Posts Tagged ‘Georgia’

Black Sea: Pentagon’s Gateway To Three Continents And The Middle East

August 27, 2009 1 comment

February 21, 2009

Black Sea: Pentagon’s Gateway To Three Continents And The Middle East
Rick Rozoff

The Black Sea region connects Europe with Asia and the Eurasian land mass to the Middle East through Turkey on its southern rim, which borders Syria, Iraq and Iran.

The northern Balkans lie on its western shores and the Caucasus on its eastern end, the latter a land bridge to the Caspian Sea and Central Asia.

Ukraine, Russia and the strategic Sea of Azov are on its northern perimeter.

Given its central location, the Black Sea has been coveted for millennia by major powers: The Persian and Roman empires, Greeks and Hittites, Byzantines and Huns, Ottoman Turkey and Czarist Russia, even by Napoleon’s France and Hitler’s Germany in their wars to unite Europe to Asia and the Middle East.

The famed Trojan War was fought for control of Troy/Dardania/Ilium, the entrance to the Sea of Marmara which connects the Mediterranean to the Black Sea. The strait connecting the two is still called the Dardanelles after ancient Dardania.

Going back to antiquity a third continent has also been involved, Africa; the Greek historian Herodotus claimed that the Black Sea city of Colchis, now in modern Georgia, was founded by Egyptians and in Virgil’s if not Homer’s account of the siege of Troy Memnon, king of Abyssinia (Ethiopia), is slain by Achilles fighting in defense of Troy.

A Romanian news source recently reiterated the importance of the region for the modern era:

“Through the Black Sea, the European area strategically meets Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Middle East, hydrocarbon production and transit areas.” [1]

Allusions to the Black Sea’s importance for not only energy and transit but for world military purposes will occur frequently in citations to follow.

Prior to the breakup of the Warsaw Pact in 1990 and the Soviet Union a year later the Black Sea was mainly off limits to the West in general and to the Pentagon and NATO in particular. Until 1991 only four states bordered the sea, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey and the Soviet Union.

Turkey as a key NATO member state was the West’s sole beachhead in the region with Bulgaria and Romania, the second more nominally than in fact, members of the Eastern bloc and the Warsaw Pact.

In the intervening eighteen years the situation in this region, like so many others, has been transformed and a new battle for control of it has emerged.

There have arisen two new littoral states, Georgia and Ukraine, with Abkhazia added last August, and every past Warsaw Pact nation outside the former Soviet Union is currently a full member of both NATO and the European Union – Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, the former German Democratic Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia – with three former Soviet republics on the Baltic Sea – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – also dual members.

As an Indian commentator, Premen Addy, described it last summer:

“NATO’s noose is drawn ever tighter round the Russian neck. American military and missile bases are already ensconced in Romania and Bulgaria – two states once in harness with Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich and the invading Nazi legions into the USSR – in a bid to strangle the possible emergence of a rival centre of power in the Black Sea….” [2]

A year earlier the online intelligence site The Power and Interest News Report in an analysis called “Bulgaria, U.S. Bases and Black Sea Geopolitics” summarized the situation regarding one key Black Sea state in the following words:

“Geographically speaking, Bulgaria provides the U.S. (and N.A.T.O.) a greater presence in the Black Sea, through which there are plans to build oil and gas pipelines.

“Also, it is close to the former Yugoslavia, a place of constant tensions, particularly in the last decade.

“The [new Pentagon] bases allow the U.S. to keep increased control of the country and the Greater Middle East region, as Washington now has a military presence in the south (America’s 5th fleet is based in Bahrain) and will have a presence in the north through nearby Bulgaria.” [2]


Since 1991 but especially since the December 2003 “Rose Revolution” the United States has transformed Georgia on the Black Sea’s eastern border into a private military preserve, first dispatching Green Berets, then Marines to train, equip and transform the nation’s armed forces for wars abroad and at home.

The revamped Georgian army was first tried out in Iraq, where with a 2,000-troop contingent it had the third largest foreign force in Iraq until last August when the U.S. military, whose creation it was, flew the soldiers home for the war with Russia.

Before the echoes of last August’s gunfire and artillery rounds had died down the U.S. sent its warship the USS McFaul to the Georgian port city of Batumi and the flagship of its Sixth Fleet, the USS Mount Whitney, to Poti whose mission was announced to the chronically credulous as delivering “juice, powdered milk and hygiene products.”

Batumi is the capital of Ajaria (Adjaria), a former autonomous region subjugated by the then newborn “Rose” regime in April of 2004 after its American-trained army staged Georgia’s largest-ever military exercises in nearby Poti and threatened invasion, lies just south of the Abkhazian capital of Sukhumi, where Russian ships were then stationed. Warships of the world’s two major nuclear powers faced off against each other off the Black Sea coast just 75 kilometers apart.

At the same time NATO deployed a naval strike group to the Black Sea consisting of three U.S. warships, a Polish frigate, a German frigate and a Spanish guided missile frigate as well as four Turkish vessels with eight more warships planning to join the flotilla.

The NATO warships were only 150 kilometers from their Russian counterparts then docked in Abkhazia.


On the north end of the Black Sea the U.S. has led annual Sea Breeze NATO exercises in Ukraine’s Crimea, evoking mass outrage and spirited protests from the Crimeans themselves whose parliament three days ago voted against a proposed U.S. representative office being set up, one which no doubt would oversee both the suppression of increased autonomy demands and anti-NATO actions in Crimea and prepare the groundwork for the eviction of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet from Sevastopol.

Regarding the second point, a Russian news site offered these insights:

“Analysts speak about Ukrainian plans to kick out Russia and turn over the Crimean bases to NATO and the United States, as both salivate for a military presence in the Black Sea Basin.” [4]

“One of the conditions for NATO membership is absence of foreign bases on the country’s territory….[Ukraine’s “orange” authorities] do what they can to drive away the Russian Black Sea Fleet from the Crimea. In such a way Kiev signals to Brussels that it is preparing a base for NATO naval ships in the Black Sea.” [5]

Georgia’s and Ukraine’s next, complete, phase of integration as Pentagon military outposts was announced last December and January, respectively, when Washington signed Strategic Partnership Charters with first Kiev and then Tbilisi. Months before that and only days after Georgia launched its attack on South Ossetia and Russian peacekeepers there, triggering last August’s war, all 26 NATO members sent representatives as part of a delegation to the Georgian capital to establish a new NATO-Georgia Commission.

At the same time the regime of Ukraine’s Viktor Yushchenko, who rode to power on the U.S.-financed and -directed “orange revolution” of December 2004, and whose wife Kathy is a Chicago-born and -raised former official in the Reagan State Department and the George H. W. Bush Treasury Department and was once described by a fawning admirer as “a Reaganite’s Reaganite,” used the deployment of Russian ships to the Black Sea during the war with Georgia to apply pressure on the Black Sea Fleet, at one point implying the ships might not be permitted to return to Sevastopol.

