Stop NATO News March 2, 2011

2 March 2011 — Stop NATO

  1. Pan-European Security System: NATO Recruits Ukraine For Interceptor Missile System, Rapid Deployment Force, Cyber Warfare Operations, Horn Of Africa Deployment
  2. Georgian Afghan War Deployments, Deaths “Down Payment On Admission Into NATO”: U.S. Ambassador
  3. Wave Of Attacks Kill Seven NATO Soldiers In Afghanistan
  4. NATO Musters Military Resources For Confrontation With Libya
  5. Afghanistan: Extending Canada’s Longest War
  6. Report: NATO Bases Ready As Hundreds Of U.S., British And French Special Forces Operate In Libya
  7. NATO Libya Intervention Plan: Bypass UN, Recognize Rebel Regime To Authorize Intervention
  8. Russia: Inexcusable For International Community To Gloss Over Brutal Crimes In Kosovo
  9. Sao Tome: Pentagon’s Africa Partnership Station Ship In Gulf Of Guinea: Angola, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Gabon, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone To Follow
  10. Detailed Scenario For Japanese-Russian War Over Kurils Islands
  11. U.S. Deploys Warships, Senior U.S. Official Wants “Two Bullets Into The Heads Of Gadhafi And Son”
  12. U.S. And NATO Invasion Of Libya? West Plays “Weapons Of Mass Destruction” And “Humanitarian Intervention” Cards
  13. Middle East Turbulence Disrupts The World, West Not Satisfied Until Turmoil Reaches Russia And China
  14. NATO Air Strike Kills Nine Afghan Children: Governor
  15. Criminal Satraps: The Wrong Choice In Kosovo
  16. Canada Deploys Warship, Troops For Blockade Of Libya
  17. Georgian Army Transformed, Modernized To Meet NATO Standards
  18. U.S. Amphibious Assault Ships, Marines Cross Suez For Libya Blockade, Intervention
  19. Warship Deployment: U.S. Launches Interceptor Missile Program In Mediterranean
  20. Report: Russia To Deploy Missiles, Combat Helicopters On Kurils
  21. Brussels: NATO’s 28 Defense Chiefs Meet As European Union Holds Crisis Summit On Libya And North Africa
  22. Poland’s Pro-American Foreign Minister: North Africa Unrest “Strengthens Need For US Military In Europe”
  23. Arab League: Syria Urges Rejection Of Western Libyan Intervention
  24. Afghan MPs: Harsh Punishment For NATO Over Massacre Of Civilians
  25. Kurils: U.S.-Japan-South Korea Axis Also Aimed At Russia

1. Pan-European Security System: NATO Recruits Ukraine For Interceptor Missile System, Rapid Deployment Force, Cyber Warfare Operations, Horn Of Africa Deployment

National Radio Company of Ukraine

March 2, 2011

Ukraine, NATO readying ministerial meeting in Berlin

Ukraine and NATO have begun the practical preparations for the meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission (UNC) at the ministerial level, to be held during the meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Berlin this April, the head of Mission of Ukraine to NATO, Ukraine’s ambassador to Belgium, Ihor Dolhov, told Ukrainian journalists in Brussels.

The preparation issues were discussed on Tuesday in Brussels during the meeting on the NUC at the level of ambassadors.

Dolhov described the atmosphere of this event as constructive, which is conditioned by a recent visit of NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen to Ukraine.

According to the Ukrainian diplomat, during meetings of the NATO chief with Ukraine’s leadership the sides expressed mutual interest in further development of cooperation and its practical implementation.

This particularly concerns holding consultations on the possible participation of Ukraine in a European air defense system, involving Ukraine into NATO’s anti-piracy Operation Ocean Shield, using the Alliance’s experience in supporting events during UEFA EURO 2012 from a security standpoint, the further participation of Ukrainian units in NATO-led operations, etc.

One of the main themes which the Foreign Ministers of NATO will focus on in Berlin is to develop the Alliance partnership with third countries and international organizations.

In this context, the Ukrainian ambassador is confident that Ukraine largely is a pioneer in certain areas of cooperation, and its experience can be used by different countries.

In particular, it concerns the participation of Ukraine in the NATO Response Force (NRF), cyber security system, airspace information exchange. “Today it is not a subject for discussion how NATO will cooperate with Ukraine in the new environment. I am very pleased that we have with the Alliance a common understanding of it. Ukraine seeks to develop co-operation where possible and brings mutual benefits. NATO interests us not only as a special partner, but also as part of a pan-European security system,” Dolhov underscored.


2. Georgian Afghan War Deployments, Deaths “Down Payment On Admission Into NATO”: U.S. Ambassador

Civil Georgia

March 2, 2011

Saakashvili Reiterates Georgia’s Afghan Commitment

Tbilisi: Despite th eloss of life among Georgian troops in Afghanistan, Georgia should not give up its contribution to the coalition forces, President Saakashvili said while visiting a base of the MoD’s [Ministry of Defense’s] special purpose unit on March 2.

“It is an honor to be in service of the homeland together with you,” said Saakashvili, sitting alongside soldiers in an army base canteen.

Saakashvili’s five-year old younger son, who like his father was dressed in a military uniform, was sitting next to him.

“We suffered losses in Afghanistan. But we should understand that for the armed forces all these losses should serve as a source for further strengthening. We should not flinch and we should in no way give it up; our cause is just and we all know that,” he said.

Georgia has 950 troops in Afghanistan with most of them deployed in Helmand province. Six Georgian soldiers were killed, all of them in Helmand, since joining the NATO-led operation in November, 2009. The most recent fatality was reported on February 22. On the same day the Georgian Parliament approved a proposal to send to Afghanistan a team of 11 Georgian artillery instructors to train the Afghan military.

In a February, 2010 classified diplomatic dispatch from series of leaked U.S. embassy cables, published by WikiLeaks, U.S. ambassador to Georgia, John Bass, writes, that “Georgians see their contributions to Afghanistan as a down payment on their admission into NATO.”

“Georgia continues to be a strong supporter of NATO operations and is a contributor to international security missions, including in particular ISAF in Afghanistan. The challenge is to express our appreciation for those efforts, but deliver the candid message that such contributions are a helpful, but insufficient step toward membership without the concomitant progress on the civilian side,” the cable reads.

