NATO Preparing “Ukraine 2015″ Exercise

May 21, 2015 1 comment

Interfax-Ukraine
May 21, 2015

Ukraine’s Emergency Service, NATO preparing for “Ukraine 2015″ exercise

A conference to plan the joint international exercise of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine and the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC) to respond to emergencies, “Ukraine 2015,” is being held in Lviv.

“The event took place in the format of a plenary meeting. During the sitting, the participants discussed the main scenario, services’ schedule, provided instructions on conducting training and discussed time indices for teams to come and participate,” reads a statement issued by the press service of the Emergency Service on Thursday.

According to Director of the Emergency Response Department at the Service, Hryhoriy Marchenko, “during the discussion we planned the joint exercise, where Ukrainian rescuers would work together with their foreign colleagues on eliminating an emergency in real conditions.”

He said that nearly 600 rescuers and 200 pieces of equipment from 30 countries are planned to be used the exercise.

In turn, Head of EADRCC Guenter Bretschneider thanked the Ukrainian representatives for his organization being invited to the exercise. He said that this will be the third time EADRCC has cooperated with Ukrainian colleagues and his organization is happy to return.

He said that some countries have already announced the participation of their teams in the training, and other participants are expected to confirm their participation soon. These teams will work together with Ukrainian rescuers despite the different languages and training standards.

The Ukrainian Emergency Service said the international exercise will be held as part of the annual national program of Ukraine-NATO cooperation for 2015 to deepen the cooperation of NATO and Ukrainian Emergency Service in civil protection of the population and procedures on preventing and responding to natural and anthropogenic emergencies.

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Top U.S. Army Commander In Europe Inspects Ukrainian Proxies

May 21, 2015 1 comment

173rd Airborne Brigade
May 18, 2015

US Army commander visits Fearless Guardian in Ukraine
Story by Sgt. Alex Skripnichuk

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YAVORIV, Ukraine: Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commander of U.S. Army Europe visited the International Peacekeeping and Security Center here May 18, 2015, with Ukrainian Land Forces Commander Lt. Gen. Anatoliy Pushniakov and U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary Dr. Evelyn Farkas to assess the first month of training between U.S. paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade and the Ukrainian National Guard’s 3029th Regiment as part of Fearless Guardian.

Fearless Guardian is the name for the Congress-approved, Departments of State and Defense initiative under the Global Security Contingency Fund-Ukraine to train and equip the newly-formed Ukrainian national guard…

“I came here to see the training,” said Hodges. “I want to see how it can be improved in the future.”

The training is a continuation of the more than 20 year-old strong training relationship between the U.S. and Ukraine, said Farkas.

In the fourth week of training, the paratroopers provided instruction on squad-level patrolling skills, as well as urban operations. The visit included observing Ukrainian guardsmen conducting a patrol in the woods and reacting to simulated contact, all while American instructors coached and offered feedback.

“The [Ukrainian] soldiers are eager to learn and have improved greatly over the last three weeks,” said Sgt. Anthony Wilson, a paratrooper assigned to 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regt., 173rd Abn. Bde.

During the visit, Hodges not only met and spoke with paratroopers and Ukrainian guardsmen, but toured the training area and viewed current capabilities and future construction plans to facilitate both training of Ukrainian forces, NATO allies and partners in future exercises.

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“I am impressed at the size of the investment Ukraine has made in the development of the IPSC,” said Hodges.

At the conclusion of the tour, Hodges met with British, Ukrainian and German media at the training site. When asked whether the presence of U.S. troops would disrupt the ceasefire under the Minsk Agreement, Hodges replied that “the U.S. is here at the invitation of the Ukrainian government. Russia is in Ukraine at no one’s invitation.”

The paratroopers from 173rd Abn. Bde. are in Ukraine for the first of several planned rotations to train Ukraine’s newly-formed national guard as part of Fearless Guardian, which is scheduled to last six months.

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Joint War: U.S. Paratroopers Support Wounded Ukrainian Soldiers

May 21, 2015 1 comment

U.S. Army Europe
May 16, 2015

Paratroopers visit wounded Ukrainian soldiers
By Sgt. Alex Skripnichuk

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YAVORIV, Ukraine: Paratroopers with the U.S. Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade visited Ukrainian wounded soldiers at the Main Military Clinical Hospital of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine May 13, 2015, in Kiev, Ukraine during a two-day visit to the U.S. Embassy.

The visit was part of a community outreach program as the paratroopers train soldiers from the Ukrainian national guard here as part of Fearless Guardian. Fearless Guardian is the name for the Congress-approved, Departments of State and Defense initiative under the Global Security Contingency Fund-Ukraine to train and equip the newly-formed Ukrainian national guard. The mission and the program of instruction come at the request of the Ukrainian government.

As a show of support for the soldiers of Ukraine, the paratroopers visited several Ukrainian soldiers wounded in the country’s anti-terrorism operations in eastern Ukraine.

“The soldiers we visited were very supportive of our presence in Ukraine,” said Capt. Kyle Robinson, a civil affairs officer with the 173rd Abn. Bde…

According to Robinson the visit is a step forward in the ongoing initiative to partner the paratroopers from the brigade with wounded soldiers of Ukraine during their time training in western Ukraine.

“I am reminded of the patriotism our Soldiers showed during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jason Fisher, a civil affairs platoon sergeant with the 173rd Abn. Bde. “Even after being injured, the Ukrainian soldiers were eager to return to their comrades.”

The paratroopers from 173rd Abn. Bde. are in Ukraine for the first of several planned rotations to train Ukraine’s newly-formed national guard as part of Fearless Guardian, which is scheduled to last 6 months.

The staff at the 1,100-patient-capacity medical facility treated more than 5,000 patients during the height of anti-terrorism operations, according to Lt. Col. Roman Kaschenko, a senior officer of the department of personnel at the hospital.

“We did more than 14,000 surgical operations in the last year,” said Kaschenko. “80 percent of which were trauma related.”

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Germany: U.S., NATO Hold 13-Nation Exercise

U.S. Army Europe
May 19, 2015

Interoperability Includes Vehicle Recovery
By PFC Chenelle Brady

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany: Soldiers participating in Combined Resolve IV came together for multinational vehicle recovery training at Hohenfels Training Area, May 16.

Utilizing different military vehicles from all over Europe gave soldiers a unique hands-on experience that they couldn’t receive at home.

Over 4,700 participants from 13 NATO and partner countries are training in Combined Resolve IV. The Combined Resolve series of exercises incorporates the U.S. Army’s Regionally Aligned Force with the European Activity Set to train with European Allies and partners. The 7th Army JMTC is the only training command outside the continental United States, providing realistic and relevant training to U.S. Army, Joint Service, NATO, allied and multinational units, and is a regular venue for some of the largest training exercises for U.S. and European Forces.

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Transdniester Blockaded: Ukraine Cancels Five Military Accords With Russia

Xinhua News Agency
May 21, 2015

Ukraine withdraws from 5 military accords with Russia

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KIEV: The Ukrainian Parliament on Thursday voted to unilaterally scrap five agreements with Russia on military cooperation, the Parliament’s press service said.

The lawmakers voted to withdraw from the agreement on cooperation in military intelligence and in mutual protection of classified information.

In addition, the parliament also backed Ukraine’s withdrawal from the agreements that regulate military transportation between Ukraine and Russia and payments for those transportation.

The Ukrainian lawmakers have also approved a bill to cancel the intergovernmental agreement between Kiev and Moscow on military transit to Moldova.

Under the deal on military transit, Russian troops had the right to travel through the Ukrainian territory to the location of their peacekeeping mission in Moldova’s breakaway region of Transnistria.

Russia has not yet officially commented on the potential impact of Kiev’s move on the bilateral relations.

Vladimir Komoedov, head of the defense committee in the Russian Parliament, told the Interfax news agency that Moscow hopes to find a compromise with Kiev over the deal on military transit to Moldova.

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Alexander Kuprin: The whole science of war exists only because humanity will not, or cannot, or dare not, say, ‘I won’t.’

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

Russian writers on war

Alexander Kuprin: Deciphering the military metaphysic

Alexander Kuprin: Mounds and mountains of corpses under which moan the dying

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Alexander Kuprin
From The Duel (1905)
Translator not identified

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Romashov sat down by the table, put his elbows on it, and leaned his head on his hands. It was hard work for him to keep in check these wild thoughts which raced through his mind.

“H’m! – my friend Romashov, what a lot you have forgotten – your fatherland, the ashes of your sire, the altar of honour, the warrior’s oath and discipline. Who shall preserve the land of your sires when the foe rushes over its boundaries? Ah! when I am dead there will be no more fatherland, no enemy, no honour. They will disappear at the same time as my consciousness. But if all this be buried and brought to naught – country, enemies, honour, and all the other big words – what has all this to do with my Ego? I am more important than all these phrases about duty, honour, love, etc. Assume that I am a soldier and my Ego suddenly says, ‘I won’t fight,’ and not only my own Ego, but millions of other Egos that constitute the whole of the army, the whole of Russia, the entire world; all these say, ‘We won’t!’ Then it will be all over so far as war is concerned, and never again will any one have to hear such absurdities as ‘Open order,’ ‘Shoulder arms,’ and all the rest of that nonsense.

“Well, well, well. It must be so some day,” shouted an exultant voice in Romashov. “All that talk about ‘warlike deeds,’ ‘discipline,’ ‘honour of the uniform,’ ‘respect for superiors,’ and, first and last, the whole science of war exists only because humanity will not, or cannot, or dare not, say, ‘I won’t.’”

“What do you suppose all this cunningly reared edifice that is called the profession of arms really is? Nothing, humbug, a house hanging in midair, which will tumble down directly mankind pronounces three short words: ‘I will not.’ My Ego will never say, ‘I will not eat,’ ‘I will not breathe,’ ‘I will not see,’ But if any one proposes to my Ego that it shall die, it infallibly replies: ‘I will not.’ What, then, is war with all its hecatombs of dead and the science of war, which teaches us the best methods of murdering? Why, a universal madness, an illusion. But wait. Perhaps I am mistaken. No, I cannot be mistaken, for this ‘I will not’ is so simple, so natural, that everybody must, in the end, say it. Let us, however, examine the matter more closely. Let us suppose that this thought is pronounced this very moment by all Russians, Germans, Englishmen, and Japanese. Ah, well, what would be the consequence? Why, that war would cease for ever, and the officers and soldiers would go, every man, to his home. And what would happen after that? I know: Shulgovich would answer; Shulgovich would immediately get querulous and say: ‘Now we are done for; they can attack us now whenever they please, take away our hearths and homes, trample down our fields, and carry off our wives and sisters.’ And what about rioters, socialists, revolutionaries? But when the whole of mankind without exception has shouted: ‘We will no longer tolerate bloodshed,’ who will then dare to assail us? No one! All enemies would be reconciled, submit to each other, forgive everything, and justly divide among themselves the abundance of the earth. Gracious God, when shall this dream be fulfilled?”