Several weeks after the Caucasus war ended, Washington sent an intelligence gathering ship, U.S. Pathfinder, to Sevastopol harbor.

The Yushchenko government renewed its accusations against the Russian fleet late last month on another score, slightly over a month after the Charter on Strategic Cooperation was signed with Washington.

The Black Sea connects with the Sea of Azov, surrounded almost entirely by Russia, at the Kerch Strait, the scene of a confrontation between Russia and Ukraine in 2003.

A Russian newspaper at the time explained what was at stake in the dispute:

“The Kerch Strait at the center of Russia’s dispute with Ukraine controls access to the Azov Sea, which is reputed to have largely untapped hydrocarbon reserves.

“Ownership rights to potential oil and gas resources have not been decided between the two countries, despite years of negotiations to delimit the seabed.

“Although unlikely to be a second Caspian, geologists believe the Azov Sea is likely part of the same seam of hydrocarbon deposits that stretches from southern Ukraine and Russia through the Black Sea to the Caspian and beyond.” [6]

The U.S.’s Stratfor augmented the above with this brief analysis:

“The Kerch Strait is a 25-mile-long channel that is no wider than 9 miles, linking the critically important Black Sea to the Sea of Azov off of Russia’s Northern Caucasus border. It has served as a key location for some strategic battles in the past from the Crimean wars to a Nazi-Soviet naval clash. To Russia, the Kerch Strait is a continuation of the Northern Caucasus into Ukraine’s Crimea regions, which is one of the country’s most pro-Russian regions and home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet located at Sevastopol.” [7]

More concisely and even more to the point, a few weeks ago this quote appeared in a Ukrainian press wire report:

“Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations require that it solves all its problems, including border disputes. They need a border [in the Kerch Strait] for just one reason: to be able to join NATO as soon as possible.” [8]

Bulgaria and Romania

Washington has signed Strategic Partnership Charters with both Georgia and Ukraine over the past two months and the two nations are the centerpieces for Washington’s takeover of the Black Sea and indeed the former Soviet Union as a whole.

They are the main fulcra for the U.S.-created GUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova) bloc originally set up in 1997 as the main transit route for 21st century Eurasian energy wars and for undermining and undoing the post-Soviet Commonwealth of Independent States. They are also the foundation stones of the European Union’s Eastern Partnership.

But to date the main emphasis of the Pentagon’s campaign to conquer the Black Sea region, and arguably the major focal point for its international shift to the east and the south, is with Bulgaria and Romania.

Both nations were formally brought into NATO at the 2004 Istanbul summit of the Alliance and since became the last – perhaps in both senses of the word, most recent and final – members of the European Union.

Earlier, Bulgaria and Romania both denied Russia use of their airspace to transport supplies to troops they had moved into Kosovo in June of 1999.

Russia was acting within its rights under the terms of UN Resolution 1244 to protect ethnic minority communities in the Serbian province, but clearly Bulgaria and Romania were following U.S. and NATO orders in blocking the flights.

Whether, if Russia had persisted in its intent, the two nations would have grounded the Russian aircraft or even shot them down is a matter of conjecture, though perhaps not much.

Later Romania allowed the U.S. to use its Mikhail Kogalniceanu Air Base in 2002 for the buildup to the following March’s invasion of Iraq.

In December of 2005 U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice traveled to the Romanian capital to sign an accord to use – take control of – four military bases, the aforementioned Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base and training and firing grounds in Babadag, Cincu and Smardan.

The U.S.’s explanation at the time was that it was to employ the four bases for training, including joint and multilateral exercises, provision of supplies and transit for the downrange wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

And Romanian territory has served those purposes ever since.

In April of the following year, 2006, Washington signed a comparable agreement with neighboring Bulgaria for the use of three of its major military bases – the Bezmer air base, the Novo Selo army training range and the Graf Ignatievo airfield.

Both pacts were signed for an initial ten year duration.

The U.S. was allowed to station troops – estimates vary from 5,000-10,000 – on a rotating or permanent basis in both countries.

In the case of Bulgaria it will be the first time foreign troops have been stationed on its soil since Nazi Wehrmacht forces were driven out in 1944 and with Romania since Soviet troops withdrew in 1958.

The seven sites in both countries will be the first U.S. military bases in former Warsaw Pact territory.

The Bezmer air base in Bulgaria is a major facility, similar in scope to Romania’s Mihail Kogalniceanu, and its scale and purpose for current and futures campaigns in the east and south are indicated by this Bulgarian description:

“[T]he airbase…according to the US-Bulgarian agreement…will acquire the status of a strategic military facility in two years, like the Incirlik airbase in Turkey and Aviano in Italy.” [9]

The same newspaper added that, “The Bezmer military airport near the town of Yambol (southeastern Bulgaria) will be transformed into one of the six new strategic airbases outside US borders.” [10]

Britain’s Jane’s Defence Weekly in late 2006 informed its readers of the strategic sweep of the Pentagon’s move into the Black Sea:

“[T]he new land, sea and airbases along the Black Sea will provide much improved contingency access for deployments into Central Asia, parts of the Middle East and Southwest Asia. [11]

From the other end of the planet Lin Zhiyuan, deputy office director of the World Military Affairs Research Department of the Chinese Academy of Military Sciences, saw the developments through the same lens but with trepidation:

“[N]ew military bases, airports and training bases will be built in Hungary, Romania, Poland, Bulgaria and other nations to ensure ‘gangways’ to some areas in the Middle East, African and Asia in possible military actions in the years ahead.” [12]

Both preceding analyses were confirmed by the U.S. military itself the following year when Maj. Gen. Mark Hertling, the U.S. Army Europe operations chief and deputy chief of staff, spoke of Romania to an armed forces publication:

“It’s in a critical location with emerging partners, at a location which is really a place that has been a historical transit route for bad guys.”

The interview added “The bases would house rotating U.S. troops that would train under the command of Joint Task Force East, headquartered at Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base.

“The U.S. signed a Defense Cooperation Agreement with Romania in December 2005 to allow U.S. forces to use the former communist nation for training, pre-positioning of equipment and, if necessary, staging and deploying troops into war zones.” [13]

Two months after the U.S.-Bulgarian agreement the U.S. led joint military training exercises in Bulgaria in which the head of local troops involved effused, “We want to be certified as part of NATO forces. We want to conduct expeditionary exercises as part of NATO.” [14]

The war games, named Immediate Response 2006, were designated to break in the new bases in Bulgaria and Romania and to implement the Rumsfeld era Pentagon’s plans for military “lily pads” from which to spring into action to points east and south.

In reporting on the exercise the main newspaper of the American armed forces provided this background perspective:

“According to the agreements, the U.S. would be able to use the Romanian and Bulgarian bases for pre-positioning of equipment, and to send U.S. troops and equipment into war if necessary. The ‘forward operating sites,’ as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld calls them, would be in Romania at the Smardan Training Range, Babadag Training Area and Rail Head, Mihail Kogalniceanu air base, and Cincu Training Range.” [15]

A Bulgarian civilian cited by the same source said, “Every day we can see them (U.S. troops) in the cities and villages.” [16]

By September of the same year, “Sofia and Washington are to sign about 13 additional agreements to regulate the joint usage of several military bases in Bulgaria.