3. Wave Of Attacks Kill Seven NATO Soldiers In Afghanistan

BNO News

March 1, 2011

Wave of attacks kill seven NATO soldiers in Afghanistan

Kabul: A wave of insurgent attacks killed seven coalition service members on Monday and Tuesday, according to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), raising the coalition death toll so far this year to more than 70.

On Monday, four ISAF service members were killed as a result of two improvised explosive device (IED) attacks and one insurgent attack in eastern Afghanistan. An IED attack killed a fifth service member in the country’s south, while another service member died as a result of an IED attack in western Afghanistan.

On Tuesday, a seventh ISAF service member was killed as a result of an insurgent attack in southern Afghanistan. No other details were immediately released.

The nationalities of the service members were also not immediately disclosed. “It is ISAF policy to defer casualty identification procedures to the relevant national authorities,” an ISAF statement said.

Coalition casualties in Afghanistan have been rising sharply in recent years, with a total coalition death toll of 709 in 2010, making it the deadliest year for international troops since the war began in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.

The council of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) eventually declared that the attacks of 9/11, which killed nearly 3,000 people from scores of countries, was considered an attack on all NATO nations. The NATO-backed war in Afghanistan aims to defeat the Taliban and other insurgent groups in the country.

So far this year, more than 70 coalition service members have been killed in Afghanistan. Most of the troops are killed in the country’s south, which is plagued by IED attacks on troops and civilians.


4. NATO Musters Military Resources For Confrontation With Libya

Sydney Morning Herald

March 2, 2011

NATO musters military resources

Simon Mann

WASHINGTON: The US and its NATO allies in Europe have been edging towards military confrontation with Libya’s besieged government, positioning military resources for possible action in the Mediterranean.

As international pressure was ratcheted up against the crumbling regime of Muammar Gaddafi, the US was assembling military muscle in the region, giving the White House a full range of options, a Pentagon official confirmed.

Colonel Dave Lapan of the Marine Corps said: “We have planners working various contingency plans. It’s safe to say as a part of that, we’re re-positioning forces to provide … options and flexibility.”

The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, told the House of Commons: “We do not rule out the use of military assets … I have asked the Ministry of Defence and the Chief of the Defence Staff to work with our allies on plans for a military no-fly zone.”

The aircraft carrier USS Enterprise is deployed in the Red Sea as is an amphibious landing vessel, the USS Kearsarge, with marines and helicopters; and Italy is the Mediterranean home for the US Navy’s Sixth Fleet.

However, Turkey’s Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, rejected calls for intervention as unthinkable. Turkey is member of NATO. Mr Erdogan said. “As Turkey, we’re against this, this can’t even be talked about.”

On the diplomatic front, the European Union announced new sanctions against Colonel Gaddafi, his family and the Libyan government.

The US Treasury said it had frozen $US30 billion of Libyan assets in the US under an order issued by the President, Barack Obama, on Friday.

While talk has focused on the establishment of no-fly zones, similar to those that contained Iraq’s air force before the 2003 invasion, questions remained about the legality of such action.

US media reported Pentagon sources as saying the US would seek an international mandate should it try to establish the zones, probably from NATO or the United Nations, although the Security Council permanent members China and Russia could obstruct the latter’s approval.

Yesterday, Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov ruled out the idea of a no-fly zone over Libya, saying world powers should focus instead on implementing sanctions.

with The Washington Post, Guardian News & Media


5. Afghanistan: Extending Canada’s Longest War

The Link

March 1, 2011

Extending Canada’s Longest War

Liberal MP Defends Canada’s Decision to Remain in Afghanistan until 2014

Simon Liem

For Canadians, June 2011 was supposed to mark the end of the war in Afghanistan.

However, in November of last year, the Harper government announced that after the withdrawal of combat troops from Afghanistan this summer, 950 Canadian troops would remain in country to help train police and military forces.

Liberal MP and Foreign Affairs critic Bob Rae has described his support for this decision as making a choice between “a bad thing and a worse thing.”

In a phone interview with The Link, Rae discussed the Canadian military’s training mission and making peace in Afghanistan.

According to Rae, a full withdrawal without preparing the Afghan government to take over military duties would be a worse outcome than the Conservative government’s plan.

“You need to build up the capacity of the state of Afghanistan […] to be able to provide for the needs of its own people,” said Rae. “One of the needs that we need to work on, obviously, is training police and training security.”

On his website Rae wrote that if Canadians want to help build schools and support women’s rights in Afghanistan, Canada’s training mission is necessary.

Some have argued that this approach is the wrong one. Greg Mortenson, an American humanitarian, has built schools for girls in Taliban-controlled areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan. He claims two of the reasons for his success is that he only hires local workers to build the schools and he avoids any contact with foreign militaries. This method, which differs greatly from NATO’s tactics, is why village elders and locals want to protect these schools, according to Mortenson.

Rae agreed that this is a valid approach but “you need both” ways of operating, and disagreed with critics who say that the military presence makes development more difficult.

“We also need to build the education system, we need to build up the health care system. There’s a whole range of things we need to do. One shouldn’t be […] saying ‘this precludes doing that’ or ‘we do this at the expense of all the others,’” he said.

Whether or not this is true, positive views of NATO forces have dropped significantly in the past year and violence has risen.

NATO officials expected that 2010, with the Obama administration’s surge of 30,000 troops, would bring more violence to Afghanistan and worsen the security situation.

“I’m sure there will be many more casualties; there’ll be an awful lot of violence. That’s, I’m afraid, the nature of the conflict,” said Mark Sedwill, the Senior Civilian Representative for NATO in Afghanistan, in an interview with BBC in early 2010.

The prediction turned out to be true. Reuter’s reported that last year was the most violent for Afghanistan since the beginning of the war in 2001. UN figures showed a 20 per cent rise in civilian casualties from the previous year with 2,412 killed between January and October of last year.

“One of the reasons that I strongly advocate [that Canada move] away from a combat role is that I think fundamentally the responsibility for any engagements—whether they’re military, police or security—have to belong to the people and institutions of Afghanistan,” said Rae.

Opinion polls of Afghan people suggest that this is what they want as well. A BBC and ABC News opinion poll conducted in 2010 found that large majorities of Afghans were confident in the government’s ability to provide security.

The same poll found that 36 per cent of people were confident in NATO’s ability to provide security and 52 per cent thought that NATO should start leaving this summer or sooner.

Whatever the opinions of the Afghan people are, NATO and Canada, in some form or another, will likely be staying in Afghanistan until at least 2014.