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Next Stage Of NATO’s Strategic Adaptation: Massive Troop Buildup In Eastern Europe

Polish News Agency
May 20, 2015

Polish defence minister forecasts NATO reboot

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Defence Minister Tomasz Siemoniak outlined the need for ‘a new NATO’ during a speech in Washington on Tuesday, looking ahead to the organisation’s 2016 summit in Warsaw.

“Our decision to host the NATO summit in 2016 springs from the deep conviction that there is a need for a new NATO and an accompanying adaptation strategy,” the minister stressed during his speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

Referring to the conflict in Ukraine, he argued that “the deterioration of the security situation, especially on the eastern flank of the Alliance, has an enduring character” and that NATO needs to be altered so as to adapt to this reality.

“We would like the summit in Warsaw to initiate the next stage of NATO’s strategic adaptation,” he underlined.

“Its main aim should be to strengthen the Alliance’s forces in their entirety, and not just units for immediate action.

“The profile of the NATO structure has to be changed so that it gives the Alliance the ability to respond not only at the level of brigades (3,000-6,000 soldiers), but also at the level of divisions (5000-15,000) and corps (15,000-45,000).”

In an allusion to Ukraine’s lack of NATO membership, Siemoniak said that “the Alliance cannot be limited just to activities that concern the security of its members.

“I think that some European allies have shown excessive caution here,” he added.

Siemoniak also met with Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, and the two discussed NATO, bilateral relations as well as Poland’s recent decision to purchase American patriot missiles.

According to a Department of Defense press release, Secretary Carter “welcomed Poland’s decision to purchase the Patriot missile defense system and thanked Minister Siemoniak for Poland’s pledge to increase its defense spending to two percent GDP and its commitment to defense modernization.”

The pair also discussed recent rotational exercises by US forces on Polish soil and in the region, part of Operation Atlantic Resolve.

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Georgia In NATO: Connecting Europe And Asia Without Russian Permission

Civil Georgia
May 18, 2015

Usupashvili to NATO: ‘Either Give Georgia a MAP or Say MAP is No Longer Needed’

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Tbilisi: Georgian Parliament Speaker, Davit Usupashvili, said that Georgia is now as ready for NATO membership as some of its members were at the time they were invited and NATO should either give Georgia a Membership Action Plan (MAP) during the next NATO summit in Warsaw in 2016 or declare that MAP is no longer a precursor to eventual full membership.

Addressing delegates at a NATO Parliamentary Assembly session in Budapest on May 18, Usupashvili said that such a decision at the NATO Warsaw summit next year would be a “decisive step” and “the most adequate response” to Georgia’s NATO aspirations.

Speaking at the same event in Budapest earlier on May 18, NATO Deputy Secretary General, Alexander Vershbow, said that although Georgia currently has all the tools to prepare the country for membership, previous decisions that MAP should be the next stage on Georgia’s path towards eventual membership still stand.

“But in substantive terms, Georgia can advance very far towards the threshold of [NATO’s] open door with the NATO-Georgia Commission, with ENP [Annual National Programme] process and with substantial package agreed in Wales,” Vershbow said, referring to those main instruments through which NATO-Georgia relations are currently carried out.

At the NATO summit in Wales in September, 2014 Georgia was again left without long-sought MAP; instead the Alliance offered Georgia “substantial package” of cooperation, which, among other components, includes establishing the joint NATO-Georgia training and evaluation center in Georgia and deploying team of resident advisers at the Georgian Ministry of Defense.

Vershbow also said that NATO is giving “active support” to Georgia and the Alliance cannot be considered passive. However, he added that he “cannot give any timeline for when the open door will be reached.”

Georgian parliament speaker Usupashvili told NATO parliamentarians that although Georgia is not a NATO member, “legally, politically, and practically we have been a valuable and willing contributor to the collective security”, noting that Georgia is the second largest troop contributor to NATO-led operations in Afghanistan.

“NATO’s open door policy has proven to be a real success story,” Usupashvili said.

“However, it is critical that the open door policy does not become a revolving door policy – where aspirant countries are stuck in a rotation,” he said, adding that the aspirant countries would not be the only ones who would suffer from such approach.

“During the Bucharest summit [in 2008] NATO sent out a strong message – Georgia will become a NATO member,” he said. “Today, politically and tactically, Georgia is as prepared for the Alliance as several current full members have been when they were invited.”

“In 2014 we heard in Wales that Georgia’s relationship with the Alliance ‘contains the tools necessary to continue moving Georgia forward towards eventual membership’. Many in Georgia interpreted these words as Georgia being given de facto MAP,” the Georgian parliament speaker said.

“After more than 12 years of journey I do not want those people to be disappointed with prolonged talks [on] whether Georgia deserves MAP or not,” he said.

“Russia must be engaged, but for the Euro-Atlantic security architecture to retain its integrity there must be deterrence,” Usupashvili said, adding that upholding the open door policy should be the one such deterrence.

“The time has come for another step to be made on Georgia’s NATO integration process, but it has to be a decisive step in this direction and the upcoming [NATO] summit in Warsaw [next year] is the right place for that. The time has come for responsible political decisions about Georgia,” he said.

“Therefore during the Warsaw summit we expect very clear decision about giving Georgia a MAP or making it clear that Georgia does not need a MAP anymore and the membership is not preconditioned to MAP – that is our expectation,” Usupashvili said.

“MAP or declaration that there is no need for MAP – I believe this will be the most adequate response of the NATO not only to Georgia’s NATO aspirations, but also to the challenges that we are facing now worldwide,” he added.

Usupashvili also told NATO parliamentarians that the Alliance “cannot afford not to be engaged in our region.” He said that a glance at the map is “enough to realize…that Georgia is vital for keeping Europe and Asia connected without Russian permission.”

In the end of his speech Usupashvili reiterated Georgia’s invitation to host NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s session in 2017 and said: “There is no MAP or any other conditionality attached to this invitation.”

Last year NATO Parliamentary Assembly, which unites lawmakers from the Alliance member states and associate delegates from the NATO partner countries, accepted Georgia’s invitation to hold its spring session in Georgia in 2017.

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Alfred Noyes: Selections on war

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Interceptor Missiles: NATO’s Top Military Commander In Turkey

May 19, 2015 1 comment

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

May 18, 2015

Breedlove visits NATO forces in Turkey
By Airman 1st Class Cory W. Bush
39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

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INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey: Gen. Philip Breedlove, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe and commander of U.S. European Command, visited the Spanish Patriot Unit deployed to Adana, Turkey in support of the NATO-led Patriot missile augmentation of Turkish air defenses, May 14, 2015.

As part of the visit, Breedlove toured Adana’s Patriot missile site and spoke with Spanish soldiers and local Turkish media about the importance of NATO’s mission.

“The deployment of these forces, at the request of the Turkish government, is about NATO’s core mission – the protection and defense of our members,” Breedlove said. “Security remains crucial to our mission because Turkey’s border is also NATO’s border and I’m appreciative that our allies remain committed to this vital mission.”

Furthermore, Breedlove discussed the importance of Turkey’s contributions to the combined defense efforts.

“Turkey is a tremendous ally contributing to the Alliance’s collective defense and the stability of the region,” he said.

Breedlove also expressed his gratitude to the NATO allies that have remained committed to the mission.

“I would like to recognize Spain, Germany, Netherlands and the United States for their contributions and support to Turkey’s border by reinforcing Turkey’s air defenses against the threats posed by Syria,” Breedlove said.

Previously maintained by the 1st Netherlands Ballistic Missile Defense Task Force, the Spanish Patriot Unit assumed control of the air defense mission in Adana, Turkey during a change of responsibility ceremony January 26, 2015.

Along with the Spanish operated battery, NATO forces also operate additional batteries in two other locations respectively in Turkey: Gaziantep and Kahramanmaras. The Patriot missile augmentation program, which began in January 2013, is currently under the control of Breedlove.

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Wartime Interoperability: U.S. Deploys Warplanes To Slovakia

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

May 19, 2015

A-10s, Airmen deploy to Slovakia as part of TSP
By Senior Airman Dylan Nuckolls
52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

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SLIAC AIR BASE, Slovakia: A small contingent of approximately 40 Airmen and four A-10 Thunderbolt II’s from the 354th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron deployed to Sliac Air Base, Slovakia, May 16, 2015, in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve.

Of the 12 A-10s deployed to Europe as a theater security package, these four will train with the Slovakian air force May 18-22 to improve interoperability in allied air operations and multinational close-air-support operations.

“The U.S. Air Force’s forward presence in Europe, augmented by a rotational force like the TSP, allows us to work with our allies to develop and improve ready air forces capable of maintaining regional security,” said U.S. Air Force Gen. Frank Gorenc, U.S. Air Forces Europe and Air Forces Africa commander, in a news release.

The 354th EFS is deployed to Campia Turzii, Romania, but participates in these micro deployments across Europe to show NATO allies the U.S. commitment to a peaceful and stable Europe.

“The biggest thing is we’re going to first work with the Slovakian air force and especially the L-29s and make sure we’re providing the joint close air support training,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Ryan Hayde, 354th EFS commander. “We’ve done training all throughout Europe with the joint terminal attack controllers and we’re going to continue that in Slovakia … so we look forward to doing that next week as we travel out there.”

The TSP serves as part of a routine deployment of additional fighter squadrons, support personnel and equipment aimed to bolster U.S. forces in Europe on a rotating basis. Theater security package rotations have been occurring in the Pacific region since 2004.

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Ukrainian Junta Certifies Almost 50,000 Troops As Combatants

Ukrinform
May 19, 2015

More than 47,000 soldiers already receive status of combatant

KYIV. 47,406 military soldiers, who have participated in the anti-terrorist operation, have already received the status of combatant.

Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Petro Mehed said this at a briefing in Kyiv, an Ukrinform correspondent reported.

“47,406 servicemen and employees of the Armed Forces, who have participated in the anti-terrorist operation, have received the status of combatant,” he said.

According to the deputy defense minister, the mechanism was developed to simplify the granting of the status of combatant, and the draft of relevant order and instructions on procedure to issue certificates was worked out.