“Defence Minister Veselin Bliznakov has announced that next week US European Command (EUCOM) experts will arrive in Bulgaria to draw a draft document.” [17]

The pacts with Bulgaria and Romania are, as usual in such instances, to be jointly used by NATO, as all three signatories are members of the bloc.

In a U.S. armed forces dispatch titled “England-based airmen head to NATO exercise in Bulgaria” it was reported that a British “squadron plans to test-fire laser-guided and general-purpose weapons at a Bulgarian range, as well as conduct air-to-air training with the Bulgarian MiG-29 and -21 aircraft” in war games coded Exercise Immediate Response. [18]

Later NATO continued its leapfrogging over the Pentagon into Bulgaria as detailed in an article called “NATO bases may be set up near Bulgaria’s Sungulare” which included this report:

“NATO asked if the former buildings of a tank brigade in the town of Aitos could be turned into a reserve storage base.

“NATO planned to store here the equipment for one or two battalions, which would be based in the military bases of Novo Selo and Bezmer.” [18]

In fact what NATO achieved was securing a base of its own.

“NATO will pay 150 million US dollars to the municipality of Sungurlare (central Bulgaria) in exchange for a plot of municipal land for the construction of a military base.” [20]

The comparison between the Bulgarian Bezmer air base and the U.S.’s and NATO’s main strategic air (bombing) bases in Aviano, Italy and Incirlik, Turkey was established earlier and this report later confirmed the analogy’s accuracy, though immediately in reference to another air base.

“NATO will move aircraft from the US air base in Aviano, northeastern Italy, to Bulgaria’s Graf Ignatievo air base near Plovdiv.” [20]

The above news item described the transfer as temporary, but it may have been a portent of what is planned for the future.

Aviano was the main base used by the U.S. and NATO in their joint Operation Deliberate Force bombing of the Bosnian Serb Republic in 1995 and in the 78-day terror bombing campaign against Yugoslavia in 1999.

To leave no further doubt as to under whose auspices the Pentagon was able to secure its seven new bases for attacks to the east and south, in the autumn of 2007 “A top general from the NATO’s Southern Command in Naples will inspect the two-week military exercises of army units from Bulgaria, the USA and Romania which will be held near the town of Sliven, in southern Bulgaria.” [22]

And to dispel any misconceptions as to who the main target of the U.S.- and NATO-acquired bases was, in June of that year Russian President Vladimir Putin, citing the emerging and unmistakable pattern of “a new base in Bulgaria, another in Romania, a site in Poland, radar in the Czech Republic,” rhetorically queried “What are we supposed to do? We cannot just observe all this.” [23]

The severity and urgency of the threat perceived by Russia was such that General Vladimir Shamanov, adviser to Russia’s Defense Minister, was quoted as saying “We will point our missiles at the US military facilities in Bulgaria and Romania.” [24]

This concern was echoed by the Russian foreign ministry:

“Russia once again voiced her concern with the deployment of US military facilities in Bulgaria and Romania.

“‘We are deeply concerned, because such a move entails an expansion of the US forces in countries, which not long ago were allies of Russia,’ Anatoly Antonov, Head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Security and Disarmament Department, said at an extraordinary conference on the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty (DOVSE,) held in Vienna.” [25]

The Russian military, most directly alert to and aware of the repercussions of the deployments, voiced its alarm in the person of Maj. Gen. Vladimir Nikishin, a representative of the Defense Ministry’s Main International Military Cooperation Department, who said, “The location of NATO bases in Bulgaria and Romania actually means that the Alliance is creating bases for building up it forces in Eastern Europe, which is at variance with the adapted Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty.” [26]

Two months afterward Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov would add, “Russia finds it hard to understand some decisions of NATO like, for example, the deployment of US military facilities in Bulgaria and Romania.” [27]

Lastly, the then chief of the general staff of the Russian armed forces, Yuri Baluyevsky, voiced concern that “Plans are…afoot to set up new US military bases in Bulgaria and Romania, and unlike Russia, no NATO country has so far raised a finger to ratify the modified CFE treaty.” [28]

The references to the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) pertain to a 1989 pact signed between NATO and the former Warsaw Pact limiting the deployment of conventional weapons and equipment. No member of NATO has ratified the treaty.

The above apprehensions could not have been assuaged by comments that year from Solomon Passy, former Bulgarian foreign minister, advocating that American infantry, air and naval forces be followed by missile deployments.

“Following the NATO treaty and the agreement for joint military bases in Bulgaria I think this will be the next strategic step that would enhance the security of the country, the region and the whole of Europe….This shield should be [placed] above all member states of NATO and the EU.” [29]

Nor could Russian fears be alleviated by the announcement the same month that “NATO defence ministers agreed at their Friday meeting in Brussels to initiate procedures for adding a short-range missile defence system in Eastern Europe to the on the US proposes that would also include Bulgaria.” [30]

Slightly over a year after the U.S.-Bulgarian bases accord had been inked it was announced that U.S. troops were heading there and to Romania and “The bases are part of an ambitious plan to shift EUCOM’s [the Pentagon’s European Command’s] fighting brigades from western Europe – mostly Germany – to forward bases closer to the Caucasus, the Balkans, the Middle East and Africa, for a quicker strike capability.” [31]

The same report added:

“‘When this rebasing process is complete, two-thirds of USAREUR’s [United States Army Europe and Seventh Army’s] maneuver forces will be positioned in southern and eastern Europe,’ [EUCOM and NATO’s top commander John] Craddock told the U.S. Senate in written testimony.

“USEUCOM has requested $73.6 million to build out Mikhail Kogalniceanu Air Base, Romania, and to establish a forward operating station in Bulgaria.” [32]

The Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base received the first U.S. troops deployed to Romania in 2007 and has hosted the U.S. European Command’s newly formed Joint Task Force East, formerly the Eastern Europe Task Force.

The title of that unit alone reveals volumes.

As soon as the Bulgarian and Romanian “full spectrum” air, land and sea bases were acquired, the Pentagon moved to expand and integrate them with its other Black Sea military partners, Georgia and Ukraine.