Despite Rae’s support for Canadian’s training mission, he is leery of previous foreign attempts to create democratic institutions.

“There have been […] historically many other interventions that have in the end failed because the gap between the people and the government simply became too large,” said Rae.


6. NATO Bases Ready; U.S., British, French Special Forces In Libya

Press TV

March 1, 2011

US, NATO bases prepare Libya attack?

-Britain, France and the United States have dispatched hundreds of military advisors to Libya to set up military bases in the country’s oil-rich east.

British and US special forces entered the Libyan port cities of Benghazi and Toburk on February 23 and 24.

US and NATO bases in Italy are preparing for military action against Libya as forces loyal to Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi mass in the west of the country, analysts say.

“We signed the friendship treaty with a state, but when the counterpart no longer exists – in this case the Libyan state – the treaty cannot be applied,” Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini told Sky Italia about a treaty signed between Tripoli and Rome three years ago.

The suspension of the treaty makes it possible for Rome to take part in any peacekeeping operations in crisis-hit Libya.

It will also allow Italy to give permission to its allies to use military bases across the country in any military engagement with Libya.

Under the 2008 treaty between Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Gaddafi, Italy paid Libya $5 billion to compensate Libya for the colonial rule.

Several NATO and US bases are located in Italy, including the US Sixth Fleet, which is based near Naples.

“But that (resigning from the treaty) doesn’t necessarily open the possibility that US or NATO forces could launch military operations in the North African country from Italian soil,” Aldo Amati, Deputy Press Secretary for Italian Foreign Ministry said. “There’s no link between the two things.”

However, analysts maintain that Italy’s resignation from the treaty is a prelude to a military intervention in Libya.

Britain, France and the United States have dispatched hundreds of military advisors to Libya to set up military bases in the country’s oil-rich east.

British and US special forces entered the Libyan port cities of Benghazi and Toburk on February 23 and 24.

Three Indian navy warships are also expected to be deployed in the region. Earlier on Monday, the US military confirmed it has deployed naval and air forces around Libya.

US military maintains a heavy presence in the Mediterranean. Washington has bases in Spain and Turkey.

Meanwhile, forces loyal to Gaddafi were massed in the west of the country, closing the border with Tunisia.

Pro-Gaddafi forces have also surrounded in the country’s west, preparing to re-take the city of Nalut from the demonstrators. Residents fear an imminent attack by the government forces.


7. NATO Libya Intervention Plan: Bypass UN, Recognize Rebel Regime

Stars and Stripes

March 1, 2011

No-fly zone over Libya: The facts

By John Vandiver and Geoff Ziezulewicz

[C]alls for a no-fly zone in Libya grow stronger. British Prime Minister David Cameron says planning for such a measure is under way, and U.S. officials say all options are on the table. But if the U.S decides to enforce a no-fly zone as part of an effort to shield civilians from air assaults, it will require much more than just sending in a few fighter jets to patrol Libyan air space.

Question: Who could authorize a no-fly zone?

Answer: There are a couple of options. The most desirable would be to implement the zone under United Nations auspices, but that is unlikely. On Tuesday, Russia said it would veto any attempt to do that. Some legal experts say if the UN is deadlocked, NATO could impose its own, which would be more controversial.

“NATO may attempt to solve this legal dilemma by recognizing the rebels as the new government of Libya and then get its consent for the no-fly zone,” said Jens Ohlin, assistant professor of law at Cornell University. The U.S. could act unilaterally, but Obama administration officials have emphasized that an international response is required. NATO also has given no indication that it is inclined to take action without a UN mandate.

Q: Which U.S. assets in the region could be utilized?

A: The U.S. Navy’s 6th Fleet in Naples would likely be a key command and control player should a no-fly zone be instituted. While the fleet doesn’t possess an aircraft carrier, the nearby Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily would likely factor into any kind of military response. Sigonella is within easy striking distance, just 300 miles from the capital, Tripoli. British media have also suggested that a British airbase in Akrotiri, Cyprus, could be used. The carrier USS Enterprise, on patrol in the Red Sea, could be diverted to the Mediterranean. Aircraft carriers can serve as a launching pad for about 85 planes. Coupled with those from land bases, a no-fly zone operation could include more than 100 aircraft.

Shashank Joshi, an associate fellow at London’s Royal United Services Institute, says a no-fly zone might only cover the eastern, rebel-held parts of the country. It would require command and control aircraft, recovery teams and a couple squadrons of fighters. An aircraft carrier would be helpful, but not necessary, he said.

“This is well within NATO’s capabilities,” Joshi said. “NATO and US forces already present in Europe or nearby could implement this by themselves.”

Q: Who else could be lending support?

A: Within NATO, Cameron has been the most vocal supporter of a no-fly zone. Australia also has spoken out in favor of military intervention. Other allies, such as Germany, have called for tougher economic sanctions while stopping short of public declarations about military intervention.

Q: What would a no-fly zone accomplish?

A:…Some no-fly zone advocates say deploying U.S. jets would send a powerful message to Gadhafi while signaling support to anti-regime fighters. However, no-fly zone opponents counter that a heavy-handed Western intervention in a region already suspicious of the United States’ motives could undermine the protesters.


8. Russia: Inexcusable For World To Gloss Over Brutal Crimes In Kosovo


March 1, 2011

Russian official, UN envoy discuss human organ trafficking in Kosovo

MOSCOW: Illegal trade in human organs in Kosovo was one of the issues raised at a meeting between a Russian deputy foreign minister and a senior UN envoy on Tuesday.

Deputy Minister Vladimir Titov and UN Special Representative for Kosovo Lamberto Zannier had “an exchange of opinions on an investigation into illegal trade in human organs in Kosovo under a recent decision by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“The need was stressed for an effective international mechanism for this purpose under the control of the UN Security Council,” it said.

Titov and Zannier also discussed “key aspects of the Kosovo peace process, international activities in Kosovo, and the overall situation” there, the ministry said.

“The Russian side reaffirmed its unchanged position of non-recognition of the independence of Kosovo, which has been declared unilaterally and in violation of principles and standards of international law. It was emphasized that negotiations based on Resolution 1244 of the UN Security Council would be the only way to solve the Kosovo problem,” the statement said.

In January, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told a briefing in Moscow: “The resolution confirms our position that all the facts need careful investigation and gives a powerful signal to the international community that it is unacceptable to try to gloss over brutal crimes in Kosovo.”