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Ukrainian Defense Ministry Demands 7.7 Billion More Hryvnia For War

Ukrinform
May 19, 2015

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry asks for another 7.7 bln

KYIV: The Defense Ministry of Ukraine has appealed to the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine with the request to provide additional funding in the amount of UAH 7.7 billion in 2015.

“In view of increasing number of personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine after the adoption of the Law of Ukraine ‘On the Armed Forces of Ukraine’ and conduct of partial mobilization, the Defense Ministry of Ukraine asks to provide UAH 7.7 billion to meet the immediate needs in 2015,” the Ministry notes.

Of this sum, UAH 3.9 billion are to be allocated to pay money allowances to the servicemen, UAH 1.8 billion – to provide clothing and equipment supply, UAH 1.3 billion – to provide feeding support to servicemen. In addition, another UAH 432.5 million are needed to pay assistance to the families of the dead and wounded soldiers, who took part in the anti-terrorist operation, UAH 181.8 million – to arrange training centers, landfills, field camps and checkpoints, as well as UAH 120 million – to pay compensation for hiring military premises.

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Libya: Latest NATO Proxy Army

May 19, 2015 1 comment

Xinhua News Agency
May 19, 2015

NATO to help Libya with defense capacity-building

BRUSSELS: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday that NATO was ready to help Libya build it’s defense capacity when conditions allowed for it.

He made the remarks before attending a European Union (EU) foreign affairs meeting during which EU ministers were to discuss intervening in human smugglers’ attempts to pirate people across the Mediterranean Sea from Libya.

Speaking on the situation in Libya, Stoltenberg said, “I strongly support the efforts by the United Nations (UN) to reach a political agreement which can establish a unity government in Libya and to establish ceasefire.”

He added that NATO would help Libya increase it’s ability to defend and to create stability.

Stoltenberg stated he also welcomed dialogue between the EU and the UN to create necessary mandates for operation at sea to dismantle the criminal networks that are responsible for the smuggling.

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Bulgaria: EU-NATO Frontline State For Wars In East, South

Xinhua News Agency
May 19, 2015

Bulgarian defense minister calls for raised budgets amid “real challenges”

SOFIA: Bulgarian Defense Minister Nikolay Nenchev here on Tuesday said he wanted more money to develop the rapid defense capabilities of the country’s armed forces amid “real challenges” from the east and south.

“The challenges from the eastern and southern flank of NATO are real, not hypothetical, and we must be adequately prepared for them,” Nenchev said while addressing an international conference.

For this purpose, his country should have means for protection in case of need, and to work for the accelerated construction and development of defense capabilities of its armed forces, Nenchev said.

Nenchev said he understood the difficult situation of state finances and the acute shortage in other sectors such as health, education and social activities.

“At the same time, we want more money for defense, led by concrete and clear needs, namely to stop the capabilities degradation process, and to make the Bulgarian army a highly respected member of NATO and a participant in the common security and defense policy of the European Union,” Nenchev said.

At the beginning of May, Nenchev said Bulgaria was perhaps the only country in NATO that is almost 100 percent dependent on Russia for its military equipment.

Meanwhile, a program for the development of defense capabilities worth about 2.28 billion U.S. dollars has been submitted for approval to the government.

Despite programs such as National Program Bulgaria in NATO and European Defense 2020 being approved by the Bulgarian caretaker government last October, Nenchev said that the 2010-2014 budget of the Ministry of Defense was less than the “minimal necessary level” of 1.5 percent of GDP, and remained at a “dangerously low point.”

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Black Sea Rotational Force: U.S. Marines Lead Drills In Romania

U.S. Department of Defense
May 18, 2015

NATO Allies U.S., Bularia Demonstrate Capabilities in Eastern Europe
By Terri Moon Cronk

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WASHINGTON: U.S. and Bulgarian military personnel began an exercise today in the host country of Romania, Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren told reporters today.

Exercise Platinum Eagle 2015 is a multinational exercise at Babadag Training Area, Romania, designed to demonstrate the capabilities of NATO allies in Eastern Europe, Warren said.

Approximately 150 U.S. Marines and sailors from the Black Sea Rotational Force will participate in the preplanned, annually scheduled exercise, which concludes May 28, he said.

“[Platinum Eagle events] will consist of basic infantry skills, advanced marksmanship, company-level command and control and the use of anti-armor weapons systems,” the colonel said.

The Black Sea Rotational Force is a contingent of U.S. Marines and sailors in the Black Sea, Balkans and Caucasus regions that maintain proven partnerships, build military capacity, promote regional security and provide the capability for rapid crisis response as directed by U.S. European Command and U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa, officials said.

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Sidney Lanier: Dialogue on the war-flower

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

American writers on peace and against war

Sidney Lanier: Blood-red flower of war, whose odors strangle a people, whose roots are in hell

Sidney Lanier: Death in Eden

Sidney Lanier: War by other means

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Sidney Lanier
From Tiger-Lilies (1867)

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This was the blood-red flower of war, which grows amid thunders; a flower whose freshening dews are blood and hot tears, whose shadow chills a land, whose odors strangle a people, whose giant petals droop downward, and whose roots are in hell.

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It is a spreading plant, like the banyan, and continues to insert new branch-roots into the ground, so as sometimes to overspread a whole continent. Its black-shadowed jungles afford fine cover for such wild beasts as frauds and corruptions and thefts to make their lair in; from which, often, these issue with ravening teeth and prey upon the very folk that have planted and tended and raised their flowery homes!

Now, from time to time, there have appeared certain individuals (wishing, it may be, to disseminate and make profit upon other descriptions of plants) who have protested against the use of this war-flower.

Its users, many of whom are surely excellent men, contend that they grow it to protect themselves from oppressive hailstorms, which destroy their houses and crops.

But some say the plant itself is worse than any hailstorm; that its shades are damp and its odors unhealthy, and that it spreads so rapidly as to kill out and uproot all corn and wheat and cotton crops. Which the plant-users admit; but rejoin that it is cowardly to allow hailstorms to fall with impunity, and that manhood demands a struggle against them of some sort.

But the others reply, fortitude is more manly than bravery, for noble and long endurance wins the shining love of God; whereas brilliant bravery is momentary, is easy to the enthusiastic, and only dazzles the admiration of the weak-eyed since it is as often shown on one side as the other.

But then, lastly, the good war-flower cultivators say, our preachers recommend the use of this plant, and help us mightily to raise it in resistance to the hailstorms.

And reply, lastly, the interested other-flower men, that the preachers should preach Christ; that Christ was worse hailed upon than anybody, before or since; that he always refused to protect himself, though fully able to do it, by any war-banyan; and that he did, upon all occasions, not only discourage the resort to this measure, but did inveigh against it more earnestly than any thing else, as the highest and heaviest crime against Love — the Father of Adam, Christ, and all of us.

Friends and horticulturists, cry these men, stickling for the last word, if war was ever right, then Christ was always wrong; and war-flowers and the vine of Christ grow different ways, insomuch that no man may grow with both!

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NATO, Sweden Complete Anti-Submarine Warfare Exercise Off Norway

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Maritime Command

May 18, 2015

NATO Anti-Submarine Warfare Exercise Concludes

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ATLANTIC OCEAN: Thursday May 15th , ships, submarines, and maritime patrol aircraft successfully completed the annual NATO anti-submarine warfare (ASW) Exercise DYNAMIC MONGOOSE, in which 10 Allied nations participated alongside partner nation Sweden.

The exercise was run by Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM) through NATO Submarine Command (COMSUBNATO), in close coordination with the host nation Norwegian Navy. Surface forces participating in the exercise were led by Rear Adm. Brad Williamson (USA N), Commander of Standing NATO Maritime Group TWO.

DYNAMIC MONGOOSE was conducted off the west coast of Norway, in waters known to be challenging for ASW operations due to the topography of the area, with the Norwegian coastal waters offering plenty of places for submarines to hide. Within the exercise, surface ships were divided into multiple task units, each responsible for devising their own tactical approach to tracking and engaging a submarine playing the role of adversary.

“This exercise tested our forces’ abilities in a highly challenging operational environment, with equally challenging weather conditions,” said Captain Iain Breckenridge, Assistant Chief of Staff for COMSUBNATO. “It confirms the resolve of NATO maritime forces to keep their warfare skills at the highest level. We will share the lessons we have learned with all Allied navies to ensure they benefit fully in reinforcing their ability to address threats to Alliance security.”

During the exercise, units practiced advanced warfare techniques in detection and classification, surface engagement, air engagement, and tactical coordination. In turn, the submarines participating in the exercise honed their ability to evade detection.

“DYNAMIC MONGOOSE was an excellent opportunity for our sailors to improve proficiency in Allied procedures and tactics,” said VICKSBURG Operations Officer, Lt. James Hostetler. “Our ability to bring ships and submarines together while operating within 1,500 yards of each other is a testament to our strong interoperability. This exercise tested the skills of our combat watch teams and strengthened the teamwork not only within each ship, but also across the force.

Each task unit also employed the use of their organic air assets, helicopters, and utilized fixed-wing maritime patrol aircraft also participating in the exercise. According to Standing NATO Maritime Group-Two (SNMG2) Staff Anti-Submarine Warfare Officer, Lt. Cmdr. Tomas Cordon, the most important tools to track a submarine are the air assets. From the air, helicopters and other aircraft are used to locate the submarine and the surface ships then coordinate an attack. The exercise also provided a great opportunity for the participating submarines to learn how to evade the surface and air units, and presumably launch an attack.

“I think that DYNAMIC MONGOOSE has proven to be a very successful exercise,” said Cordon…

Story by: Allied Maritime Command Public Affairs Office.

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Collective Defense: NATO Chief Addresses EU Subordinates

May 18, 2015 1 comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
May 18, 2015

Doorstep statement by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg prior to the meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council in the format of Ministers of Defence and Ministers of Foreign Affairs

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg talking to the media prior to the meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council in the format of Ministers of Defence and Ministers of Foreign Affairs
Good morning.

I’m glad to be back at the European Council.

And I think it is an expression of the close cooperation between the European Union and NATO.

Last week High Representative vice president Mogherini participated in the NATO Foreign Ministerial meeting in Antalya.

Today I will meet with the Defence Ministers and Foreign Ministers of the European Union.

And I think this close cooperation is very natural because we are facing the same security environment, the same challenges.

To the east we see more assertive Russia, responsible for aggressive actions in Ukraine.

