seven decades with 88 people being killed in a 48 hour period. [2]

On February 21, a Compromise Deal calling for early elections, constitutional reform and the withdrawal of forces both of authorities and the opposition “from administrative and public buildings” as well as “streets, city parks and squares.” [3]

This deal was rejected by the crowds gathered in Maidan Square. The next day, President Yanukovych had fled, and protesters had taken control of Presidential Administration buildings. Shortly thereafter a rump Parliament voted for Yanukovych’s impeachment, and set elections for May 25. [4]

In the days that followed, the Parliament would vote to ban Russian as a second official language, appoint Olexander Turchynov as interim president, and nominate Arseniy Yatsenyuk as Prime Minister.

The new Prime Minister would eventually sign the very Association Agreement with the EU which Yanukovych rejected, sparking the Maidan uprising. [5]

What followed was the secession of Crimea from Ukraine and rejoining Russia, together with rebellions in the East and South rejecting the authority of the Kiev government and sparking an ongoing civil war.

Media reporting on the Ukraine crisis has been dogged by allegations of mainstream media bias. In fact, the media literacy and watchdog group Project Censored has labelled ‘Media Hypocrisy in covering Ukraine Crisis‘ as one of the top 25 most censored stories of 2013-14. In particular, it is argued that the media has blocked out clear evidence of Neo-Nazi involvement in the overthrow of Yanukovych, and the extent to which it is US/NATO interests, more than Russian President Vladmir Putin, fostering the aggression.

One of the sources of this story is Robert Parry. Investigative Journalist Robert Parry is convinced this was a coup enabled by Neo-Nazis and provides the details, including the role of the Neo-Cons in fostering the Maidan protests, the failure of the media to responsibly report on the facts, and the motivation of the NeoCons to escalate the conflict with Putin potentially to a nuclear climax.

Rick Rozoff, manager of the STOP NATO list-serve breaks down the current situation in the wake of the Minsk Ceasefire, the victory of rebel forces at Debaltseve, and his take on whether Russia has a winning or losing hand in the ongoing conflict.

 

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Video Interview: U.S., NATO Will Never Leave Afghanistan

February 22, 2015 Leave a comment

Press TV
February 22, 2015

US, allies will never leave Afghanistan, pundit says

Video

The manager of the Stop NATO International Network was a guest at a Press TV interview on the slowing pace of the US-led troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Rick Rozoff believes that the United States and its NATO allies have virtually changed their plan to withdraw all of their troops from the war-ravaged country.

“The Western military alliance will never abandon military bases in Afghanistan in pursuit of their long-term geopolitical and strategic interest in the troubled region,” Rozoff argues.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the analyst points out that the United States used Afghanistan as a testing and battle ground in order to integrate the armies of several countries fighting under the banner of the NATO military alliance.

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Press TV
February 22, 2015

Debate: Does US seek perpetual war in Afghanistan?

Video

More than 13 years ago on October 7, 2001, the US forces inaugurated a massive military operation against Afghanistan allegedly to fight terrorism.

Although 2,200 American soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan, terrorism still seems to continue to cause death and destruction in the country.

In this edition of The Debate, Press TV has conducted an interview with Rick Rozoff, with the Stop NATO International Network from Chicago, and Frederick Peterson, a congressional defense policy adviser from Richmond, to ask them why the US still wants to invest more money and troops in Afghanistan.

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Afghan War: U.S., NATO Security Transition “Has Not Gone Smoothly”

February 22, 2015 Leave a comment

Azeri Press Agency
February 21, 2015

Security transition in Afghanistan ‘has not gone smoothly’: US activist

Baku: US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s visit to Afghanistan indicates that the security transition from the US and NATO militaries to the Afghan forces “has not gone smoothly,” an anti-war activist in Chicago says, APA reports quoting Press TV.

Carter arrived in Kabul in an unannounced visit to meet with Afghan officials. It marks his first overseas trip since taking over the Pentagon this week.

He used his first visit to Afghanistan as the defense secretary to offer the clearest sign yet that the United States is looking to delay the closure of some military bases and withdrawal of all American forces from the country by January 2017.

US President Barack Obama “is considering a number of options to reinforce our support for President [Ashraf] Ghani’s security strategy, including possible changes to the timeline for our drawdown of US troops,” Carter said after talks with Afghan leaders.

The Pentagon chief’s visit to Afghanistan points to a possible anticipation that fresh offensive by the Taliban militant group is underway, said Rick Rozoff, a member of Stop NATO International.

“It could also be that the military transition from the US and NATO to the Afghan national army and other Afghan security forces has not gone as smoothly as anticipated,” Rozoff said during a phone interview with Press TV on Saturday.

“There’s concern that fighting may intensify in the country” and that “US assurances that everything is going all right in Afghanistan may be false assurances,” he added.

Despite the official end to the combat mission, the US has escalated a “secret war” in Afghanistan, according to a recent report.

Washington has significantly stepped up night raids in Afghanistan since October, when American and Afghan commandos found a laptop computer with files allegedly detailing planned terrorist attacks in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan, The New York Times reported last week.

The US invaded Afghanistan in 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. However, it has failed to root out the Taliban in a war which has claimed over 2,300 Americans lives.

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Audio Interview: Carter’s Afghan Trip Signals Unacknowledged Crisis

February 22, 2015 Leave a comment

Press TV
February 21, 2015

Security transition in Afghanistan ‘has not gone smoothly’: US activist

Audio

US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s visit to Afghanistan indicates that the security transition from the US and NATO militaries to the Afghan forces “has not gone smoothly,” an anti-war activist in Chicago says.

Carter arrived in Kabul in an unannounced visit to meet with Afghan officials. It marks his first overseas trip since taking over the Pentagon this week.

He used his first visit to Afghanistan as the defense secretary to offer the clearest sign yet that the United States is looking to delay the closure of some military bases and withdrawal of all American forces from the country by January 2017.

US President Barack Obama “is considering a number of options to reinforce our support for President [Ashraf] Ghani’s security strategy, including possible changes to the timeline for our drawdown of US troops,” Carter said after talks with Afghan leaders.

The Pentagon chief’s visit to Afghanistan points to a possible anticipation that a fresh offensive by the Taliban militant group is underway, said Rick Rozoff, a member of Stop NATO International.

“It could also be that the military transition from the US and NATO to the Afghan National Army and other Afghan security forces has not gone as smoothly as anticipated,” Rozoff said during a phone interview with Press TV on Saturday.

“There’s concern that fighting may intensify in the country” and that “US assurances that everything is going all right in Afghanistan maybe false assurances,” he added.

Despite the official end to the combat mission, the US has escalated a “secret war” in Afghanistan, according to a recent report.

Washington has significantly stepped up night raids in Afghanistan since October, when American and Afghan commandos found a laptop computer with files allegedly detailing planned terrorist attacks in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan, The New York Times reported last week.

The US invaded Afghanistan in 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. However, it has failed to root out the Taliban in a war which has claimed over 2,300 Americans lives.

Categories: Uncategorized

D.H. Lawrence: In 1915 the world ended with the slaughter-machine of human devilishness

February 22, 2015 Leave a comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

D.H. Lawrence: All modern militarism is foul

D.H. Lawrence: Future War, Murderous Weapons, Refinements of Evil

D.H. Lawrence: The price to pay at home for terrible, terrible war

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D.H. Lawrence
From Kangaroo (1923)

D_H_Lawrence_passport_photograph

Those days, that autumn…people carried about chrysanthemums, yellow and brown chrysanthemums: and the smell of burning leaves: and the wounded, bright blue soldiers with their red cotton neck-ties, sitting together like macaws on the seats, pale and different from other people. And the star Jupiter very bright at nights over the cup hollow of the Vale, on Hampstead Heath. And the war news always coming, the war horror drifting in, drifting in, prices rising, excitement growing, people going mad about Zeppelin raids. And always the one song:

“Keep the home fires burning,
Though your hearts be yearning.”