“We are convinced that illegal trade in human organs is an issue that must remain an object of close attention on the part of the international community,” he said.


9. Pentagon’s Africa Partnership Station Ship In Gulf Of Guinea

Navy NewsStand

February 28, 2011

Africa Partnership Station West Visits Sao Tome

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Darryl Wood, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa/Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs

SAO TOME: USS Robert G. Bradley (FFG 49) pulled into Sao Tome to begin maritime training with African Partners as part of the Africa Partnership Station (APS) West initiative, Feb. 28.

During the port visit, the APS international staff and Robert G. Bradley crew will hold classes in small boat maintenance, retention and recruitment.

“We are looking forward to the opportunity to provide training in regional maritime domain awareness and boat coxswain and maintenance,” says Lt. William Pollak, Robert G. Bradley operations officer.

The training will focus on strengthening maritime capabilities in Sao Tome and build upon partnership capabilities in the region.

Robert G. Bradley is scheduled to visit Angola, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Gabon, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone during the next four months…

APS is an international security cooperation initiative, facilitated by Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, aimed at strengthening global maritime partnerships…


10. Detailed Scenario For Japanese-Russian War Over The Kurils

Russian Information Agency Novosti

March 1, 2011

Preparing for the worst on the South Kuril Islands

Alexander Graschenkov

Russia is backing up its rhetoric over the South Kuril Islands with action. In a surprise move that will no doubt further aggravate the long-standing territorial dispute between Russia and Japan, Russia’s military-political leadership announced plans to modernize its armed forces in the country’s Far East.

The plans to reorganize and bolster defenses at the Russian base on the South Kuril Islands are entirely justified and urgent. Forces there consist entirely of the shorthanded 18th machinegun-artillery division, with just 3,500 troops.

The proximity of the islands to Japan’s coast makes them extremely difficult to defend. In theory, Japan could launch a massive sneak attack with considerable landing forces at night using small non-military boats (for instance, fast motorboats used for fishing) as well as inflatable attack motorboats and helicopters. By using such unconventional means, Japan would be able to keep preparations for the operation secret. In this case, the main thrust of the attack would be on Kunashir Island, the southernmost island of the chain. If the Japanese were bold enough, they might simultaneously attack Iturup Island.

Russia would do well to remember Japan’s predilection for starting wars with sudden well-planned attacks, a tactic it has used in every war it has ever waged. Japan’s proximity to the islands allows it to rapidly deliver cargo and reinforcements to landed troops, while backing them up with massive air support from attack helicopters. The Japanese could keep most of Kunashir under heavy fire using missiles and artillery (including precision weapons) stationed on its own shores.

The Japanese military are well trained and highly motivated. They possess huge quantities of the latest weapons and equipment. They have unique type-96 multi-purpose missiles and HATM-6 systems with hammer-like chassis, which could be delivered to the islands using light transport. These would be equally effective against tanks and artillery. This, combined with Japan’s air superiority and wide use of precision weapons, would allow the Japanese to smash the defensive forces on the islands much faster and easier that we might think.

Opportunities and realities

Today, the Russian forces deployed on the islands, and in the country’s Far East in general, would be helpless in the face of such an attack. The 18th machine-gun and artillery division is not up to task. They are dispersed on Kunashir and Iturup, and the defensive hardware on their coasts is largely obsolete. Their movement is limited by the difficult terrain and lack of roads. Air defense capabilities are, of course, inadequate. Under these circumstances, in the event of an enemy landing, the Russian units would likely suffer the fate of the Argentine forces on the Falkland Islands in 1982.

The naval forces of the Russian Pacific Fleet are based in faraway Kamchatka and the Primorye Territory. Regardless, it’s not clear that these forces would prove superior to the Japanese forces if they were to engage. And even if the Russian fleet were to prevail, the Japanese would still be able to land on the islands and supply their amphibious forces there. The Russian Fleet’s ships likely would not be able to blockade the islands due to the proximity to the Japanese coast. Anti-ship missile systems on Japan’s coast would prove too great a threat, not to mention the Japanese air force.

Russia stands even less of a chance of achieving air superiority in a hypothetical confrontation. The nearest Russian airfields that can accommodate combat aircraft are located on Sakhalin and Kamchatka, and the closest fighters are the MiG-31s stationed in Yelizovo on Kamchatka and the SU 27SMs in Komsomolsk-on-Amur. Even if Russia were to mass combat aircraft forces from the rest of its territory in the Far East, it would not have a quantitative superiority in the air over the Kuril Islands and Hokkaido. Japan would have the undisputed advantage in quantitative terms (aviation systems, aircraft weapons, personnel training and aviation control), and would essentially be operating in the airspace above its own territory from conveniently located airfields and within its own radar field. Given these facts, Russia would be unlikely to gain complete dominance of the air in the theater of war.

Therefore, the only practical defense Russia can muster is to prolong the fighting on Kunashir and Iturup using local garrisons in order to buy enough time to concentrate its air and naval forces and to organize a large-scale counter assault, including large landings of Russian forces. During such an operation, Russia could try to achieve at least local air superiority.

In the long term, any viable defense strategy must be based on the threat of escalating hostilities and mounting air and missile strike over Japan’s entire territory.

The necessary steps

It is abundantly clear that in order to successfully defend the South Kuril Islands, Russia must considerably upgrade the combat readiness of its forces and better staff and equip its bases on the islands. The islands must be self-sufficient in air defense, and this can be achieved by deploying medium- and, later, long-range missile systems. The islands also need shore-based weapons to attack small sea-based targets.

Ideally, the reconfiguration of the islands’ defenses should not involve any attempts to protect their lengthy coasts, which is a tall order given that the enemy could land on small boats. It would be better to strengthen the bases of Iturup and Kunashir and provide them with the necessary firepower and effective air defenses.

It appears that this is precisely what Russia plans to do. The Defense Ministry has started re-equipping local units with modern hardware. Last year, the outdated T-55 tanks in the 18th division were replaced with more modern T-80BVs. There are also plans to deploy Buk-M1 medium-range surface-to-air missiles.

The impending reorganization of the 18th division into a unit that is in a constant state of combat readiness is fully in keeping with the new image of the Russian Armed Forces. This will be an important and urgent step in Russia’s efforts to bolster its defenses in disputed territories. Russia’s military and political leadership must remain focused on the defense of the South Kuril Islands.

*Mikhail Barabanov editor-in-chief of Moscow Defense Brief.