And the important thing now is to make sure that the Minsk agreements are fully implemented. And I call all parties to respect the ceasefire and to allow the OSCE monitors full access so they can monitor the ceasefire and the full implementation of the Minsk agreements.

To the south we see turmoil, we see violence.

And I strongly support the efforts by the UN to reach a political agreement which can establish a unity government in Libya and to establish ceasefire.

NATO stands ready to help the government of Libya to build defence capacity, to increase their ability to defend themselves, and to create stability when conditions allow for such defence capacity building efforts by NATO in Libya.

I also welcome the decision that the European Union will take today on establishing an operation at sea to dismantle the criminal networks that are responsible for smuggling people across the Mediterranean.

And I welcome these efforts by the European Union.

And also the dialogue between the European Union and the United Nations to create necessary mandates for such operation.

Lastly, I am looking forward to the EU Council on defence in June. I think that would be a new opportunity to develop the close cooperation between the European Union and NATO. And also an opportunity to address defence capabilities, and also defence industry, and how we can work together to augment and to increase our collective defence.

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Ellen Glasgow: His vision of the future only an endless warfare and a wasted land

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

American writers on peace and against war

Ellen Glasgow: The Altar of the War God

Ellen Glasgow: The Reign of the Brute

Ellen Glasgow: “That killed how many? how many?”

Ellen Glasgow: Then the rows of dead men stared at him through the falling rain in the deserted field

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Ellen Glasgow
From The Battle Ground (1902)

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Dan, fevered, pallid, leaning heavily upon Big Abel, passed unnoticed amid a throng which was, for the most part, worse off than himself. Men with old wounds breaking out afresh, or new ones staining red the cloths they wore, pushed wildly by him, making, as all made, for the country roads that led from war to peace. It was as if the hospitals of the world had disgorged themselves in the sunshine on the bright September fields.

Once, as Dan moved slowly on, he came upon a soldier, with a bandage at his throat sitting motionless upon a rock beside a clump of thistles, and moved by the expression of supreme terror on the man’s face, he stopped and laid a hand upon his shoulder.

“What’s the trouble, friend – given up?” he asked, and then drew back quickly for the man was dead. After this they went on more rapidly, flying from the horrors along the road as from the screaming shells and the dread of capture.

***

Gradually the stars went out above the dim woods, and the dawn whitened along the eastern sky. With the first light Dan went to the open door and drew a deep breath of the refreshing air. A new day was coming, but he met it with dulled eyes and a crippled will. The tragedy of life seemed to overhang the pleasant prospect upon which he looked, and, as he stood there, he saw in his vision of the future only an endless warfare and a wasted land.

***

Farther away three hoarse voices, the remnant of a once famous glee club, were singing in the endeavour to scare off sleep: –

“Rally round the flag, boys, rally once again!”

And suddenly he was fighting in the tangles of the wilderness, crouching behind a charred oak stump, while he loaded and fired at the little puffs of smoke that rose from the undergrowth beyond. He saw the low marshland, the stunted oaks and pines, and the heavy creepers that were pushed aside and trampled underfoot, and at his feet he saw a company officer with a bullet hole through his forehead and a covering of pine needles upon his face. About him the small twigs fell, as if a storm swept the forest, and as he dodged, like a sharpshooter from tree to tree, he saw a rush of flame and smoke in the distance where the woods were burning. Above the noise of the battle, he heard the shrieks of the wounded men in the track of the fire; and once he met a Union and a Confederate soldier, each shot through the leg, drawing each other back from the approaching flames. Then, as he passed on, tearing at the cartridges with his teeth, he came upon a sergeant in Union clothes, sitting against a pine stump with his cocked rifle in his hand, and his eyes on the wind-blown smoke. A moment before the man may have gone down at his shot, he knew – and yet, as he looked, an instinct stronger than the instinct to kill was alive within him, and he rushed on, dragging his enemy with him from the terrible woods. “I hope you are not much hurt,” he said, as he placed him on the ground and ran back to where the line was charging. “One life has been paid for,” he thought, as he rushed on to kill – and fell face downward on the wheel-ruts of the old road.

“Rally round the flag, boys, rally once again,” sang the three hoarse voices, straining against the wind.

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Turkey Offers To Lead New NATO Anti-Russian Strike Force

Trend News Agency
May 16, 2015

Turkey wants to lead high-level NATO task force in 2021

Turkey wants to preside over NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force in 2021, a Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman said Friday, Anadolu Agency reported.

NATO allies decided to enhance its NATO Response Force in 2014 by creating a “spearhead force” within it known as the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force.

In remarks made at weekly press briefing Friday in Ankara, spokesman Tanju Bilgic said: “The Readiness Action Plan was one of the most concrete results of the Wales Summit in 2014. Within the scope of this plan, one of the issues raised was how to prevent new dangers around Europe. One of the action plans is Very High Readiness Joint Task Force.”

“Turkey has placed its bid to preside this task force in 2021 during the Antalya Foreign Ministers’ meeting,” Bilgic said.

During the NATO Wales Summit in September 2014, the allied countries approved a “Readiness Action Plan to ensure the alliance is ready to respond swiftly and firmly to new security challenges,” NATO said on its official website.

“The plan provides a comprehensive package of measures to respond to the changes in the security environment in and near Europe. It responds to the challenges posed by Russia. It also responds to threats emanating from the Middle East and North Africa,” it added.

During the recently held Antalya Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said the organization was increasing its presence in the East.

“We are significantly expanding the size of the NATO response force, and we are developing a spearhead force with lead elements ready to deploy within as little as 48 hours. We are enhancing our ability to deter and prevent hybrid threats,” he said.

He added: “At the same time, we are helping to make our neighbors more resilient because if they are more stable, we are more secure.”

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Following NATO Foreign Ministers Meeting, Turkey Shoots Down Syrian Helicopter

Trend News Agency
May 17, 2015

Turkish air force shoots down Syrian helicopter

Turkish air force has shot down a Syrian helicopter after it violated Turkey’s airspace, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Saturday, Anadolu reported.

“The power the Turkish government has granted to the Turkish Armed Forces is extremely clear and whoever violates Turkish borders will be punished,” Davutoglu said in the capital Ankara.

“I congratulate our armed forces who gave the due response to Syrian forces that breached our airspace,” Yilmaz said in Sivas province. “Let our people be rest assured that our armed forces are on guard 24 hours a day to protect the rights of the Turkish nation.”

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U.S. on Wrong Side of History

Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
May 16, 2015

U.S. on Wrong Side of History
Bruce Gagnon

This is what it has all come down to…. the US and the corrupt, dictatorial Gulf monarchies meeting at Camp David Thursday and agreeing on a plan to flood the Middle East with ‘missile defense’ (MD) systems.

These Gulf monarchies are the essential allies of the US in the world now (in addition to a few other fascist-leaning nations). Together they are destabilizing and creating chaos in Syria, Yemen, Ukraine and beyond. This meeting is evidence of the desperation and the moral decay of the USA.

Obama announced that that he would streamline weapon sales and increase joint military exercises with Bahrain (home to US Navy Central Command and the Fifth Fleet), Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as part of an “iron-clad commitment” that the United States will help protect them against their neighbor and rival Iran. The Gulf states claim they fear Iran’s nuclear weapons even after recent successful negotiations to ensure they don’t build any.

In fact Iran stopped its nuclear weapons program several years ago – the CIA has even reported as much as has the IAEA. But truth and reality don’t matter much anymore.

What this new deal with the Gulf states really mean is unrestrained US and Arab extremism throughout the Middle East. The plan is to build a region-wide MD system including Patriot and THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) along with MD radars. It’s also likely that Aegis ship or land-based MD systems will be added to sweeten the pot as well.

The US weapons production corporations will make lots of money. It’s important to remember that weapons are the #1 industrial export product of our country. When weapons are your #1 export product, what is the global marketing strategy for that product line? Endless war. What does that say about the soul of the USA?

All of these MD systems will be “interoperable” with the Pentagon’s existing programs. It will all be run through the US military space satellite system. That means the Gulf states will pay for the US to build a region-wide MD system that is actually aimed at Iran, Syria, and Russia and fully controlled by Washington.

MD is a key element in US first-strike attack planning – its the shield that is used after a Pentagon sword is thrust into the heart of another nation’s military forces. When the attacked nation attempts to fire a retaliatory strike it is then that the MD systems are used to pick off the remaining military capability thus giving the Pentagon a “successful” first-strike. The whole system works best if you can get real close to the ‘offending nation’ and hit their missiles soon after launch rather than waiting for them to reach deep space – or hit them as they descend from space as they approach their targets.

This new Gulf states agreement is dangerous, provocative, destabilizing and very expensive. The US has once again betrayed its revolutionary roots against British monarchy as it snuggles up with the Arab right-wing feudal monarchies. Nothing good can come from this new agreement.

Bruce K. Gagnon
Coordinator
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 443-9502
http://www.space4peace.org
http://space4peace.blogspot.com (blog)

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Siegfried Sassoon: The foul beast of war that bludgeons life

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

Siegfried Sassoon: Selections on war

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Siegfried Sassoon
The Dream

I

Moonlight and dew-drenched blossom, and the scent
Of summer gardens; these can bring you all
Those dreams that in the starlit silence fall:
Sweet songs are full of odours.
While I went
Last night in drizzling dusk along a lane,
I passed a squalid farm; from byre and midden
Came the rank smell that brought me once again
A dream of war that in the past was hidden.

II

Up a disconsolate straggling village street
I saw the tired troops trudge: I heard their feet.
The cheery Q.M.S. was there to meet
And guide our Company in…
I watched them stumble
Into some crazy hovel, too beat to grumble;
Saw them file inward, slipping from their backs
Rifles, equipment, packs.
On filthy straw they sit in the gloom, each face
Bowed to patched, sodden boots they must unlace,
While the wind chills their sweat through chinks and cracks.

III

I’m looking at their blistered feet; young Jones
Stares up at me, mud-splashed and white and jaded;
Out of his eyes the morning light has faded.
Old soldiers with three winters in their bones
Puff their damp Woodbines, whistle, stretch their toes:
They can still grin at me, for each of ’em knows
That I’m as tired as they are…
Can they guess
The secret burden that is always mine? —
Pride in their courage; pity for their distress;
And burning bitterness
That I must take them to the accursèd Line.

IV

I cannot hear their voices, but I see
Dim candles in the barn: they gulp their tea,
And soon they’ll sleep like logs. Ten miles away
The battle winks and thuds in blundering strife.
And I must lead them nearer, day by day,
To the foul beast of war that bludgeons life.