It was in 1915 the old world ended. In the winter 1915-1916 the spirit of the old London collapsed; the city, in some way, perished, perished from from being a part of the world, and became a vortex of broken passions, lusts, hopes, fears, and horrors. The integrity of London collapsed, and the genuine debasement began, the unspeakable baseness of the press and the public voice, the reign of that bloated ignominy, John Bull.

No man who has really consciously lived through this can believe again absolutely in democracy. No man who has heard reiterated in thousands of tones from all the common people, during the crucial years of the war: “I believe in John Bull.” Give me John Bull,” can ever believe that in any crisis a people can govern itself, or is even fit to govern itself. During the crucial years of the war, the people chose, and chose Bottomleyism. Bottom enough.

***

He had enough influential friends in London to put him into some job, even some quite congenial, literary job, with a sufficient salary. They would be only too glad to do it, for there in his remoteness, writing occasionally an essay that only bothered them, he was a thorn in their flesh. And men and women with sons, brothers, husbands away fighting, it was small pleasure for them to read Mr. Somers and his pronunciation. “This trench and machine warfare is a blasphemy against life itself, a blasphemy which we are all committing.” All very well, they said, but we are in for a war, and what are we to do? We hate it as much as he does. But we can’t all sit safely in Cornwall.

That was true too, and he felt a most dreary misery, knowing how many brave, generous men were being put through this slaughter-machine of human devilishness…

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New Pentagon Chief: U.S.-NATO Troop Withdrawal From Afghanisran To Be Revised

February 21, 2015 Leave a comment

Xinhua News Agency
February 21, 2015

Plan for U.S. forces withdrawal from Afghanistan needs revision: Pentagon chief

KABUL: The new U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, which paid an unannounced visit to Afghanistan on Saturday, said the timetable for American forces drawdown in Afghanistan would be reviewed.

Addressing a joint press conference with President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani here in Arg , or Presidential Palace after talks, Carter, who took the helm as defense secretary only days ago said the withdrawal plan of U.S. troops from Afghanistan will be discussed in further details during President Ghani’s visit to Washington and his meeting with President Barack Obama next month.

After the end of combat mission of NATO-led ISAF in late December 2014 in Afghanistan, a contingent of more than 12,000 NATO-led troops, including around 10,800 of Americans have remained in Afghanistan to train and advice Afghan national security forces.

Under President Obama’s drawdown plan, the 10,800-strong U.S. troops remained in Afghanistan beyond 2014 is due to drop to some 5,500 by the end of 2015 and then pull out altogether by early 2017 except 1,000 forces to provide security for American embassy in the country.

To a query, U.S. Defense Secretary said that the war on terror doubtlessly is a mission and should go ahead.

….

Replying a question on peace talks with Taliban and other insurgents’ outfits such as Haqqani network, president Ghani said that “We are now in right track to achieve peace, but can’t give details at the moment.”

The new Pentagon chief who paid his first visit to Afghanistan since assuming office last Tuesday would also call on Afghan government chief executive Abdullah Abdullah and U.S. forces commander to assess the situation here.

Categories: Uncategorized

Nathanael West: The noble motives, the noble methods of war

February 21, 2015 Leave a comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

American writers on peace and against war

Nathanael West: Every defeat is a victory in a war of attrition

Nathanael West: Not their fault, they thought they had bombed a hospital

Nathanael West: One live recruit is better than a dozen dead veterans

Nathanael West: They haven’t the proper military slant

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Nathanael West
From Good Hunting (1938)

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THOMPSON
(Into transmitter – ad libs)

‘Lo, Crecy…Paris, please…Grenoble…Paris…American Press.

RUSSO
(Slipping Thompson a bill)

Here’s your five.

THOMPSON

You said ten.

RUSSO

You’ll take five – or I’ll charge you with accepting a bribe.

THOMPSON

But you’re giving it to me!

RUSSO

I’m a war correspondent, I’m immune.

***

SIR ARTHUR
(Sternly)

I know your troops are tired…But I will brook no delay. I demand superhuman efforts. Attacks!

HARGREAVES

Yes, sir…but…but…

SIR ARTHUR

Damn it, man! stop mumbling! We attack tomorrow, that’s final! Lloyd George and his committee were with us all week. They’re having plenty of trouble with the Colonies and the draft. An election is approaching – victories mean votes! This has to be kept a popular war.

HARGREAVES

I don’t underestimate the importance of victories – but –

SIR ARTHUR
(Cutting him short)

A decisive one right now will encourage America. Their bankers are beginning to worry about the money they’re lending us.

***

JERVAIS
(Ferociously)

The enemy must be exterminated – man, woman and child!
(With mounting hysteria, surprising in such a mild looking gent)
Torn out, root and branch. Slaughtered! Annihilated! Their cities must run with blood. Their brains must be dashed out! Their hearts plucked quivering from their bodies!

Categories: Uncategorized

Joining NATO Is Georgia’s “Foreign Policy Priority”

February 20, 2015 Leave a comment

Trend News Agency
February 19, 2015

Joining NATO is Georgia’s foreign policy priority
By Nana Kirtzkhalia

image

Tbilisi, Georgia: Georgia’s joining NATO is the country’s foreign policy priority and third countries will fail to influence this process, the Georgian foreign ministry said Feb. 19.

“Georgia’s foreign policy priority is the country’s integration into European and Euro-Atlantic organizations,” the statement says. “This integration is based on unshakable will and free choice of the majority of the population of Georgia.”

“Georgia’s accession to NATO depends on the current dialogue between the alliance and Georgia, as well as the decisions of the NATO member-states,” the statement says. “Respectively, the third countries will fail to influence this process.”

According to the statement, the history of the alliance’s expansion shows that the accession of new countries to NATO is the most important factor in strengthening of their security and stability.

Categories: Uncategorized

Ukrainian MP: Martial Law Needed For EU (NATO) Troops

February 20, 2015 Leave a comment

UNIAN
February 20, 2015

Martial law necessary for entry of peacekeepers, says Ukrainian diplomat

The deployment of a peacekeeping mission in Ukraine is impossible without the introduction of martial law, Ukrainian diplomat Roman Bessmertniy said on Ukrainian television’s Espreso.TV channel on Thursday.

“If the president says there is a war, he has to declare martial law as required by law on the legal regime of martial law,” Bessmertniy said.

“After that, the UN and the UN Security Council will have something to talk about. If we carry out an Anti-Terrorist Operation and demand the introduction of ‘blue helmets’ from the Security Council and the UN General Assembly, we substitute definitions in this case. And we accept a parallel decision of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of the recognition of Russia as an aggressor. So what is happening?

“It is necessary to draft documents in the UN. And when you sit down to write documents … these words [will] interfere with each other. No one will understand us if we continue to carry out an Anti-Terrorist Operation. In this case, what is the meaning of the Russian aggression, if we are at war against terrorists?”

As reported earlier, on February 18 the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine adopted an appeal to the UN and the EU on the introduction of peacekeepers into Ukraine.