11. U.S. Deploys Warships, Official Wants “Two Bullets In Heads Of Gaddafi And Son”

Wall Street Journal

March 1, 2011

U.S. Orders Ships to Libya as Battle Lines Harden

By JULIAN E. BARNES in Washington, MARGARET COKER in Tripoli and CHARLES LEVINSON in Benghazi, Libya

The U.S. ordered two warships and 400 Marines to the waters off Libya on Tuesday, but a top Obama administration official stopped short of saying the forces would intervene in the country’s growing civil war.

At a Pentagon briefing, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced he had ordered to the Mediterranean the USS Ponce and the USS Kearsarge, an amphibious-assault ship that typically carries V-22 Ospreys and MH-53E troop-transport helicopters. The Marines, currently in the U.S., will be airlifted to meet the ships.

Some U.S. officials don’t believe the civil war will be protracted, instead predicting that members of Col. Gadhafi’s inner circle will attempt to assassinate the leader in the days or weeks to come.

The officials said they believe aides to Col. Gadhafi will move against him if members of his elite regime-protection brigades begin to defect. A senior U.S. official said as the rebellion spreads, an assassination attempt on Col. Gadhafi “seems more plausible.”

“The best outcome for those Libyan leaders who are defecting will be [to put] two bullets into the heads of Gadhafi and his son,” the official said.

For now, the elite brigades remain “the most enthusiastically loyal” to the dictator, and neither officials in Washington or witnesses in Libya have seen any defections from the elite units so far.

“It is clear to us he still has command and control of some forces,” said a military official in Washington. “He still has combat power at his disposal.”


12. U.S., NATO Invasion Of Libya?


March 1, 2011

US invasion of Libya?

The US Sixth Fleet has begun repositioning its ships in the Mediterranean, triggering speculation of a NATO invasion of Libya.

?It comes as Libya’s long-time leader Colonel Gaddafi remains besieged in the capital Tripoli, with opposition forces nearby.

After the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated that “nothing is off the table” when it came to Libya, the American Navy started to take tactical positions off the coast of that North African country. At this point, the possibility of any of the major forces in the region, like US military, NATO troops or even UN peacekeepers, setting their feet on Libyan shores should not be ruled out.

This was mirrored by comments of British Prime Minister David Cameron who has said that he would not exclude the use of the military there, and that there is a possibility that Britain could provide arms to the opposition forces. He also said he would support a no flight zone imposed over Libyan territory to stop Colonel Gaddafi’s jet fighters from making air strikes on military installations seized by the opposition.

It must be noted that NATO’s Secretary General has repeatedly stressed that NATO would not interfere in the situation in Libya unless the UN adopts a resolution to do so. Getting such a document, however, looks like an impossible task because Russia and China have already vehemently opposed any kind of outside interference in Libya and say the resolution will definitely be vetoed.

Western politicians are also playing a “weapons of mass destruction” card, saying the Libyan regime might have stockpiles of chemical weapons, despite the fact that Libya officially refused to continue the development of chemical weapons and signed international treaties accordingly.

In any case, possible external military interference in Libya might seriously damage the relationship between the Arab world and the West.

“This is very ugly, this return of humanitarian imperialism ,” believes Asia Times correspondent Pepe Escobar, who said that if sanctions against the Gaddafi clan are ok, then the NATO-US intervention in Libya already been openly discussed in Brussels would be a disgusting thing, but “it cannot be ruled out for the moment.”

The violence in Libya is continuing. Heavy weapons are allegedly being used against armed anti-government forces. The opposition insists that though it is armed, their weapons are nothing in comparison with the regular army still loyal to Muammar Gaddafi.

There are rumors of a food crisis in the country as the price of rice in Tripoli has allegedly risen by 500 percent, and food shortages are on the horizon.

Amidst the bloodbath in the country, Colonel Gaddafi has said that his people love him and are ready to die for him and Libya. Gaddafi is reportedly remaining in Tripoli.

?Trends forecaster Gerald Celente says it is not support for the Libyan people, but interest in the country’s vast oil fields that is driving US rhetoric.

“The only reason they are interested in Libya is for their oil. Do you hear anybody screaming and yelling here about all those people that were killed last week on the Ivory Coast or in Sudan?” Celente questions. “We already heard Hillary Clinton say that they are willing to do anything for anybody in Libya that needs aid.”

Gerald Celente says the hypocrisy is “just beyond belief” and the western world is calling for the head of Gaddafi but not for the head of any other leader from rioting countries like Egypt, Bahrain, Tunisia or Yemen.

“Why? Because it is oil. You think we’d be in Iraq if the major export there was broccoli?” exclaimed Celente.

?John Laughland from the Institute of Democracy and Cooperation told RT that the current situation in Libya does not merit military intervention.

“The level of violence in Libya is relatively low,” he said. “I mean, we believe that there have been several hundred people killed, but it is not a huge level of violence. It certainly is not the global level of violence that would normally merit intervention.”

“I think that parallels do, though, lie with these other interventions made because clearly, Libya is an important state and the West does want try to establish some sort of control over the situation. It is because it wants to recuperate the situation, it wants to muscle in and appropriate to itself developments it did not initiate,” Laughland added.

?According to peace activist from Stop the War Coalition John Rees, a NATO invasion in Libya would have disastrous consequences.

“Colonel Gaddafi says that the revolution is a mask for foreign involvement,” he said. “If the imperial powers actually do intervene it will make it look as if he is right, and that will be a disastrous turn of events for revolutionaries who are trying to overthrow him.”

“I was recently in both Tahrir Square in Cairo and in Tunis and I think that the western powers have to be very clear that the last thing that the people who topple their dictators in the Middle East want is the intervention of the Western powers,” Rees added.

?According to British Labor MP Jeremy Corbyn, the scenario that unfolded in Iraq is now very likely to repeat itself in Libya.

“It is looking quite possible that [key NATO members] will launch an attack, with or without UN approval, so we are looking almost at a repeat of what happened in Iraq and indeed the results, I suspect, will be largely the same,” he said.

Corbyn added that the reason why the West has suddenly become deeply concerned about human rights in Libya is solely the country’s oil.

?US radio host and peace activist Ralph Schoenman said that the US is currently implementing its long-standing plans to invade Libya.

“What they want to do is to put foreign forces in place to determine the outcome and to abort a popular uprising that seizes control of Libya’s natural resources for the benefit of the working population,” he said.