Referring specifically to the Romanian bases, it was reported that “It is also possible that troops from others nations would go to the sites to train, and that U.S. forces based there would, as part of their six-month tour, travel to nearby nations such as Georgia and Ukraine for shorter training missions.” [33]

In May of 2007 the commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Gen. Tom Hobbins, “visited with defense and air force leaders in Bulgaria and Georgia May 14-16 to discuss air force capabilities, modernization and future goals.” [34]

The same commander the following month, described as looking “eastward to the Black Sea and southward into Africa,” said: “Both Bulgaria and Romania have over a dozen projects where runways are being enhanced, facilities [and] buildings are being built. So we’re actually taking advantage of the fact that there’s a lot of NATO money being spent….” [35]

To make maximal use of the runways Hobbins mentioned, in February of 2007 Reuters reported that the U.S. was selling Romania 48 new fighter jets and recalled that “The Romanian facilities and bases in Bulgaria will be the first U.S. military installations in the former Soviet bloc.” [36]

In August Washington launched war games in Romania to inaugurate its new forward sites and break in its new Joint Task Force East, a process accompanied by no little fanfare:

“About 1,000 mostly Europe-based military personnel and civilians will have a ceremony today to commence the United States’ first deployment to Joint Task Force East.” [37]

The significance of the exercise, named Proof of Principle, was highlighted as being a watershed, that “The U.S. military’s new era in Eastern Europe has begun.”

The same news source elaborated:

“American and Romanian military forces marked the start of a historic, two-month exercise on Friday that will serve as a trial run for thousands of U.S. troops expected to rotate in and out of Romania and Bulgaria for years to come.” [38]

Two months afterward the U.S. held the Rodopi Javelin 2007 air warfare exercise in Bulgaria at the Graf Ignatevio air base where US F-16s were able to practice against Russian-made Bulgarian MiG-29s for future purposes.

Earlier in the year a U.S. destroyer, the San Jacinto, docked in the Bulgarian Black Sea port of Varna.

In April of last year the U.S. reprised the earlier joint air exercise, also at the Graf Ignatevio air base. Similar aerial combat drills have been conducted in Romania and in both countries American warplanes are provided the opportunity of testing their abilities against Russian-made aircraft.

A month afterward the U.S. embassy announced “a deal to re-fit a Bulgarian military base, one of four due to be used…in autumn 2008.

“The Novo Selo camp in eastern Bulgaria will undergo a $6.5 million refurbishment by the German-based company Field Camp Services (FCS).

“The Pentagon has also set aside some $60 million for the construction of a permanent base at Novo Selo.” [39]

In June a Bulgarian news source, in an article titled “US Army Town to be Built near Novo Selo,” wrote:

“Five hundred soldiers and officers will settle in Bulgaria permanently, the other 2,500 will live in the bases of Bezmer, Novo Selo, Graf Ignatievo and Aitos on a rotation principle.

“It means that up to 5,000 troops may be using the bases when need arises….The first US servicemen will arrive in Bulgaria this August.

“Over 1,200 soldiers will take part in a three-month exercise called ‘The Bulgarian Panther.'” [40]

The following day another Bulgarian report appeared on the expansion of U.S. military sites in the nation:

“{T]he US military base to be built near Novo Selo…is expected to be of the size of an average Bulgarian town….500 US rangers and their entire families would arrive at the base then to live permanently there while deployed to Bulgaria.

“Another 2,500 US soldiers would use on rotation bases the military facilities in Bezmer, Graf Ignatievo and Aitos….[T]he military airport in Bezmer…is slated to become one of the 6 strategic military airport bases outside the US….” [41]

Events proceeded similarly in Romania.

“Construction of a permanent U.S. base in Romania to house 1,700 personnel is well under way, with work on a similar facility for up to 2,500 personnel due to start in Bulgaria this winter, according to a U.S. official.” [42]

In August of 2008 the Deputy of the Office for Defense Cooperation with the American embassy in the Bulgarian capital, Jake Daystar, held an interview with a Bulgarian news agency in which he said of one of the new U.S. bases in the nation, “The main purpose of the base is to improve abilities through training – both of NATO troops and divisions of the US Army….The imperatives are hidden in the location of the state” as “with its geographic location Bulgaria has always been a strategically important country, as it stands on the crossroad between Asia and Europe.” [43]

By September of last year Russian concerns over the escalating U.S. military buildup in the Black Sea had not abated and in citing the Pentagon’s new bases in Bulgaria and Romania as well as its missile shield plans and ongoing NATO expansion to its borders, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, “Parity as the basis of the strategic balance in the world has been violated.” [44]

Nothing loath, within days of Lavrov’s dire warning it was reported that “U.S. warships will call at the Bulgarian ports of Varna and Burgas, and drills involving the U.S. and Bulgarian air forces are also scheduled for next month….” [45]

While that dispatch was being filed U.S. and Bulgarian troops were engaged in a joint military drill at the Novo Selo Training Area and “Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov and Commander of the U.S. Army in Europe Gen. Carter Ham…watched the drill….”

The news story added, “More than 62 million dollars will be spent on the training area’s permanent facilities and equipment in the next two years, and construction is expected to be completed by then [for] conflict zones in the Middle East and beyond.” [46]

Bulgaria and Romania, now full NATO members for almost five years, have deployed military contingents to the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq and have lost troops in the last two nations.

While neither hosted Soviet forces or Warsaw Pact bases during the Cold War, both are on the front line of future wars in the Black Sea region like that of last August between Georgia and Russia, one which might easily have drawn in Ukraine and in alleged defense of Ukraine NATO and the U.S. directly.

Romanian President Traian Basescu was quoted in a feature of last August titled “Romania is responsible for EU, NATO borders protection” as saying that “The Romanian navy is responsible in the name of the EU and allied countries.” [47]

Romania and Bulgaria will both be held to that pledge. That is one of the crucial reasons they were absorbed into the Alliance.

Both will be ordered to intervene in former Yugoslavia – Kosovo and Bosnia – if their masters in Washington and Brussels will it.

They are both involved in the transit of troops and materiel for the war in Afghanistan and the occupation of Iraq.

For two years now it has been repeatedly mentioned that Bulgarian, now joint Bulgarian-U.S., air bases may be used for attacks against Iran, most recently by Russian envoy Dmitry Rogozin last September.

The U.S. and allied NATO military expansion into the Black Sea is aimed at all four compass points.

A proponent of this dangerous strategy, Vakhtang Maisaia, Chairman of the Foreign Policy Association of Georgia, offered this terse yet comprehensive summary of what is involved in the Georgian Times of April 2, 2008:

“The Black Sea is a vital geo-strategic area for the Alliance in conjunction with the Alliance’s ISAF mission in Afghanistan, logistic operations in Darfur, the NATO training mission in Iraq, and peacekeeping operations in Kosovo.

“Currently, some clear signs of the new interest of NATO in the Black Sea region comprised of the South Caucasus and the South-East Europe sub-regions and Black Sea area itself, can be seen by looking at the geo-economics (including the Caspian energy reserves)….” [48]

“[W]ith the inclusion of Romania and Bulgaria into the Alliance, the Black Sea has been incorporated into NATO’s Article 5 (collective defense) operational zone where activation of the Combined Joint Task Force (a deployable, multinational, multi-service force with a land component and comparable air and naval components) is possible.