On February 19, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called on German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President François Hollande and Russian President Vladimir Putin to urgently consider the introduction of peacekeepers in the Donbas. At the same time, he said that Ukraine wouldn’t agree to the introduction of Russian troops as part of the UN peacekeeping mission.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that the EU would carefully consider the proposal of Kyiv to send an EU peacekeeping mission to the east of Ukraine to monitor the ceasefire.

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Former NATO Chief: Ukraine Should Have Kept Nuclear Weapons?

February 20, 2015 Leave a comment

Ukrinform
February 20, 2015

Former NATO Secretary General on Ukraine’s nuclear disarmament: I was wrong

KYIV: The idea of nuclear disarmament has failed and led to a selective reduction of the nuclear arsenal in the world, and, as a result, Ukraine received guarantees that are not performed in exchange for unilateral disarmament.

Former Secretary General of NATO [1999-2004] and Secretary of State for Defence and Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland George Robertson expressed this opinion in his article for Herald Scotland, an Ukrinform correspondent reported.

“I started my own political career, as many people know, carrying a Ban the Bomb banner. By giving up the Bomb I believed that we would give a lead and start a benign chain reaction. I was wrong. As Defence Secretary of this country [Defense Minister of Britain from 1997 to 1999] I was responsible for the biggest ever reductions in our nuclear weapon capacity and it led to no copycut [copycat?] reductions elsewhere,” Robertson wrote.

He noted that the Budapest Memorandum of 1994 “when Ukraine, holding the world’s third largest nuclear weapons stockpile, agreed to give them up,” in return provided “solemn security assurances from Russia, the U.S. and the UK.”

Robertson claims it’s difficult to forecast how the situation in Crimea and Donbas would have been developing if Ukraine had possessed an arsenal of nuclear weapons.

“And it is legitimate to ask this; would Crimea have been grabbed and Eastern Ukraine occupied if the Ukrainians had kept some of their nukes?” reads the publication.

The author also warns that failure to comply with the commitments made in Budapest in 1994, the neglect of current policy of containment can lead to the fact that the world in the next 50 years will face new, “known and unknown” threats.

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Armored Units, NATO Strike Force: U.S.-Led War Games In Georgia

February 20, 2015 Leave a comment

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
February 20, 2015

Exercise “Noble Partner” Planning Conference

A final planning conference of the “Noble Partner” US-Georgia Joint Exercise was held in IV Mechanized Brigade in Vaziani.

The exercise will be conducted in Georgia for the first time and aims at bringing the Georgian Company closer to the NATO Response Force and maintaining the Company`s high preparedness level for participation in the upcoming NATO trainings and operations.

The Chief of the General Staff of the GAF Major-General Vakhtang Kapanadze attended the conference. Chief of Defence thanked the American guests for assistance and wished success to the Georgian military unit.

The US-Georgia Joint Exercise will be conducted on the territory of Vaziani military air field and military firing-ground in May. The 12th Battalion of I Light Infantry Brigade of the Georgian Armed Forces, I Mechanized Company of 42nd Battalion of IV Mechanized Brigade and Military Police Platoon will take part in the exercise. From the U.S. side, the companies of the US Army`s armored vehicles will engage in the exercise too.

Categories: Uncategorized

North Atlantic, South Pacific: NATO’s Loyal Partner Australia

February 20, 2015 1 comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
February 19, 2015

20150217adf8588365_028.jpg

Chairman of the NATO Military Committee visits Australia to discuss Maritime Security, the Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan and Global threats

While visiting Sydney and Canberra on a three day visit 15-18 February 2015, the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, General Knud Bartels thanked Australia for its contributions to NATO-led Operations and Missions and discussed enhanced NATO – Australian military to military cooperation and interoperability. After meeting with Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, Chief of the Australian Defence Force and Mr. Dennis Richardson, the Secretary of Defence of Australia, the Chairman stressed the need “for substantial and practical cooperation, to learn from each other, share best practices and develop common standards because NATO and Australia have a strong partnership and are committed to enhancing their abilities of working together in order to better tackle future global challenges”.

Meeting with the Assistant Minister for Defence, the Honourable Mr. Stuart Robert, General Bartels welcomed Australia’s continued involvement in Afghanistan and participation in NATO’s Resolute Support mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan forces. The Chairman highlighted the professionalism and hard work of the Australian forces. They also discussed NATO’s Enhanced Opportunities Partnership with Australia to build on the lessons learnt in operations and increase the ability to counter security challenges together.

During a meeting with the Special Chiefs Service Committee, General Bartels also discussed the NATO Readiness Action Plan, ways to collaborate further in the fight against terrorism and cyber security: “NATO is committed to involving our partners in shaping the decisions we take when they concern operations and missions in which they are involved…”, he said. .

Maritime Security was a significant topic of discussion during the three day visit due to its high importance to NATO countries and Australia. The sea is a lifeline for transport, communications, energy and trade and it needs to kept open and secure. Intensified cooperation on maritime security would be beneficial for both Australia and NATO.

After giving a presentation at the Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies on Future NATO, General Bartels took the opportunity to lay a wreath at the National War Memorial for all those who have died in service for their country, “I was honoured to lay a wreath during the beautiful ceremony and pay my deepest respect to those soldiers’ who paid the ultimate price for our freedom and security”.

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Paul Morand: Nations never lay down their arms; death which is still combative

February 20, 2015 Leave a comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Paul Morand: The magic disappearance of ten millions of war dead

Paul Morand: The War for Righteousness ends in the burying of moral sense

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Paul Morand
From The Living Buddha (1928)
Translated by Madeleine Boyd

???????

“Life is bad, Monseigneur, but everybody is attached to it.”

“Why?”

“Because we are rich in reasons for being alive. To covet is the first. A thing is worth something in our eyes when it belongs to someone else. It is cupidity which once upon a time threw the bourgeois upon the nobles and to-day the people upon the bourgeois; the strong upon the weak; the young against the old; the women against the men. Everything crashes with us and that may be why there are so many flashes of lightning…What is true of the West is true of the nations. They never lay down their arms. Some perish, are devoured, others wounded. Some stopped, seized with uneasiness. A few hours before, they looked healthy, with gold in their banks, with allies and invincible armies: now they are down, their strength ebbing through new or old wounds; their unguided mechanism goes on functioning in emptiness, producing, perhaps, or poisoning. Proud, hardened to suffering, those nations are the last to doubt their own power, and they are wrong. Look at England.”

“Then there are illnesses of nations?” asked the Prince.

“There is also old age of nations; constitutions that are too old; arterio-sclerotic administrations; no money for medicines and a senile taste for economy; a horror of fresh air; alcohol at all the street corners and no milk; soon, disordered reflexes, a panic of healthy organs at the expense of others; prostration, a delirium of persecution; poverty. I have seen that a short while ago.”

“Where?”

“In France, Monseigneur, in my own country.”

“And afterwards?”

“Afterwards comes general paralysis and death.

“Of course, life is an illness we all die of; but what one sees there is death without rest, death which is still combative, an end without hope, a shout which is suddenly choked, an interrupted curse…”

Categories: Uncategorized

U.S. Air Force Leads NATO Reinforcement Against Russia

February 19, 2015 1 comment

U.S. Air Forces in Europe
U.S. Air Force Africa

February 18, 2015

Theater security package begins rotation in Europe
By Airman 1st Class Luke Kitterman
52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

image

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany: The 3rd Air Force commander announced the beginning of the U.S. Air Force’s first European theater security package Feb. 18, 2015, at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Darryl Roberson, 3rd Air Force and 17th Expeditionary Air Force commander, addressed media, local authorities and the 52nd Fighter Wing while welcoming the 354th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron at the start of the first European TSP rotation.