“What US imperialism is now doing is seizing the opportunity to put into place long-standing plans for invasion and intervention,” Schoenman added.


13. Middle East Turbulence Disrupts The World

Global Times

February 26, 2011

Turbulent Mid-East disrupts the world

-The Western countries would lose the game only if the turmoil was confined to the region. What the Western media hope is that the democratic movement would spread all over the world once for all, including in emerging powers such as China and Russia.

-The collapse of the Soviet Union brought chaos into southeast Europe and central Asia and endangered what was once the world’s most powerful nuclear nation, but the West hailed its breakdown and seized most of the benefits.

Faced with uncertainties stemming from ongoing turbulence in the Middle East, no country in the region can safely assert it would smile to the end.

The chaos there seems to supply much more libido to the media in the West than to their counterparts in emerging nations. For the first time in centuries, the pace of development in the emerging nations “embarrassingly” surpassed Western society. The unrest in the region might become a big turning point for Western countries.

It might be unfair to credit conspiracy theorists for the turmoil in the Middle East. Nobody would believe that Western forces did not play a role in the region either. Though the West has lost the strength to manipulate the political process in the Middle East, it is still strong enough to influence the political outlook in some countries.

In recent years, Western society has borne more political pressure rather than other things when faced with increasing competitiveness from developing peers. The Third World serves as an important source for the welfare in the West. The rise of emerging countries not only dwarfs Western countries but also hoists the position of the Third World.

It is safe to say, in some degree, the turbulence in the Middle East would mess up the whole pattern of the world. The Western countries would lose the game only if the turmoil was confined to the region. What the Western media hope is that the democratic movement would spread all over the world once for all, including in emerging powers such as China and Russia.

In the era of globalization, cooperation between the West and emerging countries could quell Western political elites and their impulses to transform their unease into confrontation. Therefore, we cannot say cooperation has departed the international stage. However, there is evidence suggesting that one policy option of the West is to mess up emerging countries.

The collapse of the Soviet Union brought chaos into southeast Europe and central Asia and endangered what was once the world’s most powerful nuclear nation, but the West hailed its breakdown and seized most of the benefits.

It’s hard to make choices during a crisis comes. The most important thing for Chinese people is to keep calm and alert. The stronger we are and more stable our society is, the less fantasy will the West have to sabotage China and they will pursue better cooperation.


14. NATO Air Strike Kills Nine Afghan Children: Governor

Deutsche Presse-Agentur

March 1, 2011

NATO airstrike kills 9 Afghan children, says provincial official

Kabul: Nine Afghan children died in the south-eastern province of Kunar on Tuesday in a NATO airstrike after a military base came under attacks by suspected Taliban forces, an official said.

Two rockets fired by suspected militants landed inside a US military forward operating base in the Darah-Ye Pech district of that province, Khalilullah Ziayee, the provincial police chief said.

‘A moment later a NATO aircraft killed nine children, who were collecting firewood on a nearby mountain,’ he said. One more child was injured in the attack.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said in a statement that the military was looking into ‘allegations of civilian casualties.’

Civilian casualties at the hands of NATO forces are the most sensitive issue in Afghanistan. Afghan’s leader has repeatedly warned that such killings sap public support for the central government and the presence of international troops in the country.

A government-led investigation concluded that 65 civilians were killed in NATO airstrikes in the Ghaziabad district, also of Kunar province, last month.


15. The Wrong Choice In Kosovo

Japan Times

March 1, 2011

Wrong choice in Kosovo

By Gregory Clark*

A recent Council of Europe report says that during and after the 1998-99 Kosovo conflict, militia leaders of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) tortured and killed hundreds of Serbs and political rivals in secret Albanian hideouts, removed their organs for sale and dumped their bodies in local rivers.

The report added that these people were also heavily involved in drug, sex and illegal immigrant trafficking across Europe. Yet while all this was going on, the NATO powers had decreed that Serbia should be bombed into accepting the KLA as Kosovo’s legitimate rulers — rather than the more popular Democratic League of Kosovo headed by the nationalist intellectual Ibrahim Rugova advocating nonviolent independence.

Recent years have not been kind to Western policymakers. They have shown an almost unerring ability to choose the wrong people for the wrong policies. Think back to the procession of incompetents chosen to rescue Indochina from the communist enemy. Does anyone even remember their names today? Yet at the time they were supposed to be nation-savers.

Before that the United Kingdom, United States and Australia had banded to try to prevent Lee Kuan Yew from being elected prime minister of Singapore. He was seen as a crypto-communist. They preferred the incompetent pro-British Lim Yew Hock.

Then we saw the West, and Japan, throw their support behind the hapless Afghan President Hamid Karzai as the strongman to defeat the evil Taliban whom the U.S. had once embraced as the good Taliban.

If not for the end of the Cold War, we almost certainly would be seeing the U.S. and U.K. today once again backing Middle East dictators against their protesting masses.

And now we discover that the people chosen to take over Kosovo from Serbia were not quite the heroes they were made out to be at the time.

Western involvement in the breakup of the former Yugoslavia had more than its share of such mistakes. The Serbian forces resisting the breakup were accused of war crimes and ethnic cleansing. But anyone aware of that nation’s troubled history should have realized that the Serbian minorities in Croatia and Bosnia would not accept domination by the successors to their former pro-Nazi oppressors.

Retaliations and violent resistance, including even the shocking Srebrenica killings, were inevitable. Besides, the final result was that close to a million Serbs had to seek refuge in Serbia itself. So who had been cleansing whom?

Kosovo too had seen wartime ethnic cleansing against Serbs by pro-Nazi elements. The cleansing continued during the 1990s as U.S.-trained KLA guerrillas targeted Serbs isolated in rural districts and towns (by then Belgrade’s efforts to give the province autonomy had failed on the rock of ethnic Albanian noncooperation).

When Belgrade finally sent in troops to resist the guerrillas, it was accused of war crimes even though the illegitimate force used was much less than what we see when most other Western nations, the U.S. particularly, intervene against guerrillas they do not like.

When many ethnic Albanians fled temporarily after the NATO bombing intervention, that too was supposed to be Serbian ethnic cleansing.

Even after gaining power, the KLA violence and cleansings continued. Their victims included the Jewish and Roma minorities and ethnic Albanians who had cooperated with Serbia’s attempt to offer autonomy. The trafficking of drugs, women and body organs continued, right under the noses of the U.N. forces sent in to maintain order. Rugova supporters were eliminated.