The author cited a statement from the 1999 NATO fiftieth anniversary summit in Washington, DC: “In the event of crises which jeopardize Euro-Atlantic stability and could affect the security of Alliance members, the Alliance’s military forces may be called upon to conduct crises response operations.” [49]

1) Nine O’Clock News, May 14, 2008
2) Daily Pioneer, August 16, 2008
3) The Power and Interest News Report, August 29, 2007
4) Voice of Russia, May 28, 2008
5) Voice of Russia, May 22, 2008
6) Moscow Times, October 24, 2003
7) Stratfor, November 10, 2008
8) Interfax-Ukraine, January 31, 2009
9) Standart News, June 10, 2007
10) Standart News, June 6, 2007
11) Sofia Echo, November 17, 2006
12) People’s Daily, December 5, 2006
13) Stars and Stripes, May 4, 2007
14) Stars and Stripes, July 22, 2006
15) Stars and Stripes, July 5, 2006
16) Stars and Stripes, July 24, 2006
17) Sofia News Agency, September 21, 2006
18) Stars and Stripes, July 13, 2006
19) Sofia Echo, January 3, 2008
20) Standart News, December 2, 2007
21) Sofia News Agency, October 6, 2007
22) Standart News, September 3, 2007
23) New Europe [Belgium], Week of June 2, 2007
24) Standart News, June 6, 2007
25) Standart News, June 13, 2007
26) Interfax-Military, September 19, 2007
27) Standart News, December 7, 2007
28) Voice of Russia, December 17, 2007
29) Focus News Agency, June 10, 2007
30) Sofia News Agency, June 15, 2007
31) United Press International, May 18, 2007
32) Ibid
33) Stars and Stripes, July 8, 2007
34) U.S. Air Forces in Europe, May 18, 2007
35) Air Force Magazine, June 2007
36) Reuters, February 22, 2007
37) Makfax, August 17, 2007
38) Stars and Stripes, August 18, 2007
39) Agence France-Presse, May 14, 2008
40) Standart News, June 23, 2008
41) Sofia News Agency, June 24, 2008
42) Stars and Stripes, July 27, 2008
43) Focus News Agency, August 14, 2008
44) Itar-Tass, September 29, 2008
45) Sofia News Agency, October 15, 2008
46) Ibid
47) Focus News Agency, August 15, 2008
48) Georgian Times, April 2, 2008
49) 1999 NATO Washington Summit

Eastern Partnership: The West’s Final Assault On the Former Soviet Union

August 26, 2009 1 comment

February 13, 2009

Eastern Partnership: The West’s Final Assault On the Former Soviet Union
Rick Rozoff

At a meeting of the European Union’s General Affairs and External Relations Council in Brussels on May 26 of last year, Poland, seconded by Sweden, first proposed what has come to be known as the Eastern Partnership, a program to “integrate” all the European and South Caucasus former Soviet nations – except for Russia – not already in the EU and NATO; that is, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

The above are half of the former Soviet republics in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) established as a sop to Russia immediately after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 and in theory to be a post-Soviet equivalent of the then-European Community, now European Union. (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania never joined and both were absorbed into the European Union and NATO in 2004.)

The Eastern Partnership has since last May been presented as an innocuous enough proposal containing a mission statement to promote “a substantial upgrading of the level of political engagement, including the prospect of a new generation of Association Agreements, far-reaching integration into the EU economy, easier travel to the EU for citizens providing that security requirements are met, enhanced energy security arrangements benefitting all concerned, and increased financial assistance.” [1]

The key phrases, though, are “upgrading of the level of political engagement” and “enhanced energy security arrangements.”

What the Eastern Partnership is designed to accomplish is to complete the destruction of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) comprised of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and the only post-Soviet multinational security structure, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), as well as to abort the formalization of the Belarus-Russia Union State.

Which is to say, to isolate Russia from six of the other eleven CIS states, with the remaining five, in Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan), simultaneously targeted by a complementary EU initiative.

The ultimate intent of the Eastern Partnership is to wean away all the other ex-Soviet states from economic, trade, political, security and military ties with Russia and to integrate them into broader so-called Euro-Atlantic structures from the European Union itself initially to NATO ultimately.

Coming out of last year’s NATO summit in Romania the increased political, security and military integration – one is tempted to say merger – of the EU and NATO, trumpeted by France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy and Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, warmly embraced by the Bush administration and since affirmed most strongly by British Foreign Minister David Miliband at the recent Munich Security Conference, is the yet further consolidation of the longstanding EU-NATO “soft power, hard power” division of labor mutually agreed upon.

“[T]he Partnership would demonstrate the ‘power of soft power’ and acknowledge that the conflict in Georgia in August had influenced the decision to launch the Partnership.” [2]

The Eastern Partnership was first proposed in May of 2008 as mentioned earlier, but the impetus to endorse it at a meeting of leaders last December was the “soft power” response by the EU to complement NATO’s establishment of the NATO-Georgia Commission a month after Georgia’s invasion of South Ossetia triggered last summer’s Caucasus war.

The EU will provide the “diplomatic” persuasion and the economic subsidies as NATO and its individual member states (in almost every instance in Europe the same as the EU’s) continue to supply Georgia with advanced offensive arms, surveillance systems, military training and permanent advisers.

As a further indication of what the EU’s true objective is, Belarus has been added to the other five only with the proviso it will be accepted “if it accepts a democracy improvement plan.” [3]

The same has not been openly stated regarding Armenia, but for two critical reasons it is in the same category as Belarus, all pabulum concerning democracy notwithstanding. (If democracy in any acceptation of the term was a precondition, then the U.S.-installed despot and megalomaniac Mikheil Saakashvili and the hereditary president-for-life dynasty of the Aliev family would disqualify Georgia and Azerbaijan, respectively.)

Armenia and Belarus are both in the second tier of Eastern Partnership candidates and will require a good deal of “improvement” before being absorbed into the West’s new “soft power” drive to the east.

Neither is part of the GUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova) anti-CIS bloc set up in 1997 through the joint efforts of the Clinton administration and its secretary of state Madeleine Albright and its European Union allies in Strasbourg.

Both are members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) with Russia and four Central Asian nations (all except for Turkmenistan), which has in recent years taken on a more overt military mutual defense nature.

The deadly “Daffodil Revolution” in Armenia a year ago and the attempted “Denim Revolution” in Belarus two years before having failed to replicate their predecessors and prototypes in Georgia in 2003, Ukraine in 2004 and Kyrgyzstan in 2005, other means were required to “reorient” the two nations from their close state-to-state and security relations with Russia.

Hence the need for the Eastern Partnership.

The role of GUAM, whose members are both identified by the EU as the preferred four in the Partnership and who collectively comprise two-thirds, indeed the foundation, of it, will be taken up in depth later on.

As will the simultaneous and complementary Brussels program aimed at Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, itself mirroring U.S. and NATO military and energy plans for Central Asia.

The day after Poland and Sweden first proposed the initiative in May of last year, the British newspaper The Telegraph, under the headline “Poland takes on Russia with ‘Eastern Partnership’ proposal,” wrote that “Poland will take on its mighty neighbour Russia today when it proposes that the European Union extends its influence deep into the former Soviet Union by establishing an ‘Eastern Partnership'” and more markedly that “The Eastern Partnership would be particularly galling for the Kremlin if its aspiration to include Belarus is achieved.” [4]

Ahead of last December’s EU summit where the plans were formalized for the implementation of the Eastern Partnership project at the summit of EU heads of state in March of 2009, the following commentary appeared in a Georgian paper:

“[T]his latest EU action could entail another consequence, one that few appear to be thinking about now.