According to an initial release by U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa, the squadron will fly with NATO allies and support Operation Atlantic Resolve. OAR is a demonstration of U.S. European Command and USAFE-AFAFRICA’s continued commitment to the collective security of NATO and dedication to the enduring peace and stability in the region.

Twelve U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft and approximately 300 Airmen from the 355th Fighter Wing at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., are supporting this rotation. The unit will train alongside NATO allies and deploy to locations in Eastern European NATO nations to further enhance interoperability.

“This TSP is a long range, strategic capability to allow the Air Force greater flexibility against evolving threats,” Roberson said. “It is not tied to a specific platform or aircraft, but instead is a method of presenting forces at the right time to the right combatant commander. Our abilities must remain agile to sustain and increase regional security.”

Depending on mission and EUCOM requirements, rotations of TSPs will generally last six months. While TSP missions are new to Europe, the Air Force has been conducting TSP rotations in the Pacific since 2004.

“This operation will remain a construct here in Europe as long as it is needed,” Roberson said. “The Airmen of the 354th EFS are ready to give quick support and quick defense. They will continue to reassure our allies the U.S. commitment to NATO.”

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO Uses Afghan War Experience For Combat Readiness Against Russia

February 19, 2015 1 comment

Stars and Stripes
February 19, 2015

NATO combat readiness to be put to test in 2015
By John Vandiver

image

At NATO’s Allied Land Command on Thursday, U.S. Army Lt. Gen. John Nicholson was overseeing what only a year ago could have been viewed as just a mundane classroom training exercise.

Nicholson and his command team in Izmir, Turkey, were busy getting a group of military members ready to head out into the field. Not to conduct war games themselves, but to observe alliance armies that were being put to the test.

“Our evaluators have to be trained, and that’s what we’re doing this week,” Nicholson said in a telephone interview with Stars and Stripes.

But today, such training occurs as NATO is shifting from a decade fighting a counterinsurgency campaign in Afghanistan to confronting security concerns in Europe’s own backyard, a notion that only a year ago might have been viewed as throwback to the Cold War.

Now, Russian aggression in Ukraine [sic] and concerns along NATO’s southern flank, where the rise of the Islamic State has parts of Europe on edge, has revitalized the alliance. For NATO Land Command, that means getting the alliance’s ground forces to work effectively together to respond to any threat or crisis, Nicholson said.

“The political guidance has lined up. The military structure is lined up, and the focus and energy is all lined up,” Nicholson said. “These threats to the stability of the world around us, especially to the east and the south, have clearly energized the political and military leadership of the alliance to enact these improvements to readiness and responsiveness of the alliance.”

From Greece and Spain to Turkey and Germany, NATO’s Land Command will be spending much of the year dispatching teams of combat evaluators to test the readiness of the alliance’s ground fighters.

In Izmir this week, NATO military personnel from across the 28-nation alliance have been busy learning skills needed to measure the effectiveness of alliance armies.

A key challenge for the militaries is overcoming communication barriers, Nicholson said — difficulties that are less about language and more about technology.

The command is now working on ways to get around the problem, taking lessons learned from NATO’s experience in Afghanistan, such as networks at the higher headquarters level to enable commands to communicate with one another.

Still, there are challenges when forces operate at the lower unit level that require special attention. For example, in Afghanistan national militaries generally occupied their own battle space and didn’t have to integrate with other military communication systems. NATO needs to prepare for a future in which it can field multinational formations down at the tactical level. That means finding effective and secure ways to consistently communicate during an operation, as when calling in fire support, Nicholson said.

Those efforts are expected to help bolster NATO readiness, which alliance leaders in Brussels have singled out as NATO’s prime focus coming out of Afghanistan. “It’s a pretty comprehensive effort across the alliance to improve readiness,” Nicholson said.

Categories: Uncategorized

Kiev Junta Reports Heavy Government Casualties In Debaltseve

February 19, 2015 Leave a comment

Interfax-Ukraine
February 19, 2015

Thirteen soldiers killed, 157 wounded when leaving Debaltseve – Ukraine’s General Staff

Thirteen Ukrainian military were killed and another 157 wounded when Ukrainian military units left Debaltseve, the press service for the Ukrainian General Staff reported on Thursday.

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Interfax-Ukraine
February 19, 2015

Over 90 Ukrainian troops captured near Debaltseve, 82 missing – Ukrainian Defense Ministry

Over 90 Ukrainian military servicemen have been captured in the Debaltseve area, and the whereabouts of 82 others has yet to be determined, the Ukrainian armed forces’ General Staff reported on Thursday.

“Engaging in uneven confrontation with the enemy forces at one of the frontline sections of the Debaltseve foothold, over 90 servicemen of the Ukrainian armed forces were captured. The General Staff is also searching for 82 soldiers whose whereabouts is unknown at the moment,” the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said in a statement available on its website.

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Interfax-Ukraine
February 19, 2015

Ukrainian troops claim 14 killed, 172 injured in hostilities over past 24 hours

Over past 24 hours, 14 Ukrainian military were killed and 172 were injured in the fighting in the military operation zone, anti-terrorist operation (ATO) spokesman Andriy Lysenko reported.

“We lost 14 Ukrainian soldiers, 172 received injuries,” he said at a briefing in Kyiv on Thursday.

Categories: Uncategorized

Richard Aldington: The criminal cant and rant of war

February 19, 2015 Leave a comment

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Richard Aldington: The Blood of the Young Men

Richard Aldington: Selections on war

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Richard Aldington
From Death of a Hero (1929)

aldingtonnpgport

All this time the war was drawing steadily nearer. Probably it had become certain since 1911, though most people were taken unawares. Why did it happen? Who was responsible? Questions which have been interminably debated already and will furnish exultant historians with controversial material for generations to come. Already one foresees the creation of Chairs in the History of the First World War, to be set up in whatever civilised countries remain in existence after the next one. But for us the debate is vain, as vain as the pathetic and reiterated enquiry, “Where did I catch this horrible cold?” If any body or bodies engineered this catastrophe they must have been gratified by its shattering success. Few lives indeed in the belligerent countries remained unaffected by it, and in most cases the effect was unpleasant. Adult lives were cut sharply into three sections – pre-war, war, and post-war. It is curious – perhaps not so curious – how many people will tell you that whole areas of their pre-war lives have become obliterated from their memories. Pre-war seems like pre-history…

Talleyrand used to say that those who had not known Europe before 1789 had never known the real pleasure of living. No one would dare to substitute 1914 for 1789 in that sentence. But such a wholesale shattering of values had certainly not occurred since 1789. God knows how many governments and rulers crashed down in the earthquake, and those which remain are agitatedly trying to preserve their existence by the time-honoured method of repression and persecution. And yet 1914 was greeted as a great release, a purgation from the vices supposed to be engendered by peace! My God! Three days of glory engender more vices and misery than all the alleged corruptors of humanity could achieve in a millennium. Les jeunes would be amazed if they read the nauseous poppycock which was written in 1914-15 in England, and doubtless in all the belligerent countries, except France, where practically nothing was printed at all. (However, the French have made up handsomely for the loss since then.) “Our splendid troops” were to come home – oh, very soon – purged and ennobled by slaughter and lice, and were to beget even nobler fellows to go and do likewise…

***

It was the régime of Cant before the War which made the Cant during the War so damnably possible and easy. On our coming of age the Victorians generously handed us a charming little cheque for fifty guineas – fifty-one months of hell, and the results. Charming people, weren’t they? Virtuous and farsighted. But it wasn’t their fault? They didn’t make the War? It was Prussia, and Prussian militarism? Right you are, right ho! Who made Prussia a great power and subsidized Frederick the Second to do it, thereby snatching an empire from France? England. Who backed up Prussia against Austria, and Bismarck against Napoleon III? England. And whose Cant governed England in the nineteenth century? But never mind this domestic squabble of mine – put it that I mean the “Victorians” of all nations.