The U.S., U.K. and Germany bear most of the blame for this horror; Germany especially should have realized the passions that would be unleashed by any sudden breakup of the former Yugoslavia. But they seemed more interested in the geopolitical gains.

In exchange for helping the KLA, the U.S. got to add the strategic Bondsteel military base in Kosovo to its global base network. And the feisty U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright got to play world leader at the 1999 Rambouillet conference by decreeing that the dashing, handsome KLA leader Hashim Thaci was far preferable to the elderly, unpretentious Rugova as Kosovo’s future leader, and that Serbia should be bombed if it did not agree. Belgrade’s agreement to Rugova as leader of an independent Kosovo was dismissed as irrelevant.

One wonders how the Serbs saw this performance. Two generations earlier, they had been the only European nation with the courage to resist Nazi attack. They had been bombed and massacred as a result. Now they were to suffer again at the hands of the NATO-supporting European nations, most of whom had spinelessly succumbed to, or had even collaborated with, that former Nazi enemy.

True, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has now resolved that it is “extremely concerned” over the recent KLA revelations. But is that not rather too late?

And will we see apologies from the people behind the past policies, particularly from the likes of former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair who still boasts that his firm resolve against Serbian “ethnic cleansing” in Kosovo led him to support the U.S. in Iraq? I doubt it.

*Gregory Clark is a former Australian diplomat and longtime resident of Japan. A Japanese translation of this article will appear on


16. Canada Deploys Warship, Troops For Blockade Of Libya

Xinhua News Agency

March 2, 2011

Canada sends frigate to enhance military presence off Libya

OTTAWA: Canada will send frigate HMCS Charlottetown to the waters off Libya to enhance its military presence in the region in response to the escalating unrest in the Northern African country.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced during Tuesday’s question period in the House of Commons that the Halifax-based warship with 240 Canadian Force personnel aboard will depart its home port on Wednesday to assist in the evacuation of foreigners from Libya.

Defense Minister Peter MacKay said it will take six days for the vessel to reach the region to play a role in enforcing any future sanctions against Libya – including a blockade – if such measures are approved by either the United Nations or NATO.

Canada has based two C-17 Globemaster and two C-130J Hercules military transportation aircraft as well as a military reconnaissance team of 13 soldiers in Malta, the Mediterranean island country located just 300 km north of the Libyan coastline, to provide more flexible capacity.

The frigate deployment comes hours after a Canadian C-130J Hercules was forced to abandon its mission to pick up Canadians in Libya after being refused permission to land at the country’s main airport.

The plane was on its way to Tripoli International Airport from Malta but was reportedly turned back due to congestion on the tarmac.


17. Georgian Army Transformed To NATO Standards

Georgia Ministry of Defence

March 1, 2011

Recruitment at the National Defenece Academy

The rector of the Davit Agmashenebeli National Defence Academy of Georgia Andro Barnov held a presentation at the Defence Ministry regarding the reforms ongoing at the Military Institution.

The meeting was attended by the Commander of Trainings and Military Education of th JS [Joint Staff] of GAF [Gerorgian Armded Forces] LTC Malkhaz Makaradze and military servicemen of different ranks.

LTC Malkhaz Makaradze…spoke of the fundamental military education as a priority in the build-up process of the armed forces: “Our army is using those means and technologies which are widely introduced in the leading nations of NATO. In order to be successful we need an effective military education…”


18. U.S. Amphibious Assault Ships, Marines Cross Suez For Libya


March 1, 2011

Two U.S. amphibious assault ships head to Med via Suez

ISMAILIA, Egypt: Two U.S. amphibious assault ships, the USS Kearsarge, which can carry 2,000 Marines, and the USS Ponce, will pass through Egypt’s Suez Canal on Wednesday morning, an Egyptian official said on Tuesday.

The United States said on Monday it was moving ships and planes closer to Libya, where a rebellion against Muammar Gaddafi’s rule is underway.

The Egyptian official said the ships would enter the Canal at 0330 GMT.


19. U.S. Launches Interceptor Missile Program In Mediterranean

Associated Press

March 1, 2011

US launches new missile defense program for Europe


The Pentagon says the United States is sending a special radar-equipped warship to the Mediterranean next week, the first step toward development of a broad anti-ballistic missile system to protect Europe [sic]…

The move marks the first of the Obama administration’s four-phase plan to put land- and sea-based radars and interceptors in several European locations during the next decade. NATO endorses the plan, which has triggered opposition from Russia and set off lengthy negotiations over the future expanded ability to shoot down ballistic missiles in the region.

The USS Monterey is equipped with a sophisticated Aegis radar system and will spend six months deployed in the Mediterranean. Other Aegis-equipped ships have deployed to that region, but this is the first under the new program.


20. Report: Russia To Deploy Missiles, Combat Helicopters On Kurils

Arirang News

March 2, 2011

Russia Plans to Place Missiles on Disputed Southern Kuril Islands: Japanese Media Report

Japanese media is reporting that Russia plans to place missiles and combat helicopters on the shores of the disputed southern Kuril islands, located between Hokkaido, Japan and Kamchatka, Russia.

Several Japanese media quoted a Russian news agency source Wednesday, in which a high level Russian military official announced plans to set up a portable missile system equipped with supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles on the islands.

Currently the islands are under Russian jurisdiction, but Japan claims the southernmost two islands as part of its territory.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ordered more weapons to be sent to the islands back in February in order to guarantee their security.


21. Brussels: NATO’s 28 DMs Meet, EU Crisis Summit On Libya, N. Africa

Agence France-Presse

March 1, 2011

Libya: EU calls crisis summit next week

By Claire Rosemberg

BRUSSELS: The European Union on Tuesday called a crisis summit of its 27 leaders next week to seek a joint response in facing the turmoil both in Libya and in Arab states on Europe’s southern flank.

“In light of developments in the EU’s southern neighbourhood, and especially in Libya, I convened an extraordinary European Council (or summit) on 11/03,” EU president Herman Van Rompuy said Tuesday on his Twitter webpage.

In town as momentum builds for a military response to Moamer Kadhafi will be defence ministers from the 28-member NATO alliance.

The emergency summit was requested by British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who in a joint statement dubbed Kadhafi’s brutality “totally unacceptable” and urged fresh options “for increasing pressure on the regime.”

The EU this week imposed the toughest international sanctions yet on Kadhafi’s crumbling regime, ordering an asset freeze and visa ban against the embattled despot and 25 of his allies accused of brutalising civilians.