“In the early 1990s, the United States took the lead in pushing the idea that EU membership for East European countries could serve as either a surrogate or a stepping stone to NATO membership.

“If that idea should resurface, and some of its authors will be returning to office with the incoming Obama Administration in Washington, it would change both the EU and NATO and equally would change how Moscow would deal with Brussels, thus introducing yet another complication in East-West relations.” [5]

With the Czech Republic poised to take over the presidency of the EU in two days, The Telegraph of Britain accurately characterized not only the subversive but the provocative nature of the Eastern Partnership by indicating that “The Czech Republic, which will become the first former Warsaw Pact country to hold the presidency, has made a priority of a scheme to establish closer ties with former Soviet states, irrespective of Russian concerns of encroachment close to its borders.”

It further stated that Czech Foreign Minister Karol Schwarzenberg, coincidentally or otherwise a staunch supporter of U.S. missile radar plans for his country, “stressed that the EU’s relations with the former Soviet states were its own affair and that Russia should not interfere.” [6]

To insure that the point wasn’t missed in Moscow, Schwarzenberg thundered that Russia should abandon any illusions it might entertain concerning “some privileged interests abroad” and, throwing down the gauntlet altogether, “in such cases a red line must be established beyond which the EU must not make concessions.” [7]

The Czech foreign minister evinced a curious sense of geography in his use of the word abroad, as Russia borders Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia and Ukraine and is only one nation removed from Armenia and Moldova, whereas his own government is pressing for the deployment of missile radar facilities and troops from the other side of the world and has troops stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

As though in anticipation of Schwarzenberg’s diktat, two weeks earlier Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned “[W]e cannot agree when attempts are being made to pass off the historically conditioned mutually privileged relations between the states in the former Soviet expanse as a ‘sphere of influence,'” adding “If you accept that logic, then under this definition fall the European Neighborhood Policy, Eastern Partnership and many other EU (let alone NATO) projects, on which the decisions are taken without the participation of Russia or countries to which they apply.” [8]

Two days ago the last American ambassador to the Soviet Union [1987-1991], Jack Matlock, “explained Russian motivations and highlighted what he considered to be American hypocrisy in geopolitical affairs. While America has claimed nearly monopolistic power in the Western Hemisphere for 200 years, Matlock said, it has increasingly denied Russia its own regional sphere of influence since the fall of the Soviet Union.

“The West has been picking and choosing which principles to uphold.” [9]

To backtrack, a month after the initial proposal for the establishment of the Eastern Partnership in May of 2008 Polish Foreign Minister Radoslav Sikorski called the Partnership “the practical and ideological continuation of the European Neighbourhood Policy,” which should become a supplement to the Mediterranean Union…. [10]

Sikorski was alluding to the Mediterranean Union project of French president Nicolas Sarkozy, which in July 13, 2008 was renamed the Union for the Mediterranean, the southern wing of the European Union’s “push east and south” (U.S. State Department phrase for its own emphasis in and from Europe), the eastern complement of which is, of course, the Eastern Partnership.

A summit of EU leaders in Brussels in the same month, June of 2008, further pursued the initiative and the “Eastern Partnership…Polish- Swedish proposition of deepening cooperation with Eastern European countries” was discussed. [11]

The above advancement of the project evoked these comments from a Caucasus news source:

“Moscow itself understood that the main aim of the initiative was to save the above-mentioned countries from the influence of Russia” and “According to the EU Commissioner for Foreign Relations and Neighborhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner at least one billion euro per year will be allocated for the Black Sea Synergy project.” [12]

The Black Sea Synergy project is synergy not as in the word whose adjective form is synergistic but as in syn + energy. Of the six nations targeted for the Eastern Partnership two, Georgia and Ukraine, are on the Black Sea and one, Azerbaijan, is a Caspian Sea littoral state.

The Eastern Partnership is designed among several other purposes to complement the Union of the Mediterranean and to augment the Black Sea Synergy program as an integral and advanced component of the West’s campaign to dominate world energy supplies and transit and to provide the civilian supplement to NATO’s expansion throughout Eurasia, the Mediterranean, Africa and the Middle East.

The website of the European Commission, the executive branch of the EU, on a page dedicated to Black Sea Synergy includes these comments:

“The Black Sea region, which includes Bulgaria and Romania, occupies a strategic position between Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East. The European Union intends to support regional commitments tending to increase mutual confidence and remove obstacles to the stability, security and prosperity of the countries in this region.”

“Black Sea Synergy is a cooperation initiative that proposes a new dynamic for the region, its countries and their citizens. Regional cooperation could provide additional value to initiatives in areas of common interest and serve as a bridge to help strengthen relations with neighbouring countries and regions (Caspian Sea, Central Asia, South-eastern Europe).”

And, which will bring the issue back to GUAM and the prospects for further armed confrontations after the model of last August’s war in the Caucasus:

“The EC advocates a more active role in addressing frozen conflicts (Transnistria, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Nagorno-Karabakh).” [13]

GUAM was set up by the West in 1997 to accomplish several strategic objectives: As a Trojan Horse within the Commonwealth of Independent States – until Georgia withdrew after the war last August all four GUAM member states were in the CIS – it was intended to undermine and ultimately dissolve the community, eventually luring other CIS states away from it. The inclusion of Armenia and Belarus in the Eastern Partnership is an example of this strategy.

Incorporating the four ex-Soviet states into a trans-Eurasian strategic energy and military transit corridor from the Black Sea through the Caspian Sea Basin to Central and South Asia. The addition of Uzbekistan in 1999 extended the range of the bloc, although Uzbekistan would withdraw in 2005.

The GUAM states are involved in all four of the so-called frozen conflicts in the former Soviet Union: Georgia with Abkhazia and South Ossetia; Azerbaijan with Nagorno-Karabakh; Moldova with Transdniester (Pridnestrovie).

In fact there are several other unresolved territorial disputes in the GUAM states including Adjaria (suppressed and occupied by Georgia in 2004 after a show of force by Saakashvili’s American-trained and -equipped army, the first example of the “peaceful resolution of a frozen conflict”) and the ethnic Armenian inhabited area of Samtskhe-Javakheti/Javakhk in Georgia; Gaugazia in Moldova; and the Crimea and potentially even the Donetsk region in Ukraine.

The four frozen conflicts proper – Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, South Ossetia and Transdniester – are illustrative of the cataclysmic consequences of the precipitate breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. All four former autonomous republics seceded from the respective ex-Soviet Socialist Federal Republics they had belonged to, in all cases also entailing armed conflict and loss of life.