One human mind cannot hold, one memory retain, one pen portray the limitless Cant, Delusion, and Delirium let loose on the world during those four years. It surpasses the most fantastic imagination. It was incredible – and I suppose that was why it was believed. It was the supreme and tragic climax of Victorian Cant, for after all the Victorians were still in full blast in 1914, and had pretty much the control of everything. Did they appeal to us honestly, and say: “We have made a colossal and tragic error, we have involved you and all of us in a huge war; it’s too late to stop it; you must come and help us, and we promise to take the first opportunity of making peace and making it thoroughly”? They did not. They said that they didn’t want to us, but they thought WE ought to go; they said our King and Country needed us; they said they’d kiss us when we come home (merci! effect of the Entente Cordiale?); they said one of the most civilized nations in the world were “Huns”: they invented Cadaver factories; they asserted that a race of men notorious during generations for their kindliness were habitual baby-butchers, rapers of women, crucifiers of prisoners; they said the “Huns” were sneaks and cowards and skedaddlers, but failed to explain why it took fifty-one months to beat their hopelessly out-numbered armies; they said that they were fighting for the Liberty of the World, and everywhere there is less liberty; they said they would Never sheath the Sword until etcetera, and this sort of criminal rant was called Pisgah-Heights of Patriotism…They said…Why go on? It is desolating, desolating. And then they wonder why the young are cynical and despairing and angry and chaotic! And they still have adherents, who still dare to go on preaching to us. Quick! A shrine to the goddesses Cant and Imprudence…

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NATO Chief: Warplanes Over Baltic States, Warships Off Coast, Troops On Ground

February 18, 2015 3 comments

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Febuary 18, 2015

Opening remarks
By NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the joint press point with the Latvian President

Thank you, Mr. President, for your warm welcome. We just had an excellent discussion.

I want to commend Latvia for the leading role you are playing in European affairs.

You currently hold the EU Presidency.

You play a key role in NATO’s eastern defences. And you have kindly offered to host one of our new command and control units on your territory. All these contributions are very welcome.

I want to reassure you that NATO stands shoulder to shoulder with Latvia.

The Alliance’s responsibility is to protect and defend each and every Ally against any threat. And NATO’s support for its eastern Allies, including Latvia, was confirmed at the recent NATO Defence Ministers’ meeting in Brussels.

Here, more progress was made in implementing our Readiness Action Plan, including establishing an enhanced NATO response force and a very high readiness Spearhead Force.

In addition we continue with assurance measures.

NATO aircraft continue to police Baltic skies. NATO ships continue to patrol the Baltic Sea.

NATO forces continue to exercise on the ground.

During these challenging times, it is important that NATO Allies spend more on defence, and spend better.

And again I want to commend Latvia for your commitment to raise defence expenditure in line with the pledge that we made in Wales.

Mr. President, I thank Latvia for all your work during these difficult times.

We also spoke about the conflict in Ukraine.

The Minsk agreement is the best opportunity for a lasting peaceful solution.

What really matters now is implementation of the ceasefire and the Minsk agreement.

Today I am deeply concerned by the deteriorating situation in and around Debaltseve.

The refusal of the separatists to respect the cease-fire threatens the agreement.

As does their denial of access to the area for the OSCE monitors.

Russian forces, artillery and air defence units as well as command and control elements are still active in Ukraine.

Russia has supported the separatists with forces, training and advanced weapons.

And there has been a steady buildup of tanks and armoured vehicles across the border from Russia to Ukraine.

I urge Russia to end its support for the separatists.

And withdraw its forces and military equipment from eastern Ukraine in accordance with the Minsk agreement.

The separatists should halt all attacks immediately.

And allow OSCE monitors full access.

I support the call by the UN Security Council to all parties to implement their Minsk commitments.

We continue to believe that this agreement is the best way forward to a political solution to the conflict in Ukraine.

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Ukraine Approves NATO Cooperation Program, New “Berlin Wall”

February 18, 2015 2 comments

Interfax-Ukraine
February 18, 2015

Ukraine approves NATO cooperation

The Ukrainian Cabinet has approved a 2015 program for cooperation with NATO, Deputy Prime Minister Hennadiy Zubko has told reporters.

When asked whether the NATO cooperation program had been approved, he said: “Yes, it has.”

He also said that on Wednesday the Cabinet approved a program to construct a wall which aims to reinforce the country’s border with Russia.

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Ukrainian Junta Chief Asks Washington For (More) Military Assistance

February 18, 2015 Leave a comment

Interfax-Ukraine
February 18, 2015

Poroshenko asking for military assistance from Washington

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on phone that militants are not observing the ceasefire in Donbas, which is stipulated by Minsk agreements, the Ukrainian press service said.

Poroshenko insisted on taking immediate action to stop the escalation of the crisis and the disruption of the Minsk agreements, it said.

“He also urged the U.S. to put into practice previous statements on providing Ukraine with extra resources to reinforce its defensive capability,” it said.

Biden assured Poroshenko of U.S. support for Ukraine and agreed with the Ukrainian president to regularly coordinate actions between Ukraine, the U.S., Germany, and France and also within the UN and OSCE framework.

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Russia Warns Against “Dragging Georgia Into NATO”

February 18, 2015 Leave a comment

Civil Georgia
February 18, 2015

Moscow Warns Against ‘Dragging Georgia into NATO’

Tbilisi: Russia will take measures to prevent “negative effect” of “never-ending attempts to drag Tbilisi into NATO,” Foreign Minister of Russia, Sergey Lavrov, said on February 18.

Speaking at a news conference after meeting with foreign minister of breakaway South Ossetia in Moscow, Lavrov reiterated Moscow’s long-standing insistence on the need for Georgia to sign with Sokhumi and Tskhinvali “legally binding” non-use of force agreements.

“This issue is of special relevance against the background of never-ending attempts to drag Tbilisi into NATO,” Lavrov said.

“We were unanimous [with South Ossetian foreign minister] that it will not contribute to the efforts of securing stability in the Trans-Caucasus and if these steps gain practical shape – and judging by all signs it is already starting to happen – we will of course take measures in order not to allow negative effect of these processes on the situation,” the Russian Foreign Minister added.

Russia’s permanent representative at NATO, Alexander Grushko, said earlier in February that NATO’s intention to establish a training center in Georgia is a “provocative” step. “Emergence of NATO military facilities in Georgia is a step towards escalation of tension and worsening of regional security,” Grushko said.

Speaking at a news conference after signing an agreement on “the state border” with foreign minister of breakaway South Ossetia, David Sanakoev, Lavrov also said this agreement should finally lay to rest speculation as if Russia intends to annex South Ossetia.

Moscow and Tskhinvali are also preparing a new treaty on “alliance and integration”, which Tbilisi condemns as “de facto annexation” of the region by Russia.

Draft of the planned treaty on “alliance and integration” between Moscow and Tskhinvali, will formalize merger of the breakaway region’s many key structures with those of the Russian Federation. According to the draft treaty defense, security, and customs agencies of the breakaway region should become part of relevant ministries and agencies of Russia. Border crossing point at Roki tunnel, which links the breakaway region with Russia, will be removed, according to the draft.