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U.S. Congress Approves Lethal Weapons For Ukraine War

Ukrinform
May 16, 2015

US House of Representatives approves supply of lethal weapons to Ukraine

KYIV: The lower chamber of the US Congress has passed a bill that approves defense budget in the amount of $612 billion in the new fiscal year. The budget provides $200 million of aid to Ukraine, in particular in the form of lethal weapons.

The vote in the House of Representatives was held on Friday, an Ukrinform correspondent reported from the United States.

In particular, 269 congressmen voted for adoption of this document, while 151 ones were against its adoption. However, the US Presidential Administration has promised to put a veto if the document is submitted to the President for signing, mainly because of excess costs. To do this, a similar bill has to be voted in the Senate.

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Finland Supplies 16 Of 100 Warplanes For 12-Day NATO Arctic War Games

Finnish Broadcasting Company
May 14, 2015

16 Finnish jets join NATO-dominated exercise over Arctic

Sixteen Hornet fighter jets from the Finnish Air Force will take part in a multinational aviation exercise in the northern Nordic region beginning May 25.

Planes from 10 countries will fly over northern parts of Finland, Sweden and Norway during the 12-day Arctic Challenge Exercise. The Finnish Air Force announced details of its involvement in the maneuvers on Wednesday. The Finnish Air Force has 62 Boeing F/A-18 C/D Hornet jets.

Dubbed Cross Border Training North, the exercise is one of the most important events of the year for the Air Force.

Altogether, some 100 aircraft are to participate, from the three Nordic host countries as well as Switzerland, the Netherlands, Britain, France, Germany, the United States — and NATO. All are NATO members except Finland, Sweden and Switzerland, traditionally non-aligned states that are now part of the alliance’s Partnership for Peace program.

Most of the flight operations will take place over northern Sweden. The Finnish Hornets will fly out of bases in Rovaniemi and Bodø on Norway’s north-west coast.

The exercise will involve dropping weapons onto targets in Sweden and Norway. However, the Finnish planes will not carry out these delivery missions.

According to the Norwegian Air Force, the exercise will also include weapon delivery against airborne targets, combating simulated anti-air artillery, low-level flying and mid-air refueling.

Sweden will take part with 16 Jas Gripen fighters and Norway with about 10 F-16 jets. The U.S. will also send F-16s, which will fly alongside German Eurofighter Typhoons, French Mirage 2000s and Swiss Hornets.

NATO will also supply AWACS jets, transportation jets and tankers, and DA-20 Jet Falcons.

The exercise is to conclude on June 5.

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Iraq Attends Three-Day Global Security Conference In Hungary

May 16, 2015 2 comments

Rudaw
May 16, 2015

Iraq attends NATO conference in Hungary

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ERBIL, Kurdistan Region: A top parliamentary delegation from Iraq arrived in Budapest, the capital of Hungary, on Friday to participate in a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) conference to discuss global and regional security issues, the media office of the deputy speaker of Iraqi parliament announced.

“The purpose of the delegation is to discuss global matters in general and complex issues of the Middle East in particular. We will also highlight the risks and obstacles faced by NATO and world security, especially now that we are all under the threat of terror,” said the statement on Friday.

The delegation includes members of the parliamentary security and defense committees under the supervision of Deputy Parliament Speaker Aram Sheikh Mohammed.

The three-day conference, to begin May 16, will be led by NATO’s top agencies. Iraq’s deputy parliament speaker is expected to deliver a speech on the security crisis in the Middle East and the issue of terror that jeopardize Iraq and the region.

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Turkey Among States To NATO’s Global Strike Force

Today’s Zaman
May 16, 2015

NATO chief says Turkey to lead rapid response force

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said Turkey will be one of seven countries that will lead a rapid reaction force as part of a NATO high readiness force planned for 2021.

Speaking to reporters after a two-day summit of foreign ministers of NATO countries in the southern city of Antalya on Thursday, Stoltenberg said he welcomed Turkey’s decision to take part in forming a spearhead unit as part of the high readiness force.

Allies decided to enhance the NATO Response Force (NRF) in 2014 by creating a “spearhead force” within it, known as the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF). The unit is expected to comprise 5,000 special unit forces from member countries, and will be able to respond to alerts within 48 hours.

According to NATO, “The NRF is a highly ready and technologically advanced multinational force made up of land, air, maritime and Special Operations Forces (SOF) components that the Alliance can deploy quickly, wherever needed.” NATO also describes the force as a response to security challenges in Eastern Europe.

Baltic nations ask for permanent NATO presence

Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are preparing an appeal to NATO command for a permanent presence of NATO troops in their territories to counter increased Russian air and naval activity, the Lithuanian army said on Thursday.

“In reaction to the security situation in the region, as a measure of deterrence, chiefs of defense of the Baltic states will apply officially to Supreme NATO Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) about permanent stationing of a brigade-sized NATO unit in the Baltic States,” Lithuanian Army spokesman Mindaugas Neimontas said.

The Baltic states would ask, in a joint letter, for the brigade to consist of battalion-sized deployments of NATO troops in each of the countries, which would rotate on a NATO-approved schedule. A NATO brigade typically numbers between 3,000 and 5,000 troops, and is made up of several battalions.

Waiting for the letter

Stoltenberg said NATO had increased its air policing in the region, as well as its naval and ground presence. “When we receive the letter, we will go carefully through it and assess the different proposals … but I think it is a bit too early to comment on details and specifics.”

NATO has recorded heightened activity by Russian military aircraft near their air space and there have been reports of suspected Russian submarines in Swedish and Finnish waters.

A NATO summit in Wales last year agreed to beef up rotation of allied troops and their equipment in the region, but shied away from setting up permanent bases of NATO troops in the three Baltic countries and in Poland. The US has kept a rotating presence of 150 troops in each of the Baltic States and in Poland since April 2014, augmented occasionally by shifts of similar-sized units from other NATO allies. The alliance remains divided on setting up permanent bases in the east, as some states see this move as counter to an existing agreement with Moscow.

The Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania…have been members of the European Union and NATO since 2004.

Turkey seeks cooperation with NATO to combat ISIL

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, speaking at the opening of the summit, said there should be better coordination among NATO allies, after referring to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL),,,

Turkey’s concerns were not lost on its allies, as Stoltenberg told reporters at the beginning of the meeting, “One of the important issues at this meeting, in different formats, will be how NATO can do even more when fighting terrorism and when fighting ISIL.”

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Aldous Huxley: How are we to get rid of war when we celebrate militarists?

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

Aldous Huxley: Selections on war

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Aldous Huxley

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From Writers and Readers

Consult a library catalogue and you will find that more books have been written on the career of Napoleon than on any other single subject. This fact casts a strange and rather terrifying light on the mentality of modern European writers and readers. How are we to get rid of war, so long as people find their keenest bovaristic satisfaction in the story of the world’s most spectacular militarist?

From Justifications

There are plenty of pious churchmen who consider that God approves of men killing their fellows in war, but who would be horrified at the suggestion that fornication and adultery can ever be anything but detestable in His eyes.

From The Olive Tree

I like them [trees] all, but especially the olive. For what it symbolizes, first of all – peace with its leaves and joy with its olive oil. True, the crown of olive was originally worn by Roman conquerors at ovation; the peace it proclaimed was the peace of victory, the peace which is too often only the tranquillity of exhaustion or complete annihilation. Rome and its customs have passed, and we remember of the olive tree only the fact that it stood for peace, not the circumstances in which it did so.

Incertainties now crown themselves assur’d,
And peace proclaims olives of endless age. (Shakespeare)

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More World War Two Nostalgia In Eastern Europe: Romania

United States European Command
May 15, 2015

Cavalry March – Sinaia, Romania
By Sgt. William Tanner

The precedent: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romania_in_World_War_II#The_war_on_the_Eastern_Front

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Command Sgt. Maj. Peter D. Johnson (bottom middle left), Squadron command sergeant major assigned to 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, stands with Vlad Oprea (bottom middle), mayor of Sinaia, along with Brig. Gen. Michael J. Tarsa (bottom middle), 4th Infantry Division deputy commanding general, and Lt. Col. Theodore A. Johnson (bottom middle right), 2nd Squadron commander, as they pose with other leaders from the Romanian Land Forces and 2nd Squadron, at Peles Castle located in Sinaia, Romania, during the unit’s Cavalry March from Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base to the Cincu Training Center, May 14, 2015. This event will not only focus on transporting troopers and their equipment to a new Romanian training facility, but it will also give the unit a chance to interact with the local populace while improving on relations with their host nation in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve-South. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. William A. Tanner/released)

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Obverse, Reverse: NATO, EU Fold Ranks Against Russia

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
May 15, 2015

NATO Foreign Ministers discuss boosting cooperation with EU, other partners
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View of the room

Allies must build closer cooperation with partners and organisations like the European Union, to better address the security challenges to the east and south, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday (14 May 2015). “The challenges we all face demand a comprehensive response, so all of us need to work even closer together,” he said at the end of a two-day meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers in Antalya, Turkey.

The Foreign Ministers were joined by the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini to discuss the long-term security implications of a more assertive and unpredictable Russia, as well as the challenges posed by extremism and violence in the Middle East and North Africa. They discussed how NATO and the EU could better cooperate in countering hybrid threats, which combine conventional attacks with subversion, cyber attacks, deception and disinformation. “Both Federica Mogherini and I have decided to task our teams to intensify NATO-EU cooperation in countering hybrid warfare,” the Secretary General said. “We will ensure that the strategies we are developing are complementary, so that we can work together quickly and effectively in case of a hybrid threat against our members,” he added.

Mr. Stoltenberg said that NATO “must continue to adapt” to ensure that it is ready for any challenge. He stressed that the Alliance is already implementing the biggest reinforcement of its collective security since the end of the Cold War, which includes boosting the size and speed of the NATO Response Force with a high readiness Spearhead Force at its core. “We are also speeding up our decision-making, sharpening up our intelligence sharing and strengthening our cyber defence,” said the Secretary General.

The ministers also discussed how to further develop cooperation with partners Finland and Sweden. NATO is looking at how it can hold more consultations and share more information about developments in the Baltic Sea region and beyond. “We will also look at how we can conduct more joint exercises,” said Mr. Stoltenberg.

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1939-2015: Finnish President Invites Poroshenko To Visit Mannerheim Line

Interfax-Ukraine
May 15, 2015

Finnish president invites Ukrainian counterpart to visit Mannerheim Line

Mannerheim-line

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has reiterated the need for the deployment of a peacekeeping mission in Donbas.