The four, and the other potential conflict areas mentioned above, for example Crimea in Ukraine, part of Russia for centuries until being ceded to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1954, had belonged to the three federal republics they did until 1991 only within the context of the broader Soviet framework; once the latter ceased to exist, so too did the rationale for the autonomous republics remaining within new states that had never before existed as nations – Moldova and Ukraine – or, if so, not for centuries except for a three year period during the Russian civil war with Georgia from 1918–1921 and a two year interlude with Azerbaijan from 1918–1920.

The U.S. and its NATO allies are past masters at fishing in troubled waters and in troubling the waters the better to fish in them, and the frozen conflicts in the former Soviet Union allow the West to impede integration processes within the Commonwealth of Independent States, develop close military ties to the nations involved with them and increasingly to intervene in post-Soviet territory under the auspices of peacekeeping operations whether through the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the European Union or, the ultimate objective, NATO.

Most dangerously, the U.S. and all its NATO allies have refused to ratify the 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) arms treaty – which has only been approved by Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine (as successor states to the former Soviet Union) – and have justified their non-ratification by linking it to the withdrawal of small Russian peacekeeper contingents – mandated by the Commonwealth of Independent States and in at least one instance the United Nations – from Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Transdniester.

In the eighteen year interim since the treaty was negotiated until now numerous new nations have been created in Europe – Bosnia, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia (and of course the pseudo-state of Kosovo) and in the South Caucasus Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia – which are not signatories to the CFE and which then could have American and NATO forces and arms stationed on their territories without any provisions made for Russia and the three other nations that have ratified the treaty to monitor them.

Such deployments are not limited to conventional weaponry.

At the 2006 summit in Kiev, Ukraine GUAM expanded its name to GUAM -Organization for Democracy and Economic Development, declared itself an international organization and announced the creation of a joint military (alleged peacekeeping) force.

The summit also laid out in more detail and candor why the U.S. and its allies created and fostered GUAM, whose expanded format is the Eastern Partnership, to begin with:

“The creation of the bloc is a bold step in promoting energy supply routes linking the Caspian Sea basin and consumers in the E.U. allowing to reduce heavy dependence on Russian energy.

“One of the main projects to be promoted is launching supplies of Caspian Sea crude oil from Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan via Georgian and Ukrainian pipelines to markets in Europe….[T]he plan also calls for extending the Odessa-Brody pipeline to Plock in Poland, which is already hooked up with a major oil terminal and an oil refinery in Gdansk.” [14]

The same report contains this important detail: “[T]he situation changed last year when Yushchenko, a pro-Western leader, had been inaugurated to the presidency in Ukraine and had pledged to replace Russian shipments with Caspian supplies. The pipeline would bypass Russia on the way to Ukraine and to the E.U….” [15]

A Russian commentary of late last autumn reflected the last paragraph’s allusion to the role of putative “color revolutions” in strengthening GUAM’s subservience to Western interests by remarking that the group “was created with a broad list of functions to combat Russian influence in the region, but remained largely unused, before the Orange Revolution in Ukraine and Mikhail Saakashvili’s coming to power in Georgia.” [16]

The following year at its summit in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, a GUAM-U.S., GUAM-Japan, GUAM-Visegrad Four (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia), GUAM-Baltic and other new partnerships were launched.

In November of 2007 the U.S. hosted a meeting of GUAM states national coordinators in Washington where “A special topic of the discussions was the assessment of the potential of Caspian Sea networks in the consolidation of the GUAM states’ energy security and the present-day shape of the Nabucco Project.” [17] The latter is a proposed tran-Caspian natural gas project promoted by the West to squeeze Russia out of the European energy market.

At the 2008 GUAM summit in Batumi, the capital of Georgian-subjugated Adjaria, “The sides [chartered a] course for the development of regional cooperation as a part of the European and Asian integration processes, and for strengthening partnership relations with the US, Poland, Japan and other states as well as international organizations.

“The declaration expressed concern over the protracted conflicts [and] aggressive separatism…and underlined the importance of the international community’s support for the settlement of the conflicts.” [18]

David Merkel, Assistant to the U.S. Secretary of State, “said GUAM unites the Caspian and Black Sea regions and can fulfill the function of connecting Central Asia with the Near East.” [19]

The Georgian Energy Minister, Aleksandre Khetaguri, extended the reach of GUAM-centered energy projects to the Baltic Sea in adding “We have discussed the question of an Odessa–Brody–Gdansk pipeline, which will allow the oil from the Caspian countries to be transported first to Ukraine and then to other parts of Eastern Europe.” [20]
The turning point in the West’s resolve to back its GUAM, and now Eastern Partnership, clients to definitively “solve” the issue of the frozen conflicts came at the NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania in April of last year.

All twenty six Alliance members affirmed that Georgia and Ukraine, the most pro-American and pro-NATO of the four GUAM and six Eastern Partnership states, were on an irreversible road to full NATO accession but baulked at granting them a Membership Action Plan, the final stage to complete integration.

Two central barriers to a nation joining NATO are unresolved conflicts in and foreign (that is, non-NATO nations’) bases on their territories.

Georgia still laid claim to Abkhazia and and South Ossetia and Ukraine still hosted the Russian Sixth Fleet at Sevastopol in the Crimea.

Far from being the rebuff to Georgia and Ukraine and to their American sponsor the non-granting of Membership Action Plans to the two candidates appeared to some, Georgia and Ukraine were both given not only a green light to resolve these issues but in fact were directed if not ordered to do so.

At the beginning of last August Georgian shelling killed six people, including a Russian peacekeeper, and wounded twelve on the outskirts of the South Ossetian capital and on August 7 Georgia’s American-armed and -trained military forces crossed the border and laid waste to much of the capital.

The assault, coming only days after the Pentagon had completed a two week military drill, Exercise Immediate Response 2008, under the sponsorship of NATO’s Partnership for Peace program with troops from Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Ukraine, weeks after Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had visited the Georgian capital and hours after Georgia’s Saakashvili had proclaimed a unilateral ceasefire, led to direct military hostility between Russia and the preeminent client of the U.S.

During the same interim after the NATO summit Ukrainian authorities escalated their demands that the lease for the Russian Sixth Fleet not be renewed.

Weeks after the Caucasus war ended, the EU convened an extraordinary summit “devoted to the situation in Georgia” at which it adopted a resolution stating that “it is more necessary than ever to support regional cooperation and step up its relations with its eastern neighbours, in particular through its neighbourhood policy, the development of the Black Sea Synergy initiative and an Eastern Partnership.” [21]

Shortly thereafter Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk revealed the true dimensions of the Eastern Partnership when he said that, “Developments of the past months, especially the crisis in the Caucasus, have shown the farsightedness of the Swedish and Polish initiative – a proposal for
the entire European Union with a global dimension….” [22]

The above occurred as the U.S. sent a flotilla of warships to Georgian ports on, and NATO boosted its naval presence in, the Black Sea.

In the middle of last November an energy summit was held in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku and attended by the presidents of Ukraine, Turkey, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Romania and Georgia and other heads of states.