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U.S. Marines Continue Operations With Black Sea Rotational Force In Romania

February 18, 2015 Leave a comment

U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa
February 13, 2015

U.S. Marines continue operations with Black Sea Rotational Force in Romania
Story by Sgt. S.T. Stewart

MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU, Romania: The final wave of U.S. Marines from 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment arrived on deck to join the rest of the approximate 500 troops comprising Black Sea Rotational Force 15 who assumed authority from BSRF 14, at Mihail Kogalniceanu, Feb. 9.

The Marine rotational force will continue providing theater security cooperation with NATO allies and partners in Eastern Europe, an enduring mission for the Marine Corps since 2010.

“We appreciate the professionalism and devotion of all who participated,” said Romanian Brig. Gen. Dorin Ionita, Chief of Training and Doctrine of the Romanian Land Forces. “This type of exercise represents the interoperability of the Romanian Land Forces. Thank you to BSRF 14 and good luck to BSRF 15.”

Black Sea Rotational Force 15 is able to respond to a broad range of military operations in the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe area of responsibility, including crisis and contingency response, U.S. Embassy reinforcement, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, along with building allied and partner military capacity.

During the six-month deployment, the Marines and sailors with BSRF 15 are scheduled to conduct more than 50 military-to-military engagements and the multilateral and “Platinum” series exercises.

The outgoing rotation of Black Sea Rotational Force committed to Operation Atlantic Resolve and conducted eight multilateral exercises, six being the Platinum Series, in Romania, Bulgaria and Serbia that demonstrated NATO allied and partner-nation commitment to collective security. In total, BSRF 14 conducted 32 military-to-military engagements, training with U.S. Embassies in Sofia, Bulgaria, and Bucharest, Romania, and more than 35 community relations engagements.

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Romania: U.S. Deploys Troops In Military Buildup Against Russia

February 18, 2015 Leave a comment

Romania-Insider
February 11, 2015

The U.S. brings 250 soldiers in Romanian base as Russia warns it might neutralise the county’s military targets

Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis informed the Senate that he approved the temporary deployment of up to 250 American soldiers in the Mihail Kogalniceanu military base in Eastern Romania, according to Mediafax.

The U.S. has been using the military base, which is close to the Black Sea Port of Constanta, and the Mihail Kogalniceanu International Airport to transport troops and equipment to and from its military operation in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The President also approved the a request from the U.S. to use the Henri Coanda International Airport in Otopeni, Romania’s largest airport, as an alternative for its multimodal transport operations, in 2015, in case weather conditions make it impossible to use the Kogalniceanu airport.

The American military presence in Romania has become more visible in recent years. The most important U.S. project in Romania is the missile defense base in Deveselu, which should become operational this year.

NATO also announced it will open two command and control centers in Romania, which will contribute to strengthening the Alliance’s Eastern flank.

All these operations have determined adverse reactions from Russia, which sees the U.S. and NATO bases in Romania as threats. A Russian military expert recently said that military objectives in Romania might become targets for Russia, in case the situation in Ukraine degenerates into a military conflict between NATO and Russia.

“If Romania will let itself drawn into such a confrontation, then it’s likely that a series of military objectives in Romania will become targets that will be neutralised with different types of weapons (by Russia – e.n.),” said Vladimir Evseev, director of the Center for Public Policy and Military Research in Moscow, in an interview for the Romanian national television.

He said that Russia is training troops in Crimea capable of neutralising all possible threats. Russia thinks that the military bases that will be set up in Romania won’t be able to launch just anti-ballistic rockets, but also cruise missiles.

“Russia will be forced to react not only to these command centers, but also to arsenals and any other military infrastructure. We know that Romania can also have an offensive potential, this is why we will seek ways to annihilate the Romanian military fleet,” he explained.

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Poland Launches $42-Billion War Buildup

February 18, 2015 Leave a comment

Sofia News Agency
February 16, 2015

Poland Embarks on Massive Spending to Overhaul Military Hardware

NATO member Poland, bordering conflict-torn Ukraine, has earmarked a whopping EUR 33.6 B in spending to modernise its armed forces.

The plans will bring Poland in line with NATO’s recommended defense spending target of 2% of gross domestic product, AFP said on Monday.

The planned overhaul over a decade calls for the purchase of new military hardware including anti-aircraft systems, an anti-missile system as well as combat drones, armored personnel carriers and submarines.

Poland’s shopping list also includes helicopters and cruise missiles for submarines and drones.

According to Polish officials, “the risk of the conflict in eastern Ukraine heating up remains” even though a ceasefire agreement between the government in Kiev and pro-Russian separatists was signed last week in Belarus’ capital Minsk.

“The possibility of a lasting peace still isn’t close,” AFP quoted Poland’s President Bronislaw Komorowski as saying last week.

Defence Minister Tomasz Siemoniak said last week that Poland was drawing up a long-term plan to shift some of its military strength towards its eastern border, closer to Ukraine and Russia, in response to Moscow’s involvement in Ukraine.

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H.G. Wells: When war comes home

February 18, 2015 Leave a comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

H.G. Wells: Selections on war

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H.G. Wells
From Mr. Britling Sees It Through (1916)

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In this fashion it was that the great war began in Europe and came to one man in Matching’s Easy, as it came to countless intelligent men in countless pleasant homes that had scarcely heeded its coming through all the years of its relentless preparation. The familiar scenery of life was drawn aside, and War stood unveiled. “I am the Fact,” said War, “and I stand astride the path of life. I am the threat of death and extinction that has always walked beside life, since life began. There can be nothing else and nothing more in human life until you have reckoned with me.”

***

He had always hated conflict and destruction, and felt that war between civilised states was the quintessential expression of human failure, it was a stupidity that stopped progress and all the free variation of humanity, a thousand times he had declared it impossible, but even now with his country fighting he was still far from realising that this was a thing that could possibly touch him more than intellectually. He did not really believe with his eyes and finger-tips and backbone that murder, destruction, and agony on a scale monstrous beyond precedent was going on in the same world as that which slumbered outside the black ivy and silver shining window-sill that framed his peaceful view.

War had not been a reality of the daily life of England for more than a thousand years. The mental habit of the nation for fifty generations was against its emotional recognition. The English were the spoilt children of peace. They had never been wholly at war for three hundred years, and for over eight hundred years they had not fought for life against a foreign power. Spain and France had threatened in turn, but never even crossed the seas. It is true that England had had her civil dissensions and had made wars and conquests in every part of the globe and established an immense empire…

***

“I tell you I never knew there was such a thing as war until this happened to me. In America we don’t know there is such a thing. It’s like pestilence and famine; something in the story books. We’ve forgotten it for anything real. There’s just a few grandfathers go around talking about it. Judge Holmes and sage old fellows like him. Otherwise it’s just a game the kids play at…And then suddenly here’s everybody running about in the streets – hating and threatening – and nice old gentlemen with white moustaches and fathers of families scheming and planning to burn houses and kill and hurt and terrify. And nice young women, too, looking for an Englishman to spit at; I tell you I’ve been within range and very uncomfortable several times…And what one can’t believe is that they are really doing these things…”

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After Ukraine, Nuland To “Euro-Atlantic Integrate” Georgia

February 17, 2015 Leave a comment

Trend News Agency
February 17, 2015

US Assistant Secretary of State to discuss Georgia’s integration during visit
By Nana Kirtzkhalia

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Nuland as U.S. ambassador to NATO in 2006

Tbilisi, Georgia: US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland will visit Georgia as part of a regional tour on February 17.