During a meeting with President of Finland Sauli Niinisto in Aachen on Thursday, Poroshenko put an emphasis on Finland’s experience of participation of the international peacekeeping operations, the Ukrainian president’s press service reported.

“Sauli Niinisto has invited Petro Poroshenko to visit the Mannerheim Line at his convenience. The Ukrainian president for his part also invited the president of Finland to make a visit to Ukraine,” the press service reported.

Poroshenko has obtained support of Finland in the issue of further consolidation of the EU’s position on Ukraine, the press service said.

The two presidents also discussed the situation in Donbas and the progress of the implementation of the Minsk agreements.

The Mannerheim Line was a defensive fortification line on the Karelian Isthmus built by Finland in the 1920s-1930s to protect it against the Soviet Union. It was a location of the largest fights during the Winter War between the Soviet Union and Finland in 1939–1940.

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Ukraine To Spend $200 Million For Military Infrastructure On Russian Border

Interfax-Ukraine
May 15, 2015

Ukraine to spend approx. $200 million on defensive facilities along border with Russia

The Ukrainian government has approved a plan of engineering equipment of the border with Russia in 2015-2018.

The government resolution No 439-r dated May 14 “On the Approval of the Plan of Engineering Equipment of the Ukrainian-Russian State Border and Territories Adjoining the Antiterrorism Operation Area and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea” was published on the government website on Thursday.

The three-year plan of the government envisages anti-vehicle and anti-tank ditches (4×2 meters in size), non-explosive engineering obstacles, fortifications to be built at tactical localities and positions, exclusion zones and belt roads.

It is also planned to procure and install 17-meter-tall metal observation towers, video surveillance systems, communication towers, combat remote control modules and surveillance posts.

The budget will allot over UAH 4 billion for the works.

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U.S. Armored Troops Give Romanians Preview Of War With Russia

U.S. Army Europe
May 14, 2015

2d Cav. Regt. continues Cavalry March through Romania
By U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs

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Stryker combat vehicles in earlier work in Iraq

MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU AIR BASE, Romania: Soldiers, of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment’s 2nd Squadron, began Operation Cavalry March, a 400-kilometer movement across Romania that involved nearly 100 combat vehicles and more than 300 Soldiers, May 12.

Cavalry March is a demonstration of NATO’s ability to move freely within the alliance, and is a part of Operation Atlantic Resolve.

The movement culminated with a community outreach event in the city of Ploiesti, Romania, May 13, when Soldiers interacted with the community and allowed the residents to see the equipment to include the Stryker combat vehicle and Apache attack helicopter. Nearly 2,000 people attended the event.

In light of Russia’s illegal actions in Ukraine, Operation Atlantic Resolve is a visible demonstration of U.S. commitment to the security of NATO allies. In meeting global security commitments, the United States must have strong, committed and capable allies, which is why it has fought, exercised and trained with its European allies for the past 70 years. The U.S.-European strategic partnership is built on a foundation of shared values, experiences and interests in a Europe, which is stable and prosperous.

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Apache attack helicopters

About us: U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned in its 51 country area of responsibility to advance American strategic interests in Europe and Eurasia. The relationships we build during more than 1,000 theater security cooperation events in more than 40 countries each year lead directly to support for multinational contingency operations around the world, strengthen regional partnerships and enhance global security.

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Top U.S. General Visits Finnish Army Commander

U.S. Army Europe
May 15, 2015

USAREUR commanding general visits Finnish Army commander
By U.S. Army Europe Office of the Commanding General

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WIESBADEN, Germany: Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commanding general, U.S. Army Europe, visited the Finnish Army, May 12-14.

During his visit, Hodges met with Lt. Gen. Seppo Toivonen, commander, Finnish Army, and his staff, as well as with the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Defense, Lt. Gen. Arto Räty.

Hodges also visited the Finnish troops at MECHEX 2015, to include the Pori and Armored brigades at the Pohjankanges Training area.

Hodges was invited to speak at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, one of Finland’s main foreign policy think tanks, May 13. In attendance were more than 100 diplomats, politicians and university representatives.

About us: U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned in its 51 country area of responsibility to advance American strategic interests in Europe and Eurasia. The relationships we build during more than 1,000 theater security cooperation events in more than 40 countries each year lead directly to support for multinational contingency operations around the world, strengthen regional partnerships and enhance global security.

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“Hybrid Warfare”: EU, NATO Pledge Common Efforts Against Russia

Xinhua News Agency
May 15, 2015

NATO, EU agree to enhance cooperation in fighting “hybrid warfare”

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ANTALYA: NATO and the European Union (EU) on Thursday agreed to enhance cooperation in countering “hybrid warfare” combining conventional attacks with non-conventional methods, such as subversion, cyber-attacks, deception and disinformation that the alliance says Russia has used against Ukraine.

The NATO foreign ministers and EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini gathered in Turkey’s southern Antalya province, discussing the long-term security implications of Russia’s actions which the alliance describes as “assertive and unpredictable,” as well as the challenges posed by extremism and violence in the Middle East and North Africa.

“Both Federica Mogherini and I have decided to task our teams to intensify NATO-EU cooperation in countering hybrid warfare,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at a press conference.

“We will ensure that the strategies we are developing are complimentary, so that we can work together quickly and effectively in case of a hybrid threat against our members,” he added.

Mogherini briefed NATO foreign ministers on the Union’s plans for an EU operation to destroy vessels used to smuggle thousands of illegal migrants going to Europe from Africa and the Middle East, which have led to thousands of deaths.

“If the European Union presents requests to NATO, of course, we will seriously consider them and assess them,” Stoltenberg said, adding that “but so far, there has been no request from the EU for any specific assistance.”

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Finland To Send More Troops To NATO Baltic Sea Exercise

Xinhua News Agency
May 15, 2015

Finland to send more troops to NATO’s naval exercise in Baltic Sea

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HELSINKI: Finland will send more troops to take part in a massive NATO naval exercise in the Baltic Sea due in mid June, Finnish media reported on Thursday.

The Nordic country intends to put more forces to the exercise than previous years, said Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat, adding that about 180 soldiers from the Finnish coastal Jaeger units will take part.

In addition to the soldiers, minelayer Hameenmaa and its staff officers will also be involved in the training, said the daily.

Carl-Magnus Wasenius, Chief of the Uusimaa Brigade, explained that Finland decides to send more troops to the exercise this year because this exercise is larger in scale than ever.

The aim of the annual BALTOPS (Baltic Operations) exercise is to practice crisis management skills in virtual scenarios, including evacuation of people in emergency situation, protecting airports from attacks and so on.

Although not a member of NATO, Finland has been within the framework of the alliance’s Partnership for Peace program and has regularly been involved in BALTOPS in recent years.

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Émile Zola: Haunted by military matters

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

Émile Zola: Selections on war

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Émile Zola
From Truth (1902)
Translated by Ernest A. Vizetelly

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Doloir, who had been for several years in the employment of Darras, the mayor and building contractor, was a fairly good workman – one who occasionally drank a drop too much…But above everything else three years of barrack life had left an ineffaceable mark on Doloir. He had quitted the army in a transport of delight at his deliverance, freely cursing the disgusting and hateful calling in which one ceased to be a man. But ever since that time he had been continually living his three years’ service afresh; not a day passed but some recollection of it came to him. With his hand spoilt as it were by the rifle he had carried, he had found his trowel heavy, and returned to work in a spiritless fashion, like one who was no longer accustomed to toil, but whose will was broken and whose body had become used to long spells of idleness, such as those which intervened between the hours of military exercise. To become once again the excellent workman that he had been previously was quite impossible.

Besides, he was haunted by military matters, to which he was always referring apropos of any subject that presented itself.

***

At that time considerations of patriotism influenced the whole of our education system in France. The country asked us merely for soldiers, the army was like a temple, a sanctuary, that army which had remained waiting with arms grounded for thirty years, and which had devoured thousands of millions of francs! And thus we have been turned into a warrior France instead of becoming a France of progress, truth, justice, and peace, such as alone could have helped us to save the world…

The highest role and the noblest in a nascent democracy is that of the poor and scorned elementary schoolmaster, appointed to teach the humble, to train them to be happy citizens, the builders of the future City of Justice and Peace. Marc felt it was so, and he suddenly realised the exact sense of his mission, his apostleship of Truth, that fervent passion to acquire Truth, certain and positive, then cry it aloud and teach it to all, which had ever possessed him.

***

There was no possibility of real amelioration, liberation, and happiness otherwise than by truth – that is, by knowledge of the conditions in which mankind exists and progresses. All the craving for knowledge as a means for rapid attainment to health and peace bore within itself its method of free expansion, science ceasing to be a dead letter, and becoming a source of life, an excitant of temperament and character…

And yes, so long as the passion for knowledge merely for its own sake should become keener and keener in a social system which was all falsehood and injustice, it would only add to existing ruins. It was necessary that science should tend towards justice, and bring to the future city of fraternity a moral system of liberty and peace.

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“Unique Training Opportunity”: U.S. Paratroopers In Georgian War Games

U.S. Army Europe
May 11, 2015

173rd Airborne arrives in Georgia for Exercise Noble Partner
By Sgt. A.M. LaVey

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TBILISI, Georgia: Approximately 50 paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade arrived at Joint Aviation Base Tbilisi May 8, 2015, at the start of Exercise Noble Partner.

Noble Partner is a U.S. Army Europe training exercise in support of the Republic of Georgia’s contribution of a light infantry company to the NATO Response Force and will focus on unified land operation based on NATO standard operating procedures.

“This is a unique training opportunity for the 173rd,” said Capt. John Patten, commander, Troop C, 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade. “This unequaled event will allow for a mutual increase of our skills.”

The two-week exercise is scheduled to include a combined parachute operation, classroom training, a field training exercise and a live-fire exercise.

While this is the first time that the 173rd has trained in Georgia, with Georgian forces, the two formations have served together before.

“We built a great relationship with the Georgian armed forces in Afghanistan,” said Patten. “We are excited to be here in Georgia for Noble Partner and strengthen this bond.”

The 173rd Airborne Brigade is the U.S. Army’s Contingency Response Force in Europe, capable of rapidly deploying forces to the United States European, Africa and Central Commands areas of responsibilities.

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NATO And Ukraine At War: One For All, All For One

Interfax-Ukraine
May 14, 2015

Ukraine pleased with support from NATO allies – Klimkin

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin has said his country is pleased with the support it has received from its NATO allies, especially over its territorial integrity.

“Everyone was talking at the meeting about support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” Klimkin said on the results of a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Antalya, Turkey.