American expatriate and current Lithuanian president Valdas Adamkus said that “The number of letters in the word ‘GUAM’ should be increased: it would consolidate both the organization and the participating countries,” explaining “[W]e are working towards strengthening the GUAM organization, expanding contacts between the countries of the Baltic, Black and Caspian Sea regions, and making cooperation in the energy field more intense.” [23]

Adamkus’ statements were supported in a Western press report of the same day:

“The plan [elaborated at the summit] emphasised developing a ‘southern gas corridor” to transport supplies from the Caspian Sea and Middle East regions, bypassing Russia, as well as an energy ring linking Europe and southern Mediterranean countries.” [24]

The meeting was overseen by U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman and special envoy of the American president for Eurasian energy issues Boyden Gray.

The main focus was on the Caspian-Black Sea-Baltic, Odessa-Brody-Gdansk oil pipeline project but also included as the Agence France-Presse dispatch earlier alluded to the Nabucco natural gas mega-project which is to take in North African and Persian Gulf as well as Caspian energy resources and transit lines.

While at the summit, U.S. Energy Secretary Bodman effused that the “Baku Energy Summit is the continuation of ‘The Contract of Century’ signed in 1994,” an allusion to the contract signed between American and Western companies and Azerbaijan in that year which laid the foundation for the subsequent trans-Eurasian Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipelines as well as the Nabucco project.

Those three energy undertakings, unprecedented in scope and political capital expended, are to be expanded with the new Eastern Partnership.
In late November of last year the EU issued a draft communique on the Eastern Partnership which stated, inter alia, “On the energy front, Memorandums of Understanding are to help guarantee EU energy security, leading to ‘joint management, and even ownership of pipelines by companies of supplier, transit and consumer countries,'” as well as noting “EU ‘concern’ over energy infrastructure in conflict zones, such as a Russia-Balkans gas pipeline running through the disputed Moldovan region of Transdniestria.” [25]

A European Commission report of a few days later included the demand that “The EU must significantly boost relations with Ukraine and five other ex-Soviet republics and make easing Moscow’s sway over them a priority.

The report says the EU must seek “diversification of energy routes by enabling the ex-Soviet nations to build new and better connected pipelines and oil and gas storage facilities.

“The EU wants to see a gas pipeline from the Caucasus fully skirting Russia.” [26]

As mentioned above the EU signed the draft communique on the Eastern Partnership in December of last year with the intent of pulling “the EU’s six post-Soviet neighbors closer to the West by recognizing their ‘European aspirations’ and creating a new European Economic Area….” [27], the process having been “Accelerated partly because of the summer 2008 conflict in the Caucasus….” [28]

On December 12 the heads of state of all 27 EU members approved the establishment of the Eastern Partnership.

Twelve days later the EU special representative to the South Caucasus, Peter Semneby, added, “This program was elaborated in the light of the recent developments in the region, the war in Georgia, as well as the concerns of the South Caucasus countries on security issues….” [29]

On December 19 Washington signed a United States-Ukraine Charter on Strategic Partnership with its compliant client in Kiev, Viktor Yushchenko, and within a week the Ukraine-Russia gas dispute began, plunging much of Europe into a crisis and renewing Western calls for – as was to be expected – energy routes circumventing Russia.

On February 10 of this year Deputy Prime Minister for EU Affairs for the Czech Republic, which assumed the EU presidency on the first of the year, Alexandr Vondra, announced that he expected the Eastern Partnership to be formally inaugurated on May 7 in Prague at the EU summit to be held there.

Dispensing with the standard verbs like assisting and aiding, he added another one – stabilizing.

“The recent gas crisis has not only its technical but also political  implications. The crisis highlighted how important it is for the EU to assume responsibility for the stabilisation of its eastern neighbours and to pay them more political and financial attention.” [30]

The report from which the preceding quote is taken fleshed out the strategy in more detail:

“The Eastern Partnership summit is to be followed by a meeting of the countries that are connected with the ‘southern energy corridor’ that links the Caspian region with world markets, bypassing Russia….[T]he meeting will probably take place on the same day as the Eastern Partnership summit.” [31]

To further tie together the West’s plans to penetrate and assimilate all of former Soviet territory, the following day it was reported that “Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek will go to Central Asia on Thursday to have talks on the Eastern Partnership and possible gas supplies for the European Union that would reduce the EU’s dependency on Russian gas” and that “During his two-day visit, Topolanek will have talks with top politicians of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, ” and, lastly, “Topolanek will negotiate in Central Asia on behalf of the EU as the Czech Republic has been EU president since January.” [32]

And to further confirm the predetermined and integrated approach toward all non-Russian Commonwealth of Independent States nations, last December a Central Asian news sources revealed:

“The European Union launched, on 28 November, a rule of law initiative for Central Asia – one of the key elements of its strategy for a new partnership with five Central Asian countries adopted in May 2007.

“The initiative provides for support for Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan….” [33]

Exploiting the issue of alleged European energy security, a campaign first addressed in a major manner by NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer at the Alliance’s 2006 summit in Riga, Latvia, the real intent of the Eastern Partnership is to subordinate eleven of the twelve former Soviet states not already in the EU (and NATO) to Brussels…and Washington.

By adding Belarus, either through cooptation or “regime change,” to the Western column Russia will lose its only buffer against NATO in Europe and the only substantive early warning missile surveillance and air defenses it has outside its own borders.

By adding Armenia Russia will effectively be driven out of the South Caucasus.

With the absorption of the five Central Asian nations, Russia would lose all influence throughout the entire former Soviet space except for its own territory.

1) European Union press release, December 3, 2008
2), December 11, 2008
3) PanArmenian. net, December 12, 2008
4) Daily Telegraph, May 26, 2008
5) Georgian Daily, December 8, 2008
6) Daily Telegraph, December 30, 2008
7) Black Sea Press [Georgia], December 30, 2008
8) Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, December 15, 2008
9) Yale Daily News, February 12, 2009
10) Infotag [Moldova], June 26, 2008
11) Polish Radio, June 20, 2008
12) Azeri Press Agency, June 30, 2008
13) Europa, June 3, 2009
14) Ukrainian Journal, May 23, 2006
15) Ibid
16) Russia Today, November 7, 2009
17) Infotag, November 2, 2007
18) Azeri Press Agency, July 2, 2008
19) Georgian Public Broadcasting, July 1, 2008
20) The Messenger [Georgia], July 1, 2008
21) ForUm [Ukraine], September 2, 2008
22) UNIAN [Ukraine], September 18, 2008
23) Today.AZ [Azerbaijan], November 14, 2008
24) Agence France-Presse, November 14, 2008
25) Azeri Press Agency, November 25, 2008
26) Associated Press, November 30, 2008
27) PanArmenian. net, December 3, 2008
28) Sofia Echo, December 3, 2008
29) Today.AZ, December 24, 2008
30) Czech News Agency, February 10, 2009
31) Ibid
32) Czech News Agency, February 11, 2009
33) UzReport [Uzbekistan], December 19, 2008


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