During the visit she will meet with Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, Foreign Minister Tamar Beruchashvili, Defense Minister Mindia Janelidze and Minister of Justice Tea Tsulukiani, the Georgian foreign ministry told Trend.

Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili will receive Nuland. She will also meet with the opposition leaders and civil society representatives.

Georgia’s integration into the European and Euro-Atlantic organizations, the situation in the country and the region, problems and challenges, as well as Georgia’s efforts on protecting its sovereignty and territorial integrity will be considered at the official meetings.

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NATO Allies: U.S. Troops In Turkey To Train Armed Gangs Against Syria

February 17, 2015 1 comment

Trend News Agency
February 17, 2015

Turkey, US reach agreement to train Syrian opposition groups

Following almost nine months of negotiations between Turkey and the U.S., NATO allies reached an agreement on training and equipping moderate Syrian opposition groups that fight to topple the regime of President Bashar Assad, Daily Sabah reported.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgiç said that the agreement protocol, which is designed to train the Free Syrian Army (FSA), will be signed at a meeting in the U.S.

Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz is expected to meet U.S. officials at the White House Summit on Violent Extremism on Wednesday or Thursday. Bilgiç said that once the protocol is signed, practical steps will be taken at a time no further than next month.

The FSA has long been asking for more assistance in its fight against the Assad regime. There has been heavy fighting recently in northern Syria. The FSA still control parts of Aleppo, though government and its allied forces have been closing in.

The program is expected to start in March and will reportedly last three years. After this time, a total of 15,000 Syrian opposition fighters are expected to have been trained in Turkey, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Turkey is expected to host around 100 U.S. soldiers connected to the training. Turkey will also directly train between 500 and 2,000 opposition fighters a year.

Following a visit to Ankara by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on Nov. 22, 2014, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and he agreed on Turkey’s efforts to train and equip moderate Syrian opposition forces protecting their communities.

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NATO To Establish Command Center In Lithuania Within Months

February 17, 2015 Leave a comment

Xinhua News Agency
February 18, 2015

NATO to establish command center in Lithuania in summer

VILNIUS: A NATO command center in Lithuania will be established in the summer, General Hans-Lothar Domrose, commander of Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum, said during his visit here on Tuesday.

The top general held discussions on security issues and NATO’s presence in the region with heads of the Lithuanian army.

According to Domrose, the final decision on command centers would be made by defense ministers from NATO member countries in June, but in terms of military preparedness Lithuania was ready.

“Today, I saw an excellent readiness for the establishment of NATO force integration unit in Lithuania. In my view, this staff in Lithuania will be established in the summer and will reach its full capacity this year,” the general was quoted as saying in a press release from the Ministry of National Defense of Lithuania.

“We are on the right track,” he added.

According to Domrose, around 40 officers will work at the command center, with around half of them being Lithuanians and others being sent from other NATO member countries.

Two weeks ago, defense ministers from NATO member countries agreed on posting international military staff in Lithuania and five other Central and Eastern European countries in response to new security threats in the region.

During his visit, Domrose emphasized that this year there will be more NATO military force exercises in the region. Military exercises are to be attended not only by U.S. soldiers but also by the forces of Portugal, Germany, the Netherlands and Hungary, according to Lithuania’s national television LRT.

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Trigger For NATO Intervention? Ukrainian Forces Face Destruction

February 17, 2015 1 comment

UNIAN
February 17, 2015

40th battalion near Debaltseve almost surrounded, pleads for reinforcements

Even as military officials in Kyiv denied on Tuesday that Ukrainian troops in the town of Debaltseve were surrounded by Russian-backed militant forces, reports from the soldiers themselves sent to the media indicated that the situation they face in the war-torn Donbas town is dire.

According to a report made by phone to Ukrainian newspaper LB.ua by Yuriy Sinkovsky, the deputy commander of Ukraine’s 40th Battalion, his troops have been practically surrounded by the militants for the last two days.

“The situation is critical and outrageous. The OSCE representatives did not arrive as promised yesterday, [and] the guys are almost completely surrounded,” Sinkovsky told the newspaper.

“[We’re] waiting for reinforcements from the General Staff or OSCE representatives,” said Sinkovsky, who said he was in contact with all of the soldiers on the ground.

“Support has still failed to come. Fighting is underway. There are prisoners. [The bodies of killed] and [wounded soldiers] cannot be evacuated from the checkpoints. The roads have been mined. All the rest [of my troops] are sitting, watching, waiting for the battalion to be killed.”

According to Sinkovsky, fighting is raging at all of the defensive positions that are held by his battalion.

“The guys are holding their positions, defending them bravely, but ammunition is running out,” Sinkovsky said.

“There is almost no food left. Morale is weakening due to [the command’s] attitude – no reinforcements, no OSCE representatives. Attacks and firefights are under way. The guys on the ground are not going to retreat and give up. But the enemy forces are much stronger. We’re getting exhausted.”

Sinkovsky said the Ukrainian troops are still hoping for assistance from the General Staff, reinforcements, a counter-offensive, or the deployment of OSCE representatives to report about the situation to the whole country.

“But it is unacceptable just to watch [my troops] dying,” Sinkovsky said.

When contacted by UNIAN, the headquarters of the government’s Anti-Terrorist Operation was not able to clarify what measures have been undertaken to help the 40th Battalion.

“I have no information about the 40th Battalion now,” ATO spokesperson Andriy Lysenko said when describing the general situation in Debaltseve.

Earlier it was reported that fierce fighting continues in the areas around Debaltseve, while the Ukrainian military claimed to have regained control over the village of Logvinovo to the north of Debaltseve, on the road leading into the town. A military spokesman claimed food and ammunition was being sent to the soldiers in Debaltseve, and rotations of combat units were underway.

Meanwhile, journalist Olga Germanova said in a posting on Facebook made just before 1400 Kyiv time that she had received a plea for help from Ukrainian soldiers in the village of Komuna, immediately to the west of the town of Debaltseve.

She said the soldiers had told her that they could continue to hold their positions in Komuna for a maximum of 12 more hours, and that they feared that they would all be killed if no reinforcements arrived to help them.

And according to a Facebook posting made earlier on Tuesday by Ukrainian journalist Andriy Tsaplienko, the Russian-backed militants have seized the railway station and the local police department in Debaltseve itself.

The fact that there was fighting at the railway station was confirmed by ATO spokesperson Lysenko at a briefing in Kyiv on Tuesday.

Photographs have been posted on the Internet allegedly showing Ukrainian army equipment abandoned in Debaltseve. UNIAN is unable to confirm their veracity.

Earlier, the Ukrainian military denied reports that its troops in Debaltseve had been surrounded by the Russian-backed militants. However, journalists and a team of OSCE observers have been unable to reach the town, with both sides saying it is not safe for them to go there.

A ceasefire in the Donbas was supposed to have come into effect on midnight on Sunday, but Russian-backed militants have continued to attack the Ukrainian forces in the town, according to multiple reports from the area.

Representatives of the militant organizations in the Donbas, whose leaders signed an agreement on a ceasefire in the Donbas at last week’s peace conference in Minsk, said on Monday that Debaltseve is not covered in the agreement, as it is not specifically named in the text.

The failure to secure a ceasefire has stalled the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the front line between the two sides. Both sides were supposed to have pulled back heavy weapons within 48 hours of the ceasefire, but neither has, and fighting has continued.
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UNIAN
February 17, 2015

Debaltseve almost surrounded, says journalist

Debaltseve is practically surrounded by Russian-backed militants and it is impossible to enter or to leave the town safely, Anastasia Bereza, a journalist working for the Ukrainian political weekly magazine Novoe Vremya, reported from near the besieged town on Tuesday.