He quoted the statement of one of the ministers who attended the meeting, which impressed him: “If Ukraine falls, all of us will fall.”

Saying it was “extremely important” to hear the messages of support and to hear messages of commitment to the reforms being carried out in Ukraine, Klimkin said: “I especially express my gratefulness to all the allies who have provided for Ukrainian military forces and the National Guard.”

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Kiev Counts On Other Two-Thirds Of NATO-EU-U.S. Triad For Support

Interfax-Ukraine
May 14, 2015

Ukraine hopes for improved EU-U.S. cooperation over implementation of Minsk deals – Poroshenko, Tusk

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Ukraine hopes joint EU-U.S. actions on peacefully settling the conflict in eastern Ukraine and in implementing the Minsk agreements will be improved, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said.

According to the presidential press service, this follows from Poroshenko’s meeting with European Council President Donald Tusk in Aachen (Germany) on Thursday.

During the meeting, both leaders coordinated their actions towards de-escalate the situation in Donbas.

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NATO Fully Backs Ukraine In 13-Month Proxy War With Russia

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
May 13, 2015

NATO stands firm in support for Ukraine

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NATO Foreign Ministers have reconfirmed their full support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and have called on Russia to cease its destabilisation of eastern Ukraine. Under the chairmanship of Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the Allied ministers met with their Ukrainian counterpart Pavlo Klimkin in a session of the NATO-Ukraine Commission in Antalya, Turkey on Wednesday (13 May 2015).

Opening remarks by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the start of the NATO-Ukraine Commission
“We strongly condemn Russia’s aggressive actions in eastern Ukraine” the Secretary General said, calling on Russia “to fully abide by international law.” Mr. Stoltenberg also underscored that “Russia’s annexation of Crimea is illegal and illegitimate; we do not and we will not recognize it.”

The Secretary General further expressed concerns about Russian “statements about possible future stationing of nuclear weapons and delivery systems in Crimea”. He added that NATO is “concerned by Russia’s efforts to further build up its presence in the Black Sea region,” warning that “this could have further implications on regional stability.”

On behalf of all Allies, the Secretary General called on Russia to stop destabilising eastern Ukraine; withdraw its support for the separatists; withdraw its forces and military equipment from Ukraine and along the border; and fully support a political solution.

Mr. Stoltenberg welcomed Ukraine’s efforts to promote reform and reconciliation, and urged the Ukrainian government to continue on this path.

“We strongly encourage the government of Ukraine to continue its efforts, at full speed”, the Secretary General said.

He noted that “our close cooperation will strengthen Ukraine’s ability to defend itself”.

Mr. Stoltenberg underlined that “we have stepped up our support to Ukraine on command and control; logistics; cyber defence; and rehabilitation of wounded soldiers.” He added that the Alliance has strengthened its office in Kyiv, and provided advisors to the Ukrainian government. The Secretary General further noted that “Ukraine will host a NATO-led exercise on disaster response this autumn.”

“Our partnership is strong, and getting stronger,” the Secretary General concluded.

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Alfred Neumann: This is how it happens in history. Soldiers become thieves, thieves become murderers.

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

Alfred Neumann: Selections on war

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Alfred Neumann
From The Mirror of Fools (1933)
Translated by Trevor and Phyllis Brewitt

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“This is how it happens in history,” said he musingly, and as if to himself. “Here is little Liegnitz, suddently becoming the open wound or the sore place on the great body of the Empire, or, rather, a blunderbuss that goes off of its own accord and precipitates the great disaster. The Emperor intervenes, and eighteen princes of the Empire engage against him and thus become rebels against His Holy Roman Majesty; the Poles are not slow to come forward, and of a sudden the world is split asunder into two parties, Lutherans and Catholics. The Spaniard joins the fray, and the Swede enters the field against him; the Frenchman preys upon the West and the Turk upon the East. The Bavarian sinks his teeth into the Frank, the Branderburger into the Saxon, and the Landgrave of Hesse into the Bishop of Mainz; and so it goes on. Soldiers become thieves, thieves become murderers, the peasant arises once more and strikes the nobleman dead, the starving burgher devours rats; the red death is there, white death follows in the winter, and then comes the black death, the black plague, dysentery. The years pile up the deaths, and the deaths the years; war, rebellion, hunger, pestilence, calamity upon calamity, war, rebellion, hunger, pestilence, layer upon layer…”

***

To the war…War is destruction. The business of sword, lance, and bullet is to hit. If their aim is bad or indifferent, they hit a greater or smaller part of of one’s body, causing nothing more than pain. If their aim is good, they kill. Then there is no more jesting, no more laughter, but blood, suffering, and death. Schweinichen was afraid of the life that might end thus. Was the end of the fool’s journey a bitter, cutting, stabbing, conclusive death? There were stories enough that began with laughter and ended with a rattle in the throat…

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Poland: U.S. Tanks In Live-Fire Exercises

U.S. Army Europe
May 10, 2015

Target in sight, firing
By Sgt. Brandon Anderson

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CAMP KONOTOP, Poland: In the cramped confines of the U.S. Army’s M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tank, the crew must be able to communicate effectively and react quickly in order send their lethal rounds toward the enemy. This kind of precision only comes through many hours of training and hard work between the crew.

To accomplish this level of excellence, the Soldiers of Company D, 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, participated in a gunnery qualification range at the Camp Konotop, Poland, Range Complex May 8, 2015, in preparation for Puma 15, an upcoming joint training exercise between the U.S. and their NATO allies.

Capt. Erik Hamilton, the commander of Company D, said the crews have been going through daytime and nighttime scenarios designed to test their ability to work as a team under less-than-perfect conditions to help identify the crew’s strengths and weaknesses.

The tank crew, consisting of a tank commander, the tank driver, gunner and loader, must work in unison in order to qualify and prove their effectiveness.

“The crews are put through scenarios such as their hydraulic power to the tank being unresponsive and their electronic sighting mechanism not working in order to ensure they’re still able to engage the enemy,” said Hamilton. “In a peacetime environment, if we have a tank malfunction, we can stop what we’re doing and fix it, but during a wartime situation, that luxury isn’t always available.”

“Over the next week or so we’ll be working to prepare ourselves for the combined arms live-fire excises taking place during Puma 15,” said Hamilton. “We’ll be working with a French tank company as well as a Polish mechanized infantry battalion with armored attachments.”

Company D will remain in the field for a few more days in order to go through some more advanced training where they’ll perform a tank platoon live fire, with multiple tanks working in unison to accomplish their mission.

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Pentagon Ready To Move 24 NATO Interceptor Missiles To Romania

U.S. Army Europe
May 12, 2015

Aegis Ashore team finds timely solution to portable power need
By Lt. Cmdr. Mike Billips, NSF Deveselu Public Affairs

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Standard Missile-3 of the sort to be installed in Romania

NAVAL SUPPORT FACILITY DEVESELU, Romania: A U.S. Navy base, under construction in Romania, is using U.S. Soldiers to ensure that the second phase of the European Phased Adaptive Approach, or EPAA, to ballistic missile defense of U.S. and allied interests becomes operational on time.

President Barack Obama has mandated that the Aegis Ashore capability, in the NATO partner nation of Romania, be operational by the end of 2015.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, or USACE, 249th Engineer Battalion, deployed a team and equipment to Romania on less than a week’s notice in early April. They provided an instant solution to a knotty schedule problem at Naval Support Facility, or NSF, Deveselu, the first Aegis Ashore base under construction in central Romania.

The 249th’s four generators, together with their switching gear, make up a 3.2-megawatt power plant solution to support continued progress on EPAA phase II. This “Prime Power” equipment can be deployed anywhere in the world that diesel fuel can be supplied. That was crucial for NSF Deveselu, where the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, or MDA, is building the first operational Aegis Ashore Ballistic Missile Defense system.

“They were able to provide the right power for the testing of the Aegis Weapons System,” said Capt. William Garren, commanding officer of NSF Deveselu. “If they hadn’t come, it would have cost 44 days, from the schedule, to get the system checked out and operational.”

A necessary design change meant a potential six-week delay in testing and bringing the system online, as generators were taken offline and moved to their permanent locations. Fortunately, the USACE Europe District, which oversees all military construction in the region, happened to be more than familiar with U.S. military’s portable power capabilities.

Col. Matthew Tyler, who is also the district engineer, is a former commander of the 249th, and a former commandant of the Prime Power School, which also trains Navy Mobile Utilities Support Equipment Seabees.

“While MUSE was considered first for the mission, their new equipment was not certified for air transport, which meant the Army could respond more quickly,” he said.

“It’s a strategically important project, and it warrants a greater amount of attention to ensure we can meet the presidential mandate,” Tyler said.

The successful deployment and installation of the generators took less than three weeks, from first notification of the unit, that they would deploy. The Soldiers will remain in Romania to operate the equipment until permanently installed replacements are fully operational this fall.

The solution was the result of a much longer planning and coordination process involving the Navy base and tenant command, USACE, the Missile Defense Agency, or MDA, and multiple contractors.

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Georgia: U.S. Military Prepares For War On Russia’s Southern Frontier

U.S. Army Europe
May 12, 2015

U.S., Georgian forces begin two-week exercise Noble Partner
By Sgt. Daniel Cole

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VAZIANI, Georgia: Noble Partner 15, a 14-day training exercise with U.S. and Georgian forces, kicked off here May 11.

The opening ceremony proceeded in traditional military fashion with speeches from high-ranking military and government officials, national anthems of both countries and a static display of U.S. and Georgian combat vehicles behind the formation.

Paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade’s ‘Sky Soldiers’ parachuted into the ceremony from a U.S. Air Force C-130 J aircraft onto the runway where less than 300 meters away, guests watched closely.

“The name of today’s exercise is not a coincidence,” said U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Mark Loeben, the U.S. European Command’s director of exercises and assessments…

Noble Partner includes approximately 600 service members from Company A, 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division; paratroopers from Troop C, 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade; and Georgian soldiers assigned to Company A, 12th Battalion, 1st Infantry Brigade, Georgian Land Forces.

Participants will use a full range of equipment, including the U.S. Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle and several wheeled support vehicles. Georgian forces will operate alongside U.S. forces with their BMP-2 Infantry Combat Vehicles.

“As my friend [Georgian] Maj. Gen. [Vakhtang] Kapanadze says, ‘partnership is temporary’, but after so many years or cooperation and working together, today’s Georgian and U.S. military is more like a brotherhood that just a partnership,” said Loeben.