It also adopted an embargo on the sale of both arms and equipment that could be used for repression.

“The EU must change its policies, instead of backing the status quo it must support a community of democratic states,” said Alvaro de Vaconcelas of the European Union Institute for Policy Studies.


22. Polish FM: N. Africa Unrest “Strengthens Need For US Military In Europe”–says-fm.html

Polish Radio

March 1, 2011

Europe needs US military presence, says FM

Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski currently on a visit to Washington, has said that the unrest in North Africa strengthens Poland’s support of a US military presence in Europe.

“Poland is an advocate of an American military presence in Europe. The current events in the Middle East underline the need for such a presence,” the minister told the PAP news agency.

Foreign Minister Sikorski is delivering a lecture on ‘Russia and Poland’s security’ today at the left-leaning Center for American Progress.

The day’s programme also includes a meeting with the Center’s director John Podesta, who was a co-chairman of the Obama-Biden Transition Project.

Yesterday, Mr Sikorski gave a lecture at Harvard University entitled ‘Does Europe’s security continue to be of importance for the United States.’

On Thursday, Mr Sikorski will have talks with his US counterpart Hillary Clinton.


23. Arab League: Syria Urges Rejection Of Western Libyan Intervention

Syrian Arab News Agency

March 1, 2011

Upon Syria’s Initiative, Arab League to Adopt a Statement Rejecting Foreign Intervention in Libya

Fadi Allafi/Mazen Eyon

Cairo: The Arab League (AL) on Tuesday resumed its 135th session on the level of the permanent representatives to discuss the rest of items listed on its agenda to be submitted to the Arab League Council scheduled to be held tomorrow on the level of foreign ministers.

Concerning the Libyan issue, the AL is going to adopt a statement, upon a Syrian initiative, rejecting all forms of foreign intervention in Libya and stresses guaranteeing the Arab Libyan territorial integrity.

Syria’s Permanent Ambassador to the Arab League Youssef Ahmad said that western forces’ intervention in the Libyan issue does not stem from the principle of protecting the Libyan people and interests so much as it protects the interests and agendas of these western forces.

The AL General Assembly has finished preparations for hosting the 135th session on the level of foreign ministers tomorrow headed by Omani Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Yousef bin Alawi.


24. Afghan MPs: Harsh Punishment For NATO Over Civilian Massacre

Pajhwok Afghan News

March 1, 2011

MPs want Kunar air raid perpetrators punished

by Abasin Zaheer

KABUL: Meshrano Jirga members on Tuesday called for those behind a NATO-led airstrike that killed 64 people in eastern Kunar province to be brought to justice.

Most of the casualties, including another 20 who were injured, were reported to be civilians. The airstrike happened 11 days ago in Orgal of Ghaziabad district.

A senator, Rafiullah Haidari, wept as he told the upper house on Tuesday that all those killed were civilians, including 35 children.

“This is not the first time foreign forces have killed civilians in Kunar,” Haidari, who was a member of the delegation sent to the area by Hamid Karzai to investigate.

He said the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force had at first denied any civilians were killed in the raid, but then later apologised when video footage and other evidence was shown to them.

He proposed harsh punishment for perpetrators of the attack.

The speaker of the upper house, Fazal Hadi Muslimyar, and several other senators also called for the government to take action against those responsible for the incident.

ISAF has said it will investigate the incident, but denies the large number of casualties were non-combatants.


25. Kurils: U.S.-Japan-South Korea Axis Also Aimed At Russia

Global Times

March 2, 2011

Russia gazes East with new defense plans

By Liu Qian

-To some Russian experts, the intensified military operations between the US, Japan and South Korea in the Asia-Pacific region not only aimed at intimidating North Korea and China, but also displayed their military might to Russia.

Russia seems to be tired of its recent verbal war with Japan over the disputed Southern Kuril Islands, or, as the Japanese term them, the Northern Territories. Now it’s bringing the conflict to a new level.

On February 9, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev called on Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov to strengthen the defense of these islands, bringing a more military aspect to the territorial dispute.

When Medvedev met with Serdyukov and Viktor Basargin, Minister of Regional Development, he said that the Southern Kuril Islands were an inalienable part of and a strategic bulwark for Russia. He indicated that the forces stationed there should be equipped with up-to-date weaponry.

According to reports by the Russian press, the military equipment currently used by forces in the Southern Kuril Islands is seriously outdated. Alexander Khramchikhin, the Deputy Director of the Moscow-based Institute for Politics and Military, described them as “antiques even in the 1950s.”

A senior member from the General Staff Department of the Russian Army said that troops on the islands would be equipped with anti-aircraft guns, anti-aircraft missiles and even the newest S-400 air defense system. On Friday, Nikolai Makarov, chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, said that one to two ships might also be sent to the Pacific fleet to deal with the security issues there.

After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Russia’s strategic center has been moving toward the West. The Kremlin had to deal with an expanding NATO and had no time to develop its influence in the East.

When the Asia-Pacific region became the focus of world attention, with many countries enhancing their military and economic power there, Russia had to admit that it had fallen behind in the region. However, after Medvedev reached an agreement with US President Barack Obama in the missile defense, Russia had energy to develop in the East.

To some Russian experts, the intensified military operations between the US, Japan and South Korea in the Asia-Pacific region not only aimed at intimidating North Korea and China, but also displayed their military might to Russia.

Khramchikhin claimed that it is entirely possible for Japan to take military action if a radical crisis emerges in East Asia, as they have a territorial dispute with Russia. He added that the military forces currently stationed in the Southern Kuril Islands couldn’t contend with Japan.

Russian actions, from Medvedev’s visit to the islands to the current plans for rearmanent, show that the nation’s strategic purpose is to rebuild its strategic position in the Asia-Pacific.

Other countries in the region are also involved to some degree. Russia has tried to draw other countries to its side on the issue, inviting Chinese and South Korean companies to tap business in the disputed area. The Russian Foreign Ministry called on the US not to intervene in the dispute.

If Russia enhances its naval and air abilities in the Southern Kuril Islands, and expands its Pacific fleet to strengthen the ability to launch marine attacks, the military forces in the islands will be capable of working in concert with military bases in Vladivostok and the Kamchatka Peninsula.

This will certainly affect the security strategy of neighboring countries, and even intensify the potential arms race in Northeast Asia.

The author is a Beijing-based journalist.

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