According to the journalist, Ukrainian military units have been able to enter and leave the town, but with great difficulty and with losses.

“Today the situation is much worse than yesterday,” Bereza reported.

“Firing from both sides has increased. In addition, there is very heavy shelling, more powerful than Grad multiple launch rocket systems. According to the soldiers who are directly in the area of Debaltseve, it would be possible to change the situation only by using the serious forces of the mechanized brigades.”

The headquarters of the Anti-Terrorist Operation claimed earlier that the Ukrainian military continue to control Debaltseve and Logvinovo. However, the General Staff confirmed that Russian-backed militants had entered Debaltseve and were engaged in street battles with the Ukrainian armed forces.


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UNIAN
February 17, 2015

Report: Soldiers near Debaltseve ask for help, say they could all be killed

Soldiers of Ukraine’s Kyivska Rus battalion said on Tuesday they would be able to maintain their positions near Debaltseve for a maximum of 12 hours, and without reinforcements they may all be killed, journalist Olga Germanova has reported on her Facebook page.

Earlier it was reported that fierce fighting continues in the areas around Debaltseve, while the Ukrainian military claimed to have regained control over the village of Logvinovo.

Germanova said in her posting, made just before 1400 Kyiv time, that she had received a plea for help from Ukrainian soldiers in the village of Komuna, immediately to the west of the town of Debaltseve.

According to a Facebook posting made on Tuesday by Ukrainian journalist Andriy Tsaplienko, the Russian-backed militants have seized the railway station and the local police department in Debaltseve itself.

The fact that there was fighting at the railway station was confirmed by ATO spokesperson Andriy Lysenko at a briefing in Kyiv on Tuesday.

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NATO Expansion: Pentagon’s “Long-Term Security Commitments” In Baltic

February 17, 2015 Leave a comment

Xinhua News Agency
February 13, 2015

New Lithuanian-U.S. defense treaty to be signed this year

VILNIUS: Lithuanian and the U.S. defense officials have agreed to sign a new pact of defense cooperation this year, announced Lithuanian defense ministry on Thursday.

According to the statement from the ministry, the agreement was reached during the ministry’s defence policy director Vaidotas Urbelis’ visit to the U.S. and meetings with the U. S. defense officials.

According to the ministry, the new agreement is to define the status of U.S. forces deployed in Lithuania, investments in its infrastructure and joint defense projects to develop Lithuania’s defense capabilities.

“This is a message that lets us think the United States is prepared to assume long-term security commitments in Lithuania,” said Urbelis in a press release.

During his visit, Urbelis met with Elissa Slotkin, the assistant secretary of the defense for international security affairs of U.S. department of defense.

Both sides agreed that NATO has to strengthen its presence in Eastern Europe responding to the security challenges in the region. Urbelis informed the U.S. colleague that Lithuania is completely prepared for deployment of allied forces in Lithuania.

According to Lithuanian defense ministry, both sides agreed to consolidate efforts in assisting Ukraine.

We have to unite our efforts in strengthening the Ukrainian Armed Forces,” said Urbelis.

He emphasized that Lithuanian embassy in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, serves as the NATO Contact Point Embassy.

Lithuanian and U.S. security cooperation took first steps in 1998 when U.S. and three Baltic states signed the Charter of Partnership. The document ensured U.S. support for the Baltic States’ eventual NATO membership.

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Leonid Leonov: Tell me, is it right to kill – in war or anyhow?

February 17, 2015 Leave a comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Russian writers on war

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Leonid Leonov
From The Thief (1927)
Translated by Hubert Butler

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“…They used to practice the read death in our parts. Have you heard of it?”

“I read about it in some book…the old men used to be suffocated with a red bolster…some kind of sect, wasn’t it?”

“Not only old men,” Agey waved his hand and cast down his eyes. “But the folk in our parts are quiet and peaceable. The hares come and play close to the houses. The bolster business…that all happened in old times…in any case, what do the bolsters matter? What’s the difference whether one smothers a man with a bolster or shoots him with a gun or hacks him to pieces with a sword or poisons him with poison gas? One might even say it’s softer with a bolster: it’s even a pleasure, if the other party’s agreeable. They say that the professor who invented this poison gas hasn’t been shot yet, but he is still running about…”

***

“You’re a brainy chap with those spectacles. Tell me, is it right to kill – in war or anyhow? While my father had me in his pocket, I used to think that one might kill anything up to a mouse, but nothing higher than that. I had wisdom bitten into my ear. I was a dreamy chap…In the night I used to get up and read, but in the war my mind went off the rails. It was during an attack – a hellish spot called Ferdinand’s Nose, a hill full of holes. I went ahead and cut the wire in two and ran in, and up against me came an Austrian officer with a red nose. He rushed at me with his sword, but I took a jab at him with my bayonet. Then I lifted up the butt of my rifle, and he looked at me as you are doing now, in a pleading kind of way. I saw his eyes growing dull. What did they want, Fyodor Fyodorich? And it’s true if a chap hits you with the butt of a rifle, it isn’t in the butt the death is, but in his eyes. When he winked at me I thought…’You’re cheating,’ though I. ‘You want to get into me with your eyes.’…And I screwed up my eyes, too.”

“It’s unbearably hot here,” murmured Firsov, who was streaming with sweat, and he got up from his chair.

“Sit down!” Agey ordered him, and pushed his knees down. “A little afterward there was a parade. Our general gave me a cross and praised me, and I began to think of the young hawk. ‘But, your serene excellency,’ said I. “I killed a man.’ I was stupid, I suppose, eh? I’m almost ashamed of telling it. And he screamed in my face: ‘You fool! If anyone gives you anything, well, you’ve earned it.’ For this bit of back chat I was under arrest for three days – quite the hero! – but I didn’t care a damn! ‘That’s easy work,’ thought I, ‘and I get distinguished for it into the bargain!’ In the end I got a taste for it. I did in seven of them with my bayonet at every attack, and I longed for each attack as if it was Easter Sunday. Once I hacked a man’s hand off, and brought it to the commandant. Another time I killed a dead man a second time: he was sitting by a gun carriage, and I gave him one just for the love of the thing. And when I’d learned to stomach it, I had a high old time with medals and crosses…”

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German Army Trains Georgian Troops For War-Readiness

February 16, 2015 Leave a comment

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
February 16, 2015

German Infantry Training Center Representatives Visit Georgia

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The delegation of German Infantry Training Centre pays a three day working visit to Georgia. Today, the German visitors headed by the Commander General Johannes Hagemann, held meetings with Deputy Minister of Defence Levan Girsiashvili and First Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the GAF Brigadier General Vladimer Chachibaia. The Deputy Minister thanked the foreign visitors for assistance and support provided for Georgia’s NCO Training Centre.

During the meeting, the sides focused on deepening bilateral cooperation in defence sector. The German side reaffirmed its support to Georgia’s NATO membership aspirations. The Georgian troops’ involvement in the “Resolute Support” mission in Afghanistan was also highlighted at the meeting. The German General underlined professionalism of the Georgian warriors’ who are performing the mission in Afghanistan under the command of the German forces.

During the meeting with the Brigadier General Vladimer Chachibaia, the sides drew attention to a close cooperation between the German Infantry Training Centre and the Georgian NCO Training Centre and set out the future plans.

Today, the German visitors visited Giorgi Antsukhelidze NCO Training Centre as well. The Commander of Centre LTC Lasha

Categories: Uncategorized
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