One of the Georgian companies participating in Noble Partner is part of the NATO Response Force, a highly ready and technologically advanced multinational force made up of land, air, maritime and special operations components. This partnership enables the contributing members of the alliance to deploy quickly, wherever needed.

“Noble Partner is another step taken in the direction of strengthening our collaboration,” said Tina Khidasheli, the newly elected Georgian defense minister. “The ongoing training will enable Georgia to strengthen its defense capabilities. It also will be an enabler for Georgia to get very quickly involved in NATO Reaction Force…”

U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned in its 51-country area of responsibility to advance American strategic interests in Europe and Eurasia. The relationships built during the more that 1,000 theater security cooperation events, held in more than 40 countries each year, lead directly to support for multinational contingency operations around the world, strengthen regional partnerships and enhance global security.

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“Reassuring NATO Allies”: U.S. Troops’ 400-Kilometer March Through Romania

U.S. Army Europe
May 13, 2015

2d Cavalry Regiment preps for Cavalry March across Romania
By Sgt. William A. Tanner, 2d Cavalry Regiment Public Affairs

MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU AIR BASE, Romania: Troopers assigned to 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, participated in a rehearsal of concept drill alongside soldiers belonging to the Romanian Land Forces, in preparation for the unit’s upcoming Cavalry March at Mikhail Kogalniceanu Air Base, Romania, May 11, 2015.

Soldiers from the 18th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, the 4-3 Assault Helicopter Battalion and the 709th Military Police Battalion were also in attendance.

During the drill, plans for the 400 Kilometer vehicle road march from MK air base to the Cincu Training Center, were discussed and finalized.

“The purpose of this mission is simply reassurance to our NATO Allies, especially Romania,” said Lt. Col. Theodore A. Johnson, 2nd Squadron Commander. “This will also be a combined effort to show interoperability and we will defer to the Romanian Armed Forces on all coordination and emerging issues.”

The event, though focused on the transportation of troopers and their vehicles, will also include stops in local townships…

Other events, such as a World War II Wreath Laying Ceremony and the Brasov Welcoming Ceremony, will bring a touch of realism to the soldiers involved, by symbolizing both respect for the past and hope for the future.

To follow along with the unit as they make their way across Romania in preparation for their training at the Cincu Training Center, make sure to look out for the hash tags posted above.

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Pentagon Moves 12 Warplanes, 200 Troops To Bulgaria

May 13, 2015 2 comments

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

May 11, 2015

First-ever Air National Guard European TSP arrives in Bulgaria
By Senior Airman Gustavo Castillo
52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

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SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany: The U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander spoke to U.S. and Bulgarian Airmen and local community leaders about the U.S. Air Force’s first European Theater Security Package of F-15C Eagles deployed to Graf Ignatievo Air Base, near Plovdiv, Bulgaria, May 11, 2015.

U.S. Air Force Gen. Frank Gorenc, USAFE-AFAFRICA commander, welcomed the approximately 200 Airmen of the 159th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron to Europe.

“These 200 Airmen and 12 F-15s led by the Florida National Guard and comprised of Airmen and equipment from several National Guard units provide a strategic symbol as they represent the United States’ commitment to European security and stability,” said Gorenc.

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 Europe and dedication to the enduring peace and stability in the region.

Gorenc explained, “The U.S. Air Force’s forward presence in Europe, augmented by a rotational force like the TSP, allows us to work with our allies to develop and improve ready air forces capable of maintaining regional security.”

While this is the first time the ANG has deployed to Europe as a TSP, these types of deployments are not new to the Air Force. Fighter squadrons have been deploying like this to the Pacific since 2004.

“We know how much effort and resources it takes to be deployed here,” said Maj. Gen. Rumen Radev, Bulgarian Air Force commander. “I want to thank the U.S. Air Force command represented by Gen. Gorenc, because you are here again and our joint training continues. If the Bulgarian Air Force is an inseparable part from the alliance today, it is to a great extent because of these trainings.”

The 125th Fighter Wing, Florida Air National Guard, Jacksonville, Fla., leads this first ANG theater security package to deploy in support of OAR. The aircraft and Airmen are based out of units in Florida, Oregon, California, Massachusetts and various bases throughout Europe. Regardless of their origin, together, they make up the 159th EFS.

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Drang Nach Osten: U.S. Air Force Band In Belarusian Military Parade

May 13, 2015 1 comment

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

May 11, 2015

USAFE band first to march in Belarus parade

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An Armed Forces of Belarus soldier provides an honor guard as 34 Airmen from the U.S. Air Forces in Europe Band march in the World War II Victory Day Parade May 9, 2015, in Minsk, Belarus.

The band’s involvement is the first time in Belarus’ history that participants from the U.S. Department of Defense marched in the parade. The event commemorates the sacrifices of the World War II Allies and the end of hostilities 70 years ago.

In addition to their participation in the Victory Day parade, which included more than 5,000 Belarussian soldiers and 250 military vehicles, the USAFE bandsmen performed in concerts Brest and Minsk, Belarus. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Brian Bahret)

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NATO To Conduct Series Of War Games Next Month

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations

May 12, 2015

NATO Conducts ALLIED SHIELD Series of Exercises in June involving 11,000 troops from 22 Nations

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MONS, Belgium:- In June NATO and Allies will conduct a series of training events which we refer to as the ALLIED SHIELD series of exercises. The ALLIED SHIELD series includes Exercise NOBLE JUMP, the first training deployment of Allied high-readiness units under the new Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) framework. It also includes BALTOPS, a major Allied naval exercise in Poland; SABER STRIKE, a significant land exercise in the Baltic States; and TRIDENT JOUST, a NRF command and control exercise in Romania. In total, approximately 11,000 troops from 19 different Allies and 3 partner nations will participate in this series of training events taking place across the Alliance in June 2015. All of these exercises are defensive and are a part of NATO’s assurance measures in response to challenges on NATO’s southern and eastern periphery. The activity will focus on enhancing interoperability, readiness and responsiveness among Allied and partner nations. ALLIED SHIELD demonstrates that NATO members are united in their commitment to collective defence.

Members of the Joint Operations Coordination (JOC) team at JFC Naples gather information during Trident Juncture 2014. JFC Naples participates in the NATO Exercise “Trident Juncture 2014″ to be certified as the 2015 NATO Response Force command and control element. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Robert S. Price/Released)

BALTOPS:

Who: USA and STRIKEFORNATO Exercise with Allies and Partners Participants: (17) NLD, DNK, EST, FRA, LVA, LTU, POL, UK, USA, TUR, BEL, NOR, CAN, DEU and partners FIN, SWE, GEO. Approximately 4500 participants.

What is it: Large scale joint exercise that focuses on Maritime and Amphibious operations. Training will include maritime interdiction operations, boarding and search/ seizure operations, anti-submarine warfare, mine warfare, anti-air, anti- surface warfare, maritime helicopter operations and amphibious landings.

When: 5-20 June, 5-7 June Pre-Sail conference in Poland (ships available), 19 June Post sail conference in Kiel Germany (Kiel Week).

Where: Baltic Sea, Poland.

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Interesting points: Nearly 4500 personnel, including a 700-troop combined landing force (Finnish company, Swedish Company, USMC Company and FAST Platoon (Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team), Company from 173rd Airborne Brigade, US EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) element, US Naval Mobile Construction Element (SeaBees)) will participate in the exercise. 17 nations participating, including two standing NATO Maritime Groups. We expect around 47 ships and 49 aircraft. Aircraft scheduled to participate: NATO AWACS, US F-16s used as OPFOR (opposing forces), B-52s, P-3 and P-8 Maritime patrol aircraft, German Tornados, Swedish Grippen and US KC-135 tankers. Rotary wing aircraft scheduled to participate are; Seahawks, CH124, TH-70, UH-60 Blackhawks, Merlins, CH-47 Chinook, and AH-64 Apache.

SABER STRIKE:

Who: Host Nations: POL, EST, LVA, LTU.

Participants: EST, LVA, LTU, POL, UK, USA, FIN, NOR, DNK, DEU, FRA/DEU Brigade. Approximately 3000 participants.

What: Saber Strike 15 is a company level FTX (Field Training Exercise) and Brigade level CPX (Command Post exercise) intended to promote regional stability and security, strengthen partner capacity, and foster trust while improving interoperability among NATO partners. The overarching concept focuses on preparation of HQs and troops for NRF (NATO response Force) and future operations. LTU is the host nation and the CPX, the FTX portion is conducted in the three Baltic nations and Poland.

When: Exercise runs 8-20 June 2015.

TRIDENT JOUST:

Who: ITA, ROU, BGR. Approximately 1500 participants.

What: CPX to provide continuation training for Joint Force Command (JFC) Naples , maintain NRF level of proficiency and demonstrate capability to plan and execute operations. Additionally to train JFC Naples Command and Control over NRF 15; JFC HQs ability to function as a deployed HQ while planning and conducting operations in a collective defence context.

When: 17-28 June.

Where: ITA, ROU, BGR.

Czech Soldiers from the 43rd Airborne Battalion, 2nd Company load onto a CASA C-295 aircraft during Exercise Noble Jump at the Pardubice Airfield, Czech Republic, April 9, 2015. Exercise Noble Jump marks the first time that high-readiness units have physically tested their response to rapid ‘orders to move’ under the new VJTF framework. The training event marks a learning process that will allow NATO military staff to identify both successes and shortfalls as the Alliance continues to refine its high readiness capabilities. (NATO Photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew Davis, USAF)
NOBLE JUMP:

Who: SHAPE, JFC Naples, 1GNC, CZE, DEU, NLD, NOR, POL, BEL, USA, LTU, and HUN. 1GNC, CZE, NLD and POL will deploy from home bases. DEU, NOR units will deploy from Hohne, Germany. Approximately 2100 participants.

What: 2015 VJTF Deployment Exercise to test the deployment and employment of forces in a field training environment. This will also test the alert procedures and deployment abilities of the units that participated in the Alert Exercise in Apr 2015. The Deploy Exercise will also be the first time that the concept of a NATO Force Integration Unit (NFIU) is tested.

When: Exercise runs from 10-21 June 2015.

Where: Various home stations to deploy to Zagan Military Training Area in Poland.

Interesting Points: First deployment of the VJTF to a training exercise. Nations will provide the following unit types: CZE Air Mobile troops, DEU & NOR Mechanized Infantry, NLD Air Mobile troops, POL Armoured unit, POL & LTU Special Forces, BEL Artillery, USA helicopter units, HUN CIMIC (Civil-Military Co-operation).

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